I've had a really solid string of runs since my last posting, so I thought I'd post them.
Wednesday last week: 10x400. First pure 400s workout since high school probably, but I can already tell a difference since doing it. I expected to average about 75s, but I averaged 72s. I did the first one in 70 since I wasn't paying attention to splits and then did most of the rest in 73s and then hit the last 2 in 71 and 68. I felt that I could've easily done 15 at my 72 average, but the schedule just called for 10 and I guess the point of a 400 workout isn't to totally trash my body. Having a little more speed than expected, especially on a crappy non-banked indoor track with sharp turns that probably cost me some time was definitely a good surprise.
Thursday last week: 10k. Did 10k in 37:50. Doesn't sound fast, but the course was at around 4700' elevation average and had over 600' of gain and drop, so it was extremely hilly. Didn't quite go race effort, but it still translates to an equivalent performance better than my atrocious PR of 35:08 (though when I ran my 35:08 i was capable of sub 34 if I hadn't run like a frickin retard and split the first 2 miles in 10:15...)
Friday last week: 10 miles in Denver since I was there for the Rachmaninoff Festival. Fairly hilly, but less than Salt Lake City, the equivalent of up and down 3/4 of the Boston Marathon's Heartbreak Hill each mile, IE WAAAAAY easier than the horrendous hills I hit on the trails here. Not a big effort, but put in 6:30s. Also, interesting to note that I walked approximately 12 miles on Friday since I had a hotel 4.5 miles out of downtown and walked the roundtrip in addition to walking around exploring the city for awhile... haha... Surprisingly, I felt that walking that far was somewhat strenuous and came to the conclusion that running a marathon anywhere above 7 minutes per mile would probably be less painful than walking one since I'm just not used to walking so far and it actually strains my quads after 12 miles. haha...
Saturday: no running, my off day, but walked about 10 miles, my legs felt awfully bad for walking that far.
Sunday: My pained quads recovered quickly, probably thanks largely to the 3-4 grams of hydroxymethylbutyrate I take daily. I did a 16 ish mile trail run (by 16-ish I mean that I had it logged as 16, but I think my GPS cuts it short in a few wooded sections, so it may have been a bit longer) in 1:58 with 2600' feet of gain. This translates to about 6:30s @ flat sea level, but the trail is pretty darn technical and has a lot of rocks, so the effort level for 6:30s is much higher here. I was keeping my heart rate right around 170 the whole way, but it dropped on a handful of really technical rocky downhills that were impossible to run at that effort due to the hazard of tripping involved with running that fast, so I averaged 168. I'm looking to be able to average right around the magic 170 at Vegas, so being able to hold it there for 2 hours without trashing myself with over a month and a half to train still was a very good sign. When I finished this run, I declared to my roommate that I thought it was the single best trail run I've ever had in Salt Lake City.
Today, Monday: 7 miles. I said I'd go easy and I did, well, for the first 5 miles at least. I ran on a really good treadmill that I actually believe is credible (in the past, specific paces between here and a track at the same elevation have matched exactly for heart rate values). I did the first mile in 7:00 flat and it felt like a total joke, so I did the next 4 in 6:30s (I was running at a 6:31 and just cranked it every once in awhile to knock a second off each mile). By mile 5, which I hit in 33:00, I was getting bored with the super easy pace (not to mention that my heart rate was barely at 160, which is literally the effort I was able to put in for just over 9 hours in my super tough last 50 miler), I ran mile 6 in 5:59, which surprisingly only brought me to a 172 heart rate. As you recall, last week, a 172 was getting 6:17s or something at this elevation, but I literally feel like my strength is multiplying on a daily basis. I could tell that my legs were running really fast at this point but it just felt insanely effortless. Anyway, after mile 6, it still felt pretty easy, so I cranked up the pace some more for the last mile. I was going to do it in somewhere around 5:30, but I just kept upping it and finished the last .2 at 4:40/mile, so I did mile 5 in 5:21 for a total of 42:20 or an average of 6:20 per mile. I had been wondering if my heart rate monitor was slightly off, but I got up to 190 in the final bit of the run and while it felt very strenuous, I was definitely not maxed, so I believe it actually was accurate and 6:31s really did correspond to a sub-160 effort. Oh, and yes, the treadmills I run on here actually go faster than 12 mph... They actually go to 15 mph, so when I feel like cranking out a 4:00 mile on a treadmill, I can do it... haha... Either way, going harder at the end of a 7 mile easy run doesn't seem detrimental to me. I did it for a short enough period of time that my legs don't have to recover or anything and I'll still get to reap some rewards from working on my speed.
One other note, the fact that I held a 161 for my last trail 50 and that 6:30s on flat corresponds sub 160 BPM heart rate does NOT mean I'm going to go run 6:30s for 50 miles. (My current marathon PR is only 6:36/mile, so that should be obvious.) I guess what that means is that my cardiovascular system is capable of doing a 50 that fast, it's just that my legs are nowhere near strong enough to withstand that pace for so long. On the trails, I'm not running as fast, so my legs don't really break down the same way and I'm able to withstand a much higher effort level and cardiovascular taxation. I've talked to bikers who can hold 180+ heart rates for 4+ hours, which would be unfathomable for running, but it's simply due to the fact that the bikers aren't pounding their legs into oblivion on asphalt. Trail running is the same thing. The insane hilliness on a course like Mt Dis 50 prevents one from running fast and therefore prevents the legs from getting destroyed (given good hillwork of course), but the effort level remains pretty high for a very long period of time.