Monday, August 27, 2007

Somethin's Peakin'!

I finally ran my peak 20-mile training run early Monday morning, delayed a couple of days by Grandpa's funeral over the weekend. I'd planned on just swapping the runs straight across and running five miles last Saturday evening, but by the time the funeral and all the related activities were over, I felt like a beaten step-dog. Instead, I went to the hotel where a few extended relatives were staying and lounged around in the hot tub. Methought I could afford to skip a measly five-miler when the beastly 20-miler was looming ahead.

As it turns out, the day of rest was a godsend. I logged 20 miles at a slow, comfortable pace and honestly, three and a half hours later, I felt like I'd just had a good, long workout. I was dragging a bit the last three miles, but still managed to keep a steady pace and finish strong. Earlier in the week, I got a phone call from a gal who'd run into one of my marathon relay buddies and noticing her race shirt asked if she ran. She was new in the area and looking for somebody to run long with her. My friend told her she knew just the person and gave her my phone number. As irony would have it, she's training for the same marathon and needed to do a 20 miler this weekend as well. When we talked on the phone, we were both excited at the prospect of having some company to help pass the miles. And help it did... in fact, I'm certain it's the biggest reason the run didn't seem nearly as grueling as the first time I ran 20 miles. She's significantly younger than I am, which worried me a bit. But we run about the same pace and decided just to take our time, no matter how long it took. The first ten miles we spent chitchatting about running and life and whatnot; the last ten we spent pretty quietly as we both had hit that point of needing to use our energy to concentrate on enduring the distance. We may do one of our long taper runs together again, but if not, I'm just glad she came along when she did. She's going to smoke me in the marathon, but I'll find her somewhere after the finish and thank her.

Now that my peak training run is successfully in the history books, I've decided I need to devote some of my taper runs to doing hill workouts... specifically downhill. The first 14 miles of my marathon are down a canyon road at a 1 to 2% decline. I've purposefully avoided hills up until this point in my training because of the issues with my lower legs, but I think I need to get them used to the sensation of running downhill. The trick will be to not overdo it as obviously the taper is intended for resting the body, not adding new stress to it. I'll just need to find that right balance. In the meantime, I'll continue to do weekly weight training to strengthen my hamstrings and quads. They're going to get a beating regardless, but I'll do what I can to prepare them for the task. I ended up losing both the toenails I'd performed surgery on a few weeks ago, but I'm still dealing with a pretty good amount of pain after 15 miles or so when my feet begin to swell. Hopefully, three weeks will be enough time for them to heal... not to mention look better. Let's just say right now I could easily join a traveling circus by virtue of my feet.

My four sisters and I are registered to run our marathon relay the weekend before my little 26.2 miler. They've all been working up to being able to each run their 5.2 mile leg and I'm excited for them to experience the atmosphere of a race. Maybe one of them will catch the bug like I have and join me in future races.

As I learned on Monday, misery really does love company.

7 comments:

Ovens2Betsy said...

Glad to hear your training is going well! I've REALLY taken the taper thing seriously; the most I've run since my 26.2 training run is 9.75 miles. But I think my body will thank me in Pauillac!

Anonymous said...

I just ran the TOU 1/2 on Saturday. I had trained a "little" for the downhill, but still took a beating. It is a great run, don't get me wrong, but the downhill is fast. You'll love it while you are running it, but about 3 hours after you finish, your quads will rebel. I say "just enjoy those 14+ miles of downhill; you're going to be sore anyway." Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your successful long run! 20 miles seems sooooo long to me! Great job. Enjoy the taper, then the triumph.

robison52 said...

During the summer I train primarily on the treadmill and have to admit that running downhill is my weakest skill in running...wish the gym's treadmills setting could go downhill :( Good luck with your taper...you're going to do GREAT!

Jim said...

Congrats on getting the 20-miler under your belt. (Do any runners actually ever wear a belt? Well, you know what I mean.)

See Zanne Run said...

its all downhill from here!

Laurel said...

Congratulations on the 20 miler. Having someone new to pass the time with really does make a huge difference. Glad you found a good partner for a day.