After last weekend's disappointing long run, I was in need of a confidence builder going into my CIM taper. This close to the race I could not do another super long run, but I could do an extended distance at marathon pace. So that's what I did. I planned a workout of 14 miles on the American River trail, with 10 at my marathon goal pace of 6:28 to 6:30.
It went well. Sunday was a beautiful morning with overnight clouds keeping the temperature at a very comfortable 50 degrees. We can only hope Dec. 6 dawns the same way. My legs felt fresher from the outset than they did last week, and once I shifted to my goal pace after a 1.5 mile warm-up, I felt as if I were holding holding back to keep from running too fast. There was a slight breeze and it was one of those days on the trail where it feels like the wind is always in your face, even when you turn around and head back, but it didn't bother me too much. The only irritant was a bothersome, low-level ache in my right calf, which I hadn't felt before and was supplying me with the one thing I needed to obsess about on an otherwise fine day.
As I finished my planned 10 at marathon pace I decided to tack on another mile rather than cruise all the way back to my starting point. And I managed to do the final mile at faster than goal pace with a heart rate below where it was on mile 11 at Clarksburg two weeks before.
So I got what I needed: A confidence builder heading into my taper. I still don't know how my body will react after 20 miles, but do we ever? I wish I had more miles under my belt, but it is way too late to worry about that now. The plan for this week is an easy run on Tuesday and then the 10K at the Run to Feed the Hungry. I will do that one at tempo pace.
Here is hoping you all have a happy, injury-free and germ-free Thanksgiving as we count down the days to the marathon. It's almost close enough to start watching the long-term weather forecast.
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