I peaked on February at 13 hours during the final week, with a 4-hour, trail run on a Saturday followed by a hard 3-hour, Kenyan-style (increasing pace from beginning to end) run on a Sunday. Thirteen hours of running during the last week of February positioned me just where I wanted to be to do a number of training ultras during March and April.
But March was not to bring training races. Instead, early March brought the disaster of an ankle injury, which turned out to be the worst kind – the foot rolling “outward” (and the ankle inward) known as an “eversion” sprain, in my case further aggravated by the bone actually popping out of its socket. It has been a painful recovery, which has yet to heal. I’m working as hard as a can, but the injury is still limiting what I can do – after four weeks, the ankle is still swollen. Running on a treadmill is tolerable, as the foot has a stable surface. Running on roads is painful because of the pressure on the ankle from the slopping of the pavement. Running on trails is simply brutal - the ankle is not stable and this causes me to run with much trepidation and pain at an uncomfortable pace. Starting from zero miles during the week of the injury, I managed to log 15 hours during the last week of March, with a somewhat pathetically slow 5-hour, trail run on a Saturday followed on Sunday with a strong, 3-hour run on a treadmill.
I’m done “predicting” my training schedule for Western States. For now I am simply training for a 50-mile race on April 21st (The Leona Divide Race in California), and we’ll see what develops thereafter.
Despite the injury (and perhaps because of it), training for this 100-mile race is bringing a new level of discipline to my life. I’ve always been a disciplined person, but, quite frankly, I’ve had to reach a new level of discipline to run a hard 3 hours after running 5 hours the day before on a swollen ankle. And yet I know that this is still not the peak of my training – I guess I’ll need to dig even deeper.
I’m beginning to wonder what takes more discipline - the training or the race? I hope I will be able to find out.