Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon Training: Week 2

I rested on National Running Day. How ironic.

Monday: 5.5 mi, trail (SHT @ Ely’s Peak), 148 bpm
Tuesday: 5 mi, treadmill, 144 bpm
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6 mi, trail (Magney Ski Trails), 146 bpm
Friday: 5 mi, treadmill, 147 bpm
Saturday: 7 mi, road, 139 bpm
Sunday: 15.5 mi, trail (SHT, Magney parking lot to home), 143 bpm
Total: 44.1 mi

This was a big jump up for me in mileage, but I feel like I managed it well.

Monday I ran on the Superior Hiking Trail after returning from the cabin. We arrived home with plenty of time for a late afternoon run, and my first iced latte of the season. The run went ok, but I was rained on a bit and things got slippery. I had a few near misses, and then I had a real fall with about a mile to go. I slipped on a rock, banged my knees, submerged most of my water bottle in a puddle, and was able to catch myself on my hands and slow myself down before hitting the top of my head on a rock. I didn’t hit it extremely hard, but hard enough that it hurt, even through my hat. The fall shook me up a bit, as it could have been much worse. I could have twisted an ankle or hit my head a lot harder. I ended up with a few bruises and scrapes, and a heightened fear of running over rocks. I took a slight wrong turn at the end (headed to the other lot, which was closed last year) and added a bit of distance to my run.

Tuesday the weather was terrible, so I didn’t bother running outside. Wednesday I rested. I think it was cold then, too. I don’t remember, there were so many cold days last week. Thursday’s run got its own post.

Friday it was cold and crummy YET AGAIN and I ran on the treadmill. My treadmill running has really improved. Tuesday’s pace was 14:31 and Friday’s pace was 13:59, both including warm-up and cool-down. I’m pleased to see some progress there, although it still feels like torture. People keep setting records for distances run on treadmills in 12 hours, 24 hours, whatever, and I keep shaking my head and wondering how and why.

Saturday I got out during what I thought was a break in the drizzly weather. It was not. I wore my new super-lightweight Houdini jacket and it worked fairly well at keeping me dry, although by the end it was sticking to me and I think the sleeves were saturated. I kept a 14:42 pace without monitoring it very closely and was pretty pleased with that.

Sunday (National Trails Day!) I had planned a 17 mile long run. I was going to start at the Magney parking lot (which I did), run 8.5 miles on the SHT, and then turn around and run back. I had my new hydration pack on, to give it a test drive. (Spoiler: it rocked and I could carry so much stuff!) Some amateur radio folks were set up in the parking lot doing a live broadcast of National Parks on the Air. They gave me a wave as I headed out toward Spirit Mountain.

The trail was pretty muddy from the get-go, thanks to the rain we’d had earlier in the week. It was also rather warm, which was good and bad. Good because I needed the heat training, bad because… well that’s self-evident. I dunked my hat in a stream in passing and saturated it, which felt pretty good, although the brim kept dripping. Somewhere after passing across one of the ski runs, I lost the trail and ended up on a snowmobile trail. I figured I’d pick up the Superior Hiking Trail again at some point and I did, at the Knowlton Creek crossing.

The weather started to turn, and I ended up taking shelter from a downpour under the freeway overpass near Cody St. I sat there for about 20 minutes, wondering what to do. I was dumb and didn’t put my phone in a plastic bag, and there’s no fully waterproof pocket in my vest. Fortunately it didn’t get soaked. My friend Emily gave me some weather updates and I decided to press on once the rain stopped, rather than stop and call for a ride. I felt really sluggish after the stop, so I will need to remember that when I am in aid stations: DON’T SIT DOWN. I ran into another short storm cell after passing through Highland/Getchell, and had nowhere to shelter so I just kept running and worried about my phone. The rain didn’t last long and my phone was in a pocket by my side, so it was ok, but I’m never risking that again. If I’d been fully drenched I’d be looking at a new phone purchase, I would guess.

The trail was muddy and/or waterlogged at this point, with some of the small water crossings nearly underwater. I made a decision to run home instead of turning around, knowing that the trail conditions at the beginning would be even worse than they had been when I ran through on the way out. I figured I could run around my neighborhood to bump it up to 17 miles, if I was short. I changed my mind on that again when I hit Enger Park and realized it was threatening rain again. I decided I’d just run home and the distance would be whatever it was. So, 15.5 miles. But it was 15.5 tough miles, so I don’t feel shortchanged.

I ate two protein bars and one peanut butter flavored gel during the run. I’ve never had a gel before so I wanted to see how that went down. It was fine, but I also wasn’t running at race pace. I also had one sports drink bottle and was drinking water from my vest the whole time. I felt pretty good post-run and was able to go run some errands after a quick shower and a little bit of down time. I think I might try carrying gels during races and eating solid food at the aid stations, instead of carrying solid food with me. I am positive I can’t survive on just gels, I want actual food too. I bought some more gels to try out additional flavors on my upcoming long runs. They are kind of expensive, which is annoying.

I am pretty pleased with how the training is going so far. Even with the increase in mileage, I’m not seeing an increase in my resting heart rate and I don’t feel exhausted or sore, so I am going to continue at this level and probably peak at a little over 50 miles/week. I’m feeling more and more confident that I can complete the marathon distance upright and smiling, with a bit of luck on my side. Now I just need to get more confident I can completed it in a reasonable amount of time.

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