Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to the Backroads and July Recap

I just ran 18 miles! It's been a while. It wasn't what it was supposed to be according to my McMillan plan, but at least I got it done. And the scenery was absolutely beautiful!

The two big mountains are not-quite-14,000 foot Meeker Mountain and true 14-er Longs Peak. I've been atop Longs!
Before I go into detail about the run, let me just put in one final call for questions for Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher. I'll be sending them the interview on Monday. Please feel free to leave a question for them on this post or the prior one.

OK, now back to my long run. McMillan has two types of long runs in my plan: the traditional long steady slow-ish run (pace should be 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than my projected marathon pace) and the Fast Finish long run. Today's was supposed to be one of the Fast Finish variety, the first one for me. It called for 14-18 miles total, with the last 6-8 at marathon pace. It was this last part that was the fail for today.

Honestly, I didn't feel great from the beginning. My alarm went off at five and I was in a dead sleep, having been awakened once by my son (wet bed, which Dan dealt with, but I was already awake) and later by my daughter (bathroom trip, which I dealt with--it was after this one that I reset the alarm from 4:30 to 5). I was worried about having to go to the bathroom for the first four miles, too, which kept me on a loop near downtown rather than letting me head straight out on my planned route in the backroads of Boulder County.

Eventually, I made it out of town, though, doing a decent job of keeping my pace in the slow range that the early miles called for (in my case between 9:30 and 10:30 miles). My legs felt dead until the ninth mile, when I finally got to turn off the pavement and hit some dirt roads. As the Garmin chimed 10 miles and I turned the music on, I shifted gears to the 9-minute pace I was hoping to run for the rest of the trip. And I did run it for  two or three miles, enjoying the rolling hills and lake views....When I turned back onto paved roads, though, I ran out of gas. My pace slowed back down to the 10-10:30 range, depressing because about all I could do was watch it decline.

I thought about stopping and calling Dan for a pick-up at 14 miles, but decided that just because I had blown the fast finish, I shouldn't quit altogether. Instead, I hung on to salvage the 18 miles and did manage to add some speed back the last two. The lactic acid nausea was pretty bad when I stopped. Better luck next time! The next Fast Finish long run is two weeks from now. I hope I can do better.

Part of the problem with my long runs lately (I think) is that I'm doing my mid-week speed and tempo runs at paces faster than my McMillan calculator paces dictate. I just can't help myself! But I think I better start "helping myself" because I know getting these long runs done, and done as dictated by my plan, will be key to setting a PR at the Top of Utah Marathon in six short weeks (not to mention qualifying for Boston either there or in Houston in January).

Quick recap of July:

-I ran 127 miles. Not too bad considering there was the third week, when I had the kidney infection (the month's low point) and managed only 20 miles. My highest mileage week in July was 34 miles.

-I set a half-marathon PR at the ZOOMA Women's Half in Colorado Springs despite high heat and some big hills at the end. This was the high point of the month.

-For cross-training, I attended three 45-minute spin classes (so excited that Tammy's class starts again next month!) and hiked Sanitas several times with Christine.

-I survived and maintained while on a business trip to Cleveland at the end of the month. My McMillan plan says any running while traveling is good running. I won't be taking another trip until the big drive to Utah the day before my race!

I'm off now to enjoy the weekend with my family. My mom is visiting from Missouri, just briefly, so we're trying to spruce up the house for her arrival. I hope all of you had/will have great runs/workouts this weekend. And for those of you doing the Boulder Half-Ironman, best of luck!! You are rock stars and will prove it tomorrow.


  1. Don't beat yourself up too much, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job to me!!

    And what an INCREDIBLE view! So jealous!

  2. Great job pushing through! Some days are just harder than others!

    Have a good weekend with your family and your mom. :)

  3. According to your plan, you could have quit after 14 so I say good for you! You didn't just run 14, you ran 18 miles!

  4. Great job on the long run! I need to revisit McMillan. My goal is to PR at Top of Utah too.

  5. You did great! Keep on trucking and keeping thinking about the cooler weather that must be coming sometime soon - please!!!

  6. That long run is such a mental game! Good for you for sticking it out and pushing through to the end. I just gotta tell you that two years ago, I was not hitting even one of my long runs feeling good - not one. And I BQ'd by lots :). Put all negative thoughts out of your head and continue on your goal. I agree that keeping your mid-week runs on pace is key - they give you the extra strength you need for that long run later in the week.

    6, what happened to summer?

  7. Terzah! Nice job with all those miles. I am no marathon expert BUT I think sometimes people make the mistake of racing their long runs, so even though the plan said to pick it up, I'm sure you still got a ton of benefit from it :)

  8. Good recap! I hate those dead legs runs. That's when I have to battle with my weakest running muscle: my brain. Good for you for not quitting! Also, WTG on the miles! I'm still working up to 20 miles per week!