Sep 30, Sunday:
I had to make up some miles for the week. The 16 mi long-run was replaced bya 11.3 mi trail run at 13:30 pace, so I did 6.7 in the grassy park in 1:02:06, 9:11 average. Felt almost slightly sore from the trail run in my lower legs. Started slow. It was somewhat of a recovery run.
Oct 2, Tuesday:
65 min strength session. For goal races, I'd do my last strength session at least 10 days out. I decided that I needed a re-set of my muscles, and I didn't feel like running.
Oct 3, Wednesday:
Only able to get 4.2 miles on the treadmill. The girl who was on it before run/walked for an hour while I watched the presidential debate, and then the guy who came to lock up at closing time came 10 minutes early. It was frustrating, but I forced myself to look at the bright side... it maybe forced me to take it easy a bit so that I could have more stored up for the race. 4.2 in 34:06, 8:07 ave.
Oct 4, Thursday:
I normally like 2 off days before a race, but the race was in the evening, and I had to get in some miles for the week. I ended up doing a mini-hill simulator for the marathon. The marathon has a 2.5 degree for 1.2 mi and a 7 degree for 0.3 mi. I held 7mph steady and did 1 degree for 1.5 mi, 3 degrees for 1.5 mi, 1 degree for 1 mi, 7 degrees for 0.5 mi, 1 degree for 0.5 mi, 3 degrees for 1 mi for good measure, and 1 degree for the final 0.2 mi. Hill workouts are no way to taper, but other than the 7 degree portion, it wasn't too intense. I figured that after the trail run, my legs were more used to hills than normal anyway.
It was a 5pm race. In the morning, I had WW pasta with tomato sauce, feta, and garlic. I had a veggie burger pattie. And I had most of a Cherry Almond Clif bar about 2 hours before the race. I think I had a nap before the Clif bar. Less food than normal, maybe, but I didn't want to feel too full during the race.
Drove over... at first it was sunny and hot, hot, hot. After picking up my number, I waited in the car. It got cloudy quickly, and I encouraged the cooling down by splashing water on myself. I was eager to start the warmup (always am), so I started with about 20 min to go. Lots of people were already warming up, and I was getting antsy. I figured that as long as I kept it light, that starting 5 min early (or doing 5 min extra) wouldn't hurt. Jogged a bit, did a bit of dynamic stretching and RoM stuff, a couple of strides.
There were cash prizes in this race ($250 for 1st, $100 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, $50 for 4th, and $25 for 5th). In 2010, 1st for the women was a little under 21:00, so going in, I thought I had a shot, but once everyone was there, I could see that there was a lot of good competition out there, including 2 super speedy girls who ran and won the mile race that I did earlier this year. There was also Brooks ID gear woman, the TROAD winner, and another woman who looked fast. Not to mention a number of others who looked fast.
A group of people I know from work actually helped to organize the race, so it was good to see a number of them out there, too, to walk, to cheer, and to support the Greer Food ministries.
(Photo credit: Pace Running Magazine, who's awesome about taking pics at races and supporting the running community)
There were some little, little kids at the start who lined up at the front, but it worked out ok. We were off, and after 0.1 mi, I counted 12 women in front of me. I could have a lot on my hands, but if I pace as planned, I could probably reel a number of them in. So, I started counting. It's kind of like Pac-Man. Gobble, gobble, gobble. Down to 6 ahead after about a mile. It was a fairly flat course, with only minor grades, and the first and last mile were along a straight road, so that you could see everyone. In the next 0.5 mi, I caught up to another 2. With about 2/3 of a mile to go, I caught up to one last girl. She had been holding her side, so I think she probably got a little stitch. She was really nice, though, and she encouraged me as I went by.
There were a few men ahead, but no more women in sight, even on the long stretches. Before long, the church came into view, and I knew the finish was close. Long stretches are really awesome, for judging placing and distance remaining. Finishing kick. I barely tucked under 21:00... with 20:58. No PR, but I'll take it. The weather was 79 degrees, but the clouds made it feel cooler.
(Photo Credit: Pace Running Magazine)
Afterwards, I enjoyed oranges and cheering people in at the finish. I especially like cheering for the little kids, and this one woman who was pushing a jogging stroller with 3 kids in it!!! Haha. I also got to catch up with Lindsay from chasingthekenyans.com, who clocked in an awesome time in her comeback. Afterwards, I took a peek at the Oktoberfest festival a couple of blocks away before heading home.
20:58, 6:46 ave.
Oct 7, Sunday:
My second 20er in the training plan. I used the race to substitute the speed session that I was supposed to do this week. I was supposed to do 4x7:03 with 800m jogs, but 3.1x6:46 is a fair trade, I think. In the morning, I was a bit stiff, but by noon, I felt ok enough to head out. Cloudy again - yes. Started slow, on the super-spongy section of the Swamp Rabbit trail. Did 6 laps (of the 0.9 mi stretch), then I did 2 laps plus a bit of padding of my usual out-and-back loop, for a total of 20.4. I was feeling good and easy until the last 2 miles.
I ate a bit of dried apple and 4 Strawberry Clif Shot Bloks that I got as a sample (166 cal for the Bloks). A bit too sweet for me, and I was wishing I had something not so sweet. I drank lots of water. I left my big bottle next to a rock next to the trash can when I did the spongy out-and-backs, and on my final lap, the bottle was gone, because a good citizen had put it in the trash can, haha. So I fished it out, drank, and continued on with it, carrying it to my next drop-off spot along the usual loop. Good thing the stuff in the trash can was fresh and harmless.
20.4 in 3:05:13, 9:05 ave. It was cool today (60-62-63-65), with the heat picking up a bit at the end. But I actually kind of welcomed the heat, so that I'd be prepared in case of fluke weather in Philly. The coolness, and maybe better fitness following the trail run?, helped me go 30s/mi faster this time around, compared to 3 weeks ago. It was hotter then, though, with 67-69-70 degrees. We'll see!
I'm racing a HM next weekend, so I was careful about recovery, trying to move a bit more post-run to flush stuff out and to not get stiff. I also refueled with a carrot, 1/2 an apple, a homemade chocolate banana bread that's more like plain bread because of the meager amounts of agave nectar that I used, and a protein shake.