On tap for the past week was a recovery / reset week. 40 miles. 4 runs.
Monday was a lap of Falcon Trail, 13 miles. I went counter clockwise and managed to get under 60 minutes for the second time ever for the first half. Effort fell off after that though and I wore out. Tried to remember that it was supposed to be an easy week. Managed a 1:52:XX which is still fairly speedy for me. In fact I think in my top 5 fastest laps.
Wednesday: 15 miles on Santa Fe Trail. Had a tempo type effort in mind. Starting at Northgate and headed North for 7 1/2 miles, turned and came back. First 5 miles at an 8 min avg. Difficult but manageable. Next 5 miles at an 8:30 pace. Last 5 miles at a 7:30 average. This was tough, especially the second to last mile which has some rollers in it. But I pulled it together and pushed out the last mile to get the overall average back to 7:30. All told it was 15 miles total at an 8 min avg.
Thursday: an easy 4 miles out the back of the apartment where I live where there are some winding single track trails through some open space and a pond. A beautiful Spring morning with mist coming off the pond.
Friday: Mt Herman - 8 miles. This run has kicked my butt recently. A combination of icy and snowy trails, mental weakness on my part and some fatigue mixed in there too. Today it was pay back time. The snow and ice was 90 to 95% gone from the trail. I had no excuses. I started out with the initial 1600' climb up the 1 1/3 mile to the summit, pushing hard, not looking at my watch. Made it up in a good time. I had actually forgotten what my Summit PR was. Later I discovered I had taken about 45 seconds off that.
From the Summit I made my way down the trail and got to work on trying to maintain a steady effort and really get after it when I could. My next reference point is after I have come off Herman, connected to Mt Herman road for 1/4 mile and rejoined another trail that takes me to the South (high point) entrance to Limbaugh Canyon. I got to the high point and I was noticeably faster there than I thought I had ever been before. A nice boost to my confidence.
I pressed forward and with 5 miles to go I knew that with maintaining my steady effort I should be able to get a new PR. The first creek crossing comes at near the half way point. With 4 miles to go I knew I had a chance to not only get a PR - but maybe even come close to a long ago established goal of beating 1:45. That would have been about 4 1/2 minutes better than my best ever. I was now determined to go for it. 2 more stream crossings in the next 2 miles and I just ran through them rather than using the fallen log bridges nearby them. The last crossing was a bit foolish to run through as it was about 20' long and knee deep. The added weight to my shoes and the wetness made my feet slide all over the place for a while until the water wrung itself out.
2 miles to go and the traverse around the front of the mountain. Lots of uphill's here where many laps prior I have resorted to walking a lot of the ups. Not today. I dug deep and kept working. A half mile to go and a mean little uphill that reminds me that Mt Herman is not an easy run and will fight me to the end. But after that it is downhill. I looked at my watch. Then looked again. Wow....if I push then I can come in with a time that would be awesome in my mind. Hammer down.
8 miles. 2345' of gain. Not only did I beat 1:45. I crushed it. A new PR of 1:39:52.
Mt Herman will, I'm sure, win a few more rounds in future runs. But Friday was a victory for me, taking 9 1/2 minutes off my previous best. I was ecstatic, still am. Until today - as I write this - but today's lap of Mt Herman is for next week's post. As this week I am aiming for 70 miles. Due to work and other commitments - will try to do 70 miles this week in 4 runs.