Nothing beats a good, long Sunday run.
It has been an incredibly busy past-few-weeks for me, but I have enjoyed it immensely. No, I am not throwing down any big training weeks or traveling for races. I’m a grad student, and the ebbing and flowing that is my dissertation work definitely opened the flood gates in mid-March. For the last two weeks, I have been in the lab, running experiments, incubating, harvesting, and in general not being able to think about anything else but what was on my plate at the time, all while not having any clue when I would be able to get in my next run or bike. I have been spending at least 12 hours a day on campus, including the weekends*, but I’m not complaining. Really. I love what I do.
Poor planning on my part lent itself to having Swim Week at the beginning of these experiments, and I unfortunately had to bail after just three swims (I was planning on doing at least 8 swim workouts, and about 28k yds of swimming). I did get into a good rhythm last week, and was able to squeeze in a Wednesday Drop Ride with some guys at The Bike Shop and some hill repeats with Marg. Since she is training for the Lutsen 50K in the Superior Trail Festival in May, she’s been shooting for more time on her feet. Her plan for the weekend included a 2hr run on Sat and a 4hr jaunt on Sunday. Although I couldn’t join her for the Saturday run, I planned my experiments to coincide with her longer Sunday run. I tried to map out a route on mapmyrun.com, but the website kept failing. I guestimated, filled up my Nathan Handheld with EFS, and took some advice from her significant other regarding distances/durations. Then, we were on our way at 8am.
The sun was trying to shine, I thought. I stripped off my top layer rather quickly and we headed out to the snowmobile trail on the north side of the Portage Lift Bridge. Karl was with us for about an hour, of which the time just flew by. When we got through Hubbell and Lake Linden, it was time to head onto the road and up-up-up the Florida Hill (4 miles, practically all climbing). After Florida, though, it was all downhill… literally. We found our way back to the ATV trail and headed home. At first, in Swedetown, the trail was mush and the consistency of wet cement. It stuck to our shoes and fell off right before our feet hit the ground again. Luckily, though, this only lasted for a few blocks, and we were able to get back into the comfortable pace we help on the road… only a slight bit faster.
Then the rain started, and our hands got cold. I started getting the grumpy-bug, because my Swix pants were falling down from all the weight of the rain and my shirt was riding up because it clung to my skin. I ran out of fluid at about mile 20, but the rain didn’t make me feel too thirsty. We picked up the pace a little to expedite our return home. Warm showers. Hot coffee. Biscuits. Chocolate candy. All these things were lighting a fire under our butts. But even though we were a long way out from home, we both agreed that we felt good and noted our lack of pain and soreness. I felt great, actually, and I felt tall and strong. My legs didn’t hurt (just my bum) and I felt quick with my turnover. Even after we hit 20 miles.
We hit mile 23, and we swore we crossed Lake Annie Road, so now it would be smooth sailing getting back around 4hrs. We might go over 4hrs, but only a little- maybe five or ten minutes. Then a few miles later, we actually crossed Lake Annie Road. I may have had a mini breakdown and a please-let-us-walk-for-a-few-dozen-yards, but that cleared up quick. We snuck back into our fast cadence and the soft trail felt nice and refreshing on our legs. We passed the Tomasi subdivisions and snuck into Maasto Hihto. Soon we were smooth sailing into Hancock. We crossed our fingers someone would be moving something into my new apartment on the edge of town, but alas, we were forced to run the extra two miles back to Houghton. It wasn’t so bad though…
At the end, my Garmin read 29.29miles, and with the 0.8miles at the beginning (from home to Chutes and Ladders), makes a nice 30mile run. That’s officially the farthest I’ve ever ran in one go, Marg too. It didn’t feel too bad, either. Seriously. The time flew by. True, I was not about to go for another mile around the block to hit 50K, but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it in a race. I am really looking forward to more long runs like this during the summer. We averaged 9:14s, which isn’t bad considering we averaged 8:40s after the Florida Hill. There may not be much that is quite as rewarding as negative splits on a 30mile run.
Pictures to come, as soon as I find the cord to my camera.
*except this weekend. I spent about six hours at work on Saturday, then moved some stuff from old apartment to new apartment, and with today’s run I decided to take today off completely from work. I helped Baberaham move stuff, and I didn’t even take a nap! busy busy.