Sunday, March 07, 2010

I guess I'm tapering

I had a funny thought yesterday after we finished our long run: I guess I'm now tapering for my 50k which is a training run for my first marathon in 2 years. At least I thought it was funny at the time.

Last week we ran 20 miles on pavement. I wanted to get in another longish run this week but didn't think I was ready for another 20 and I definitely didn't want to run on roads. The stars aligned and we've been enjoying more sunny, warm, spring like weather. So that meant a run in Forest Park was in order. I checked my map (visualize numerous sticky notes attached with the mileage for various loops) and decided on a loop that was about 16 miles.

We started at the Birch trail head on 53rd Ave and after a short stint on Wildwood, quickly cut down Wild Cherry to Leif Erikson. I've mention before that I really don't like running on Leif, an old pavement road that's uneven and rocky in spots. Especially when I'm tired and after I've been on Wildwood, I feel like I'm plodding along when on Leif. Marc doesn't like Leif either. So we figured we'd run the Leif portion first, turn up Saltzman Rd (another closed road) about 6 miles in, and then cut back on Wildwood to finish the run. This section of Leif is mostly uphill and we ran most of it, with a few walk breaks here and there. We saw other runners out but not as many as I thought for such a beautiful sunny morning. The temps were in the high 40's and probably rose to the high 50's by the end of our run. I was comfortable in my shorts, short sleeves, fleecy Moeben sleeves (thanks to Shannon for sending these to me nearly 2 years ago!) and gloves. The sleeves came off about halfway through the run, but I kept my gloves on the whole time. I have a propensity towards Reynaud's Syndrome and the gloves help keep the chill off.

I was getting tired of continuous running, but Saltzman is steep enough that I had to walk some of the half mile to the Wildwood connection. Once on Wildwood it was time to run again, but it seemed so much easier on the trail. With about 5 miles to go we hit some hilly sections and had more walk breaks for the next few miles. Then the last 2-3 miles were flat enough for continuous running again. The trail was muddy in spots, but just the right amount to be fun. I'm still working on getting my trail legs back and have a healthy fear of falling. But after gingerly stepping around the first few mud puddles I felt comfortable enough to slog right through.

The last quarter mile up Birch is pretty steep and I fully intended to walk this section. But my competitive self kicked in. I saw on my watch that we had just a few minutes until the 3 hour mark. Didn't matter that I had no idea what finishing in 3 hours meant as far as pace. There was something about 3 hours I had to beat and I knew I couldn't do it by walking. So I ran, then walked a tiny bit, and when I could see the end, I ran up the last stretch. Finish time: 2:59:50! Mission accomplished! Pace turned out to be a little over 11 minute miles. I'm happy with that because 12 minute miles on longer trail runs is more typical for me.

I'm feeling pleased about my ability to complete longer runs again, both on pavement and trails. I just need to work on building my overall mileage and strength. While I felt pretty comfortable completing a 20 miler and 16 miler two weeks in a row, I'm far from ready to go out and do the same thing the next day. In fact, I'm not running at all today. I could probably eek out a few miles, but I think active rest (gardening, yoga) will serve me better.

After two harder weeks, I'm going back to a hard/easy schedule. Next week we'll run 10-12 and then its on to Pac Rim for 24 hours of fun!


Joe said...

Isn't it cool to just be able to plan a taper??? This is a wonderful step and so cool.

yeah, you're set for Pacrim...enjoy the step back week and be ready for the 20th.

Very happy for you, Sarah!

(note: no code for you... thus no "blister" for you!!! )

Addy said...

It definitely sounds like you're ready!

I had a similar (but more low scale thought) recently, that I'm running a half marathon to get ready for my 10.9 mile race :P.

It is lovely to surpass goals though :)

Can't wait to read about your race - Enjoy the taper!

Rick Gaston said...

Good to see you pulling down some double digit miles again consistently. Enjoy your taper. I've been enjoying mine's. Did some short runs in the city, took pictures of the things I usually miss out on when I'm out running trails.

Backofpack said...

I'm just so darn excited for you! Love to read about your progress and happy running. You are a smart cookie and handled this whole injury thing so well. See you in two weeks.

Gretchen said...

Yahoo! Glad you were able to enjoy such a nice run. Taking advantage of the nice weather is such a great thing. Enjoy the taper!

Darrell said...

Nice run.

Gardening can turn into some really active rest. I pulled weeds this afternoon from what I hope will become my tomato garden very soon.