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First 18

December 2, 2008

The training schedule called for 15, I think, but mentally I knew I was going out for 16. Started out on the bridge for two passes, which would give me four miles. It was coolish out, but I knew I’d warm up quickly–Saturday was forecast to be one of the warmest days we’d had in weeks. I thought the bridge work would be good: due to the half marathon, I hadn’t done any in a few weeks, so the hill work would strengthen the legs and get a few miles under me, and keep me close enough to the car to allow me to wear my long sleeve during those early miles before I warmed up, and then let me drop it off without having to wear it around my waist like a leaden weight.

It also gave me time to think ahead. I had those 16 on the schedule today–my third at that distance, I was pretty sure. Then a 5k that I intend to race all-out the following weekend (that would be this Saturday), then 18 miles the following week, then a 10k that I also plan to race, then I go straight into 20-milers. The schedule contains four of them, starting Christmas week, scheduled every other week with plateaus and cutbacks in between.

Now this may make no sense to anyone but me, but I thought, for me, it would be easier to scale up to 20 miles on Christmas week if I did two 18 milers instead of just one. So I ran 18 instead of 16. I went south first, and had fuel for the first time at the six-mile mark. I ran those first six at ten-minute pace, so I thought I was on pace to run my first three-hour run, but I must have picked up the pace after that.

I finished just under 2:46. I was out there for three hours including potty and water breaks, though. My average pace did end up being 9:13. I just cannot slow down enough–I was trying to keep it closer to ten-minute miles.

I was sore when I got home and did the ice bath-breakfast-coffee-shower routine. I even drank chocolate milk since I read in Runner’s World that studies show it aids in muscle recovery. However, my eight miler on Monday was slow–9:35 pace–and my intervals today were really painful*.

I’ve felt sluggish all day today. I could get up and run tomorrow; a cold front moved through today and it’s supposed to be in the 40s, so it’s great running weather, but I do wonder if a wise runner wouldn’t listen to her body and stay tucked in for an extra day’s recovery. I want to tell myself that I’m making up excuses but part of me thinks my body is still tired from the tough intervals stacked on top of a midlong eight stacked on top of a very long 18.

The first time at a new distance has always been tough for me. Then the second time it’s easy-peasy.

This is exactly why I wanted to do two 18s. I wanted to have the confidence of one 18 before I had to move it up to 20. I would be so demoralized if I felt this tired after one 18 and knew I had to face 20 the following week.

At any rate, 18 in 2:45. Now, on Saturday, for the next goal: 3.1 in under 24 minutes. Can she do it? Stay tuned!

*Since my PR-busting time at the 13.1 Fort Lauderdale, the prescribed pace for all my workouts has really increased–or decreased–well, sped up. The training schedule called for me to run my intervals at a 7:40 pace today. The first interval was brutal; I was dead tired and the best I could muster was an 8:01, and that was visualizing my 5k race on Saturday. The next two were faster–7:34 and 7:23–but far from easy. Funny thing is, they do average 7:40. It’s a comfort to know that, even dead tired, I can hit my prescribed pace.

I’m still taking tomorrow off.

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