Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A marathon of a weekend and a request

Ever since I did my first marathon in 2009, I became more sensitive to the word marathon - my ears would perk up when someone would talk about a marathon. At the same time, I realized how much the term gets thrown around "It's a marathon, not a sprint," (used typically to describe any long project) "Friends marathon coming up next," "this is a marathon event,"" etc - but things not generally referring to the 26.2 event itself. Even last week, I picked up my bib for the Navy 5 Miler, and the security guard said, "Oh, are you here for the marathon?" (I then told him that it was not a marathon) "Well, it's a marathon to me!" he replied. Perhaps in spirit, but not the standard 26.2 Well, I had a marathon of a weekend, and it's not too far from the truth. My Saturday workouts are speedwork on the road (paved trails): either some sort of tempo run or farleks - something generally between 10-12 miles. They are probably my most productive workout of the week - definitely the one I think about the most. Now that the weather has mercifully cooled down, I've been putting off those weekend runs until later in the day. I'd rather do some work in the morning and then get out there later in the day. Of course, as soon as I got out on Saturday and got my warm-up done, the sky opened up and it started to pour. But to be honest, as long as I'm dressed fine, the rain doesn't bother me. Sometimes, it feels like it pushes me to run faster, and that was the case on Saturday. This was the workout:
2.5 mile warm-up. 3 miles x 2 miles x 2x 1 mile on the trails.  Aim to use the first 3 miles as warm-up, aim for 7 minute pace.  ½ mile jog;  Aim to hit about 6:50 pace for the 2 mile.  ½ mile jog.  For the first mile, aim for 6:40; ½ mile jog; aim for 6:30 on the second. 2.5 mile cool-down.  Total: 13.5 miles
I did a pretty good job with this one: slightly below 7 minute pace for the first 3, 6:50 for the 2, 6:39, and then I "blew up" and ran 6:49 for the last mile. And I had put everything I had into trying to fly in for that last one, but this is definitely a workout of cumulative effort. Even a few fast seconds early on can quickly catch up to you. The rain just kept coming down, and I could feel the water build up in my shoes and squish along the way. Just me and a few cyclists trying to get home. At the end of it all, I stumbled back into the house, drenched, wiped, and exhilerated. It was hard, but it went well. My legs felt beat up, but I had my celebratory glass of wine (which is how like to cap off speed days) and called it a night.
It was a monster week of training, and there was still one more run left: the Sunday long run. These tend to be 10-13 miles, with no concern of pace the day after a workout. Of course, this was a weekend when it was the longer end: 13 miles. And my quads felt it every step of the way. I don't think mentally I've ever had to work so much to get through a 13 mile training run. It wasn't really just the soreness that got to me, just the overwhelming tired feeling. And I couldn't have been checking my watch more - were the miles really adding up so slowly? But then I did some simple arithmetic: 13.5 + 13 = 26.5. I was running the equivalent of a marathon in 24 hours. No wonder my legs were hurting...it was mile 7 on Sunday...not unlike the mile 20 feeling of a marathon. And I fully realize that this is not a marathon - it was not done consecutively, mile by mile in a single day. But at the end of the long run, the second 13 (and yes, I threw the .1 in too), done in 1:48, my legs stumbled up the stairs and I was done. Had a big bowl of gluten-free pasta and called it a day. It was a marathon of a weekend and my little leggies were sore sore sore. Not quite waddling like a pregnant woman (which I did after my first marathon), but more sore than usual. So much running! But it all was a success and the more you can get used to running on tired legs, the better.
And speaking of marathons: a request:
My future brother-in-law Jack is running the NYC Marathon in 6 weeks to support a great cause, academic support and career development for first-generation college students. For more information on his organization, check out his infographic here: http://www.imagebam.com/image/916722275232572
It would mean a lot to me if you could also support the cause by donating even a small amount on his team's page here: http://www.crowdrise.com/NewYorkNeedsYouNYC2013/fundraiser/teamNYNY

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