I like to say that what doesn't kill me just pisses me off but frankly, I'm too cooked to be pissed off.
Today's 18 miler was a windy, hilly affair with the last 9.5 miles or so being the last portion of the Lost Dutchman Marathon. This is also the toughest part of the course and is the 2nd time I've covered it in as many weeks and I plan on doing it once more before the February 15th race. This time out I wasn't sweating it as much as last time even though I added a hill at the beginning along with the real killer that comes on mile 17.
Good or bad it was a windy morning with a steady gust around 17 mph coming out of the Northeast. This meant that the last half of the run was going to be predominantly uphill and into the wind. In a way I don't view this as a bad thing because come race day I need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at me. At least it cracked 60 so it wasn't all bad.
The first 8+ miles were easy enough since I was heading downhill with a tailwind for the most part after the first mile. This also aided in keeping my pace up and my HR down below 137 bpm. On the downside I was still running well above a sub-4 hour marathon pace, even in the favorable conditions, so I think that mark will not be attempted in the race. I'd rather run comfortably and strong in my first 26.2 and have a good feeling about it, than crash and burn because I shot for a goal I had no chance of reaching.
Before I ventured into the teeth of the course, a near 200 foot ascent over the next 2 miles, I made sure to fuel up on some ENERGYbits and make a quick pit stop even though I didn't feel a pressing need. This was going to be grueling but I wasn't intimidated after having conquered it the last time out.
I was able to cruise right along as the wind had seemed to diminish somewhat but my HR started to rise with the increase in elevation. As I hit the most challenging part of the run just before the 11 mile mark I remained mentally strong and pushed myself up the hill. I was never so relieved to get to the top of the steep climb knowing that the next 3 miles were going to be relatively easy before another long steady hill.
When I hit the final challenge, 1.5 miles with a 100 foot incline, the wind picked up again and since I was heading North I was going to have to contend with it in my face. At least it comes right at the 14 mile mark which is where I'm set to down some more bits. This is probably the greatest advantage to running the course prior to the race, the ability to work out fuel strategy.
As I attacked the final gut-check point the wind got stiffer and stiffer but so did my resolve. I was only clocking 11 minute miles but my HR was into the low 150s, yest I still felt strong. Pushing myself up the hill I told myself to suck it up. After all I was only 14 miles in, just think what it will be like after 22 miles in the the actual race.
Yeah, I really wasn't comforting myself there but given the conditions I felt stronger than on my last run when I hit it after only 12 miles. Cresting the top I knew I still had rollers to contend with but the hardest part was done and I would be aide by somewhat of a tailwind for the last 2.5. The run was soon over and after a brief cooldown I got in my car and made the trek home.
So there you have it, one more LSD run behind me on the Road to BQ.
Week ending January 24th - 54.7 miles