Today was my long run for the week. In fact, it is my longest run before the Icebreaker Marathon which is 4 weeks away. I got up early was drove to the Pettit Center as we had 14 inches of snow on Friday so the roads were in no condition to be running that far on. I pulled into the parking lot at Pettit right at 6 AM and was off an running at 6:15. Paul is suppose to meet me a little later so I start without him.
My plan was to run 24 miles (87 laps) but decide at 22 miles (80 laps) if I should stop. The last time I ran here 2 weeks ago, the last 2 miles of the 20 miler were no good at all. My plan was also to take a 30 second walk break every 5 miles and take a Vanilla Bean Gu. I started slow at about 2:26 per lap which equates to about 8:40 pace. I was pretty much on this pace for the first 5 miles until my first walk break. After 30 seconds and a Gu, I was off and running again.
Paul showed up and joined me right at lap 29 (~8 miles). He is running the Goofy Challenge in 3 weeks AND running the Icebreaker 1 week later. As I posted previously, Paul is a NUT! He usually runs faster than me in races but likes to run with me when we do long runs. It was good to have company as the laps ticked on.
After 36 laps (10 miles) it was break #2 and just as planned, a Gu and 30 seconds later I was back to running. My laps has slowed slightly to about 2:28 to 2:30 but this is about 8:45 to 9:00 pace so all is good since I didn't want a melt down like 2 weeks ago.
It started getting quite crowded on the track and since it is only 2 laps wide, at times it makes it hard to pass. Most people abide by the rule of run in lane 2 and pass in lane 1, but it get bunched up often. There are about 5 or 6 guys running faster than Paul & I and about 40 or so running slower but it is good to see so many people running and keeping in shape. (The Icebreaker has a max of 100 people so that will be quite crowded.) There is even a local Team In Training group getting ready for the Rock & Roll Marathon in Phoenix. I think this is a wonderful group that does great things. I have seen them in Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and Disney. The only thing I wish they would teach there runners is a little runner etiquette about not running 2 to 3 abreast at Pettit and not running 6 or more abreast during races.
15 Miles (54 laps) came and went right at the same pace. ( I usually run at a consistent pace). Only 1 lap after the 15 mile break, the Speed skaters start the National Anthem. So I stop for another break. Most runners stop even though this is for the Speed skaters. Runners are such good and respectful people for the most part. (I have encountered my share of running jerks though).
At about 18 miles or so, Paul decided he want to pick up the pace. I said to go ahead and take off on me as I was just trying to keep pace. My legs were getting pretty tired by this time. He takes off and drops his pace to probably close to 8:00. I think he want to laps me multiple times. Mile 20 couldn't come soon enough. My legs were very tired and I needed my break. I passed 20 miles at 2:58 so I was still under 9:00 pace which is my goal pace for the Icebreaker. I took a longer break this time. It was hard to get going again but I forced myself to get going. I still kept the laps right around 2:28 to 2:31 but I was losing it quickly even with the Gu. I decided at 20 1/2 that I would stop at 22 miles and concentrate on making the last 6 laps good ones.
It is amazing how the brain works. With 2 laps to go, all of a sudden I was able to make my legs go faster knowing I only had 2 to go. My last lap was even my fastest of the day while having to negotiate a log jam with 1/2 a lap to go. Paul was done as well. He only lapped my 2 times since he took off. We walked a lap and drank some water while I stretched some very sore muscles.
Even though I did not get done with the 24 miles I set out to do, I am happy with the run since i didn't slow to a crawl before ending like 2 weeks ago. 22 miles is a long was and so is 80 laps of that track. Only 4 more miles and I would be done with the marathon. Only about 14 more laps. No problem! 4 weeks to go so hopefully a good taper will refresh these tired legs.
No time to relax though. Went to the bank to get my Property Tax check. Got my DSL fixed (good to have a brother in the business). Did some snow shoveling. Cleaned out the Fire Hydrant. Tucked the Princesses in for nap. Ate a little food, though not nearly enough. And now sitting a typing the blog. I think I need to go buy some driveway/sidewalk salt. The entire family will be here for Christmas. Don't want them slipping on any ice or snow although they are all from Wisconsin and should be used to it.
Hope your weekend is doing well. Keep though Texas Challenge Names coming.