The Shamrock marathon is one week away so this past week was a cut back week...somewhat. Most preparing for a marathon would take two even three weeks of taper where mileage would be cut back in order for the body to be rested for the day of the marathon...but...I never have. The week before last was my highest mileage week...47 miles... in preparation for this marathon with a goal of cutting back this last week to around 36 miles...and I accomplished that...somewhat. I ran Tuesday and Thursday with a plan of running my final longish 16-mile run on Saturday, but with storms forecasted for Saturday, I pushed my run to Sunday and ran an extra day on Friday. It was a good thing I put it off till today because yesterday's weather was pretty bad. We had heavy rain most of the day with winds gusting into the 50's. Around 5:00 pm, we hear this big boom and I know that a large tree has fallen...we heard that sound many times during hurricane Isabel when we lost half of our trees with two of our neighbor's tree on our roof. Looking out the front window, we see that a large pine tree has broken about 15 feet up and crashed through the roof of our neighbor's house across the street, kitty corner to us. No one was home at the time but after the police and fire department arrive, they wouldn't let the homeowners back into the house. Thank goodness no one was hurt. Today they had to get a large crane in to lift the tree off the house.
After the severe thunder storms, rain and temps in the 70's on Saturday, Sunday dawned bright, clear and crisp with temps starting in the low 30's. Daylight savings time also meant waking up an hour early and it promised to be a great day for a run, so I ate and changed into my running clothes and headed down to the Dismal Swamp Trail again for an easy out and back which would be about 16.5 miles. My initial plan was to take it easy for this run but still finish it in two hours or less. This time I didn't bother to stash a water bottle since I didn't think I would really need it and just started off with a bottle of water in hand. I started the watch at the starting barrier and took off down the trail at an easy pace. I felt a little tight in the calves and ankles at first but by the first mile, things were feeling good and it came in at 7:31...a nice easy start and I picked up my pace. There weren't as many people out today as last week...just a few bikers and walkers and the trail was strewn with branches and pinecones from yesterday's storm which I had to carefully maneuver through. Mile two's split was 6:41...a little faster than I had wanted and tried to slow it down a bit. The third mile was in 7:03...just about where I wanted to be and mile four was 7:02 and mile five in 7:00. About this time I pass the first runner who is running with his unleashed dog...the dog wanted to run with me and started straying away from his master but he was a well trained dog and after a few commands to come back, he left me. Mile 6 was in 7:03 and I kept telling myself that this was way too fast to be running a nice easy run and tried to cut back the pace and mile 7 came in at 7:28...a bit too slow and mile 8 comes in at 7:26. At about mile 8.25 the hardtop ends and there is a turn around circle to head back, but I continued straight on which looked like firm ground for another tenth of a mile till it almost got to the new highway and turned around to head back. I got back to the 8 mile marker and I mashed the lap button because I wanted it to read the miles on the way back as a count down and it reads 4:18 for that portion of the run. I'm headed back in a good headwind again...why is it that I usually get headwind on the way back? Only once that I can remember I had a tailwind on the way back but the next mile marker 7 comes in at 7:18, mile marker 6 comes in at 7:19 and mile marker 5 in 7:27. At this point I decide to kick it in because if I kept at my present pace and because of the extra 0.2 mile, I wouldn't get back in the 2 hrs I had planned and mile marker 4 comes in at 6:51 and mile marker 3 in 6:57. I again meet the two gym ladies going out for their long run and mile marker 2 comes in at 6:56 and the 1 mile marker in 7:02 and finally back to the start/finish barrier in 7:05...a total time of 1:58:36 for 16.7 miles, a pace of 7:06/mile and a total of 38 miles for the week. So much for a nice easy 16 miler!
The rest of the week went like this:
Mon: 31 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
Tue: 7 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 67 min Elliptical, 46 min Cycle, 16 min Stairstepper
Thu: 9 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 19 min Stairstepper
Fri: 4.3 miles run, 30 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 30 min Stairstepper
Sat: 32 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 15 min treadmill, 15 min Stairstepper
Sun: 16.7 miles in 1:58:36
I'm really ready for this marathon to be here! Just seven days to go!
Happy running to you all!