Sunday, February 12, 2012

This weekend - Valentine's Day Dash + 20-miler

This weekend I ran 26.4 miles over two days. Not exactly consistent with the Run Less Run Faster doctrine (which would not stack two hard runs on two consecutive days), but sometimes the calendar (real calendar, versus training calendar) rules. In this case the calendar showed a 5K race on the same weekend as my first 20-mile run. So be it.

I did manipulate my training schedule for the week to accommodate this double run weekend. I originally did include five runs in the week, but the weather and my tired legs on Monday (after 18 on Sunday), quickly convinced me to change my runs to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 6.5 easy on Tuesday, 7 (with 3 x 1-mile speed work on Thursday), 6.4 on Saturday (3.25 warm-up plus 3.15 5K race "tempo"). Rather unfortunately (in a training sense), my tempo miles on Saturday were faster than my "speed" intervals on Thursday. I know I am slow these days...I felt like I was busting a gut on Thursday, even with rests between miles and occasional stoplights. The 5K actually felt easier (a bit).

Saturday morning my mom came with me to Green Lake for the race. We intentionally arrived really early, before 8:00 for a 9:30 race, so we could get good parking near the start and finish area. (We did.) That gave me plenty of time to check in, use the bathroom several times, and run a 3.25 mile warm-up (once around the lake plus a little extra).

Shortly before 9:30 we headed back over to the start and I seeded myself at the back of the 8-9 minute pace section. I didn't feel confident enough to get further up. Turns out I could have (a bit), but my position didn't really hinder me. It's a big, crowded race, and there are somewhat narrow spots, but the walkers did stay to the back and it worked pretty well.

When the starting horn sounded we jogged toward the start and I crossed about 30 seconds later (it was chip timed). I didn't want to look at my watch too much because I figured I'd run as hard as I could and not get caught up in worrying about my pace.

Green Lake is a popular walking and running spot in Seattle as the 3-mile circumference makes a nice route. The inner path right along the lakeside is 2.8 miles and the outer path alongside the road is 3.3 miles. The race course starts on the road, goes onto the lake path for a stretch, returns to the road, then finishes (about a quarter to half mile stretch) on the lake.

I did look at my watch enough to see that I was doing a decent pace (well below 8:30) once I got going on the road, but slowed down substantially at the narrow merge onto the lake. I did pick it up again and finished the first mile around 8:17. The next mile went even better, my fastest at 8:07.

In an ideal world I would have picked up the pace for the final mile, but unfortunately I slowed down a little bit and it turned out to be 8:20-something. Oh well. I did kick it up sub-8 for the final .15, for a finish time of 25:55 (chip). I was just happy to be under 26 minutes. My overall pace was 8:14 (8:22 officially). This was the FIRST time I have managed a tempo run so close to the prescribed FIRST plan pace of 8:13). Guess I need a race for all my speed and tempo runs.

My mother had stationed herself before the finish to take pictures, but unfortunately she didn't see me in the crowds. That also meant she didn't know when I finished and spent a lot of extra time waiting for me to come by. I spent that time walking around trying to find her. Finally we did meet up at our "last chance emergency meeting spot) and she took a post race photo. That's a cute Nuu Muu dress I am wearing, with a black shirt and capris under it.

Then, onward to Sunday and my 20-mile run. I have been "dieting" (naughty word, I know) during the week, but I had a good pasta dinner Saturday night to make sure I had fuel for my run. I also had oatmeal with banana for breakfast on Sunday morning. For a race I eat breakfast two hours early but for weekend runs I just eat and run. My stomach might feel a little heavy for the first few miles but nothing too bad.

My main "fail" for this run was not downloading a new audiobook to my iPhone last week. I have quite a few books in my purchased library but I've listened to everything I've actually downloaded. Bummer. I decided to listen to music instead (which actually makes me less slow than when I listen to books or podcasts).

I have a good long run route incorporating the Centennial Trail, which can be modified to the distance. I've used it for 16, 18, and 20 miles. After this third consecutive run, though, I am ready to do my next long run somewhere else!

The first five miles today were smooth and easy. (This is where I add the extra mileage.) I didn't feel yesterday's run at all. The next three miles I call the hardest, but actually the first of those is pretty easy too. Then. Ingraham Boulevard. A full mile of fairly steep, winding uphill. Actually, the first half is only moderately steep and then it really kicks your butt in the second half! At the top it merges with Getchell Road where I get to enjoy another mile of rolling hills (and a seriously lacking roadside shoulder) before reaching the Getchell trailhead at the eight mile point.

After a bathroom stop, I hit the Centennial Trail for five miles. This is pretty easy as it is slightly downhill (railroad grade) in the northbound direction. It's a wide, paved trail, great for running, biking and walking. I do find it a little boring but I focused on landmarks to aim for (road overpasses, crossings, benches, downed trees, etc.). I switched over to news-talk radio on my phone for a little change of pace...I listened to the last part of a food and cooking show, then another show for about half an hour. I tend to go slower with audio-talk than music, and at my next stop I went back to my "marathon mix" playlist (on shuffle for fun--ha).

I arrived at the Armar Trailhead at 13.1 miles. Seven miles to go. Despite the math, I always consider this point my halfway point, as it is where I turn back to head into town (west for a mile then south). I was feeling...okay, but getting tired. I would not have minded being done at all. Since I had eaten a pretty big breakfast, I didn't take a Gu until nine miles. I decided I would break out my packet of Luna moons after mile 14, and eat one piece every mile until I was done. This was for entertainment purposes as well as fueling.

The mile or two after leaving Centennial Trail is a little hard because there is no real shoulder and I sometimes had to run in grass when there were a lot of cars coming. Even so, I felt like I was running a little faster (at least in spurts) than I had been on the trail. Maybe it was adrenaline from dodging traffic!

Once I turn onto 51st I really feel like I am in the final stretch as it takes me almost to the end of my route. Of course, I still had almost six miles to go...but I did have my Luna moons to pass the time. I plugged along at 10:15-10:30 pace. About 30 seconds slower than my goal training pace, but consistent with my last two long runs.

This pace did not include my stops, of course. Overall I took three bathroom stops, several email stops, a few stoplights, and several "just stop for a second" stops (which often coincided with popping a Luna moon into my mouth).

In one email stop (about 3-4 miles from the end) I learned that Rod had gone to run errands and go to Safeway. It sounded like I would just miss him by 15 minutes or so at Safeway...which I rued as I really didn't look forward to a 2/3 mile walk after my post run Starbucks stop.

Last week I finished the last three miles of my 18-miler at 9:40-ish pace. At mile 17 today, I just didn't have it in me to kick up the pace (yet). But after 19 miles I dug deep and pushed my legs to go just a little faster for one final mile.

Mile 20 - 9:27, woohoo! And about five feet after that at 8:48 pace. Sure, there have been long runs in the past where the last couple miles were sub-9 (and one where I ran a 2-hour half marathon after a seven mile warm-up), but it's something. That last mile got my average pace to 10:29 (it took the whole to make up for my starter mile and the two slow hill miles).

And, just after I walked into Safeway and emailed Rod that I was done running, there he was, at the deli counter getting our lunch! His errands had taken longer than planned and he was behind schedule. Frustrating for him, but a boon for me! I had a ride. Hurrah!

Now, five hours later I am showered, fed, rested, and a little achey (legs and ankles). I am not sure whether I can do my planned easy run tomorrow morning or need to save it for Tuesday (there are some logistical difficulties with Tuesday, workwise).

Speaking of achey ankles, my troublesome heel/ankle/Achilles was giving me a low level of grief during the run. It never rose to what I would call pain, but the discomfort level definitely increased in the middle miles. Strangely, it backed off some in the later miles. I suppose I need to work on icing it in the evenings again. I do think I have been running with a mostly mid-foot strike, which seems to cause less stress.

A final word about my "diet." I really want to lose a few pounds to help with spring training. I figure I need to make my strongest effort during February, as marathon training will be more intense in March and April. So I started by cutting out sweets for the month of February, except for Sundays when I do my long runs (or Saturdays if applicable). Eating-wise, the plan I am somewhat casually following is pretty similar to my typical practice, except that there are less carbs (other than non-starchy vegetables) and more lean protein (in quantity). (Also, no random nibbles, which coincides with the ban on sweets.) I do eat somewhat more calories total than the plan contemplates, because I do run (and stuff). I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit (except for the lack of sweets) and I think I've shed the extra pounds I picked up over the Tucson Marathon and holiday period.

Today, though, is a long run "buy" for the plan, so today has included (after the oatmeal plus the on-run fuels...(This is not a diet menu!)

Lunch: Turkey, avocado, and bacon sandwich from Safeway (formerly called "California Dreaming"); we split a large which makes two very hearty servings. Plus 1/4 cantaloupe.

Snack/treat: Cherry turnover from Safeway.

Dinner (to come): Ribeye steak (I plan to save some for dinner tomorrow), with a lobster tail and a little butter; brown and wild rice mix; salad greens with blue cheese dressing.

Dessert (to come): Cheesecake (one little wedge or two? To be determined...) plus strawberries.

And I still put half and half in my coffee. Every day. And I plan to continue!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

That's quite the weekend! Congrats on a strong race and then your long run went well too! I like the idea of cutting out sweets as opposed to all-out dieting and worrying about everything you put in your mouth. Seems like you training cycle is starting out very strong!