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