ANOTHER LESSON IN PACING.
Today's long run was a direct contrast to last week's, as far as weather goes. This week, it was get out the tights again weather. Personally, I like the hot weather better, but it is October after all. And its not really this weather that bothers me, its what follows!
I went to the park again, not really expecting to have anyone to run with, but ever hopeful. I was surprised though at just how many people weren't there. I figured there must be some event somewhere to thin out the crowd, because cold weather alone doesn't do it.
I did see Sue's car, but she was no where in sight. Lecia's car was there also, so they probably had started early today. I saw a few of the "casualties" from the Chicago marathon that wasn't, and they pretty much shrugged it off as a bad day. Not much in the way of comment.
A few of the people were talking about their upcoming marathons: one in the Des Moines marathon; one in the Albuquerque marathon; one in the Louisville marathon; and last but not least, one at the Detroit marathon. All are on the same day, so they laughed about how they would all be running marathons "together" but in separate locations.
No one seemed particularly eager to get started running, but I get tired of the chatter and just decided to start ahead of everyone. Not that they would be running with me for long anyway.
My plan today was to run between 10.5 and 11 miles, depending on the route. When I bike it, I get varying distances depending on where I start, so I've never really had a definite distance, but I suspect running it is about 10.8.
Heading out to the first walk break, I again compared it with last week, where last week I was already drenched with sweat. Today, I could still see my breath. Not too many people passed me going out, but several did going back, so apparently a lot of people started early.
After about 15 minutes, I ran into the Grand Rapids Marathon race director, out on his "recovery" run after Chicago. We chatted a minute and then I started back up. The river today too was steaming from the cold air. The trees were changing colors now too.
On and on I went, not feeling particularly great today, but determined. I had to see how I was going to feel going most of the distance, even though I haven't run this far since last May. Surprisingly, I noticed the hills were easier today though, maybe from the cooler weather, but I'm hoping from my improving fitness.
Being out there alone for that long gets my mind wandering. I couldn't help think I was glad I wasn't doing the full marathon. While I was okay with repeating the same route as last week, I also realized that training for a marathon was too repetitive: week after week after week of training. When I first began running, all I knew was running. Eventually, I took up weight training. Later swimming. But neither of those things replaced running. When I was introduced to the triathlon world, biking seemed a good substitute for all the run training, particularly since I seemed to be going through a series of nagging injuries I couldn't kick, and I seriously neglected it from then on. When I did my last marathon 3 years ago, I foolishly thought if I could do a 3.5 hour Olympic distance triathlon, surely I could do a marathon again, with the result that I didn't respect the distance and didn't train as well as I should have. I got through it, but that's about it. It just didn't have the magic the first marathon had.
Once I got to the turnaround, I decided I still felt pretty good. There would be no picking up the pace, but at least I could continue and didn't have to walk back, something I was a little worried about. And the only ones I saw out there by that time was Bruce, a friend of Don's, and a woman I never saw before, who passed me like I was standing still. Then, I was alone again.
I continued on with the run 8, walk 2 cycle until the 2 hour mark and then I just wanted to be done. I was very close to the end, and had I continued on with that pacing, I would have had perfectly even pacing for the whole thing. I wish I would have realized that sooner, before I allowed myself to slack off toward the end.
And today, no stomach ache or sick stomach, so that was a plus. I plan to be conservative in my training for the next 2 weeks, running 30 minutes Monday, 1 hour Wednesday, and 2 hours again next Saturday. It actually seems like a taper, since I'm not going to be biking, and only doing short swims and weight workouts. But next week, once again, I will be out there doing this same route, one more time.
Now I'm off to go watch IM Hawaii!