Logistics and luck are the recurring themes in my quest for a marathon comeback. In fact, the 2 Ls have been key factors in most all of my prior 2 dozen marathons. The difference between the two is that Logistics I have some (but not TOTAL) control over. Luck, well, is just that. Some say you create your own luck by doing the right things at the right time, but that's debatable.
For example, today was my longest planned run to date (and I did do it...more on that later). Logistically I had it all nailed down. All my stuff was ready, bottles filled, hat, sunscreen, watch, bandaids, socks, gels, etc. all in their places. Got to bed at a "decent" hour.
No alarm planned. I decided to let my internal alarm clock wake me up at 6 a.m. I was up at 6:30 a.m. Not too far off. Since I'm training alone, there's no planned start time to my runs. I got up, ready, and here comes my 3 11/12ths year old down the stairs. Uh oh, in the interest of maintaining my marriage, I got the little guy settled, TV on, breakfast ready, toys and games out. But now we're talking a 7 a.m. start for a 2 1/2 hour planned run. A slight curveball had been thrown at my logistics and planning, but I took it in stride without too much impact. Good logistics, bad luck, good outcome.
Last night I succombed to my kids' request and we drove through In-N-Out Burger for dinner (well, ok, they didn't have much arm twisting to do). The kids had their standard Meat/Cheese/Bun while I ordered a hamburger with everything, including grilled onions. In so doing, I was veering away from my last positive experience of consuming a plain cheeseburger the night before a long run. As I was downing the burger on the ride home*, I noticed the onions tasted like they had been sitting on the grill for awhile, somewhat (and uncharacteristically) yucky, but not enough to stop the inhalation as I drove.
So of course this morning my bad decision to eat something that didn't quite taste right caused some gastric distraction. But thanks to good logistical planning this morning's "In-N-Out" performance did not significantly impact my long run. Bad logistics last night, bad luck, good logistics today, no harm no foul. That's what a training run's all about.
So on to the run itself. Aside from the multiple pit stops, it was even better than last week's great run. Yet another run to PCH from Newbury Park via Sycamore Canyon, turning left onto PCH until my watch hit 1 hour, 17 minutes, then turned back to finish in 2 hours, 36 minutes. Nearly even splits, even with the severe uphill finish. Started nice, easy and slow, and finished solidly, with little soreness.
An example of good luck today...CLOUD COVER the entire run! A distance runner's dream! The weather was only mid-60s the entire run and that made it quite enjoyable to not have to deal with heat for once! And yet again I caught several beautiful deer on my descent to the ocean...they seemed to enjoy watching me huffing and puffing as they nibbled their breakfast.
So my mileage estimate for the day is 21.5 miles and for the week was 57 miles. With exactly 12 weeks until the Santa Barbara Marathon, I'm 100% confident that my body is ready for the 26.2 mile distance. The key now is to get a couple more 20 milers in but also to start tuning up my speed a bit now that I know the distance is a non-issue. To that end, my plan is to run the Point Mugu Half Marathon next Saturday, Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts 10K on 9/26, Jason's Race 5K on 10/11, Calabasas Classic 10K on 11/8 and perhaps one more half marathon.