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Monster Miles, Trail Porn and Run Clubbin’

I already posted a lot of last week’s workouts while I was complaining about how (relatively) out of shape I am. But for the sake of consistency in logging my training and being able to see the whole picture, here’s how all of last week shook out:

Monday: 5 easy miles, and then tried really hard to motivate to go to yoga after work but procrastinated by chatting with my new roommate about how I should go to yoga but didn’t want to and ended up getting to the gym too late to attend class. Whoops. Went grocery shopping for new peanut butter instead. Which, considering the dire state of my peanut/almond/every variety of nut butter stash on Monday, might have been a better use of my time.

Tuesday: 7 easy miles in the am

8 less easy miles with the ultra crew in the pm. Complete with 1600’ of elevation over the 8 miles, led by someone who can run a 2:2x marathon. Let’s just say his easy is not my easy. Still had a good time, especially when we got back to ManSpace and cracked open the post-run beer. I’m much better at keeping up for the second half of the Tuesday night experience.

Wednesday: 5.5 miles in the morning with 2k of elevation to resume our weekly double summits of Pisgah. This was one of my favorite runs throughout the fall and I’m glad we finally got it going again. It’s so nice to look back at a training cycle and know that you logged significant climbing every damn week. This run is as fun as it is tough and doubles as a social hour since I always do it with at least one friend from the Tuesday night crew. This week’s climbs were dominated with talks of power hiking strategy, our friends’ new girlfriends, and the goal race we both plan to run this summer.

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Chased the hump day hills with 3.8 miles along the river in the evening for the first ever run club at the brewery! 

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When I first got hired at the brewery, people told me I’d be the only runner on the team, which I found SHOCKING considering the number of runners who use beer as one of their main nutrition staples. Luckily, that was not actually the case and it just took me a few weeks to identify all of my fellow runners and the running curious at the brewery. In the spirit of enabling everyone to kick off 2014 on the right foot, I started this weekly group to help people get out the door for some miles and have a blast doing it. And a blast was had by all. I’m pumped that this will be a regular Wednesday night occurrence.

Thursday: 5 easy miles @ lunch

5 less easy miles at the track in the evening with 3 x 1 mile repeats. Like I said last week, this workout kicked my ass a little. My first two miles were pretty steady (around 6:13-15) but my last one came with 5-10 extra seconds attached.

Friday: 6 easy miles/ yoga. I did my easy miles before the crack of dawn so my legs could get 24+ hours of rest before Saturday’s monster of a run.

Saturday: Ran the monster of a run: 23 miles with 5300’ of elevation gain on some new trails

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This run was mother-effing hard. My legs struggled. My head struggled. My stomach struggled. When we reached our summit at 4500 feet after nearly 3 hours of running and someone told me we’d only run 13ish miles, I wanted to cry because there was NO way my legs could feel that tired after only running 13 miles. Pretty sure I did audibly whimper as soon as we started running again.

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The crew I went on this adventure with was made up of guys from my regular crew of local ultra runners, all of who are most definitely WAY faster than I am. That combined with a few other things made this run a big strugglefest. On the drive back to Eugene, I was talking to my friend Jason about how discouraged I was with my poor performance on the run. Like the good little therapist that he’s in training to be, he asked me why it was so disappointing and what I thought went wrong.

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(I’m just going to post pretty pictures interspersed with the slightly depressing tough run talk to brighten things up.)

One big (and obvious) reason that my legs had a hard time keeping up is because I clearly put them through a lot in the week leading up to the run. And not only the Monday-Friday work that I just got done telling you all about, but the miles from the full 7 days before Saturday. It’s easy for me to get trapped into thinking about how fresh my legs are based on what’s logged for my current mileage week, but it’s important to remind myself of the work that happens during each block of 7 days. Because I did my long run on Sunday last week, it meant by the end of Saturday, I was close to 90 miles and 10k+ feet of climbing over 7 days, which is a lot different from the 45 miles that were logged into the current week of my training log. Obviously my legs were tired and maybe not super duper fresh for running 3 straight hours uphill.

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Jason also asked me to tell him the last time I ran that many miles of single track with such significant elevation. I immediately said “last fall,” to which he challenged, “oh really? when?” And I realized that just maybe, that was one of my toughest long runs ever.

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“You realize we were mountain running?” he asked. Which yes, had occurred to me as we were traversing through meadows and cliffs of a 4000+ foot ridgeline for several hours.

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And refilling our hydration packs with snow, because yes, there was some of that at 4k+ feet.

One thing that helps me put this kind of Oregon running into perspective is to think of the mountains back in Vermont, which max out around this same elevation. And never have I ever run up any of those, nevermind run around at that elevation for another few hours. This run may be an NBD kind of jaunt for plenty of more experienced runners (including the guys I went with), but for me it’s still in the big deal category for long running, especially when fresh off my offseason.

Between bouts of frustration, I did have fun with this run. The trail was gorgeous, the weather was perfect,  and I like to be challenged. I just don’t love feeling like I’m dragging down the group. Hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll feel less like the Team Caboose and more like I can hang with the gang.

Sunday: 1 hour of easy running, including 4 miles with Oiselle teammates Laura and Laurel

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Followed by evening yoga. Maybe the best class I’ve ever been to. It was the perfect blend of work and stretch. The instructor kept talking about finding the point between “effort and surrender”, which was exactly what my muscles wanted after a tough week of work. (Almost as much as they wanted today’s zero miles and 90 minute massage.)

About 78 miles and close to 10k feet of climbing for the week.

13 Responses to Monster Miles, Trail Porn and Run Clubbin’

  1. Gorgeous photos and the miles you are putting in are incredible. Love the cloud pics in particular.

  2. WOW! That is one monster of a run!! I couldn’t imagine doing that at 4k feet. Props to you!! Keep it up.

  3. Nice backpedal there ;-) Pretty awesome to have a friend like Jason.

  4. Wow! You amaze me!! I don’t mean to be cheesy but seriously you do. I am no where near the runner you are (I run about 15 miles a week on flat MN ground!) but you are really inspiring. I love reading about your runs and races. They inspire me to maybe one day attempt 26.2. But keep up the awesome running and keep inspiring me too!!

    • Thanks so much for that. Seriously, I really appreciate it. And running in MN right now impresses me a butt ton. Isn’t it like -250 degrees out? Stay warm!

  5. EB @ running on E

    I really enjoy your trail porn. That’s not awkward is it? Great job on what sounds like a crazy week of training. I would still be stuck on the side of the mountain whimpering.

  6. I’m glad you were able to stop and appreciate the epic mountain run for what it was — a Big Deal. I feel like there’s something that happens to your mind on runs like that, something that’s hard to replicate any other way. Keep enjoying the journey.

  7. Impressive running!!!! I need to come out there and run on some of those trails!!!

  8. Those runs still rock me, even after spending all last year training in the Cascades! The only difference between Emily and the rest of the Tuesday crew on that run is that she had already logged like 70 miles over the preceding days, whereas most of us had only run 30-40. I may have to work on being a little more covert with my Socratic questioning : )

  9. That is indeed a very impressive week of running, especially so soon after your off-season. Keep those awesome pics coming.

  10. Great week of running, I’m pretty sure I would start sobbing if someone told me I ran 13 in 3 hours and felt like taking a nap.

  11. […] much as I may complain about feeling out of my element on long runs with the Eugene ultra crew, I LIKE that ultrarunning seems to be a bottomless pit of new challenges. Instead of working to […]

  12. […] Coming off of last week’s big weekend (23 miles/5300’ gain on Saturday/9 Sunday), my muscles were MAJORLY demanding some TLC. I […]

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