Yesterday (Monday) was a "Saturday" for me and on the schedule was an extra long run for my 100 miler coming up in less than five weeks. I decided I needed to do 7.5 hours and I chose to do it on the trails up and around Kennesaw Mountain. It's about a one hour drive up there, so I didn't actually hit the trail until 7:30 AM. The temperature was already 80 degrees with humidity to match, so I knew right away it would be a long day. I was wearing my Nathan hydration vest filled with water and carried a handheld bottle filled with Gatorade. The plan was to do 2-3 hour loops or out-and-backs with "aid station" stops back at the Visitor Center and my car for restroom breaks, refilling my water and Gatorade, and grabbing something to eat. The first loop took me up and over the summit of Kennesaw Mountain. I was able to maintain a good pace on this loop, 13-14 minute miles on the trails around the mountain and 21 minute miles on the actual rocky climb to the summit. The rest of the time I stayed on the trails around the mountain. These trails are a good approximation of the terrain on the most difficult sections of the Burning River course. Some climbs and descents, a little bit of technical terrain, but no mud. I was able to manufacture my own mud though. I was sweating so much that the sweat in my shoes combined with the dust of the trails to make a nice muddy paste.
This also turned out to be a heat acclimation run. By the end of the 7.5 hours the temperature was up to 92 degrees and the heat index was a sweltering 102. I did slow down a lot but still managed to keep my pace below the average that I'll need to maintain to complete the 100 miles in 30 hours. (Actually the course is 101.1 miles so the pace required is 17:48 minute miles)
As far as other training this week, here is what I did:
Sunday - 4.99 miles in one hour - 12:02 pace
Monday - 4.98 miles in one hour - 12:03 pace
Tuesday - 10.16 miles in two hours - 11:49 pace
Wednesday - 4.9 miles in one hour - 12:15 pace
Thursday - 15 miles in 3:22 - 13:28 pace. 10 miles running, followed by 5 miles of power walking. I realized that my blisters formed after I started walking a lot during my 24 hour event. So, I'm going to add a 5 mile power walk to the end of a medium run at least once a week to get my feet used to walking long distances.
Friday - 3 miles in 36:15 - 12:05 pace.
Saturday - 8.32 miles in two hours - 14:26 pace. "Hill" workout on hotel treadmill. Alternated half mile runs with half mile walks up an incline.
Sunday - 5.57 miles in one hour - 10:47 pace. Tempo run.
Monday - 27.14 miles in 7:30 - 16:35 pace.
I plan to do one more very long training run at Kennesaw Mountain in two weeks. I was looking for a trail 50K to do as a training run and I found The Skyline Challenge in Virginia. I'm still looking at the logistics and it doesn't look feasible right now, but there's still a chance I might do it. (I can't believe I'm considering a 50K as a training run, this ultra running thing does strange but fun things to you!)
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