Brian suggested to me last week that I slow my long run down to a 9:37 pace. I tried. Really, I did. The first 5 miles I averaged 9:11. Okay, that's not 9:37 but I am really trying. This whole "race pace" mixed into the long run is still tugging at me to at least try. So I tried. I quickly failed. I ran about 2 miles at an 8:40 and I decided to just give up on that idea this round; just the ability to finish 21 miles on my over-run legs was going to be feat enough. Let's not throw in some tempo-ish pace in there, maintaining a 9:37 was going to be challenging enough. So I just ran slow. Long and slow, nothing more.
Only slow turned into REALLY slow as soon as the sun came up and warmed quickly. Drink!! Drink!!!! Drink!!!!! I think I did a good job for the fluid intake; better than normal. But I was sweating like crazy (when I finished, my car thermometer read 83. yikes) and I developed the infamous stomach cramping around mile 16 which I equate mostly to being dehydrated. I was about a half mile from the Cherry Creek Whole Foods and decided to take a small break there and regroup.
Walked around in the cool air inside W.F. and filled up my bottle with water and Cytomax and decided to walk through the farmer's market directly across the street from W.F. I need to remember this cute market; there were tons of fun things going on there - along with the great-looking fresh fruits and veggies. Yummy.
I picked the trail back up on the other side of the market. It was getting really hot and this part of the course has the least amount of shade and just to throw salt in the wound, it's also a fairly decent gradual incline. Triple whammy. But there's nothing you can do about it so suck it up and go. I had to take 2 small walking breaks just to get the sweat off, but I also drank like crazy and I think this was helping. I gave up on the water and stuck only to the Cytomax, trying to get in electrolytes that I was sweating out. I definitely slowed my pace here, to almost a 10:00 - and that's okay, it was better to be safe and run slow then to screw something up by trying to push it. Not sure I could have pushed it even if my life depended on it.
I had a more than average glute pain and stopped a couple times to stretch it. It is NOT getting better and wow, did I feel it later in the day as I "sat" in the car running errands. Sitting and certain moves really seem to exacerbate the pain but today I got a lot of it just running. I do think I need to go and seek some massage therapy...I just don't want to spend the $$!! Err. On the plus side, I think my knee is happy (er). I probably just jinked that!
My 21 miles today gave me an all-time post collegiate PR mileage of 61 for the week. Wow. I'm not certain I've even run 50 more than a dozen times in all my marathon training. But I felt good overall with the mileage and learned that sometimes you gotta push yourself a little harder than the normal hard - just to see what you're made of. Maybe just to make you a little stronger. Mentally, emotionally, along with physically. I think I passed the test.
21 miles run