50K Training: Week 11

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. It’s been a good one here. This week was the last big week of 50K training. It’s officially taper time now! Before we recap this week’s runs, let’s take a step back and chat about this whole, “I’m running a 50K in less than two weeks thing.”

If you’ve been reading for a little while you might recall that I decided to “take a break” from marathons last year. My last marathon was NYC in fall of 2015, so we are coming up on two years “off.” I have been focusing on shorter distances and increasing my speed. I haven’t met all of the goals that I set for myself by any means, but I did get a couple of PRs (2 mile, 10K, 12K) and came really close to a few others (5K, 10 mile and half marathon).

While I am still not ready to tackle another marathon quite yet, I decided that what I was ready to attempt was a 50K. In my mind, the training was going to be less grueling … so basically more long, slow runs than speed workouts. To an extent this has definitely been the case. It’s also been a tad grueling as well though.

A few thoughts as to why in the world I would want to do this:

One of the reasons that I want to get this done now as well is that I ran my first marathon when I was 26 and I want to run my first 50K (31 miles) when I am 31. You know I am a numbers person.

I have been craving time in nature (being stuck working inside all day during tax season gives you a new-found appreciation for time spent outdoors and in the sunlight). Our trip to Colorado has been planned since Christmas (Daniel found some awesome $80 flights … major score). We are planning to do lots of outdoorsy things while we are there. I can’t wait! As we were browsing the interwebs of things to do, I stumbled across a 50K (by stumbled across I mean that I googled “50Ks in Colorado during May”) and I found one the weekend we were going to be there. I think it was meant to be!

The race I am doing is called the Greenland Trail 50K. The race advertises itself as “Colorado’s fastest 50K.” We will be running on dirt trails with Pikes Peak in the background. With the wide, smooth double track trails, the Greenland Trail 50K is supposed to very beginner friendly (which is great to hear). There are several shorter distance races as well and Daniel is going to run the 4 mile race.

There is about 1,900 ft. of elevation gain and also 1,900 ft. of elevation loss. I feel like that is probably “easy” to people who are used to running on steep terrain, but I don’t know how well my legs are going to handle that. The whole race is at over 7,000 ft. (2,000 ft. higher than Denver (the Mile-High City)). It says that if you are traveling from elevations below 2,000 ft., be prepared for some shortness of breath. So yeah, I’m traveling from an elevation of 100 ft. We’ll see how that goes!

A few thoughts as to what the training has looked like:

I started building my long runs up in February. I kept 16 miles as my long run even during training for shorter distances, so my base was still pretty solid. There is a big difference in running 16 miles and 20 miles though. I still remember miles 17 through 20 mile of the first 20 miler of this training cycle. Rebecca and I ran the entire run together and averaged 7:50 pace. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “this is why I don’t run marathons anymore.” It was a solid run, but a struggle nonetheless.

My long runs steadily built up from there. 26 miles was my longest training run. I ran 26 miles with Rebecca the day of her 50K race.

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You can see the other workouts that I have done on my February and March recaps. As the long runs got longer, so did the other workouts. The paces were slower, but the workouts were still tough. It wasn’t exactly the easy, breezy 50K training I envisioned in my mind, but it was very enjoyable. If given the choice I prefer the training of longer, slower miles to shorter, quicker miles (I like both … don’t get me wrong).

I like the idea of having different seasons of training. I will probably go back and focus on speed again at some point in the near future, but I’m not entirely sure when or what that will look like at this point.

Now that we’ve gotten the overview out of the way, here is what this week’s workouts looked like:

Monday: 5 miles @ 8:40 pace

This week started off similarly to last week with an easy 5 mile run recovery and again, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t too sore and my legs felt good.

Tuesday AM: 10 miles @ 8:21 pace

Tuesday morning I ran while Daniel biked. We went opposite ways on our loops so that we could see each other every few miles. He biked 4 loops and I ran 2 loops, which worked out great for both of us.

Tuesday was tax deadline day at work. Thank goodness! One more year is in the books! Our coffee pot saw us through to the end and conked out on the day of the deadline (it has been on its last leg for quite some time, but it’s almost as if it *knew* that we needed it to pull us through to the end).

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Tuesday PM: 6 miles @ 8:06 pace

I got to leave a little bit early Tuesday afternoon and even had time to sneak in a quick nap before the group run Tuesday evening at RW.

Daniel came through with some beautiful flowers. He never forgets a deadline day! I’m pretty sure he has the flowers on auto re-order at this point, but still … sweet and smart. I think I’ll hang on to him for a while!

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Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 mile aerobic threshold tempo (6:51 avg.), 2 mile cool down

Workout Wednesday struck  again and man oh man, this one was tough! Thankfully Jill joined me for the majority of this run. I don’t know if I could’ve done it without her. The goal range for the tempo portion was 6:40 to 6:50. It took us a few miles to settle into the pace, but once we did, we clicked off some steady miles. I ended up with an average of 6:51 for the 8 mile tempo, which I was definitely happy with.

I decided to stop by the track for my two mile cool down (this seemed easier than trying to come up with a 2 mile route somewhere else … when all else fails, just run in circles around a track). Our neighbors Mollie and Corey were at the track doing some intervals and I got to run my cool down with them, which made the miles fly by! P.S. Check out Mollie’s blog → here. She is training for her first marathon, which she will run in Utah on the actual day of her 26th birthday. So cool!

Thursday AM: 8 miles @ 8:25 pace

Young Daniel and I ran 3 miles while My Daniel rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes and then we all ran 5 miles together.

Friday: 8 miles @ 8:24 pace

I was off work Friday and I did a new thing! RW has a group run on Friday mornings at 9:30, so I decided to take advantage of my day off and ran mid-morning. I guess it’s not really so much that I did a new thing as I did a normal thing at a new time. Haha. I enjoyed waiting until a little bit later to run (even thought it did get a tad toasty out), especially because it meant that I got to run with Lizzie and Jill! I think we stayed at the store chatting for close to 2 hours after our run (luckily my schedule was wide open :)).

Friday evening we celebrated the end of tax season with a crawfish boil. I don’t do crawfish (it’s too much work for not enough meat (IMO)), but I do enjoy all of the sides (potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.). It was delicious!

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Saturday: 16 miles @ 7:57 (with a few “brisk” miles (7:10, 7:01, 7:00, 7:13, 7:31))

The last long run is officially DONE. I was technically supposed to do 18 miles, but I couldn’t seem to recruit anyone to join me for any additional miles. Daniel was nice enough to get to the group run a little early and bike with me for 4 miles before everyone else got there. Everyone else did 12 and so I called it a day at 16. I felt good and got a few brisk miles in at the end of the run as scheduled. No complaints here.

Of course we did the usual post-run coffee and breakfast thing and I got to spend some quality time with Rebecca and Jessica. I hadn’t seen them ALL WEEK and that is just plain unacceptable.

Daniel did his first swim of triathlon training mid-morning on Saturday. Brooks got to play fetch and swim a little before we got started. Here is our “old man of the sea.”

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We hoped that he would get nice and worn out so that he would “ride” on the paddleboard with me instead of jumping on and off while Daniel swam. He will ride with me sometimes, but turns out he does NOT like to ride when “daddy” is in the water. Swimming w/ daddy > sitting on the paddleboard w/ mommy.

He looks content in the picture below, but as soon as Daniel took off … so did Brooks (which left me in a bit of a pickle). I had our shoes, Daniel’s shirt, our camera (it’s waterproof) and Brooks’ leash as well as my paddle to keep up with. I definitely had a lot going on. Brooks got on and off the board about 10 thousand times (which is every bit as challenging as you can imagine it would be).

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Daniel had a really good swim. He will be swimming with the current in the Savannah River river during his race, so swimming in the bay is much tougher (i.e., great training). Brooks made a really good training partner too! Daniel outswam him, but Brooks stayed right on his heels (when he wasn’t taking a break on the board with me).

I’m pretty sure this will become a semi-regular thing. Daniel has biked with me A LOT over the years as I trained for various races, so this is a great way for me to return the favor … not that I mind one bit. It was a beautiful day out and there isn’t anywhere else that I’d rather be.

Sunday: 8 miles @ 8:21 pace

Sunday morning brought more quality friend time! We did an easy 8 miles and followed it up with coffee and breakfast again. I’m so glad that I got lots of quality runs with friends in this week. It made celebrating the end of tax season even sweeter.

I’m headed to play tennis this afternoon. It’ll be the first time I’ve played in well over a year, so who knows how that will go down. It might take me a minute or two to get back into the swing of it (see what I did there :)). I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

See ya soon!

7 thoughts on “50K Training: Week 11

  1. I got tired just reading about your busy week this week. 🙂 That crawfish boil looks amazing! So just out of curiosity but what shoes do you use for your training and what will you use for your race?

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  2. Sounds like you had a great week and fit in a ton of training. I am a bit surprised at how you’re targeting a 50K instead of a marathon but after reading, I can see where it would be a little more low-key and less speedwork. I’ve always said if I had the time and my body could hold out (mostly the body holding out part, as I have plenty of time to train), I’d train for a marathon rather than an ultra so I could at least BQ. But thinking about it, it does take speedwork to BQ. Plus, while I know you won’t go to Colorado to jog 31 miles, it is a destination race and insta-PR, no matter what happens, and it’s nice NOT to have that pressure.

    I’m glad your coffeemaker didn’t die during tax season, and hooray for tax season being done!

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    • We couldn’t have survived without coffee! Haha. Yeah, the next time I do a marathon I want to train for the all-elusive sub 3, which is definitely no joke. It hurts me just thinking about the training. The 50K training was definitely less intense as far as the workouts go and like you said, instant PR (assuming that the altitude doesn’t kill me and I at least finish).

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  3. Ah Colorado….I wanna go!! It’s on my bucket list. I can’t wait to read about the 50k! I may finagle my husband for a trip next year. 🙂 I plan on training for the Virginia Beach half this year and not another full marathon until Boston 2018 💛💙 BUT, I want to up my mileage for the half marathon training (ps-I’ve never actually ‘trained’ for anything but a full marathon. I’ve always used shorter races and training marathon runs…) to see just how fast I can go. I’d rather run long and slow all day long but I’ve gotta itch to speed up. 😉 I’m impressed with your workout Wednesday!! How do you hold 6:51 for 8 miles?! I can only hang for about 3-5 at this point. But, maybe will my next training season I’ll fly too. 🙂 your husband is way to sweet!!! ❤️ Y’all seem to be such a great support system for each other.

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    • I’m really excited to see Colorado in the spring. I’ve been out there when I was really young (like 6 or 7 years old) to ski, but never in the spring. I’m kind of just now realizing that it’s going to be quite chilly when we are there still though. Oh well. I had no idea that you hadn’t really trained for shorter distances! I think you might really enjoy working on your speed and seeing what you are capable of at shorter distances (which will also give you more confidence and a better indication of what you are capable of in the marathon as well). Go for it!

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