20 Miles Done, Now Taper Time!

First, some shout outs:

Good luck to my running twin Kristy (at Run The Long Road) who is running the Lehigh Valley Marathon tomorrow.  Kristy is hoping to get a BQ tomorrow, which will be 3:45 for her.  She is SO trained for this, having run her last 22 miler 4 seconds BELOW her goal pace.  She will do it!  Go Kristy Go!

If you are looking for running tips, inspiration and wisdom, check out the new blog of Coach MB, the coach who has helped me get speed and, more importantly, a kick-ass mental game over the past couple of months.  In addition to the in-person coaching that he provides to me and a group of others, he sends inspirational emails and texts.  You’ve heard me write about the inspiration and motivation that he gives me.  Well, I’ve been encouraging him to share his wisdom with others and start blogging about all things running (and more – he does triathlons).  So, check out his blog when you have a minute!

And finally, I’d like to say What Up to my new BFF’s Adam and Tim.  Remember them from my Running the Edge book review?  Please note the comments to this post!  What sweet BFF’s.  I’m sure Adam and Kara will be inviting me over for dinner sometime soon.  I’ll keep you all posted.


So, today was our last 20 miler before Twin Cities.  It was the Capitol Run, sponsored by Life Time Fitness.  There were about 400 people, running from the Capitol 10 miles out on the Twin Cities Marathon Course and then back.  So the last 10 miles of the run were miles 16 – 26 of the TCM race course, which is the hardest part of Twin Cities, with essentially the 3 mile hill from mile 20 – 23 (today miles 14 – 17).

It was, by far, my best feeling (and fastest) 20 miler ever.  I finished it in 2:53:15 (8:39 pace), with probably a good 3 – 4 minutes of stops built in, so the actual running pace was faster.  The stops were quick water stops, where I was able to pick the pace back up and still have a decent avg mile, but then not-so-quick stops at stoplights on Summit on the way back, where I wasn’t able to make up all the time that we stopped.  Frustrating, because I wanted to have all my miles LOOK like a good pace, but when we have to stop for 20 – 60 seconds, it’s hard to tell what pace I was even really at.

Things that were good about the run:

  • It was the quickest training run that I’ve done and it didn’t feel like I was killing myself or going all out.  Depending on what my goal ends up being (still up in the air; I need to decide this week so that I can mentally prepare), a good chunk of the miles were at or below MP.
  • I tackled the hills and did a decent job at them.  Mentally and physically hung in there and didn’t give up.  (Though when you look at my splits, it doesn’t reflect it because of stopping once for start of GI issues and on the other 2 miles for stop lights).  I am SO glad we ran these hills on tired legs – this was definitely needed as a confidence boost before the marathon.
  • I was able to do this well without taper, in heat (it was 70+ and sunny for the second 1/2 of the run) and after a big quality week (with a 10k race on Monday, 10 miles at marathon pace on wednesday and 9 miles with intervals on Thursday).
  • I didn’t let the start of GI issues at mile 15 derail me.  I stopped for 10 seconds to walk when I felt the sick-GI-distress urge coming on (it happened during the middle of the 1st mile of the 3 mile long hill).  But there was no bathroom in site (and I knew there pretty much wouldn’t be), so I told myself to calm down, take it easy and not worry.  I did back off the pace a tiny bit for the balance of the run, because of the GI issues too.  For some reason they seem to happen when I’m really pushing myself.
  • I still had energy in me during the last mile and kicked it in.

So I should be really happy about this run, huh?  And I am, for the reasons above, but I’m also a little disappointed in myself because I didn’t do what I (and the coach mostly) had set out to do.  My plan was 8:20 – 8:25ish miles for first 3, then pick up the pace to around 8:10 – 8:12, then finish stronger.  Fail on all accounts on this.  I didn’t even try to do this.  I was too scared of blowing up, of it feeling too hard, of injuring the hamstring again so close to race day, of not being able to do it, blah blah blah.  So from the start I just switched into a mode/pace that felt good for me and that I knew I’d be able to do today.  So, even though really there was SO MUCH positive out of this run, I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t push it and didn’t even attempt to do what I was “supposed” to do.

21 days until Race Day!  So I guess taper starts, at least in terms of cutting back the long runs.  Still looks like the schedule calls for decent mileage and lots of quality this week.  And I get to run in DC this week (Virginia actually) because I’m going for a 4 day training for being the local Toys For Tots coordinator.  Who knew there was so much involved in that???

7 thoughts on “20 Miles Done, Now Taper Time!

  1. Nice! But why were you trying to run this training run so fast? Running a 20 miler at sub goal race pace during the peak of training in 70+ weather seems kind of crazy to me. But what the hell do I know? Good work out there.

    I have no doubt you’ll have a very strong race. You always train well. This season, you seem to have honed into that oh so critical mental edge too. Can’t wait to track you on race day!

    1. You HAVE been absent from blogland! Goal pace shifted quite awhile ago (with the Boston 2013 registration times/procedures) and with how strong my training has been this cycle we’re considering shifting it even more. So today’s 20 WASN’T under goal pace and if I had done it per plan, not all of them would have been under. Still TBD what I’m going to make my goal.

      I’m looking forward to tracking YOU at Chicago!

  2. Excellent run!! you managed it very well. we know you have it in you to run the race you want. and all though we set a little more aggreisve goal for this training run for you, I’m glad you backed off from it and realized that what you did is a huge positive step in running your goal race!! it’s better to walk away from the run feeling energized and positive than trying to go after it not hitting the goal and feeling like crap. job well done…

  3. That is a FANTASTIC run! Seriously fan-freaking-tastic! And to know that actual running pace was even faster is the icing on the cake!

    If Adam and Kara invite you to dinner, can I tag along?

    Thanks for the shout out. I cannot wait for you to strut your stuff in 3 weeks! You are going to do amazing!

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