I've started to miss racing. My last race was in November, the iRecycle HM that didn't go as well as I hoped. For much of the past few months, doing any kind of exercise was considered a victory. My apartment complex's treadmill has continued to have issues with its monitor, and it has gotten noisy, so I would take advantage of the weekends to run outside, and I'd try to force in a single day of treadmill running during one weeknight. The weekend runs also afforded me the opportunity to rack up Zombies, Run! app's virtual supplies to build up my base camp.
The Zombie chase portions of the weekend runs actually helped to keep up my speed, even though I haven't done formal interval training sessions. Cramming my outdoors runs on weekends also helped me get used to running on tired legs.
THE MONTH OF TRAINING LEADING UP TO THE 10K:
Monday Feb 3: 4.0 in 32:42, 8:10 ave. Almost didn't make it out of lying in bed, but glad that I did it, post-run. Practiced 2x25 burpees afterwards. 2 degrees of incline = 7:50 effort.
Tuesday, Feb 4: 50 min strength session.
Wednesday, Feb 5: 50 min recumbent bike session.
Saturday, Feb 8: 5.8 in 51:16, 8:48 ave, at the park. My old Brooks Trance 8s felt stiff and uncushioned.
Sunday, Feb 9: 6.5 in 55:27, 8:26 ave, at the park. Switched to a more cushioned but old pair of Saucony Kinvaras, which felt much better.
Tuesday, Feb 11: 55 min recumbent bike session. Was going to try to run on the treadmill, but it was occupied. I was just as fine biking, though. Did 35 and 15 burpees afterwards.
Wednesday, Feb 12: 4.0 in 31:52, 7:58 ave. 2 degrees incline = 7:39 effort. First run in the Brooks Pure Cadence shoes, which were very cushy in the forefoot, and overall light. It's nice.
Thursday, Feb 13: 55 min strength session.
Saturday, Feb 15: 8.2 in 1:09:47, 8:30 ave, at the park. This has been my longest run all year! Slept 11 hours, then napped 3 more. I have been feeling like my immune system has been down for the past few days. The run felt easya nd good! My knees always seem to get temporarily bangy at somewhere around the 3 mi mark, but it passes. There were patches of leftover snow from this week's storm. While watching the Olympics, I've been itching to try XC Skiing. I love their outfits. Biathalon, with the guns, looks really cool, too. I like how running gives you the feeling of being spent. With XC Skiing, it's not just your legs depleting you; it's your arms, too - a whole-body outpouring of effort.
Sunday, Feb 16: 6.7 in 59:12, 8:50 ave. I did the Zombie chases (it's an option you can turn off/on), even though I felt like an easy run. I felt like not doing it would be cheating. I wasn't sure if my legs could take the chases, but they were fine. I had nearly taken the day off as a rest day, though.
Monday, Feb 17: 45 min bike session, while watching the Olympics on TV. 35 burpees afterwards.
Tuesday, Feb 18: 5.0 in 39:58, 8:00 ave, 2 degree incline = 7:41 effort. Considered taking a rest day, but body fairly awake, even though my spirit was not... so nearly rested. But I went anyway.
Friday, Feb 21: 60s Strength session.
Saturday, Feb 22: 6.8 in 57:44, 8:25 ave, at the park. Body and head felt hot in the afternoon... not feeling 100%... but I had to get in a run, and that actually somehow made it feel better. I don't know what's up with my body. I did some exercises on the playground equipment afterwards, to prep for the Spartan Sprint.
Sunday, Feb 23: 6.0 in 50:36, 8:26 ave, at the park. Body (head, arms) hot again, so slept most of the day. Considered a rest day because of it, but why not run. It was fine. Practiced pullups a lot today. I was almost relieved that the Olympics were over, so that I no longer had to feel compelled to watch the entire primetime coverage (and as much of the weekend coverage) as I could every day.
Monday, Feb 24: 60 min recumbent bike session.
Tuesday, Feb 25: 4.0 in 33:14, 8:19 ave, 3 degree treadmill = 7:41 effort.
I was excited to race again. I decided to go with matching Salomon SLab shorts, shirt (wore a shirt because it was upper 30s), Mizuno socks, and new SLab shoes. We're not supposed to try gear for the first time on race-day, but I did that with both the shorts (which have built-in compression) and with the shoes (which have a unique lacing system). I did have a backup for the shoes, in case they didn't feel like they'd stay on well or fit well during the warmup. They were fine, though. I've used Salomon Mission XR trail shoes in the past, and those didn't fit tightly enough, but these SLab shoes, which were a size down, were good, and the lacing system seemed to do better. They held up just fine during a hilly and gravelly course with uneven footing.
I signed up, checked out the competition, and looked forward to the fun that is trail racing. You never know what the course will bring you. The race brochure said that it was an out-and-back course, so I pictured something flat. It was not flat, but that's just fine. I wanted a trail race, as opposed to a road race, because I wouldn't be pressured to try and PR. It would just be about racing. From the start, I was first out of the women, and 4th overall. The first half-mile was downhill then flat, then it got hilly, then the turnaround portion was super-hilly, then back. It was a road-width gravel trail, where the gravel was loose. Some of the uphills and downhills were decently sloped, and I flew down the downhills, letting loose. I did my usual energy conservation during the uphills. I caught 1 guy, so I ended up 3rd overall, 1st female. Prizes for all age-groupers and overall winners were these tiles with hand-made clay leaves on top. It was cold, so I didn't need any hydration, and I didn't need any gels. I had fairly fibrous foods for breakfast - refried beans on tortilla chips with salsa and fat-free cheese, and a Larabar (dates, nuts), but there were no issues.
It was very cold waiting around afterwards, but the fires were nice, and I liked smelling like campfire afterwards. It was a nice race with nice people. It was a good way to get out again.