Not quite time to get nostalgic yet, but with the taper begun, it is time to put a cap on this training plan for marathon #19. So, how'd it go?
I'm not really a Type A guy, so the whole "push yourself to the limit every time" isn't my problem. But I do like to run. I do like to watch the miles pile up. I do like going faster and farther. I'm a little gun shy from that meniscus disaster from last year. I worked that into things this winter/spring. Not that my training plan was necessarily light, although I did cut out the weekly interval sessions, leaving me with just one speed workout per week.
I also convinced myself that I didn't need to run when the weather was bad. Feeling guilty about that, most of the time I ran stairs at the house when I couldn't get outside. That actually turned out to be a good idea, and I noticed some extra pop in the old bones when I made it back to the streets regularly. Faster easy run pace = faster race pace, provided the tempo runs followed suit.
Lost several miles in the early build up weeks, but once my "official" plan started (12 weeks), I was generally pretty close to where I wanted to be. No sickness, although there was one day I missed a couple of weeks ago due to a shingles shot reaction. We'll see how this plan works on race day. It has less weeks and therefore less overall mileage than my best marathons, but each week has had its challenges and the longer tempos have been successful, so I'm reasonably confident.
The Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT) has a decent elevation profile if I'm smart about how I attack the course. Easy does it up the starting hill and the two big ones at miles 8 and 16. It's a 100 foot net drop start to finish, including almost all down the last ten. Thanks, ocrunnergirl for the pace band. I'm going to modify it some, taking cues from my Marshall plan - slower start, goal pace 7-20, finish strong - and keep my fingers crossed for a cool, cloudy, windless morning on the 26th.
Last long run on Saturday - 16. I missed one of these with the wedding, and an 18 miler with the funeral, so I wanted to have a good run. I wasn't able to get in a long goal pace run. That was disappointing. Thought about going for it this week, but it's kind of close to the race. Also, this was the end of my 60 mile week, so I was a little tired and didn't want to be stupid. Maybe a fast finish if I was feeling it by then.
The course for the day was a fun one. Across the Power Road footbridge, up the hill to and through Heritage Park, then back on Halsted. The loop left me a little short, so I added some on the north end to a street called Howard Road. It had an interesting twist to it, making me curious what kind of neighborhood would be there.
Anyway, lots of climbing in the middle miles, then mostly down on the back end. Sort of a Vermont City simulation? It'll be fun.
Bright and sunny for the first few miles, then there was cloud cover the rest of the way, making conditions absolutely perfect. No deer sightings through the park this morning. Just a couple of old Asian guys walking. The trail out the back side of the park wasn't very clear, so I made a couple of wrong turns and had to back track. Howard Road turned out to be dirt, with just a few really, really nice houses all tucked away from the road in the trees. If not for the traffic noise from the freeway that was only a hundred or so yards to the north, it was almost like running through the country.
Then I saw some construction signs. Then I saw some construction. On the bridge where I was going to cross over M-5. There's often a way for a pedestrian to get over a bridge that's closed to traffic, especially on a Saturday. Not today. The crew was there and the bridge was definitely closed. I even stopped and asked the foreman if there was any way to get over. Nope. So I had to re-route, which added two more hills and an extra mile to the run. No harm done. Last five miles - 8:40, 8:31, 8:19, 8:24, 8:23. Fast finish - check.
I was still dragging some on Monday, and wasn't too sure about yesterday's tempo. But it went OK. Averaged 7:45 for 8 miles, just about where last week was. And doing it on tired legs was a bonus. Have the same planned for next Tuesday, but I think I'll cut it down by a couple miles unless I feel especially fresh by then. Right now I'm tired.
New shoes this week, too.