Time continues to fly by in training and in life. Week 6 went really well. I feel like it was the first week where the good runs outnumbered the not so good ones. I had my first hill workout of the training cycle on Tuesday night and I was excited to see it on the calendar. Call me crazy, but I love hill repeats. I know how strong they can make me and I want to show up on June 30 ready to crush the hills on the course. The weather was perfect for the effort and I only wanted to vomit....three times. No actual vomiting occurred, thankfully. 10x1 minute hill repeats are no joke (to me, anyways) and I was spent at the end. The two mile cool down was laughable. I'm sure I looked pretty rough. Later in the week I got in a solid 12 miles with my brother-in-law while visiting West Virginia. 
Week 6 summary: 
Miles scheduled: 32
Miles ran: 32.25! (Thursday's run went a little long)
Time on my feet: 6:24:07

 last light on the left, I'm coming for you!

last light on the left, I'm coming for you!

Week 7 was not awesome. It just wasn't. My right hip, as I've mentioned before, is a nagging problem.  My mental game was off, which usually means my nutrition has gone sideways as well (food = feelings). I got the work done but it never felt good. I never felt particularly strong. Runs felt like boxes checked off at best and like total slogs at worst. I know that not every run will be a winner but I don't like an entire week of crap. Some of the crap factor was under my control, as noted, and some was not. I could be doing more to care for my hip, truthfully. Why is there always such a gap between knowing what needs to be done and doing it? At any rate, the run of the week was Saturday's long effort. 13 miles, no prescribed paces. I decided that I should start working in some singletrack into my long runs since the race course is 90 single track. I sketched out a route at Umstead that went back and forth between the bridle path and the singletrack trails, with no more than 2 miles on one at a time. It was a great route but wow did I suffer. With three miles to go my legs felt toasted. Everything hurt. The trails were beautiful but the run was a clear reminder that I still have a long way to go. The more time I can spend on the trails, the better off I will be come race day. 
Week 7 summary: 
Miles scheduled: 35
Miles ran: 35 (OMG!)
Time on my feet: 7:12:35 (and my legs are feeling it)

 rocking my Team Bird tank trailside

rocking my Team Bird tank trailside

Looking ahead to Week 8 and I still experience some intimidation when I see the mileage planned. It is a lot better than it was when I started but it is still there. I need to keep on being steady, taking it one run at a time, and trusting what I've already done as proof of what I can do. I find the negative self talk decreasing and focus on process increasing. If I'm being honest, throwing myself into this training is another way to escape some of the tougher aspects of my reality. Physical pain? I can take it. Occupying the mind by occupying the body? Sign me up. It might not be the most healthy thing to do but it isn't the reason I signed up for this race. I've only started noticing the distraction factor in the last week or two, and I'm not concerned. Coincidentally around the time that my mental/emotional game took a hit. Hmm...

I'm still looking forward to my workouts. I'm still enjoying time with friends who are sharing miles with me. I'm still 100% committed and excited to this goal. If those things start to shift, then we can talk. For now, I'll leave you with the glorious sunset from Thursday night's run. 

 thanks, Mark.

thanks, Mark.