Yesterday: 7.25 miles with Ike (7:43 pace)
Today: 22 miles in 3:01:50 (8:15 pace)
|Suspension bridge across Brazos River in Waco, TX.|
The Miracle Match Marathon finishes across this bridge
Counting today, I've had 4 good long runs leading up to this race. Towards the end of November, I ran a 30k trail race, followed by a 20 mile training run and a 30k training run, and of course today's 22 miler. Today's weather was cool and calm. I ran from my apartment, 4.3 miles to Town Lake, around Town Lake with a loop of the steep Stratford Hill Rd, and 4.3 miles back to my apartment. I was happy with the overall pace, but the last 3 miles of the run were very tough for me. I had to take a couple walking breaks, my legs were really beat up. I did however, seem to get a fresh wind around 21 miles, go figure. I'm hoping that a long taper will give me the extra energy I will need on race day to power through 22 miles, and run 4.2 more.
Speaking of taper, I will have an extra long (and easy one) for this marathon. Next Saturday, I'm headed to New Mexico for a ski trip with my parents. I will be out of town for the next two weekends, which is why my longest run had to be 4 weeks out from the race (as opposed to the 3 I would prefer). I will definitely be bringing running attire with me on the trip, but I know I won't be able to run as frequently or as far as I would prefer. However, now that I live in TX, its really important to take every skiing opportunity seriously, they are few and far between.
I have been experimenting with my long run nutrition. A cycling friend of mine mentioned he likes to take dried fruit with him in lieu of gels, bars or sports drinks. I tried both apricots and dried apples on my run this morning and found them very palatable and (fairly) easy to digest - no harder for me than a sports gel is. I think I'm going to explore this further for several reasons. First, I buy dried fruit in bulk, which means that calorie for calorie, dried apricots are way cheaper than GU. Further, I hate consuming GU without water, it makes my mouth sticky and gross, and it gets all over my hands if I'm not careful. I didn't have either problem with the dried fruit, which surprisingly I handled well without water.
For Christmas, I received some EnduraSoak bath salts as a gift. This product is designed to be added to a warm bath as a post-workout recovery system. The product claims to be gentler than an ice bath but deliver the same results. I was feeling some serious leg fatigue when I finished my run this morning, so I gave the Rosemary Peppermint salts a try. I have tried ice baths in the past, and they are extremely effective, albeit uncomfortable, especially in the winter. So how did the EnduraSoak compare? At the very least, the bath smelled delicious, and being in warm water was much more comfortable than cold. At the time, I definitely felt like I noticed the difference, and my legs were significantly less sore today than after previous long runs. I'd like to say the product was effective, but I won't know for sure until I wake up tomorrow.
Because Ike couldn't run with me this morning, I took him for a consolation walk this evening. It was a good excuse for me to stretch out my legs. We practiced walking through the neighborhood off the leash. Ike was extraordinarily well behaved, staying on the sidewalk and never going into the street without my permission. Whenever he reached the end of the street, I told him to "wait" and he would stop and wait until I caught up to him. He is very obedient, which makes him easy to go running, walking and hiking with. He did get into a little scuffle with a cat, and the cat smacked him on the snout. I don't think he'll get close enough for that to happen again :)