Friday, March 26, 2010

It's a hard life...

I was on vacation with the hubby in Clearwater Beach, FL this past week. It was pretty rough - all that sunshine and warmth, soft white sand, delicious food and wine - but I survived. Now I'm back home in good ol' central Illinois, where the temperature is hovering around freezing and the wind is strong and persistent. Ummm, yay?

The good news is that despite being on vacation, I didn't take a vacation from my running. I took advantage of the beautiful weather and abundant running/biking trails and got my three mid-week runs in. This is the part where I brag a little bit. Okay, maybe a lot. Just LOOK at where I ran! I'm jealous of myself. I would love to be able to run here all the time (well, maybe not during the really humid months).

This was Monday's 6-mile progressive build run. I ran it at about 8pm, so it was dark outside, but I could still hear the ocean waves.

See those two big spikes on the elevation chart? Those are from the bridge. It was a very large bridge - one of those high-arching ones that large boats can go underneath. Here's a picture of it (behind all the buildings). It's worse than it looks. Trust me. Coach Brad would LOVE to have us run hill repeats on this thing, I'm sure. (Hey, I'm all for a FAST field trip! Brad, are you taking note of this???)
Then on Wednesday afternoon (the hottest day of our stay), I did a FAST-esque workout involving the other large bridge in the vicinity - the Causeway Bridge. I think this bride is shorter, but just as tall, which means it's steeper. Great. My goal was just to power up the bridge as hard as I could, and recover on the jog down, turn around and power up the other side. I won't lie - this workout was a struggle. I was not acclimated to the hotter, more humid weather and my heart rate was relatively high just during the warm-up. However, with that in mind, I think I did pretty well. I ran up the back side of the bridge faster than I ran up the front side. Then I finished my run out with about a one mile tempo run ("comfortably hard"). I think Coach Brad would be proud.

And here's a picture of the Causeway bridge (waaaay off in the distance). Evil bridge. EVIL!

Finally, on Thursday morning, I went out for a nice easy 3-miler. It was the perfect morning for a run - warm, sunny and breezy. I ran to the base of the Causeway Bridge and back - no sense in tackling the bridge for an easy run, right? I even ran halfway down Pier 60 and back. I would've run to the very end of the pier, but it cost 30 cents to go to the end and I didn't have any change on me. I know - 30 cents to walk down a pier??? Just another tourist trap, I suppose.

Now I'm back home and trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for the challenge that awaits me tomorrow. I'm talking about my 20-miler, of course. This is often the summit of marathon training. One doesn't really need to do a long run longer than 20 in order to be able to finish the 26.2 mile journey that is a marathon. It seems like a huge leap in mileage, but Race Day Magic is a very real phenomenon that carries the runners those extra 6.2 miles to the finish line. After tomorrow's run, I would theoretically be ready for the marathon. But I still have over a month until race day, so I'll be doing another 20-22 mile run in a couple of weeks, and then I'll begin my taper. But I try not to think too far ahead. One run at a time. One foot in front of the other. Tomorrow: one foot in front of the other for 20 miles. Let's hope I don't trip and fall again. :P

So until tomorrow...

Peace. Love. Train.

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