I think I've gotten to the point in my training where I can knock out a 20+ miler every weekend. And its a great feeling!
Yesterday, Sharon and I started at the Cornell Rd. trail head, which is at the 5 mile point of Wildwood. The plan was to run 5 miles out and back to the zoo (mile 1), hit the car for an aid station break, and then run 5 miles out and back in the other direction. This route involved a lot of hills. The weather forecast called for light rain, and even as I was watching the 6am news before I went to pick up Sharon, the weather guesser was saying it was only raining lightly. But it definitely wasn't raining just lightly as we drove to the trail. And when we parked, the rain was coming down heavily and the treetops where hidden in a cloudy, foggy haze. I really don't mind running in the rain at all. But the temps were in the high 40's to 50's. So when its warm like that (yes, that feels warm in the PNW!), its difficult deciding what to wear. I'm glad I threw in a lot of different options at the last minute so I had something to choose from. I decided on my short sleeve shirt from Hagg Lake, shorts, a shell jacket, a hat, and some waterproof shell mitts for the beginning, since my hands tend to get really cold. Sharon commented that she thought I'd be too warm in my jacket. I replied, "But its just a...a...a... a shield." I couldn't think of the word, shell. So we had a good laugh at my wearing my "shield". Sharon wore a similar outfit and it worked out well as it rained steadily on the first half of the run. By the time we got back to the car aid station, the rain had let up to a true light rain and we were able to change out of our wet clothes into light long sleeves and vests.
As mentioned, this was a hilly run and our goal was to run all the hills. For the most part, we were successful. We were able to run all the way to the top of the Pittock Mansion hill on the first half. But on the second half, there was a long, steady 2 mile climb where I had to stop to walk after about 1.5 miles. Overall, it was a good run and we both felt much better than we did last week on an easier course. I've been practicing with my fastdraw handheld and I think I'm finally getting used to holding the bottle for a long run. Since we had use of the car as aid station, I was able to use my handheld for the whole run and just switched out bottles at the car. I have shorts with pockets that I can use to carry my ginger, sports beans, clif bloks and electrolytes.
Sharon had said if she had a good run she was going to register for the Mac 50K. It must have been a pretty good run, because she announced she was going to do it even before the run was over. Woohoo! She'll probably kill me on the hills, but I think we are going to more or less try to stay together again.
Next week Sharon is out of town so I'm going to take the opportunity to get in a long run on the roads in preparation for the Eugene Marathon. The last time I ran anything longer than 10 miles on the roads was at the Portland Marathon last October. And that resulted in a month of ITB problems. So I need to get out there and test the pavement again. I don't think the cause of my ITB problems was purely because of the road running. Rather, I think I tweaked something on one of the steep, banked downhills on the marathon course. So I'm not really worried that road running is going to cause any major damage. I'm a lot stronger than I was last fall anyway. But I do think it wise to get at least one long road run in, so its not a shock to my system come marathon day. I'm debating whether I'll taper for Eugene. I don't have the speed to go for a PR, so right now I'm looking at it as a fun way to get in a long training run.
And finally, yesterday afternoon I went shoe shopping at one of the local running shoe stores that's holding its spring sale. My leona divides still have a little life in them (held together by mud!) but I'm ready to get something else into the rotation. I wanted some more Montrails so settled on some continental divides, but wanted to try on something else too. Unfortunately this store doesn't carried Vasques as I'd have liked to try some of them. But as soon as I tried the Inov-8 flyrocs, I knew I had to get them. They are so comfortable! I could sleep in them. So I walked out with both pairs.
One more thing....Marc is out on his last monster run before the Rumble. Unless he's running in the gorge, his method is to just leave the house and run where ever the roads take him. He just told me he has an article brewing in his head about why he's not really a runner, that he'd like to submit to running magazine. I offered him a slot as a guest blogger if he'd like, so maybe you'll see it here first. When he returns I'll head out on a recovery run. I'm not sure how far I'll go, but probably somewhere between 6-10. If I do 10 that will be 50 for the week...an all time high. Actually 6 would give me an all time high too. We'll see....
P.s. I went out for 7.5. So I didn't make 50, but still a new weekly high of just over 47. I think I'll hang around in this range for a few weeks and then work on bumping the mileage up over 50.