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50 Miler Peak Week 2

First, thank you for the supportive comments, tweets, texts and emails in my response to a downer of a post on Friday. Clearly, this training shit is draining, and everyone goes through a few low and ugly moments each cycle. If this stuff was easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun or nearly as rewarding in the end. Right? Right.

I went into this weekend determined to turn things around and emerge feeling better about life and running. While my workouts were far from physically easy, they were confidence boosting and helped get me excited to tackle the third and final peak week. And not only did I  get every single freakin’ mile done but I managed to spend major QT with friends too. And believe me, after last week, that was just about as important as getting my workouts in.


Here’s a quick and dirty training recap for last week:

Monday: Pilates and a 5 mile recovery run (after last weekend’s 32/20 B2B long run)

I was planning to take the day totally off from running, but then I started playing with my hokas after pilates class and I couldn’t resist taking a new pair for a test run through the zoo. I could not believe how good my legs felt coming off of the 52 mile weekend. It is nothing short of insane to me how much my recovery needs have changed in the last 4 months.

Tuesday: 10 mile run w/ 4×1 mile @ half marathon pace


<3 me some speed work.

Wednesday: 7 mile run-am

Upper Body Strength Training-lunch

9 mile run-pm

Thursday: 5 mile run with a surprise new running friend around the mall (Hi Loren!)

Friday: 5 mile easy hill run complete with sidewalk tumble. I should probably stop running in the dark unless I’m equipped with a headlamp and knuckle lights…and knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet.

Taught spinning

6 mile run at lunch

Saturday: 35 mile run

The longest run I’ve ever done for both time and distance. This thing was brutal. After several weeks of logging long runs with new (and old) running friends, I decided to go solo and unplugged. It’s SO much easier to run long when you have people to chat with or music to listen to. But on race day, I’m not going to be able to rely on running chat or Carly Rae to get me through the tough miles. Sure, I might make a friend of two along the way, but I highly doubt I’ll get quite as lucky as I did back in May.

I tried to make the route resemble race conditions as much as possible. I stuck to pavement, even though every muscle in my body wanted to hit the trails. I set out at the exact race start time. And, I hit the hilliest route I know in the DC area from mile 20 to mile 30 to test how major climbs (AND descents) feel on a pair of rather fatigued legs. (Answer: surprisingly okay.)

It was hot. It was a mental battle starting at mile 10 when I realized I still had a full marathon to go. It was five and a half hours of learning what makes me feel like I don’t want to keep running and what makes me push through it. It was the run where I realized that 35 miles is DEFINITELY harder than 30, 31 or 32 miles. And on a related note, the run where I began to truly respect the challenge of the distance I’m about to race. It was a bit of a death march at the end but I finished. I know most people will tell you that 30-32 miles is a sufficient distance to train before running a 50 miler, but something about completing 35, and reaching a distance 15 miles short of the race total, instead of 18, was something that I really needed to do.

Longest training run of this cycle: checked off the mother effing list.

Sunday: Run for the Parks Half Marathon


More later, but the quick version is: I agreed to accompany my friend Tris to his first half marathon. (Which is funny because he’s done four fulls since I’ve known him.) It was a blast, the course was great, and my legs responded surprisingly well to running alongside my speedy friend. Probably because my liver bribed them to get to post-race refueling faster.


SEE! Running/life balance=met.

Weekly total: 95 miles

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32 Responses to 50 Miler Peak Week 2

  1. Woof! Dang girl, you are TOUGH! Glad to see you’re coming out of your funk. You are incredibly inspiring the way you can tackle that amount of mileage in a week :)

  2. Thirty-five miles unplugged? Wow, you are a superwoman! :)

  3. You literally are one of the most hardcore girls on the planet!!! Well done! I seriously don’t know how you do it…you were born to run!

  4. 35 miles sounds horrible… Congratulations, but I think I’d much rather just hit up those mimosas in your picture instead ;)

  5. Awesome work. 35 miles on your own is no joke. I took my ipod from my mom at the last aid station and listened to a few songs, but they didn’t help me much. I just needed to focus and zone out. Although, Call me Maybe is pretty energy inducing. I just didn’t have the patience to scroll through and find it. :) Nice work!

    • I also can’t listen to music and run on trails without tripping, I don’t know how you do it! PS CONGRATS on an awesome 50k!!

  6. I’m a long time reader of your website. I thought your last post was amazing! Hang in there! I actually am running my first 50 mile train run myself…. THIS coming Saturday. I can not wait. Its going to be an incredible experience. I have also heard it all “Your running HOW far???” “You might die” “I don’t think this is a very smart decision”.
    Your website inspires the rest of us “crazy” people (even though we don’t consider ourselves very crazy…. this our normal!).
    Keep up the great work. You will do amazing in a few weeks!

    • thanks for the comment and GOOD LUCK this weekend! Please come back to tell me all about how it goes and share every secret for how to conquer the distance!

  7. Welcome back to the “game” Em!

  8. You really are CRUSHING this training. I cannot wait to hear all about this 50M… its coming up fast.

    PS – I spent an obscenely long time staring at the facebook page of a November 50K in my hometown. And then I came to terms with the fact that I do not have enough time THIS YEAR to recover from a marathon less than a month prior to do it. So maybe next year? Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. You are so impressive! Sounds like a week of kickassery from you! Great post.

  10. Awesome bounce-back post. Question for you on nutrition: When you are doing these SUPER long runs, do you carry your nutrition? Do you carry a h2o bottle and have your fill up places? Make loops back to your home to fill up? Plan a route that has water fountains?

    • I’ll do a post on my nutrition/hydration strategies soon, but yes to almost all of the above. I use a handheld and plan a route with water fountains. I also have a camelbak for longer runs.

  11. 35 miles??? Wow wow wow! But an extra 15 miles on the day sounds like a shocker!

  12. Congrats for crawling out of the funk. Can’t wait till you come to town to kick it in the CAN. ;)

  13. It’s not every day you spot a celebrity on the mall. Let me know if you want to meet up again sometime.

    • Totally! That was a great run. Let’s absolutely do some more lunchtime miles.

      • A friend and I are headed down to the mall at lunch today (Thurs). We’ll probably be at the place I ran into you last time at about 12:15 if you want to join.

        • Sorry I didn’t get this in time! Definitely loop me in again in the future. Email ehalnon at gmail is the best way to get me!

  14. 35 miles is incredible! I know nothing about training for ultras but running alone for 5+ hours.. you must be so strong mentally! You are a big inspiration for a novice runner like me.

  15. Hi, I am from DC and currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon. I have been doing tons of runs around the area and have been trying to find some new routes for good hills–other than Capitol Hill, Meridian Park and the slow gradual Mass Avenue Hill. Where do you find the best hills for hill training?

    • I also do the zoo, the hills coming out of Rock Creek Park, the hill up to Woodley Park from the RCP path, the cathedral, and the best hills I’ve found are out on Military Rd in Arlington. Good luck training for MCM!

  16. Wow, that’s a hell of a run! Kudos to you for busting out mileage like a boss.

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