Saturday, I really wanted to hike in the higher mountains of Vermont, preferably on the Long Trail. But, we'd had so much rain that I decided the trails would be in terrible shape. When the trails are really muddy, hiking on them can damage the trails, so I tend to stay away from places that get really muddy. So, I opted to train on local dirt roads that were fairly hilly.
I ran from my house, and started by doing 4 miles with my older dog. I walked the first mile to warm up slowly and then started running. After just one mile of running, my dog was tired. We hiked most of the way back home. I stayed focused on maintaining an average pace of 4mph - not fast, but it's 25 hour pace for a 100 miler. Next, I took my younger dog out for 2.5 miles. She gets bored easily, so 2.5 miles is plenty for her. When I got back home, my wife was wearing running clothes. She headed out with me for a while. Her plan was to go the first 4 miles of my 7.75 mile loop and then take a shortcut home. But, because my pace was fairly easy, she did the entire loop with me.
When we finished, I tried to talk my son into doing a loop with me. I told him that I'd run with his sister the day before, and both dogs and his mom had gone with me that day. Always the smart*ss, my son suggested it was the cat's turn to run with me. So, I headed out for one more 7.75 mile loop by myself. I did that loop 5 minutes faster than I'd gone with my wife. Overall, I averaged about 14.5mpm for 22 miles, with 1700' of climbing. Because my pace had been easy, I felt pretty good.
On Sunday, I headed to the mountains. I went to the mountain where I teach skiing in the winter. I headed straight up a service road, hiking to the top of the mountain. I was very happy to climb the first 2000 vertical feet in less than an hour. That number is a benchmark for me. When I can do 2000' per hour and not feel like I'm going all out, I know I'm in good shape. The first 2.8 miles took me just over an hour and I climbed about 2500' in those miles. From the top of the ski area, I hopped onto the Long Trail so I could summit Mt. Abraham, one of VT's higher peaks. It's only 0.6 miles to the summit, so I tagged that peak and headed back to the ski area. I ran downhill for a mile, and then turned around and hiked back to the top of the ski area. From there, I ran back to the base of the ski area.
All told, I did 9 miles in 3:02. My hamstring, and my legs in general, felt great all day. I did just under 4000' of vertical in those three hours.
My quads are a bit sore today, but not too bad, and nothing like two weeks ago when I spent the day on Mt. Mansfield. I'm going to a concert tonight (David Byrne), so today is a good day to take a rest day.
But, the important thing to me is that I did back to back long workouts and my legs held up very well. I think I've finally (and it's about time) turned the corner in my training. I wish I could have gone longer last weekend, but this weekend was a good confidence builder.
I'm going to do some of my mid-week running the next two weeks on the steep mountain trails and service roads. I'm going to hike most of WS, so that kind of training will be very race specific. Next weekend, I'm planning a 30 miler on Saturday for my last long run.
It's late, but things seem to be coming together at the last minute. I have a PT appointment this afternoon and I imagine I'll get some grief from the therapist about my training this weekend. They think I'm crazy anyway, and wish I'd rest more. But, I know I have to tread the line between my training and my recovery.