As you can see, I’ve been more than a little negligent updating my training progress for the upcoming North Face Endurance Challenge 50k, now in less than two weeks. So what does that mean? Did I drop out? Did I lose motivation? Am I still going to run?
Well, the answer is yes, I’m still going to run. Things have been going pretty well the past few weeks with training, and I’m feeling confident that I’ll have a decent showing on June 4th, all things considered.
Instead of updating you on all my mileage totals over the past few weeks, I thought I’d just highlight a couple of my recent runs of note, and talk a bit about how I’m feeling.
Charleston – 6 miles around the Battery. While there was nothing special about the actual running, this was one of the highlights of my time in Atlanta/Charleston a few weeks ago. I’ve found that running on a (mini)vacation like this one is a perfect way to get out and explore a new city, and a refreshing way to mix up your daily mileage grind. If you have never been to Charleston, SC, go. It is beautiful. I ran around the Battery, through a few waterside parks, past Rainbow Row, up near the port and through parts of the College of Charleston. Lots of fun.
Long Run – 24 miles through Rock Creek. With exactly three weeks to go, I woke up early on a misty Saturday morning to prepare for what would be my longest run before the 50k, and actually the longest training run I’ve ever set out to complete. With high nerves and low expectations about the run, I’d say it went about as good as it could have. For the first time since training for my first marathon, I got some major night-before gitters and had a lot of trouble sleeping. I didn’t know how I would feel after 20 miles and was not very eager to find out. Come morning, I took off from home (notice I cut that part out of the map) and went straight towards Rock Creek to do my usual Vally/Western Ridge loop. I tacked on another 4 miles on some horse trail up the middle then went south along the Rock Creek Trail for another 5 miles or so before turning around and going home. I intended to do the whole thing on dirt, but with the rain, the ground was mighty wet and I started oddly started to get lonely. The decision to head south along the creek turned out to be a good one, as seeing other runners and actually bumping into KFB who was out on a 40 mile training ride, got the legs moving and the mind pushing.
I tried to mimic race day nutrition as much as possible, pumping a few Gu’s and a ClifBar down the throat throat. I carried two Nathan Quickdraw Elite Handheld water bottles, one with water and the other Gatorade. Thankfully it wasn’t very hot (the DC weather has now changed, for the hot, since this run) and with the rain keeping me moist I didn’t need any additional fluids. All in all it was a great run, boosted the confidence, the strength, and made yesterday’s 18 miles feel like nothing.
Race Day – Capitol Hill Classic 10k. Awhile ago I had registered for the Capitol Hill Classic, a nice 10k race down on the Hill that I knew a few friends were planning to run. I love these little races and was excited for this one. As it turns out, I got a little injured, and training got all whacked up, leaving me with a 24 mile run on Saturday and a race the following morning. This certainly wasn’t ideal. I knew it would hurt, and I knew there was no way I would PR (which I was originally hoping to do). I decided to approach the race as a bit of a tester, to see how I could race on really tired legs. I don’t know how much I really learned, but I at least learned I could run, mostly pain free, after such a long day before. I lined up about halfway back in the pack with two of my friends. When the gun went off, I spent most of the first mile dodging people and loosening up the legs. It was a slow first mile, my slowest by about a minute, which I came to regret after seeing my finish time. The course itself was fun. From Stanton Park you ran East, circling RFK Stadium before looping around to head back West down the hill. As you powered down Capitol Hill around mile 4.5, you could see the dread on everyone’s face, knowing they would soon have to turn around and climb back up. I hit the hill pretty hard, loosing only about 15 second on the final mile. The race was well run, had a great vibe, and had several spectators out on their front porches with their morning Joe. My time was a good 4+ minutes off my PR, but that will have to do. I’ll definitely run this race again, hopefully on fresher legs next time.