Today was what I think might have been my final long run with quality prior to Chicago. To be honest, I don’t know if it was adviseable to put quality into this run at the risk of not recovering in time for the next workout, but I did it anyways. I did it because I have a nagging question that has been sitting in the back of my conscience since starting this marathon specific training. That question still remains…
“Just HOW exactly am I going to do this again?”
The marathon is different than any other distance. I know “overdistance” is frowned upon for legitimate reasons, but I can’t help but feel unprepared for this race without running at least the distance itself, if not more. Granted, with the last few long runs I’ve done, I KNOW I can finish the marathon. Hell, I know I can finish it relatively fast. What I don’t have utmost confidence in yet is if I can run it at the targeted times I’m going for. I don’t know if I can start the first handful of miles at 5:45 then drop it into 5:30’s and hope to have enough at the end to either finish in 5:30’s or drop it even more. THAT is not guaranteed. As Little explained to me in the car after our last 15k, “At some point in the marathon it goes bad, that’s guaranteed. You have to be able to get through it, because if you don’t or if you overdo it, there is no coming back. There is no recovery or rallying from a breakdown in the marathon. From that point on you’re doing the death march.”
I don’t want to do the death march.
So where most casual runners put 12 miles into their long run, I started off today with 3 miles of warmup in pitch dark. I then started to knock out 5 miles at 6:00 minute pace, but towards the end of those found myself accidently hitting 5:45’s, then I went into 5 more miles at 5:45 pace, but again accidently went under here and there. I finished the quality with 5 more miles at 5:30 and even hit a couple 5:10 and 5:15 miles along the way, but during that portion of the run started to suffer the breakdown as well. Sure, at one point I fet like a frickin superhero and I had more in me when it was all said and done, but I had to remind myself and effectively humble myself with the thought that this was only 15 miles. In Chicago, I’ll still have 10 more to go, and the voice let out another exasperated consideration, “Exactly HOW are we going to do this again?”
I’m still not sure.
I ended the run with 3 miles of cool down and totalled today out at 21 relatively confident miles, but that question remains lingering in the air like a small cloud of mosquitos, effectively dealt with one way or another but always a nagging nuisance.
So come two weeks, I’ll find the answer to that question.
I’m in Minneapolis on a sore leg, but will be leaving the hotel for a slow 10 miles tomorrow morning. I think I may be too emotionally drained after the day is complete, but a post might be exactly what I need.