Today I busted out my last "long" run (I may do a 10 next weekend, but I don't even consider that long anymore) pre-marathon. 15 miles. I was dreading it a little - not really dreading the running, just dreading doing ANYTHING for that long. Short attention span is my middle name. But the weather today was wonderful - overcast, temps in the 60's, nice cool wind gusts - and that helped a lot. I'm starting to put together my marathon playlist and I tried a few new songs on the ipod, most of which turned out to be winners. As a huge Journey fan, I'm kicking myself for not putting "Separate Ways" on there way sooner. My other fave from the new stuff:
I'm being quite serious. It's really fun to run to that song. I even put that on when I hit mile 14 and STILL ran with a smile on my face (and probably a little extra booty shake!)
Nutrition and hydration were good - I brought two bottles of gatorade, put one at the beginning of the trail, ran with one for 2.5 miles and found a place to stash it. It's a five mile loop, so every 2.5 miles, I stopped for gatorade and a shot blok. Seemed effective.
I planned to run it at an 11ish pace, but 10 and change felt good and easy so I stuck with that and held it almost the whole time. I let myself ease up the last two miles. End result was a 10:35 pace, which I'm good with. I still plan to start the marathon nice and slow - I'd rather run 26.2 slower than I'm capable of running than to start out too fast and hate everything and everyone by the time I finish.
Yesterday was the Cheetah Run 5k at the zoo, which my Running Buddy wanted to do for her 30th birthday. I've always been curious about that race, so I signed up to do it with her. Err, behind her!! I knew the Cincinnati Zoo was hilly - I forgot how hilly. It's REALLY hilly. It was also really crowded - something like 1200 people total, and some pretty narrow areas in the zoo. I kept waiting to start my Garmin and kept looking for a mat, but after a few minutes I asked someone if we had actually started the race and they looked at me like I was insane and told me we had. I don't know where the chip timing actually began, but it was a good 2-3 minutes before I could even run. I was trying, but it was so crowded, and I realized that I wasn't really "running" but moving at a walking pace and bobbing up and down more than necessary. Ha.
We ran through the zoo for about a mile. It was neat but I didn't think of how gross animals would smell while running. Ahh, cat urine and giraffe poo!! A bunch of us were all stuck in a group that couldn't speed up and I mentioned, "So, I guess this isn't a good PR race, is it??" A bunch of people laughed. One guy joked (I think) that he was taking pictures and posting on twitter.
Then we left the zoo and ran downhill for a while. I got some good speed going downhill, and I figured we were just going back down after running mostly uphill in the zoo. Ah, no. We turned a corner and had to run up a hill that my Garmin says went from 583 feet to 820 feet in not quite half a mile. I ran most of it, but when I looked down and realized I was "running" at a 15:something pace, I walked the rest of it.
Back in the zoo; THAT part was mostly downhill. I was gasping a bit because of the humidity (I HATE RUNNING IN HUMIDITY!!) and consequentially got a mouthful of zoo animal feces smells. Managed to keep breakfast down and finished strong - 8 something pace for the last quarter mile. (Garmin says I momentarily hit a 6:43 pace.) My 32:27 finish isn't too shabby, for me, given the circumstances. I mean, really, if I had to design the cruelest 5k course ever, it would look something like that!! It was also good for 161 out of 686 females - top 25%, I think. Although I'm happy to now have a technical shirt with a bright orange cheetah on it. Rawr.
Ah well. Happy Birthday, Running Buddy (who, btw got 31st place female because she's amazing)!! My shin is doing well despite the hills and the 15, and I'm feeling pretty good.
My plan for the remainder of days until the marathon: biking tomorrow and Wednesday if I'm feeling up to it and weather permits. (Might swim as a backup if I can drag my butt to the pool). Easy run Thursday, again, if I'm feeling up to it. Try to get some yoga in there somewhere. Some kind of light workout Friday. Up to 10 miles Saturday, easy pace; maybe some biking Sunday. Short, easy workouts and lots of stretching the next week leading up to the marathon, just to keep everything loose. The time I'm saving by not running will be spent putting together the marathon playlist and making sure work paperwork is done so I can leave early Friday!! Woohoo!!!