Last week was the final push of my overload month before the taper. I had strength training Monday, intervals Tuesday, easy run Wednesday, tempo Thursday, and an easy run Friday, followed by the Yom Kippur fast on Saturday. It took until Thursday for the soreness from the strength training to finally subside, and by Friday I was pretty wrung out and facing 26 hours without food or drink. To top it off, I had my final 20-miler scheduled for Sunday, which gave me about 10 hours to fuel up and rehydrate. Oh, and I needed to get a good night’s sleep in there, too.
I’m beginning to think that Paleo might be the answer to Jewish dietary laws, though… It’s easy to find dairy-free meat recipes, Passover is no sweat, and it turns out that being fat-adapted makes fasting much easier. Friday post run I made sure I hydrated thoroughly, and I made us some Bulletproof herbal tea after dinner to kick up the fat-burning. I got through it without too much difficulty this year, and as soon as it ended I started pounding water. Sunday morning I felt surprisingly good, and it was time to get down to business, as I had a tight schedule to keep.
Grete’s Great Gallop – Race Report
I had signed up for Grete’s Great Gallop in Central Park, which started at 9, but I needed to get in another 7 make it a 20-miler. I wanted it to be as continuous a run as possible, so I had worked out some fine-tuned logistics with Long Run Buddy. Caveboy and I took the train into lower Manhattan, then started running up Hudson River Greenway toward Central Park. I was hoping to hold a 9 minute pace for the duration, and getting to the corral on time put some pressure on holding pace. LRB was also racing the Gallop, and had kindly agreed to pick up our numbers and shirts and handle the bag check. I arrived at the park about 10 minutes before the start with three quarters of a mile left to run. After a couple of out-and backs near the start I met LRB at our corral just as the Star Spangled Banner ended. I was fastening the last pin on my number as our group shuffled toward the line, and we were off.
The weather could not have been more perfect for a race—it was 50 degrees and sunny at the start with a light, cool breeze. My goal for the run was to do the 20 under 3 hours, and I was hoping the race atmosphere would keep me focused for a strong finish. The course was just over two laps of the park, run clockwise (not the normal direction), presumably to emulate the end of the New York Marathon. Looping that way, the hills are shorter and steeper, and I felt a little sluggish on the climbs for the first lap. I tried to keep our pace right around 9’s, but like the Bronx run, the crowd and terrain made keeping a steady pace nearly impossible. Also, LRB and I evidently don’t like getting passed. Right around the start of lap two we caught the 1:55 pace group leader, who seemed to be running too fast and appeared to have largely lost his pack. We decided to stick with him for a while, mainly just to outsource the pacing duties. Maybe it was the psychological relief of knowing that I was ticking off each hill for the last time, but somehow during lap two I felt better and better with every mile. We ended up passing 1:55 Guy a few minutes later and at that point I stopped checking the Garmin for the rest of the race. I had a bit of a kick left for the finish, and by my watch it was 2:59:43 for 20.2 miles. I still haven’t come down from the high.
This week it’s on to the taper, and I’m planning to follow the Runners’ World recommendations here. I’ve never tapered for more than a few days for a half marathon, so I’m curious how I’ll handle two weeks. If only I could apply all that excess energy and enthusiasm to cleaning out my closets.