Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 in Review

11 months down, one to go!

Mileage Recap

A year ago - November 2011: 148
January: 181.21
February: 86.84
March: 6
April: 89.59
May: 128.43
June: 137.72
July: 200.1
August: 177.48
September: 230.85
October: 270.09
November 2012: 152.91

Interesting thing #1: I ran more miles this November than last November even though this month I only ran 17 times and last year I ran 21 times.

Interesting thing #2: A third of this month's mileage was done in a single day. Crazy.

Cross Training Recap

109.55 miles road cycling
1 boxing class

A pathetic month of cycling for sure but for good reason! For one, its not worth putting the extra strain on my knees. Secondly, its freaking cold out man! Do you know what you don't do when you cycle? Warm up. 30 degrees, no thank you.

I finally had the energy to go back to boxing. I went three days before JFK, which meant that I was monumentally sore the next day and even still a bit sore at the starting line. I think I needed the extra core strength though.

What went well

Um duh, I ran 50 freaking miles! Looking back JFK still seems so surreal, like an out of body experience. I wish I could ingrain it in my memory more, but when I think about the last five months I start thinking less of the actual race day and more about all of the training miles I put in. That's where the work comes in. Waking up early 6 days a week to run in the summer humidity or the crisp fall breeze. Trudging through 20+ miles every weekend. Sure, I'm proud to have crossed the finish line, btu I'm also proud of the 20 weeks leading up to it.

What didn't go well

The knee thing. Luckily I have actually "enjoyed" not running much in the past two weeks. I put that in quotes because I'm actually not sure if I really don't care about not running or if I'm just too busy to care. I have a feeling that next week after I turn in some of my papers and have a breather that I will be dying to run again and be super dramatic if I can't.

The rest has been good though, both mentally and physically. Imagine if I trained for two big races a year and put in five months of training for each. That's 10 months a year in training. So a break is nice every so often and I appreciate not feeling like I have to get up and run at 5 am before work.

That said, I did run one whole pain free mile this morning. I diligently rested my knees all week. I even stopped crossing my legs when I sat down to remove any stress on the knee cap. I iced, I stretched, and adding quad strengthening exercises. All in all the knees feel good. Running one mile probably isn't enough to tell whether they are really good to go, but its a start!

December 2012 Goals

I've got nothing planned for December. Its wide open, which I really think I will like. I think I am going to start a new training cycle in January so I want to relax this month as much as possible. Goals are to:
  • Continue resting when I feel my body needs it
  • Core work, stretching, and PT exercises every night
  • No specific mileage goals
  • Start finalizing spring 2013 racing schedule
  • Enjoy many holiday treats
  • Get to the pool
  • Go to a yoga class

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

High Word Count Not High Mileage

So I'm having some knee issues. Surprisingly (or fittingly) its not the knee I effed up at JFK and continued to run 40+ miles on. That knee feels great. It's the left knee. It's always the left. Silly weak left side.

Anyways, I had my first post-JFK run last Wednesday, four days out from the race. I ran 4 super slow miles (11+ minute miles for real son) and felt pretty good other than some fatigue in my legs. The next day, Thanksgiving, I set out to tackle 6 miles at no particular pace. The first 4.5 felt incredible. The last 1.5 I wanted to die. Both of my knees where screaming with sharp pains and it even hurt to walk around the rest of the day. On Friday I tried to run and made it half a block before turning around. On Sunday I felt better and I was having no problems walking so I tried to run again. I felt pretty good until mile 1.5 and then the discomfort started, which turned into more discomfort, which eventually turned into pain. FAIL.

Normally not being able to run irritates the shit out of me. My mood goes to crap. I start threatening in my head to quit my job and sit home and sulk. Luckily this is not my first time to injury ballpark. I think the first injury is always the worst. I was out for a full six weeks in the spring, gained a bunch of weight, got depressed, and overall was not a happy person to be around.

Obviously I hope that I'm not sitting out for 6 weeks this time, but if it ends up being one or two I can't get that upset about it because 1) I did just run 50 miles and should give myself a break and 2) "Luckily" for the next 14-15 days I have some other things that need attention. Things that really have not been getting attention due to JFK training. Those things would be homework. Specifically two 25 page papers, a 30 minute powerpoint presentation, and a final exam that needs studying for.

I take absolutely no pleasure knowing that I will definitely be spending at least the next 8 days of my life sitting in front of a computer working on these (goodbye weekend), but I'm treating it like an unwelcome 25 mile run: It will suck. It will feel like its taking forever. I will get frustrated and want to take a break. But I will do it.

Hopefully after all of thats over my body will feel fully recovered and allow me to start racking up the miles again. Until then its research, write, ice, stretch, roll, research, write, and repeat.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Run When I Felt Invincible

It was exactly two years ago this Thanksgiving that I went out for a run in DC and ran 4.6 miles - the farthest I had ever run. At that time I had been running 2-3 miles a few days a week for two months. I was still a brand new runner. For whatever reason Thanksgiving Day seemed like the perfect time to try and break the 3 mile barrier. I remember feeling challenged, but even more so I remember feeling liberated. Like I was breaking through my own body's expectations. Going outside the box. Pushing my body and mind and enjoying the hell out of every second of it. A part of me felt like I could run forever.

Very few runs have left a smile on my face that big and on that day a very tiny seed was planted. A seed that a few days later lead me online looking for half marathons in the spring. Before that I had never had any desire to race or run any longer distances. I guess you could say that November 25, 2010 was the day the crazy started.

Last year a few days before Thanksgiving I ran my first marathon in Philly. This year, I entered the same holiday having just completed a 50 mile race. Lately its been easy for me to lose sight of the meaning a single mile can have. My perception has changed. The mileage bar has been increasing. But regardless of whether you're breaking through your 3 mile wall or your 50 mile wall, the overwhelming feeling of pride and satisfaction is the same. You did this. You succeeded. You finished.

I've got some big plans for 2013 and I look forward to this time next year when I can look back and remember where it all started.

Run long and be merry my friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The 50 Mile Training Plan

"But Kristin how many times did you say you weren't using a training plan??"

I know, I know, and technically I didn't use a training plan, but that doesn't mean one didn't evolve on its own. Life tends to be a lot of pattern. Wake up, shower, go to work, go to class, go home, study, eat, sleep, repeat. So it was no surprise that even without a firm training plan I ended up doing a lot of the same things week by week.

This post is for anyone who was ever thinking about running 50 miles and wants to know what I did. I should also mention that even though I didn't use a prescribed plan that doesn't mean I completely made everything up. By the time July rolled around and I started training I had already read tons of blogs and books about how to train for a 50 mile run. So, here are the basics:

  • 20 week training cycle: Prior to day one of training I was holding steady at about 45 mpw. 17 weeks of build, 3 weeks of taper. For the first month I tried to hit 50 mow, the second month 55, the third month 60, and the fourth month 65-75.
  • Back-to-back long runs: The cornerstone of any ultra training plan. A typical weekend included a long run of 16-25 miles on Saturday and 10 miles on Sunday. I usually decided what my long runs would be the week of.
  • Weekday runs: For the first two months I ran five days per week - three weekdays and both weekend days. Over the three weekdays I usually tried to hit 25 miles total. In my third month of training I decided to start running six days a week and made every Monday a rest day. I feel like my training really started in the third month and I felt much more focused. Since I added the extra day of running I now focused on hitting 30 miles during the week instead of 25. 
  • Double days: Every week I had one double day with an AM and PM run that usually totaled between 10-13 miles.
  • Cutback weeks: Every two to three weeks I tried to cut back my weekend mileage and give my legs a rest.
  • Peak month: I went into my fourth month with a pretty good idea of how I wanted things to look. I knew I wanted to run a marathon and 10 miles the day afterwards (I ended up with a huge PR and was so sore I could only make it 6), back-to-back 20 milers the next weekend, and close out my peak week with a 50 mile weekend (20 Saturday/30 Sunday). Everything went really smoothly and I got through the fourth month according to plan, peaking at about 75 miles in the final week.

The important thing to note is that while a pattern did evolve, not having anything firmly written down meant that I didn't stress over the exact numbers each week. If my goal was to run 30 miles between Tuesday and Friday I could get do it in whatever increments I felt like. And if I felt an injury coming on I could back off completely and skip mileage all together. I learned all too well last spring that having a training plan written down just doesn't work for me. My head gets too wrapped around on hitting the goals and I injure myself.

I was very nervous going into this training cycle without a plan. I am an OCD planner by nature so going blindly into this was a big step for me. Thankfully it worked out great and I plan to use the same strategy in the future!

How do you feel about training plans? Do you use one for every race you do? Or do you just "wing" it?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Pattern Revealed: JFK 50 Recap

The Pattern:

A year and a half ago I was training for my first half marathon and it couldn't have gone better. On race day I was on target to meet my sub-2 hour goal until I hit the last 0.5 mile, which ended up being a monster hill and I just couldn't handle it. I finished, but behind schedule. Six months later I ran my first full marathon. Again, near perfect training, but that didn't stop me from developing an odd quad cramp at mile 7 (mile 7 man!) that again ruined my time goal. So I really shouldn't have been surprised when things didn't go exactly according to plan for my first 50 mile race. The first time is, apparently, never the charm.

The Recap:

My sister, husband, and I drove down to western Maryland from Philly on Friday afternoon, picked up my packet, checked into our hotel, and got dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant. Miso soup, avocado rolls, and salmon teriyaki is just what I needed.

I slept surprisingly well and woke up on my own around 4 am, feeling a little anxious, but still not nervous. I ate a banana and bagel with jam and we were out the door. My race day outfit had been pretty cemented, but when we walked outside the hotel and saw frost I was having second thoughts. We drove to Boonsboro High School for the pre-race meeting and I put on a warmer zip up with plans to change into my lighter long sleeve later in the day.

Me and Caitlin at the start line

We walked the half mile or so to the start line and then I began looking for Abbi and Alyssa. I found Abbi pretty quickly and we were mid-conversation when the starting gun went off and all of a sudden we were running.

Abbi and I starting the race

The race is split into three segments: 15.5 miles on the Appalachian Trail, 26.3 miles on the C&O, and 8.4 miles on the roads. We had a steady 2+ mile climb to get to the AT. The cold temperature kept me moving pretty steadily and I only walked once or twice near the top because I feared I was going out to fast. This is also about the time I lost Abbi in the crowd. It felt good to finally get on the trail and it didn't seem any rockier than the trail I had been running on near my house.

At mile 3 something we hit a paved section in the woods. If you want to see a picture of this hill check out Alyssa's recap. Not a single person was running this part and I was leaning over my things trying to catch my breath. After I reached the top and got back on the trail there was a lovely gentleman telling us that we were at mile 5.3, which may not seem like a big deal in a 50 mile race, but I remembered from the elevation map that we peaked around mile 5 so I was happy to know that the hilly part was pretty much over.

I was bounding through the woods at a pretty good pace, passing a lot of people, and feeling like a rock star. The 9.3 mile aid station came in no time at all and then it was just a 10k to the Weverton, where we would exit the trail and I would see Mike and Caitlin again. 6 miles didn't seem bad at all, but the course got rockier and rockier and after I tripped a few times I sufficiently scared all of the confidence out of myself. I probably wouldn't have had as many issues if I had done more training on trails, but it was what it was.

It was around mile 10 that I also began noticing my right knee hurting a bit. I had first noticed it around mile 8 as I was bounding over logs and leading with my right leg. It began to bother me more so I tried to slow my pace and not tweak it anymore. The last two miles on the AT I thought were a real killer. The rocks were so sharp that even in my trail shoes my feet were aching. I kept almost twisting my ankle and I was near tears a few times because I was so frustrated. Finally I reached the famous switchbacks and I could hear the crowd in Weverton. I was impatient to get to the bottom, but I had to keep it slow so I wouldn't break my neck.

If you love rocks, this trail is for you
I was so excited to see Mike and Caitlin. After a swig of Gatorade and some animal crackers I grabbed Mike and we were off to tackle the canal portion. I also took an Advil here, which is important to note because I never ever take pain medicine while running out of fear for my health. From here on out the plan was to just focus on getting to next aid station, which were spread 2.5-4 miles apart, and take something to eat and drink at every single one. It felt great to get on flat terrain and not have worry about constantly looking down to avoid the rocks.

We started going at a pretty decent pace. By mile 16 I realized how sore I actually was. How many 20 mile runs did I do in training and I'm sore by mile 16? What the hell!? We hit the next aid station at mile 18 and that's when I realized my knee might turn into a real problem. I had already been running about 10 miles on it with some discomfort, but it was clearly getting worse. We continued to run, stopping maybe every 10 minutes to walk for a minute, but I noticed that it starting hurting more to start running again, so I tried to keep running for as long as possible until I couldn't take it anymore. Mike was great about just talking my ear off and keeping me motivated, but around mile 23 I started to break down into tears a little bit. Soreness I can take, but the knee pain was becoming excruciating.

The next spectator/crew point was at mile 27. At that point I was feeling better since I knew I was over the halfway point and I had fewer hours of running left than I had already done. Mike and Caitlin were absolutely brilliant at this aid station. It was like Nascar. In 2 minutes they had my shoes switched along with my chip tag through my laces, my bib removed, my shirt changed, and my bib re-pinned.

Mike stopped pacing me here and Caitlin jumped on course. My spirits were immediately lifted since I hadn't seen my sister in a few months and I knew we had tons to catch up on. I told her about my knee and asked her to just talk to me. I felt much better for the next couple of miles, but by mile 34 I was deteriorating again. My mind was so wrapped around the physical pain that I felt much more exhausted than I think I should have been. I started slurring my words at one point and lost all energy to talk.

At mile 38 we saw Mike again and I took another Advil. My spirits were lifted slightly knowing that the canal portion was almost over. Oddly enough it wasn't the monotony of this section that killed me, but the focus on my knee. We reached mile 41.8 about 20 minutes after 3 pm, which meant we had to wear the so-called "vests of shame." It didn't really bother me to wear it. I rather not be hit by a car if I was going to be out after dark.

There was a good sized hill getting off the canal that we walked up, but after that so called "scary" rolling hills were a piece of cake and we ran all of them. Out of the entire race I felt my best during these last 8 miles. My knee pain was by no means gone, but knowing I had single digits left plus the fact that now my whole body was in pain which made the knee stand out less, made getting through it a little easier.

At mile 44 a girl caught up to Caitlin and I and it turned out to be Alyssa! I was so so happy to see her! I knew we had similar time goals going into this race, but since I hadn't seen her on the canal I figured we wouldn't end up getting together. Caitlin left me at the last crew access point at mile 46. I gave her and Mike a hug and then Alyssa and I headed off for the finish line. I think I would have been okay doing these last 4 miles on my own, but I wouldn't have turned down Alyssa's company in a million years. 30 minutes flew by and all of a sudden we saw the 1 mile marker. As we made the last right turn and heard the finish line crowd it was so surreal. Somehow I managed to sprint the last .1 miles and I flew across the finish line.

Final Stats: 9:53:15 - "A" goal success!

Alyssa and I flashing our gold medals - we also came in top 10 in our AG, which is pretty cool!

OMG I'm never getting up again
Before I wrap this thing all up let me just take a moment to say that Mike and Caitlin were by far the best crew/pacers I could have ever asked for. Without them I seriously question whether or not I would have even finished. I am forever grateful for their support.

I shed a lot of tears during this race, both happy and sad. I definitely did not expect to feel so physically challenged and it remains to be seen if I have caused any long term damage to my knee or if it will subside in a few days. What I do know is that I ran 40+ miles with what ranged from manageable to excruciating amounts of pain far worse than I've ever encountered over such long period of time. Truth be told I was hoping to come in with a sub-9:30 finish time and while I should be no means be disappointed (after all I did run 50 freaking miles) it was definitely not a perfect race day. 

And what does this mean? It means that the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to open up my computer and start looking at 50 mile races for the spring, because now I have something to beat. Bring. It. On. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JFK 50: Staring Down the Beast

The countdown to race day has finally arrived. I'm officially off the clock at work until Monday and only have JFK-thoughts on my mind.

I'm getting more and more excited about this race as the hours pass. You can usually assume that ultras are smaller and quieter than your average road race, but being that this is both one of the largest ultras in the U.S. (about 1,000 runners) and its the 50th anniversary, I think it's going to be pretty lively start to end.

Cool article in the Wash Post last week about the 50th anniversary!

I've been thinking about my goals for this race for a few months now. I'd love to tell you that my goal is just to finish. After all, as my first 50 miler, any finish time would be a PR. But unfortunately (for my legs) I'm a competitive nut job and I always have a time goal no matter what. So, in what is a pretty large spread since I really don't have any clue how 50 miles can play out, here are my goals:

A Goal: sub 10 hours (9:xx:xx)
B Goal: sub 11 hours (10:xx:xx)
C Goal: sub 12 hours (11:xx:xx)

No matter what I will be meeting my C goal or DNF-ing because the whole race cut off is 12 hours. That is definitely motivation to keep my ass moving. In terms of predicting a finish time, I've read a few different places that you can get a good finish time estimate by doubling your marathon time and adding two hours (similar to how you can double your half marathon time and add 20 minutes to estimate your marathon finish). This would actually put me closer to a 9:30:xx finish with my 3:46 marathon PR, but who knows what will happen out there!

For now, my packing list is done and executed, my grocery shopping is complete, and I've got Unbreakable, the Western States 100 documentary, cued in my DVD player tonight ready to reap motivation from. I don't feel nervous at all. Just excited. I trust my training. I trust myself. And if one thing is for damn certain, I sure as hell don't quit. See you at the finish line!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Taper Crazies

This week I ran 19 miles over the weekdays, 10 trail miles Saturday, and 11 road miles Sunday. I think 10 miles is my perfect running distance. I would run it every day if I didn't have to do those pesky things like work and study and commute.

The perfect Saturday: Me, the trail, and the sound of my feet hitting the dirt

After my run on Saturday I actually biked down to the university library and did about 5 hours of research. Its amazing what I have the energy to do when I'm not putting in 40 mile weekends.

In other news, I took it as a good sign when I found myself completely exhausted at the end of peak week. That's kind of the point of it, right? Beat your body into an inch of its life and then enjoy a well deserved three week taper? 

Well despite my exhaustion after peak week, I'm already feeling a major case of the taper crazies. This low-to-me weekly mileage is really starting to tick me off and I've still got another 5 full days until race day. Hard to believe I used to complain about fitting in all the miles and now I would give anything for a 60 mile week. 

Luckily I have a few things to keep my mind busy over the next few days. I've got a super busy week at work, reading to do for classes, paper research, not to mention all of the race day prep.

The first part of my race prep is already done. In true Type A fashion, I typed up a 15 page race day manual for my husband and sister who will be crewing/pacing me through the event. You can never be too prepared, right?

5:30 pm dinners are not just for pre-race day - we rock the early bird schedule on a weekly basis

I still have to write myself a packing list, hit up the grocery store for essentials, and figure out what we're doing for dinner in Boonsboro Friday night. I don't want to drive around for an hour and debate where to go. We've got a schedule to stick to people!

I'm also planning another post on race goals and strategies for later this week. Hopefully all this will be enough to distract me from the taper crazies and the extra two pounds of junk in the trunk that the last two weeks have brought. One thing is for sure: I will be ready to run come Saturday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Recover from Long Runs Like a Boss

I've done my fair share of long runs during this JFK training cycle. For my first marathon last year I ran three 20+ mile runs, for example, whereas this time around I ran 10 including two 25s, one 30, and back-to-back 20s.

While my body has certainly developed some serious recovery skills, I still ache after long runs, and so over the past few months I've developed a tired and true "long run recovery system" that has thus far kept me injury-free and running happy. So, without further ado, I present:

How to Recover from Long Runs Like a BOSS

1. Hot Shower

During my first ever 20-miler I was very shocked that I started getting sore during the run. Umm, isn't that supposed to happen the next morning? I don't care if it is 95 degrees or 35 degrees, nothing feels as good and loosens up sore muscles like a hot shower. Not to mention the liberating feeling of washing the salt and sweat off of your skin.

2. Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

I bought two pairs of these shorts on a whim last year when a fellow blogger offered a discount. Then they sat in my closet for awhile. Then I finally put a pair on and they felt so constrictive (they are for compression after all) that I couldn't keep them on for very long (if only out of vanity). During this training cycle, however, they have become a staple of my post-long run wardrobe and its not uncommon during the end of a long run for my hips to cry "pivot shorts NOW!"

These are handsdown the best things in my entire running wardrobe. Back in August I dealt with a gnawing, stubborn pain in my hip that no massage or foam roller could reach. 30 minutes in these shorts and BAM, no pain! I cannot recommend these enough!

For all of the miles I put in my feet look pretty good. Not good enough for me to walk into a nail salon without feeling some sort of shame, but as far as runner's feet go I'd say they're not bad. Enter Bliss Socks. I put them on immediately after my hot shower post-long run. For some reason I think having fresh shower feet makes them work better. Whether that's true or not, they definitely feel great!

My typical view point after a long run for a few hours
4. Ice

Call me paranoid, but ever since my injury in the spring I ice every day whether something is hurting or not. I know where my sensitive areas are (shins) so I baby them as much as possible to try and prevent any injuries. So far so good!

Second icing option? Ice bath. Two pairs or socks, bathing suit, and a hot cup of tea recommended

Sometime over the last year I discovered these amazing ice packs by ThermiPaq. They have a clay interior and a washable sleeve with a velcro strap. They stay nice and cold and can be secured to your leg or arm or wherever you need it. We now have three or four in our freezer on a constant basis and I even keep one at work. They are a little pricey (about $18 each at my CVS), but if you ice a lot its totally worth it to invest in a reusable ice pack. 

5. Compression Sleeves

I wear compression something nearly every day of the week. During the weekdays I usually run without any sleeves or socks, but wear compression sleeves to bed every night. During the weekends I wear socks during my runs since they are longer and then let me legs breathe overnight. This strategy has worked out really great and I don't find my calves sore very often.

My favorite sleeves for nightime recovery are CEP Compression. They are nice and tight on me and by the time I wake up in the morning my legs feel perfect!

6. Whatever You're Craving Most

Pizza? Veggie burger and fries? Smoothie? Or maybe a half dozen cupcakes? Just fill in the blank! Eating is probably one of the best parts about long runs (and ultras, where aid station food is filled with cookies and chips and anything else your sweaty heart desires!).

7. Foam Rolling

I've preached my love of the The Grid before. We hang out together every single night for about 5-10 minutes whether I've run that day or not. Do it! Your legs will love you for it.

8. Sleep

8-9 hours can never hurt and hopefully a long run will knock you right out! With all of the miles I was putting in this cycle I got weary-eyed around 8:30 pm every night. Old people style.

9. Ab Work
I thought I'd stick ab work in here at the bottom because really, after a long run the last thing I want to do is work out more. That said, maintaining a strong core is essential for runners. It's during those last few miles of the marathon, when your body is fatiguing, that your abs help keep your center strong and your upper and lower body going. I squeeze in about 250 reps of some kind of ab work about six nights a week. Its a lot easier if you do sets of 50 and pick different exercises every night. Spice it up!

What is ONE thing you do after every single long run to recover?

Monday, November 5, 2012

JFK Taper: I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

I have not been using a training plan for JFK and most weeks have been made up on the spot. So far so good, until taper that is. Building up mileage is one thing, but figuring out how best to taper yourself so that 1) you haven't completely lost your endruance by race day and 2) you're raring to race and feel refreshed by race day - this is tough.

I started looking up training plans, reading books, stalking other bloggers, all in search of some sort of taper system that matches the rest of my training cycle. In the end I think I decided to do the following:

Week 1: Cut peak mileage by 30% = ~52 miles
Week 2: Cut week 1's mileage by 20% = ~41 miles
Week 3: Keep weekly mileage at 12 miles or less before race day

Now having completed week one I pretty much stuck with the plan. I ended up with 53.3 miles. Oops, a little over. I ran 10 trail miles on Saturday (terrifying by the way) and 15 regular old road miles on Sunday.

Every "training race" I had signed up for October actually had a direct connection to some part of the JFK course. The Baltimore Marathon was my rolling road hills (aka the last ~8 miles of JFK). The Delaware Canal 20-Miler was my monotonous long canal run (aka the middle ~26 miles of JFK on the C&O). And the FOTM 50k was supposed to be my trail practice (aka the first ~15 miles of JFK on the AT). Of course the one race I end up bailing on is the one I probably needed the most. I really want to love trails, but they just really don't love me.

I decided I needed to hit the trails at least once before JFK. I think the last time I ran them was July. Really not good considering 30% of JFK is trail terrain. It was weird to be back and they looked so different from the summer.

Yellow Trail - November

Yellow Trail - May
I had a terribly hard time navigating over slippery leaves and hidden rocks. I almost tripped twice and it freaked me out so much that I needed to pull over to the side of the trail and calm myself down (not surprising considering my recent history with tripping during a run - and that was on sidewalk!). All in all it was a good run, but I think I need to go back once more before race day. Otherwise I fear I will be complete basketcase on the AT.

I treated this week more like a cutback week and not a taper week. The next two weeks is where the taper will really heat up. I'm already sad that I'm only going to run around 40 miles this week. Hopefully that means at 7 am on November 17th I will be so siked to run that 50 miles will just fly right by (HA!).