I had probably the most amazing long run of any marathon cycle today. It has been a long time coming, but lately I have been feeling really confident and really fit. I've been executing workouts despite sore and tired legs and despite a grueling travel schedule.
Marathon training has also been a beast. To my credit, I have braved it all. I have only run on the treadmill once this winter. I think it was during a blizzard. Other than that, I have been on the track or outside. But anyway, Butler's flight getting canceled was actually a blessing because they were able to reschedule for this week when our weather is going to be 60 degrees and sunny! If they came this weekend we would have been lucky to get a game in. It rained most of the weekend. So it all worked out pretty well.
Not only did this change affect my softball schedule, but it also opened up my training schedule a bit too. Instead of doing my long run on Monday, I was able to get it in today (Sunday). And it was a beauty. I was shocked. Tony was like "Oh, whatever. Good job but it's no surprise to me. You just need to learn how to execute and these are the things you are capable of." Haha. I was dancing all over the apartment and TR was like "yeah, whatever...ok moving on." I'm kidding. He was a little more excited than that but it was cool that he has that much faith in me.
Tony stressed that this was totally a key long run for the cycle. It was important that I do things exactly as I would on race day. I would have 7 miles worth of race pace mixed into a 21 mile run at different points, including the very end of my run. It actually wasn't very daunting when you broke it down because the times I wasn't running at marathon pace, I was going pretty easy so it was all about keeping my mind occupied while I ran easily. Tony has been prepping me for a 7:20 marathon pace, which with all I have going on this training cycle I have thought is rather ambitious. That would put me at a 3:12 which I can definitely do but just not so sure I'm ready for that now. That would be an 8 minute PR. After today, I'm thinking that if I have a good day and the stars are aligned I could do that. So today he instructs me to start at race time (which for me will be 10:20am as I am in Wave 2). So in typical AK fashion, that watch started at 10:20am exactly. I got up around 8am (well after getting up at 6am first and eating some power gel energy blasts because I was hungry...who wakes up hungry? Me. Always.), had my race day breakfast which I experimented with a little today (instead of the usual whole wheat bagel I went out to the bagel store and got a plain bagel with peanut butter so my stomach would digest it a little easier...I researched white vs. wheat and why the body breaks it down easiest - in a nutshell it's essentially stripped of all the nutrients and is broken down into sugar easier...whole wheat contains fiber which can cause bloating and worse which is not what I need...then I ate a banana with peanut butter, had some water and of course my diet ginger ale). I wore the New Balance 1400's. TR suggested I experiment with 890's and 1400's. 890's have more cushion and the 1400's are nice and light - 5.3 ounces to be exact. I had it in my mind that I was going to run in my 890's for Boston but after today I changed my mind. 1400's it is!
So my first 10 miles today I was to be on soft terrain - despite all the rain, bridle was in pretty good shape. Some puddles here and there but nothing too crazy. I figured it would give me plenty of time to see where the wind would affect me most and allowed me to formulate a plan for where I would begin and end my marathon pace portions of the run which were to be done on the roads. Here's a nice picture of the bridle path for those of you who don't know what it is.
|You can cover about 5.5-6 miles of bridle path in Central Park (CP) and create all kinds of loops. Great for running - has been a leg and life saver for me since meeting TR and CPTC. It is a gravel trail that loops around the park.|
Ok, next 5 miles were to be done at MP on the roads - which in TR's mind is 7:20. Believe it or not that was stressing me out. Well actually that's believable since everything stresses me out. I had mapped out that I was going to run into the wind on the west side hills and have it push me along on the east side. Thought that was the best course of action. When I threw down a 7:04 on mile 11 and felt good, I thought two things - 1. Either I'm having a really good day or 2. Ok, when will I crash and burn? I never crashed and burned so it was my day. My 5 miles were at 7:04, 7:09, 7:26 (this was the windy west side hills...damnit), 7:09, 7:03. Pretty freaking good for me. And I still felt strong when I had to get back onto bridle for the next 3 and bring it down to 8:20 again. I hit 8:20's on the nose. Again, didn't look at my watch. The last 2 miles (19 and 20) were to be done at race pace again (or 7:20's). Mile 19 was 7:10 and then mile 20 was 7:09. Basically I averaged 7:09 for my MP and I was pretty freaking excited. I still had much more left in the tank and I never lost my head. Often when I fatigue all logic and sense goes out the window. I lose my mind, literally. That never happened today! TR told me to warm down for a mile at the end which turned out to be 1.58 miles because that's how far I was from home. Today was not an ideal day to run either. The winds were blowing pretty heavily - 17 mph to be exact. Typically that is a recipe for disaster for me and workouts. Today I performed DESPITE the conditions. YES!!
So let's see - I have done a long run in 75 degrees and 79% humidity, one in 24 degrees/10 degree wind chills and 18 mph winds and now one in 47 degrees, raw, wet, and windy. Not to mention all the other work I have done in snow, ice and single digit temps. It would be fair to say that I am ready for anything.
Pretty excited to execute in Boston in 3 weeks! Let's see if I can put it all together. I will not go out to hard...I will not go out too hard....I WILL DO IT! I don't know what this is more about - do I really want to succeed or do I not want to live through the heartache of f'ing up a race again? I think it's all one in the same.
|Wearing my Boston shorts in this photo actually...hasn't been this warm in months here! This is me after a long run in Prospect Park (Brooklyn).|