I’ve finally confirmed the majority of this season’s races, and subsequently began filling my weekends with specific training runs or, in this case, other races.
The Greenland Trail Races, hosted by Colorado Runner, were held this past Saturday. I, naturally, felt impelled to participate, so I signed up for the 25K. When I realized I’d be working the Louisville Trail Half Marathon the next day (Sunday), I thought, why not do both for a good back-to-back training weekend? So I did!
Saturday’s race was amazing – the weather was perfect (read: chilly but sunny), the trails were firm and my mental game was on point. I told myself before the race (over and over and over again) that my strategy would be to go out for the first loop (7.75 miles) at a really easy, comfortable pace, and then hit the second loop with whatever I felt like doing. It was fun to enjoy the first lap and then pseudo-race the second lap. I was trying to not think about the fact that I had a half the next day, as I knew that would change my strategy, but it was a bit hard not to.
After demolishing a cheeseburger, fries and a couple of beers, I stretched out a bit and relaxed for the next day’s race.
When I toed the line on Sunday morning I was nervous, to say the least. My legs felt, well, okay, I guess. I just knew that it would be more of a mental than physical race, and was scared because of it.
After seeing a few familiar faces at the start, we took off along the Coal Creek Trail in Louisville and I tucked into a comfortable pocket of ladies that were running a reasonable pace that I figured I could handle. I hadn’t done much research into the layout of the course, and I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. The course is the shape of a figure eight with two turnarounds that allow you to see the other runners at least twice during the race. Not only was I extremely distracted and entertained with the amount of interaction during the race, but the course’s ebb and flow was perfect for my tired legs. You see, I don’t do very well with flat – I thrive off hilly and ever-changing terrain, and while this course wasn’t extremely difficult, it was a series of ups and downs and arounds that kept my legs happy.
I didn’t end up really feeling the mileage until around mile 9, and by that time I didn’t even care – I knew there was beer and food at the finish line and I was dead set on getting there as fast as my tree trunk-like legs could do so. I finished up in what I thought was a respectable time (for me), and couldn’t have been happier with how I finished and the way my body reacted.
Hopefully this past weekend’s positive results are a foreshadowing of the increased training to come. Up next is a work trip to Baltimore this weekend, another work trip to Orlando the following week, and a work/educational conference in San Francisco at the end of May. The next race will be the Vail Half Marathon at the Summer Mountain games the second weekend of June. It’s almost 14 miles up Vail Pass, and I plan on going up, and then back down for a good training run/race.
Has anyone else ever done back-to-back high mileage days while training for long distance races? Any insight or good tips? I feel as though this might be my savior for this season as my work schedule typically inhibits any long training runs during the week, but I can typically get them in back-to-back during the weekend.
Oh, and Happy Spring (finally!!) everyone!