Week 7 of training was tough but a solid week. The speed work and long run took it out of me, but I’m looking forward to running in St. Thomas this week. (editors note: I did not feel this way at the end of the week.)
Monday: 3.1 Miles (Pace 8:58)
Touched down in beautiful St. Thomas today with two of my great friends Paul and Adrienne. After a flight delay and long’er’ day of flying then planned we had arrived. As we drove to the resort I couldn’t help but notice how hilly the island was. When we arrived at the resort there was nothing but hills leading up to our condo. I was wondering where I was going to run. We went to eat and I noticed the roads really didn’t have a shoulder to run on either, ugh! After dinner I decided it was time to log some miles. I descended the first third of a mile from the condo, it had to have dropped at least 500 ft. I had to lean all the way back and work to slow myself. Finally I hit some level ground and decided to run on the main road. I went up to the next resort and I stopped at the guard shack and asked if it their property was level. When the guard told me yes, I asked if I could run on the property. She said it was okay and off I went. After making two loops around the property I was getting ready to leave when six security guards came up and stopped me. I explained the guard at the gate told me it was okay to run on the property, they informed me I could not. I apologized and told them I was leaving anyway. They laughed and said it wasn’t a big deal and let me go. Shew! Thanks goodness! I ran back to my resort and began the very steep ascent to back to the condo. I was so happy to reach the top. I was hoping to run a bit faster but I’m happy with the amount of hills and uneven terrain. A good first night in St. Thomas! (I looked up the elevation it was actually 230 ft. over .4 of a mile with 20% inclines, no wonder it felt so much higher!)
Tuesday: 3.1 Miles (Pace 9:02)
Well I have resigned myself that my times this week are going to be a bit slower and I most likely won’t be getting in any long runs. Running here feels like technical trail running. There are lots of potholes, hills, and bumpy terrain around the condo. After descending the mountain today, I ran the same direction I did yesterday but decided to go into a neighborhood instead. I thought that would be a good idea, not so much. About a 1/4 mile in dogs starting chasing me. One a mutt mix and the other a pit bull mix. I turned and saw them chasing after me, I put my arm out hoping they would bite that first. As I did that they turned away and ran the other direction. Definitely spiked my heart rate! I decided sticking to the main road, though not much of a road, would be best. I ran back past my condo in the opposite direction; the terrain did not improve. I looked at the Garmin and knew I could get in 3.1 miles and turned around at the next resort. The ascent seemed more difficult this time; it could also be that my legs are incredibly tired from over 9 months of running. I reached the top and dreaded thinking about how many more times I would have to do that this week.
I didn’t run in the morning today, which proved to be a mistake. We took a ferry over to St. John’s and spent the day there. We did some walking and I went snorkeling for a while. I was pretty tired when we got back to St. Thomas. I changed to go for a run. The hill is really becoming my nemesis. As I started to descent, my quads, specfically my right femur really hurt. I had a sharp pain in my leg. After a long day I knew I wasn’t going to run far, especially since it was already dark. I ran to the next resort and turned around. The ascent back up the hill wasn’t as painful as the descent but still really hard. I’m starting to doubt how many more times I can do that this week. I actually thought about running on the treadmill tonight, but I haven’t since the streak began and I don’t want to start now…
Thursday: 3 Miles (Pace 8:48)
My pace today was not an indicator of how I felt. I really thought about ending the streak today. St. Thomas is not a runner’s paradise by any means. St. Thomas is taking it’s toll on my body; mid-afternoon I mustered up the energy (physically and mentally) to tackle the hill again. I really don’t know how many more times I can do that hill aka mountain. After the slow descent, I ran along the road filled with potholes, sloped terrain, and rocks. Today I went a bit further and came to an area with a few stores and a good size parking lot. I was about a mile in, and decided to loop the parking lot once. I realized, by looking at my Garmin, the loop around the parking lot was about .12 miles. I decided to run a mile here. My legs finally fell into a rhythm that they haven’t had in days. I was still hot and sweaty but glad to be on flat ground. My second mile was 7:32. I didn’t meant to run that fast but I wasn’t struggling and it was freeing to be able to run without focusing on the terrain! I thought about putting in another mile but decided not to, I still had to tackle the mountain again. I made my way back to the condo and ascended the hill. I was a bit surprised at my pace considering how slow it has been. Overall, I had a decent run but I really need a change of terrain.
Friday: XX Miles (Pace XX:XX)
I didn’t forget to put in my miles and pace for today. I don’t actually know what it was, other than it was further than a mile. You can read about my entire experience on my Born to Run Experience blog. To summarize, I ran barefoot for approximately 2.5 miles, over tough terrain. I wound up with a blood blister on my left foot. Later that night while on the sandy ‘dance floor’ I banged my toe on a rock, yup left foot. Pain was shooting around my foot, I’m still not sure if I broke my toe. It started bleeding and is pretty purple. Not looking forward to running tomorrow.
Saturday: 1.1 Miles (Pace 10:04)
In Guam they are called Taotaomona or Deundes, in Hawaii island spirits go by several names Pele or Menehune are just a couple (I reference those because I have live in both places). I’m not sure if the people of St. Thomas believe in island spirits but I feel like they have gotten to me, if there are any. The island beat me up pretty good yesterday, my feet are really sore from running barefoot, getting a blister, and stumping my toe. I really thought about calling the streak today. I decided I would try to keep the streak going; we stopped at a store where I bought some gauze to wrap my foot. When we got back to the condo I wrapped my foot with several layers and laced up for the run. Surprisingly, my blister didn’t hurt that much; when I started the descent though that was another story. My joints have really taken a beating with all this hills this week. My knees and ankles started throbbing. I kept going, my descent was actually slower than my ascent. I ran a different trail that stayed on the condo property. I was glad to finish tonight but completely worn out. I’m glad I only have two more runs here in St. Thomas. St. Thomas may be paradise but it is not a runners paradise.
Sunday: 1.5 Miles (Pace 8:35)
Today I decided to give barefoot running another try, this time on the beach. We went to a beach called Megan’s Bay, it was pretty long and the sand was pretty firm near the water. I decided since it was flat it was better to run here without shoes than the hills with shoes. I ran with my phone to keep track of distance and pace using the RunKeeper app. For the most part this run was probably one of the better ones since I have been here. I did have some trouble getting my hips to fall into sync when I was on uneven ground. I had to modify my stride a little because of my toe and blister. I thought about running further but I didn’t have my sweat gutr and the sweat was really burning my eyes. I jumped in the water as soon as I finished. After this week of rough terrain my body feels awful and I still have one run left tomorrow. I’ll need to run before we fly out. I’m looking forward to getting back to Baltimore and better terrain.
What has been your hardest week of training?
-Veggie Fueled Runner