Archive for ‘Long Run’

September 9, 2014

Bikram Running

IMG_2060

Several years ago, my friend and I went for a run up Diamond Head on Oahu on the morning before her wedding.  It was summer in Hawaii, there was no shade, and what little breeze there was carried about 90% humidity.  Five miles later and drenched in sweat, we kicked off our shoes and ran straight into the ocean to cool off.  I think it was then that we dubbed the experience ‘Bikram Running.’  I hadn’t thought about that run in ages, but as fate would have it, said friend was visiting New York this weekend.  I planned to see her on Sunday morning, so I moved my long run to Saturday.

It was 77 degrees and 93% humidity when I got up at 5:30, and the sun wasn’t even up yet.  I was scheduled for 15 miles, but had hoped to eek out 16 in preparation for the 18-mile tune-up race next weekend.  In the end, I ran somewhere between 16 and 17 in what I’m quite sure was the sweatiest three hours of my life.  I am still without my Shuffle, so instead of my playlist for distraction, I got through it with the catchy mantra “heat training is more effective than altitude,” interspersed with the occasional stream of profanity.  I’ve been really trying to get better at ’embracing the suck,’ and just the fact that I wasn’t completely miserable out there was a major victory for me.  Even so, this one really was laborious.

I have never been good at feeling a true sense of pride in finishing an ugly workout.  Banging out a good set of intervals?  Sure.  Even a solid tempo day?  Yes.  But the really hard-fought runs with a sweaty face only a mother could love?  No way.  No matter how difficult it was to get through, I still tend to focus on what I should have done better, and that’s largely counterproductive.  I know it’s the really rough days that make me better, and will eventually get me to that holy grail, Making a Formerly Hard Thing Seem Easy.  In that spirit, today I remind myself of my very first 5-miler, about six years ago, run on the bike path and trails in Santa Barbara.  The last mile was excruciating, despite me slowing to something like a 12-minute pace by the end.  Apparently I looked so bedraggled by the last mile that an old man actually jumped into the weeds rather than making me swerve around him on the narrow path.  In the car on the way home, I was so concerned that my blood sugar had plummeted with the exertion of running such a great distance that I binged on half a bag of pretzels.  (This was pre-paleo…)  I’m pretty sure the pretzels then caused an insulin spike that really did tank my blood sugar, because I got home and lay limply on the couch for an hour before I could summon the energy to shower.

So really, 17 very sweaty 9:30 miles… definitely winning.

~ModC

 

August 27, 2014

Tired Legs

In theory this week was going to be a cut back/mini-taper before the Dirt Dash in South Carolina this Saturday.  Since it was an extra week that I added to the marathon training schedule, I planned just to wing it on workouts based on how I was feeling.  Sunday I decided on a 16-miler, which seemed long enough to be hard, but not completely leg-deadening.  Rather than doing my usual steady pace, even-split approach, I opted for a fast finish run, which I thought might get me primed for the half this week.  I started out running 10 minute miles with the Caveboy, then dropped to around 9’s after about 5 miles, and mid-to-low 8’s for the last 4.

I finished the long run feeling great, and I headed into this week flush with optimism.  I also happened to catch this article on Runners’ World this week on increasing training just before a taper, and I started getting ideas.  Monday would normally have been an off day, but instead I decided to go for broke and scheduled a strength session.  After 45 minutes with Gillian my legs and core were quivering and I was high on endorphins.  I chased that workout with an easy 5 on Tuesday, and then decided this morning to squeeze in an interval workout.  I now have two days of travel and enforced rest, and if you count the rest of today, it’s really almost 3 full days before the half.

I’m generally a worst-case-scenario type of person, but I’m feeling uncharacteristically optimistic about the Dirt Dash.  I hadn’t planned to really race hard on Saturday, but once I got the runner instructions email this week, I realized two things:

1. This race is really small.

2. It is on an access road through the woods and swamp.

The course, on I'on Swamp Road.  Not making that up.

The course, on I’on Swamp Road. Yes, that is the actual name.

For some reason, that got me really excited.  I know I’m completely in denial about the heat, humidity, and pterodactyl-sized mosquitos we will likely encounter.  Still, the idea of just running through the woods sounds like a nice change from stampeding through Central Park with 4,000 other people and being pampered every step of the way by New York Road Runners’ fabulous volunteers.  (Not that I’m knocking it.)  I know I could totally melt down in the heat, and I may have pushed myself too hard this week to recover in time.  Still, I feel like this is going to be fun.

August 20, 2014

Run for the Hills

Last week’s schedule went like this:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Intervals – 4×1200 @ 7:13 pace
Wednesday: Easy – 3 @ 9:30ish (should have been 10’s)
Thursday: Tempo – 10 @ 8:47
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy – 4 @ 9:30ish (should have been 10’s)
Sunday: Long – 15 @ 8:59 (9:07 was goal)

 

The intervals were good, I had a lovely run to work on Wednesday, and Thursday I had to fit in a 10-miler.  I ended up running in the general direction of work, ditching my backpack along the way at the gym, and then running another 3.5 out and back to get to 10.  Around mile 5 I passed my long-run buddy going the other direction to his office, which is the sort of thing that makes me love the small town that is the New York running community.

 

As of this weekend, I am officially 8 weeks out from the marathon, which still feels like a long time.  Once I factor in the Dirt Dash, the Bronx 10-miler, and the taper, though, there’s really only five long runs left.  I’ve been trying to do a training assessment every few weeks to make adjustments, and my current consideration is whether to add more hill training.  I’ve been reading race reviews for Baltimore on Marathonguide.com, and the word “hilly” keeps coming up.  That in itself wouldn’t really concern me so much, but the fact that one person described it as “worse than San Franciso” does.  I ran the SF first half (i.e. the hilly part) twice, and it was brutal.  That kind of scared me straight and, being a numbers person, I decided to do a comparison with hard data.

 

Comparison.csv

According to Map My Run, the Baltimore course only has 536 feet of accumulated gain.  The SF first half has 1,052 feet, and the 20-miler route I’ve been running in New York has 852.  That seemed generally encouraging, but when I actually overlayed the elevation profiles, Baltimore does look a lot worse than my long run.  I also know that I’m much better at rolling hills than long, slow climbs, and I think it’s time to remedy that.

My general plan at the moment is to start substituting hill workouts for some of my interval days. To be honest, I’m not particularly jazzed about it.  I love the track, and although I feel like I’ve made my peace with hills this season, I am nothing close to a fan.  I do, however, want to be as prepared for this race as I possibly can be, and that means addressing my weaknesses.  Like a grown-up.  There’s also the added bonus that in addition to building climbing strength, reducing the punishment of track repeats should allow me to increase my weekly mileage a bit over the coming weeks, too.  I know it’s win-win, but I’m still kind of grumpy about it.

This morning I headed to my local hill of choice–Columbia Heights, which runs from DUMBO up to Brooklyn Heights.  The stretch I used is about a tenth of a mile long at 3% grade, so nothing crazy, but it was enough to make my quads burn.  I had an easy 2 mile warm up through Brooklyn Bridge Park, then did 6 repeats at what I’m guessing was about a 8:40 pace, and then 2 miles back home.  Ideally, I also need to find a long, slow climb I can run fartleks on as well, but I may have to make do on the treadmill for that.  I’m sure that will be just as much fun as it sounds.

This week goes thusly:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Hill Repeats
Wednesday: Easy – 5? @ 10:00
Thursday: Tempo – 1 mi easy, 5 @ 8:47, 1 mi easy
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy – 5? @ 10:00
Sunday: Long – 16? @ 9:07

Also on the to-do list: Learn to love hills.

August 11, 2014

Relentless Forward Progress

You know those days when you feel light and fast and like you could run forever?  Sunday was not one of those days.  Last weekend I got really lucky with the weather for my long run, but this Sunday was hot, bright, and cloudless.  I prepared for my third 20-miler as well as I could–I hydrated and beet-loaded, filled my water bottle halfway and froze it, and got to bed early on Saturday.

The route was a variation on the usual Brooklyn to Central Park run.  I skipped Prospect this week and ran straight to the Brooklyn Bridge and up to Central Park, picking up my friend along the way.  From the north end of the park we peeled off to Morningside Park, enjoyed* the hills of Morningside Heights, cut across Columbia’s campus, and ran south along Riverside Park.  It was a beautiful day and a lovely route, but I really had to work for this one.  I probably started off a little too fast given the heat, but I think this was mostly just a case of having an off day.  Despite the struggle, I was happy that I was able to pull it together mentally enough to get through it.  I keep reminding myself that having a lackluster 20-miler is still something of an uptown problem, especially compared to a few years back when I was trying to fight through and IT band injury.

Sunday also marked the end of what I’m thinking of as my first major training block for the marathon.  Next week’s long run is only 15, and then I’m debating whether or not to squeeze in another  20 before the half marathon on Labor Day weekend.  From there on, I’m taking advantage of the NYRR fall race calendar to spice up my long runs.  As it stands right now, starting in September I’ll have a race every other weekend until the marathon.  That is not to say that I’ll actually be racing them, but I thought that it might help dispel some of the pre-race anxiety to make the starting line feel a little more routine.  It also gives me the chance to practice race day fueling and decide if I’m going to carry any of my own hydration for the marathon. It’s going to require some creativity to get the distances on my schedule in some cases, but I can always keep running after the finish line.

*By ‘enjoyed’ I mean, tried to convince myself that the burning in my quads was a unique gift from the universe, to be treasured and savored.

August 4, 2014

Only Happy When it Rains

The Caveboy has been away on business this week, so I’ve made destressing and catching up on some rest my priorities.  To that end, I’ve been meditating at least 10 minutes a day and trying to get as close to eight hours of sleep as I can.  My running schedule this week was:

Tuesday: Intervals – 12×400 @ 6:56 pace

Wednesday: Easy – Brooklyn Bridge run commute

Thursday: Tempo – 2 easy, 3 @ 7:54, 1 easy

Sunday: Long – 18 @ 9:17

I used to run the 400 when I ran track, so I was actually looking forward to the intervals this week.  They were fun, but tiring and Wednesday my legs felt pretty heavy.  I was not overly enthused about the gym and decided to run to work instead. It was a fairly cool morning and the beautiful day and views from the bridge more than made up for my general lethargy.  The tempo on Thursday wasn’t bad, and I skipped the easy run/cross train workout on Saturday and brewed beer instead.  (It’s a black saison, which is now bubbling away happily in the basement.)

Gray Manhattan Bridge View

On Sunday morning, the smell of the malt syrup and hops still lingered in the apartment when I left for my long run.  I was planning to do the Prospect-Central Park run again, but made a few adjustments to the route to avoid the New York Triathlon that was staging in Riverside Park.  Sunday was perfect summer run weather as far as I was concerned–overcast, light rain, and about 65 degrees.  I made good time through the Brooklyn section and started over the bridge around 8:20.  I saw a few police officers wielding orange flags as I passed the halfway point, but no one stopped me and there didn’t seem to be any blockades to pedestrian or bike traffic.  As I came down the slope to the off ramp in Manhattan, though, I saw a wall of runners forming a starting line up ahead.  Two bagpipers were piping away enthusiastically, and I figured the start was imminent.

Brooklyn Bridge 5K

 

I jumped up on a lamp pedestal behind a race photographer just as the gun went off, and waited 4-5 minutes while several hundred runners took off toward Brooklyn.  Once the flow had stemmed to a trickle of walkers, I jumped into the fray and made may way 100 yards upstream and off the bridge.  From City Hall Plaza it was a short jaunt across Chambers to the Hudson River Greenway.  I met a friend just before the turnoff to Columbus Circle and Central Park.

By the time we got there, the the triathlon run was in full swing and going the opposite direction we were, so we got to enjoy lots of cheering spectators and the energy of the triathletes as they entered the home stretch of their race.  I was able to finish strong through the Harlem Hills, and ended up averaging a 9:02 split.  Having someone to act as a pacer with fresh legs at the end of my long runs for the past few weeks has been a huge help, and I hope I’ll be able to maintain the same intensity without one in the race.  Then again, maybe I just need to make a fast friend on the run.

July 21, 2014

Long Run, Now with 50% More Boroughs

Sunday was the first time in recent memory that I was nervous before a long run.  I think it was a combination of having last week’s pain still fresh in my mind, along with a somewhat sluggish easy run on Saturday morning that had me worried what Sunday’s 20 would bring.  I slept badly and dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 to feed the kitten and make breakfast.  I was thrilled to see solid cloud cover and hoped the temperature wouldn’t climb too much in the coming hours.  Thankfully, the clouds hung around and the weather stayed cool and breezy all morning.  I ended up having perfect conditions for what turned out to be a really lovely run.

Maybe it’s just the architect in me, but one thing I love about urban long runs is having the opportunity to experience whole swaths of the city in a continuous flow.  I always enjoy seeing how neighborhoods  merge into each other (or don’t), and how the urban scale changes and shifts.  I planned my route for the 20-miler around New York’s two great parks–Prospect and Central, but I was also looking forward to all the parts in between.

 

Prospect Park

Prospect Park

 

The Caveboy had decided to join me for the park portions, and we started out with the usual run up Union to Prospect.  We did only one lap this week, and it felt great to turn out into Grand Army Plaza knowing that I would not have to contend with the Mt. Prospect hill any more that day.  From there the Caveboy hopped on the train and I turned down Flatbush Ave to Atlantic, then to Court and on to the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Brooklyn Bridge, (nearly) empty

Brooklyn Bridge, (nearly) empty

The combination of the early hour and the clouds seemed to be keeping the tourists at bay, and I relished the chance to run the bridge without having to constantly dodge pedestrians, bicycles, and tourists taking selfies.  Once over the bridge, I cut across Lower Manhattan to the Hudson River Greenway, taking in the view along the water.  I should note that I had mistakenly plugged my Garmin into a non-charging port on my computer the night before, so my battery died somewhere around mile 13.  I still had Map My Run going on my phone in my waist pack, but I had no real-time pace data for the second half the run.  I had a bit of a headwind along the water and by that point in the run, I really had no idea if I was running 8:15 or 10:15 miles.  Whatever it was, I was in a pretty comfortably rolling-along pace, so I just went with it and hoped I would end up in the ball park of the 9:32’s I was shooting for.

Hudson River Greenway

Hudson River Greenway

Pretty as it was, the 5 miles along the Greenway were probably the most monotonous of the whole run, and I was grateful that I had a friend to meet me at 65th Street, where we turned east and headed for Central Park.  The Caveboy was waiting for us there and provided fresher legs for pacing.  My route had us looping around the south end of the park, then up the east side, around to the west, and ending around 86th Street, near my friend’s apartment.  I figured that if I could get through the Harlem Hills at mile 18 or so, it would be a good sign, training-wise.  The Caveboy set out at what seemed like a pretty good clip, though again, I couldn’t tell how much my perception of pace was being colored by fatigue at that point.  Overall, I felt really good, though–definitely better than last week’s 18 or my first 20-miler.

Central Park

Central Park

The time in the park went by much quicker than I expected, and before I knew it, the hills were upon us.  I managed the first two climbs without too much trouble, and really only dragged on the final hill, which at least set up a nice downhill finish.  My friend rallied me for a final kick at the end, after which I happily laid down on a bumpy, acorn-strewn patch of dirt under an oak tree and put my feet up.

 

July 18, 2014

The Week So Far…

Things got a little deadliney at work this week, and while I did get all of my weekday workouts in, I haven’t had much time for anything else.  The schedule was thus:

Tuesday: Intervals – 2×1200 @ 7:13 pace, 4×800 @ 7:04 pace, with 2-min. recoveries [so. very. hard.]

Wednesday: Easy run – 3 miles

Thursday: Tempo – 1 mi easy, 5 @ 8:09, 1 easy [not bad]

Saturday: Easy run?

Sunday: Long – 20 @ 9:32

To be perfectly honest, I’m not all that excited at the prospect of another 20-miler at the moment.  To add some interest, I’ve decided a different route and a new playlist are in order.  On the up side, I was looking at my training calendar, and I think in a lot of ways, these past few weeks were one of the hardest chunks of the schedule.  Next week is a cut-back week, and the long runs in my next four-week cycle total 61 miles, as opposed to the 75 from this round.  I’m also giving myself a bit of a taper week before the Dirt Dash in Charleston, so that should break up the monotony as well.

I’m still trying to keep my weekly mileage below 35 right now, which historically has been a good number for me to improve without getting injured.  On that front, I’m also adding some weekly goals for strength training:

15 min of planks a week

Hip/pelvic stability work 5 days/week

Quality time with the foam roller 5 days/week

Relentless Forward Progress.

-ModC

July 14, 2014

Harder than I Thought

I read a quote recently that went something like, “Most things we deem impossible are really just much, much harder than we expected.”  That kind of sums up my long run today.  I’ve been feeling a little sluggish the last few days, but when I left this morning I was confident I could get through 18 miler on my schedule.  The first red flag was that when I got up at 5:45, the thermometer in the back yard already showed 73 degrees and 75% humidity.  I’ve been really lucky that so far this summer I’ve managed to avoid long runs on days with the usual New York humidity, but my streak was apparently at an end.

After my smoothie and butter coffee I headed out on my usual route of Brooklyn Bridge Park to Prospect.  I kind of spaced out for the BBP section, which was my first mistake.  I wasn’t running crazy fast, but I was not focused on keeping my heart rate down, either.  My stomach was feeling a little sloshy, so I also didn’t drink much in the first 5-6 miles, which was Mistake #2.  When I started up Park Slope’s titular hill to Prospect I finally reined in the pace a bit, but by that point I was almost 7 miles in.  The first lap of the park went okay and I actually felt a little better than I had earlier, thanks mostly to the shade on the west side, but I was still sweating buckets.  When I came around to the more exposed eastern side I tried to control my heart rate and effort in preparation for the hill at the end of the lap.

Lap 2 steadily degraded as the temperature continued to climb.  On a side note, I’ve been toying with the idea of switching to a fat-adapted fueling approach for the marathon, and I made a coconut oil-based gel concoction to try on this run.  I had brought two regular gels and two of the coconut oil, figuring I would use some combination depending on how I was feeling.  I was getting pretty hungry by the time I got to Prospect, but fearing a mess with the homemade gels, I waited until I got to the trashcans around the south side to eat one.   I seemed to tolerate the fat just fine, though it didn’t take the edge off my hunger at all. (Mistake #3.)  I should note here that I did a little research after the run, and confirmed that in higher temperatures, the body shifts to burning a higher ratio of glycogen to fat, so this may not have been the best day to start my experiment.

By the end of Lap 2 I was starting to feel very low-blood-sugary, so I had one of the normal gels before starting the last lap.  The sugar combined with the bit of shade and downhill section of the park helped enormously, but by the time I rounded the lake at the bottom I was dragging again.  I was taking walk breaks on a lot of the uphills by that point, and was just trying to pull it together enough to get the job done.  I only had about half a mile left after I left the park, so I had a mercifully short downhill finish.  Even with all the walks at the end, I still somehow finished just under the RLRF 9:32 proscribed pace.  My watch lost two miles somewhere in Lap 2, but this graph pretty much encapsulates the suck-fest that was this run:

 

140713_Graph

Because who doesn’t like an info graphic?

 

July 8, 2014

Make Mine a Venti

fireworks1
Last week was crazy busy, with pre-holiday deadlines at work, getting ready for my parents, who were visiting for the weekend,  another friend saying with us on Monday night, capped off with prepping for work travel the beginning of this week.  By Friday I was definitely ready for a day off, and we made good use of it.  Before I moved here my parents had really only seen the touristy side of New York, so when they visit now I try to balance museums and the traditional highlights with neighborhoody local activities.  On Friday we walked Brooklyn Bridge Park and DUMBO, went to the Guggenheim, and watched the fireworks from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  I had planned to hit the gym for a quick XT session at some point, but according to my mom’s FitBit we walked almost 9 miles, so I figured that counted as active recovery.  Since my parents were leaving Sunday after lunch and I was getting on a plane to Florida on Sunday night, I decided to do my long run on Saturday morning.
Thanks to my foolproof alarm, Hungry Kitten (TM), I was up at 5:30 sharp.  In an effort to not wake my parents, I ground my coffee in the closet and put the Vitamix in the bathroom sink to make my pre-run butter coffee and smoothie.  Ah, New York apartment living…  I was out the door a little before 7 and headed down to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  I planned to meet my parents at Prospect later, which meant that I needed to cram in as many miles before I got there as I could.  It also meant that instead of my usual downhill finish home from the park, I’d be finishing on the hill up to Grand Army Plaza, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is one of my favorite public art works of recent memory.  It's a full-scale reproduction of a piece of the Statue of Liberty, in this case, her shoulder and raised arm.  If you look closely you can see the real thing to the left of the small pine tree in the background.

This is one of my favorite public art works of recent memory. It’s a full-scale reproduction of a piece of the Statue of Liberty, in this case, her shoulder and raised arm. If you look closely you can see the real thing to the left of the small pine tree in the background.

It was a gorgeous day and BBP was somehow spotless after hosting a crowd of hundreds of thousands the night before for the East River fireworks.  (Thank you, NYPD and Parks Conservancy!)  I tried to just relax and enjoy the view as I did two out-and-backs for a total of 8.5 miles.  I had a gel and then headed over to Prospect, about a mile and half from there, arriving at GAP on schedule at mile 10. The first lap went by quickly and the Mt. Prospect hill really wasn’t too bad.  The west side of the park was still in the shade, so I had a chance to cool down a bit for the first half of the second lap and refilled my bottle and had another gel at Lakeside.  The second run up the hill at the top of the loop was a little more arduous, but after a quick stop for water I took off for lap three.  I ran into my parents at the west gate, and we agreed to meet at Grand Army in 15-20 minutes.  That gave me no out for avoiding the last hill, which I figured was for the best.  I was really happy with how I was feeling; I was physically and mentally tired, but was still holding my form together and wasn’t having any major problems.  My left hip was a little achey and both knees were a touch sore, but on a run that long it’s really to be expected.  I was able to hold it together up the last hill (I think I even kept the pace at around 9 flat), and finished in 3:04:16.   I was feeling pretty low-blood-sugary by the end and I probably should have had a third gel, but I’ll chalk that one up to experience for next time. After finding my parents, I made them wait around for 10 minutes while I laid down under a tree and elevated my legs.
tree
I think the really good news from the 20-miler was that I was able deal with a full day of tour-guiding activities afterward and I really didn’t have any soreness the next day.  I am traveling this week, so I did an easy run last night and will do my intervals either tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I get to go home.
-ModC
June 30, 2014

Week 3 Recap

A few months ago I decided that I really wanted to get serious about incorporating some lifting into my training.  I’ve never done any formal strength training and I wanted to make sure I did it right and learned the proper form, so I signed up for monthly personal training sessions at my gym.  I’ve dubbed my trainer Kali the Destroyer for her brutally intense workouts, but she’s really helped me to pinpoint my weaknesses and target the muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries. I usually schedule my sessions with her with as much recovery time before my long run as possible, but thanks to my travel and work schedule, I ended up meeting her at 7AM Friday morning.  I am generally intensely sore for a couple days after a strength session, so I knew going in that I would not be fully recovered before my long run on Sunday.  I asked KtD that we go easy on the legs, and she took me through a few inclined squats for some hip-strengthening and then cooked up an unholy combination of upper body and core work for the rest of the hour.

Saturday morning dawned painfully, but thankfully I had already booked a 9AM massage. As painful as it was, I think it really did accelerate the recovery process a bit.  My core and arms were completely shot, though, and I was glad I had planned to take Saturday as a rest day.  We did a lot of walking around the city, but otherwise I just tried to hydrate well and stretch periodically.  Sunday morning I was up at 5:30 and out the door at 6:40.  It was already 70 degrees and sunny, but thankfully the humidity was pretty low.  I had 17 miles at 9:32 pace on the schedule, and I decided to start with a flat out-and-back in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  It would have been nice to finish on the flat instead, but the shade there is minimal and I knew that by running it early I would also avoid most of the crowds.  As I got warmed up it became apparent that I was, as expected, still pretty sore from Friday.  My arms were less of a concern, but I was definitely feeling my core on every grade change.

From Brooklyn Bridge Park I headed up Union to Prospect Park.  I texted the Caveboy my progress at that point, which turned out to be a useful benchmark since my Garmin filled up with data a few miles later and started autopausing intermittantly for the remainder of the run.  I guessed it was about 6.5 miles to the top of Prospect, and each lap of the park is about 3 1/3 miles.  I planned to do 3 full laps (which I promised myself would include 3 solid climbs of the Mt. Prospect hill at the end), and then would have about half a mile of downhill to finish, with another mile or so walk home to cool down.  The park laps actually went by fairly quickly, and, although I was definitely working harder in the heat, my cardio effort felt good throughout.  I was stopping for water breaks at the start of each lap, and it seemed that every time I started running again my core would tighten up and then gradually relax as I ran.  My watch was missing what I guessed to be almost two miles by the time I finished the last lap of the park, and I tried to do some conservative mental math about where I should finish.  I thought I had about .75 miles left, and after a quick walk for water I started down Union toward home, feeling pretty good and still holding my form together.  I don’t know if it was the downhill or just fatigue setting in, but after about a third of a mile my lower abs went into some kind of tired spasm.  Every inhale and every step hurt.  I slowed to a walk for 30 seconds and then started up again, determined to finish out the last half mile.  It seemed bearable for a minute or so, but then the spasm returned.  I continued to run-walk, grinding out the last bit slowly and painfully.

As it turned out when I checked MapMyRun later, I had actually finished the 17 miles near the top of the park, and ended up running about 17.6 all told, so technically the complete ab fail happened after the scheduled run was over.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like that level of muscle fatigue on a run before, and it was a good reminder of what could potentially happen in 26.2 miles.  That said, I’m pretty sure this was due to the complete shredding of my core on Friday, so I’m not overly concerned about a repeat performance right now.  Today I feel shockingly better than I did even before the run yesterday, so it does seem that I’m bouncing back quickly.  I have intervals tomorrow, but if I don’t feel 100%, I may cross train instead and push the runs out a day.  This week I have my first 20-miler of the training cycle, so the name of the game is recover, recover, recover.

ModC