Training for Nanny Goat is different since I am training with my fiance. Normally, I would hit the trails and savor and curse the long climbs and put in 20+ miles feeling great and happy. He does not share the same love for trails and, more importantly, is not comfortable trying to put in long hours on trails alone; we do part of the long runs together but as the miles get longer, we tend to do the same route/area but separately since our paces are different. I am protective of him and know that he is truly a city boy so I plan our runs in areas that he is more comfortable. Unfortunately, that means running on pavement and without significant hills more than I prefer.
A few weekends ago, we did a 6 hour run and the heat wiped us out. It was the toughest run yet and I attribute part of it to being on/near pavement and the freeway for so long; the route that we did included out/backs on a bike path beside the 405…yeah, that sucked. I tried to run on the gravel areas beside the pavement as much as possible and then ditched him and went to the trails nearby for the last half. I felt so much better and managed to eek out about 32 miles in 5 and half hours; not exactly what I hoped for but given the temps in the upper 80s and blazing sunlight, I chalked it up to a learning experience.
Last weekend I aimed for a double – 15 to 20 miles Saturday and then 30 on trails the following day. Saturday I decided to do an out/back on the bike path so that I would see Alan coming home (he started his run several hours before me); that meant running on pavement and very hard packed dirt/gravel the entire route. My always nagging left hip flexor got tight around mile 10 but I refused to stop and stretch; by mile 18, it completely threw off my gait and my knee was so bad that I could barely stride. I finished with 20 miles but knew that I had to take a couple of days off. It was defeating to have this nagging issue flare up again and made me reassess whether accomplishing my goal at Nanny Goat will even be possible.
I have been stretching religiously (as always), foam rolling using every method found on youtube, and wearing a knee brace. I have severely limited my running this week but noticed that the softer the surface, the better I feel. On yesterday’s run, I felt so great when I was running on dirt trails as the short section on pavement caused knee pain and I felt no pain on dirt; maybe it was the surface or maybe it was the new CW-X tights but whatever it was, I want to stick to dirt for training. So my motto apparently is going to be “dirt, please.”