Saturday, September 26, 2009

7 weeks from Richmond

Getting closer - seven weeks till the race. The mileage has slowly gone up (in a nice way that I didn't really notice) and I hit 35+ miles this week including a 17 miler today, which was my strongest long run to date.

I did what has become my usual route in the Tom's Creek Basin finishing up with a lap around campus. Miles 2-17 were an average pace of 8:18 and I worked hard to keep that up through the last mile. The most exhausting part is the mental aspect - keeping the pressure on but staying relaxed, remaining confident, and keeping the cadence up. Running books talk about either associating with your running body (i.e. keeping tabs on breathing, cadence, stride) or dissociating (i.e. thinking of other things, distracting self). I'm guessing I spend close to 3/4 of my time associating. I think of getting springier up hills, revving up rather than slowing down at the top, leg turnover, flowing down hills, etc. By the time I am finished I am so tired of hearing myself think!

It was my favorite running weather today - mid 50's, cloudy, misty rain. There were very few other runners out. And I do enjoy finishing up among the tailgaters knowing I am so much happier running than I would be sitting around at a party with no purpose.

I ran past a ticket scalper who obnoxiously said to me "this mile two?" to which I happily replied, "no, mile sixteen." I'd liked to have seen him run even two.

Incidentally, I think missing that May Marathon made me even hungrier for this one and more confident. I essentially have two marathon training cycles under my belt since I was only four weeks out from the other and had gotten I think two 20+ mile runs in to that point.

At any rate, it's about the journey, the training, the structure, the discipline. That's the stuff I enjoy, the racing is just a celebration of it all.