After a few months of utter insanity in our house (sick child, dog with cancer, broken boiler, etc.), things are finally settling into a new rhythm. With that, I decided to try to go to my Monday night running clinic once again. It was nice see everyone! I chose the run/walk group again. There are a few newbies in this group. The leader chose a very strange run/walk ratio. Run 4 min/walk 3. The pace was definitely slow for me and I probably should have joined the next group up. It was still fun and we went about 2.6 miles. I’m glad I was able to go back to the group.
My next mid-week run was Thursday. I chose the treadmill because it was just pitch-black outside and I really don’t have adequate safety gear for night runs. I tried a slightly faster pace and went just over 2.5 miles at 12:30 pace. I did run 2/walk 1 and progressively dialed up the speed on the run portion. I didn’t want to push too hard because my BIG 20 miler was scheduled for Saturday.
Ah, the long run. According to Galloway, “The long run is the key to marathon training.” indeed! My longest run to date had been 15.34 miles. I definitely haven’t trained as consistently as I had planned. Funny how life gets in the way. I double and triple checked my route this time and settled on 4 loops of 5.1 miles each. I laid out my clothes and gear the night before. Zachary came to bed with me at 4:30am which was unfortunate because the alarm was going off at 5am. I did have a discussion with myself about why any sane person who works my job and has my children would think that running a marathon is a good idea. And then I remembered that I’m 5 weeks out from my marathon – like it or not – and I’d better get my butt in gear.
One pop tart and one glass of water later, I was out the door. The stars were still in the sky and it was a clear, cool morning with no wind. Peace and quiet. I decided to walk the first 2+ miles since I hadn’t done a 17 miler yet. It was chilly and I walked pretty fast. I listened to holiday music on my iPod (yes, I’m a sap) and truly enjoyed the quiet. After 2 or so miles I switched to a run 1/walk 1 ratio. I tried to keep my pace down but I don’t think I was super successful. I tried to re-fuel regularly by alternating shot blocks with GU. And I added endurolytes every hour. I finished the 1st loop in about 1:05. And felt good.
The 2nd loop was faster and hampered only by having to pee! I kept my run 1/walk 1 ratio. This was probably my best loop. I stopped at my house for a quick pee break and headed out for more. The 3rd loop was miserable. I was ok for the first 2 miles or so and then I hit the wall. My legs were tired and I was tired and I wasn’t even close to done yet. Ugh. I stopped for a 2nd pee break at the end of the loop (drinking too much water/Gatorade?) and convinced myself that one more loop was possible. I switched to a run 30 sec/ walk 1 min ratio. My right knee was hurting a bit and the back of my left knee. I knew I was going to fast and needed to slow down. I won’t lie. It was pretty ugly. I pushed through and finished but it was more pathetic than triumphant.
Final stats: 20.4 miles in 4:31:00 for an average pace of 13.17 min/mile. Too fast for a training run but at least I can do it!
Tom thinks the pain in the back of the left knee is a hamstring injury. I’m resting and icing and planning an easy week. I don’t know if I’ll attempt another super long run or not. If I do, it’ll be much slower so I don’t risk serious injury…

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