Dates: 8/29/22 – 9/4/22
Training Week: 1 (yes, I started over)
Miles: 30.5 (running) + 5.5 (walking)
Commentary: Did I mention that grad school started while I was on the High Route? I had no idea classes started so early – August 22nd! So, I “missed” my first week of class. No regrets. The one class I’m taking is in-person, and by in-person I mean I have to be in the computer lab at the extension campus in Idaho Falls to watch my professor lecture on Zoom. It doesn’t make any sense to me either. Luckily, my supervisors are awesome and allow me to work from town on Mondays and Wednesday so I can go to class.
When I work in town I go to an INL building instead of working from home because there are less distractions. This building happens to be a mere 0.75-mile walk to the extension campus. It might not be far, but now that I’m officially training for my 50-miler, every little bit helps. Even walking.
While on the High Route, I thought about all the extra red blood cells was body was making to help supply me with oxygen at the high altitude. When I got back home to 4,500 feet I figured I’d feel like a god when I ran. What if I used all those extra red blood cells to my advantage? Say, to help me PR a half marathon?
When I got back from the High Route I signed up for the Pocatello Half Marathon with the goal of finishing in under 2:10. While this wouldn’t be a lifetime PR (1:49-ish back in 2011, but I can’t find any official race results), it would be a Phase 2 PR. Phase 2 is my return to running that started in the beginning of 2021. Anyway, I figured this was as good a time as any after hiking over 90 miles with a 25-pound pack at over 10,000 feet for nine days. That counts as training, right?
I did two runs before the race along with walking to and from class. Not exactly the best race-prep week, but whatever. On Saturday morning my husband dropped me off at the bus pick up. I sat next to an awesome lady, and we chatted all the way to the starting line.
Let me tell you, the Pocatello Half is a lot hillier than I’d anticipated. I was not ready for that much uphill. I felt pretty good in the beginning, but after about ten miles I really had to push myself. The last half mile was the hardest. My heart rate was over 180 bpm for that last half mile. The finish line came into sight with over a quarter mile left. It looked so far away. It took so long to cross it.
I honestly felt better after my 50k than I did after this half marathon. But the pain was all worth it! I finished in 2:09:11! I waited at the finish line for my bus buddy to cross, and we exchanged contact info. Her husband and my husband also hit it off and chatted away while her and I moaned and complained about the tough course.
Since I was supposed to be training for my 50-miler, and part of training for an ultra is back-to-back “hard” runs, I did eight miles on Sunday. I chose a trail with a decent incline, hiking up it and running down. The average ultrarunner hikes the uphills, so I didn’t feel bad.
I didn’t have any sort of training plan in place or in mind for my 50-miler. This didn’t seem like the sort of race where I could just wing it because of the cutoff time. I had 12 hours and 35 minutes to run 50 miles with approximately 6,000 feet of elevation gain. So, I turned to my tried and true friend, The Complete Book of Running for Women.
The book has three different marathon training plans – bronze, silver and gold. The weekly mileage for the gold was about what I needed to be doing to get ready for my 50-miler, about 45-55 miles a week. Sold! I tailored it to fit with my schedule and to give me a long-ish run after my loooong runs. Finger crossed I chose wisely!
Endlessly seeking adventure.