Another month has gone by, and I'm one month closer to the CIM. I have to admit I'm getting tired. When this started, I had no idea the number of hours I would be spending on this! Not only the time spent actually running, but travel time, needing a nap after the long runs and losing most of the day, etc. Don't get me wrong--this is an amazing experience. But it is demanding!
Since my last entry, I have done a few really long runs. I did the Urban Cow Half Marathon and while I finished in decent time (for me--13:54) and had no real problems, I had hoped it would be easier since I'd done the distance several times before. However, it was hot and that really got to me. I do not do heat well.
Because I struggled so much with my 13 and 14-mile runs, I was a little worried about doing 16 a couple weeks later. However, we went out and did it, and I made the whole distance! Woot! Doing that was a huge mental breakthrough. It made me realize that even though the last distance was hard, that doesn't mean I can't keep going up because my body will just keep getting stronger and responding to the training. I was starting to have doubts again that I could do the marathon, but the day I did 16 restored my faith. Average pace was 13:56, so I'm starting to regularly finish in under 14. I'm a little worried about the marathon, which has a 6 hour time limit so we need to average 13:44.
The next week, we were supposed to do 18 but started in the wrong spot and it ended up being 17.55...close enough. There were a lot of hills that day, which I have not trained on very much. Yet, I had my fastest pace at the 10+ mile distance with 13:43, and it was faster than all but one of my 5-10 mile runs. So, I was absolutely thrilled. AND I had energy left at the end--I felt like I could do another mile without much of a problem. I still felt mentally sharp, which is not always the case after a long run, at least until I get food in me. So, that was another triumph. This is something I love about running: you keep going a little further or a little faster and it's a constant rush to see those milestones and evidence of improvement. The weather was much cooler that day, and I think that made a big difference. Good thing it should stay cool now until the big event!
Yesterday was a cool down week and we "only" did 14 miles. We pushed hard at first and my hamstring started bothering me so we slowed down, which did the trick (along with a little stretching at the bathroom stop). We ended up finishing with an average pace of 12:56. Wow! Of course this is because it was a shorter distance, but that's great. Again, it gives me hope. It was pretty cold and threatened rain...perfect running weather.
Next week the Clarksburg Country Run, a 20-miler. I'd love to hit that 13:30 pace, but as long as it's under 14 and I stay sound (don't injure myself) and finish, I'll be happy. I know I can do it because my training is paying off. This will be the first time I do an event where I haven't already done the distance. On the one hand, I don't have the assurance of having already done it (not that I'm worried), but on the other hand, I'll have all the excitement of the event spurring me on. Cheering crowds, people holding funny signs, and....ahhhh....a finisher medal. Ok, and the t-shirt doesn't hurt either.
After that, we do a 23-mile training run, and then we start tapering off for CIM. I'll do the Davis Turkey Trot Half Marathon and the Run To Feed The Hungry 5K as part of that tapering.
The marathon is just about all I think about and I'm nervous and excited by turns that our goal is almost here. I worry about hitting the wall on course. Or getting sick/injured beforehand and missing out. But I also picture myself crossing that finish line, and that will be an extremely awesome feeling.
And now to put in some time with my foam roller!