This week I did only the four runs that my training plan prescribed. Every other week (just by coincidence, not by design), I add a few miles to the plan, but on the other weeks I just stick to the four runs. Since the training is starting to ramp up, I think I might be doing more resting. We'll see.
I felt great all week. I wasn't excessively tired or fighting any MS symptoms. I experimented with some different shoes but I had some arch pain so I'm back in the Ravennas. I tried some other shoes on but I haven't found the next great thing yet.
Temps were steady: 33 to 36 degrees. Pace range was 9:26 to 10:16 on the long run (though I didn't stop the watch for a couple of stops, so pace was probably more like 10:10).
I promised to write something about my experiences with trail running. Last year, when Sean was getting excited about running trail ultras, I tried to follow suit. I did a bunch of runs in Callahan State Park, and I made a bunch of rookie mistakes. First, I tried to run too fast. It's rocky and rooty around here, and you need to have enough energy to pick your feet up. Way up. I fell countless times and lost four toenails. I was also trying to increase speed and mileage at the same time; a classic no-no. And thanks to an MS relapse about 6 years ago, my right foot isn't quite as responsive as my left, and especially when I get tired, it gets slow. On the trails it dragged a bit. After I injured my posterior tib (ankle) tendon in the fall, due in part to my stupid trail running experiment, I decided I just wasn't tough enough for trail running and swore it off. Road running is easier in some ways because the surface is predictable. Even if I get tired, I'm still really unlikely to trip on the road. And since I'm obsessed with being slow and with getting faster, the roads provide a much better platform for pace improvement (at least, right now).
Now that I'm in better shape (with a good 3-4 months of training between now and then), I see that my endurance is better and I could probably run better off-road. It would take longer for my right leg to get tired, and I think I could be less prideful about pace now and I wouldn't try to hold to 10:00 pace (which I consider slow on the road but really isn't too slow off-road). I think I could run 12:00 pace for 6-8 miles over tough terrain now. Maybe I'll try it again after the marathon, but for now I'm not doing anything that increases my chances of injury or lost toenails. I'm paranoid enough that marathon training will exacerbate my MS, so I definitely don't need anything else to worry about.
Here are the details for Week 5 (Jan 30 - Feb 5):
Tuesday: 3.5 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Saturday: 12 miles (longest run to date!)
Sunday: off (chased misbehaving 6-year-old around a museum - does that count as cross training?)
Wow, I can't believe I've made it through five weeks of training already. I know the first part is easier than the latter parts, but I'm happy that I feel really good so far. No excessive soreness, no MS symptoms to speak of. I remember when I was training for the half last fall, I was always so sore and could barely walk when I got up in the morning. I think I was just trying to do too much too soon for an old lady. Things are going much better this time around.
I just knocked on wood.