Friday, January 27, 2012

Extremely Long and Incredibly Quick

This is not a story about the 11th (mile). It's about every mile after.

Today was my first 20 miler of this marathon cycle. After two 18 milers, I was ready to step up to 20, even though the marathon is still 8 weeks out. I plan to do 4 of 20 or more. But first let me tell you about the rest of my week.

I decided to switch to full time Kinvara use this week. I had been alternating with my heavier Saucony Rides, but the Kinvaras always feel so good. Since I want to race in them, I decided to make sure my legs were used to them.

Tuesday was a 7-mile group run, but I got into a fast groove by mile 2 and just went with it. Check out these splits: 8:44, 7:54, 7:54, 7:46, 7:46, 7:38, 7:30.

This was not a tempo run. Just a regular run where I just couldn't help but go fast. I may sound like a broken record, but these shoes just want to go fast! (For you young'uns, a broken record is when there is a scratch on a vinyl record, and it causes the needle to skip and play the same words over and over again. You're welcome.)

Wednesday I followed that up with 7 miles with some hills. Goal was to take it easy, but I couldn't help myself and the last two miles were both sub 8. Averaged 8:18.

Thursday I hit the gym, and Friday I did 10.3 miles. Again, the goal was just to add miles, but the shoes, the dang shoes just want to go fast! I feel like Wallace in the Wrong Trousers. I had no control over my legs! (If you haven't seen this, you should)

Friday Splits: 8:43, 8:23, 8:18, 8:03, 7:54, 8:07, 7:43, 7:49, 7:44, 7:39 - Avg 8:02

This is kind of crazy fast for me, but I've kind of moved to a new plateau lately, so I'm going with it. I've solidified my goal pace for the marathon. My plan is to average 8:00 for the first 6 miles. Then run 7:45-7:50 for the next 14, and then hold on as long as possible. This gives me a little room for bonking and still finish under 3:30 (8:00 pace and my BQ). I'm getting very comfortable with the sub 8 pace, so it is feeling very do-able at this point.

So today I had a couple goals:
A. Run 20 miles. Since I had not gone over 18.3 yet, this was a nice step up.
B. See how the Kinvaras and my calves hold up for 20 miles. I have not run more than 13 miles in these shoes yet, and was concerned how it would affect my calves and other muscles.
C. Pace. I really had no need for a goal pace. Just needed to take it easy and complete the miles. But, as I've said, it is nearly impossible to run slow in these things! Plus I had come up with this awesome blog title days ago, so I kind of had to go for it. So in the back (OK the front) of my mind, I wanted to try and relax, but ramp up close to 8 minute pace, and see if I could run at near race pace for the last 14 miles. Without pushing myself.

OK, so Sunday dawned as another perfect running day. 50's and cloudy, low wind. We had rain Saturday and more coming Monday, but Sunday turned out perfect. I had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, and went out the door about 9AM, telling DW I would see her in about 3 hours.

First 6 miles went to form. I tried to go as easy as possible. 9:06, 8:37, 8:37, 8:26, 8:19, 8:26. First 5 miles were on the wood chip trail, and then mile 6 takes me over a hill and down to the beach.

Surf was high today, maybe 10 foot waves. Only a few BA surfers were out in it. I felt a kinship with them as I was feeling pretty BA myself. Miles 7 and 8 were 8:15 and 8:16 and then I had GU #1 and a drink. A nice little downhill got me moving into the sub 8 groove and it was game on from there.
Miles 9 - 19: 7:55, 7:54, 7:56, 7:58, 7:59, 7:51, 7:52, 7:52, 7:52, 7:48, 7:54.

"Holy crap" you may be saying, and I would agree. My trousers were pulling me along and I was enjoying the ride. Mile 9 I went past LAX and the outbound flights were taking off over my head. They were extremely loud and incredibly close.


At mile 11.2 I reached the Marina Del Rey Channel and turned around and headed for home. Nine miles one direction along the beach. And then I felt the wind. Oh cr@p, this could really suck, I thought. But my pace was staying steady and it ended up not being too bad.

At mile 14.5 I had GU #2. Still felt good. By mile 17.5 at my last water stop, my body was stiff and achy if I leaned over or tried any stretches. But once I started running again, it was not a problem. I could handle the running, but wondered how I would feel the next day. My back had been a little stiff this week.
At one point I saw this kid who must have been aghast at my incredible speed.

So I reached mile 20 and felt good enough to actually accelerate! I felt like the end of a 10 miler, not a 20 miler! I was channeling Maranda at the end of her Philly race and did mile 20 in 7:33!!!! Felt pretty good about my odds of being able to hold on for a strong last 6 miles of the marathon - something I have not done in 30 years. Only then did I ease off and trot in the last 0.6 at 8:49 pace. So I went through 20 in 2:42:29, only a few minutes off my BQ pace! Unlike previous years when I ran my first 20, I was not just hanging on and glad to be done. I felt like I could have kept going for miles, albeit in some discomfort.
So, first 8 at 8:30, last 12 at 7:52! 20+ miles at 8:09 pace. I'm calling that banana-worthy!

Then I got to relax and watch football the rest of the day. And DW made me home-made cheeseburgers so I didn't even have to go out for my usual celebration. Life is Exceedingly Good!

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