Only 4 weeks to go! I'm scared! This week again didn't have mileage as high as I'd like, but I did what I could. I've had my eye on the calendar for Sunday's run for quite some time. I'd planned for awhile now that I'll use this run to make a final 100% decision on whether I would be ok for HURT or not. Good news is, after running for 10 and a half hours, ZERO shin pain! This KT tape is working like magic! Looks like it might be almost healed before Hawaii, way better than expected. So, that's that, I'm Hawaii bound for sure!
Mon - upper body workout
Tues - 10k trail, 30min stairs
Wed - 9k trail
Thurs - 10k trail, 30min stairs
Fri - 30min ebike
Sat - off
Sun - 60k trail
Total: 89k trail / 1hr stairs / 30min ebike
I wasn't able to get a longer run in mid-week, schedule sucked this week. I was also a little under the weather (maybe from 40k in the rain last Sunday?), so I skipped doing many workouts this week. I have started carrying a couple of 10 lb dumbbells during my stair climbs, makes it tougher but also strengthening my forearms which usually cramp on me during very long runs. Usually I'll put down the dumbbells for my final ascent/decent and sprint it up and down, the sudden loss of weight makes me feel light as a feather.
Sunday was nuts. I got up at 3am, out the door at 4:45am (apparently I had a lot to do still that I hadn't though of the night before). I didn't get a lot of sleep Friday night as I had my company Christmas Party, then slept about 5hrs Sat night so forcing myself to get up at 3am knowing what I was about to do was not fun.
I did my usual drive thru McDonalds for some pre-run breakfast, but they were still serving dinner! WTF? Who has dinner at 4:45am? So it was burger and fries for breakfast, should've known I was in for a weird day at that point. I drove up to Durham Forest and Walker Woods, hoping to get a long run in on a hilly trail. Well, I didn't realize that Durham Region is actually located in Siberia! There was WAY more snow than I expected. The trails at home are almost snow-free, just hard frozen dirt. Not here! By the time I got there and started to run, it was 6:30am. After about 2 minutes I was wondering what the hell I was thinking and considered abandoning the whole thing as my feet kept plunging through the snow. Originally, I was hoping to do 80km, but I'd started a hour and a half later than planned; and now running through the snow I knew there was no way that was going to happen. I was thinking 40k would be a challenge at this point.
Walker Woods and Durham Forest are located across the road from each other. I had a map of each, along with a planned 20k route for each that someone designed for the Eat Dirt run which I had to skip last month due to my shin. I did Walker Woods first, simply because it has numbered signposts along the trail, which you'd think would lessen the chances of me getting lost in the dark.....but my natural ability for getting lost trumped the signposts! I got lost countless times.
It was very slow in the beginning in the dark, I tried to follow the signposts but wasn't sure which way was which at some of the intersections. Whenever I realized I was going the wrong way, I'd just follow my own footprints back. Mine were obviously the only fresh prints to be seen, so that was easy. Later on when I was back on track, I'd come across my own footprints from when I was lost earlier! The top of each signpost is angled, but eventually I noticed that there was something on it. I wiped the snow off and realized that each numbered signpost also has a map on top of it, even showing which way you're facing! Crap, I wish I knew that earlier, but the tops of each post were covered in snow so I never noticed. This should stop me from getting lost, right? Wrong, just made it less frequent. I really didn't mind getting lost, as long as I kept moving I was achieving what I came for.
Some parts of the snow were packed down pretty good from all the cross country skiers, but mostly my feet would sink. Sometimes just a bit, sometimes up to my knee! I tried to follow the course maps for Eat Dirt, but a lot of the trails I was supposed to follow were not skier friendly, which meant deep, unpacked fresh snow. I also forgot my gaiters, which go on top my shoe to keep dirt or snow out. Oops, might have come in handy here.
By the time I eventually got back to the car, I'd run 24km in this crap. I started the car for a few minutes to warm up. There were now a bunch of other cars in the lot from all the skiers. I was the only dork running around out there. I ate a slice of pizza, a Mr. Noodles (still hot in a thermos, yum),a lot of chips and drank some Eload. I also changed all my shirts as they were soaked though. My feet were freezing, but changing to dry socks would be useless after a few minutes of running.
I headed across the street into Durham Forest this time. I wasn't sure about this as there's no signposts, and if I can get lost with numbered, mapped signposts then I'm going to be screwed without them. I figured I'll give it a try then turn around if it's a problem. Yup, it was a problem pretty quick, but I kept going anyway. There were more people in Durham Forest, along with hikers and even some mountain bikers. The main wide trials were packed down so people could almost bike on them (didn't look like it was working very well to me).
Back to the car again, now at 43km. Same meal as last time, then I headed out again, back to Walker Woods and the life saving signposts. The battery in my Garmin GPS watch only lasts 10 hours, so I also started the timer on another watch, just in case. I also brought along my headlamp in my pack, knowing it would be dark before I'm back again.
I just did my own crazy route this time, then was back at the car at 55km. I grabbed my flashlight and went back out in the dark for a final 5km. There were still 2 cars other than mine in the parking lot. I came upon a couple with a child in a sled about 500 metres from the parking lot. I insisted they take my flashlight (I also had my headlamp), I told them to just leave it by my car but they refused. There was only one more turn and it was straight back to the lot, so they said they didn't need it. I then came upon another couple on skis who had headlamps, so they would pass the other couple soon anyway so I'm pretty sure everyone lived.
So, long story short, 10hrs 25minutes of stomping through this crap, I covered a measly 60km. The sun came up, the sun went down, I was still running. As a comparison, less than 2 months ago when I ran Horror Hill trail race, that was 60km in 6 hours on a trail with no snow and less hills. So this was now the 2nd longest run I've ever done time-wise, but distance-wise not so much.
I checked my time after 32km, which will be the distance of one of the five loops at HURT, and it took 5hrs 30 minutes. That's about the same pace I'd figured for HURT, for the first loop anyway. The next 4 loops will increase in time, with last one taking 8 or 9 hrs likely.
I felt great after the run (ok, maybe a little tired!), and absolutely no shin pain whatsoever. That was quite a surprise! My first pain free run in a long time. I think running in the snow and my feet sliding with every step was some good training for all of the running in mud I'll be doing in Hawaii. Hopefully the mud is warmer! I did somehow manage to step on a twig that actually pierced right through the bottom of my shoe! I'm not sure how this happened, these shoes have a stone shield in the bottom, just not a twig shield! Obviously some form of super-twig. I had to use pliers to pull it out, now there's a hole right through the bottom of my shoe.
Next week will be messed up. Got the kids most of the week, but when I do get free time I'll need to Christmas shop so this will most likely be a low-mileage week (even though my mileage is already way lower than it should be). As always, I'll do my best and see what happens. I'll get more workouts in next week, as this week I skipped all core and leg workouts. I'm now tightening up the diet until HURT, good timing as Christmas approaches! I'll just try to avoid too much crap. I'll need to start gathering what I need for HURT also. I ordered 2 boxes of gels and a box of single pack Eload from running room, should be here this week. Time to make a list. I also bought a new bathing suit today, I'll check that off the list!