Sunday, September 13, 2015

9/13: Marathon Training Run

Today validated that much of the hard work is paying off in my training.  I did the "distance" of the marathon today.  Last year, I attempted this run, and only I failed miserably at it.  The last 5-6 miles I really struggled.  So I really wanted to nail this run this time.  I knew it would give me confidence for the marathon race next month.  To actually race this distance, is quite a work of art.  A friend of mine did a similar training run, doing the distance in 2:34 one month before he raced a 2:24.  He believes it really helped him, and my coach also began training me this way last year when he started with me.  I think this year I have begun to adapt well to his training style, and the results are certainly showing.  I've had occasional "off" races, but I've had very good races and a consistent pattern to my training that is developing my running engine to a higher threshold.  Today, I woke up to a cool, crisp breeze and the weather was pleasantly not hot and humid.  After training in much of these arduous conditions, not to mention a terrible half marathon race last weekend in va beach that was completely full of humidity, I was pleasantly surprised by the cool and less humid weather.  The Va Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon last weekend was just plain awful.  I was a complete idiot for one thing-I went out wayyyyyy too fast and underestimated how humid it was.  After a 5:02 first mile, I went through 5K in 15:54, 10K in 32:24, 10M in 53:12, and I crawled home in 1:11.   It felt somewhat like a hard training run, so I tried to stay positive about it.  But I was pissed and bitter, the conditions were terrible.  Humidity is awful-I actually think I can handle heat pretty well though(just look at the rockville twilighter result when it was scorching that evening).  But I told myself that it was a lesson to start out slower especially in really bad conditions.  I think also though I was a bit tired from all the training I had been doing.  That week was a down week mileage wise-but I still did a 3 mile tempo earlier that week in 15:03, which I felt good about, but certainly I knew going into the race that I'm trying to run the marathon well here, not the half.  I had also done back to back 3 x 120 mile weeks in a row-the highest consistent volume I've done.  The mileage during the race week was 70, which felt really nice to recover a bit-it was a much needed break.  Going into this week I did easy runs until I felt a bit more "normal" again, according to my coach.  Then the attempt would be made on the 26 mile training run today.

I woke up this morning to pleasant weather-it finally cooled off(FINALLY!!), and there was a nice breeze in the air as the humidity cleared.  I drove out to Whites Ferry, to where my favorite 10 mile loop was.  I was to do 2 loops, and then add on an out and back 6 mile.  This was great because I could loop back to my car, grab water/fuel and keep things going.  I went alone.  I needed to do this alone.  I mentally visualized the way I should run a marathon race.   Patience, patience, patience.  Start out slow.  Build.

I started out gently, and gradually let my body naturally build into the pace.  I was able to start out mid to low 6's, and kept low 6's for the first 10 miles, coming through 61 min.  The second loop I started running faster, going through the 2nd 10 miles in 57 min, so it progressed really well.  I was amazed at how efficient I ran.  The last 6 I couldn't believe how strong I felt, and did an out and back along the rolling dirt road, finishing the run in 2:33.  I think the last 6 miles I felt somewhat like He-Man when he got his sword back(yes for those of you youngsters reading, this is cheezy, but hey, this was epic if you grew up in the 80s!):

2:33.  Shit, that's a new PR, isn't it?  I thought to myself.    The run came out to a bit over 26 actually, so I might have damn ran the exact 26.2 distance-at least as close as possible.  At any rate, I consider this an unofficial new marathon PR.  But I think this just tells me how now I am beginning to catch up.  Perhaps I can race a 2:22 next month.  I can't get caught up in the trials pace(2:18), I need to run my own race if I am going to conquer this.  I must start out slow that first mile.  The mental training is now what I must do.  The physical is mostly done at this point.  I have a quick 20 miler next weekend, and then the taper begins.  My coach has trained me well the last year.  Now I must mentally train myself to relax and run my own race.  This is the most important part of running, to enjoy it.  It truly is a journey.