The feel of winter is slowly moving in. It was a cool 34 degrees when I woke up this morning. I love winter. All the leaves are starting to change and have made for some really amazing trail runs which I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy. On last Saturday’s 26-mile training run, the trails were absolutely breathtaking. The trail was completely blanketed with leaves that were almost ankle-deep in areas.
It’s 3 months post surgery. It almost feels like a whole lifetime ago. While my legs still lack some of their previous speed, there’s noticeable improvement with every run. I’m running an average of 55-60 miles per week and plan to max out around 65-75 before the marathon. This is so fantastic! Whenever I have previously tried to cross the 55-60 mpw threshold, I always had to back off due to minor injuries. I never have been able to sustain a weekly mileage over 50 for very long.
I’ve been doing extensive hillwork and lactate runs. I think these workouts have made a considerable difference and quickly pushed me back towards my previous strength. I have mixed in some speedwork here and there, but with my core still feeling somewhat weak, I haven’t tried to push myself too hard yet. I know I’ll be able to speed things up again when the time is right.
The marathon is a little over a month away now, and I’m feeling really good about it. I think I’m probably looking at a 4-hour finish. If I’m really lucky, maybe a sub 4:00. I think a lot of it is going to have to do with how well I handle the humidity in the South. I think I do pretty well in hot and humid conditions, but the weather has been anything but hot and humid since I came off my 5-week running break. All my recent runs in the last 2 months have been in extremely pleasant weather.
Saturday’s 26 miler felt so good. Everything went incredibly perfect. I took it nice and easy. The only mistake I made was a logistical one. I planned out and backs on 3 different trails, and it just so happens that I apparently wasn’t sane when I arranged the most difficult trail for the last 8.3 miles. I ended up climbing and descending for the final 8 miles. It definitely slowed down my finish time and made for very sore quads the next day. Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with my finish time of 4:02 especially considering the terrain at the end. I think running a sub-4:00 in Pensacola is definitely not out of reach.
This week I’m not doing any long runs over 15 miles and will do a 23-mile run next week followed by a final long run of 24 miles before tapering off for the marathon.
I’m so ready!