This past Wednesday was my last and longest long run. It was kind of strange to do it mid-week but it was what made the most sense for my taper and training schedule and a Monday race. It was cold (feels like 26) and blowy and snow globe-y the whole time. The previous day had been crazy busy, not relaxing, and I did not sleep enough. But one can't require perfect conditions to get the head into it and do what needs doing.
This was a neat run because Coach Jim had laid out target paces for each of the miles, starting with a couple slower warm-up miles (probably to mimic early racecourse traffic), a couple transition miles, the bulk at projected marathon pace, two faster than marathon pace miles, and a few cooldown miles. I like having these targets to hit and it keeps me entertained to see how close I can come. I am not a great pace regulator and my tendency is to go too fast as to not overshoot so it's a challenge. I got within 3 seconds on all but the final mile (a slog/cooldown).
I got to 23 miles, but it meant going five minutes over my max allotted time of 3:05, and that was just after I had just agreed not do extra time or miles on workouts for the next few weeks. In my mind, at the time, it felt like extra insurance to know I've done 23 in training rather than "just over 22". The run was rolling with about 2500' of total elevation gain. And on top of it all, I parked at the 2 hour limit trail lot. I'm such a rebel.
The first 12 miles or so flew by then it got a little....well....lonely. Despite being out on our popular Huckleberry Trail for the main part of this, there are just not that many people who walk or run in the cold snow in the middle of a Wednesday. Huh! Go figure! I saw just a few people - some dog walkers, a runner, the odd cyclist, and a good friend who popped up around a corner and provided a needed boost.
My plan was to run a bit more than half way then stop by the car for a refill on gels and water. Somewhere along the way I thought maybe I could make it the entire way on my one bottle of water and three gels in my Nathan belt. But about mile 16 I started to get really, really, REALLY hungry and fixated on food so I made a beeline for the car. I scarfed half a PB+J, dropped the fuel belt, and headed back out. PB+J (on the squishy kind of bread I don't normally eat) is my favorite long-run treat. I'm seriously considering stuffing one in my pocket for Boston.
I felt really good up until that final mile. It's amazing to me how the body just knows when it's the last mile and starts that shut down process.
This week I got my "Runner Passport" for the race. It's a new thing this year that you need to take to claim your bib number. The BAA is extremely organized and they do a great job of communicating both through the mail and via email.
If they'd add a PB+J station at mile 18 I'd REALLY rave about the BAA.
It's hard to believe I'm two weeks out!! I'm looking forward to seeing my EFRT teammate, Laura, up in Boston. There's a lot to look forward to!