Since my training partner and I both have full time jobs during the week coach tries to have us make the most of our weekend runs. This marathon build up that has meant two relatively hard "long" runs or a race followed by a long run. This weekend it meant 12 miles at 6:25 and 20 miles at 6:50. If my hamstrings were 100% I wouldn't have been very nervous about it, but they definitely aren't, and I was :)
Yesterday we met up with some of our Second Sole teammates who can handle our 6:25 like it is a warm up so we figured they could help us get it done and have some entertainment along the way. We did a few miles as a group starting out right on pace and quickly settling into 6:20s before 2 of our pack of five had to head back having already put in an hour before meeting us.
That left the two of us with our Second Sole friend VW, and we had a really solid run. The last half of the run was into the wind and felt like it was a false flat uphill. I definitely had to dig in and my hamstring protested a bit, but I wanted to make it a good honest effort, this just felt like a good day to get in a nice "indicator" workout. We finished the 12 miles with our fastest mile of the day at 6:07 and averaged 6:19 for the run. Incidentally, 6:19 pace is what I need to run a 2:46 marathon. So this was a good mental boost 5 weeks out from Boston.
Usually I would follow up an effort like that with some good nutrition and carb loading in expectation of running a solid 20 miler the next morning, but instead I went into work to make up for missing Friday due to snow covered roads, then headed out and had a few beers with friends who had raced Malachi. Followed that up with a very small snack before a late dinner where I inhaled two root beer floats and a pub burger at Red Robin. Not exactly an ideal prep for today's long run. Alarm went off early thanks to daylight savings and I dragged my butt down to Solon to get in what is probably my last 20 miler before Boston.
At the start my stomach was acting fishing, my hamstring was angry, and my ankles and feet were sore from yesterdays run. Not exactly motivational conditions :) I told NC I was not paying attention to the watch and just wanted to have a solid 20 and not worry about pace. I felt pretty bad for the first 10-15 miles, but surprisingly despite some slow uphill miles where my quads burned like they were going to fail from mile 9 to 12, we were actually right at 6:50 pace at mile 15. At that point my second gel or the water must have kicked in and we actually picked up the pace through mile 20 and decided to add on 2 easy miles to the end finishing 22 miles at 6:45 pace. This was a solid run for me, and mentally it was good to be able to push the last 5 miles when I felt so bad the whole run. But this was really a nice long run effort for NC who normally struggles the last few miles and was feeling so good today she wanted to go longer. I'm so excited to see how she does at Cleveland.