Friday, April 9, 2010

Wanted: Cheering Squad For My Long Run Tomorrow

Any volunteers? *crickets chirping* Nobody? Awww, come on! I'll buy ya lunch afterward!

Here's the deal. I'm freaking out. Big time. My long run tomorrow is 22 miles. TWENTY-TWO MILES. You may remember my 20-miler from two weeks ago. It was not pretty. It was a miracle I finished at all. So I am having really hard time seeing how I will be able to do two more miles than that tomorrow. It seems like an unattainable goal.

So if I could get some people to come out and cheer for me at regular intervals throughout my run, that'd be great. Oh, and if you could also hand me water and Sharkies, that'd be great too.

You may have noticed I haven't blogged much this week. Part of it has been writer's block - I just don't know what to say. And part of it has been me stressing about this long run (which I think is the root cause of my writer's block). So really, it's all because of the stress of this run. All I want is to be done with it, so I can go back to blogging cheerfully about FAST runs and the lovely running weather we've been having and the latest new running accessories.

I will, however, take a moment now to write about our FAST runs this week.

Speedwork Tuesday was rough. Really rough. It was hot and humid outside. Coach Brad told those of us who ran the half-marathon on Saturday that we would likely be sluggish and tired from that still, so we shouldn't try to run hard. We didn't really believe him. But then we started running. We were dropping like flies. That coach is one smart cookie. The workout was (for all the people who didn't run a half-marathon the previous weekend) a 1 mile warmup, then 5-7 loops in the cemetery, running the first half of each loop at 5k-10k pace, and recovering on the second half of each loop. Then a 1 mile cooldown. I didn't even attempt to run 5k-10k pace, and this workout still nearly did me in. Now, these cemetery loops are rather hilly, so it's not like doing 800m repeats on a nice, flat track. But still. *huffs and puffs* It was rough. (Click to see it bigger)

Hillwork Thursday went a bit better. For one thing, it was COLD outside. How we managed to go from 80° to 40° in two days is one of the mysteries of Illinois weather. But I didn't bring pants to run in (only capris), so I was running fast just to get warm. Then the coaches had us run 2-3 loops of Glen Oak Hill: The *begin deep echo-y voice* Hill of Death *end deep echo-y voice*. I chose to do two. It was plenty, trust me. Then, as if that wasn't enough torture on its own, we had to run 2 miles with a negative split (so, the second mile should be faster than the first). I think I actually did pretty well with the entire workout last night. I ran my two hills consistently (see Laps 3 and 4). And I ran my final two miles at a very negative split (see Laps 5 and 6). Aside from feeling like my heart and lungs were going to explode while going up the Hill Of Death, I felt good. So I hope this means I'm sufficiently recovered from the half-marathon and now ready to tackle my long run tomorrow.

The one thing I love most about FAST is the camaraderie and team spirit. We aren't a huge group, so everyone knows everyone else. We may all have different running goals and different abilities, but we all share a common interest - the love of running. We celebrate everyone's victories - from conquering the Hill Of Death, to setting a marathon PR and everything in between. It is what keeps me coming back for more torture. Er.... I mean, training!

As I tackle my ridiculously long run tomorrow, the encouraging words of my teammates and coaches will echo in my mind. And maybe, just maybe, I will finish strong.

Peace. Love. Train.

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