A few weeks ago, I decided to plan out my weekend (long) run schedule leading up to Lunar Trek 100k. It's easy to say, ohhhh there is PLENTY of time before that race. Until...you think about other commitments you have. I was pleased when I saw that I had a whole month of no travel or other big events. This is what I came up with for a plan:
June 4/5 10/20
June 11/12 25/10
June 18/19 30/10
June 25/26 30/15
I was successful last weekend. It always helps to start things off with a success. Instead of doing a single 20 mile run last Sunday, I split it up into two 10 milers. This is an acceptable approach to me sometimes, but I definitely like to have some continuous long runs to really simulate the kind of fatigue that's experienced in an ultra.
This weekend's scheduled miles made me a little nervous. Not because I was afraid I couldn't physically do them, but because it was just going to be a busy weekend. Saturday we were having a Trail Hawks officer meeting, which wouldn't end up taking TOO much time. But Sunday our group would be volunteering at the Kansas Ironman. The name of the race is actually much longer and it starts with K-Swiss, but the order of words didn't make much sense to me so I couldn't remember. It definitely involved "K-Swiss", "70.3", "Kansas" and "Ironman".
Saturday was actually rougher than I thought it would be. The 20 mile run in the morning felt great! I ran with Nick, Coleen and Levi on the Clinton Lake North Shore Trails. It felt just like old times. We used to have a big group that got together every Saturday morning to do long runs at the lake. It was fun to relive those times, now that I'm finally in good running shape. We ran pretty consistently and kept up a good pace the whole time. Levi turned back a little earlier to get in about 15, I think. Nick ran ahead the last few miles while Coleen and I kept chugging along at our long distance pace. The weather was just gorgeous. It was cool and we didn't get any of the forecasted thunderstorms.
One of the most "memorable" parts of the run was running into a dead something-or-other on the trail. We don't usually see dead animals smack dab in the middle of the trail, so this was a real treat. The only sort-of recognizable part of the creature was its head. The entire body appeared to be a pool of rancid goo. So there was a lot of screaming and holding my breath involved. I even managed to totally forget about it on the way back and did the screaming part all over again. Sorry, no pics on this run. Disappointing, I know.
After the run, we ate some watermelon and stopped by our friend's moving sale and eventually ended up at the officer's meeting - at Chipotle! I think I filled up too much on burrito bowl because I don't think I drank nearly enough water. I took a little cat nap when we were done and upon waking up, I felt like a zombie. I was just beat. My legs felt ok but I was just exhausted in general. But I was a zombie determined to run FIVE MORE MILES! Because that's what my schedule said I was gonna do. Zombie Laurie did not realize she was still full of burrito bowl, even 4 hours after eating it. Zombie Laurie don't care. Zombie Laurie has to run 5 miles. I convinced Nick to come with me.
My first steps on the trail told me that I was still crammed full of rice and guac. Ah crap, this was gonna be a tough one. I wasn't completely sure I would get through this run without something coming out of somewhere. So I waddled along in front as Nick and Allie (who we ran into by coincidence) obliged my slothy pace. At some point after the turnaround for our 5 miler, I let Nick and Allie run on ahead and kept chugging along on my own. Oddly enough, I think this was the hardest run I did all weekend.
When I woke up the next morning to get ready for volunteering at the Ironman, I still felt like crap and had a headache. I was still dehydrated from the day before! So I guzzled some water and headed out with my camp chair and cowbell. One of our members, Chris Wristen, took a bunch of awesome photos during the race. I can't take any credit for these, except for the ones with beer.
We met up at our usual Clinton Lake meeting place for runs, then carpooled into the park. We had to park almost a mile away from our aid station and walk in. Not too bad since the aid station supplies were already dropped off at the station. We spent an hour or so getting things ready: putting up tents, cutting up food, etc. I was assigned the duty of directing people at the turnaround. The turnaround had a sign that said "turn around", but ya know, never underestimate a tired person's ability to not read or pay attention to cones. I was pretty happy with my assignment because it meant I would be able to ring my cowbell all day!
I also got a close up view of all the pro hotties! I was jealous of the folks handing out water at the aid station though. The pros might have even sweated on them! I did feel kind of dumb ringing my cowbell and cheering for the pros though. For one thing, they were spaced pretty far apart and for another thing, someone who runs a 5:30 for 13.1 miles probably doesn't give a CRAP if I say "good job" or not. The only pro who actually smiled at me was Chrissie Wellington. She was a doll.
Hotties In Action
The real fun started when the middle pack started coming through. It was an endless stream of runners. It was fun. These folks actually smiled when I cheered and said thanks. The day started out cool and it even sprinkled for a bit, but by afternoon it was warm and sunny. The forecast was full of it again! I didn't put on sunblock because I thought it was going to rain all day. Great, all I need is another ridiculous looking sunburn. Well altogether, it was just an amazing day. It was so much fun to cheer the athletes on and help out. Our aid station definitely rocked. As a wonderful end to our day, some racers offered us all beer! I'm not usually a beer drinker, but they were so nice I couldn't decline. I ended up drinking half my beer on our walk back to the cars before I called it quits and had to pour it out. Shhhhhh.
We ended up getting done an hour or so later than I expected (4:30?), so the prospects of doing my 10 mile run were seeming pretty slim. I technically had time, but I was tired. And I hadn't spent any time with Nick that day.
So the obvious choice was to call off my 10 miler plans and go home to relax with my man. I had spent all day eating cupcakes, granola and pulled pork. Instead, on my drive home I became more and more determined to run. I walked in the door, put my stuff down and asked Nick if he wanted to do a full loop of the River Trails (9 miles). He said "ok" with very little eagerness.
I wasn't super pumped by the time we got to the trail but I was determined to do this run. The more I ran, the more excited I got though. I was setting a brisk pace. I wanted to finish this run ASAP to end my weekend right and have time to eat dinner and chill on the couch. The first four miles, I felt like I was flying. I managed about an 8:30 pace. The next three miles I had to push myself to keep up the pace. We wound through parts of the trail that had been flooded by the river the previous week. There was debris all over the place and the short rolling hills were taking a toll. I was frustrated when I kept looking down at my watch to find I was running 9-minute miles. The last two, my legs were tired, so I decided that I would just take it easy instead of working my butt off for the 9's...and did 10's.
Well, I was just really pleased with this weekend. I managed to get all-but-one of my miles in despite a busy schedule. And I managed to pull off a tempo run the day after a long run despite beer, cupcakes and cowbell exhaustion. You didn't know that was a thing did you? Seriously, my shoulder did not feel good after playing the cowbell all day.