The last 2 weeks have been incredibly light, mileage-wise.
The week of 7-20 was a bit unintentional, but after barely sleeping all week surrounding Badwater and spending a bit too much time in the sauna prepping for Mt Dis, without taking salt and probably getting a little bit dehydrated, my body was incredibly fatigued all week and I couldn't run all that well, so I had my lowest mileage week of the year.
Monday 7-20: 0 miles: Felt like crap, rested (maybe related to 20-26 minutes a day in the sauna for the last 4 days?)
Tuesday 7-21: 7 miles Was going to do a good track workout, ended up doing 1.5 warmup, 2x2 in horrible splits (11:30 range) with unbelievably high heart rate (up to high 180s, where as I can normally do 3 2 milers in about 11:15 keeping my heart rate in the 170s), so I called it a day before I hurt myself and just did another 1.5 cooldown very slowly. The fatigue and dehydration was the culprit I think.
Wednesday 7-22: 0 miles: felt like crap, rested
Thursday 7-23: Super easy 8 mile, avoided hills as much as possible, still over 8 minutes a mile
Friday: 12 miles Deseret News 10k plus long warmup and cooldown (about 3 a piece), felt like I wasn't affected nearly as much, but still split poorly and didn't run the kind of time I expected (35:08)
Saturday: 0 miles: woke up and felt like garbage, legs hurt worse than after most marathons.
Sunday 0 miles: legs were still a little sore, definitely could've run, but didn't want to push it with Mt Dis coming up.
Weekly total: 27 miles, but you know what, doing more would've been stupid. I felt sick (headaches, sneezing, coughing) and I was totally fatigued, so training hard would've set me back a lot.
Week of 7-27-09: This was a low mileage week as well (41 miles), but there was a lot of running that directly prepped me for Mt Dis and I covered an unbelieveable amount of elevation, so I'm actually quite happy with it. Doing anything very high mileage would've been a bad idea with the race coming next weekend and it would be too late to get much benefit from high mileage training anyway. What I focused on was mountains and confidence building runs. My energy levels seemed to be back, so while I had taken off the sauna training after last Monday, I started it again this Monday at lower levels (15-20 minutes a day at what I believe is ~185 degrees, enough to get some benefit, but not enough to mess me up)
Monday 7-27-09: 6 miles: Super super high intensity tempo on trails, was actually about a mile of warmup and a mile of cooldown sandwiching 4 incredibly intense miles. I threw in one of the steepest hills, covering only 5 or 600 feet of gain, but doing it at an average of 30-35% grade, hitting as high as 50%. I'm usually just happy to run the whole thing without stopping, so I was putting up 14:00/mile with a heart rate in the low 180s for most of the hill until the very end which levels to an easier 20% grade, which I ran pretty hard. I ran really hard for the rest of the run and managed to average in the 7:40s/mile, which sounds slow, but is still quite fast for a run with this much gain (about 1200 feet total in 4 miles). Average HR was mid 170s, max was 191 (pushed REALLY hard at the end), total gain: 1200 feet
Tuesday 7-28-09: 6 miles: 1.5 warmup, 1.5 cooldown, 3 miles of increasing pace on a track. Decided not to push the track workout hard at all compared to normal this week. Splits were 6:12, 5:46, 5:10. HR got to 181 on the 2nd mile, which is about 4 or 5 BPM higher than it should've been, but not nearly as high as the previous week and I've found that I can sustain higher heart rates for longer periods of time lately, so it wasn't a big deal. I hit 188 on the last mile, but I would've expected at least mid 180s at that pace, so it didn't really scare me to get that high.
Wednesday 7-29-09: 6 miles: Total quality run here despite the shortness: 5.5 in 72 minutes plus a quick cooldown. Sounds slow? That's because I covered 2350 feet of gain and loss, literally just running straight up a mountain and back down. That corresponds to about 43000 feet of gain over a 100 mile course. Hardrock, the hardest legitimate 100 miler in this country (not counting Barkley, which isn't really a real race) has something like 33000 and I'm willing to wager that the trails I did this on are WAY more technical than any part of that course (consider that in my slowest portion of the descent, it took me roughly 15 minutes to do a single mile since the course was so treacherous). I never stopped, walked, or anything, which doesn't sound all that impressive, but when the ascent takes 40 minutes and my average heart rate during that period is somewhere around 175-180 (well above 180 at the peak, where it's the steepest), I felt like that was an accomplishment.
Thursday 7-30-09: 9 miles: I decided up to up the ante from Wednesday and did 7 miles with a 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown. I scaled 1 500 foot mini-peak, went down the backside, came back up, and then linked over to hit the same ascent I had done the previous day. Total was nearly 3000 feet of gain, once again never walked, which I was very proud of. However, that seemed to be a bad idea since I rolled my ankle fairly badly attacking one downhill and just kept running through it, which has made it somewhat sore for a couple days. Oh well, lesson learned, and at the very least, it built a heck of a lot of confidence for me.
Friday 7-31-09: 2 miles: Jogging pace, ankle was pretty sore, total gain: 100 feet.
Saturday 8-1-09: 7 miles: 75 minutes, 2200 feet of gain, high effort, ran a well groomed but steep trail the whole way except for one portion of descent that was so miserable that 1 mile took 20 minutes. I ran the whole way except a couple sections of the downhill, which could've caused me to fall off a cliff if I ran them (doesn't sound fun). While running a part of the downhill that I shouldn't have been running, I tripped on a rock, scraped the crap out of my right leg, splashed my perpetuem bottle open all over me (mostly my face), and literally flipped and rolled, so I'm lucky I didn't get hurt too badly. I stopped my watch and sat there to collect myself for a minute or 2 and carefully finished the descent before tempoing the finish back home as hard as I possibly could. Max HR 187, broke 185 on 3 different portions of the run.
Sunday 8-2-09: 5 miles: easy, did the loop around the outside of the neighborhood, which unfortunately still has at least one huge hill no matter how you run it, total gain: 700 feet.
Total: 41 miles, roughly 9500 feet of gain, about 8750 of that coming within 23.5 miles (Mt Dis is 8700 feet in 50 miles, so this is a major confidence booster). Overall, low mileage, but some extremely high quality. If I was doing all road running this week and spent the same amount of time at an equal effort level, I'd have done roughly 70 miles, so I consider this to be the perfect amount of running the week before my race.
Mt Dis 50 is coming up on Saturday and I think it should go well. I'd love to finish this in under 9 hours and I think it's definitely possible, but we'll have to wait and see. Times in ultras are extremely dependent on how hard the course is and I hear nothing but bad things about this one, so I don't want to get my hopes up. Only one person (Jorge Pacheco, who has the 2nd fastest time ever at Badwater, and the 2nd fastest ever trail 100 time, 13:16) has broken 8 hours here (he did a 7:42 last year), though some people with comparable marathon and 50 times to me have broken 9, so I think it's possible if I race well. Part of this race for me will be in experiment in blocking out what my body tells me and listening only to what my GPS/HR watch says. I've actually had a lot of success with it in training lately where I'll start to feel like crap going up a big hill, look down at my watch and see that my heart is still going at a maintainable rate and I can actually convince myself that I don't hurt as much as I know I do and keep going without lowering my effort. I have the feeling that that sort of mind-set will come into play a lot over the last 19 miles (with gradual 2000 foot climb without shade from 31 to 40 and a nasty 2000 foot climb in the last 5 miles), so if I can keep my mind from breaking down at all, I think I should do well. I'll just blast some good angry tunes from mile 31 onward and hope it's enough. :)