Sigh. Time to get back at it.

It’s been 5 weeks since MMT100. I took the first week “completely” off and only logged 12 miles. I followed that with a couple 25 mile weeks and then bumped that to 40 last week. None of those weeks included anything longer than 7 miles. I view the long run as the cornerstone to my training plans without which I’m just running for fun. Now there’s nothing wrong with running for for fun and it’s something I love to do, but I don’t necessarily consider that training.

I’m seven weeks out from Eastern States 100 so it’s time to get all the way back into training mode and start logging some long runs. Given the amount of elevation gain in the race (20k+), I’ve decided to maximize the amount of climbing I do during my long runs leading up to it. I’ve stumbled on a section of trail at my beloved Cheslen Preserve that gives me about 300 feet of elevation gain per mile, which I now refer to as my everesting course. I have three of these runs planned over the next month followed by the Catoctin 50k at the end of July.

The first of these runs was Saturday. The goal of the run was to knock out 20 miles and 6k of elevation gain without totally destroying myself. I didn’t have a goal pace in mind though anything under 15 minute pace would have been solid. I did 16 miles/5k at 14:15 pace this spring, but that was done with trekking poles in mid-30 temperatures. I decided to forgo the poles this time to better work my core.

I totally and completely blew away my expectations with the run. After a quick 11 minute mostly downhill mile, I preceded to knock out mile after mile under 14 minute pace. I even managed to squeak one mile in under thirteen (12:59!). I hiked every single incline and bombed the downhills. I’m guessing it was the latter that pushed down my average pace compared to the first time I did this workout. While I was pounding down the hills, I felt smooth and in control. It wasn’t until mile 17 that I started coming under some strain. My last four miles were all grouped in the 14:11-14:20 range and I could feel myself starting to tire out. It was probably some combination of running low on energy and the rising temperatures that led to some slight dehydration with a dash of already cranking out 5k vertical feet of gain/loss. You know, the usual.

It’s funny, but when I did this workout back in February I wasn’t too sore afterwards. Well, my legs are definitely feeling it here the day after. I’m gonna try and relax for a couple days with lower effort runs before going again at this course next weekend for another 20 miles/6k feet of elevation gain. Gotta toughen these legs up a bit more. Eastern States is coming.

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