This weeks long run was almost identical to last weeks, only I threw two extra miles at the end to make it 18. The first 4 were on the way to Nat’s gym class in Green Point, then after our weekly cookie, we headed down towards Prospect Heights to meet up with John. As usual, I headed back down Kent, then followed Grand until Atlantic and Underhill to Sterling, where John was waiting for us on his stoop.
After a short break to grab a glass of water and admire the newly gardened back-yard, he and I (and a dozing Nat) headed toward the park. There was a brief stop at the Farmer’s Market, where I stocked up on bee pollen (I swear its done wonders for my allergies) and discovered all the dairy stalls were out of yoghurt.
I’d already run a little over 8 miles at this point, and this week I needed the company to help me keep going. I had originally planned to have a solitary long run this week, but after the 4 miles to Fort Green, I realized I was exhausted after a week where I slept 4-6 hours each night. And I’d managed to run almost 20 miles in the last 5 days with only one rest day, so was sort of running on empty. That’s when I decided I should text John and see if he was up for a run; I’d also love his company of course, so I figured I would only sort of be using him. Besides, I recently realized that I’ve known him longer than anyone else I regularly see. Nils is my oldest friend, from way back in pre-school, but we only really communicate a few times a year; M I obviously live with, but I met her a year and a half after John. I’ve known John for 15 years, and now that I type that it seems a bit crazy.
Anyway, company was just what I needed, and it worked wonders. The first loop of the park went so well that we did an extra half-loop at the bottom before heading back out near Grand Army Plaza. I dropped John back at his place after 6 miles (14 for me), then headed home. I knew the trip home would be around 2 miles, but I decided I wanted to push it to 18. I did 32 miles last week, with a long run of 16; this week I’d like to do 38, with a long run of 18, assuming I do a short 3 mile recovery run sometime tomorrow. Next week I’ll drop back to let myself recover, maybe 28 or 30 miles for the week, with a long run of 12, then go back to the high 30’s. That’s about what I’d like to stay at as a base, since it would leave me well set up for ultra, and pick up a marathon without too much trouble. To get the extra mile I threw in some tedious weaving about at the end (I miscalculated where to turn around, and had to do a lap around the block by the grochery story to get to 18).
Speaking of ultra training and base milage, I’ve decided to push back my ultramarathon goal from next October to next Spring. For one, the only really perfect race I could find fell on October 8th, M’s birthday, and I really don’t want to force that on her for her birthday. The other reason is that I’ve been reading Bryon Powell’s Relentless Forward Progress, and he strongly suggests a minimum of 4 months of a base of 30 miles a week before starting any ultra training. While I’ve done a few 30 mile weeks in the last few months, my base is closer to 24. Could I start training in two weeks for an ultra? Yes, but there’s no rush — if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right. The great thing about running, and ultra-running in particular, is that it isn’t a young person’s game. Most ultra runners seem to be in their 30’s and 40’s, ramping up slowly means a lower likelihood of injury. I want to be running when I’m 90, so I’m trying to take the big picture.
Besides, I actually love NOT being on a training schedule, and just running when I want to run. Its very free, very fun. Running should be fun. Life should be fun. Also, waiting for spring gives me a lot more race options, and hopefully the time to run a marathon (or two!) in between. Right now, however, I should go put some ice on my legs and clean up the kitchen. I finally got Angelica to sleep while I was typing. One of the benefits of having strong legs: I ran 18 miles today, and still managed to bounce her on my knee for 45 minutes until she nodded off.