Monday, February 21, 2011

Carnage on the Long Run

Yesterday was the Austin Livestrong Marathon and Half Marathon.  While I wasn't participating in this race (ran the marathon in 2009), I was out for a 16 mile long run at 8am.  I ended up crossing the marathon course 4 times and running two short sections of the course (on the side open to traffic).  Living in central Austin, it is pretty hard to cover 16 miles and not come in contact with the marathon course.  It was a hot, muggy day.  Temps started in the 60s and climbed.  Fortunately for all the runners, the cloud cover prevented the sun from acting full force and there was a consistent, cool wind.

I was out for a 16 mile run because I am finishing up my training for my next race, marathon #6!  On March 6th, I will be running the Little Rock Marathon.  I decided to run two marathons this winter (Miracle Match Marathon on January 30th) because the winter in Texas is so ideal for training, whereas training through the summer and into the fall can be very hard and limits my fall race season.  With five weeks between the two races, I anticipated plenty of time to recover and get key workouts in before the race in March.  However, last weekend I found myself sidelined with a virus and fever and was unable to run for five days.  Now that I am back to running, I am trying to finish up this training cycle with some good, key workouts.  Yesterday's run was a true test, with the same hot humid weather that destroyed me in Waco.  While I was 10 miles short of the total marathon distance, I was able to maintain a respectable 8:28 min/mile pace.  I was pretty happy about that, but definitely hot, sweaty, hungry and thirsty long when I finished.  I rewarded myself with a delicious breakfast of fresh pineapple and home-made vegan cranberry orange bread (recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking).  This past week, I logged 46 miles over 5 days.  This week, I am planning on running between 35 and 40 miles over 5 days including a tempo run and hill workout mid-week.

About 7 miles into yesterday's run, I passed a pack of 6 vultures chowing down on some fresh-killed squirrel.  I was a little surprised to be able to get so close to the birds, who didn't seem at all perturbed by me running right by them.  While it makes sense to find these birds wherever dead animals are, I was still a little taken aback to see vultures on a busy road in central Austin.

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