September 6, 2011

Celebrating Labor Day Weekend with 51 Miles

I think this weekend was a big breakthrough in both the physical and mental game, but it started out with a very bad experience.

On Friday night, I purchased a road bike from a local store, but first I took it out for a test drive on the W&OD trail. As I was testing it out, I looked down at the gears, and then heard an unmistakable sound from the intersection 10 yards ahead. When I looked up, two cyclists had dropped their bikes on the trail and were sprinting towards an intersection; people were running from the other side of the street as well. It was at that time I realized a cyclist had been hit. I honestly thought I was going to roll up on a dead sounded awful. The pick-up truck that hit the cyclist stopped 20 feet past the crosswalk with the rider laying on his back in front; his shoes were 10-15 feet away and the bike was crumpled underneath the front axle of the truck. I didn't want to crowd the scene so I kept my distance, but the rider was responsive and honestly looked better than I guessed by the sound. Both probably shared some blame; driver probably wasn't paying attention as much as he needed, and the cyclist likely ignored the stop sign on the trail or assumed the truck would stop. Regardless, I was a bit shaken up by the sight and sound, and took intersections even slower on my weekend runs.

Back to running...I've been getting concerned lately with my speed. I've been so focused on distance and endurance, I've felt like my speed is dragging lately. So on Saturday I decided to push a bit and run my 10-miler at my goal marathon pace of 7:15/mile. I finished the run in 75 minutes, but that included a stop to refill water bottles, waiting out a couple red lights, and obviously slowing down at road when I was actually moving, it's a good bet I was under the 7:15 mark. This was a big mental boost for me, just reassuring that I still had some speed under the hood.

Sunday was the big day. Supposed to be a twenty mile jog, but I decided the day prior to tack on a bonus mile if I felt up for it. The temperatures weren't too bad and the run was fantastic. I felt great throughout until I predictably hit a bit of fatigue around mile 17. Approaching three hours of running, the final mile was funny actually...there was so much accumulated sweat and spilled water in my shoes, they were making a squishing noise as they hit the pavement and felt a pound heavier. I couldn't help but laugh about it a bit, I probably sounded ridiculous running past folks in the final kick, but oh well. I really felt good about my finishing time too; I completed 21 miles a few minutes quicker than I finished my 20-miler two weeks earlier. Coupled with the run on Saturday, I knocked out 31 miles this weekend and at a decent pace too, so it was a great feeling and big boost for the final weeks of training.

Week 12 Summary  -  (8 Weeks to Go)
Tues 5 mi
Wed 10 mi
Thurs 5 mi 
Sat 10 mi  (at marathon pace)
Sun 21 mi
Total Week's Mileage: 51 miles

For total 20-week training plan from previous blog posting: Click here.