Friday, March 11, 2011
2 stellar long runs this week
My training/traveling schedule this week has been interesting and exciting. Last weekend, I was in upstate NY for Kathleen's wedding. And then this week, I have been in Florida visiting friends! I'll write more about the trip in another blog, and focus on training in this one. I spoke with Sarah about my travel plans, and we decided to forego cross training this week. A couple of actual rest days won't kill me and will give me a chance to get ready as I prepare to peak.
Sunday I was scheduled to run 19 miles. As we traveled from Ithaca to Rochester, we got hit with a lot of snow, and it just wasn't safe to run outside. So, my dad and I headed to the Y and I braced myself for a long run on the treadmill. I was well-equipped: GU, iPod, Gatorade, and a treadmill with a tv (crazy, right?). The longest treadmill run I had ever done before that was 13 miles, so this was going to be a big leap. I was more afraid of the mental challenge of staying relaxed than the distance. I wish I could say the miles just clicked off, but that was not the case. Normally outside, I can nod off and have a few miles just "happen." Not on the treadmill. After the first hour, I switched to a treadmill on the other side of the gym. My dad came over to check in on me. We chatted for a minute, and then he went to do another workout. Then after hour 2, I switched back. Okay, less than 40 minutes to go, I told myself. One of the trainers who works with my dad also stopped by. These little visits provided at least a little "break" from focusing on the blinking numbers. I first started watching episodes of Sex and the City, and then slipped into a Cheers marathon (it always makes me laugh that they call them that). As the miles racked up, my ability to follow the plot faded. My dad finished his workout, then sat near the lockers and was talking on the phone with my mom. 2 miles to go at that point, and I am sure my face was showing signs of fatigue - I was just sort of gazing at my dad at that point. Then 1, and then finally, done!
19 miles at 8:18 pace. Oh my! Was pretty pleased with that, seeing as it was such a mental challenge to stay focused. But it was done! And then my dad took me home, and I was able to have a delicious dinner with my parents before I left for Florida the next morning.
My trip to Florida has been absolutely wonderful. Right now, I am curled up on 6 year old Henry's bed while he is playing. Absolute heaven. Incidedently, what did the Raptor say when the volcano errupted? Have a lavaly day! Henry loves dinosaurs and has a dinosaur riddle book.
This morning, I did a 21 mile run. Now, I am not really a fan of training runs that go beyond 20 miles. I think they can be more fatiguing than helpful. I haven't done one since I was training for MCM 2009. But I am also not one to question Sarah, so okay, let's roll with it. I have been running with Jenny (of MCM fame) long enough that I know this area pretty well. I also set it up so that I could drop off clothes at the house. Thanks to a rainstorm yesterday, the temperature this morning was cool for Florida standards (50s), but felt great to me! And so I was off! It was such a peaceful run - no traffic to deal with, and just miles and miles of landscaped houses, palm trees, and sun. I decided to time my run but not measure splits - just go out and see what happens. In the end with a run that long, it's more about getting it done. The first hour went by fast, and I took a GU, and ditched the arm warmers. At 2 hours, the arm warmers and shirt went in Jenny's mailbox. I think the middle hour can be the hardest, so felt relieved to be done with that. Okay, last time out. While I was ditching clothes and taking in some gatorade, I didn't feel too hot - hot enough, but not fatigued from the heat either. Then I had about 3 miles to go. I started to try to dig in - I decided it was going to be uncomfortable at that point, it wouldn't last that much longer. Then I had about a mile to go. I was very saddened to hear of the tragic death of elite marathoner/triathlete Sally Meyerhoff, who was killed while cycling this week. She was only 27, and had a great career already, and many more good years to go. One of the amazing things was that she decided that marathon training wasn't completely working, so she announced at the end of last year that she was going to try triathlons for a while. She even won the RNR Arizona Marathon in January in 2:39, even amidst triathlon training. Sally had a clear passion and gusto for what she was doing, as indicated by her final blog post, "I cannot express how HAPPY I am with where I am in my life right now though, and how grateful I feel for being able to do what I do. I just wouldn't trade it for anything and any time I am feeling not very motivated, I think about how miserable I feel when I am not training or doing something else I don't LOVE. I totally and completely love this life I'm living and the most fabulous thing is that I know it's only going to get 20 times better by the end of the year. Woo hoo baby!"
You can't top that passion. So, I found myself thinking of her with a mile to go, and just took off. Surely I could find another layer and run harder. And I did. And finally, Jenny's mailbox was in sight.
21 miles: 3:02:35. 8:41 pace
Woo hoo baby! I have never been able to do a training run of 20 miles at that pace, let alone 21. It made me think back to a hard 20 miler I did last year when I was getting ready for Boston. I ran it at 8:42 pace and was hurting for the last 5 miles. It was the hardest 20 miler I have ever done. A year later, I added an extra mile, knocked a second off of the pace, and felt better in the final miles. Thinking back to that previous run increased my confidence in today's run.
In the past 6 days, I have run 56 miles, including 2 stellar long runs. I can believe in Boston now...and the clock is ticking. 38 days to go!