Oh, how I love my easy weeks! And I love how 37.5 miles of running is now an “easy” week for me. The most amazing thing about this week, other than the fantastic trail run I had on Sunday at Cedar Ridge Preserve, is the fact that I was able to run again only two days after running 26.4 trail miles. Another great thing about this week: cooler temps. I know we’ll still have some random days in the 90’s, but it looks like fall is slowly making its way into the Metroplex.
View from the trail, Cedar Ridge Preserve
MON: Rest Day – Ouch. Lots of soreness, aches, and general fatigue after yesterday’s tough 26 mile trail run. My calves are a little sore, but I think most of the aches are from the fall and hitting my chin on the rock. Hitting my head on a run is always my worst fear, and with good reason. Hopefully I won’t be too sore to slog through 4 slow miles tomorrow morning. I love easy weeks.
TUE: Run – 4 mi, Strength (upper body) – Despite the soreness, met Bill for a 4 mile run on the Katy Trail. Of course I kept the pace very slow, despite the fact that my messed-up Garmin said we ran 5 miles (not 4) and kept a 6:50 average pace (in my dreams). I’ve certainly never run two days after a marathon, and 4 miles at that, so I’m somewhat impressed with just getting up and running this morning. After another tough finish on the long run, I’ll take any sign of improvement I can get.
WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (power: stamina) – Met Hari and Liz at 5:30am for a jaunt around the lake. It was nice and cool (I could really get used to these morning temps) though terribly buggy. Hari nearly lost his breakfast after swallowing a few bugs, and I had several stuck to my face when I got home. Liz had to turn around early to get back home and take her daughter to school, and Hari and I saw a strange, hissing raccoon that had to have been sick or rabid. I’m pretty amazed that my legs feel as good as they do so soon after running 26 miles. My Garmin is still messed up and won’t download my workouts onto the computer so I can check my splits, but I did notice the last few miles Hari and I kept between a 9:05 and 9:15 pace–which is not bad three days after running my longest distance ever.
THU: Run – 5 mi (hills), Strength (upper body) – Met Liz at 5:45am for a muggy, buggy hill run. Temp was 78 degrees with humidity close to 80%. Had a tough time getting up, but I was glad to get it done. I’m feeling very bored with my weights workout, but did it anyway, then did five minutes of yoga and realized I just wasn’t into it and stopped. It seems counterproductive to do yoga (or anything, for that matter) if you’d really rather be doing something else. Cool front and rain on the way!
FRI: Rest Day
SAT: Run 10 mi – Great, easy run with the group. It was cool but humid, and the overcast skies were a bonus. My legs felt good, and it’s so nice to run on Saturday knowing the next day I only have 8 miles to run on the trail. Even though the trail runs are my favorites, it’s still nice to have an easy trail run week. Had to rush home afterwards and skip breakfast with the group because my son and his girlfriend were arriving for a short visit.
Just seeing the sign at the entrance to the trails was enough to put Hari on edge for the entire run
SUN: Trail Run – 8 mi – Had an amazing, rainy, magical trail run on my new favorite trail. Hari, Susan, and I ran at Cedar Ridge Preserve in Cedar Hill, just south of Dallas, on some very well maintained, sometimes challenging trails. It really was a beautiful place to run. No bikes are allowed on the trails, and it was great not having to worry about fast bikes around every corner. The only thing we did have to worry about, apparently, was poisonous snakes. Happily, we saw none. A light, refreshing rain fell the entire run, and it made the trails seem somehow quiet and peaceful. Of course, the rain meant the trails turned somewhat muddy, and it was my first time to run with a heavy accumulation of mud on the bottom of my shoes. There were quite a few very steep hills, with wooden logs as steps, so it was great training. As usual, Susan took the hills like a mountain goat and kept a brisk pace, followed by Hari. I loved our run this morning, and can’t wait to go back later in the fall when the leaves change colors. I’m always amazed when I run in Cedar Hill. It feels like being in the Texas Hill Country.
The Dynamic Duo, Susan and Hari
STATS for WEEK 15: Run – 37.5 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 40:00
This Sunday’s trail run took us to the Tetons of Cedar Hill, TX. I grew up not far from there, and knew there were some good hills in the area, but was surprised at just how challenging this run would turn out to be. Except for one short section (Dragonfly) through the woods, where the trail was soft and quiet and level, there was nothing flat about the trail. The hills were very steep, and just walking up the hills took quite a bit of effort. There were a lot of loose rocks, but thankfully not as many roots as last week’s trail run at Grapevine.
Despite the challenges of running on such steep hills (which made me realize how much more I need to strengthen my quads and calves), the miles flew by. It was very rugged and woodsy, and despite the number of cars and mountain bikers we saw in the parking lot, we didn’t see one single bike on the trails the entire morning. It felt like we were running in hill country around Austin, and hard to believe we were 30 minutes from Dallas.
I had one small fall at mile 1, and scuffed up my new sunglasses, but no blood. I almost tripped twice going down steep hills, but managed to catch myself both times. I really need to work on picking up my feet more.
Running Big Cedar was a tough way to finish off a difficult week of running, but I have to admit I felt great when it was done!
Final thoughts about the trail: who needs core and strength workouts when you run trails this steep?
Here’s our short video from before and after the run:
This was a tough week. My body woke up from its coma of denial that I’m really training for a 50K trail run. This week it struggled to adapt to the increased mileage, core and strength workouts, and the high temperatures. I didn’t eat as well as I should have before my weekend long runs, and I didn’t get enough sleep. I learned the hard way this week how important rest and good nutrition are in training.
I made three trail purchases: Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes, a Nathan Intensity Hydration pack, and a pair of Tifosi sunglasses.
MON: Rest – Started the day by stepping on the scale, like I do every Monday. Shocked to see I was two pounds heavier than last Monday! I’m seriously hoping this is an aberration. No soreness from yesterday’s trail run, but the ankles and Achilles felt like they had been through a good workout. Felt antsy all day, like I should be working out, and I had to keep reminding myself that rest days are just as important as running days, that I won’t get stronger unless I rest.
TUE: Run – 4 mi/incl speedwork + core/strength workout, yoga – 40:00 – Tough workout this week. Slept poorly, woke up tired, and tendons around the ankles felt tweaked from Sunday’s trail run. I just wasn’t at my best. I felt off. I know this is merely the result of my body (and mind) adjusting to the increased workouts. Yoga: Forward Bends and Twists.
WED: Run – 6 mi easy, yoga – 45:00 – My body doth protesteth. Very sore and achy in the morning, so I did a longer yoga sequence focusing on back bends and stretching the legs. Felt much better afterwards. Evening run with the group was tough. It wasn’t as humid as it’s been, but it was 95 degrees. Legs felt good on the hills, but I’m still simply physically tired.
THU: Run – 4 mi/hills, core/strength workout, yoga – 20:00 – Getting up after last night’s 6 miler was no fun. Gutted it out for a hilly, humid 4 mile run with Bill and Lauren. Felt really tired. Came home and did core and strength, then relaxing Forward Bends yoga.
FRI: Core/strength workout, yoga – 20:00 – Running rest day. Boy, did I need it! Hip Openers yoga in the afternoon.
SAT: Run – 8 mi – Sunnyvale – Worst run ever. A fail of epic proportions. Hot, humid, and hilly. Didn’t eat dinner. Started out too fast. Didn’t get enough sleep. Had to walk the second half, especially up the hills. Miserable. I even felt chilly during the run, so I suspect a small dose of heat exhaustion. I’m going to have to start earlier than 7:00am. It’s just too hot. Today was a good lesson on what not to do on a semi-long run. Jumping into Kevin’s pool afterwards, though: heaven!
SUN : Trail Run – 7.23 mi – Big Cedar – I’m dubbing the trails today “The Tetons of Cedar Hill.” It really was that challenging. Some of the hills today were hard to walk up, not to mention run up, because they were so steep. This was one of the toughest workouts I’ve ever had. This made last week’s trail run look like a walk in the park. Fell once, at mile 1, and almost tripped over roots twice–both times going steeply downhill, which would not have been pretty. I was cursing the uphills most of the way. There was one one flat, magical mile or so where the trail was soft and smooth, with no rocks or roots. I could have run on that section all day.
After Saturday’s horrible run, I was not Pamela Positive. However, once I was done and sitting in the shade with an ice cold water, I felt great. Time to do a lot more strength training and get my quads and calves in better shape. New trail shoes were so much cushier on the rocks than the Nike Free’s, and I liked the water pack much more than fuel belts or hand held bottles. Since I was holding my new sunglasses when I fell, one lens is already scratched up. <sigh>
STATS for WEEK 3: run – 29.2 miles, yoga – 2:05:00, 2 core/strength workouts