Tagged: 50K training

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I ran for three years before I had any desire to run a marathon. I thought people who ran 26 miles were crazy. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to put themselves through that much pain.

Six marathons later, I’m training for a 50K.

Training for a marathon and a 50K trail race are similar, but there are differences. I’m new to trail running, and it’s definitely not the same as running on pavement. Other than the obvious difference of concrete versus dirt (and roots, rocks, and stumps), I’ve been surprised to discover a few things I’ve never experienced in marathon training.

Lake Grapevine

Run, don’t walk:

The biggest surprise happened this past Sunday, when my friend Hari and I ran 23 miles on trails. We started slower than usual. Complete darkness, no moon, and huge spiderwebs–with spiders–spanning the trail forced us to slow down. Later on we took walk breaks and walked the steeper uphills. The last few miles of the run, when I was bone tired, I was surprised to discover something I had never experienced before.

For the first time ever, even when I was exhausted and ready to be done, running actually felt easier and less painful than walking.

This was huge. My brain normally begs me to walk those last few miles of a 22 miler or a marathon–and walking feels good. This time I was not only able to start running again, it actually felt physically better. I’ve read about this from ultra-distance runners but never experienced it myself before Sunday.

Hari at Grapevine

Something salty, please:

I alternate drinking water and Gatorade in a race, but only because it’s there. I’ve never craved Gatorade in a race, even when it’s humid and warm, and I’ve never noticed it having any effect on my performance. On the trail, however, especially this summer in the extreme heat, Gatorade is like an elixir that brings me back to life. I keep it in a cooler with ice, and crave it’s salty sweetness until I get back to the car. It seems to make a difference in my running and energy level, so it must be replenishing my salt levels. Potato chips after a run are good, too, but not like an ice, cold Gatorade.

I’ll take dolmas with that pizza:

My stomach tends to shut down on both very long runs and marathons. I completely lose my appetite, so figuring out what to eat is a big concern of mine. On the trails, I’ve discovered that real food gives me much more energy, before and after the run, than GU’s, gels, and Honey Waffle Stingers. My best run so far was when I bought dolmas at the Greek pizzeria the night before and brought them on the run. They were easily digestible, tasted delicious, and seemed to give me much more energy. I had a sandwich after the run (my friend Susan’s post-run meal of choice) and felt great the rest of the evening.

Last week I didn’t bring real food and had the opposite experience. I ate only chocolate GU’s and Honey Waffle Stingers and could barely choke them down by the end of the run. I brought a sandwich for afterwards and barely made it through the first bite. Not eating enough made me feel sluggish and spent the rest of the day and evening.

Eating real food seems to give me the most energy, but it’s hard to force myself to eat when my appetite is gone. Maybe I should try pizza next time.

Rockledge Park, Lake Grapevine

Rainy days and trail runs always get me down:

I never “zone out” on my long trail runs like I do on the streets. I focus so intently on the trail, and on not tripping, that it’s mentally exhausting. My legs feel amazingly great the day after my Sunday long trail runs, but my mind seems to take a beating. My Mondays, and sometimes Tuesdays, too, can be kind of gloomy. I feel like I have nothing left in the tank. My first run on the road after a long trail run always feels so easy, mainly because I don’t have to concentrate so hard.

I have to wonder if this is also tied in with figuring out the best nutrition for these long runs, or if it’s nothing more than extreme tiredness. I know it’s common to feel somewhat down after a marathon, so I’m wondering if it’s a similar syndrome. Any post-marathon depression I might have experienced in the past was merely a result of accomplishing a goal, and feeling somewhat aimless until I jumped into training for the next race.

Running is running, right? One foot in front of the other and just keep moving. Not quite. It’s not that simple, and moving up to a new level is teaching me that this old dog still has a lot of new tricks to learn.

Trail Running at Grapevine

50K Training, Week 12: Longest Training Run Ever

 My highest mileage week ever, with a 23 mile trail run on Sunday–which was also my longest training run ever. Daunting. Thankfully, the midweek temps were unseasonably cool for August, and reminded us what a difference cooler weather makes in our speed and overall enjoyment of running. Ended the week with the return of hot, humid weather.

Lake Grapevine

Lake Grapevine

MON: Running rest day – I must have done something right last week because my left calf, which was sore all week, feels 95% better today–even after an easy 3 mile run last night. Of course I’m very tempted to get out and run a few miles, knowing last week’s mileage was a little low, but I won’t. I will trust the training plan. And as my friend Hari said, don’t look back, it’s in the past. I’m thrilled that it turned out to be nothing serious. Did 20:00 of yoga (standing poses), and am actually looking forward (???) to tomorrow’s  core/strength workout with the group. Sick, I know.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength,Yoga (standing poses) – 20:00 – Got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 to meet Mike F for a 4 mile run before our core/strength workout. The temp was in the mid 70’s and it even drizzled slightly during the workout. My leg felt 100% better and I was surprised to see we had run about 30 seconds faster than I’ve been running–and it felt comfortable. Came home and did an upper body workout with weights, some squats, and yoga. It’s good to be back on track with my training.

WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (twists) – 20:00 – GREAT run this morning. The temperature was 67 degrees, which is the coolest morning we’ve had since spring. There was a little fog at the lake, the wind was still, and the stars were out when we started. It’s runs like this that make me appreciate the gift of running–especially with good friends.

Morning at White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake

THU: Run – 4 mi – A little warmer than yesterday’s early morning run, but still very pleasant. Ran with Mike and Hari, and kept up a faster pace than I wanted/expected–which is good. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow in preparation for the weekend long runs.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Noticed my back was stiff yesterday while cleaning the bathroom (yuck) so I decided to focus on back bends in yoga in the evening. Warm temperatures are back, as is the humidity.

SAT: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – Ran with the group on a very warm, very humid morning. The weather is certainly back to normal for this time of year. The run itself was uneventful, just a regular 10 mile run. I worked on keeping the pace slower than two weeks ago to try and save my legs for tomorrow’s extra long run. Did some forward bends yoga afterwards to stretch out the legs.

SUN: Run – 23 mi – My longest trail run ever–and my longest training run ever. Kept the run slow and easy, walking a lot of the uphills and taking breaks for food and water refills. It was incredibly warm (77 deg at 6am) and humid (87%), but we were lucky to have overcast skies most of the day. It even sprinkled the last two miles of the run. Ran two 8.25 mile loops to Rockledge Park and back, then did the loop to the MADD shelter and back–which was actually one mile shorter than we expected. Hari and I were both more than satisfied with running 23 miles instead of the planned 24, and called it a day, bone tired and happy the running week was done. Even better, I didn’t fall once!

Lake Grapevine

Almost half way done

STATS for WEEK 12: Run – 51.2 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 1 :20:00

50K Training, Week 11

Before training for Palo Duro, my highest mileage week was 42 miles–and that was in 2010. Last week I made it to 48 miles for the first time ever, and one of my legs let me know it wasn’t happy about it. I took an extra rest day, foam rolled like crazy, and enjoyed the easy week. Best thing about this week, other than stepping back on the mileage: we got lots of rain!

Big Umbrella

You can run, but you can’t hide.

MON: Running rest day – Though my left leg feels better today, the calf muscle is still very sore and stiff. Bought a foam roller at Target and am continuing RICE. Hopefully it will be okay enough to get in a few miles tomorrow, but it’s looking doubtful. I’m pretty sure it’s not a full-blown injury, but I certainly stressed a tendon or muscle in that lower leg.

TUE: Rest – My leg is still sore and stiff, though it does feel better than yesterday. After a lot of thought (and sighing and groaning), I decided I needed to rest it another day. I really, really hate not being able to stick to the training plan. I also haven’t been doing yoga because of a freak thing that happened. I may have possibly cracked a rib or some cartilage in my breastplate the other day after twisting around to hug Michael on the couch. We both heard a “pop!” and I felt a sharp pain, and it’s been sore ever since. It feels just like when I cracked a few ribs on a trail run a few summers ago. I’m definitely feeling a little beat up at the moment . . .

WED: Run – 4 mi – Went to the gym and ran 4 very slow miles on the treadmill, interspersed with walk breaks. Leg does feel better, but still tight and sore. There’s no pain, just a lot of stiffness. Kept the pace between 11:00 and 12:00, except for a quarter mile at 10:00 pace. The run didn’t seem to make my leg calf muscles any more sore, and I made sure to wear my compression sleeves and foam rolled the leg really well before I went to bed.

THU: Run – 9 mi – Met Hari and Liz for a 9 mile loop around the lake at 5:45am. My leg felt much better this morning, though still tight. It’s strange to run with one strong leg and one that hurts with each step. Kept the pace a little slower than usual, but all in all a good run. Foam rolled the calf, which helped tremendously, and Michael massaged the knots out before I went to bed later in the evening, which made a huge difference.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga – 20:00 – My leg felt much, much better this morning. Decided to do some yoga, even though some poses were a little uncomfortable (because of the freak rib pop the other night). Going to take a complete running rest day and hopefully be good to go for Saturday’s 10 miler. Very excited about the cooler temps this weekend!

SAT: Run – 10 mi – My leg felt about 90% better this morning, with just a small twinge of  stiffness. The run itself was great, with those much cooler temps, as promised. My leg definitely started to stiffen up again after mile 4, but I worked hard not to change my gait in any way, hoping this would keep me from developing some type of overuse injury. Because of the long trail runs, it felt good to find myself thinking: it’s “only” 10 miles. I’m going to foam roll and massage the leg to be ready for tomorrow’s trail run (only 6 miles!!!!). We’re going to run a new trail, Cedar Ridge, which should be a steep, challenging trail run. Biggest bonus: tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler than today.

Runner in the Rain

A runner gets caught in the storm on the Katy Trail.

SUN: Run – 3 mi – Trails rained out – After yesterday afternoon’s deluge of rain (3.5 inches in less than an hour) we knew the trails would be a muddy mess. I decided to take an extra day off to help my calf muscles get an extra day of recovery, but of course I felt antsy all day and went for an easy 3 mile run with Michael and the dogs in the evening. It was the first evening run I’ve done in months, and it was pleasantly cool and not humid. My leg felt great, with just a slight twinge around the ankle. It was one of those runs where you feel happy to be alive, and know how fortunate you are to be strong and healthy.

STATS for WEEK 11: Run – 26 miles, Yoga – 20:00

50K Training, Week 10

Halfway through the training plan! The stomach virus that made last week’s trail run so tough hung on for most of the week, but by the weekend I felt great. It was a good running week, and we were rewarded with especially cool temperatures on Saturday.

MON: REST DAY – I am so glad it’s a rest day. Yesterday’s 20 mile trail run was the toughest run yet. Stomach virus continues to hang on. Quads and calves very sore today.

TUE: Run – 4 mi/treadmill – I seriously considered taking another rest day because of my sore muscles, but decided to run on the treadmill at the gym and stick with the training plan. I kept the pace very slow and easy, and took a few short walking breaks. I think it actually helped. My legs felt less sore by the afternoon. I was still feeling weak and tired from the stomach virus and did no strength or yoga workouts.

WED: Run – 9 mi, Strength (upper body) – 20:00, Yoga (forward bends and twists) – 40:00 – Ran a loop around the lake with Hari, who was also feeling sore from Sunday’s trail run. It was incredibly warm and humid at 5:30am (84 deg with 65% humidity) and was a tough run. It’s getting harder and harder to stay positive about the heat. Felt good enough to do some arm weights, then later in the afternoon two short yoga sessions–which felt great. Still feeling tired from the stomach virus, though a two hour nap in the afternoon helped.

THU: Run – 3 mi/hills, Yoga (back bends)- 20:00 – After some rain last night, the temperature was 12 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday. What a treat! It was still very humid, but it’s good to be reminded what a difference running when it’s in the 70’s can be. I was starting to feel disheartened from the heat. Did 20:00 of yoga later in the day.

FRI: Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Running rest day – I always look forward to my Friday rest day! Did some easy yoga in the morning and enjoyed the rest of the day off. Looks like it may be nice and cool for tomorrow’s 10 miler. Sunday is another story, however . . .

SAT: Run – 10.5 mi – 74 degrees at the start and it remained cool the entire run. What a great run! Kept a 9:12 pace, which is the best I’ve run all season. I may pay the price on tomorrow’s 22 miler, but today I felt great. I needed a good run!

Legacy Parks

Hari, me, and Susan after the first of three loops

SUN: Trail Run -21.5 mi – River Legacy, Arlington – Another brutally hot, long trail run. Started out at 84 degrees at 6am, with 41% humidity (it felt more humid), and was around 99 degrees when we finished. Hari fell for the first time ever on the trails, but did no damage. Susan and I both fell twice. We loved the flatness of the trail, but there were a lot of stumps that tripped us up.

I definitely felt the effects of running too fast the day before, and what started out as a small nagging hurt around my left achilles traveled up my calf and turned into pain bad enough to cause me to limp by the end of the run. I hope it’s nothing more than a little tendonitis and will apply RICE this afternoon and tomorrow. I made the executive decision to not take the last loop and cut the run short by .5 miles. Since I ran an extra half mile the day before, I was fine with that. I’m just hoping I haven’t sabotaged the rest of this week’s training by not stopping earlier.

Except for the pain in my leg, I feel much less fatigued than in the past after a long trail run. I think drinking Gatorade on our breaks and eating real food immediately after the run (half a salami and cheese sandwich and a few dolmas) made a huge difference. Had two brisket tacos and some rice for lunch, then quinoa with stir-fried veggies and ground pork, and I felt much less fuzzy-headed than in the past.

And it only took me six years to figure this out!

Fun Town

STATS for Week 10: Run – 48 miles, Strength – 1 upper body workout, Yoga – 3 workouts @ 1:20:00

Notes to Myself After a 20 Mile Trail Run in August

Sunday’s 20 mile trail run wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t even remotely cute. I seemed to do everything wrong.

If I had had a shell at mile 18, I would have crawled in and stayed there.

As I walked the last two miles back to the car, feeling miserable and sorry for myself, and slightly unhinged from the 97 degree heat, I started making notes in my head. Here are some of the things I wish I had told myself before the run:

  1. Don’t run 20 miles when you have a stomach virus. You’ll feel miserable, won’t have enough energy, and your overall confidence in running long will plummet.
  2. Less than six hours of sleep two nights in a row doesn’t cut it. You need more rest than that, even if the Olympics are on.
  3. Don’t go into a 20 mile trail run with a sore quad, even if it means taking an extra day off during the week. It will only feel worse during the run, especially on the hills.
  4. Don’t wear a hydration vest with a racer back tank top. Really stupid idea. Mid-back chafing hurts, and you’ll wind up slinging the backpack across one shoulder the rest of the run.
  5. Don’t forget to apply copious amounts of Body Glide. Stepping into the shower after the run will let you know all the places you forgot about.
  6. Slow and steady gets the job done. Find your own pace and stick with it, even if you get left behind. Don’t worry about keeping up with anyone else. Listen to your body and trust what it’s telling you.
  7. Nutrition is more important than you think. If you don’t eat well, it will especially show up in your long runs.
  8. When you’re not on your A game, pay even closer attention to the trail. If you don’t, you’ll trip and fall. If you feel tired or fuzzy-headed, take a walk break.
  9. Don’t beat yourself up when you have to walk the last two miles. At least you finished. It still counts, especially on the trails.
  10. Have cold beer at the finish. Just knowing it’s waiting at the end will keep you going, even if you aren’t much of a beer drinker. Gatorade is almost as good, too.

In hindsight, I did what most runners do. We put our heads down, hope for the best, and get the job done. There’s no shame in that. There will be better days.

*Photo by: By Mary Hollinger, NODC biologist, NOAA (http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/line2365.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

50K Training, Week 9

Vacation’s over, time to get back on track with the training!

MON: Travel day – After spending the night in Ogalalla, spent the day driving through Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

TUE: Run – 6 mi/treadmill, strength workout – Because of getting in late last night, and the extreme heat outside, did the unthinkable and ran on the treadmill at the gym. Anyone who knows me knows how much I detest the treadmill, but surprise surprise, it wasn’t all that bad. I think I was just happy to be running again after my time off in Wyoming. I felt so good I even ran an extra 2 miles. Did some upper body weights afterwards, and a bit of squats and lunges, being careful not to be overzealous.

WED: Run – 6 mi/hills, yoga (forward bends)- 20:00 – Ran the hilly path with Hari at the lake, which was overtaken by mosquitoes and gnats. My face felt like the windshield of a car. I was really looking forward to a yoga session afterwards since I did no yoga at all on the trip (except for some silly yoga poses on a hike with my daughter).

THU: Run – 2 mi/treadmill, strength workout – Left quad was feeling very sore, so I decided to do a very slow, easy run on the treadmill at the gym. Came home and did an upper body weight workout. I’m hoping my quad will be up for the 20 miler on Sunday.

FRI: Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Running rest day – Quad feels a little better, but still sore. Yoga felt great.

SAT: Run – 8 mi – Met the group for our first day of “official” marathon training, despite the fact that I’ve already been training for 9 weeks. Kept the pace nice and easy because of both the sore quad and tomorrow’s 20 mile trail run. Felt nauseous after the first three miles, probably because of acclimating to the heat after the trip to Wyoming, which meant I had to forgo my usual breakfast beer. Yes, folks, that’s how we recover here in Texas.

SUN: Trail Run -20 mi – Grapevine – There was nothing pretty about today’s run. There wasn’t even anything cute about it. 20 milers are always tough, but running 20 miles on a trail can be brutal. It was our hottest run yet, with a starting temp of 84 degrees at 6am and 64% humidity, and it was 97 degrees by the time we finished. The previous day’s nausea had turned into a full-blown stomach virus by late Saturday night, and I felt puny the entire run. At times, my stomach felt like it was full of needles. Not a pleasant way to put in 20 miles.

In hindsight, I probably should have shelved the idea of running 20 miles feeling as bad as I did. I had to walk the entire 2.2 mile last leg of the run. I simply had nothing left. I told Susan and Hari to run ahead without me, feeling bad all day for slowing them down, and they came back and met me on the trail with an ice cold Gatorade. I’m lucky to have such great running friends.

Tetons from the tent

This is where I wish I had been rather than on a hot Texas trail on Sunday.

STATS for WEEK 9: Run – 42 miles, Yoga – 40:00, 2 Core/Strength workouts

50K Training, Week 8

This week was a total bust as far as my training went. I honestly thought I would be able to run trails in Wyoming and enjoy the cooler temps, but I had no idea how much work preparing for a wedding could be. Also, the altitude really got to me, the sun is up much earlier than I was willing to climb out of my sleeping bag for, and once the sun is up it’s brutal.Also, camping on the side of a mountain means either running straight up or straight down the gravel road, and there were no other trails close by.

Excuses, excuses, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. We had a wedding to get ready for!

MON: Run – 1 mi, Walk – 5 mi – Yep, that’s right, one measly mile. What started out as a 4 mile run along the Flat Creek trail in Jackson Hole quickly devolved into chaos. Every road trip usually has one big melt down, and today was the day. Michael and I had a fight over filling up the water jugs for camping, it was in the low 90’s, the sun was intense, I ran with Psycho Dog Nevada, and we ran much earlier in the afternoon than I had wanted. I did walk to the top of the mountain and back down when we got back to the the campsite later that afternoon, mainly to blow off steam over the water jug fight. It was a good workout, and I met a young runner camping higher up who had just run his first marathon in Oklahoma City.

TUE: Hike – 8 mi – I know I should be running, but how can you not help hiking when you’re in the Tetons? We drove over Teton Pass to the Idaho side of the Tetons, and it was a strenuous hike. My heart was pounding from the altitude. My daughter and I did take a few moments to do some silly yoga poses in scenic settings. Do they count towards my stats since they were done at altitude?

Teton Yoga Poses

Getting our yoga on in the Tetons.

Teton Downward Facing Dog

This rock was made for yoga.

WED: Busy with wedding preparations, camping, and eating dinner in nice restaurants.

THU: More wedding prep, camping, and eating.

FRI: Wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and a million small things to be done.

SAT: MY DAUGHTER’S WEDDING! Towards the evening, I did have to walk about half a mile up and down the mountain looking for Psycho Dog Nevada, who ran to the very top of the mountain out of fear of the rifles and being shot by (mostly) young men at the wedding (and I thought Texans were crazy). Does walking up and down a steep mountain road in a long dress and flip flops count towards any type of workout???

Teton Wedding

Even brides are bad ass in Wyoming.

Teton Bride and Mom

A beautiful bride and her running mama

SUN: Packed up the camping gear, said our tearful goodbyes to family and friends, and began the long road trip back to Dallas. Wyoming, I will get those trail runs in one day!

STATS for WEEK 8: Run – 1 mile, Walk: 5 miles, Hike: 8 miles

50K Training, Week 7

I wasn’t able to post this while I was  in Wyoming for my daughter’s wedding. After two tough weeks of high mileage, I feel the following two weeks of lower mileage (and a little wedding break) were well earned.

MON: Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Running rest day – No soreness from the 18 miler, just fatigue and a little tenderness in the shins. Lower back was somewhat sore when I got up, so I decided to concentrate on that area for yoga. Yesterday’s run really took a lot out of me. I might feel even more worn out than after a 20 miler in preparation for a marathon. It seemed to sap me of all mental and physical energy, and I’ve been grumpy all day.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength workout – Ran 4 miles at 5:15am with Mike F. Unbelievable that I am actually willing to get up that early this summer to run. It was almost 90% humidity and 79 degrees–which is actually fairly cool for this time of year. I felt good on the run, but still had some residual soreness in my shins, which I will need to ice this afternoon. Hopefully the next two easier weeks will help with the shin splints. I really felt the 18 miler in today’s lunges and squats.

WED: Run – 6 mi, yoga (forward bends)- 20:00 – Another humid early morning run. Met a group of friends at Liz’s house and ran on the hilly path to the dog park. I felt very strong on the hills, and a kept a good pace, especially in the high humidity.Breakfast with everyone afterwards to celebrate Heather’s birthday made it all worth it. The yoga was much needed today and felt very relaxing. Getting up so early to run five days a week is starting to get old. I’m really looking forward to cooler temps in Jackson Hole–and maybe some sleeping in.

THU: Run – 10 mi/hills – Up at 4:30am for a hot, humid, sweaty 10 mile run. We were all feeling the effects of yesterday’s speedy hill run, and I had forgotten how tough a loop around the lake can sometimes be. I did not enjoy when the sun coming out. My shins were feeling it the first mile, and especially later in the day. Iced them, wore compression sleeves, and felt good that tomorrow is a rest day and we leave for Jackson Hole! Looks like it’s going to be above 100 degrees all next week, so it’s a good time to leave. Too tired and busy packing to do strength training or yoga.

FRI: Running rest day – On the road to Jackson Hole.

SAT: Run – 4 mi – After camping in northern New Mexico, hit the road and ran 4 miles in Taos. Two things struck me: the altitude and the western sun. I ran with my dog, Nevada, who freaked out at the unfamiliar surroundings, so it was not a relaxing run. Also got propositioned by a young homeless man in the park asking if I was single. He suggested we “go for a little jog sometime.” I informed him I was not single and probably old enough to be his mom, which caused his buddies to hoot with laughter. Not sure how to take that.

Taos Trail

My only trail running option when camping: straight up. The “Be bear alert” signs, coupled with the altitude, made running in Taos an easy choice.

SUN: Hike – 2 mi – Walked almost to the top of Snow King in Jackson Hole with my daughter, Michael, and the dogs. That is one steep mountain! Even though I wasn’t running, my heart was pounding hard enough to let me know it was a good workout.

Snow KIng

Almost to the top of Snow King in Jackson Hole, with my lovely daughter and dogs

STATS for WEEK 7: Run – 24 miles, Yoga – 40:00, 1 Core/Strength workout

50K Training, Week 6

This week I definitely felt the effects of three weeks of a build up in mileage.

MON: Yoga (lower body and upper body) – 40:00 – Running rest day – Am getting a little bored with my regular yoga DVD, so I decided to try another one for lower body, abs, and upper body. I did the lower body section, then half of the upper body. I still can’t believe how good I feel the day after a 16 mile run. I almost don’t feel like I needed a rest day, but I need to be smart. I’ll push myself the next three days, and there is the 18 miler on Sunday.

TUE: Run – 4.21 mi, core/strength workout, yoga (twists) – 20:00 – Tuesdays are exhausting. I started at 5:45 at the SMU track, ran 1.25 miles while the rest of the group arrived, ran 2 tempo-ish miles in the neighborhood with the group, then came back to the track field to start our core workout. Oh boy, this means burpees. Each of four core sets is followed by a fast lap around the track. Today was a sweat fest, with 92% humidity. After the core workout with the group, I came home and did an upper and lower body strength DVD, then twenty minutes of yoga. I’m beat!

WED: Trail Run – Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 6 mi, yoga (back bends)- 20:00 – Ran on the Oak Cliff trails for the first time. I really enjoyed these trails. The ground is soft and doesn’t have as many roots as Grapevine or Rowlett. Hard to believe I grew up just a few miles from there. As for the run, I felt a little sluggish all day, and could tell I was still somewhat fatigued, maybe from yesterday’s workout.

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

Susan and I in front of the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

THU: Run – 4.7 mi/hills, upper/lower body/abs strength workout – 47:00, yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – This was the first day in six weeks I briefly entertained the thought of bailing on getting up so early for a run. Only the thought of my friends being there got me out of bed. Even though it was tough, I was glad I got up early for the run. As always, it was a great hill run. Felt a little bored with the strength and yoga workouts, but was also glad I stuck with it and got them done.

FRI: Yoga (hip openers) – 35:00 – Running rest day – Today I didn’t feel as restless as I usually do on my rest days. Maybe it’s because I know I’m running 8 miles tomorrow and 18 on Sunday, and both days will be hot and humid. Time to turn the brain off and just plan on getting the job done.

SAT: Run – 8 mi – East Dallas – Cooler temps but still humid for our 8 miler from Liz’s house on the east side of the Lake. Running in the sun was tough. I’m definitely not used to that. Kept a 9:24 average pace, and it felt very comfortable. Anxious about tomorrow’s 18 miler on the trails . . .

SUN: Trail Run -18 mi – Grapevine – A great, though exhausting, 18 mile trail run. We got lucky with the temps (only in the 80’s), but it was humid enough to nevertheless make for one of the sweatiest runs ever. I ran this run on very little sleep, as the next door neighbors decided to play loud music, first in their backyard around the pool, then on the front porch, until 11pm. Running 18 miles on two nights of little sleep means heavy legs, especially towards the end. I’ve never enjoyed finishing a run more.

STATS for WEEK 6: Run – 40.9 miles, Yoga – 2:00:00, 2 Core/Strength workouts

Bishop Arts

Dinner after the run in Bishop Arts

Beer at Eno's

The best way to finish a summer run, with pizza and a cold beer

Thursday is My Friday

I love my training plan. It’s a fairly conservative first timer’s 50K plan with three days of running during the week, followed by two back to back longer runs on Saturday and Sunday. After three straight days of running, yoga, and strength training, making it to Thursday feels like a Friday.

Early Tuesday morning is a combo core/track workout. Even though Monday is a much-needed rest day from Sunday’s long trail run, sometimes I’m still fatigued. Getting up in the dark when it’s hot and humid, to go run 5K pace repeats and do burpees and pushups, takes sheer willpower. Knowing I’ll be sweating it out with the group is the only thing that gets me out of bed.

Wednesday’s 7:00pm longish run is always fun because of our large running group, even if it’s guaranteed to have temps in the upper 90’s-low 100’s. Dinner and beer afterwards is a great incentive.

This, however, makes an early morning Thursday hill run even more challenging. With less than 12 hours between runs, it almost feels like a two-a-day.


Getting up early on Thursday mornings to beat the heat is tough, especially when I almost always get to bed late the night before. Sometimes it’s tough to cajole and talk someone into meeting me nine hours later for another run, especially when there are hills involved.

Some Thursday mornings the only thing that gets me up is knowing tomorrow is a rest day. Knowing I can take a nap later in the day makes it easier as well.

Waking up on Friday, I almost always feel restless, like I should be doing something. I tried doing my second strength workout on a Friday, but felt like it didn’t give my legs enough rest for the back to back Saturday and Sunday runs. Something has now turned into yoga, which seems to give my legs enough rest and enough stretching to be beneficial for the long runs.

Getting to Thursday always feels satisfying, just like getting to the end of a work week. It means I’ve made it through the meat and bones of the running week, and the payoff will be good, strong runs on Saturday and Sunday.