Our first official week of ultra training is behind us. We’re off to a great start. I managed to run every single mile on the training plan, running 32 miles for the week, added two core/strength workouts to the plan, a little speedwork and some hills, and did five yoga sessions totaling two hours and twenty minutes.
I haven’t run 32 miles since last September 2011, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Most satisfying is that my legs feel great despite the mileage. I attribute this to yoga. After a hard run, or a lot of miles, 20-40 minutes of easy yoga does wonders.
My current favorite yoga DVD is A.M. Yoga for Your Week with Rodney Yee. It has five 20 minute sessions, each targeting a different area.
For post-run stretching, my favorite is the Forward Bends. It’s great for stretching the hamstrings, calves, and hips. The Hip Openers segment is also great for runners.
I can’t say enough great things about doing yoga, especially for runners.
The toughest run by far this week was Sunday’s 12 miler. Our plan calls for back-to-back runs on Saturday/Sunday, something I’m not used to doing.
Saturday’s 6 miler at 6:30am was very humid and warm, and everyone in the group struggled. My six miles felt like 20.
On Sunday we started at 6am, and the temperature was already 74 degrees with 88% humidity. It was 81 degrees when we finished.
The heat is one thing, but high humidity is the worst.
We took walk breaks, and at the halfway point stopped off at a grocery store to fill up our water bottles with ice-cold water. Even though we weren’t running on a dirt trail, we worked on slowing down and taking breaks when needed.
Nothing beats seeing the sun come up on a long run.
We sweated buckets. And because Hari was in charge of the route, there was a hill at the end.
It was all worth it, though, because I got to run with two amazing runners. And best of all, Hari’s wife, Nirisha, had breakfast waiting for us when we were done.
I’m excited to hit the trails soon!
Here are the stats for the week:
MON: Yoga – 20:00
TUE: Run – 4 mi/incl speedwork + core/strength workout
WED: Run – 6 mi easy, Yoga – 40:00
THU: Run – 4 mi/hills, Yoga – 20:00
FRI: Core/strength workout, Yoga – 20:00
SAT: Run – 6 mi (9:22), Yoga – 20:00
SUN: Run – 12 mi, Yoga – 40:00
My hands shook as I stared at the “confirm” button on the computer. Was I really doing this? Was I crazy? I hesitated, then clicked the button.
I had just signed up for my first ultra. It was also my first trail race.
A double whammy of scariness.
Somehow I had managed to corral two of my closest running friends, Heather and Hari, into running it with me. Heather only wanted to run the 20K but I talked her into the 50K.
It’s only five miles longer than a marathon . . .
I haven’t run a marathon in over a year. I’ve hardly run on any trails.
My first trail run was down Sepulcher Mountain in Yellowstone at the end of a twelve mile hike. It was impromptu, and we ran because we were cold. It felt like flying.
My next trail run was in the Tetons with my daughter. Leaping over the rocks was like running an obstacle course. I told her, You could break some bones if you fell on these rocks. Tourists gaped at us as we ran past. I felt invincible.
I fell half a mile from the car. It happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to break my fall. I cracked three ribs.
My only other trail run was in Norbuck Park, part of the lake where I run. It has a killer hill where runners like to train. I had just run my last marathon, in Death Valley, and I felt strong and ready to try something new.
After that, I wasn’t willing to drive so far outside the city to run on trails. I told myself I would run trails when I moved to Oregon, or Wyoming, or Montana.
I was kidding myself. That day might never come. All I have is today.
People have told me for years that I would love trail running, that they’re more fun that marathons, more laid back. I know they’re right. My favorite places on earth are outdoors, in nature–forests, mountains, and deserts. Of course I would want to run there.
But I have to admit, running a 50K scares me.
It’s something I’ve never done before. Did I feel this way before I ran my first marathon?
It sounds hard. 31 miles.
Last night I dreamed of running in Palo Duro Canyon. It was beautiful, and the sky mirrored the rocks. I ran on a trail.
Gasp. I’m running an ultra.