My last few weeks of training have been pretty decent. Three weeks ago, I ran my highest mileage week since before the Olympic Trails in 2007 (139 miles). Two weeks ago, while feeling the burn of the previous week's volume I ploughed through 117 miles. Last week I mustered 114 miles while traveling to the US XC Champs with Morgan (my daughter) in tow. Alone in an airport with a 17 month old the night before a national champs race was a new experience for me. I was exhausted by the time I got to my hotel in Spokane and turned her over to Grandma and Grandpa. Needless to say, I didn't expect great things at the XC champs given the mileage I'd been running and only 2.5 weeks of workouts under my belt. And sure enough, I didn't do anything special. Frankly I really struggle racing on grass surfaces but probably felt the best I've felt in the past three months during the race (which isn't saying much). I was thrilled to find myself picking several guys off the last lap despite having gone out too hard. I can feel the strength of marathon training starting to kick in. Now I just need some speed.
I love racing XC, I just wish I didn't suck at running on grass and mud. Put me on a firm dirt trail, roads, or a track and there's no way that field of runners would put 44 dudes in front of me, but something about soft wet grass or mud seems to suck the efficiency out of my stride more than others. I'm still waiting for the day that USATF picks a XC course that is on nice firm footing with some real hills in it.
I've backed off a bit this week. But big miles planned again for next week!