It's hard for me to believe that in 1 week from tomorrow I'll be running my first marathon. Now this isn't the first time I've been here but because of the loss of Christine's father Bob and a snowstorm that caused our flight to get cancelled as we sat on the tarmac getting deiced.
As I read that post from last year, I can honestly say that I was completely kidding myself about my ability to run 26.2 miles given where I was. Sure, I've been dealing with some issues in my TFL and plantar fascia but these are minor and I only missed 2 days of running only as a precaution. Back then I barely logged any miles, only about 76, in January and February whereas this year I've put in over 230 including long runs of 18, 20 and 16 miles over the past 3 weeks with the 18 and 16 being on the Lost Dutchman course. We can also throw in 2 other 16 milers, 1 of those on the Lost Dutchman course as well, in early January.
Take that 2014 self! That cancelled flight was probably the best thing that could have happened to you.
So as mentioned, today's run was to include the last 9.5 of the course and after a few issues, not wanting to get up and then finding my Garmin needed to be charged, I started my trek on on a sunny 60 degree morning. Not too surprising there were other runners out on the road as well as some cyclists.
Since this was going to be my last long run before the race and maintaining a steady pace under 10 was the order of the day, the HRM warnings were shut off. Now it's not like I was going to push the pace anyway, but today my legs were in charge and not my heart.
Without much of a care, the first 7 miles clicked off easily enough, comfortably under the 10 minute goal. Well except for the 11 minute mile 7 but that was due to a rest stop before I tackled the tough part of the course.
The best thing about this being the 3rd time out is that the hills don't seem as bad. Granted I'll have run 10 more miles to this point in the actual race but I urge myself on to attack them and it was only through miles 8 and 9 where I got much over 10 minutes (10:14 and 10:13 respectively). Not bad considering the over 100 foot elevation gain. Even the 60 foot rise over .3 miles right after the 9 mile mark didn't seem so bad today; I just put my head down and dug deep. Fortunately the next 3 miles are mostly downhill albeit with a few rollers.
Aside from that steep hill, the long hill from miles 12-14 is the next biggest challenge, gaining 120 feet over the 2 miles. I remember when I ran this as my first half this hill killed me but now it doesn't seem as bad. Don't get me wrong, it's still a tough one and after 22 miles I'll probably feel differently but today it was just another hill to attack. Soon it was behind me and the last 2.5 miles were only ahead of me.
It was here that I made a mental note that once I'm recovered I'll need to do at least 1 or 2 20-30 runs a month in the lead up to my BQ race. I say this because the one thing I notice is that on all my long runs over 13 or so miles, things start to hurt around the 14 mile mark, particularly my feet. Today was no different.
It's not like I'm in terrible pain; really just aches that I need to get over and I think these long runs will get me conditioned to either get used to them or get my body in condition to not have them. It also didn't help much that the temp was now around 70 and I was ready to be done. After 1 more hill, 16.5 miles were in the books and it was time to head home for some bacon and eggs courtesy of my lovely nutritionist Christine.
So with next week being an easy week, I'm torn on whether to rest up tomorrow and run 5 on Monday and Wednesday or do 5 tomorrow with another 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Looks like it will be a game day decision.