August 17, 2011

Another mid-week 24km done

I didn't get around to my 24km until the afternoon. It was a midweek long run so the pace was relatively easy. Still, I was tired, a cumulative tiredness that I recognize from Ironman training at this stage when the final 4-week training block before the two-week taper was the hardest to sustain.

There are only 5 1/2 weeks left until race day on September 25. The taper is still 3 1/2 weeks away. This week has 112km, and is followed by another two 100km-plus weeks. While this mileage is high for me, and any amateur marathoner, it's peanuts compared with what the elite marathoners are running of course.

In The Marathoners, for example, Hal Higdon writes about how Frank Shorter would run 150 miles (240km) a week. Wow.

While tired, I knew I could run the 24km today. It's what consistent training tells you -- your body tends to be able to do more than your mind thinks sometimes. Still, I couldn't outrun the fact that my body didn't have a ton of energy but even though my pace felt like a shuffle Mr Garmin told me I was moving faster than I felt I did.

I did my usual out-and-back route, heading from Valleycliffe to the other side of Squamish, which is an area called Brackendale. While this town is small in terms of its 16,000 residents, the various suburbs are stretched out and getting from one side of town to the other takes a solid 10km.  

Tim and I were running on the farthest side of Brackendale on Sunday when two friends passed us on their bikes and were surprised to see us there on foot. "Did you run here?" is a question people have asked us more than once.

Today, I had just turned around in Brackendale after covering 13.5km, and was running along a road when a familiar gold-coloured Hummer slowed down and the car window was lowered. It was a neighbour from our street who goes for daily long walks, so we often see each other either on the road or on the trail.

While my neighbour knows I run often, I don't think he realized the distances I cover. Driving slowly, he looked at me and made a gesture with his arms that said, What on earth are you doing all the way here? and his face had an expression of genuine surprise. Then without a word, he rolled his window back up and drove on. I laughed out loud for the next 300 metres.

By the time I got back to our street, almost home, I ran into him, as he carried his usual hiking pole heading out for his daily fix. "How far did you run?" was the first thing he said. The answer surprised him.

I was tired when I got home, just before 5:30pm. The 24km had taken me 2hr 4min, for a pace of 5:10 per km. Time for plenty of fluids, shower, food, and some couch time. Tomorrow has a recovery 10km in the morning, and another 6km in the evening. I am looking forward to that easy day, which I expect to revive me for Friday's 19km session.

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