Man, I've enjoyed a couple great runs this week as I bounce back from the little 25 miler last weekend. I was very curious about how long it would take for me to feel strong again and I really believe my training cycles are paying off because I was good to go early in the week.
Sunday, was a rest day, for sure. The soreness from the race really settled in and I could primarily feel the lactic acid build up in my quadraceps and hamstrings. Below the knees, I felt great. The soreness was evenly distributed throughout my upper legs and felt like the result of hard running, not injury. Very good pain. Monday, felt better but not enough to run, so I took another day off.
Tuesday, I was still a little sore, but felt a little like running anyway. I hiked/ran a couple hills with Benny, amounting to 1.5 - 2 miles, which I considered more of an active rest than a run. The legs were happy to get moving, although sluggishly.
By Wednesday, I felt ready to run properly and headed up to Mad Creek after work. Getting there just after 5 p.m., I was the only person in the parking lot and started the gradual uphill at an easy pace. Once I felt warmed up, I picked up the pace a little and really enjoyed the trail. Only a few sections of snow or mud and the rest of the trail was nice and tacky. I ran to the Wilderness Area boundary and back out while the weather remained overcast and a little cool and windy. As I finished the last half mile or so, I passed a couple mountain bikers, then a pack of about 8-12 trail runners, heading up the trail. I found out later that it's a local club of runners that meets on Wednesdays. I wouldn't mind running with them sometime to make my running a little more social. Finished a great 8 mile trail run in 1:07, with only the slightest tightness in my left quad.
Thursday, I was feeling really good despite a full day of wrenching and took it out on the road. Ran the flat, straight stretch of Hwy 40 towards Rabbit Ears, for 5 miles and turned around. When I started my run, I told myself I would try to maintain an 8:00 min/mile or better pace. I hit the turn around in exactly 40 minutes and decided to push for negative splits on the way home. Finished in just over 78 minutes, good for a 7:48/mile pace, and my fastest 10 in a long, long time. Thanks, health. Quite amazed I was able to maintain that kind of pace (felt fast for me) for 10 miles just 5 days after running 25. I'm encouraged, though. I thought I would have to run much easier this week but my last two efforts felt incredibly good and I'm really starting to see and feel the improvement in my running. Verdict? Still addicted.
I got an incredible offer this week, as far as running opportunities go. My neighbor, Katy, is running the Leadville Trail 100 this August and asked me to pace her. The Leadville 100 is one of the classic ultramarthons in the United States, taking place in Leadville, Colorado at elevations over 10,000'. She is allowed to have someone run with her late in the race(after 70 miles, I believe) to help her keep her pace and to look out for her safety on the trail. Leadville is one of the 100-milers I've been considering as my first, so this is a great chance to run on the course (at night, no less) and get a feel for the race. I was already considering going to the Leadville 100 training camp at the end of June and will almost assuredly do it now. I'm am super stoked and looking forward to helping get Katie across that finish line.