Training for Leadville has been going well -- although, with a 100-mile race, it's always difficult to know if you're doing enough. In May, I've run (or hiked with HR between 140-150) between 11 and 15 hours each week, with mileage ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-90s, and elevation gain fairly constant around 8-12K each week. The training plan has been relegated to a landfill somewhere, but that's ok. This is probably the best block of training I've ever had, which is a nice contrast to my fortunes with running over the previous six months (which was dictated by a training plan).
Given how badly training went from January to March, I'm happy with my progress. Last week, I went to visit my sister in Boise. On Sunday, I ran my first sub-7 mile on flat or rolling terrain with my HR below 150 the whole time. Then, the next mile I did it again. Then, on Tuesday, I did a recovery run, and my HR was below 140 for a sub-7 minute mile on gently rolling hills. In contrast, when I first started measuring my HR less than two years ago, my pace averaged about 8:20-8:30 per mile for sub-150s. Boise is at lowish elevation, but that's still very encouraging for me.
Then, on Thursday, I went up to Leadville for a couple of days where my average pace was closer to 12 minutes a mile. Definitely good for a dose of humility.
Regardless, I believe that when your training is going well, you should be getting feedback on your runs that shows you're improving. And I think I'm finally getting there. So, yay for me, I guess.
Then yesterday, I started doing speed work for the first time since, well, um, my sophomore year of college, I think. I ran a sub-20 5K as a progressive effort tempo run, with HR at 155-165-175 for each mile. That translated into a 6:45-6:33-5:52, with a little kick in the last .1 for good measure. I'm pretty sure that was my first sub-20 in 15 years. So yeah, I've been slow for a long time. I'm actually kind of looking forward to more of these workouts. I think it'll be a fun way to mix things up.
I'm not breaking any land-speed records by any means, and Kilian Jornet probably doesn't need to be concerned just yet, but I'm making progress at my own pace, and that's all I'm really looking to do out there. There's no guarantee that any of this will translate into a big buckle or even a finish at Leadville. You need a little bit of luck and a whole lot of resolve to actually get it done in a 100-mile race. But if I can stay healthy and keep going on this path, if I don't get it done, it won't be because of lack of fitness.
Looking forward to the challenge!