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A Long, Long Run

October 16, 2010

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Little G and I have had to tweak our schedule a little. No worries, really–we’ve just had to rearrange where our 20-milers fall and plan around when we’re going to be in town, et cetera.

We ran our first 20-miler two weeks ago and took the opportunity to run a trial half marathon last weekend. We penciled in our longest training run, an over-20-miler, for this weekend, and plan to do a divided long run, back-to-back 12s, next weekend. The weekend after is Halloween, and we’ll run a Halloween Half together. The following weekend is our last 20-miler, and we’ll run the last few miles of that at goal race pace. After that, the race will be two short weeks away, and we’ll officially be into our taper.

Because I knew this was going to be my longest run until race day, I treated it very much like a dress rehearsal. I stayed off my feet as much as possible yesterday*, and drank more water than I usually would. I laid out everything I’d need for the run in the late afternoon, including extra gels, my clothes and ponytail holder, and post-run nutrition. I ate whole wheat spaghetti for dinner, and was in bed, reading, by 7, and asleep by 8.

The alarm woke me at 3:30, and I ate while dressing, so my body would have time to digest the peanut butter toast before we started. By the time Little G pulled into my driveway an hour later, I was ready to go.

We arrived at the beachfront road just past 4:30. We were the first car in the parking lot, beating even the coffee- and donut-making crew at Dunkin’. We found our satellite signals, tied our laces, and pinned our gels to our skirts.** We shook out our early-morning sleepiness and walked down to the road, staring down a 23-mile run.

It was early and dark, and we were doing our very best to avoid having to loop back and cover the same territory twice, so some of the time, especially in the early miles, our route took us down some fairly dark roads (our splits will show this)–in fact, at times, we had to give up and walk just to avoid wiping out. But the advantages were clear. By the time we hit the car for our first fuel stop we were already six miles in. We headed south on A1A and put in another few miles, then looped back and did a figure 8, never once having to cover the same ground.

The great thing about my running partner is that conversation flowed very easily during the near-4 hours we were together. We decided not to worry about pace on this one; our goal was simply to finish feeling strong. When we hit mile 22, though, Little G turned to me and said, “What do you say we plug in and cruise the last mile?” So we did. We unwound our ear buds, hit play, and each found our happy pace–and cruised to an 8:25 ending mile.

I couldn’t be happier with our 23-mile-run. I could have run a marathon today, and probably finished in 4:15. If I can do that at Space Coast, my heart will be happy.

Today: 23 miles in 3:45:11 (avg pace 9:48)
slowest mile (mi 1): 10:38
fastest mile (mi 23): 8:24

This week:
M: intervals 3x3mi @ 9:00 with 30-sec recoveries
W: easy 8 in 1:15 (9:28 avg)
F: easy 6 in 1:01 (10:18 avg)
total weekly mileage 46

*We did happen to go to our local safari park to celebrate our family birthdays, all four of which take place within the span of about eight weeks. It involved a fair amount of walking, but the Boss was superb about doing rides with the kids and letting me sit around as much as possible. He also provided lots and lots of water. All this took place after I’d completed my six mile run for the day, since Little G and I are operating on the training philosophy of running our long runs on tired legs. So, yes, much to the Boss’s dismay, I ran 29 miles this weekend. Which explains my woefully sad mileage for the rest of the week.

** This is my new fuel-carrying system, since other than my SpiBelt, which fits four Hammer gels at maximum, I haven’t found a fuel belt I can comfortably wear. Pinning gels to my skirt has been a genius solution: I can easily and comfortably tear the top off to ingest them, they don’t bounce at all, and it means I don’t have to wear a belt at all during the race.

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