Harder ‘N Hell Half Training: Week 4

A monster training week.

Monday: 4.5, trail (Bagley)
Tuesday: 5, treadmill (8×400 repeats)
Wednesday: 4, road
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5, trail (Hartley)
Saturday: 5, trail (SHT starting at Spirit Mountain)
Sunday: 7.3, trail (SHT from Getchell to Twin Ponds)
Total: 30.7

Last week was a good week. I probably increased the mileage too much, but I have been lower on mileage than I wanted so far in this training cycle. I am averaging 23 miles/week, which is really low. Obviously I had a bad week 2, but still.

Friday’s run was decent for the most part. I always enjoy running at Hartley. I came across a friend who was biking (actually we had a near-miss, as I was running across a long section of planks and was halfway through when his friend came around the corner of the trail and had to stop at the last minute before riding on to the planks), which was a first. Two minutes after I saw him I wasn’t paying attention and tripped. I landed hard, face-first, and ended up with a stiff neck the next day. I am glad it wasn’t worse, but I need to remember to PICK UP MY FEET.

Over the weekend I spent some significant time on the race course. Saturday I ran a depressing out and back over the first 2.5 miles of the trail. I felt kind of sluggish during the run, but I had a decent time on the stairs of death, only stopping once to catch my breath. There was a family waiting at the top so I felt stupid once I got up there, since they were probably waiting for me to huff and puff my way up. I staggered through the seemingly endless uphill on the way back, reminding myself that I’d not be racing that way (poor 100k runners, they will be!), but it was a bit disheartening.

Sunday I dropped my car off at Twin Ponds and then was dropped off at the Getchell/Highland parking lot. It was misty and cool, and I had on long tights and a lightweight long-sleeved tee, which was a little much. The long tights were fine, but a short-sleeved shirt and some arm warmers would have been better, I think. I didn’t get overheated but a little more ventilation would have been good.

I spent the first part of the run feeling a little nervous and exhilarated, partly because it was windy and partly because I was afraid that my car was so far away. On an out and back, I can always double back early if needed. With a point to point run, I am committed to the distance. I had my phone (in a plastic bag, since it could have rained), lip balm, a roll of mints (for nausea or for dry mouth), my keys, and an energy bar all tucked in the pockets of my handhelds (I brought both). It’s a little more than I carry for a normal run, but it eased my mind.

I practiced a little nutrition experimentation. Around the halfway mark, maybe a little before, I ate half the energy bar I’d brought with. It was a pain in the butt, as the wrapper was hard to open and the bar was hard to tear. I wanted to just tear a chunk off, but it required a significant amount of force and torque to get even a small piece to eat. I ate the second half when I was nearing Enger Tower (a bit over 6 miles in), but I felt pretty gross after eating it. Mints to the rescue! I guess I can see the appeal of gels. I’ll have to give them a try, although I think for longer runs I still need solid food in my stomach to keep it from growling. We’ll see. I did get a nice boost in my step after eating, so I was glad to have the snack.

The best part about the run (physically speaking; the best part about the run OVERALL is the incredible view) was how I felt at the end. I was pretty excited to see my car and I had plenty of energy left in my legs to kick into another gear. I texted my friend David (who is also running the race) “WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS!!! IT’S GOING TO BE AWESOME!!!” Of course 7.3 miles is not 13.1, and I didn’t include the hardest part of the course, but still. I felt much more confident than I have been feeling lately! I may be slow, and I may be the last finisher, but I feel like I can run strong, and if I can have another 8 fantastic weeks of training, maybe I’ll surprise myself come race day.

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