Harder ‘n Hell Half Training: Week 8

Week 8? Yikes.

Monday 4.5 mi, trails (Bagley)
Tuesday 5.6 mi, road
Wednesday 6.3 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk, 50 mins at tempo)
Thursday rest
Friday 5.5 mi, road
Saturday rest
Sunday 13.5 mi, trail (SHT, Harder ‘n Hell Half course)
Total: 35.6

I’d call that a good bounceback week. I ended up with two rest days; the second was semi-planned, as I could have done a short run, but there was no need. After all those days off, I didn’t need to ramp up the mileage too much. My dad came up to visit on Saturday and we did some creative engineering to fix my car window, and then we went to see A Walk in the Woods, which I read over the summer. We enjoyed the movie even though it departs greatly from the book.

Wednesday was a rough day. I was not feeling speedy, but I pushed it longer than the prescribed workout (40 mins) because… well, because I could get another 10k done for my Strava monthly challenge. That’s really stupid but it’s true. Ugh, Strava. Too competitive. I didn’t feel that fantastic and my lower back was a little crampy during the run, which I pushed through because I need to figure out how to push through things. Unfortunately, once I slowed down after the tempo portion of the run was over, my gut felt horrible and crampy and I ended up having to walk my entire cooldown to avoid anything gross from occurring.

I was using Wednesday as a test to see if I was going to run a race this upcoming weekend. I haven’t raced since the Park Point 5 Miler, which wasn’t the best, so I thought maybe another 5K before my half marathon might be fun. Since my speed session didn’t go so well and I wasn’t hitting the paces I wanted to hit to even have a prayer of a decent race, I decided not to sign up. Why risk my real race with some race I’m not in any kind of shape for? I was only going to run it if I felt like I could beat my PR, and I don’t think I can.

Sunday I ran the Harder ‘n Hell course from start to finish (or thereabouts). It was rough, but I think I’ve gotten some things figured out. It took me 4:23 to finish, so that gives me a benchmark. I didn’t stop on the Stairway to Hell, so that was also good! I ate two Snickers bars, which seemed to work well. They’re easier to open and eat than Clif bars and not as messy as the other granola bars I eat, and I didn’t feel sick when I ate them. I did feel pretty thirsty, and I was rationing my water at the end, but I will be able to refill at an aid station along the way. I just need to start eating earlier in the race, because I was dragging in the middle of the run once again. I also plan on only running short, flat, easy runs the week of the race, so my legs won’t be as beat up. Granted, the course is murder on them, but at least they’ll go in feeling ok. I was “flying” (relatively speaking) once I was on the pedestrian bridge crossing the freeway, so that was nice. Especially since I’d just gone on a nearly mile-long descent that tested the shocks on my knees to their limits.

I know I can complete the race. And maybe I won’t even come in last. I looked up previous race results and 4:23 would not have been last place in the last 3 years. So that’s good! Of course, this year could be the year everyone is super speedy, BUT, still. To know that even if I did come in last, I wouldn’t be unexpectedly slow, is a confidence booster.

Four weeks to go. Only the next two really matter, since it takes awhile for training to actually take effect, and the final week I won’t be doing much anyway. I just need to stay healthy and able, and get to the starting line in one piece.

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