Saturday, January 21, 2006

32K/20M Long Run Behind Me!

This morning I was up at 5.30, had a small breakfast, suited up, warmed up and was out the door at about 6:15. On the schedule today, 32K/20M at planned marathon pace. My current planned marathon pace is 6:00/K (9:39/M) or around a 4:15:00 marathon. A sub-4 race would be nice, but I am realistic, I have not put in the mileage that I did with my second marathon. But anything goes on marathon day :-)

Anyway it was dark, but with a half-moon lighting the way. The temperature was 4C/39F, there was a brisk wind blowing and the air was damp (it’s raining as I write).

For most of the first 11K/7M I was running into the wind, but I still managed a 5:45/K (9:15/M) pace. I follow almost a perfectly straight (and flat) asphalt bike path from the 1K point where I leave my town to the neighboring city of Karlsruhe. Just past the 11K point I turn right, run 2 minutes and take a parallel bike path back towards my town.

My next turn occurred shortly before the 20K point, a right which eventually (9 minutes) crosses over my original path and on to the neighboring town of Blankenloch. My time at approximately the 20K point 1:56:15, or an average pace of 5:49/K (9:21/M), still looking good! I think I was able to maintain a faster pace because the wind was at my back after my two turns around the 11K point.

I continued on to Blankenloch, ran through one side of the town, then turned left and started heading in the general direction of my town (Friedrichstal). This section of the run was particularly nasty as it was all open fields, the wind was still quite aggressive, and the rain clouds were rolling in. I started slowing down some through here, my legs were hurting – probably a combination of higher mileage this week and the 100% asphalt route.

By the 25K (15.5M) point I was ready to stop running, my legs were aching. But when the legs start aching than the training is just getting started. I flipped on my MP3 player and tried to ignore my complaining legs.

As I pushed forward time seemed to go in slow motion. I was still maintaining around a 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace (if the Google Earth measurements are accurate) but it took a tremendous effort to keep from stopping. I finally reached the highway splitting the fields from the town of Blankenloch and my town (at about the 27K/17M point) and took an underpass under the highway. The path then wound it’s way around the same fields that I ran on Thursday night. I had to take a couple turns in order to stay on asphalt surfaces.

The last 5K were grueling, my legs were like blocks of concrete – I fought to keep the pace going, but couldn’t get the legs to move any faster. Although I didn’t think like this at that moment in time, this is the best training there is for a marathon – to keep going when the comfort level is in the red zone.

I finally made my way onto the street that would take me home, 1K to go. I broke into more of a jog than running, almost home. I crossed the “finish” in front of my house with a time of 3:16:04. I would have like to run another 10 minutes just to be sure I got in enough mileage, but my legs refused.

I am not exactly sure if the distance was exactly 32K/20M, I am sure that it was 2K more than my long run two weeks ago. So assuming it really was a 32K run than my average pace was 6:08/K (9:52/M), a little slower than I planned, but I’ll take it.

So a little self-evaluation is in order: I probably started out a little to fast considering I was running against the wind, but I don’t think this was a critical factor. A more significant factor is that last week I only ran 48K/30M and this week I am up to 70K/44M – a major difference. One of my 14K/8.7M runs this week was at HM race pace. In other words I had higher mileage than normal and my intensity was greater than what I have been running lately.

On the positive side my eating seemed to be just about right. The last two days I have been eating a lot of carbs and have increased calorie intake about a 1000 calories a day (I've been dieting). I also started drinking my energy drink a little bit earlier on in the run than normal, and this seemed to keep the energy level flowing. In other words my energy level was just about right today, I only had terribly sore legs. I blame the sore legs on the 100% asphalt or concrete paths/roads that I ran on.

So in two weeks I have a 34K/21M run on the schedule, I can't wait to feel the pain of achievement again!

Last note: Number of breaks/stops during the 32K/20M run: 0 (zero)!

congrats, jack!

make sure you get plenty of rest after beating yourself up!
Way to go! You're going to do awesome in M#3!
Zero breaks is amazing! I've had to stop on 6 mile and 10 miles runs to use the restroom and/or get water ~ sometimes more than once! You're just a machine, Jack. :)
Excellent job Jack! I am in awe of the zero breaks as well. I have to plan very well in order to make it that far without any breaks. Great to hear that you ran again today as well.
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