Oh man, what a whirlwind of a weekend — a fantastic weekend.

IMG_9655I started out the weekend with a vigorous morning of single track mountain biking up at Elm Creek, which has become my new playground when it comes to biking.  I do enjoy the paved paths and all, but I enjoy road biking so much more when I’ve got a destination — you know, #BEERandBIKES. I love biking down to the breweries, throwing back a few, maybe enjoying some food truck nom noms, and then bike back.  Fairly simple but enjoyable.

But single track is different — it’s like a playground. You’ve got wild, winding trails, hills, moguls, jumps, rock gardens, rock ledges, and other fun features that make it an adventure around every single turn. You HAVE to pay close attention to what you’re doing and always anticipating what’s around the next bend, because if you don’t you’ll easily catch a tree trunk, slip on a root, or bite it down the side of a steep hill.

By no means am I fast — in fact, I’m pretty sure there are loads of people out there that could kick my ass and school me pretty hard when it comes to single track riding. I’ll gladly claim my status as novice and ride at a pace that’s right for me and my tolerance level for risk. Sure I’ll take those jumps and might even attempt a minor wheelie ride over those moguls, but that’s about the extent of it. I’m not going to be barreling through there too fast if I know what’s good for me!  😉

IMG_9653It is pretty clear, though, there is a significant difference between riding on the single track before AND after stopping for an espresso and double-chocolate donut.  My second time around (after said espresso and donut) was quite faster and much more confident. It was a good time and has become a nice new ritual for me when I head up there for some single track riding.

In a few weeks after I’ve had a few opportunities to become more confident in my single track abilities — my biggest hurdle or objective right now is better steering control — I am going to probably attempt the next ring out on the single track, which I believe is a level up in difficulty. Perhaps by this time next year I’ll be taking some of the more difficult single track trails (slowly though LOL).

A new distance PR

IMG_9679My wife and I went up to Duluth this morning for a few things, including some time to get in a good distance run. Today’s goal was to hit seven miles, which would make it a new personal record for me.  Up to this point I’ve been inching my way up in terms of distance — starting out at intervals and running for only 20 minutes, to hitting 5K a few months later, and last weekend working my way up to 10K.

I’m on a training plan for running a 10K, but with how much cross training I’ve been doing with biking, I’ve seemed to blow through my training goal and have already hit that 10K point.  I don’t want to say easily because that was a hard, well-earned 10K — technically 6.3 miles.

But today I stepped up my game, shooting for 7.3 miles — why 7.3? Well, here’s my logic… whether or not it’s sound may not matter, but it’s my plan.  There’s something about running rounded miles — 4 miles, 5 miles, 6 miles, etc. It’s too perfect of a distance. When you consider the half marathon and the full marathon — 13.1 and 26.2 respectively, it’s just that little bit more that’s asked of you at the end. You’re not just running 13 miles — no, they want to squeeze one tenth more of a mile out of you.  Doing a marathon? They want more than just 26 miles, they want two tenths more out of you.

IMG_9680So last Saturday I ran 6.3 miles, today it was 7.3 — and to top it off, I didn’t need to run that distance as intervals either…and that felt FANTASTIC. What helped tremendously was having a rain storm roll through and a cool breeze blowing in off Lake Superior. That last mile the rain really started to set in pretty good, the breeze picked up, and it was extremely refreshing after crushing through the previous six miles.

Of course I’m paying for this exertion, and in spades. The blisters are back on my toes (a product of having really stupid toes that overlap) and my legs are pretty sore.  I didn’t get to do an epson salt  bath for my feet and will have to wait to do foam rolling until tomorrow. But I can endure it and I’m sure my body will bounce back fairly quickly.

So now that I’ve blown through my 10K training plan, I’m going to dictate my own training regiment over the next couple weeks until my half marathon training starts up the second week in August. I’ll still have some combination of sprints, hills, and intervals during the week, and then a nice long run on the weekend.  And since I’m not really racing in August save for one trail race, I really don’t need to taper.

Anyway, I’m uber proud of my achievement today — a new running distance PR, had some awesome mountain biking this weekend, and just chock full of good stuff. Now for a decent night’s rest.