Whew, this week really was great! It started off on Monday with still no voice and hacking up a lung every 30 seconds. I had taken Sunday off from running to recover after Hagg, so I wanted to get out for a little run on Monday. I wanted this to be a solid week of training so I could take it easy this coming week with Way Too Cool on the 8th. However, after whispering to Rod (he was hoping it was sweet-nothings, but really it was because I couldn't talk), he convinced me I should take another day off. So I did and I had a great nappy.
Tuesday I was in Bend for some vehicle repairs, so I decided to pound some pavement there. I started off slowly grinding up Pilot Butte and finding the road to be completely clear of snow and ice! Although Tuesday is my normal butte-repeats day, I was feeling pretty pathetic so I decided to forego the repeats. So instead, I ran over to Awbrey Butte and slogged my way up that baby, feeling better with each step (but still hacking up a lung or two). On the way down, I pushed the pace so I could join-up with the FootZone noon run. I got there with 12 miles for the day, and that run added another 6, for a solid 18 for the day. That's really all I wanted - decent mileage without pushing it.
On Wednesday, Sascha and I went on a 14 miler to check-out trail conditions for most of the 30k loop of the Rumble. After her typical sandbagging on the pavement, once we hit the dirt, Sascha kicked butt! She set the pace and I definitely ran the last 9 miles faster than the plan. But we were having a blast. I usually like to push the last 2 miles of this loop and Sascha knows that. She accelerated perfectly and we tempoed the last 2 at sub-6 pace. Yeah, she can still bring it! For her efforts, she was rewarded with a tasty pig's ear. Mmmm, pig's ear...
Thursday was track day. Sascha usually joins me on my warm-up and cool-down, then she lays down in the infield and watches, but I could tell she needed a day off after yesterday's run. It was a gorgeous day, so I decided to do a combo track/tempo workout. I ran a modified Yasso workout of 6 x 800, averaging 2:49 - 3 sec. per 800 slower than in NC, but not too worried with the crud still in me. I jogged easy for a couple miles, then tempoed about 6 hilly miles. I was tired and happy when I got home. Thursday was a great day!
Friday I ran an out-and-back 16 miler on the McKenzie Highway. Gradual uphill for 8, then gradual down for 8. I cruised the out portion in 59, then just let the legs open up a bit on the way back in 51. 16 miles, 1:50, at a very comfortable 6:53 pace. Again, I was happy. It was just the kind of Boston training run I needed.
Later that day I met up with Rod, Rob, and our Superfeet rep. for some Superfeet training. This guy was definitely knowledgable about all sorts of biomechanical things. It was actually a really imformative little session. And he hooked us all up with some new Superfeet! As we finished up, new Fleet Feet decals were being put on the new store's doors and windows. Very, very nice! Since I had the night off, I even enjoyed a nice movie at the cool little Sisters Movie House.
My friend Darin Swanson was spending the weekend at Black Butte Ranch with his family and he wanted to get in a long run on Saturday (he is also Boston-bound). This was March 1, and I was slighty bummed to have gotten a little snow overnight, and thus, colder temps. February was such awesome weather everywhere I was that I only wore tights once, and now, on March 1, I was wearing tights. Poor me. Anyway, Darin and I met bright and early (for me) at my house and set off with Sascha for a tour of most of the 2nd 60k loop of the Rumble, again checking snow conditions. After a couple miles, we came across some animal prints in the fresh snow. Three sets of animal prints. One large and 2 smaller. Most likely of the feline variety. Although I've seen their prints before in this area, I've never actually seen a cat. I think Sascha scares them away. That Sascha, she's a good dog. So the rest of the run turned out pretty good, running through the little bit of new snow with the occasional sun break, showing-off the Rumble course to Darin, and getting good Boston tips from the vet. After Darin recovered from his little bonk (those Clif Bloks sure helped), I think he enjoyed the little 15 mile tour of my training grounds. He even talked about Trisha (his wife) running the 60k at the Rumble, while he and the kids might help out at an aid station! Sascha also ran well and was definitely done for the day.
After a nice, fat breakfast at the Ski Inn (mmm, eggs over-easy, hashbrowns, sourdough toast, and, of course, bacon!), I went back home to veg out on the couch with the stove blazing and watch the classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Well, I remembered the first couple minutes, then woke up 2 hours later, all nice and cozy. Wow, I felt good! Two naps in the same week...does it get much better than that?
So through Saturday, I was at 77 miles for the week with one day off. One day to go, so I thought a nice, round 90 for the week sounded very reasonable. Yesterday's snow was gone, and today was beautiful. I wanted to run a short tempo run today. First Sascha and I did a 6.5 mile warm-up, I dropped her off back home, and decided to run a 4 miler at a cut-down tempo effort; out-and-back, the first 2 miles gradual uphill, the last 2 downhill. The first 2 miles at 6:20 and 6:10 made me think that uphill was more than I had given it credit for. The 3rd mile at 5:47 confirmed this, and the 4 at 5:40 solidified it. Not bad negative splits and I was happy with the effort. And after my cool-down, I was done with my 90 mile week. Even better, my legs felt good, my chest and lungs felt good (after almost 3 weeks, I think the crud is pretty much out), and I was just happy with life.
Oh, on a little side-note of personal records...when Bien and I ran Pilot Butte repeats a couple weeks ago (my favorite workout), I decided to run hard on the last downhill. It loses 480' in a mile with a sharp 160 degree left hand turn thrown in there. Anyway, so I wanted to run around 5:30. Bien was too scared to join in the fun. I went out hard and was immediately in oxygen debt. Hitting the 1/2 in 2:27 and with the big turn still to come, I thought I could be pretty close to 5-flat. I slowed for the turn, accelerated coming out of it, weaved through a few hikers, and sprinted hard to the finish. 4:51. All-time personal record, baby. I had only broken 5 twice before, both were 4:59 and each was only a 1600 - 9 meters short of a mile. So sure, this was a screaming downhill, but I'll take it.
For a really cool race report of the Susitna 100 miler, check out my friend Shawn's blog. She's a stud!