My running buddy and me after a frosty morning run.
About this time of year, my running starts to wind down. I figure I've put in lots and lots and lots of miles, so my body looks forward to some much needed rest. Looking back at my running and racing year, as usual, I ran A LOT this year all the way through September, especially April through September. I don't log my mileage, as I tend to get too competitive with myself, but I always have a rough idea and I figure that by the end of September, I easily had over 3,000 miles in the legs for the year.
Through June, I had run 9 ultras, 2 marathons, 4 short races (short = anything shorter than a marathon), and lots of cool, long adventure runs (R2R2R being the coolest and longest); in other words, lots of miles. In July, I only ran one 10k; in August I started 2 ultras, finishing one, and raced Hood to Coast (super fun race!); on the first weekend of September, I ran an ultra. Now here it is, three months later, and I haven't run an ultra since. Although that's pretty much a lifetime for me, I did it on purpose and I've enjoyed it.
After a week of playing in the Tetons in Sept., including running the Grand Teton 50 miler, I decided my body was tired so it was time to slash my mileage, bump up the intensity, and race some shorter stuff. No ultras for at least a few months!
Volunteering with the Sisters Cross Country team has definitely helped me work on the intensity part of my plan, as has Max King's Tuesday night speed workouts. I've only been averaging 80ish mpw, as opposed to 100-120 from April through September. And I've been enjoying racing lots of short races! Since late-September, I've raced: xc 5k, road 5k, xc 8k, road 1/2 marathon, road 3 1/2 mi, and 2 road marathons (Tahoe and Columbia Gorge). It's been a blast! I'm still getting my racing fix, recovery is super quick, and these short races are great speedwork. Plus, I even got a new max heart rate p.r. at a 5k!
Anyway, about a month ago, I decided my legs were feeling fresh and spunky enough again to run an ultra, so I signed up for The North Face 50 miler. It's this weekend in the Marin Headlands. Right after I signed up, just because I'm me, I ran one 95 mile week (forcing myself to not hit 100) that included a 4 hour, 25 miler with 6,600' of vertical at Smith Rock. That run and the 2 marathons are my 3 long runs since the beginning of September. I'm hopeful that those runs plus all of my shorter, faster stuff (including plenty of Pilot Butte repeats) works for me. It's a strategy I've never tried before for a 50 miler. I'm excited to see how it works out, but most of all, I'm just excited to get out there and race 50 miles again!
And then, it will be time for a real break.