Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Training for Philly--three weeks in the bag

Ugh, I'm such a once-a-month blogger. But luckily, my free time has been spent running. I've gotten some very good weeks in so far. I have been a little worried that I jumped back in too quickly, but so far the only hiccup was a slight strain of some sort that I had on my lower leg after an 18-mile trail run. I took two days off and it was good as new. Other than that, each week so far in the training cycle has been significantly higher than the average mileage from the last training cycle. I'm interested to see how the 12-week program works out.

Once significant change that I've made is to run tempo runs outside, albeit on the flattest routes Bloomington has to offer, and in places that make it easy to pace (marked, paved trails and last night, a track). It feels MUCH harder. But I think it's mostly mental.

Last night's workout was a monster, and a little more than I bargained for. I was originally scheduled to run a 5-mile tempo today, but I figured, with the half coming up and the group doing speedwork of their own on the Rail Trail yesterday, I would join in and get an extra day of recovery. Despite what happened there, the Rail Trail is just such a wonderful place to run, and it's good to take any opportunity to run there safely (i.e., with other people). Some were doing 800s and others 2-mile repeats.

I figured out that I could run to the store to meet the group, then with the tempo plus warm-up and cool-down, I would have a total of 11 miles on the day, which was only one more than written. The route on the trail was out and back with a turnaround that fell right on a road. It was meant to be!

So I left work, beat the rush out of the parking lot, and ran down to the store. Upon my arrival, I learned that the group was heading up to one of the local high school tracks...3 miles away (the Rail Trail is 1.5 miles away). Urgh. And the thought of doing 5 miles of tempo on a track wasn't exactly attractive. I certainly didn't want to head down to the Rail Trail alone. I'd kind of had my heart set on getting the tempo done.

As we ran up to the track, I argued with myself and finally decided that 14 on the day wouldn't kill me. I would simply cut out today's morning run. We ran up to the school (mostly uphill) and turned into a subdivision. I had dropped behind because the main group was doing sub-9s for their warm-up. I later found out that this was a shortcut, but unfortunately I didn't know the shortcut and ended up going in a big circle and then found myself back out on the main road. I finally found the track, where everyone else had already gotten started. Good thing I'm doing my own thing anyway. The 3-mile warm-up turned into 4.58 miles. I started the tempo and felt meh on the first 2 miles, ucky by mile 3, and hanging on for miles 4 and 5. But somehow I still kept chugging out 7:40 miles. It was very humid, and I would like to think that that coupled with the Epic Warm-up made my effort level good for more like 7:30 miles. My splits were 7:40, 7:35, 7:40, 7:41, 7:39. I honestly don't know how I managed any kind of consistency.

I finished and rested and had some water while the others finished, and slogged back in the dark. This time we took a real shortcut and it was "only" 3.2 miles back. My grand total for the day? 16.12 miles. My legs were in real pain. Not soreness or injury pain. Just pain. We swung by the grocery for some recovery ice cream and when we got home, I ate, drank, and put on my OxySox (just ordered them last week). I honestly don't know if they really aid recovery, but damn they feel good.

So...anyway, that was pretty crazy and I hope I'm better for it. I am thinking that should just replace the 15-mile MLR I had scheduled for tomorrow. This week was already weird with a pre-race recovery run replacing my long run. And now it is in for more rearranging. Whoo.

I have no clue what to expect for the half this weekend. My tempo run was at at pace that matched my PR pace from February, and I don't think I could have gone another lap. I am just going to start running and see how I feel. Race-day magic might take over...or I might turn it into an MP run...we shall see!
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