The end of August marks the end of the second 3rd of my yearlong progression. For a reason I cannot remember I decided to split this year into thirds instead of quarters and use that metric to analyse and plan and regroup for the next.
The beginning of this quarter , beginning in May, had a heavy focus on triathlon. One of my early goals at the beginning of the year was to complete three Olympic distance triathlon events. In the first triathlon I had back tire issues but completed it with extreme fatigue (read it here). The second triathlon I participated in was in the sweltering heat and humidity of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. I managed to have no bike, swim or running drama in that race and I got third out of four in the Clydesdale division.
The numbers from this part of my season obviously reflect a greater focus on spreading my training between the three disciplines of triathlon.
By the end of July I had finally figured out what I really wanted to challenge myself with at the end of the year.. my first race greater than a half, a 50k trail race. I was uncertain where I wanted to go for the end of the year giant goal, but I had been increasing my running mileage steadily each week in preparation. Additionally, I found I loved trail running and I began to merge that love into my love for hiking in the form of fast packing. I would realize that fastpacking would do more for preparing me for my ultra running conquest than I realized when I undertook this activity.
Because of the shift in my running goals, I dropped my last triathlon and settled into my focus on running. In August I found I had little time for riding my bike as my running plan called for steadily increasing longer runs that are very time consuming. I have continued to try to swim as I really enjoy distance open water swim, but my entire focus right now is in preparing myself for the difficult trail marathon I have, followed by Ragnar Tennessee two weeks later, followed by my 50 three weeks after that. Right now I live and breath ultra running and I am focused on preparing myself for this daunting undertaking.
At the beginning of the year my first running goal was 800 miles for the year. By the second week of August I had surpassed this mark and I am now almost to my second goal of 1000 miles for the year, especially since I am running around 50 miles a week currently.
I had big triathlon based goals at the beginning of the year to swim 100 miles and ride 1000 miles. These goals have shifted with the adoption of my ultra marathon aspirations. I miss cycling a bit and I plan to work to get a few more rides in this year, especially during my taper phases. The big push for the last third of the year though is on the big running races I have planned and all my training is focused on getting me across the finish line within the allotted time. At some point of this year I discovered while I am molasses slow, I love trail running and I love running for hours on end (my long runs usually take most of the day). I also enjoy the ultra runner community.
The third phase of the year will be difficult. Currently I am following my running plan and inching forward til I start my first taper at the end of September. Right now I just run and work on getting stronger. My long runs are now in the 18-24 mile range with a day after run of 5-10 miles. What used to be my long runs, runs of 5-10 miles are now my base daily miles. After finishing long runs I am no longer dead and spent. I have found life in distance trail running and I am looking forward to the third part of this year, the time when I finally get to rest and see the effects of my hard work. My third quarter of this year I am heading towards ultra. Til next time.