Sunday, November 6, 2011

Long Time... Long Runs...

So I realize it's been weeks and weeks since I posted anything. Chalk it up to being out of the country in China, traveling to see my daughter up in college in Arcata, CA, Halloween - and then of course trying to catch up at work from all of that.

But I've been able to run quite a bit still and to the schedule for the upcoming CA International Marathon on 12/4.

This time of training has been peppered with the 'truly' long runs. Everyone has a different definition of a 'long run' - for me, it's any run over 14 miles. To properly race a marathon, you've gotta have several 20+ mile runs under your belt, just so the distance isn't really an issue and you can focus on going fast.

Today was I think my 5th 20+ mile run (22 miles). The last 22 mile run was a couple weeks ago while I was in Hangzhou, China. That run was one of those runs I just had a wonderful time on and really appreciated the whole thing. It was cool and rainy. I started while it was still dark out so I could get in the mileage. The rain was that light, misting rain. Running along the river, nobody is up yet. It really is a wonderful, contemplative time. The rain keeps you inside yourself quite a bit so to speak. Then on the way back, the city is coming to life. It's such a great feeling to be running those last couple miles back knowing that you've already accomplished about 3 hours of running. And it was the first 18+ mile run where I felt strong throughout the distance.

Same with today. The weather was absolutely beautiful and perfect running weather. Nice cool fall day, 48-52 degrees throughout, sunny. I ran from the Aspen Grove shopping center (which happens to be a light rail stop). Ran up the wandering, dirt path of the Highline Canal Trail, north about 10 miles to the Dry Creek cutoff. From there I made my way over to the Platte and then headed north to downtown Denver. Once I got downtown, I hopped on the light rail train for a 20 minute ride back to my car.

Timing wise, everything worked out perfectly. I just had missed a train, so I got to stretch out after my run for about 20 minutes until the next one arrived. I felt 'good' tired, but not exhausted. I would equate how I felt to how I felt running a 12 mile run earlier in the year. That's a great confidence booster, to know you've built up to the distance properly. Miles 15-20 were to be run at Marathon Pace (MP) - which for me was a target of 6:55. I got that no problem through mile 4, but mile 5 was more like 7:10 or so. Could be a lot of reasons for that. It was a little hilly, slight headwind, still recovering from my travel, too much wine last night :-) Still, I was so happy at how I felt after and how I feel right now. Tomorrow morning will be an easy 4mi shake-out jog, but mostly a day off.

Long runs are really enjoyable, but once you're in the home stretch before the marathon, and you've done a lot of them, I have to really rally mentally to get out there. For me, it's mostly the time away from my family. But today was a little easier knowing that at best I have one more really long run (maybe) next weekend..... well, I have another on 12/4 - but that's a little different :-)

Then it's on to relaxing and running easy probably through year end. Hopping on the snowboard, the holidays - really nice to be thinking about all that.

Oh - today was the NYC Marathon. I watched the live coverage. It's such a 'human' race - there are so many great stories out there and the coverage is usually really in depth. I'm leaning towards running it next year (2012). I actually qualify for a guaranteed entry based on my 1/2 marathon finishing times. For 2013 they are going to drop the qualifying time to way tougher than Boston - 1:26 for the 1/2 and 2:58 for the marathon (in my age group). I think I can probably hit those next year - but it would be nice to not have to worry about it and just run it in 2012. We'll see - it's a ways off.

It's funny, I've been doing a lot of thinking of my racing calendar for next year already! Sheesh! I think it's a good sign though; mentally I'm not burned out on racing. But I do need a break!!


Anonymous said...

Was wondering what you've been up to. I can't imagine running 20 miles in China. You should write more about that. Do you get lots of strange looks? Do people try to speak to you about your running? Do you ever run with anyone while you're there? Keep up the good work.

Kevin said...

I don't post about my trip before I go from a security perspective since my blog is public.

And when I'm there, it's a pain since the Chinese government in their on-going feud with Google, blocks Blogger through the 'Great Firewall'. You can get around it, but it's a pain.Plus, I'm usually pretty busy working two time zones. Then when I get back, it takes about a week to catch up - both on sleep and work here in the US.

It's funny, but there's really not that much too it (running in China). I travel a lot domestically, and it's not much different than running in the neighborhoods around any hotel.... well, except that everyone there is Chinese :-)

But I guess in thinking about it, there are some unique things about running in China that people in the US would find interesting. I just have gotten used to them. Great idea for a post - thanks Katie!