Sunday, February 08, 2009

It's Taper Time!!

wahoo! last long run of this cycle is done, Done, DONE! And I must say, it was pretty good. I was bummed that I couldn't do the 20-miler with the training group, since that's the whole reason I joined the group in the first place, but we had other commitments yesterday. Namely, TDP DinoBoy had his First Reconciliation at church at 10:00 am, so there was no way I could be at both places at the same time. And there was no choice to be made, really. This is a really important event in his life, and we all wanted to be a part of it. Even if he did spend all of three minutes in there with the priest! Either he's a really good boy or he left out a lot!

In any case, this scheduling conflict left me to do 20 miles on my own today. And I wasn't really looking forward to it, not because I wasn't looking forward to it, but because it was supposed to be hot today, and I was left to come up with my own route for it, I had just shook the last of the cold I caught last week, and I had been under the (false) assumption that my iPod had gone AWOL since back before Christmas. So I was facing 20 miles on city streets in sweltering conditions, completely on my own, with no tune-age. Ugh. But, this is how great this run was: 1) It was warmer than I prefer, but the clouds kept the temperature reasonable, and the sun under cover; 2) I mapped out a totally awesome 20-mile loop with a mix of regular routes and new terrain that ended up being a perfect mix of flat, hill, quiet back road and city sidewalk; 3) the cut-back mileage last week helped me recover enough so I felt strong all day long; and 4)I found my iPod yesterday afternoon, in a side pocket of the car, and had time to load up an awesome mix of music to keep me moving. And, all those factors led me to have a great run.

I woke up right before 5:00 and decided to wear bike shorts instead of the new tights I bought yesterday (my old cropped tights bit the dust on the treadmill in Boulder this week -- I LOVED those tights, esp. since they weren't really tight, and they had a rocking back zip pocket for my phone, hotel key, etc.), along with a short-sleeved tech shirt and my Marine Corps long-sleeved tech shirt over it. I knew I wouldn't need my jacket, gloves or hat. I had a pack of Clif Bloks in my belt pack, along with my phone and some money in a zippie bag. My water bottle was filled with my super-awesome, nearly-patented half water-half Gatorade mix, with a pinch of salt thrown in. I ate half a PowerBar smoothie bar before I got started, and jammed the rest in the belt pack for fuel after the first hour. At 5:17, I stepped out the front door, locked into the satellites, turned on the iPod and hit the road.

There's not much to say about the run except that it was good. There was nothing extraordinary about it, either positive or negative. The first two hours were pretty much in the dark, and I saw very few other people, either on foot or in cars. I drank every two miles, and after six miles, I started taking a bite of the powerbar every twenty-five minutes. I could feel a hot spot at the bottom edge of my left side about eight miles in, but after a bit it faded and I didn't have any problems with my feet or legs after that. I stopped at mile 10 to duck into a 7-11 and buy a bottle of water. I refilled the bottle and then drank the rest before dumping the empty bottle in the garbage and resuming. I got a little waylaid by construction where I didn't expect it, but I ended up taking the right way in the end. The lady behind the counter was curious as to why I was looking like I did at 7:00 am, though!

There were some hills I wasn't expecting about miles 12-13, but beyond that, the route was pretty flat and manageable. When I turned to head south on the last leg, I was running directly into some pretty strong winds, but it wasn't as bad as what we'd had on the trails on our 17-miler. Plus, it was cooling, so it felt good.

I know I slowed down at the end, but I feel like I could have done another 6 miles and maintained roughly the same pace. Ultimately, I ended up finishing the 20 miles in less than 3:45, which is better than I expected. I really thought I'd have finished in four hours. So I was happy with it. When I got back, I took a 10-minute soak in ice water before warming up, and I feel like that helped keep me from locking up. Post-run breakfast was a Texas-shaped waffle with peanut butter and syrup and a biscuit with butter and jam. Then it was time to head to the rink for ice hockey practice. Naptime had to wait until after lunch.

for posterity, here are the splits and the summary:

Mile 1: 10:42
Mile 2: 10:55
Mile 3: 10:58
Mile 4: 10:53
Mile 5: 10:45
Mile 6: 10:47
Mile 7: 10:20
Mile 8: 11:03
Mile 9: 11:00
Mile 10: 11:08
Mile 11: 12:35
Mile 12: 10:54
Mile 13: 10:37
Mile 14: 11:00
Mile 15: 11:18
Mile 16: 11:37
Mile 17: 11:34
Mile 18: 11:50
Mile 19: 12:46
Mile 20: 11:47

Total time: 3:44:40
Total Distance: 20.0 miles
Avg Pace: 11:14/mile
Calories: 2786

Extrapolated to the full distance, we end up at 5 hours, 2 minutes. Close enough to taste. Hmm. We'll have to see how this plays out, now won't we? For now, it's taper time and hoping that the madness isn't too unbearable. rock on!

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