So after the Lookout Mountain 50 miler in December, it was time to make sure a little residual shin/tendon soreness was resolved permanently before attempting to tackle the big mileage weeks needed for the 3 upcoming ultra's in Feb, March, and April- a 50K, a 50 miler, and a 100 miler respectively.
January included a lot of treadmill miles, and I ventured from my typical training style. Doing long runs on the monster grades at Jefferson is my favorite terrain for 30 mile training runs and had been the staple run for Pinhoti training in November. However, due to soreness in some tendons in my ankle and shin I decided to take it easy on the grades at Jefferson and limit my run mileage to mostly 20ish mile runs on the Jefferson trails. I bumped up the number of days I run weekly to compensate, and ran flat and treadmill miles to still get in the mileage.
January was actually my biggest mileage month ever, and I averaged over 15 mi per day on my training days, which is good for me. I usually prefer one or two 30 mile runs weekly, with 5 to 14 mile runs in between. But the long runs seemed to leave me dragging, so I just took it easy with 20 mile or less runs and was able to actually get in more miles overall in the process. It has been a balancing act, but I feel like a did good balancing it all out on the tightrope.
Lovin' The Hills is a 50K here locally, which brings in some pretty great competition, and it is an "A" priority race for me. It's followed by the Land Between the Lakes 50 miler in March only four weeks after Lovin the Hills.
On April 2, is the Umstead 100 miler. (Only 3 weeks post the LBL 50 miler.) The race entry filled in 9 minutes, and I was able to get in via one of the competitive slots that the event organizer leaves open. I had to fight hard to get in, and I definitely DO NOT want to let the organizer down, so I am planning a 100 mile PR for Umstead, NO PRESSURE RIGHT!?!?!?!? LOL. Umstead is a course unlike many other 100 milers. It is a 12.5 mile loop which is run 8 times. I am shooting for inbetween 15 and 16 hours, so we'll see what happens.
After UMSTEAD, I have 3 weeks until we fly out to San Diego to start the Pacific Crest Trail on the 2700 mile Journey from Mexico to Canada. I suppose I call it my "off season"- No running, only hiking 30 miles per day on trails at 10,000' with 35 pounds on my back!
The plan after Louisville Lovin' The Hills, is to get back into Pinhoti mind-set- this zen like training state where I run for fun only, not worrying about mileage or training, but for the shear love of running. The past month involved hitting it hard, and trying to avoid injury in the process, babying my shin and ankle and making sure I recovered from a big race season throughout the fall, involving Ironman, the Pinhoti 100, and the Lookout Mountain 50. (by doing more flat miles and treadmill runs as mentioned earlier). I took care of myself, and chilled out on the 30 mi runs. I took it easy in relation to intensity, and in the process, managed to get in the monster base mileage needed to formulate a strong foundation, now it's time to zen out, and revive the childlike excitement that comes with running in the moment and being present in the now, which also means ramping up intensity when I feel like it, and taking days off when I feel like it, FREEDOM! God I love running.