Jul 10

Richmond: Week 2

Number 2 painted in yellow with white outline on navy background

Another hot one with a few complications and improvisations due to the 4th of July holiday, which annoyingly fell on a Tuesday.

I generally think that I’m in very good shape. Or at least I thought I was in good shape. And then I went hiking/trail running with a group of ultra runners. I like to spend time on trails, but let me be clear: I am a road runner. When I get off the pavement and on to a trail, I slow down. A lot. Especially if the trail is technical. And though I’m currently training for a marathon, ultra running (technically anything longer than a marathon, whether it’s 50K or 100 miles counts as an ultra marathon) is an entirely different thing.

I originally planned to use my rest day (Wednesdays for the foreseeable future) early to go on a hike/run on the 4th of July. My friends picked me up at 6:45AM. I was ready for a hike, so I had my hydration pack loaded down with extra food, and I was wearing a short sleeve shirt even though it was going to be a hot and humid day. I learned in the car that there would probably be some running, “but not too much because the trails are just not runnable in many places”–this didn’t comfort me). Had I know going in that everyone else was thinking of this as a run, I would have worn a tank rather than a tee, and I would have lightened my pack.

We got to Table Rock State Park (the SC version) a little before 8, and there we met up with a few more friends. We hit the trail at approximately 8:30. And up we went. There wasn’t much running because we were climbing. And climbing. I will climb all day, but I felt it in my quads early on, which surprised me a little. I haven’t done much hiking lately–none at all since Phoenix in January, and it was a challenge. But we made it to the top in decent time, and I held my own. The views were extraordinary. We hung out for a while refueling and enjoying the scenery.Table Rock summit overlooking lake and forest w/ hikers sitting.

And then the nightmare began. I am a weirdo who prefers the uphill to the downhill. Up is a matter of grit & tenacity. I’ve got those down pat. Down is about letting go. I kinda suck at that in general, though I’m working on it. This downhill was really steep, and I was extra nervous. And my quads started to shake early on though I couldn’t say whether this was nerves or fatigue or probably both. I also probably wasn’t taking in enough calories because I got dropped by the group early on, and while that would normally annoy me, it wouldn’t bring me to the brink of desolation and despair that I visited that day. It was made worse by the fact that two times that I did manage to catch up with everyone, as soon as I got there, they all started off again. No rest for the weary (me!). Eventually, Jenny came back for me, and when given the choice between the shorter or the longer way back, my friends opted for the shorter way. I felt kinda bad that I was costing them a few miles, but they insisted, and I wasn’t going to complain. One friend decided to run down, and the other and I picked our way down the increasingly crowded trail.

It was a fun morning mostly. And a much better workout than I had anticipated. My hips are still feeling the love. Or if it’s not love, they were feeling something. But the hike took a lot more out of me than I had expected, so I didn’t run on Wednesday. And the rest of the week continued the improvisations a bit as I moved my Sunday long run to Friday and split it into two sessions.


M: Easy 8 (originally slated for T)

T: Table Rock Hike 7.5 miles; 2350 ft climbing

W: Off

R: 8 w/ strides (and Ben! for the middle 4)

F: 6 early at Duncan Park; 5 later on the Rail Trail.

S: Easy 7 at Duncan Park.

S: Easy 6 on the Boardwalk.

Other observations: Trying to be better about keeping the easy runs easy. I did this fairly well except when I ran with Ben, who pushed my easy pace a little bit. Heat & humidity acclimation is still a work in progress. I’m in slightly cooler temperatures next week, so hopefully there won’t be too much backsliding.

I’ve been better this week about the foam rolling and stretching. My hips, which actually woke me up a couple times this week, have made that not optional. Cut back a little on the core work, but I need to get back there. Something is better than nothing.Still struggling with nutrition and hydration, mostly as a result of the heat.

123 days until Richmond.


 [Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Leo Reynolds]

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