A Big Running Week

I managed to get  my peak running week in despite the sick time.

On Tuesday, I packed up and drove to Bastrop State Park to do my last big long run before Palo Duro Canyon 50K (October 17). I knew it was a get-it-done-or-let-it-go kind of scenario, that that day was the last window for putting in any long mileage that made sense. I opted for Bastrop because I was going to be by myself and the parking lot/trail layout there is just about perfect for a runner on her own. Plus, I have never, ever run into any remotely sketchy situation while out there (unlike the greenbelt here in Austin, where I frequently do run into people who put the hackles up a bit or situations where I’m too remote for my own good). And lastly, it’s not a very challenging course, much like the trail out at Palo Duro.

28-Mile Long Trail Run Recap

My plan was to run one short loop, which consists of the purple trail plus the orange Roosevelt cut-off (about 8 miles), and two long loops (the complete purple and red trails, a big loop of approximately 10 miles). I chose to run them in that order because Palo Duro consists of a short loop (10K) followed by two identical longer loops (12 miles, I believe). And to keep it interesting, I decided to run the first long loop counter clockwise and then the last loop clockwise.

It turned out to be a lovely day, in spite of the earlier rain. The creeks had receeded since Stacey and I were out there, so I only had to lightly splash through a couple of crossings. The weather was somewhat overcast and relatively cool. My pacing goal was simply to be strong and consistant and get it done, all 28 miles. I used some landmarks common to all three loops to keep track of splits and pace.

It was a lot of fun. I actually like running by myself a lot of the time, and this was a good day. When I found myself lagging, I sang songs (mostly mentally)–I don’t ever run with an IPod or anything; I’m very purist and old-school about gadgets. I found that “Single Ladies” had the perfect candence for leg turnover. When I got tired on the third loop, I went to the visual picture from that awesome trail running video. The background music is Coldplay’s “La Viva Vida” and there’s this one scene of a young lady heading down the trail, shot as she runs away from the camera. So I played the song in my head and moved like her (well, in my mind, I did).

I ran into a surprising amount of people who had lovely things to say to me. At the end, I’d gotten a bit behind on my nutrition thanks to a stubborn package of Sports Beans that refused to allow me to open it and, as a result,  I walked a bit as I came back to the car at the end of the third loop…and I confess that earlier, I’d briefly debated taking the Roosevelt cut-off and having my run a good 2 miles shorter. But I didn’t, and I’m glad. The full 28 at a very easy and comfortable 6:35 run time made me feel pretty confident that my sub-7:00 hour 50K is within reach. Certainly, I’ll PR, as I did Palo Duro 2 years ago in 7:29 (of course, I did take a wrong turn that year….).

Following Up with a Time Trial and Hill Repeats

The next day, I opted to go to the first workout for the new Tri Zones road running group. I figured I’d just be there and I didn’t have to actually do all the workout, which was on the track.

Now, I love a track workout. I found myself “just doing this little bit” of the workout, which turned into all of it, including a mile time trial followed by 400m repeats at mile pace. I shocked myself by running a comfortable 8:49 time trial and then easily nailing all my subsequent 400m repeats. Who’d have thought? Certainly not me.

Now, I paid for it on Thursday, which was not the best, as I had my quality workout for the week Thursday night. It was hill repeats at St. Eds…and they are going to cost me my left big toe nail. After the run Tuesday, I’d noticed my left toe nail was a bit sore. I was wearing those relatively new Montrails and chalked it up to different shoes; I’ve run in my men’s Inov8s for so many years, and I’ve NEVER had a toe issue in them.

Anyway, as I came downhill Thursday night on the first repeat, there was a section with a short, sharp 90-degree turn into steep downhill. I was wearing my new Inov8s (the GIRL version), my foot slipped inside the shoe and slid my toe down into the folded up hard toe box on the downhill. OUCH! Oh, it HURT! I thought I had peeled the toe nail off. But I soldiered on.

On the second repeat, I somehow did it AGAIN in exactly the same spot. I knew it was bad when I couldn’t run the downill at St. Eds, one of my all time favorite things to do. I called it a day and didn’t do the third one. By the time I’d gotten home, underneath the nail bed had completely filled with blood, the toe nail was purple, and it was so painful I couldn’t even put my foot under the covers. I put some arnica gel on it; it was better in the morning, but thank goodness I didn’t need to run on it.

I did a short run yesterday, and it was bearable…but general consensus was I’m losing it and pretty quickly. The only question is how it will affect Palo Duro Canyon.

I’ll see how tonight goes; I’m doing a hill evening road run with some of the HCTR people. I did it last Sunday, and it kicked my ass–all the biggest hills in Northwest Austin packed into one 10-mile route. I’m going to try to make this run as often as possible because

  1. it addresses my big weakness (running uphill),
  2. is full of nice people, and
  3. allows me to sleep in on Sunday mornings. Woot!
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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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