Apparently, this is what I like to title my posts the day of my last long runs before marathons (see here and here), but it's true! Today was the last long run before Cowtown, and probably the last long run of the spring. Doing this Marathon Maniac thing, I'll have Cowtown on 2/28, then a March race (TBD - right now, it's either LA or Seaside, but it's on the third week in March), then OKC at the end of April. So, I won't have time for a true long run after today - I'll essentially go from race immediately into taper for the next one. It's a little unnerving to think what the next three months will bring for me, but I'm as ready as I'll ever be, except maybe weight-wise.
My big wish as far as that goes is that I won't qualify for the Athena category by the time the first one rolls around - I'm down 10 pounds since October, but still about 6-7 pounds away - but if I do, I sure as heck am going to sign up for it. It takes me a whole lot more energy to haul this sizeable bod around than the smaller girls, so I will totally take the weight class. It definitely will be an easier go if I can drop some more weight, so I will be conscientious about what I eat in the next three weeks, but I'm not going to obsess over it.
As to how today's run went, I was pretty pleased with it overall until what ended up being the last mile. I entered my neighborhood with two miles to go, and the plan at that time was to run the remaining mile to home, dump the water belt and iPod, and try to crank the last one as quickly as I could. But right then, my left knee twinged slightly and on the next step completely gave out on me. Whoa! Not sure what brought that on. I took a few more tentative steps but it felt like it was going to do it again, so I walked about a third of a mile until it felt better. At that point, I made the executive decision to cut the run short and keep anything from happening with that knee. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but I think it was the best choice.
Looking back at those old posts, I think I want to put today's run in the Good/Bad/Ugly format from a few years ago. So, without further adieu:
Nutrition and hydration - for the last few races and long runs, I've done my tried-and-true strategy of mixing water and gatorade in my belt packs and drinking every two miles. For nutrition, I did my usual PB/honey on wheat prior to the run, with bites of a powerbar smoothie every two miles on the run.
Clothing choices - went with the outfit I outlined the other day in this post, and for the most part, it was fine. I did get a little hot after about three miles, so I ended up tying my fleece around my waist but it was good otherwise. I had no chafing anywhere, thankfully, and I didn't even do body glide this time.
My music - I think I finally found the right mix of classic oldies (Stones, Who, etc.) and newer songs (I Gotta Feeling, Sexy Back) to keep me moving. Never had a bad one pop up in the whole 4 hours I was out there.
My start time - I was extremely lazy this morning. Just couldn't get out of bed until nearly 7:00. And I hadn't prepped like I usually do to lay everything out, so I did a lot of scrambling to find my tights in the dryer, locate my gloves, and hope that the Garmin was properly charged. It was nearly 8:45 by the time I got started - that was kind of late and it made it warmer than I'd like toward the end.
The route - I had mapped out a couple of choices last night and ended up changing my mind this morning. Ended up the one I chose had a few long stretches without any sidewalks, so I ran on the shoulder or in the grass for longer than I liked. Plus there was a lot more traffic by the time I actually got started, so it was dicey. Would have been better to have sidewalks or grass paths for more of it.
My knee - That it gave out on me was something I could have done without. Didn't really give me any trouble afterward, so I'm hoping it was an isolated incident. But it did throw a damper on that last mile.
The wind - The wind sucked the soul from my body last year at Cowtown. And I needed to be mentally tough to deal with it today. It wasn't as bad as it was during the race, but it was stronger than I like. But I didn't let it bother me, so I hope I've made some progress psychologically. I do need to remember not to hunker down too much and throw my form off, though.
My socks - I blew a hole in my Injinji tetrasocks! Wah! I've had these since 2005 and I save them exclusively for half races and anything longer than 15 miles. Guess I need to go shopping!
My time - I slowed down way too much at the end. At this pace, I would have 80 minutes left to cover another 7.2 miles - not undoable, but certainly tough to crank it up at the tail end of the race.
There are my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:53
Mile 2 - 10:25
Mile 3 - 9:50
Mile 4 - 10:40
Mile 5 - 10:38
Mile 6 - 10:49
Mile 7 - 11:06
Mile 8 - 11:29
Mile 9 - 11:23
Mile 10 - 11:35
Mile 11 - 12:15
Mile 12 - 11:36
Mile 13 - 10:47
Mile 14 - 11:45
Mile 15 - 12:35
Mile 16 - 11:28
Mile 17 - 13:38
Mile 18 - 13:38
Mile 19 - 14:11
Total time: 3:40:39
Total Distance: 19.00
Avg Pace: 11:37
By comparison, last year, I was about 20 seconds/mile faster, and I did the full 20 miles. I also fell apart spectacularly at about mile 13 last year during the race, too, so I'm trying not to read too much into this.
2009 Last Long run:
Total time: 3:44:40
Total Distance: 20.0 miles
Avg Pace: 11:14/mile