Well, I survived the hardest week of Hal's training program. Feels good! The big runs this week were back-to-back 10 miles at marathon pace and a 20 mile long run. I knew that nailing these runs would be crucial to my training and my confidence.
10 Miles at Marathon Pace Friday, September 21, 2012
I had an unexpected blessing of a half-day for our school system today. I still had to take my son into elementary school, but I did not have to work at the preschool or take my daughter in. We were closed as we do whenever the city has half-days. So I knew I could rest more afterwards than if I'd had to be on my feet all morning at the preschool. We ended up going to the botanical gardens in the afternoon, and I sat and rested as much as I could there while I watched the kids play.
This run went well and was executed nicely---with a 7:35 first mile and a 7:05 last mile and an overall pace of 7:14. I am proud of myself for getting out there and getting this run done. When Rick looked at the Garmin data, he asked me, "So...how many times did you do that loop??" I did 10 laps of a route around my neighborhood since it was still dark out when I ran, and I guess the map of the route was just a big red oval! The loop I do is out of traffic and well lit. But it is not the most interesting route!
Summary of Marathon Paced Runs
I have done 4 marathon-paced runs (9, 6, 10, and 10) with only one left (a 4-miler next week). See here and here for entries. I skipped the first 7 weeks of training and thus did not do the earlier pace runs (5, 6, 6, 7, and 8 miles).
The ones I did had the following paces:
Overall, I did well on these runs, and I have been able to find and maintain marathon pace easily. But I am not sure I can maintain this pace for the whole run! I suppose that is what following a training plan is all about. You never "test out" the marathon pace for the entire distance until the day of the race. You just have to trust that you will be able to do it.
20 Mile Long Run Saturday, September 22, 2012
I preferred to do this long run in the early morning. I did not want to take any chances that the warm weather would present a challenge for me. But that didn't happen. Rick helped with a 5K this morning, leaving at 6 a.m. and returning at about 9:30 a.m. I chose what I felt was the best option--to start when he returned. No way could I handle 20 laps of that same route I did yesterday, nor did I feel that it would be safe for me to start at 3:00 a.m.
So I started at 10:00 a.m. in the 70 degree weather. It was a sunny day, but there was a breeze. I felt great until around mile 13 or 14, when I started to realize that I would need more water before the end of the run. I did not want to stop. I wanted to run this one all the way through---no stops. My other 2 20-milers both had stops in them (1 in the first one and numerous ones in the second one). But I knew today that I would need to.
When I did stop, it was at a water fountain near our local dog park. I guzzled the water down. Rick and the kids were fishing just feet away, so I stopped and talked to them for awhile. I continued on but stopped one more time--around mile 18. I needed to get myself together and talk myself into finishing this thing. The temperature (80 degrees now) was really too much for me to push for the pace I wanted today, but I was too stubborn to adjust. Finishing felt great. Rick had put my Gatorade in some ice when I returned to the spot outside the house where I'd left it. Delicious!
Summary of 20-Mile Long Runs
August 23, 2012---8:46 average
see entry here
September 8, 2012---8:25 average
see entry here
September 22, 2012---7:47 average
Pace improved with each run, and I finished today with a pace around 32 seconds off of my marathon pace. This is fast for me and well within the range of 7:45-8:15 that I was shooting for. I also maintained pace even at the end of the run today, something I struggled with on the other 2 runs. But all 3 of these runs involved stops for various reasons (and I stopped the Garmin when I stopped). I did not run a 20-miler straight through in this training cycle. I know that the weather today played a role in that, yet I also know that doing my run later in the day today was unavoidable. I am just going to hope that on race day I will be able to run without stopping. Rick says, "Just tell yourself not to walk beforehand." Ummmm, it's not that simple! But you can bet that I will be doing lots of mental preparation during this taper, trying to convince myself that I can do it.