Wow. I am tired. Somebody fix a girl a margarita!
That was the single hardest run I have completed on the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan. Forget the 17, 18, or 20 mile runs at normal long run pace-the 15 miles today with 12 at goal marathon pace just kicked my butt up one side and down the other.
I did get an early start today, waking up around 5:45, making some coffee, leisurely sucking that down and getting dressed, and finally heading out the door around 6:30. My first plan was to do three full miles before beginning the marathon pace miles, so then I could be bad/lazy and call it quits as soon as the fast miles were over.
When I got going, that left hip that scared the crap out of me earlier last week was VERY tight and I wondered if that meant trouble, or it would work itself out. After a few minutes, it was loosened up a bit and I felt myself antsy and full of nervous energy. I decided that I might as well get the marathon pace miles underway, and put myself out of my misery earlier. This was probably the smarter way to go anyway, since it would allow two full miles to come down from that pace gently, and cool down.
Of course, as a first time marathoner, I've been kind of confused as to what my goal pace should be. I have been thinking that shooting for 8:25-8:30 miles on race day is about where I should be, but somehow on this run today I got into the mindset that I ought to build a bit of a cushion and run it a little faster than that. Then I got into the habit of really speeding up going downhill.
This was great for about the first six or seven miles at this pace, which seemed to be averaging somewhere in the 8:00-8:15 range. After that, though, I realized it was probably dumb to take it at such a brisk clip. It was getting hot. I'd only brought my two handhelds, and didn't have any more water at the car or the family refilling anything for me. At 10.5 miles into the MP miles, I was ready to be done but had to keep telling myself you made your bed, now you have to lie in it. I slowed to about the 8:20-8:25 range in the last half mile, but I suppose it's all good because I kept it at, or faster than my goal pace. Still, there's NO way (right now) that I could have maintained that for 26.2, so it was a good lesson on what NOT to do on race day.
I really fought the urge to just be done and walk out the last two miles because I had a slightly crampy left calf from not bringing that third bottle of water for the car to refill my other bottles, and getting mildly dehydrated near the end of the run. I just felt like being done altogether. I took the end of the run as easy as I could, reminding myself that the gentle running would help work out the crampiness and leave me less sore as the weekend went on. Not too long after that, I was all done. WOW. I've heard it before but now I have really experienced what it means to respect the marathon while training.
Tomorrow's a rest day. Wahoo! Back on schedule, after mixing things up for last weekend's race, and a recovery week ahead. Then it's on to the Imogene Pass Run and the last mesocycle before the marathon-I can't believe it's sneaking up on me like this.
On another note-I'm very excited to watch all the men race the Olympic marathon in a little bit. I know I'll never run remotely close to the speed as the Olympians or put in as many miles, but I really appreciate the work they put in from my little taste of running hard, and long. It would be great to see Ryan Hall have a strong race after Deena Kastor's injury and withdrawal from the women's race, and it'll be bittersweet to think that this should have been the late great Ryan Shay's day too. Hopefully, we'll see some great competition that really honors his memory, and ability as an athlete.