Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nine Weeks Out: Endurance Challenge

My calves ache and my feet have taken a pounding in recent days.  When I wake up from a good night’s sleep and take my first steps I can feel the good ache in my legs and feet as my contracted muscles stretch out.  This past week I ramped up my running in preparation for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.  27 miles marks a five week high and I got in two good time trial efforts in the form of Milwaukee's Bastille days 5k and the Dances with Dirt half marathon at Devil’s Lake.

Devil's Lake Dances with Dirt Elevation story

The week started out with early AM runs of 5 and 6 miles in the heat and humidity on Monday and Wednesday.  These were slow miles with the dog and having not run in the AM for a while I was still acclimating.  Thursday night was the always fun Bastille Days 5k running through downtown Milwaukee.  There is always a fun atmosphere with lots of hot bodies on display and good eating.  I did not know what to expect for performance.  I felt strong, went out fast and gradually faded with mile splits of 5:41, 5:54, 6:36 and a final time of 18:49.  It was a good time trial and puts me about a minute slower than where I was during my spring training cycle.

Pre race dinner hickory smoked beer can chicken

Come Saturday I had another race effort, this time the Dances with Dirt half marathon in Devil’s Lake.  I drove up Friday and camped with some friends.  During the hot night before the race I woke to a few Charlie horses.  There was a lot of climbing in those first few miles of the race and my calves were still destroyed from the 5k two days prior. I walked most of the uphills and wondered if I would be able to knock this race out in less than 3 hours. The embarrassment of being passed by what felt like everyone was a little much. After the initial climb I sped way up catching most everyone that owned me on the climb. The downhills were wide open without switchbacks which I loved. Good race, and a good wake up call to my current running fitness, would do it again.

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