Last long pre-race run done

Yesterday, as planned, I ran the last 11 miles of the half marathon that I’ll be doing two weeks from now. I had a friend drop me off 11 miles east and pick me up at the downtown pier where the race will finish. With all your words of advice to “slow down,” “have fun,” and “eat something” echoing in my head, I really tried to slow down. I wanted to run at a pace somewhere in the 11:10 to 11:20 range, and I hit the first mile at almost precisely 11:10.

Then I began the section that is 5 miles of rolling hills — and it all seemed so easy. I kept expecting that I’d reach a hill that was steep enough that I’d have to do some walking, but that didn’t happen. I ran up and down every single hill, including the two extremely steep downhill-uphill stream crossings. I have never in my wildest dreams imagined running up the hill on the west side of Bagley Creek. I did slow down (I ran that mile in 11:46) but I never stopped running. Except for two off-the-clock pit stops (which I know will count for time during the actual race) I ran the entire 11 miles. I have never run more than ten miles without stopping before. I did get a little tired near the finish, but I ran mile 11 in 10:25 and finished feeling strong and healthy, with an average pace (11:03) that undershot my goal by about 10 seconds per mile. I’m confident that I could have gone another two miles and finished just as strong.

I was helped by perfect conditions. The temperature was in the high 50s the whole way, with light rain for the first half hour but no wind until the final mile along the waterfront. If it’s anything like this on race day, I should be fine. If it’s hotter (like last year), rainier (like 2010), or windier I’ll remind myself that I’ve run under those conditions before. I can do this.

Per Pete’s advice (thanks bfpete!) I did try two varieties of Shot Blok (with and without caffeine) starting at the halfway point. My stomach isn’t 100% convinced, but they are SOOOO much more palatable and easier to eat than those awful gels and goos. And they did give me a nice energy boost and give me something to think about for those last couple of miles.

This morning I felt a little tired and my knees were a bit cranky, but no more so than after shorter but faster runs. By tomorrow I should be fine.

So now it’s TAPER TIME! Hurrah!!! I’ll be doing much shorter, easier runs from now until race day. I’ll probably get antsy from the drop in activity level, but (so the theory says) my body will be storing energy and building muscle during this semi-rest time.

It’s exciting to see that my hard work and adherence to my plan have yielded such great results so far. I’m really looking forward to this race — so different from last year when I ran for respite from caregiving and refuge for my anticipatory grief.

I now run simply because I love it. It makes me feel physically good, and it makes me happy.

I am earning this happiness, one step at a time.

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Posted on May 21, 2012, in Running and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Lori, it sounds like you have it all worked out and tested so you should have a great day. I’ll say it once more, start slowly (your intended race pace + 30 secs for the first mile), let them all race off because you’ll see them all later when you pass them in the last few miles and it will feel great!

    I’m glad you tried the Shot Bloks, try and follow them with a swig of fluid. I prefer the non-caffeine variety, but will probably switch to caffeine when it gets dark on my Ultra next month.

    Good luck.

  2. It must feel really good to recognize that the entire reason for running has changed, and now it is just what you do to have fun and to challenge yourself! My son ran his first half marathon this past Sunday in Pasadena. It’s funny, but I actually had some ability to visualize what he was doing and the preparation involved because of reading your journey. Prior to that I really didn’t have any understanding of times and preliminary practice. I will have to ask him about what he did for hydration and nourishment. He said that he picked up his number and a packet the day before at Santa Anita Racetrack and that there were lots of interesting vendors trying to interest the runners in their own gear and products. It’s a whole industry I’m unfamiliar with. Good for you, though, Lori. Your times appear to be really strong. 🙂 Debra

    • Debra,

      A young person who is reasonably physically fit and active could probably go out and run a half marathon without so many weeks of training. It’s certainly not necessary to obsess over numbers the way I do! Still, it takes some self-discipline and is a genuine accomplishment, so I hope your son had a good, fun race.

      Yes, it’s a huge industry. I’d rather not count the dollars I’ve spent on shoes, shirts, compression tights, GPS watches (I’m on my second), and let’s not forget running-themed jewelry! Oh, and race entry fees. Running is marketed as an “easy entry” sport (compared to something like golf) because you don’t need ALL that stuff to get started, but once you get the bug you will want it all. In several colors!

      🙂

  3. As I run off to ICNAP in NYC, doing a run of a different sort, I am thinking of you and wish you were here.

    • Luann,

      Have a great time at ICNAP, and say hello to anyone who may remember me. Will other Fielding people be there?

      I do miss the scholarly community. I think I should submit something for some conference next year. Hmmmmm…..

      Lori

      • My dear scholarly friend, I am certain many remember you and your great work, especially Lester (I shall give him your regards). No other Fielding folks, but since I am now part time teacher at Saybrook, I am looking forward to seeing my “colleague” Dr. Giorgi (who is very distinguished in these circles)…alas, I just learned he is retiring from Saybrook soon. But maybe we can convince you to come to SPHS in the fall, in Rochester NY (a change of scenery)….

      • Please do say hello to Lester for me. I am in awe of your connection to Dr. Giorgi.

        I don’t see myself going to SPHS or anywhere without having a paper to present, but I think I will make having a paper to present (somewhere…) a goal for 2013.

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