Carmen's EDIT: This is the husband's entry. I do not believe in torture. (haha...for those politcos who got my joke)
So, it's been a while since I posted about anything at all. However, this weekend was an auspicious occasion in my training cycle for the marathon, so I figured what better time to get back into the swing of things.
To begin with, perhaps it's time to start coming to grips with the fact that I might just be deranged...or an idiot. Both are probably accurate. On Saturday I ventured off on a 3 hour tour of Hays county as I embarked on the first of three 20-mile runs included in my marathon training. The opening line of this video pretty much sums up how I felt after the run.
How does running 20 miles feel? I don't know that I can truly put that in words. Pain is one of the words that definitely belongs in the description, though. Honestly, other than the temperature hovering in the low to mid thirties for the first 2 hours of the run (yes I just used the phrase "first 2 hours" to describe a run), the first 15 miles wasn't all that bad. My feet and ears were a little numb to start, but my oh-so-sexy tights (yes, men do wear tights) and a couple new Christmas gifts kept me nice and toasty as I started my journey...alone. Apparently everyone else was smart enough to stay inside in such cold weather. While I typically see around a dozen or so runners and bikers on my weekend long runs, I was the lone soul on the roads Saturday morning. I think this is where the "idiot" part comes into the equation.
Like I said, the first 15 miles or so of my 10 mile, out-and-back course were relatively uneventful. Aside from heading downhill at swift pace, that is. Miles 6-9 saw me lose 230 feet in elevation. While this did wonders for my pace early on, the only thing I could think about at the time was every foot of climbing I'd have to do to get back to that point. Fortunately for me, I survived the climb in spite of the pain that I felt. Along the way I saw a bald eagle fly off to the Blanco River where I assume its nest is. That was actually really cool. I had no idea there were eagles in the area, but there it was in full flight as I ran by.
Mile 16-20 proved to be every bit as difficult as the first 15 seemed reasonable. Perhaps it was al the climbing, perhaps it was the cold catching up to me, perhaps it was just running that distance in the first place, but those last 5 miles were pretty tough. My legs and hips stiffened up, I could feel a blister forming on one of my toes, and intentionally depriving my body of fuel took a toll on my ability to keep going, but keep going I did. Just like I will on race day, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and pushed through until I was back at the house.
All in all, the run was a success. I covered the course in 3:06:39 which comes out to a 9:19/mile pace. To meet my race goals I need to shave quite a bit off of that, but I wasn't pushing the pace yesterday as I will on race day. I also climbed more yesterday than I will in the full 26.2 mile race in February which encourages me. The Cowtown course climbs 469 feet total. Saturday's run saw exactly 100 more feet of elevation gain in 6.2 fewer miles. It wasn't the greatest run I've ever had, but I consider it to have been a good measuring stick early enough in the process that I have time to work and meet my goals. At least I have two more opportunities to run 20 miles and push my body even more.