The second positive of this week was my long run. I was able to go 1.5 miles further than last week and only tack on an extra 5 minutes to my time from last weeks time. I ran at a much quicker pace and looking at my splits it is easy to see I made up all of my time on the longer uphill portions of the course. My flats and down hills showed small improvements but nothing to be excited about. I definitely feel that my strength is up hill running. I just love it and seem to be able to handle a good buildup of lactic acid before needing to power hike etc. My long run was in the evening because I had to tend to some of my experiments in the lab earlier in the day. It rained on me the entire run but it was actually quite warm with temps pushing 10 degree C or 50 degrees F. I actually was sweating more than usual and had to take off my toque to let some heat vent off. The top of the mountain was shrouded in a thick bank of fog that was almost like breathing in water. It was pretty dramatic up top but as you descended 100 feet you would be back below the clouds. The run got brutal toward the end mainly because I think I was sweating more than usual and needed some calories as well. I finished pretty strong and worked on the mental aspect of the long run, really pushing myself to plod on even when I felt my legs couldn't handle it. I look forward to another long run so I can go further! It is an addiction!
As for the negatives from this week Wednesday night saw me reach my breaking point. After hill repeats on Monday I took Tuesday as a rest day with the intention of running two faster 1 hour runs on Wednesday and Thursday. I put off my Wednesday run right until 9:30 PM partially because I was procrastinating due to really blustery weather and also I was trying to buy my legs as much recovery time as possible. I could feel I was walking that fine line between the maximum punishment my legs could handle and too much. I started Wednesday's run in the dark and rainy weather. I was pushing extremely hard and was thinking I was improving from the previous week's times drastically. About 15 minutes into it my lower legs (calves and shins) were on fire and each foot plant would send shots of pain up each lower leg. This in turn altered my stride as I tried to minimize the impact. Finally at 25 minutes into the run I looked at my watch under my light and was frustrated to see that even with all my extra effort I was much slower than my previous weeks times. I struggled for a few more minutes and then crashed. I realized if I pushed it any further I could risk shin splints or strained calves so I decided to turn around and start the long walk home. It was now after 10 PM and the rain was drenching me. I was dressed just warm enough keep me comfortable while running but I was not dressed properly for walking in the rain. I soon found myself chilled and slightly deflated as I made slow painful progress back home. I decided it was not a complete loss because I ran in the first place even though between the late hour, sore legs, and terrible weather I had many excuses to just call it off for the night. Even a month ago I wouldn't have had the self-discipline to force myself out the door. Secondly I rediscovered where my limit is and was reminded what too much feels like so hopefully next time this crops up I can chill out and perhaps not push the pace and salvage the run rather than force it. I ended up not running Thursday or Friday so I could run on Saturday and it ended up working out well.
Week three was a success and I am happy with what I have accomplished with my training. I feel I made vast improvements and I am getting consistent. It is starting to feel like a habit again. This is really the strongest I have ran since Fall of 2009. I feel that having my friends train with me has been a major boost to my moral and having this trail run planned for early July is also really great motivation.
During my long run on Saturday as I approached my first summit of Mount Doug in the dense fog a song from 2001 popped into my head. The song is from the Swordfish Soundtrack which was produced by electronic trance phenom Paul Oakenfold. The song that popped into my head was Oakenfold's remix of Muse's song "New Born". I really love this remix and have listened to it since it came out in 2001. I can remember bouncing along many dirt roads in the early morning hours, with this song thumping in the truck, creating the backdrop for another epic adventure. I am not sure why this song was in my head while running in the fog on Saturday but it was a great one to play in my head none the less. I hope you enjoy! I chose this video to embed just because I like the song juxtaposed with the cosmic images.