This Christmas season has been like a roller coaster. I'm enjoying the ride, but I gave up thinking I had any control over it last week sometime. I am managing to get my runs in on schedule, at least so far.
Here's a summary of my running life right now:
After last Wednesday's rest day and some good sleep, I had some great runs. Thursday's was 7 miles with some fartlek stuff thrown in. Friday's was an easy run. And yesterday's 16-mile Fast Finish Long Run......nailed! First I ran ten miles outside at an easy pace, taking in the beautiful fresh air (chilly, but no longer frigid for now) and the clear Colorado sunshine. Then I moved inside and did 6.2 more miles on the treadmill at marathon pace, throwing in three 3-3.5% grade hills of a quarter mile each to mimic the Allen Parkway hills that come in the last push of the Houston Marathon.
Why the treadmill for this part? A wise reader pointed out to me that Houston could feature all kinds of weather, but it's highly unlikely to feature sub-15-degree cold and darkness of the CamelBak-valve-freezing variety, and that perhaps I should prepare for something warmer than I can get outside right now. Seemed sensible to me (especially since I am *not* a warm-weather runner), so I'm going to mix in a bit more treadmill than I usually care for in these last weeks, making sure to play with the incline and the speed so I'm not letting myself off easy.
Those of you who have read this blog for a while might remember that I have a friend in Michael Sandrock, the running columnist for the Daily Camera in Boulder. Mike comes into my library to use the computers, and we often chat about running (he is one of those cool old-school runner dudes, and he's involved with a really good charity, One World Running). Mike will be in Haiti at the time of the Olympic Marathon Trials, which are in Houston the day before my race, so he won't be traveling down there to cover them. He suggested I apply for a media credential to cover the Trials. I figured what the heck, submitted my application....and got the credential!
This means I will get to access the media areas of the trials race on Saturday and will be able to interview at least some of the elite runners after the race! This will be especially cool if any Colorado runners make the Olympic team because my "dispatches" might actually make the paper here. But even if nothing I get ever sees the light of day anywhere but this blog, the inspiration from being around runners of that caliber will be priceless. Maybe it will rub off on me like Tinkerbell's pixie dust and bring me some extra oomph for my own race the following day.
The coming week will feature the hardest runs and the most miles of my Houston ramp-up. It will also be the first time in several years that I will have exceeded 50 miles/week. The capper? A 24-miler on Christmas Eve. I fully expect to hear about this from my mom, who arrives for the Christmas weekend on Thursday. She thinks I run too much. :^) Does anyone in your family think you run too much????
Four weeks until the Houston Marathon!