My legs are flat. I keep trying to think of a better way to describe them for myself, but that’s pretty much it.
Plus, I’m exhausted.
Training for the Transrockies (Yes, I’ll post some more stage reports!) was interesting because for the first time in my running career I had no issues around injuries. Of course I was tired from the volume of training, but my characteristic shin splints were non-existant, and there were really no niggles. I even stopped habitually icing my lower legs – there was no need. All the training I was doing was volume based, and speed wasn’t important really.
I’ve been interested in doing that race for a long time, probably since it first began. I had tried a few times to convince my college roommate, Jess Book to join me since he’s originally from Loveland, CO and was running a lot at the time. Our schedules never lined up with the race though, and it never came to fruition. Last year as I started a new job I realized it was likely the only time I’d have the opportunity to do the race, plus I really needed something to motivate me to train and get out of my apartment.
I spoke to Jess a few weeks before the Transrockies and said that for me, this had already been a success as I’d trained with the specific purpose of gaining aerobic fitness, I’d met some people in Montréal through that, and was enjoying the journey.
Once I got to Colorado I was really excited to get back to running after a ‘forced’ break. I ran a 110km week during my first week at altitude, and then followed that up with a 150km week during the race. Phew! 260km at over 3,000m. While I was doing the event and questioning my ability to continue (I ended up dropping on day 3, and taking day 4 as a rest day) I realized that I really wanted to run the next week. I could have pushed myself through and found a way to finish, but my chances of being able to move were slim and I wanted to be able to join my running buddies back in Vancouver while I was there for a friends wedding.
I came off the 2 weeks at altitude feeling ok. I expected to land in Vancouver and feel superhuman – so much oxygen! Sadly that didn’t happen. I did a run the next day (Tuesday) with Christin, but it wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped it to be. My legs were sore, and at no point did I feel like I was flying.
Wednesday mornings when I lived in Vancouver were alway dedicated to running with Phil Ellis from Peninsula Runners. Each week we’d meet at a different location in South Surrey for some Cross Country intervals. I was excited to go and see my old crew. I arrived early because I knew my legs were tired and I’d need a lot of warm-up – I was still not feeling very fast. We ended up with a pretty big group and began with the first interval of a 1km, we usually do the first one relatively relaxed. I started off easy and was surprised that they were all behind. I reined it in even more since I wasn’t sure what the rest of the workout was or what was going on – 3’21 very relaxed. Not bad.
The next interval was a 2k – twice around the 1k loop, up a little hill, around some fields, along a foot path and back. I was still feeling like I should hold back for the rest of the workout so I didn’t go 100% but I tried a bit harder than the warm-up. 6’21 for a 2k. Hmm… there might be something to this altitude thing after all. The rest of the workout I dominated although my fatigue in my legs grew, it was a great feeling. On Friday I joined them for a 10 mile tempo effort and was similarly fast. I started doing my easy runs and having to reign myself in from going to fast – 3’40… 3’30 kms 12-13 k into an easy run is no big thing.
So I am fit, and now I’m thinking I want to do a 10k and see what I can do, so I keep running and try to add in some speed work.
And here we are. Apparently it’s the speed work that kills me. Despite doing only about 50% of the mileage for the two weeks post Colorado (90k and 80k) I’m more ‘flat’ than I’ve felt in a long time. Last week I did two workouts with some speed in them – repeat 200′s in Stanley Park, and a Fartlek run in Montréal along the Lachine Canal. This morning I did my first bout of sprint speed since I returned to Montreal – 6x 400, not all out but trying to be consistent in my speed (around 1’04/1’05 on the track) and then a 10k jog home… tired!
I’ll have to be careful and make sure to balance this with the easy running that got me here. October is ‘race month’ for me, my plan is to race almost every weekend, between 5k and 10k so we’ll see how that goes!