The first 5 weeks of marathon training have been a bust. The never ending illnesses plaguing me have been relentless, but they are finally abating and I actually completed a full week of running, YAY! One of the best things I have added to my arsenal of running gear is a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. I love my Vibram Treks, but there is safety in numbers and having your toes out there individually makes them much more susceptible to damage. Several purple toes later, I decided it was time to give up on the toe shoes for trail running. The Merrells are fantastic. Not only do they have a very wide toe box to accommodate my monkey toes, by buying them as big as I could get away with, I can wear thick wool socks for warmth in snow and ice, and then crank down the laces later when it gets warm. They breathe very well and have successfully protected my toes from rocks that would have left them looking like I dropped a hammer on my foot. I bought the men's Trail Glove for the extra width and because they haven't seen fit to make a women's Trail Glove yet. No big deal, they are black and simple and wonderful to run in.
I am totally re-evaluating my training plan though. As fantastic as CrossFit is, getting up at 4 am two days a week is rough me. It would be possible if my family would settle down by 8pm so I could go to sleep, but our house is small and they are noisy so I rarely get to sleep before 10 or 11. Missing hours of sleep does not agree with my RA so unless I’m considering backing off on that if it doesn’t work out over the next couple of weeks
The other thing is my long runs. Pace is totally out the window since I am running the mountain and not just a flat road, but I have also taken to heart the advice of many people that have told me the long run is about time on our feet so I have slowed way down and am really enjoying my long runs again. Yesterday I ran the first 6 miles with a beginner so we did more walking than running. It took almost 2 hours to cover the first 6 miles (including bathroom breaks etc.), but no worries, after I dropped her off I headed back out and ran 9 more miles in the next two hours. The air was surprisingly clear so the views were spectacular from the summits of the hills. For all 4 hours of running 15 miles, the elevation gain was over 2,000 feet! I really hope this is enough to keep The Great Wall from being so grueling. At least I know up front that I only need to average about 18 minutes per mile to finish. If I can run up and down the mountain for 5 or 6 hours at a 15 mpm pace, I should be covered for race day. My goal for China is to savor every minute of the race and not be miserable afterwards, so I need to put in a lot of hard work now.
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