In last week’s epic post (I promise this one won’t be as long – it was an epic post for an epic race!) I said that I hadn’t trained enough for UTA. Plain and simple. 
Now I am 6 weeks out from a road marathon in which I hope to qualify for Boston 2017. I don’t think I’ve trained enough for that either.
In between juggling training for UTA and Gold Coast, I would do silly things like sign up for the Australian Masters Athletics Championships (track running, not exactly ideal training for either big event) and the Clipsal Hot Lap, a 3km fun run on the Clipsal 500 track (in fairness I did podium at that one so I can sort of justify it – the trophy is pretty sweet).
So this week, last Sunday being 7 weeks to Gold Coast, I wasn’t really able to take the few weeks break that was recommended by veterans of The North Face/UTA 100. 
I had previously put my hand up to volunteer at this weekend’s Sturt Gorge trail race, knowing that I would not be in peak form to run it. Sort of to prevent me from being tempted. And looking at the photos from the event, I kind of would have liked to do it, but I know it would have been a struggle. Karen and I had fun on the drink station despite some people not quite understanding what ‘no cups’ means (for those wondering, it means “Please bring your own refillable cup/bottle/bladder so we can help save the environment by not using hundreds of disposable cups” not “Please feel free to drink directly out of the water casks”). Wendy, one of the people who had recommended a few weeks’ break, did the run – as so often happens in running, it’s a case of “Do as I say, not as I do”
I walked on Tuesday and Wednesday (the post-race fatigue hit me suddenly and with force just as I arrived at work on Tuesday – mental note, take Tuesday off next time! And yes I am aware I just said “next time”!
I ran for the first time on Thursday and despite my legs feeling really heavy at the start, I had a great run and by the end felt almost normal!
I went out on Friday and that was my first hill run since UTA. Karen and I took it relatively easy although we did run all the way up Heatherbank Terrace without stopping (it is a fairly steep, long hill).
On Saturday I went out to parkrun as usual, I was planning on doing around 25 minutes but that was actually a bit ambitious. I shouldn’t have really set myself a time goal – less than a week post UTA I should have been happy just to be running relatively comfortably!
Given that Sunday morning was to be taken up with the trail race and immediately after that I was heading to a Yurrebilla launch BBQ, I decided after parkrun to head down the coast for a long run. I decided to do 30k along the coast – 15k out and 15 back. My start/finish point was at a kiosk where I could get a post-run Coke. The turnaround was conveniently next to the Henley Surf Lifesaving Club where I could top up my water bottles (I happened to have some spare Gatorade powder on me – that was perfect because I find it easier to drink Gatorade than water on a run. So I was able to mix up some more Gatorade which got me through to the end.
I started OK, running the first 10k nonstop. I then started taking short walk breaks regularly (never more than 100m at a time) – on normal long runs there are always drink stops and road crossings so I’d never do a long run nonstop except in a race. I was pleased to have gotten through it and felt like I was back in marathon mode.
This coming week I have decided to add in a speed session to replace my Friday hill run. It makes perfect sense when you think that my goal race now is a fast marathon.
I definitely think that by juggling different types of running and events, I have really made it hard for myself! That’s why, for the next 6 weeks, all my runs will be focused on my ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston. That means no more trail running for the next 6 weeks. After that you’d be hard pressed to keep me away from the trails!