Sitting at roughly 11 weeks out from the Ouachita Trail 50 Mile, I’ve managed to put in some good work lately. I’m slowly building my base this training block and stepping up the miles, time, and elevation. The last 2 weeks I’ve had a couple long runs that have gone almost perfect. My base is officially under way! The next phase in this training block will be 2 things, speed and elevation. Not at the same time but separate workouts that will micro stress the body into growth.
My first run of the week was a relaxed 30 min run. I ran along part of the Razorback Greenway, in a recently completed trail (Niokaska Creek Trail) near Gulley Park. The trail has a nice smooth flow about it and is one of my go-to’s, clear my head spots. It was a slow run for me, pace at 8:30-9min/mile.
Over the week a massive cold front had moved in, and the temperature dropped, dropped, and then dropped some more. By the time for my next run the temp was in the single digits. In Arkansas that’s not a norm. Friday morning when I started my run, it was 7 degrees with snow and ice on the ground. 7 degrees! Need I say I was bundled up! 3 layers with a down jacket, and all the keep me warm items I have. After 2.5 hours the workout ended at 13.89 miles and 2,956ft of gain. KMRs once again, the best elevation bang for your buck in NWA without getting on the trails. Adding this elevation workout right before my 3-hour long run is crucial for the legs to get used to the stress they are going to endure. Now time for food, water, and long run fun! Oh yeah, I never warmed up during the run. Burrrr!
The next day (Saturday) rolled around, and it was time to get out there for 3 hours. Waking up and getting out the door I didn’t feel any real soreness, just fatigue. I went out to Lake Wilson, there are quite of few gravel roads out there. It is mostly rolling hills mixed with a few flats and one decent climb. 12 degrees was the wonderful temp I got to start with. Once again, layered up with a down jacket. My goal for this 3-hour run was to set a pace and keep it. I was cold and I was excited, so I started in the 8-8:30 range, and I was going out to hot. After looking at my watch for the first time at mile 3, I said, “Oh well here we go!” Now just hold that pace without absolutely ruining my long-term plan. Staying the 8-8:30 range for 3 hours is within reason for me given the elevation profile I researched beforehand. The fatigue started to set in around 17 miles, and I was starting to feel all the elevation from the day before. Knowing that I had 35 or so minutes left I was ready to call it a day. I was cold, tired, hungry, and starting to feel the pain. Calling it a day was the easiest option, so then why didn’t I? When the pain comes, that’s when I can gain the most from what comes after the pain. That is when the growth comes! I read a quote in 2014 and it has stuck with me ever since.
“THE LAST THREE OR FOUR REPS IS WHAT MAKES THE MUSCLE GROW. THIS AREA OF PAIN DIVIDES THE CHAMPION FROM SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS NOT A CHAMPION. THAT’S WHAT MOST PEOPLE LACK, HAVING THE GUTS TO GO ON AND JUST SAY THEY’LL GO THROUGH THE PAIN NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.”-Arnold Schwarzenegger
It relates to more than just muscles to me, I use it in all walks of life. I pushed forward and finished my 3-hour run at 21.18 miles and 8:28 pace. The pain was temporary but the reward for sticking to it, I got to add a deposit to toughness bank. The bank I need to keep making deposits into as I go up against my longest race in 11 weeks (OT50).
Weekly Recap: 6 hours, 38.5 miles, and 4,288 feet of gain.
Here is my Strava link from my 3-hour run!