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Next on the Menu: American Odyssey Relay

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:23pm
Less than four weeks until the American Odyssey Relay ( AOR ) and planning has taken on a fevered pitch.

The relay is a 200 mile run from Gettysburg to Washington, DC. Thankfully, I get 11 friends to run this with. Our team is comprised mostly of blogger friends from Ottawa (yes, Canadians are allowed!), Arizona, New Jersey, Arkansas, North Carolina and, of course, right here in Maryland.
Over the past few months, we've needed to replace seven or eight original members. Logistically, getting everyone from where they live to the start line, and then back, has been a challenge, but if everything works out right (like it always does, right?), we'll all make it to the starting line just in time.

The route is not exactly level. For some reason, they didn't build battlefields like Gettysburg or Antietam into the lowlands. Some of my teammates, being from, shall we say vertically challenged geographies (read: flat), are a bit nervous about the task ahead.

This week's training plan was to try to replicate the feeling of running three times in about a 24 hour period. The challenge for all of us was to get three runs in representing 60-70% of their AOR mileage total. Build in hills, if possible, too.

I think I've only done a multi-run day once, and that was years ago. I started Friday morning with boot camp. Just a mile and a half in the hour, but that goes to the total. At 8:30, after the kids were off to school, I met up with my neighbor Brian and we headed out for a hill run. My street is pretty hilly. The hills are steep, both up and down, but short. After we left my street, the main event is Tollhouse Road -- about 2/3 mile mostly uphill with a short breather in the middle. From there, some moderate hills, but nothing like the first half of the run. Brian is a much stronger runner, normally averaging about 8-9 minute miles. I struggle to keep up with him, but it's good to have him pushing me. Friday, not so much, we kept a 10 minute pace which we both felt good about for 4 1/4 miles.

At 2:30, I headed back out for another loop on my own. This wound up being the best of the three runs, breaking under 10 minutes average.

On Saturday, I planned to do 6 miles on the regular Team In Training course. We woke up to a torrential rain storm and I was having serious treadmill thoughts. Unfortunately, I had made comments to the team that I mentor not to skip a run in the rain. You can't control race day, so don't skip out on a long run. By the time I walked out the door, the rain had stopped. Attendance was understandably sparse. My team was a no-show. (Guess I need to do a better job emphasising my point.) Oh well, all of the mentors showed (and most even ran!) and a few hardy participants were there, too.

In short, this run sucked. I struggled the whole way and spent the first three miles of the out and back thinking about cutting the run short. Once I hit three miles, I was pretty well all-in. Only way back was three more miles by foot. I even walked the last third of a mile or so.

Not sure if it was the third run, the big mileage coming off the half a week before, the weather, or what, but it was mostly misery. Except, of course, that a bad run is better than no run at all.

So, 16 miles for my triple run. Not bad at all. Will do it again next weekend, trying to up the mileage a bit, too.

A good part of the AOR team took the challenge. We'll all be ready to hit the starting line on April 24. Can't hardly wait!

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