Where I left off was at the end of a rotten week, maybe even a couple rotten ones. I assumed at that point that someday my work would start paying off and that each and every run would not feel like a major struggle. What comes to mind as I mull over over the last couple of weeks is that finally, some improvement has been made! I do plan to talk about my training in more detail but suffice it to say that things are beginning to fall back into place.
(this blog post only has one picture and many words. I know lots of you dislike this format. Sorry)
This past Sunday I traveled to Kittery to participate in the Eastern States 20 miler. I fully intended to use this race as a training run. I was hoping to make it more of a brisk training run than most of my death march long runs have been here in my own town. Knowing that I only had three weeks until the marathon, I did not want to go balls to the wall and end up burning out my legs!
Currently I am running without a Garmin as mine died back in November and apparently I can not be bothered to buy another one...I do most of my long runs as well as marathons without ever consulting my gadget so I have not found this to be overly traumatic. That being said it does make it slightly difficult to gauge your pace if you're trying to hit a certain target. I have, however become rather good at running based on effort and feel. (nothing like a naked 20 to see how well you can gauge pace!)
I thought that this 20 miler would give me good feedback on how my fitness is coming along. I have not had a great long run yet but the shorter distance work was finally starting to click somewhat better.
This race was wrapping up a week of challenging workouts for me and was also my highest mileage week thus far. I knew it would not be going into this race with fresh legs but I did not mind that. I was targeting a pace that felt maintainable and that also would leave me with legs ready to get back to work by Tuesday. Knowing that the course was, relatively speaking, bone FLAT I knew I should be able to manage a better tempo than on my recent long runs in my hilly town. I was excited about the course because it was supposed to be really pretty- you just can't beat easy and pretty heh heh twss.
The race started smoothly, and I fell into an calm and relaxed gate. I spent the first several miles fiddling with my iPod. Apparently since I have not used it in well over a year I cannot remember how to operate the thing!(fact: I RARELY run with music. I felt like having a race dance party though so I did...) I had created for myself an amazing playlist of all of the best songs in the world and now I could not access it! I ended up listening to quite a few random songs, some good some bad and a lot of Mr. Worldwide... Like, a LOT.
Since I was not using a Garmin I really had no idea where I was on the course but was trying to guess where I was now and then. I knew that mile 7 would be noticeable, as there was a half marathon as well which started there. Mile 7 came along pretty fast, and I was feeling very good at this point. After the ipod mess I had settled into what my legs and lungs were calling maintainable speed and I was happy.
The other thing that happened around mile seven was that a fairly brisk wind picked up. It certainly was not a gale force hurricane disaster, but it was the kind of wind that smashes directly in your face and never goes away. It was more of a nuisance than anything it did make running a little more challenging than I would've liked. (I would like a brisk TAILWIND, DUH.)
In better news, the course was indeed pancake flat! I have not run such a flat 20 miler ever. It was very confidence building- there is nothing like zipping along on a bone flat surface to make you feel like the running rockstar that you were meant to be! (I wish Boston was so hill free.)
The remainder of the race was uneventful, with pleasant views, I had cooperative legs and all was well. Boring boring, just how I like it!
Per the norm the final mile felt like a 100 mile stretch but I was pleased to be able to pick it up a little and to feel that I did, as intended, still have gas in the tank. I finished with a smile on my face in 2:48:48 which is a 8:2-somthing pace. I was tremendously pleased with my results and feel that I met my goal fantastically.
|Well, we managed to get one picture.|
The moral of the story is that I feel one step more prepared for Boston. My skills over hills are a work in progress since I have only had ONE week this Spring where every run has been on the road. YIKES. REALLY YIKES. I know how badly it will affect me if the marathon falls on a hot, or even warm day this year. It has been very cold here and that is that! However, I had a lot of fun running on Sunday, I felt as though my endurance is coming back and it was a very positive day! Only a couple more weeks to pull it all together...