"Hell week" actually wasn't too bad. I dropped my mileage a little bit and put my focus on my last long run of 36 miles. The worst part of Hell Week happened when I was listening to the radio while running and the song "Love Shack" by the B52s came on. Dear radio station: 1989 called and it wants its crappy music back.
Monday, April 16th 2012: 10 miles @ 11:20 minutes per mile. It was very early in the morning before work so I slept through the whole thing.
Tuesday, April 17th 2012: Rest.
Wednesday, April 18th 2012: 5 miles @ 10:08 minutes per mile. Here are the steps to take if you would like to repeat the hill workout I did Wednesday morning:
1) Find a steep, long hill in the neighborhood.
2) Run up and down it until your lungs fill with lava and you start getting chunky burps.
3) After the chunky burps start, go up and down a few more times for good measure.
4) Run back home, sit on the bench in front of your house, and patiently wait until you stop seeing stars.
Thursday, April 19th 2012: 6 miles @ 11:05 per mile. I took some friends for their first experience on Gould's Rim. Joining me were Jason Smith, race director for the Sand Hollow Marathon, and Jess Jensen who will be pacing me for 20 miles during the Zion 100.
We went after work and it was mighty warm. While we were running I told Jess that I probably won't be very sociable by mile 70. I told her that the 20 miles she runs with me will be slow. I told her to ignore me if I curl up on the side of the trail in fetal position and start crying.
Friday, April 20th 2012: 36 miles @ 13:56 minutes per mile. This was my last really long run before starting to taper. I knew it was going to be a long, hot day with a high of 85 degrees. I ran 7 miles on the Hurricane Rim trail before Mel joined me for another 3. This was her first time here and she wasn't a huge fan of the technical trails and climbing.
We decided to drive up the road a little bit and she ran five more miles with me on some trails near Gooseberry Mesa. Last week I ran in this same exact place in SNOW, and one week later it was ROASTING.
After Mel departed, I wandered around some trails looking for the Yellowman Petroglyphs. After a while I came upon some campers who were in the middle of nowhere. They told me the petroglyphs were a steep scramble up the ridge. I had run 28 miles by this point so I wasn't sure my legs were up for a steep scramble, but once I made it to the top I was glad I decided to go.
After the petroglyphs, I ran up Little Creek Mesa. My pace doesn't reflect my stops throughout the day to go to the bathroom or refill water bottles, or that one time when I sat in my car with the air conditioner cranking for a few minutes drinking a Red Bull. It really did end up being an all-day adventure. I felt like I managed the heat much better because I worked on staying hydrated. There were about five times throughout the day when I would be running and suddenly start pouring sweat, almost like someone had dumped a big glass of water on me. I'd find some shade to cool off for a minute then get back on my way.
I was surprised just how good I felt in the evening when it started to cool off a bit. I had a renewed burst of energy and decided I'd do a quick jumping picture at mile 35:
Saturday, April 21st 2012: 4 miles on the Flying Monkey Trail. For some reason, Mel and Jackson decided to join me on my outing. I'm glad they did. The Flying Monkey Trail is brutal. It's steep and challenging AND it was 95 degrees outside! 95! No bueno.
It was funny to hike with Jackson. When we got to the top of a steep climb, he would let out a pained groan as we would turn a corner and see another oncoming steep climb. This happened over and over. Jackson wasn't a fan of melting his body on the Flying Monkey.
We made it about 1/3 of the way up before they cried uncle and we decided to head back. When we turned around, I set up the camera for a picture. A second before it clicked, I stuck my thumb up at the exact instant Jackson stuck his thumb down.
And now it is time to start tapering for the big race. I think the biggest factor may end up being the weather. Temps in the high 80's or 90's could make things tricky. The desert floor just radiates heat and makes you feel like you're standing in an Easy Bake Oven.
I am nervous, and scared, and hopeful, and very, very excited.