Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lost in the Woods

It is always so hard for me to say goodbye to my family and the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It is a place that truly feels like home. It is place full of 29 years of memories...only wonderful, laughable memories. I always feel a sense of peace, calm, and comfort there. I wish Anders and I vacation could have extended through the summer but I know a very important man would have missed us. Something about the sincerity of those northern woods inspired some very high quality training and fun back (very back) road running. I love pulling out the map each morning and tracing my fingers along the gray lines knowing those roads would place me in the center of evergreens and mysterious lakes. The roads sped up my heart because I swear there would be a bear around the next turn. Luckily, the bear was the only animal I did not come across though my family ran into a pair on their bike ride which definitely put me on high alert as I ran solo along my eerily beautiful dirt paths. I had otters scamper along with me as I ran, baby fawns hurrying to follow their mamas as I flew past, porcupines burrowing beneath trees, eagles soaring for lunch, turtles laying eggs. It was awesome. Every run, nature presented something spectacular.
I felt I finally got my legs back. It took about 4 weeks. That doesn't overly surprise me. I think Carl Meltzer said that for each mile of your race distance is how many days it will take you to 100% recover. I agree. 50 days. I know I am not totally back to form and that's why I am keeping my mileage at a very manageable 70 miles a week. My intensity and workouts are back but I am keeping any excess mileage at bay until I feel like I can handle more with my workouts. Speed is key. I have started to see more 5:40/mi on my watch. They don't feel easy but they are showing up. I'd love to see some 5:30/mi on my watch in July but we'll see what my midday heat training thinks of that. The goal of all this training is a sub-2:43 marathon in the fall. While a 6:12 pace would get me there, my training will be focused on covering 26.2 between 6:08-10 pace. A buffer is nice, hopefully not needed but I know all to well how evil a marathon can be. I almost fell over yesterday because I realized I have only 13 weeks left of training before my first marathon. I feel so far from 2:43 but have to put faith in my training and consistently bang out the workouts, stay healthy. That's all I can do. I hope in a few weeks time I can send out a fantastic report that I am blazing my training, crushing all workouts. It isn't that I am not confident, it is just that I can't run a sub-2:43 right now probably not even a sub 2:46 so there's a lot of work to do. I like the work part just hoping I start seeing the numbers decrease.
The past two weekends have found me racing through the woods: a 20k (ish) race in Land O' Lakes, WI and followed that up with a 14.1 (ish) trail race in the Nipmuck Trails of CT. I laugh because trail races are so wonderfully different than the road. Could you imagine if at the start of the NYC Half Marathon they told everyone that the race was going to be more like 13.9 instead of 13.1 miles and that the course isn't overly marked so pay attention...don't fret if you get lost? Haha, that would be great. People would lose it. I lost it as in the trail markings at the WI race at 12.3 miles literally with maybe 1/2 mile to idea where to turn then managed to turn myself around wandering in crazy circles for the best part of 5-7minutes eventually figuring out where the trail was once again and took a right instead of my faulted left, ugh. I still won a free pair of shoes! But it sucks getting lost and I was second overall and now all those boys got a free pass. Damn't! I doubly made sure not to get lost 2 weekends in a row (of course, a few gentlemen did help to keep on course on a bit of a confusing course). I've absolutely loved every second and every mile of those races. Now time for some road running this weekend. Not sure if I am ready the rigidity of a 5-mile NYRR race. I have no idea the pace my legs will be able to squeeze out. It will be great to get a true taste of speed (and pain) this weekend. Welcome back to the roads...