When faced with the daunting task of planning a run of 30 miles I had to get creative. Not many running buddies have a distance that far on the calendar for the same weekend! I decided to float the idea of running five mile loops at Cougar Mountain to a local women's running group I am a member of. It was very exciting when many people responded they were in to it! The loop format gave everyone the option of running as many loops as they wanted (we had women run as few as one loop, or as many as six) and also come at a time that worked for them. Four of us started at 7:00 am, the rest of the starters came about 8:15 am.
In all we had at least 12 runners show up. It was like a moving party and so much fun!
We created our very own aid station with extra snacks in our cars and I brought lots of goodies to share, as well. Oreos! Ruffles! Gummy bears! Oh my!
Everyone who came loved the idea of doing the loops, and seemed very happy to have the company for their planned runs, too. I was worried about the loops being boring, but they weren't at all. If I had run them solo it probably would have gotten boring, but with friends it was fun. It also helped calm my reservations about the last 20 miles of my 50 miler being a repeat of the beginning of the course, since I actually typically do not enjoy repeating the same trails on a run.
My day started pretty well. The goal was to run each loop in 75 mins, including "aid station" stops at the cars. The stops were great: lots of eating, chatting, and taking care of other business The only downside was how long we lingered at the cars as it added to the total running time!
I had company for each of my six loops except for the last one. It wasn't until about half way through the fifth loop that my body decided it was D.O.N.E. My hip began hurting, the blisters on the sides of my big toes were causing me pain, and I was feeling the effects of the heat. At the car at the end of the fifth loop I felt nauseous and very tired, but I had to finish my run. I could barely bring myself to run and walked at least 50% of the loop. When I tried to run my hip wasn't having it. At one point I sat down on a log to investigate my blisters, really, really not wanting to get back up. Of course I had to, so I just focused on making it through small sections of the trail (run this until the bricks in the trail! run the brick section until the intersection! run this until the gate!) until I finally returned to the trailhead.
My body felt like it could barely move on lap six, and my brain was of zero help. It was extremely defeating. If I was going to run 50 miles in less than three weeks shouldn't I still have been feeling pretty good at mile 25 or 30 of a training run? I would think so.
My log. A dog came by and slobbered on my pack. It seemed fitting.
A trip to my PT yesterday was actually super helpful-- she had suggestions for both my hip and my blisters (the issues are related!) The only problem is that I am so close to my race, and her suggestions were along the lines of more support in my shoes because my arches are collapsing. Ugh. Do I risk messing with my shoes or insoles? Do I risk NOT messing with my shoes or insoles?! My PT suggested Second Skin for my blister issues, and I also bought Fixing Your Feet so that I can get some answers before my race.
Hopefully the taper will take care of the doubts in my head. The rest will do me good-- I suppose I shouldn't be too shocked that a 30 mile run was hard at the end of my longest training week ever!