This post has been a long time coming... and has morphed into a recap of all running I did between summer and the end of the year in December
Summer 2013: In which I learn about trail running, run more miles per week and per day than ever before, have some crazy trail running adventures, and become injured.
I'll start with my summer training. I picked my training back up after taking a little time easy after the Bayshore Half and began to ramp up the mileage again. It was a little more difficult to do this than expected: I had a few nagging aches and pains despite the time off and moving to San Francisco for the summer on a new work schedule disrupted my running a bit, but overall, I was pleased with the ramp up period.
I was able to start hitting 40-60 mile weeks again fairly quickly. My goal for the summer was to ramp up to consistently higher weekly mileage than I had done before - I wanted to run 80 mile weeks. By the end of July, I had run my first 80 mile week. That was exciting! More on that week in a bit.
Training was going well. I was enjoying my internship and enjoying my running. I was hittings the mileage hard to have a great last NIRCA cross country season. What happened?
At the beginning of the summer training cycle I started using new shoes for some of my runs. The Saucony Mirage 2, I actually really love that shoe and it took a beating this summer and was still in great shape.
There were a few problems though, mostly my fault. The first was that I probably ramped up the amount of mileage I was doing in the new shoe too quickly, especially since it's way less of a shoe than my normal super supportive Asics. Next, while I wasn't doing a lot of running on the San Francisco hills, I WAS walking up and down an extremely steep hill to get to the bus each day. One of the steepest in the city, I'm told. While this isn't really a big deal, it probably didn't help my already too-tight calves. Lastly, I started playing weekly games of Ultimate after work with some other interns. While that was a lot of fun, I played barefoot much of the time and I think that also contributed to my situation.
In the end, it all culminated into an injury. It was relatively minor at first but progressed to the point where I couldn't put any weight on my foot in the morning before I finally accepted that I needed to stop running. Plantar Fasciitis. Fun times. I've learned my lesson as I'm still dealing with it.
Summer Races and Adventures
Over the course of my summer in California I met some great people and had some fantastic adventures, all thanks to running!
I was convinced to go race Table Rock with new friends who were into trail running. I did the 10k while they ran the 27k. This just happened to be at the end of my first 80 mile week.
It was a great race and I had a lot of fun. Going in I knew that there was a crazy hill at the beginning of the race but I was confident that I could compete for the win - and the possibility of a course record. For context, nobody has gone under 60 minutes on the 10k course. The winner was able to set a new record of 60:07 which was a few minutes faster than the previous record. I didn't really know what I was getting into but still managed to eek out a 68:26 which was good enough for 4th place after I took two wrong turns. What an introduction to trail racing that was!
As far as racing goes, that was the only serious race of the summer for me - and turned out to be one of the few races I ran seriously for months after.
Ultras and Mountains and Glaciers, oh my!
I did manage to have a few other running related adventures. On a whim, I agreed to pace and crew for my friend Lucas for part of his first 100 miler since one of his other pacers had to back out last minute. This was an interesting experience for me and Lucas ran a great race (and won)! I had a lot of fun and this was my first introduction to ultras.
I could write much more about that day but I'll just say that running on the trails in the Marin headlands was simply fantastic and running through those hills with no light but a headlamp was both eery and peaceful at the same time. one of the fantastic views during the SF 100 miler
Later in the summer that same group of us went to Alaska and did some running. Through the woods and in the mountains and even up Exit Glacier.
This trip was essentially the end of my summer running adventures. After this point I started trying to rehab my foot a bit because I realized that I would have not even a small part of my cross country season if I didn't attempt to take care of it.
I started taking days off and biking instead. I started stretching more. However when I got back to Ann Arbor I got caught up in getting in shape for cross country again. I began running higher mileage again, did a trail half marathon for fun, and did the first track workout of the year. The next day I couldn't put weight on my foot - I had to accept that it was time to take more drastic measures.
I eventually started going to physical therapy. Through I wasn't told I had to take off completely, I took about 3 weeks off and then began running maybe 20 miles a week again. This didn't completely heal my foot but I was able to run. It wouldn't hurt while running but still got rather tight after runs. Uneven ground such as trails and grass was even worse than flat pavement.
In the end, my lesson was that I didn't listen to my body when it was hurting and then was too stubborn to do what was right. As a result I missed out on both cross country and track. I ran some races but was doing them non-competitively. Thankfully, now I'm well on my way to recovery.
All said, by the end of 2013 I had run 2246.9 miles. To reflect a bit on 2013 and some of my running goals for the year: The only main goal that I achieved was to complete my first (and second, trail) half marathon. I did that at Bayshore. The other two goals of sub-17 and of running a 100 week didn't happen partially due to my inability to train.
Some of my secondary goals were a sub-36 10k, 3000 miles for the year, and to finish a marathon. None of these were completed either. I was on pace for 3000 miles until I had to reduce training volume in the late summer. Hopefully in 2014 I can run a few more total miles for the year than in 2013!