Greetings from the mountains of Tennessee. We were fortunate to be able to see my family this weekend and enjoy some relaxation time in Pigeon Forge. The mountains are beautiful and the temperatures are perfect. We were able to drive most of the way to the top of Bluff Mountain. It was just a short hike to the top where there's a fire watch tower. Man, you could see forever and I didn't even go to the top. Here's a shot from a lookout along the roadway.
The week of training was capped with a splendid half marathon from Pigeon Forge's Patriot Park to Sevierville. I wanted to run to the top of Bluff Mountain (6+ miles and 2000' of gain to the top) but I needed to save my legs for the hills of Dollywood. It all worked out as it was raining and cloudy on Sunday morning. So I wouldn't have been able to see the sunrise over the Smokies.
I've talked before about adjusting my heart rate training zones. I used Friel's lactate threshold test and his recommended percentages. This dropped my training zones by roughly eight BPM. Of course, that meant running slower... for a while. Today's half marathon distance was done in Zone 2 with three minute surges every twenty minutes to lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). This is my usual plan for long runs that I learned from Coach Jeff with PRSfit. It's a great way to stay aerobic and still get some fast twitch training.
The great news from today was the excellent improvement in pace. In February and April, I ran the same distance with AHR of 160-162 and an average pace of 9:45-9:47. I've been increasing the total training volume. So my legs certainly weren't well rested. However, I was able to roll in the new Zone 2 with an AHR of 154 and an average pace of 9:25. Twenty seconds faster with 6-8 BPM lower heart rate. That is heart rate training doing its thing!
I titled the post "Inspired Miles" for a couple of reasons. First, it's Memorial Weekend. I think about my time in the Navy. I was fortunate to not have lost any shipmates but I know many have fallen. This is not about supporting a war or policy but it's about remembering those that have volunteered to protect our nation. Second, I was listening to Run Run Live 3.0 podcast while running. This was Chris's post-Boston recording. He was only a few kilometers from the bomb site when he was pulled from the race. The passion and emotion in his voice was strong. I pushed a hard mile eleven as he read his closing statement and I thought about the victims of the bombings.
Keep moving forward. For Chris, do epic stuff.