Fifty Miles in the Last 7 Days

50.02 miles in the last 7 days! Yeah, baby! I’m on a little streak. I can honestly say with a straight face, “Oh, yeah… I’ve run every single day of this ENTIRE year.” Yeah. Um. It’s only the 5th day of the year, but I sure like how that rolls off the old tongue.  Since I raised the bar significantly on my yearly mileage goal from 1000 in 2010 (which I exceeded by more than 400 miles) to 2011 miles in 2011, I definitely have my homework cut out for me.) I figure the best strategy is to keep moving — even if it means I run just 2 miles on some of the days I record runs. Those 2-4 milers WILL add up over the course of 12 months! I also feel that the new heart rate monitor is helping me reign in the pace on those easy days so that I can still recover fine. A non-injured runner is a happy runner!

Baby, it’s cold outside again! 19 degrees. 6 mph winds and cloudy. Brrrrrr. I had approximately 13 goals when I set out on my run today (give or take a few.) Sometimes I’m like that – a scatter-brained mad scientist type who’s trying to perform 18 experiments at once in a workout.  It keeps things interesting, but it also means sometimes I have to sacrifice a few of my goals while out there in order to fully accomplish another.

Today I wanted to say I’d ran 50 miles in 7 days. THAT was a big goal and I’d say it was my main one. Secondly, I wanted to wear the heart rate monitor strap and play with the numbers more. I’d taken some notes yesterday about HR monitors and runners from an old Runner’s World article and I was curious to try out what I’d learned on today’s run. Thirdly, in a spontaneous moment, I’d printed out a smartcoach plan last night just to give me something specific to play with for the next 5 weeks I have until my ultra marathon on Orcas Island (a nice 50k!) Today’s workout was supposed to be: Tempo Run – 7 miles with warm up, 5 miles at 9:22 then cool down. I knew that was lofty for me right now. I haven’t done a stitch of tempo or speed work in about 6 weeks or more. And, I don’t do well in the cold. My muscles feel SO tight and have a hard time loosening up, my stride feels shorter, etc. I just perform better speed-wise when it’s warmer out.

So, I started out today intending on keeping the first mile in the “easy zone” from the RW article (no more than 139- based on my approximate 75% of max heart rate assuming mine is about 186.) That turned out to be a freeze-fest! Brrr. Totally cold out there and I’m supposed to run realllllllly slow to keep my HR that low (at least while warming up in 19 degree weather.) I found my calves cramping up on me from running slower than I could have walked. Ouch! And is this really necessary?! Mile 1: 13:27 pace (yawnnn). HR ave: 133. Check!

I had intended on warming up for 1.53 miles since I needed that extra .53 to round up to 50 for the past 7 days, but I was so cold I decided to scrap that part of the plan and just attempt the 9:22 pace for mile 2 (while keeping the HR in the correct faster tempo zone – between 161-171 for me.) Not a brilliant idea it turns out. Since I’d warmed up at a snail’s pace, I was still COLD and my muscles were not ready for anything close to faster running (even 9:22 pace which isn’t exactly lightning fast.) Mile 2: 9:57 pace. HR ave: 161. Close, but not quite.

I was feeling pretty miserable by this point. Cold and my legs seemed to be protesting that they hadn’t had a day off in a week. I think the light (but chilly) wind blowing at me wasn’t’ helping, so I took a gel and sipped some Gatorade and willed my body to just get me to the halfway point and then I promised I’d sit down and have a good listen to their complaints (knowing full well I was conning my sorry legs since at the half point I’d still need to run back home!) Mile 3: 11:36. HR ave: 148. It’s probably not even worth mentioning here, but I scrapped the idea of a tempo run at this point and just focused on the distance I needed for the day.

I found 14 cents along the road at this point. That helped my mood.  Nothing like finding a new contribution to Joshua’s college fund to really boost my mindset on a run! Mile 4: 12:08. HR ave: 149.

Mile 5: Things started looking up. My gel had kicked in, I was running with the wind at my back and I was starting to realize I’d get my 50 miles.  Pace: 9:57. HR ave: 166 (felt light, comfy, muscles were warmed up better.)

Mile 6: 10:42 (waited for cross traffic twice). Ave HR: 161.

Mile 7: 9:54 (I can smell the barn! Let’s get this done!) HR ave: 166

Final .53 (feeling great) – Pace: 8:42. Ave HR: 174

Mission (mostly) accomplished. 

Stats: 7.53 miles. 10:56 ave pace. 1:22 time. HR ave: 155. Felt COLD and slow!

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