With 4 long (over 16 mile) runs down the hatch over the last 6 weeks, I decided to bite the bullet yesterday, the day the $20 promo code discount expired, to sign up for the Malibu Marathon on November 11, 2012.
I hemmed and hawwed on this but decided to save $20 rather than wait until the last minute as previously discussed about 3 weeks ago. After running a progression over the previous weekends of 17 miles, 18.5 miles, 20 miles, a 5K and 10 miler, then back to 21 miles last Saturday, I feel my marathon endurance is there. Now it's a matter of, can I run at the pace that I'd like to run.
This upcoming weekend is a busy one, filled with kids' AYSO soccer games and my son's birthday party on Sunday morning. As a result, and I rarely do this, I decided to get up early this morning, Friday, before work, and get my long run out of the way for the weekend.
It was a perfect morning for a run, with cooler temps than we've had of late. Today I did another run down to PCH, touched PCH with my foot, then scrambled back up Sycamore Canyon. Total distance was about 18.5 miles.
I reached PCH in 1:09:30 and finished the 2nd, mostly uphill half of the out-and-back course in 1:15. That equates to about a 7:41 per mile pace, as compared to the 6:50 pace I'd like to maintain for the marathon to get below 3 hours. I've never tried to run my long runs at marathon pace, preferring to work on my endurance at about 45 seconds to a minute slower than race pace. No need to burn my body out on these long runs.
To get the body adjusted to marathon pace, my preference is to toss some races into the training mix - 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. Between an occasional race and sometimes running "fartlek" (love that word) into a morning run (basically add some speed at periodic intervals during a run...also called "speedplay"), that's how I attempt to "tune up" for a marathon.
Would be even better for me to get out on a track once a week and run intervals, like 800 meter repeats, but with all that I have going on I just can't seem to make that commitment. So while I know I'm leaving something on the table with my training, I'm doing pretty much the best I can given my life's daily adventures.
This morning's run overall ended up being moderately miserable. Once again I had trouble with timing of my, ahem, bodily functions. Years ago at the advice of a friend I experimented with taking psyllium husk the night before a long run or marathon to ensure I wouldn't have this problem. It worked for awhile, then periodically didn't. So I stopped using it. Time to try it again. Psyllium is basically Metamucil. I'll leave you with that.
I also encountered a strange, new problem with the ball of my right foot. It started really hurting about 15 miles into the run, to the point that I had to stop to see if my socks were causing the problem. Kind of a sharp pain. I think perhaps I just bruised the ball of the foot. Time for some ice and Advil. For some reason, the pain was sharpest when running on a flat to slightly inclined surface. It wasn't as big of a problem when running up steep hills, for whatever that's worth.
So now, later in the day, my butt hurts. But (or butt), I think I'll be o.k. I believe I deserve a beer. In fact, there should be a rule. Running 16 or more miles on a weekday before work should be rewarded with one or two icy cold beers that night.