Thursday, August 21, 2014

Autumn / Winter Dreaming

I find that I have been overusing the word "sweltering" in my running log this summer, but it's an accurate description of the past few months. Last summer was hot, but I was running in the rain at least two or three mornings each week, and I came to love those stormy runs. This summer, I can't recall running in the rain at all -- just suffocating humidity every single morning. I believe it was 94% today. Suffice it to say, I am dreaming of fall weather. When I am sloshing down the street looking as if I just went swimming in my running clothes and shoes, I am fantasizing about crisp cool air and effortless miles.

My consolation for most of the summer was that, hey, at least I wasn't training for a marathon. I still ran double-digits on the weekends, but I wasn't following a training plan and I certainly wasn't doing any speed training. I had the best intentions, but it's hard for me to run without a goal for that long. I started toying with the idea of a fall or winter 50k earlier in the summer, which was one of the reasons I kept up with my weekend long runs. About a month ago, I decided that the Tallahassee Distance Classic in December would be a good first ultra for me. I pulled up a 50k training plan, and started following it loosely on July 28. With kids' end-of-summer activities, I've had to make some modifications, but now that school is in session, it looks like I should be able to stick with it. 

I am using the UltraLadies 50K program. The best thing about this program is that every other week is a recovery week. Not only will my body be able to recover from the many 20+ milers, but so will my brain! Two weeks in between long runs, and I will have forgotten how hard the last one was.

As it turns out, the training plan has me scheduled for a 26-mile long run over Veterans Day weekend. Coincidentally, the Pensacola Marathon is the same weekend, and I have a friend who is making that race her first half-marathon. I ran the full in Pensacola in 2012. It's a tough course, but it's affordable and it's close to home. I decided to sign up for the 26.2, and I hope I can treat it as a training run instead of a race. So after the many times I swore I wasn't running a marathon this fall, I am completely eating my words.

I'd really love to race some shorter distances this fall, but it's hard to work those into a marathon / ultra marathon training schedule. Hopefully, with the week-on/week-off structure of my training plan, I will be able to run a few shorter races. 

Planning for chillier races has made these hot soggy mornings a little more bearable. I just hope all this humidity training pays off and makes me stronger.

This was only 2.5 miles into an 8-miler. Already drenched.

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