I finally took the time to check my calendar to see what my work weekends will be and how they will fit with my race plans. I ended up removing a few races from my list (including Laurel Valley, which I really wanted to do.) My work weekends aren't really negotiable. I also finally made a decision about the snowshoe marathon. I haven't been on snowshoes enough this winter to do it. Right now it sounds like they have very little snow on the ground in Pittsfield, VT, but more is expected this week. So chances are the marathon will still happen and they might even have good snowy trails for it. But I'm skipping it anyway.
So tomorrow is the official start of the next phase of my training. I've written out a plan which will keep my weekly mileage low, give me two cross training days each week, and include back to back hard efforts each week. This is a lot different than the high mileage, 7-day-a-week training that I have done previous years. I'm getting older and my body can't take that kind of abuse anymore. Injuries have been a constant struggle for me for the past several years so my big goal this year is to stay healthy and fit enough to have fun and enjoy the events I participate in.
Today was an 18 miler on the roads. It was long, boring, and painful. But it felt good to get it done and I averaged just under 9 minute pace for an extremely hilly route. I hadn't made the decision not to do the snowshoe marathon when I started this run, but had made the decision by the time I was done. So now I will back off on the long run distance, building up to several long runs of 25 plus leading up to Vermont. My weekly mileage will peak at 55. I know that sounds minimal for an ultra-runner, but I have a pretty good feel for what my body is capable of at this point in my life. Can I go sub 24 at Vermont on this type of training? I believe I can!