Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seventy Miles

I told myself that I wouldn't post until I was seriously training again. I'm not sure I've *officially* met that milestone or not, but last week I got in 70 miles - the most I've run in a 7 day period in a year.

Since my last post, in June, I've been running, but not training very seriously for anything in particular. A typically week had me running anywhere from 40 to 65 miles. Though I was getting in a long run each week (and pushing that log run per Red Fox Doctrine), I wasn't running any (track) workouts.

Come August, I decided I'd begin training for the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, which were being held in Lehigh, PA, just a short jaunt from metropolitan Washington, DC. I've always enjoyed cross country and I figured a good goal for myself was to attempt to make GRC's "A" team. I began meeting the team for low-key cross country workouts at Cell Tower Field. Things were looking up, but just as I was beginning to round into acceptable shape, I traveled to the wilds of Montana for a grueling 5-day hike through the Bob Marshall Wilderness. With the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48, I was both excited and nervous for the trip. The trip started out just fine, but on day 3, somewhere in the middle of a nearly 19-mile hike, my Achilles started to go. Unfortunately, there was no way to "fix" it so far from civilization. By day's end, it was fairly cooked, but I still had nearly 30 miles to hike over the course of the next two days. I gritted my teeth and limped my way back to the car, icing my heal in cold mountain streams when they crossed the trail. The views and vistas were unlike anything I've ever seen...oh, and I saw a grizzly.

By the time I returned to Maryland, the lower part of my left leg resembled a sausage of sorts, or an undefined calf. I took time off to let it heal, but I was too ambitious and came back too early -- on more than one occasion. Fast forward 7 weeks. I was now running every other day, gradually increasing my distance each run by 5-10 minutes. Fast forward another 4 weeks and I am now running pain-free 7 days a week.

I ran 44 miles during the first 5 days of this week and on Saturday joined the team at Cell Tower Field for my first workout. No longer was the team sweaty and shirtless, as they had been when I last worked out here in August. Now, everyone was donning tights, gloves and hats. I ran 3 x (2k) loop averaging about 5:19 pace or so, before my wheels came off. Still it was great to get the heart pumping and the legs moving. On Sunday, I drove out to Poolesville and ran a lonely 15 miles starting at Edward's Ferry. It was cold and gray and the wind whipped me at every turn. I saw more deer than people. By the end of the run, I was beat.

But, I was on my way back...


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