After a nice, relaxing recovery week - I'm back on track with my training plan.
I'm trying to incorporate a little more speedwork during my short runs. I did some strides during my Monday run - where I alternated short "pseudo-sprints" (it wasn't *that* fast, hence the "pseudo") with running at my normal, relaxed pace. Thursday's TNT workout was a fun and special one. We first started out by running one mile on the track. Then we did a memorial run for the husband of one of our coaches who passed away from cancer a year and a half ago. There is a bench in his honor on top of a hill by the LG reservoir so we ran there from the high school track, each of us carrying a red carnation which we then used to decorate his bench. It was very touching. We took some nice group photos there so hopefully I can post one of them here later. We also managed to squeeze in some speedwork during the memorial run as well. We ran "back-to-front" style where we all divided up in groups of five and then ran single file where the last runner would then run to the front of the group and then set the pace for the group until the next runner comes up to the front. It sounded fun at first, but once we started doing it, I realized it was actually kind of hard! Basically, it's run, run, run, run, sprint! Run, run, run, run, sprint! And we did that for over 3 miles... at least on the way back, it was more downhill so it got easier.
Then came Saturday... 18 miles again! First of all, I have to mention that it's a miracle I even made it this week. Normally, I try to be up by around 6AM to eat, drink water, etc. and then be out the door by 6:45AM. Granted, I usually don't make it out by then, but that's the goal. Yesterday, I must have turned off my alarm because when I woke up, it was 7:07AM!!! Luckily, I organized everything the night before so it was easy to get ready and leave quickly. And I managed to get there right before my group left - very important! Even though I have the printed course map and directions, it is still really easy to get lost! Especially when we're in the Presidio and the Golden Gate Park. So that's why I need to run with my group - people running at my pace and my distance so that way when we get lost, at least we're not alone! :)
I'm trying not to get nervous, but these past two 18 mile runs have really been tough on me. I was OK up to our 16 mi run, but I'm definitely feeling the soreness during the 18 mi runs. Yesterday, it started around mile 13. Same area - the right side of my knee. I don't know how to explain it - it's not a shooting pain or anything, I guess just a soreness (or tightness?). I get tired so I look forward to the aid stations, but at the same time, it really hurts to start running again after the break. We don't even stop that long and I try to keep walking or moving my legs, but still - I almost have to limp a little before I get back in my stride again. The sucky part is that there are always these downhills toward the end of the route, and they are so painful!!! Sure, uphills are hard, but I can always walk up those and feel OK. No matter how I approach the downhills, it's all - ow, ow, ow!
Anyway, I'm preparing myself to fight through the pain during the actual race. Don't get me wrong, I'm still excited - I'm just more focused now on actually finishing this thing vs. my time and stuff.
With this past run and the next, I'm practicing how I plan to run in the real race. So I wore my iPod this time and I carried five Gu gels in the back pockets of my shorts. They worked out fine. Although, I'm thinking about getting an iPod arm band for my final long run this coming Saturday. I'm undecided on the fuel belt ... I really like not wearing any extra load but I might try some on this week to see how they feel. I also realized I definitely need to get some of that Body Glide stuff, definitely for the inner thighs (I hope it's not just me... I'm not Miss Thunder Thighs, am I???) although people have recommended it for other areas as well.
I also did the Nike Danville run on Sunday - just a light, 5 mile run. Shout out to Gee for hanging with me during our snail-pace run! I wasn't sure if I should run the next day, but I actually think it helped with some of the pain. Plus, with this particular run, I've now fulfilled all my run and shoe trial punches on the Nike frequent runner card. I still need to bring two more friends (any volunteers???) to finish out the buddy punches and then get these random retail and mystery punches, after that - VIP access, here I come!!!
Free stuff this week: On-site massages, Jamba Juice Protein Berry Workout smoothies and honey berry bran bread, Nike dri-fit socks, and more tix to Alice Now & Zen Fest. I passed on the massages... I just don't like the idea of people touching me when I'm all sweaty and gross. Although I am always impressed by the perks of these Nike runs since they are free after all.
I've also gone back to working on my marathon mix. I got a bunch of new tunes from my spinning teacher during Wednesday's class so I'm excited about that. I have five hours now so just need to add a little bit more. After watching "Superman Returns", I've decided to use the Superman theme as the opening track. :)
So on a final note, I'm at 31 miles for the week. I plan to really focus on stretching and using the foam roller this week. Hopefully, I won't skip yoga again. (I don't know why it's so hard to get me in there!) This coming weekend is a big one... not only is it my "dress rehearsal" (heehee) but AY is coming back to town!