The whole point of running with Team Rogue, for me, has been to run as many miles as I can, without breaking down. My hope is that the mileage will make me stronger, able to hold my paces much later in longer races.
This morning, we had our first "test run." We had a 20-miler. We were to run the first 8 comfortably. Then, from 8 to 18, we were supposed to run marathon goal pace, then coast in the final two miles.
My goal is to qualify for Boston. So marathon goal pace (MGP) is 3:20 or a 7:38 mile. That pace is easy for me to hold for the first two hours of a run. I've run half marathons 20 seconds per mile faster. But I wasn't sure how I'd do holding that pace for 10 miles after I'd already run 8 miles, in temperatures well over 75 degrees, and on a course that features lots of hills.
The run turned out great. During the MGP part of the run, I averaged 7:28 min/mile. I only failed to run goal pace on one mile - the first mile of MGP (7:42) - and that's because it took me awhile to warm up to the proper pacing.
On the two toughest miles of the course, where we had major hills on W. 15th St./Enfield and Windsor, I ran 7:36 and 7:30.
On five of the 10 miles, I was running in the low to mid 7:20s.
I wound up doing the entire 20-mile run (it was actually 20.4 miles) in 7:58 pace. Afterwards, we all dipped in Barton Springs. That water (kept at 68 degrees all year long) felt great!
I'd be lying if I didn't say that sometimes I wonder if all this mileage is really helping. When I was doing 40 miles a week on the mostly flat courses in Fort Worth, it was nothing for me to zip around the Colonial Country Club/TCU neighborhood in the low 7s. Of course, the last 10ks of all my marathons were just poop.
Now, well, I haven't had many low 7 runs because of all this heat and all these damn Austin hills. And running 60 miles a week just kills your legs.
But, it looks like these hills and heat and crazy mileage are doing their jobs: making me strong for the long runs.
NUTRITION: I treated today like a real marathon race day. Our run started at 5 a.m., so I awoke at 3 and had a piece of toast with honey and some orange juice - about 300 calories. During the run, I had thermolyte salt tablets at mile 6 and 12, and I had an orange-flavored Hammer GU at Mile 10.
I meant to take another GU at mile 16, but I forgot (was delirious). And by the time I got to the last water stop, I figured I'd just gut out the last few miles. If this were an actual marathon, of course, I would have taken another GU and some more salt.
I think if I had awaken earlier, I could have eaten a little more. We have another one of these "race prep" days in three weeks, so maybe I'll try more food then.