Ok, Week 3 of Colorado Marathon 2011 training in the bag. Actually the fourth week of the Pfitzinger & Douglas 55-70 mile/week training plan from their book Advanced Marathoning.
Unexpected soreness from the 10 X 100 m strides with my first workout of the week, Tuesdays 9 general aerobic (GA) mile run, and icy conditions that forced me to shorten my planned 14 mile medium-long run (MLR) to 8 miles on Wednesday threw me for a loop, and I made up the 6 missing aerobic mileage by adding some very easy aerobic miles to the ends of workouts from Thursday through Saturday. The idea was to run these workouts easier than I otherwise might, add a total of 6 very easy miles to the end, and hope that I had gone easy enough that my 18 miler on Sunday (today) didn't hurt like hell.
For the most part, I think it worked out pretty well, except I felt so good on Friday, that I let myself just take it as I normally would run an MLR, and I think that might have taken more out of me than I realized, because the 18 mile long run (LR) wasn't easy.
Of course, there were other extenuating circumstances. My wife had agreed to meet me with a refill for my fuel bottle at the halfway point in the run. That's something we had never done, and I was looking so much forward to reaching that halfway point, that psychologically my mind and body must have taken that for the end of the run, because after a quick stop to change my fuel bottle out for the full one, and to drop off some clothes I thought were keeping me too warm, I headed back down the trail for home again.
Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that I was a little warm, because the breeze was at my back for the last four miles to the halfway point, so when I turned around, I was running into a quickening cold wind. It wasn't long before I regretted having left my tights behind at my wife's car in favor of just running in my compression shorts, but I knew I would only have to tough that cold wind out for four miles... Which turned out to be four grueling miles, as everything including my legs had decided to slow down. Miles 11-15 were pretty crappy, in general. After mile 16 I realized how close I was to the end of the run, and found a little extra some some to pick up the pace--just a little at first, but then I peeled off mile 18 in 7:45, which I gave my morale a little boost.
The word for week three of my Colorado Marathon 2011 training: Fatigue. I really needed lower mileage in the three days before this 18 miler, but I made the choice to make them up, and just to do so in the least taxing way possible, then I screwed that up by really hitting that MLR a little too hard. Do I regret it, though? Not at all. I'm glad I'm finishing the week with the full complement of aerobic miles on the plan under my belt, and despite how difficult the 18 mile run was, an 8:17 average pace is nothing to feel badly about.
Next week promises to be quite difficult, and coming off this difficult 18 mile run, I'm considering some modifications to next week's schedule, so I can finally get fully recovered. I think it's important to do that, because the long run at the end of next week is another 18 miler, but only with 10 miles at Marathon Race Pace. That promises to be a tough one unless I can recoup a little before then.