Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last 23

This weekend I had to work Saturday. Which I wouldn't normally mind but for the fact that I had signed up to run the Grand Rapids Marathon course preview 20M run. Whatevs, I still got the t-shirt (more on how that happened later).

Therefore, I had to push my last 20M+ run to Sunday morning. Because the Redhead's injury pulled her out of the Capital City River Run Half, I could avoid the awkward problem of missing her run so I could do mine--whew, that could have been a sticky situation. Instead, while I started my run, she joined a few of her Daily Mile friends on their bikes so they could cheer a few runners on.

Now, I've been engaged in an excellent offline conversation with Adam about the different approaches to training for a BQ. Essentially discussing whether one should do any, some, or all of your long runs at about marathon pace (mp) or +15 sec at most. I'm from the school of thought that says, running 10M, 13M, or even 15M at mp is a good thing; but there still remains an additional 11M at that pace. I believe the body benefits from knowing what it feels like to run 20M at mp. Because for me, running 15M at a BQ pace (7:15/M) is easy. But the next 5M can pose problems, and things can fall apart quickly.

Moreover, even if you do manage to fight through miles 15-20, you still have another six.* All of which is why I try to make about 45% of my longs runs at mp or faster.** Asking your body to run a pace faster than you have trained for, longer than any of your training runs, leaves a lot of room things to go wrong.

That said, I was able to take advantage of a great running day and crank-out the best run of the season thus far, a 23M run at a 7:01 pace. I even spent a little time on the River Run Half course, as my mile 11 aligned with the Half's mile 4; but I was there earlier than the racers, so I just said 'Hello' to the volunteers and thanked them for volunteering.***

Even though I was unable to get a course preview for the GR Marathon, my sister Emma (who lives in GR) did participate. She is training for her first marathon--although she is an accomplished runner and has completed the 25K distance several times. Emma had an amazing run and was also kind enough to pick up my t-shirt. Now, if I can only convince her to do a guest post.****

Which leaves only one last things to say...let the taper begin.

* I should note that another thing I have learned from personal experience is that you can feel like a rock star at mile 20 and swearing in front of small impressionable children at mile 22. Plus, if you have a bad race during your marathon, you just can't (typically) give it another shot two or three weeks later. As oppose to a bad 5K, where you can give it another go two weeks later with little or no lingering effects.

** I should also note that the Redhead and her coach (as well as many other more accomplished runners) do not subscribe to this training belief.

***One volunteer, after I thanked her, smiled and told me I was running the wrong way.

****When broached with the idea of a guest post, she initially refused simply because she didn't want to be too closely associated with my disgusting feet. Well I'm soooo sorry my feet disgust you. But since we are of the same genetic makeup, I strongly suggest you take a hard look at your feet before you get all judgmental on mine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ice Cream Social Time Y'All

Yesterday I pushed my workout from the am to the pm because I'm lazy...and I love sleep. So I started my 10 x 400m track workout a little after 7pm. Around here that means it was going to get dark during the workout.

When I arrived at the local track, the high school band was practicing in the parking lot. Nothing new. But there was a group of parents outside the stadium setting up tables. After my first 6 laps it was dark and the band had stopped. Soon band kids (bandies) were milling around and eating ice cream.* Me, I was working hard on intervals 7 and 8.

Then the parents began to sit in the stands as the kids began walking onto the field. Best of all, the lights kicked on. Now, it is very rare you get to run on a track under the lights. That is simply something reserved for college runners and pros. And I had an audience which had nothing better do watch while the bandies took their time getting into formation.

So of course my last two laps were my fastest.

* As I left, I was offered some delicious ice cream. Sadly, I was having gi issues that made enjoying such a delectable treat impossible.

Not my track, but you get the idea.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cali and Jet Leg and a Long Run

Last week I was amongst the Redwoods for a work conference. This was the kind of work conference where they actually expected us to work...lots. So, sadly, I was unable to meet up with a few runners/bloggers while I was out there.

I had to accomplish two runs out there, a 5M easy run and a 10M tempo run. So I awoke early on Wednesday and made my way from our resort to the beach, down one very steep hill. And it was long as well. The plus side is that it took me to the beach where I could enjoy some flat running.

I used this same route (just adding more beach running) for my tempo run as well. I think 10M tempo runs are big deals. I try to run them faster than marathon pace (mp) by about 15 sec/M. My last 10M tempo run was a disaster (as it fell only a few days after my 10M CRIM race). So I wanted this to be an excellent run. And hills increase the difficulty of running for time.

Regardless, I just planned on banking time the first 7M (I mean, I do have to go down that monster hill before I have to go back up it) and then hope the monster hill will equal me out.
Which is exactly what I did for the first 7M. Plus, because I couldn't resist myself, I did throw up my hands and yell "Yeeeeeeeeeee!!!!" as I went down the hill because the sensation was a little like a roller coaster.

After running up the hill, I was right on pace, and I buried the pace the last two. Tempo run done.

I arrived back home at 1:30am Saturday morning after flying most of Friday, and there was no way I was going to attempt to do my 14M long run that morning as the Redhead and I had a little catching up to do. I got up at 5:10am regardless to help set up for the MSU v ND tailgate. After staying up past midnight to see MSU prevail in OT, I slept in and didn't start my long run until about 10am. After my tempo run, and tons of travel, and a long day, I was not emotionally involved in my run. I didn't want to do it. I was only engaged during miles 7 and 8, and I was begging myself to keep focused through 10. At 10, I just wanted to hold on and not flop a bad mile. Somehow I managed to do both.

And, for your occuliar pleasure, below are a few pictures I took of the monster hill, which I nicknamed the Del Mar Download (in honor of nearby Silicon Valley).

But I did get to run along this, just like the runners in the picture below.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Going back to Cali

Sadly, I had to leave the Redhead for a few days for work reasons. The good news is that I get to go to Cali for the next few days. I'm staying in Aptos and looking out at the beautiful Pacific Ocean (well, Monterery Bay to be specific).

Guess what, there are hills...everywhere. So my 10M pace run should be interesting on Thursday.

I know, life is sooo hard. Please feel sorry for me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gone with (and then Into) the Wind

I know I know I know, it's no 'hurricane like winds,' but a Midwest 'wind advisory' is no fun. I slept in on Tuesday, thereby pushing my track workout to the evening. I did this because I'm lazy in an attempt to avoid the nasty winds that were blowing from Atlanta to Alpena.

What made this wind even worse is that it was a 'gusting' wind. Which is runner code for 'always blowing when you are running head-on and always easing up when at your back.' I could see waves in the grass the wind was whipping so wickedly. But I nonetheless began rounding the track despite the wind's attempt to whisk me and Tara through Georgia.

And even though it didn't help, I did give the wind a two finger salute each time I faced it for a 100M straightaway. Childish, yes. But frankly my get the point. Because, in the end, even if you perfectly split time spent going headlong into the wind and with it at your back, you always lose more going into--than you gain going with--the wind.

Finally, I wanted to give a massive thanks to the Redhead for biking along with me on my 14M in FL this past weekend. She assured me I was very lucky to get a near perfect morning--high 70s and no humidity. And it was perfect, because I had my wonderful Southern belle accompanying me.