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.