And so it begins.
In a little less than an hour, Josh and I will be starting the first of our three runs for the day. We're getting the worst out of the way first. "The Hill" is a nasty 2.8 mile stretch in Mayodan with 7-10% grades that Josh trained on for the Grandfather Mountain marathon and that his wife is using to train for her upcoming half-marathon in Asheville. We'll run it twice. Here's the hill profile (thank you, Iris):
I only got 5 hours sleep last night and my eating was not-so-great yesterday, but I'll probably be tired and off my regular eating patterns on race day, so it's good practice, right? I debated whether to bike yesterday to make sure I was running on tired legs but decided against it. Feeling good about that decision at the moment. More later.
We're back! I feel great. Our goal was a 9 minute pace but as we trudged up the first hill I mentally revised the goal to "anything under 10" and by the end of lap one decided to count finishing the run and not immediately puking as a victory. So... success! Yea!
Josh ran the entire way, even after running this hill on Tuesday and doing intervals yesterday. (He is soooo being assigned the MG-Hard sections of our race.) I ran the first lap but power-walked the second half of all the nasty hills on the way back. Didn't feel great about doing that, but I suspect that will be part of my "strategy" on race day. I used to be a really good hill runner and I'm kind of sad that I seem to have lost some of that. I think I could get it back over time, but the race is in 4 weeks so I'll just do what I'm able.
We got lucky in that it started sprinkling the last half of our run and we had cloud cover the entire way. High humidity, but could have been much worse. Plus, we saw a huge flock (?) of wild turkeys. Not a bad way to end a run.
I'm sipping down a kale smoothie then heading toward the shower. I am so drenched/sweaty/stinky that I can't imagine crawling into a van and subjecting other people to being around me. I thought about not showering, to practice for race day, but I don't think I can take it. So, quick shower, 3 hour rest, then back to pick up Josh for a 5-mile run at a local park. Stay tuned.
Leg II: 5 miles, 42 minutes, easy/moderate trail run
GOOD RUN. Wow, that went so much better than I expected. Josh and I ran a 1-mile trail loop x 5 and I felt good most of the way. Oddly, on lap 4 it was my upper body that felt fatigued. (Note to self: No P90X the day before the race.) And our timing is impeccable. Each time we come in from a run, it's started to pour down rain. It misses us by mere minutes.
I can already tell that I am really going to be missing the showering option the day of the race. The two showers I've taken today have brought me back to life. I'm a little more tired now than I was after our morning run, but I don't feel wiped out, by any means. Let's see if that holds through tonight. Josh and I are meeting for a five-mile run at 6 pm and -- evil genius that he is -- he's got us running some steep, nasty hills around town.
No pictures this round. I look like someone held me under a mud puddle. I went to get gas for the car after dropping Josh off and two men were standing there talking. They looked me up and down and then one said, "You been putting up tobacco, honey?" (Except his Southern accent was so thick, I had to ask him to repeat himself three times, so even he didn't seem to think it was all that funny at the end.)
Okay - legs are feeling a little heavy now. Time to go find lunch. See you back here around 7.
It's 40 minutes until the next run. I'm a little stiff and feeling more lazy than tired. Little desire to get off the couch and go back out into Humid Fest 2010. I'm up to 3 cups of caffinated coffee for the day (I only drink decaf) and haven't noticed much of a difference. Not sure if that's good or bad. Very much looking forward to having this last run over with and tucking into a big dinner.
Leg III: 4.6 miles, 41 minutes, moderate-hard hills
I got my third wind. This was my best run of the day, by far. Maybe not by pace, but by how I felt. I'm used to running this loop at a tempo pace, so running it 45 seconds slower than usual made it seem easy by comparison.
A few things to remember: I used a foam roller 30 minutes before the run and ate a date (for the sugar rush) 15 minutes before I ran. Both seemed to help.
I'm pleased with how all my runs went, although I recognize that this was a "preparation" run only in the vaguest sense. Race day, I won't have showers, access to a kitchen, smoothies, and my choice of a couch or bed to recover on. I'll also be running by myself, on unfamiliar roads, on a whole lot less sleep.
Regardless, this was good. It was something different, something fun, and I'm happy I ended the day on a strong note.
Thanks to everyone for following the 3-Run Thursday saga. Now, as you can imagine, I have some serious laundry to attend to.