Why is it that my short runs have been crap lately and my long runs are fine? I suppose that is a good thing when I have a marathon in two weeks. I haven't been getting into a groove until the fourth mile or so.
I ran the sixteen mile run somewhat close to my original plan, which was: warm up for two miles, run twelve miles at race pace, cool down for two miles. I ended up warming up for one mile and then running at race pace for fifteen. I should know that I never do cool down miles... maybe that is why my shins/calves hurt today.
I woke up yesterday morning really not in the mood to go for a long run. I was super worried about my shins. I have been icing the heck out of them and abusing my calves with my foam roller and stick. I felt a little aching/throbbing on my shin yesterday morning. I popped a couple Ibuprofen* and tried to stretch out my shins and calves as much as possible. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to run well and might have to quit or slow down considerably. This was probably not the day for a point-to-point shuttle run, but it was our last long run and we wanted it to be a good one.
We did the infamous** "train run." Ironically, one of the coolest things about the train run is riding the train and well... it doesn't run on Sundays***. Bummer. So we drove. It is a great run and worth the drive, but it is pretty darn far from where we live, so we don't do it often. In fact, I missed it last year when the girls ran it, so today was the first time for me. It didn't disappoint. The weather was perfect (low 60's and a marine layer that didn't burn off****). My legs felt fine. Not perfect, but nothing too noticeable.
For me, it was a little run down memory lane. Not far into the run, we were in Carlsbad. We ran several miles of the Carlsbad Half Marathon, my favorite race. Later, as we ran into Cardiff, I saw a restaurant, Ki's, where I used to meet a friend before walking on the beach when my son was a baby. A little ways down the road I saw another restaurant where I met another long-time friend when she came to visit. As I ran into Solana Beach, I recognized the road as the route for the Iron Girl race from two years ago. That was my very first race. Good times!
At mile ten, I rolled my ankle. What a SCARY feeling! Immediately, I thought that I would be sidelined. I limped a few feet and then realized that I could run just fine. I was getting tired and got careless and didn't watch my footing. I stepped on a small chunk of asphalt. I need to be more careful! Last night I elevated it and iced it, just to be safe. It is a little tender today, but it'll be fine.
At this point, Laura started going a bit faster. Where my plan was to keep each mile between 9:00 and 9:10 to practice my pacing, she wanted to average 9:00 for the entire thing (including the warm up). That is when I let her go on ahead. I really wanted to run nice and easy and keep it in that pace range. I am glad I did. I feel like I am getting a really nice feel for that pace.
Can I keep that pace up for another ten miles? I don't know. I averaged 9:07 for all sixteen miles (including the warm up mile). I had several miles that were under 9:00 and one or two that were right at or over 9:10. I am sure going to give it a shot.
I am going to take it easy over the next two weeks. Bring on the taper!
*I know that you are not supposed to take Ibuprofen before a run due to risks to the kidneys. I only took 400mg and wasn't planning on running hard. I felt that I wasn't in any danger.
**Infamous is a relative term, of course. It is pretty well-known in San Diego running circles. AKA Alice and Irene both wrote about their "train run" experiences. It runs down the coast from Oceanside to Solana Beach through great little beach communities and along the Pacific Ocean.
*** The Coaster is a commuter train that goes from downtown to North County. Amtrak runs on Sundays, but it is more expensive.
****Please, Oh PLEASE let the weather be exactly like that in two weeks. Today (Monday) the marine layer burned off by 9:00, just like last year's marathon. NOT good for a four hour race.