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A recap of the past few weeks and reflections on my current running environment

12/24/2011

Scanning back at my recent posts, I’m beginning to suspect that running so much has turned me into an outrageously boring writer. I’m so focused on the actual running that when I get around to blogging about it, all I want to do is word vomit the basics and not even try to be humorous or entertaining.

…SO BEGAN ANOTHER DULL POST.

There have been a few questions from my last few posts that I never got around to answering, so I’ll answer them here.

One question was which marathon I’m running. I’m entered in the (inaugural) Louisiana Marathon on January 15 in Baton Rouge. I’ll be there visiting a friend that week anyway, and couldn’t resist the idea of running a marathon that happened to be in town too. I’m excited about it because I like the idea of supporting smaller marathons, and I prefer races with less hype and fewer participants overall.

The other question was about what a 100+ mile week looks like for me, so I’ll break down how the last few weeks played out.

December 5-11: 103 miles

  • M: Three hour run. I estimate about 21 miles. It was positively dumping rain and windy. This run was a solid confidence boost. If I can survive a three hour run in those conditions on a Monday morning before work, the marathon, by comparison, should feel like rolling through a field of rainbows and sunshine.
  • T: Two hour run, probably about 14-15 miles.
  • W: 12 miles on the treadmill because it was slushy, icy, windy, and nasty out. Played with the speed. Averaged 7:35 pace.
  • R: 15 miles on the treadmill. It was even nastier out than the day before. Didn’t feel like dealing with the ice and yelling at the wind. 7:45 pace.
  • F: 15 miles outside. Not sure pace.
  • Sa: 16.5 miles at about 8:15 pace.
  • Su: 9.5 miles. Group run on packed snowmobile trail up in the hills.

December 12-18: I cut back to 80 miles and only ran six days. Included some speed and tempo work.

December 19-25: 105 miles

Dodged a bullet with the weather conditions this week. Temperatures were in the upper-30’s, we were slammed with rain, and the roads were subsequently the clearest they’ve been since October. Compared to some of the icier, windier, snowier weeks we’ve had so far this season, it felt fantastic to run outside and leave the ice studs home nearly every day.

  • M: 18 miles probably around 8-8:15 pace?
  • T: 16 miles, included 2×3 miles at 6:38 pace.
  • W: 12 miles, relaxed, not sure of the pace.
  • R: 16 miles, treadmill, 1% incline, included 90 minutes at “7:24” pace which I suppose is somewhere around my marathon goal pace? I don’t know.
  • F: 11 miles, relaxed.
  • Sa: 22 miles, 7:40 pace. Running friends joined me for a few miles in both the first and second halves of the run. This is the only longer run I’ve done with a Garmin. Another big confidence boost because it makes me suspect that I’ve been underestimating my paces on the everyday longer runs.
  • Su: (Planned) A slow 10 miles to shake out the limbs.

So, money’s in the bank at this point. Next week I’ll cut back to 70-80 miles again, and then it’s the real taper: a week at 50-60, and a final week around 30 or something.

There are a lot of things in my life logistically right now that allow me to put in this kind of mileage, and I have no delusions that I’m some kind of hardcore athlete simply because I ran over 100mpw a couple times.

Consider the fact that I don’t have to be at work until between 8:00 and 9:00am, and my commute is only 25 minutes: I can wake up as late as 5:30am and still run for 2-2.5 hours before screaming through the shower and hoovering breakfast on the way out the door to catch the bus.

I get home from work between 5:30-6:30 most days and can spend the evening socializing, relaxing, cooking, and preparing for the next day. I have no children to scramble after, no odd hours to work, and I love the work I do and the people at each of my jobs. If I worked jobs that required long hours, sucked the life out of me and sent me to sleep with a pit of dread in my gut about going in the next day, I doubt it would be quite so effortless to leap out of bed and run in the dark. And I think part of that is just… Juneau. The pace of life here is relaxed, the people are warm and friendly, and there’s very little about this place that enables anything frenzied or frantic.

The other thing that helps is the running community and the groups I run with on weekends. That they allow me to tag along with them at all has been an absolute gift, but they don’t merely let me tag along: They take me on adventure runs in the mountains. They let me hitch car rides with them to places the bus doesn’t go. They tell stories about the Klondike, marathons, ultras, funny and stupid things they’ve done (on runs or elsewhere). They share experiences, give advice, goof around, inspire me, tolerate my complete inability to run fast downhill on the trails, and challenge me to run way over my head trying to keep up.

So I’ve had a very lucky string of months. I’ve enjoyed my training and been extremely fortunate to have a work schedule/life environment that allows me the flexibility to fit in the miles. Things seem to be clicking and coming together. If I don’t mess up my taper or do anything completely asinine with pacing or fueling, the marathon will go well. In fact, the marathon might go really well. Or it might be a total bust. Heck, it doesn’t really matter either way. It’s just running.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. 12/24/2011 19:48

    I don’t even know what to make of this. I’m half in awe, half… I’m not sure what. The one thing I can say for sure is that you know how sometimes, you hear of someone doing something fantastic like writing a memoir or learning a new skill and in the back of your head you kind of think, “yeah, I could totally do that if I wanted to”? Well. I couldn’t do 100m weeks. Period.

    I also have to say that I love your attitude: “it’s just running.” Such a nice antidote to everything else I seem to always read…

  2. 12/25/2011 02:43

    That is some great running and I’m kind of jealous. I could NEVER put in that many miles. I think I got injured just reading about them.

    I love your attitude and the fact that you realize that right now you have the time to put in that many miles. And, “it’s just running” is my attitude now. People get way to intense about something that’s supposed to be enjoyable and is a hobby for most of us.

    But, you’re going to rock your marathon.

  3. 12/25/2011 10:59

    Yeah, this made me a little jealous too 🙂 I wish I had the time and ability to run that much!

    You make Juneau sound kind of great. Would you consider doing a photo post, like of one of your runs, or just around town? Or is there not enough daylight at this time of year?

    You will so rock that marathon! Merry Christmas!

  4. 12/25/2011 15:33

    Thanks. That was good reading. Can’t recall any of your posts coming across as boring — as well as being a good runner, you write well — and never in the ‘look at me’ style of some bloggers.

    Must say that 22 miles at 7:40s amidst big weeks points to a fine marathon. Have read (and I believe) that some tapers don’t bear fruit because intensity isn’t raised appropriately as the miles come off (and/or the tapers are too long). Only other issue could be acclimatisation… Not sure what Baton Rouge is like mid-winter, but presume it’s warmer than Juneau. Maybe crank up the heat for the treadmill runs (or extra clothing) in the last week. Just a thought.

  5. 12/25/2011 16:27

    A great marathon is coming your way, your training is strong and your endurance is kicking, doing all that in singles. I had to smile at the apologetic tone of why you’re able to run a lot. Same with me, I always feel like I need to say “I can do this because I don’t have kids or a family”. 🙂

  6. 12/26/2011 18:54

    I ran 32 miles this week and was pondering how so many runners manage to crank out 50+, and here you’re regularly hitting 100. That is…beyond my realm of comprehension. If I can ever get to a point where I’m consistently running about 40 a week, I’ll be happy.

    You = badass.

  7. 12/27/2011 10:06

    You’re one amazing runner! I also think you’re a great writer; your posts are never boring to read. 🙂

  8. 12/27/2011 19:45

    WOW! Thats some running schedule! I don’t have to be in work till 9, and I do wake up at 5 am. And the weather is warm here. That still doesn’t mean I can run 3 hours everyday!! Hats off, kid! I have the exact same sunday – Jan 15th – as my marathon date, btw, although my goals are way way way more modest than yours! Hope you have a super fabulous race, and looking forward to reading about it!

  9. 12/28/2011 22:03

    This makes me so nostalgic for my heavy mile weeks…I’m lucky if I hit 40 these weeks.

    First of all: 22 miles at 7:40 pace!? That’s just about where I was before CIM. Don’t sell yourself short with a sub 3:20 goal, you have GOT MUCH FASTER in you. I guarantee it. Go for 3:10 you nut, and don’t argue with me on this one.

  10. 01/02/2012 09:38

    I’m just catching up on reading blogs… my paces are pretty similar, so I think you can easily (easily!) run 3:15, and probably significantly faster- and if not this time, then another time soon. You have an amazing gift for recovery! But thanks for admitting that you get home around 6 every day. Seriously. HLBs could take a page or two…

  11. 01/13/2012 18:41

    I’m just in awe of this. I wish you the best at your upcoming race!

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