Coming off a solid weekend where I ran 25miles (3.5hrs) in the Canyon on Saturday and 18miles on a mix of trails & roads on Sunday, I was feeling really good about where my training was going. Then came Monday. Despite traveling for work, I managed a solid 10miler on single track on the Black Canyon Trails in Phoenix, but honestly, I just didn't feel quite right. As the week wore on, my schedule ramped up at work (along with my stress levels) so my running really took a nose dive. Not only did I feel to physically tired to run, but mentally, I just didn't have it. That's just not like me.. but I guess it happens.
Leading up to my Saturday run in the Canyon, my weekly mileage was at a pathetic 23miles. Funny thing is, I felt like I had put in 120miles of hard running.. I was tired.
Saturday morning came and I ended up meeting up with a couple of my running buds - - Erin Hutchinson (one of the original Canyon Runners) & Ace Baty (a wild man who is known for his epic solo adventures). We met up with Jared Scott at the Canyon and start dropping down S. Kaibab as the sun started to come up. The first 1/2 mile was wicked slick, but after that the trail was only icy in spots. As such, we kept the pace very conservative and just "shot the breeze".
Excluding a couple flat sections, we kept the pace really mellow and ending up hitting the River in about 57min. Not a bad time considering we had it in cruise most of the way.
At that point, we started to split up.. Erin turned back for the Rim, while Ace, Jared, & I headed for Phantom. On the run over to Phantom, I knew I was in for a long climb out. My legs were heavy and my energy felt low. At that point, I decided to shoot for running in the neighborhood of 75min from the River to the Rim. My thought was that if I could run that pace feeling like I do today, I should be able to run that almost any time.
Before I knew it, we had our water bottles refilled.. gels consumed.. and we were on our way back up. Right out of the gate, I knew that I wouldn't see much of Jared. He had quickly taken the form of a mountain goat and was flying up the steep climb as if it was an escalator. I had chosen a more cautious approach and was simply dropping into "grind mode". I knew I was going to be battling just to keep a solid pace, so I just started grinding out the miles.
Most of the run was a blur excluding the stops for the mule trains. I kept my effort constant and my pace seemed to follow. As I pushed up the final few steps, I looked at my watch and saw 1:15:03. Considering both my mental and physical states.. I'll take it.
What now???.. My goal over the next few weeks is to get things going. I am trying not to put too much pressure on my training.. but at the same time trying to focus on "just running". My hope is that work will subside a bit over the next 4 to 6 weeks and I will be able to get a little better balance with the training. Time will tell.. until then.. "just run"..