02 January 2011

"Easy" Marathon Training Week Turned Hard

Today's long run (rescheduled from yesterday because of the nationwide hangover epidemic) was "only" 14 miles. For reference, that's roughly the distance from downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica pier.

I signed up for marathon training with my friend Kelli, who is pretty much my exact same training pace, and we were lucky enough to pick up a new buddy, Christina, on the first day. I've known Kelli for about ten years from back when we worked together, and we've crossed paths at various races since then, but it's only been during marathon training that I'd say I've really gotten to know her. I've always known that she's awesome, but the various aspects of her awesomeness have emerged over the course of the last few months. I owe Kelli a ton for pushing me to sign up for the training program (and the marathon itself). Christina is the unexpected bonus that has come out of this process. I thought Kelli and I would do our runs together and that would be that, but we ended up making another great friend (who also brought GPS to our gang, which has been nice but isn't quite enough to make up for her living all the way across town). As I've said before, I'm not a runner (read about that, and why I do it anyway, here), so having them along to help pass the time and keep my spirits up on the long runs has been an absolute blessing.

But none of that mattered this morning. Kelli hurt her foot on our 22-miler a couple of weeks ago and is still recovering, and Christina is sick, so today I was on my own. The pity party started around 10 last night, when I got Christina's e-mail letting me know that she wouldn't be there. The plan for today's run was to take the first three miles at an easy pace, then the next eight at marathon goal pace (MGP -- for me, a minute per mile faster than easy pace), and finish with three miles at easy pace. Kelli and Christina are great at following the plan. Me, not so much. The last time we did a long run with an MGP segment, I was coming off of a week of sickness, and I was so far off (over) my paces that I wanted to quit the whole thing (what was worse is that our route passed my street, so I ran home to use the bathroom...and then didn't want to go back out for the second half of the miserable run). Today, too, my first two MGP miles were about 15 second over, but by the third mile I was feeling good and stayed well under (perhaps too far under?) MGP for the rest of the 8 miles and then kept up the pace for the next two as well. All in all, my entire run averaged just over MGP and felt pretty good -- which is the best this non-runner can hope for.

That, and that my running buddies will be back next week.

1 comment:

  1. Working out, of whatever sort, is always easier with buddies. Gotta love positive peer pressure. It keeps me going to the gym.

    I haven't considered myself any sort of runner in years, though. During the summers late in college I'd run 5 miles 3 or 4 times a week and I kept on running at least a bit through grad school, but after that I moved to Pennsylvania, which I found too hilly (I was also running by myself). My running wherewithall went--where it all went, I'm not sure. Since then, I've run a couple 5ks, usually with little in the way of preparation and with no goal beyond running the whole way. :)

    Good luck to you!