The month of March resulted in a very consistent Western States training schedule that left me feeling confident in my abilities leading into the final three months. I have found that 50 miles per week truly is my sweet spot in training; balancing both family/work and physical/mental strength. I am also finding that regardless of how easy or difficult a week, about every 4-5 weeks I need a week that is a little lower in mileage and effort. I don’t know where time has gone and it is crazy to think that it is almost May, but here is quick rundown of how things went in March. The April recap will be out at the end of the week as well!
February 29th-March 6th Workouts (Total 24 Miles / 3 h 42 min):
Monday – 1 Mile Run
Tuesday – 6 Mile Run
Wednesday – 5 Mile Track Workout
Thursday – 4 Mile Brew Run
Friday – 1 Mile Run
Saturday – 1 Mile Run
Sunday – 6 Mile Run
I had once again rattled off several successful training weeks in a row, then life caught up to me at the start of March and I just could not find the time and energy to get the training in. This is when I started to realize the 4-5 week cycle of needing to drop my mileage back. My energy levels were low and life was just pulling me in to many different directions. Even with it being a lower mileage week, I managed a strong track workout on Wednesday night, completing 12×400 on 90-seconds rest all at estimated 5K race pace (5:30-5:45/mile).
Then came the 105.5 The Bridge Brew Run to the Bridge Run with Skechers Peformance at Madra Rua Irish Pub. Skechers Peformance is supporting me this year through their ambassador program, so I was happy to come out, run with the brand, and share my experiences with fellow runners. The group went on a short 4-mile run around Park Circle testing out Skechers running shoes. By the weekend, I had settled with the lower mileage week and figured that I would now be going into Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra next weekend a little more rested and prepared to test my endurance.
March 7th-13th Workouts (Total 56 Miles / 7 h 48 min):
Monday – 5 Mile Run
Tuesday – KES 5K Re-Con Run/Walk
Wednesday – 4 Mile Run
Thursday – 4 Mile Brew Run
Friday – 1 Mile Run
Saturday – Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra (31.5 miles in 4:00:17)
Sunday – 8 Mile Run
I started this week with a little extra motivation to get my miles back up to at least 50 for the week. With an unorthodox 50K race at the end of the week, it wasn’t going to be very difficult to get the other 20 miles of training in. Throughout the week All the runs during the week, I completed all my workouts at an easy conversational pace. This included a run/walk of the 5K course being used for the upcoming KES Champs Cape Crusade Fun Run. It also included a short 4-mile brew run event on the West Ashley Greenway starting and finishing from Triangle Char-N-Bar.
Finally the weekend was here and it was time for Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra. I packed up a small bin of Picky Bars, Tailwind Nutrition, Huma Gels, and clothes the night before the event and got a good nights sleep. Peyton’s race has participants run a 5K on the hour every hour for 10 straight hours. The trick with this event is to run each 5K hard, but not so hard that you run out of energy before the end of the day. In 2015, I went to quick early on (5K times in the low 21-minute range) and burned out by 5K number 7. I finished the event, but it was not pretty, electing to walk the entire last 5K. In 2016 however, I felt stronger, I was entering the race with less hard miles on my legs, and I set the goal to maintain an 8:00 min/mile average throughout the day regardless of what the competition was doing around me.
By the end of the fourth 5K, the temperatures were really starting to heat up. We had not had a lot of warm days yet in the year, so it was going to be interesting to see how the slight heat wave impacted each of us. I was glad that I had made such a focus on hydration early once the sun started to beat down on the race course and grass field littered with participants relaxing between each 5K.
For the next three 5K runs, I continued with about the same pace (22-23 minutes), then my lower back started to tighten up on me. With the continuous starting/stopping, running/sitting/standing, tightness is inevitable and it was definitely impacting me. At this point in the day, I knew was pretty far ahead of my goal pace, averaging about 7:15/mile, and somewhere in the Top 5 Overall, so I decided to back off for the remainder of the day. No point in causing more pain and discomfort than necessary where there are more weeks and months of training ahead of me to WS100.
I finished up the day with a time of 4:00:17, averaging 7:45/mile, and good enough for 4th overall. While my pace significantly dropped off the final three 5K runs and I probably missed a higher finishing position, I was more than happy with my performance. The atmosphere of the event was amazing all day long, the BBQ sandwiches midday were amazing, and I would highly recommend Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra to anyone regardless of how far you have to travel to do it!
I rested up well the remainder of Saturday and pulled out one more run for the week on Sunday, an 8-mile recovery run to shake out the legs. The back felt great and I knew that things were going to stay right on track with training.