Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m dumb, or dumber, to be putting myself through this!
It’s been a big few weeks since my last long run. I spent last week on St. John’s running on the roller coaster like hills in 80 degree weather, then turned it around to run in the 30 degree weather of Massachusetts. The miles are starting to wear me down a little and if not for my Triggerpoint massage tools and Grid Roller, the help of my massage therapist, and a little extra “rest”, I’m just not sure I’d be this close.
The recovery off the 25.2 mile run went well. A few recovery runs, then the island trip. I ran 3 times in 7 days with some serious climbs. The last run of the trip was a 4 x 1 mile tempo where I was able to negative split (6:15, 6:12, 6:04, 6:02) each repeat on the only flat terrain I could find. Going with the “tough getting old” theme, my right hip has been very angry with me. The irony is that when I’m going fast, the hip is fine. Apparently, my hip is trying to pace me.
The return to Massachusetts was fairly seamless with a cold weather 12+ mile run around Worcester State College, then up and over Airport Hill Road, to the end, and back. A few pick ups on the track finished off the zone 3 run nicely. Another 12 miler two days later that included some more hills, some more cold, and some more aging body complaints. Another day of rest and some work with my triggerpoint tools, and I was ready to go with the most important prep run for this race.
Sunday’s run is 3 weeks out from Marathon Monday and the last long run for most everyone running. With Mike Roberts and Jim Hughes, we ran the first 21 miles of the course along with the Hopkinton Running Club, which means the run was supported. If I have any chance of breaking 3 hours for this marathon, I needed a good run. This is the dress rehearsal; the time to practice pacing, nutrition and hydration, and become re-familiarized with the course.
Ultimately, despite some rookie mistakes, I had a positive day. The mistakes were mainly nutrition. As I still follow the race fueling strategy of my former nutrition guru Jesse Kropelnicki, he would not have been proud today. Not only did I forgo my race morning breakfast, but I ended up over-hydrating at the designated aid stops, and took in a few gels and endurolytes that I won’t be using on race day. Fortunately, with many long distance races under my belt, my gut and experience will overcome those oversights.
The pacing was good with a steady pace through the first 10.5 miles. After that, with riding a few of the downhills, the run became progressive and worked into a tempo zone for the last 11. I had some of my fastest consistent miles since last years Boston marathon and even did a few hills well below 7 min/mile. I went a little too hard on the first hill with a 6:35 up and over Rt. 128, and paid for it over the rest of the run. I ran well, but struggled early on Heartbreak hill only to recovery by the top. My average heart rate was 163 with average moving pace of 7 min/mile. I ran the first 13.1 in 1:35, which included the water stops, and the final 13.1 miles of the run in 1:30 (mile 8 to mile 21.1 of the course). That includes the toughest stretches of the course and a nice headwind to boot. I had a great stretch of 6:18, 6:34, 6:35, 6:54, 6:54 between 15 and 19. Miles’ 20 and 21 were just over 7 as heartbreak took a lot out of me. All in all, not too bad for an old guy with achy hips.
Only a few more key workouts to go before race day. As the title suggests, I have a chance at breaking 3 hours. It’s going to be very close, and will require some suffering to get there. There’s only so much to be done from this point, so it’s more about keeping fresh, working on turnover, dropping those last few pounds, and most importantly, not getting sick or hurt! Otherwise, I’ll just be “puttin’ out the vibe” come April 18.