Saturday morning I ran 18 miles on the Marquam and Wildwood trails, up and down those big “mountains” in Portland’s West Hills. I took it pretty slowly. Everything was working pretty well except, of course, for my right foot and ankle. Them, not so much. I have probably been pushing it too hard this past week.
I didn’t experience lingering calf soreness after Saturday’s 20 mile run like I did after the previous weekend’s 17. That may be because my legs are adapting to longer distances. On the other hand, it might be because last week’s run was on hilly, slippery mud and this week’s was on flat pavement.
Monday night we took it easy, since one of our regulars was back after a long injury (yay!) and was still running with a lot of pain (boo!).
At noon on Tuesday I made up for it by pushing myself hard for five miles, up and down the road near work. This was probably more like a race pace than like a “tempo” speed. Then again, I didn’t collapse on the ground at the end. (Wait, maybe I only do that after races that are 5K or shorter.) In any case, it was a good, hard run, one that had my lungs begging for mercy and my legs straining to keep up. My mile splits were 7:20 7:28 (both uphill) 7:14 (half up, half down) 6:42 and 6:36 (both downhill).
My foot felt worse than I would have preferred on Monday but has felt pretty good since Tuesday’s run.
Breaking news from the Forest Park Conservancy:
A small landslide has taken out a portion of the Wildwood Trail at milepost 16 (just north of the Saltzman Road junction) […] This section of the trail is currently impassible due to the amount of debris on the trail and the adjacent slope angle. Portland Parks & Recreation and the Forest Park Conservancy will be working to clear the trail and repair the area in the weeks to come.
Twenty mile runs are intimidating. Heck, just planning one can be. Go look at a map of the area around your home and try to plan out where you would run, if you had to run 20 miles. Try not to cross too many major streets: getting held up at crosswalks all the time is no fun. Don’t plan any complicated routes through unfamiliar areas: consulting a map on the run isn’t as easy as it sounds. Stay away from busy roads. Figure out where you are going to get water, or plan on carrying enough. Don’t make it just a whole bunch of short loops, either — maybe it’s just me, but seeing the same scenery over and over again gets tiresome quickly.
No wonder I end up running on the bike paths along the Willamette so often. That’s what I did on Saturday, making a couple of slightly different loops from the Sellwood bridge, using my car as an aid station a little more than halfway through.
It was a nice, sunny and mild day, and there were lots of other runners out there. I battled down some negative self-talk during the first half of the run… I kept worrying about what might go wrong later in the run. Would my foot give out? Would I hit an early wall? I kept reminding myself that worrying about it didn’t help, and that I didn’t need the anxiety. Instead I focused on the music from Podrunner, on my running form, and on the passing array of nature- and city-scapes.
By mile 17, things got hard. My foot had been somewhat uncomfortable for some time, and I was starting to run low on energy. It felt like I had been running forever, even if it had actually been less than two and a half hours or so. I’ve grown unaccustomed to the sensation of running and running and… running some more, these last four months. By the time I finished, I felt fully spent, and ready for a long nap. Happy to be back up to running 20s though!
Tuesday night it was pouring down rain when I went out for a four-mile run. Since we had taken it pretty easy on Monday, I tried to push the speed some on Tuesday. With the big hills around my house, that left me averaging 8:49/mile. I can remember when I considered anything under 10 minutes a mile in my neighborhood really fast.
Wednesday Portland got another break from our frequent winter rain, and we got to run seven miles on a beautiful clear night, lit by the full moon. We took it slowly to accommodate the pace of a new girl who had joined us. On that route, though, slowly meant around 8:45/mile. Our route is hilly, but not as bad as around my house.
I’m taking Thursday and Friday off in preparation for a 20-miler on Saturday.
It stopped raining for one day! Yes, the weather was actually nice for the Monday-night run: high 40s and clear. My calves were still a little sore and tight from Saturday. One of the other guys in the group was also sore… of course he had run more than twice as far as me on Saturday (37 miles) then followed that up with a half-marathon on Sunday. In any case, we ran slower than we usually do Monday nights, finishing with about an 8:20/mile average pace. I didn’t really like the way my foot was feeling during the run, which makes sense given the tight calves.
Pet peeve: another one of the runners in the group kept talking about how he was going to do the “Seattle” marathon in June, and telling other people that if they don’t sign up for “Seattle” soon it will be full.
I tried to gently correct him: “You mean the ‘Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon’, right? That’s a different race than the ‘Seattle Marathon’.” You see, the Seattle Marathon, in November, has a good reputation as a locally-run, fair-priced event. June’s Rock n Roll Marathon is one of many huge, expensive Rock n Roll marathons put on around the country by the voracious and greedy corporate entity that runs those things.
“I just call it the Seattle Marathon.”
At this point I snapped and just yelled at him “Don’t! It’s wrong!” Look at me, winning friends and influencing people by yelling at them.
My calves are sore today! It’s been a long time since I had sore calves. That’s because it’s been a long time since I’ve run far enough to get them. On September 11, 2010, I ran the McKenzie River 50K. That was my last run over 13.2 miles for the next 126 days.
Yesterday, I did 17 miles in Forest Park. It’s a little embarrassing that 17 miles has given me sore muscles, but I guess it’s to be expected. Truth be told, I kind of like the feeling of simple sore muscles. The mild pain and tightness has such a different flavor from the nagging feeling of an injury. Anyway, I’m only a little sore. I can still walk down stairs normally.
It’s been a very wet and rainy last few days in NW Oregon, but it’s also been unseasonably warm, getting up into the mid-50s. Tropical weather. So picture me running in just shorts and a t-shirt, both completely soaked, my hair plastered down and my shoes barely visible through the mud. I was wearing my street shoes, not my trail ones, since my plantar fasciitis seems to doing better in that particular model. I used to run these same muddy trails in street shoes all the time, so that was no big deal. I had been worried that my new 2011 Brooks Adrenalines had a kind of slippery tread that wouldn’t do well on the wet wooden bridges, but that turned out not to be the case — they had plenty of grip.
Still, a tread with some bigger lugs might have been nice on some of those slippery muddy uphills toward the end of the run. Two steps forward, one back. The rain got heavier as the day went on, and the downhills were getting exciting too. I was getting a little out-of-control, and I thought I might get the chance to share a story on the I Fell On The Wildwood Trail Facebook page. No such luck, though: I weebled and wobbled but never fell down.
As I said, I ran 17 miles. It was all on Wildwood, starting from the Germantown Road lot (milepost 26.65), and doing two out-and-backs, one to milepost 30 and one to 21.5. The second part was a lot muddier than the first, but I’m not sure if that was due to the terrain or the increased rainfall while I was out there. It took me 2:54:00, which meant I was taking it nice and slow. I picked up the pace a little in the last two miles. My foot didn’t feel perfect by the end of the run, but it didn’t feel too bad. It seems fine today.