Here is the route I ran this afternoon. Until I mapped it, I thought I had run 8, not 9, so I feel a little better, but I was SLOW. 1 hr 45 minutes for 9 miles? I will be lucky to finish in 2.5 hours on Sunday! Gosh.
I felt great until mile 5. It was all uphill for the first 3.5 miles (and I mean uphill!) and then it was downhill until about mile 6.5. I guess it was probably close to mile 6 that my knees started to talk so I did the last obvious downhill by weaving down the hill instead of going straight down.
The last 3 miles were HARD. I did it, I just took one step ata time and tried to back off of my ego and just let my body do what it needed to. As Danny suggested, I did 8+ miles and I did it easy. I guess it wasn’t all that smart to change two variables (terrain AND distance AND time) but I just did it. It’s really almost impossible to run on the flats here, but I liked doing the hills, oddly, especially the uphills. Call me a masochist, but I really felt the best on the uphills.
Here are the things I focused on/felt:
- Comfortable temperature. It was chilly, but I had long sleeves and long pants and a ball cap. Sleeves were long enough to wipe my nose and keep my hands covered, so that worked great.
- The uphill and most of the downhill (look at the elevation map on the link above) was really good, and nice terrain, little traffic.
- Even though I took a map, I got a little lost (I get so annoyed) and I am sure that added a bit to my slowing factor, but I was just trying to keep going as much as possible, not stopping too long to figure out the map issues.
- On the uphills I was really trying to think ‘no legs, all arms’ and really focusing on breathing out longer and breathing in faster.
- I was focused on keeping my column straight as possible, on all terrains and all fatigue levels. I hope my core muscles are the only sore ones later today.
- When I started to feel tired, I thought about getting really long and skinny and tall and took smaller steps. I tried to lean more without efforting and miraculously, (esp at the end) my legs seemed to suck less oxygen and weren’t freaking out so much.
- I tried to smile and look around with my eyes, not with my head. I wanted to make sure that I was keeping in form but still taking in all the surroundings.
- I imagined what the race day will be like and felt better: it will be flat, lower elevation, a fun environment, lots of support and my first 1/2 marathon! I’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself, as a friend gently reminded me. Thanks Alan.
I did a leg drain and quick stretch when I got back to the office. I’ll make sure to take a hot shower when I get home and use my new Stick to rub out some of my muscles. I will be able to report tomorrow how I feel. I am trying to remember to keep smiling and really enjoy myself all along this journey. It’s all about the path, not the end. Don’t let me forget that!