January 14, 2012

Retreat to the treadmill for long run

Winter arrived in Squamish last night. Much of the snow had turned to slush this morning and with temperatures forecast to drop below zero overnight, I expect plenty of icy patches on the roads tomorrow morning. Not the kind of conditions I like for a 27K run that includes 13K at marathon goal race pace, i.e. 4:15 per km.

So it was time for Plan B. I called a local gym I've used before and asked about the best time to drop by for a run of about two hours on one of their treadmills. Like many gyms, they typically prefer people not to hog their machines in peak hours. "Early I guess. No one here ever runs two hours on the treadmill," the owner said.  

I am actually looking forward to doing this session on the treadmill. All I need to do is run for a little over an hour at about 12K per hour, and then up the speed to 14K per hour and stay there for another 13K. I'll be able to park a bottle of water on the machine rather than having to carry it, and simply aim to keep up with the treadmill - especially in the latter half of the run.

Running a certain pace on the treadmill takes a little less effort than running the same speed on the road, but if I can stick with 4:15 on that band for an hour I'll be very pleased.

I am also looking forward to the run because I decided to skip today's after the ART treatment yesterday. While it would have been fine to do the training, I thought rest more beneficial for my body than squeezing in a 10K recovery run. It's only the second week of the program and having had all the scary injury scenarios in my mind the other night, I chose rest - as hard as it was to skip training.

Instead I followed the excellent Runner's World coverage of the US Olympic marathon trials in the morning, and later watched the final hour of NBC's two-hour coverage in the afternoon. Inspiring and informative stuff.

Four men finished sub 2:10. Meb Keflezighi won in a PB of 2:09:08, just seconds of the US marathon trials record set by Ryan Hall. At 36, he became the oldest US marathon trials winner and secured a spot for his third Olympics.

Keflezighi, silver medallist in the Athens marathon in 2004, ran the New York City Marathon in November (finishing sixth with 2:09.13), then developed an infection in his left foot, the result of leaving a nasal strip in his shoe, part of his pre-race ritual, according to Associated Press. He missed three weeks of training because of the infection in the lead-up to the trials.

Ryan Hall (with a 2:04:58 in the 2011 Boston the fastest American marathoner ever) was second and Abdi Abdirahman was third, taking the other two spots on the US team for the London Olympics. This will be Abdirahman's fourth Olympics.

It was also a fast day for the women. Shalane Flanagan crossed the line in front, her first victory in only her second career marathon, and set a trials record of 2:25:38. She improved her PB - from her debut - by more than three minutes. Flanagan's race mantra is "cold execution".

Desiree Davila (who ran 2:44 in her debut marathon in 2007) was second and Kara Goucher, a training partner of Flanagan, took third, both also finishing under the old trials record of 2:28:25 set by Colleen de Reuck in 2004.

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