Monday (Mar. 5): off
Tuesday (Mar. 6): AM 10 miles, 1hr:11, 7:05/mile, out-and-back to the Arb on the Cap City Trail. I ran much faster than I would have liked, but I couldn't manage to go any slower. My legs felt better than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. Once again, I am reassured that my return to training has been conservative enough and that I am ready for some solid training over the next two weeks.
Wednesday (Mar. 7): AM 9 miles, 2 x 2 miles at the Shell. I jogged over to the Shell and met Fran for a workout. Neither of us were in a position to expect too much: Fran was sick most of last week and had run at a fairly brisk pace the day before; I ran a marathon 10 days ago. We struggled through it, and it hurt more than it should have given the pace, but the results were respectable: 1st two in 11:05 (5:30, 5:35); 2nd two in 11:07 (5:35, 5:32). We plan to move to Wednesday morning tempo's next week, so this was a nice way to transition toward longer speed workouts. PM 5 miles, :37, 7:20/mile, Lake Monona short loop. Easy miles in very warm temperatures for this time of year: 60s! My legs felt great as I finished up.
Thursday (Mar. 8): PM 12 miles, 1hr:27, 7:16/mile, out-and-back on Cap City through the E-ways. I went out on the Cap City Trail and was able to run through the E-ways for a few miles. The E-ways are primarily wide, grass trails that are used in the winter for nordic skiing. Since the snow has just recently melted, the grass is now exposed and the trails are close to run-able. Parts of the trails were very wet and I had water up to my ankles at a few points. But it felt great to be running on soggy grass instead of pavement for a change. Looking forward to warmer weather and more trail running! The way back was incredibly windy -- gusts of up to 30mph -- so the second half of the run wasn't very pleasant. But I got through it and my legs were feeling fairly good at the end.
Friday (Mar. 9): PM 8 miles, :48, 6:00/mile, Monona Bay loop. The pace felt really comfortable for the most part. I had some stomach issues, which required a pit stop, but otherwise it was a strong effort. It was the perfect time of day to run (around 5pm): the sun was setting and the air was (finally!) still -- no wind!
Saturday (Mar. 10): PM 24 miles, 3hrs:03, 7:35/mile, back roads to Ice Age Trail to Military Ridge Trail. It was quite an effort today, but it was very enjoyable (despite the 20-30mph winds, which made the run feel every bit of twenty-four miles). I met Hank at his place and we ran a few miles along roads/paved paths before entering the Ice Age Trail. This was the first long trail run I've had since early January and it felt great to be off the pavement! The Ice Age was really muddy at times and the swift, rolling hills made for some moderately challenging climbs. It's easy to forget how different a climb is on wet trails rather than dry pavement -- much more exertion is required on the trail. We made it to the Military Ridge and ran 8 miles there on what felt like quicksand. Military Ridge is a dirt trail but, since we're just getting out of the thawing season, it was semi-firm mud. The trail was soft, but not sticky, so my shoes weren't sticking much; however, it made the pace feel much more difficult, since each footfall made a one to two inch imprint in the trail.
Sunday (Mar. 11): AM 13 miles, 1hr:31, 7:00/mile, SMR loop plus 2 miles. This morning was quite pleasant. The sun came up slowly, the wind had died down, and the temperatures were in the low 40s. My body, however, didn't allow me to enjoy the pleasant surroundings too much. My legs were at first stiff, then numb, and finally unresponsive. The last two miles were close to 8 minutes/mile (I was taking it easy at that point), but some of the middle miles were in the 6:30s. All things considered, this was a good training run (and a character builder, because it hurt like hell at times--37 miles in less than 24 hours will do that).
Weekly Totals: 81 miles, 9hrs: 51. A spectacular week. I couldn't have asked for a better return to training. Another strong week next week should have me in ideal shape for Mad City.