Another long break from posting for me. I can't quite put my finger on the cause for my lack of desire for blogging lately. Things have been busy, true, but I think its been more a matter of doubting I had anything interesting to say. I think normally I have a tendency not to post when running isn't going well, but while I could be running better, its going better all things considered. So the quick/long update again.
Last week was my last class-free one. On the running front I was taking a bit of a down week after putting in 114 with three pretty hard workouts. I went to the track on Wednesday night with only the vaguest notion of what I was going to do. That is not necessarily a good thing. The workout I did do came out pretty well, however. 1600 (4:40), 1200 (3:29), 800 (2:15), 400 (62.1). In retrospect I wish I would have gone a little faster on the 1600 and 1200, but I was able to finish the workout strong and that is the most important thing.
Saturday I returned to Eau Claire for what is probably the biggest race of the year, The Buckshot Run. This has always been one of the sentimental favorites because I believe it was my first road race at the age of 8. It also serves as the UW-Eau Claire Alumni run so there is usually a good group at the front as well. Dan Held seemed to win it every year back then while he was at UWEC. I thought Jason would be there, ensuring the race would get off to quick start. When I didn't see him at the starting line I had a moments relief that I wouldn't have to go out in 4:40 to keep up. And I didn't go out in 4:40. I went out in 4:38. To be fair, the first mile includes a healthy downhill, but that still is probably quicker than I needed to be. But I continued to feel great until about mile 2. I was out front by this point, but I could definitely sense that I was being chased. Through miles 3 and 4 Todd Hierlmaier was making up ground. Footsteps were heard. Just before 5 miles there is a significant climb back into Carson Park. I did my best to hold it together, but it took a little time to recover after cresting the top. I knew at this point it was a fast finish so I gathered what I had left and made a satisfactory kick to the finish. I stopped the clock at 24:54 which overall is pretty good, but considering the first mile, I would have been happier with a more even race. But most of all I got to win Buckshot, which probably doesn't mean much to anyone else, but like I said, sentimental value. Todd finished strong just over 25:00 in what I think he says is a 1:30 PR. In a 5 mile race. Unbelievable. My best man, Andy, also finished well in 28:43, although he suffered the same fate as I did in the first mile. Regardless, he is looking very good for 2:50 at Lakefront Marathon in a couple week.
There is also a 2 mile run at Buckshot that I entered foolishly thinking it would make for a good workout. I even thought I had the legs to go for the double win, a notion that was quickly squashed when I saw former GEAR teammate Dan Schwamberger warming up. He is the new CC coach at UWEC and it turns out that his athletes badgered him into running the 2 mile. Dan, always the humble, semi-self-deprecating guy, informed me that he "really hadn't done any workouts since Grandmas Marathon" and that "he has just been running easy". Translating Dan-speak that means "I'm going to run with you for the first half and the effortlessly kick away from you". And....thats pretty much what happened. Within the first 100m I knew I was running for second, and maybe third as Todd had entered the 2 mile as well. I hung on through 1 mile, but then started to struggle and changed my focus to just staying as close as possible. Dan won in 9:33 and I managed to gut out a 9:41 in what I would classify as the most difficult run I've done in awhile.
So Saturday turned out to be a longer day as Katie and I rushed back to the Cities to go for Round 2 at the State Fair. Biking there and back in addition to all the walking and eating left my legs pretty fried Sunday. I headed out telling Katie I wouldn't gone more than 2 hours and walked back in the door 20 minutes later. I had no regrets about it either.
I had hoped this would be a higher mileage week, but after having a good 11 mile run Monday morning I steadily felt worse and worse throughout the day and into Tuesday. My nose was a faucet, I had a headache, and eventually my whole body just shut down. Having to drag myself to night class Tuesday was a chore.
But the body can surprise sometimes and I felt well enough on Wednesday to do a workout. The short day on Monday and the zero on Tuesday had given my legs some good recovery and so I improvised a workout on the TCM course. I headed to the 21 mile mark (6M/14M on the bike path marks) and ran mile repeats up and over the St Thomas hill. 4 repeats with 2 min recovery (4:59, 4:58, 5:00, 4:58). The I jogged up to the St Thomas track and ran 3x400 with 3 min recovery (64.3, 63.0, 61.5). The ease with which I ran the 400s compared with the past couple of weeks was startling. Its been a strange month because I think I've gotten faster in the sense that I'm feeling more comfortable at faster paces, but it hasn't necessarily translated into feeling better overall. I still slog along on most of my recovery runs. I have a feeling I will enter Twin Cities in pretty good shape, but really having no idea how my body is going to respond. I'm hoping favorably.