I haven’t posted about actual running much lately, which is odd, since I’ve been doing a lot of it.
Here is the column I wrote for this week’s Outdoors section on my recent long run. It was my last 20-miler before Twin Cities, which is on Oct. 7 — that seems awfully soon, don’t you think?
My training started slow — I couldn’t seem to get past 12-14 miles. I didn’t have the mental energy or the heart, frankly, so keep pushing myself. So I decided good overall mileage was better than a bunch of long runs and self-hatred, and logged a ton of 40+ mile weeks, all with lame long runs.
Then, suddenly, I felt about a billion times better and hammered out a 19.1-miler, and then two 20-milers — all of them felt easy and the last 20-miler was awesome. I averaged 8:40 for the run, which is nothing special, but mile 18 was an 8:15 and mile 19 was an 8:10 — and I didn’t notice we had sped up, and I never felt like I was pushing it. So that tells me I’m maybe in better shape than I think.
Of course, this week has been a nightmare of home stuff getting in the way (car breaking down, sick kid, errands that took 20x longer than expected) and scheduling issues making it nearly impossible to get more mileage in. My week isn’t over, but it isn’t looking great.
I plan to do 15 on Sunday, and get in about 40 miles this week. Then just ramp down until the race. I’ve done tapers that are two and three weeks and don’t really have a preference. If I feel awesome maybe I’ll go farther on Sunday, but I doubt it.
In trying to figure out what to do in Twin Cities, I keep thinking about how difficult the course is. An uphill from like 21-24 is no joke, man. My marathon PR is 3:41, but my Twin Cities course PR is only 3:58, and I did that last year. I’m in the first wave, which means I’ll be able to join the 3:40 pacer if I want. I think I will. And just set out going for a Boston-qualifying time. I don’t know that I am in shape for it — but I keep asking myself what’s the point in running another mediocre marathon at Twin Cities? I’m uninjured (knock on wood) and have done four 50-mile weeks (and last week was 53 miles), so probably some of the best mileage I’ve done in a long time marathon-training. Definitely more than I did for Phoenix in January.
I guess we’ll see. Last year I stuck with the pacer until mile 16, when I completely freaked out and talked myself into slowing down. I still regret it, because the entire rest of the race was easy for me. And who trains for it to be easy? It should be a little hard, at the end anyway, right?
Here’s to misery.