A few months back I decided that to ring in my 30th year I would attempt to run a 100 miler from Superior, AZ to Oracle, AZ along the Arizona Trail. With a short time frame I found an aggressive training plan that ramped up mileage over the course of 24 weeks. With a portion of the training already completed I started the program at the 14 week mark, leaving 10 weeks of very structured training remaining. I am currently in week 20, with two weeks of increased training remaining before the taper. As the run gets closer I find myself learning things about myself.
No sugar coating. Week 19 kicked my ass. The week included three runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday totaling 12, 20 and 28 miles. It was brutal, mentally and physically. I plowed through Friday's workout a little too aggressive and found myself met with heavy legs Saturday morning. With a semi-positive attitude I headed out the door and discovered how powerful the mind can be. A few hours into the run, things turned around mentally and I completed the workout....with sore legs. I went to bed Saturday evening with a heavy mental block about Sunday's 28 miler. The morning came and once again I found myself in a deep mental rut. I walked more then the hills for the first few hours, while I tried to find a groove. Tired legs never went away, but I was able to harness a push to keep moving. Six hours later I found myself wrapping up the run just a few miles shy of 28 (mainly due to a route planning mix up; but I didn't complain).
Week 20 came fast and I mentally prepared to run another mileage record breaking week. Tuesday's attempted run was cut short due to sore legs. The deeper I get into my training the more important I find it to listen to my body. A second difficult work week combined with the previous training, had me missing my second run on Thursday. In a desperate attempt to not listen to my body I planned a Saturday run on the Zane Grey course in Payson, AZ; but even this wasn't enough to overcome the fatigue I had felt all week. As I write this on Friday I have come to realization that my body is needing a rest week to reset. I stayed active through some cross training, but running miles had to wait till this week....the final training week before the taper. It is hard not to feel like these missed workout will come to bite me during the run, but I also don't want to push my body to injury. On April 28th-29th I will find out if my training decisions were accurate or misguided.