First of all, on the health front:
In my last update, the abdominal pain was feeling as though it was a musculoskeletal issue. Now, I'm back to believing it's more of a gastric issue (maybe a combination?). I've found that by lying on my left side at night that I can prevent the severe belly pain from starting. This is great except it's not easy staying in that position all night. I've found that after doing so, these better feelings have carried over into the daytime hours & that the pain during my running is much less noticeable. I hate to announce this though, as I've probably now jinxed myself . . .
I have 2 Drs. appts next week -- I don't expect to learn anything new.
On Friday (28th) I ran the new Lovin' the Hills 50k course. Besides the workout, I also needed a new GPS track for the race blog. I was planning on Saturday morning, but with the 100% chance of snow Friday night, I cut my taper short. I prepared for the run exactly as I would for an actual 50k race & not just for a "long run". I could not duplicate the anxiety & adrenaline rush, but I tried to mentally put myself there & ran it at my best sustained pace.
I felt great most of the way (until the last hill) & finished with a much better time than I expected. Most of the reason was because of the major course changes since last year: several miles of narrow & hilly single track were replaced with wide, flat, family friendly trails. With fewer hills near the start, I had more reserve than expected the last half of the run. I'm very happy with the time & I would gladly take 7:21 for the actual race February 9th -- why? -- because everything went well (including my gut) & because I didn't get caught up in anyone else's early pace, that usually does me in every year. I doubt I'll be able to duplicate how I felt when race day comes around.
Yesterday, I ran the new Lovin' the Hills 15m course. It was more difficult getting into the frame of mind of a "race" this time. I wanted to up the pace to a couple minutes faster than on my 50k run, but wasn't really sure if I could last the entire way. There were a half dozen large trees blocking the trails, as when I did the 50k run, but these gave me a chance to catch my breath! With fewer hills on this new course, I had to make myself take short breaks whenever I felt the need -- hills or no hills. I'm very happy that I felt good the entire way & finished well.
I'm thinking about posting the GPS track on the race blog, but I'm not exactly sure where the turnaround on the out'n'back section of the 15m course will be placed. Since the route I took measured a little long, the out'n'back will probably be shortened on race day.
Both runs are posted on Garmin Connect: 50k 15m
Next up I plan to go back down to Mountain Mist in Alabama to redeem myself for the 2 previous efforts that I was disappointed with.