Saturday, September 19, 2009

The second 26.2 mile training run

Uggh ! My training program has had me running increased long distance runs each weekend. I've been doing it in pairs, so the first weekend I ran 16 miles, and then again the next. The following weekend it was 18, and then again the next, and so on up to back to back 26 milers (since I was going that far - I had to run the extra 0.2 miles...). The whole process has been very enlightening. Typically the first week I step up to a new mileage, I've suffered over the last few miles. Then the following week - it's that much easier. I'm very glad I've gone all the way up to the full distance. I can't imagine having run just 20 or 22 miles in training, and then having to go through the pain of the extra 4 or 6 miles in the real thing. Now that I've completed my 2 full marathon distance training runs, the distance doesn't concern me.

Back to my initial thought. Uggh ! Last weekend I ran my first 26.2 miler. The weather was perfect. Overcast, temps in the 50s. I left out several bottles of gatorade on the course, and set up my ipod to keep me entertained. I maintained a 7.44 pace the whole way, finishing in a little over 3 hours 22. My BQ time is 3 hours 20, so I was very happy with this effort. The furthest I've ever gone. Running on my own, in hilly Colorado, and not even pushing myself as hard as I felt I could go. I was already starting to plan my sub 3.10 true marathon... That brings me to today's run. The second 26.2 miler. I slept well and went out a little faster. I hit the half at exactly 1.40 - so well on track for the 3.20.59 for Boston. I was still on pace at 20 miles and then it all fell to pieces. Bonk. The last 6 miles were well over a minute slower than I'd been running. I finished in 3.27. I'm pretty sure the back to back marathons in a week were to blame, although it may have been the warmer temps, or just a bad day for me. Still - I can take many positives from the experience. I wanted to stop and walk, but I didn't let myself. The bloody quote from Lance Armstrong was constantly in my mind 'pain is temporary - quitting lasts forever'. Nice one Lance. But I did grit and bear through, so now feel that I've perhaps experienced the worst that can happen and know that I can conquer it - albeit bloody slowly...

And now for one of the nicest words in the world. Taper.

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