With 2 weeks to go, it was time to get a test run in.
I have used the 25k loop at Afton for a few years now as a benchmark to my fitness level.
About 3 years ago when I first ran it, it wasn't pretty. I didn't know the course, I was alone, and it took more than 3 hours (a lot of walking).
I quickly got it down to 2:30 within that year, and that felt hard.
When I got the time down to 2:22, I thought I was going full speed.
Later that year, I did a 2:18. 2:15 later on hurt even more.
Last fall, I ran it with the Race Director for the event, and he made me work for it. 2:12 something. I was pretty pumped, but figured I would not be able to do that again for a while. I was in good shape then, and it was late in the year.
I knew I had a good one in me for today, and I needed the confidence booster. This Crossfit Endurance training has changed the way I run from an intensity standpoint. I was looking forward to hitting the big hills at Afton, and push through them.
I knew 20 minutes into the run this morning that it was going to be a good one. My body WANTED to run hard. That is something I am not used to.
While the hills were still hard, I recovered quickly on the flats, and was able to maintain a fast pace on them.
By the time I made it to the "Snowshoe Loop", I knew it would be close. I then had a thought in my head. If I don't beat my PR, some would say "see, your training is crap". That got me going. I ran that last hill. If you were anywhere near there, you would have hear me.
I came in at 2:10 something. A new record for me, and I did it alone.
A big day for me. Now I know that I have a certain level of fitness I was hoping for. Will it pan out for 100 miles? We will see. At least I know it works for 15.5 miles.
Was able to loop back around to see the "gang". Seems like everybody was out running.
Found Helen, Kami, and Karen S. Ran about 1/8 mile before I said "I'm done at this pace"
Found Zach and the usual suspects (Steve Q, Bill P, John G, Nolan, Todd R, and a few others)
The strength training definitely helps running those hills. This loop was not as hard as when I ran it 8 minutes slower.
I also don't have the "brute force" pain in my legs. Just muscle soreness.
The Zumbro runner field keeps changing, and getting better. I am psyched that "The Fireman" is back. I thought he was gone for good.
I bet Zach Pierce ends up running instead of working an aid station. He is feeling left out.
I would say it is time to taper, but one has to build up their mileage in order to taper. Time to dial back.