Sunday, February 22, 2015

One Long Bonk (Plus 50k Training, Weeks 2 - 5)

50k training was going great! Until it wasn't.

I was rolling right along, completing every workout as prescribed, and gearing up for a big week when an illness knocked me flat on my ass. What started as a sore throat turned into a coal miner's hack and intense fatigue, the likes of which I hadn't experienced since I had low iron levels a couple of years ago. I even missed my first grad school class! Then again, I hadn't been sick in over a year and a half so my stellar attendance is more a comment on my super luck/habits/genes/whatever than mental fortitude but still, missed class!

Anyway, it wasn't a huge deal but it did make me miss nearly a week of running. And missing runs, in case you were wondering, is something I really hate to do. I don't think I can stress that enough so let me say it again: I hate missing runs. Especially long runs. So when I had to scrap a 13-miler last weekend, I was pissed.

It's easy for me to fall into that "if I can't do it perfectly, I don't want to do it at all" trap (which is strange since I'm very much not like that in other aspects of my life). So I went through a mini crisis this past week wondering whether I had lost too much ground (especially since I got sick just after a stepback week so hadn't run more than 8 miles in 3 weeks) and whether I should just give up on this 50k idea. But then again, it was just 1 week and I'm only 5 weeks into training. 

After some thought, I decided to give this weekend's mileage (14 and 6) a shot to see how my body held up. Because, you know, running the farthest you've run in two years on much harder terrain when you can hardly ascend stairs without a cough attack is a great idea.

Saturday was rough but I did it.

The weather definitely helped.

I was pretty exhausted just two miles in but fortunately I don't mind slowing to a walk on steeper stuff. I usually have pretty high standards for what should be run versus hiked but that bar was very generously low yesterday. I guess that's why 14 miles took 3 hours! Although to be fair, I probably only walked a total of 15 - 20 minutes.

I have no idea what that extra line is doing there. I'm glad to see the first half was uphill because it definitely felt like it. Plus, I ended up at the summit so I must have gone up once or twice.

I also experimented with real food, one of the things about longer races that excites me most (in addition to, you know, scenery and challenging myself and all that nonsense. But really it's about the food). I didn't actually require that many calories but forced myself to eat Cheez-its and Oreos at miles 5 and 10, respectively. There were also some gummy bears thrown in for good measure. It all stayed down and I didn't bonk in any noticeable sense (although one could argue that the entire run was one long bonk) so I guess it worked!

I realized afterwards that this run was likely one of the longest and hardest of my life, which makes me feel better about it. My longest runs during marathon training were somewhere around 2 hours and 40 minutes (Hanson method, yo!) and on much flatter ground. Which is what I told myself when I was hobbling around my friend's apartment a few hours later. I was surprised by how beat-up I felt and for a while was pretty concerned about it. I did feel much better today, though, and my 6 (flat) miles felt pretty good. I have tomorrow off and will reassess on Tuesday whether the weekend was a big ol' mistake. For now, though, I'm calling it a win.

Total mileage weeks 2 - 5 (I run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday):

5-8-5-10-6 = 34
5-8-5-8-6 = 32
4.5-3.5-4-6-0 (cough cough cough cough cough) = 18
2 (cough)-0 (cough)-2 (cough)-14-6 = 24


I had a second half to this post but it's already far too long so you'll have to wait. Next time: peeing homeless men and running in the dark! I'm also planning to do a more thorough post on my training plan (which Meagan asked about) but that'll have to wait. Here are some pictures from the past few weeks to tide you over:


More Pisgah.

Such Pisgah. 

Pisgah can be muddy.

Spencer Butte.

It's bloom season! 

Bloom, baby, bloom!

Happy running!


  1. Boo, totally feel you. I feel like I haven't been 100% NOT sick in ages.

    So jealous of your gorgeous trails!! I would never want to miss a run either!!

  2. Hey! welcome back. I feel like I havent read one of your posts in a while. Those photos look gorgeous. Where are you and can I move there?! :)

  3. Oreos and gummy bears? Are you trail running twin? You got good taste lady. I hope your fantastic super luck/habits/genes/whatever returns soon! PS- Those flowering trees are gorgeous, I saw a few last weekend when I was in southern Oregon and I couldn't stop staring at how beautiful they are.

  4. Sorry to hear you were sick! Hopefully you're getting back to regular training this week. I've been sick a couple of times this year (what the heck - very unusual for me) and it's really thrown off my running. Good thing I don't have a 50K coming up. There's a longer trail race (25K) that I ran last June that I'm also planning to run this year and they have aid stations similar to an ultra. Last year they had an assortment of candy, chips, pretzels, and pb&j squares.

    As always, love the Oregon trail pictures!