I have finally done it. I have a new (outside) long run to my credit, and I’m flying high as a result. More on that in a bit – a quick recap on the week:
Tuesday 08.03 13M treadmill (1:20:26). 10M building to just under LT (1:00:49@AHR138)), then 3M gradually back down. I had done this run back on 07.07 with a little better time/HR numbers, but it was good work nonetheless. Later – a 2.8M run with RG for a nice 15.8M day.
Saturday 08.07 11.1M Highline Canal Trail w/ BoldRunning group. Easy, but I was still nervous that I was running a bit much with such a big day lined up to start less than 20 hours after this run ended…
Sunday 08.08 The Highline Canal Trail 38M Experiment:
AHR120 / MHR 146
After years of thinking about it, trying to do it, and wondering if I’d ever come close to running that far with all the foot injury stuff, I’ve finally pulled it off. The run went quite well, though a bit differently and quicker than I thought it would.
The Garmin measured the full out & back from mile marker 36 to mile marker 17 as 18.84M on the way out / 18.88M on the way back, and I added on the additional .28M as I made my way back to the parking lot.
I tried to move up my start time a bit, as I felt how hot it was when I got done with Saturday’s run around 9 am. It was raining during the drive down through Denver, but I didn’t have any rain during the run – just lots of humidity. I carried a Camelback w/ 100 oz of water (with about 1 tbsp of salt added) and an Ultimate single bottle pack (~20 oz of Gatorade G2).
I started at 4:17 am, and my heart rate spiked right away, as I was definitely excited to kick off this run. This was funny as I was running slowly down the trail, completely alone in the early morning darkness. Things settled in, and my heart rate was a little higher than I expected, but I attribute that to a) all the water and gear I was carrying, and b) the high humidity. I was wet pretty quickly – that’s just not right at that early in the morning in Colorado. Nonetheless, I tried to establish a conservative pace that felt comfortable and kept my HR down. Early on, that meant keeping my pace around 8:30/M to 8:50/M, with a corresponding HR around 115. I stopped twice to pee in the first 6M or so, finished my G2 bottle and dropped it off (picked it up on the way back). I gradually increased the pace to the 8:10 to 8:25 range and actually dropped the HR a bit (110 to 115 range). I was very conscious of my effort level – the run was going well, so I wanted to keep things under control during the “out” portion of the run. Still, the pace gradually quickened, and I was running at or a little under 8:00 miles by the time I made it to the turnaround.
I slapped the 17-mile marker, and turned back for home. I split 2:36:44 for “half-way” – (let’s call it 18.86M), which was an average of 8:19/M with an AHR of 114. As I was feeling pretty good, things predictably picked up a bit. I had been doing the math on pace, how much I could drop the average pace on the return trip, and what I could pull off for a total time. I figured if I could keep it rolling OK, I could easily repeat the first half time and maybe drop my pace all the way down to an average of 8:00/M. I hit the first mile back around 7:50, and never saw anything slower than 7:40 for mile splits from that point on. I had some 7:30s, but most of the splits were in the 7:20s - the HR definitely rose along with it, and I typically had a HR in the 120s. Things rolled along pretty well through the mid to late 20s, but the last several miles got progressively tough. That said I really didn’t have any problems during this run – amazing. I went through most, but not all of my water. I had plenty of food left in the Camelbak, but I went through everything in the easily accessible Ultimate pack (note – the Sport Beans were fantastic!). My neck got a little tight/sore, but it was manageable. My feet were a little sore at times, but that’s pretty normal.
I did not expect to be able to pull off the faster running I did over the last 25M or so. I ended up splitting 2:20:49 for the return trip (average of 7:28/M). Over the last several miles, I knew I needed to average ~7:30/M to dip under 5:00, so that kept me very focused through the finish.
During the run, I inevitably thought about the 50M race, and had the scary thought at 25M that I would only be halfway along in a 50. I’ll definitely have to go in with a similar mindset of keeping things under control, only much longer. So, yeah, I’m pretty much decided on doing that race. I’m planning a trip down to Lakewood next Sunday to scout the course if anyone’s interested in tagging along. I’m planning on doing a single 12.5M loop of the course – the course map & description are available on the Bear Chase Trail Race website. It definitely seems more possible now, but I’m still a bit daunted by the prospect of another 12M, and on a course that has more elevation change and more technical footing. The Highline is flat with light inclines/declines at times, with a very consistent crusher fine surface the whole way. I’ll learn a little more about the 50M course next weekend.
Today’s run gave me 101.1M for the week, with 11 20M+ runs since May 29th. I’ll be putting a little more thought into the next 55 days of prep work. And I’m still undecided if I’ll do the Boulder Marathon as well, 2 weeks prior to the 50.