4 weeks post-Rocky Raccoon 100 and it’s time to start thinking about my first Ultra in the UK – Centurion Running’s South Downs Way 100 on June 10th. The plan for March would be to log some decent consistent miles, run the local Shamrock Marathon and focus on dropping a couple of excess pounds that appeared over the winter months.
The month started off well with a 75 mile week, including a 5 mile MAF Test at 7:08/mile pace, several doubles (2 runs in one day) and a solid negative-split 20 miler. I also started tracking calories at MyFitnessPal.com which led to a nice little 2 lbs weight loss.
Week 2 was also pretty decent – more doubles including several 2 mile incline sessions, and a 31 mile Saturday training run at 7:25/mile pace. I decided to take Sunday off (a) for some much needed recovery and (b) Ally was running the Newport News One City Marathon and I was on support duty for the morning. It made a pleasant change to be on the other side of the marathon fence for a change, but I kinda wished I was running it too. Maybe next year.
Week 3 was Shamrock Marathon week and as a last minute thought I decided to enter Saturday’s Shamrock 8K/USATF National 8K Masters Championships in addition to Sunday’s Marathon. Neither event was an “A” race, but it would make for an interesting weekend of running.
Despite some blustery conditions, Saturday’s race went well and I finished the 8K in 28:36 – my 4th fastest 8K giving me an 83.63% age-grade percentage. Not surprisingly my 28:36 was *only* good enough for 7th out of 17 in the super-competitive 50-54 age group.
You can read more about the 8K Championships over at the USATF Virginia website.
Sunday’s Marathon was a typical Shamrock weather-challenge – cold temperatures, rain, wind and even a nice sleet shower for a few minutes.
It was quite a lonely race in terms of folks to run with, but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and ended up moving through the field nicely to cross the finish line in 2:56:10 for 3rd place in the Masters Division – not my fastest marathon by any means, but one of the most rewarding considering the conditions and the previous day’s 8K effort.
The 2:56 also means I don’t have to worry about running a fast marathon later in the year to keep my annual sub-3:00 streak going.
Week 4 turned out to be a pleasant “down” week. I took a couple of days after Shamrock to get my legs back, including an awesome massage with Rebekah at Balance Therapeutic Massage (Regency Hilltop Shopping Center on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach), but was soon back at it later in the week with a pleasant point-to-point 20 miler on Saturday and a fun 13 miles at First Landing State Park with Howie and JP.
Week 5 has me running the Singletrack Maniac 50K on Saturday, and to be honest I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. It’s been a busy week at home and at work and my mind and legs are both feeling quite fatigued right now. Again, the 50K is not an “A” race and more of a stepping stone to the South Downs Way 100 in June than anything else, but I’d still like to run well and for it to be a bit of a confidence booster. We’ll soon see I guess, and at least the weather is looking more favorable than it was at the Shamrock Marathon!
March mileage/time breakdown:
February 27 – March 5: 75.7 miles ~ 8.5 hours
March 6 – March 12: 76.8 miles ~ 9.5 hours
March 13 – March 19: 76.7 miles ~ 8 hours
March 20 – March 26: 55 miles ~ 7 hours
March 27 – April 2: ?? miles ~ ? hours