cut back weeks

3 Aug

Cut back week is officially here, and I am officially excited about it.  My legs are feeling every bit of the almost 60 miles (and almost 7,500 feet of elevation gain) I put on them last week, and the two 45 mile weeks before that.  They are tired and a little bit sore.  Nothing too concerning…they are just letting me know that they are ready for a little break time.  Break time from:

Hill repeats…

Coyote 4X4--4 major climbs, 4 major descents, one majorly tired girl when she's done running this loop a few times...

Coyote 4X4–4 major climbs, 4 major descents, one majorly tired girl when she’s done running this loop a few times…

Beautiful but hilly running/hiking at Buttermilk Falls and Robert Treman…

lots of this...uneven, death-trap stairs

lots of this…uneven, death-trap stairs

but beautiful scenery

but beautiful scenery

why not climb up pinnacle rock a little ways??? do one thing every day that scares you, right?

why not climb up pinnacle rock a little ways??? do one thing every day that scares you, right?

swim in waterfalls to cool off and relax.

swim in waterfalls to cool off and relax.

swim time!

swim time!

And a 27 mile training run on the 0 SPF course…And let’s just talk about that for a minute.  I. Hate. The. SPF. Course.  With a burning passion.  It is hard.  The first time I ran it, we were checking it out with Ron, Ben and Sean.  It was probably February–there was still snow/ice on the ground and it was chilly.  We started early enough to need headlamps.  We got to the top of power lines (not even a mile into the run), and I was already exhausted.  “Where do we go now?” I asked lamely.  “Uh down,” the guys replied with the duh-tone.  It was slippery and icy and I was on my ass 3 times on the way down that thing, and I got to the bottom and told them to just go on without me…except then I realized I’d have to turn around, go back UP the mountain and then run alone in the dark…ain’t gonna happen.  So we went to Woodcliff, I was miserable, and I have really disliked the course since then. I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve completed the whole course, but it’s not many.

I was looking at trails to do my long runs on this past week, and decided on SPF simply because of how difficult it is and how much elevation I could get.  It’s not Virgil, but it’s one of the closer trails in the area, and running it on Thursday, when I’d already run 5 miles of hill repeats at Coyote on Monday, 8 miles in extreme heat at Whiting on Tuesday, and 4 miles at Durand on Wednesday (followed by 2 hours of trail building) made my legs very tired.  Combine that with the fact that around 3 on Thursday I woke up (to a disgustingly humid morning) with a very upset stomach that never actually settled until about halfway into the run, and I’d say this was a very successful training run.  Also, it’s only the 5th time I’ve ever run a marathon (or longer), and the 1st time I’ve done that “just because” and not because it was a race.  So yay.  Important things learned here: you can run even if you feel like shit (literally), you need to two toms yourself (because explaining to your doctor why you are very badly chafed is embarrassing), you need to eat even if your tummy feels bad (those last 6-7 miles were a lot tougher because all I’d eaten were a couple of nectarines and drank 10 oz of tailwind).  But it was done, I’d say it was relatively successful, and I am feeling much more confident about my abilities to soldier on when the going gets tough.

not a smile...a grimace...

not a smile…a grimace…

I love cut back weeks and taper–so many people get anxious and feel badly about them.  Not me.  I may feel a little lazy this week, but overall I love having the extra time in the week to chill and recover.  This week, “chill and recover” will be code for “prep and direct the Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Relay and Ultra.”  So even though it’s a cut back, I will be on my feet a ton and be busy.

Then I have 3 more big weeks planned to continue my training.  And then we taper.  50 miles is a long way to go.  Virgil is no joke with something like 11k of elevation.  But I am starting to feel much more confident in my ability to go the distance.

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