I expected the final weeks of training for the Leadville Silver Rush 50-Miler to be difficult, and they’ve been every bit as challenging as expected — if not more.
Last week was certainly the most mentally challenging week, and getting sick on top of it didn’t help either. This week was a refreshing bounce back, however. A majority of the credit goes to friends from my running crew who picked me up mentally, as well as while on the trails. Debbie, Jim, Wael, Larry, Katie, Coleen, Shelley and a few others should take a little bit of extra pride in their role in what I expect to be a first 50-mile finish four weeks from today as they helped keep me on track mentally.
A reinvigorated mental approach needed a revamped physical effort, however, and slowly but surely the body recovered throughout the week.
Monday was a good start as I joined the MudBabe Mondays crew and took a quick 4.5-mile loop in reverse with Wael, Casey, Bryan and Tom. After that, it was off to dinner with Debbie and Jim.
Tuesday included five miles of hill repeats on Ogg and then chill time on the porch with Shelley.
Wednesday included 10 solo miles on the trail at Shawnee Mission Park. Then, Thursday was a de facto recovery day thanks to 13 1/2 hours at the office. Five miles Friday on the Lawrence River Trails were the low part of the week as humidity, dehydration and heavy legs caught up with me.
On Saturday, however, came a breakthrough. A 6:30 a.m. start and 84-percent humidity at Clinton Lake created exhausting conditions early. Good company — including Laurie, Gary and another half-dozen Trail Hawks — made the early miles more bearable, and then Sherrie and I settled into a steady rhythm the rest of the way for a 20.5-mile run in 4:45. I went through five liters of water — the most I’ve ever consumed during a run, ever. My body felt fatigued from the heat, but my legs felt fine.
Five more miles today on cranky knees closed out the week on both high and low notes. The high was that it gave me my second 50-mile week of training. The low was that the knees didn’t recover as well as expected.
Now, another week is in the books. For better or worse, four weeks from right now the race will be over. The coming week will be the final grueling week, featuring an eight-hour long run Saturday. The week after will include a four-hour long run. Then it’ll be time to taper until race day.
The countdown rolls on, and the finish line — both of training and of the race — is within reach. My legs and lungs are just about ready. They’d better be, because finishing is the only option.
According to weather.com, the average high temperature for July 15 in Leadville is 71 degrees and the average low is 38. The record high is 80; the record low is 32.
50 miles running (tied for biggest running mileage week ever)
599 miles running