Same Same but Different

It's Friday night before my first weekend of taper.

That means last weekend was my last big weekend of training. And I've had a week of taper, which I'll write about later.

Your last big weekend or session is always hard but sometimes it pays to remember that as much as you want your training to simulate racing, it's different.

Super Saturday

This was almost a repeat of my previous few Saturdays, but different.

The Spinervals Hardcore 100 on the stationary trainer again, with extra recovery bits between the efforts to make up some time.

This time I watched crap TV instead of watching the actual DVDs. (This may have meant that I didn't work quite as hard but let's be honest, six hours on a stationary trainer doesn't tickle however you choose to get through it.)

And my brick run was a solid 15ks instead of the much shorter brick run I've been doing - on average only 5ks.

Super Sunday

It was almost a repeat of my previous longest long runs, but different.

For the past few Ironman programs I've maxed out at 32ks. This time I added on an extra few ks and completed the 35k version of the River Ride.

I did this for a couple of reasons, firstly my previous long runs had been 31ks on the road and 30ks on trails. I had more than 32ks on the road in my legs.

Secondly, even with Ironman Cairns looming, I'm already starting to look ahead. My final goal for 2014 is a 100k trail run, so I have to back up from Cairns with regular 35k runs on tired legs. With my legs caned from Super Saturday, I figured there was no time like the present.

Lots of things made this run just another training run. It was long and lonely. I was packed up with a couple of litres of water on my back and a pocket full of GUs. Plus my Road ID, emergency $20 note and phone.

But a couple of things made it more like race day.

Firstly, and this was a welcome similarity to race day, was an unexpected cheer squad. As I ran past a park on the Brisbane Corso, a lady was pushing her kids on the nearby swing. I smiled at her briefly as I passed, as she said to her kids, "this lady's going for a run."

She continued, "it looks like she's going for a big run, with all that water on her back. She must be training for a marathon."

I turned and flashed the biggest grin at her ever. It was just the lift I needed... unfortunately though, I still had 15ks to go.

Secondly, I ended up with a toenail that looks like this.

If you're an endurance runner you've seen this before (or you will). This is what happens when when you strap your feet into pair of running shoes and punish them for too many kilometres. Your toes rub, there's nowhere for the blood to go, so it pools under your toenail and makes it go all red. Eventually, the red turns black, your toenail loosens, and more often than not, the toenail falls off.

(It's a drawing rather than a photo because my feet are awful, with or without this ailment. Noone needs to be seeing that.)

I've never had one from training before. I've only ended up with a "red badge of courage" after a race.

So last weekend was like race day. But different.

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