Friday, February 20, 2009

I guess I'm racing this weekend

There is something about waking up to another unexpected coating of snow that makes you forget that you might actually have to do a race soon. It snowed on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, but nobody told me that I should expect more snow to sneak up on us in the middle of the night and make things more interesting this morning. And then, oh yeah, I'm running a half marathon on Sunday. It sure doesn't feel like race season.

Yesterday was a good day. There was the aforementioned extra sleep, which is always a good thing. Then in the late afternoon I headed out for a pretty regular little run, 1:05 at my zone 1 heart rate. It was "warm" by my current standards, nearly 40 degrees. That meant I could forgo the skull cap and could just wear a regular long-sleeved shirt without any sort of insulation. I felt lighter already. Adequate time had also passed for the roads to not be slushy or snowy from the evening storm. I contemplated what route I might take. For years I have run the same out-and-back on the same street for many of my runs, going further out as needed. But last year I started running this sort of figure-eight loop that I kind of like. The only catch: it's really hilly. Not much flat. Up for a mile, down half a mile, up another half-mile, down again... etc. But, it's just a nicer route and takes me through more back roads with less traffic, even if it means facing more difficult terrain.

So I went for it. Right away I just plain felt better than I have in a very, very long time on a run. That was certainly a nice change of pace. My legs didn't feel like they were screaming at me as I climbed the hills and I didn't feel like I was slowing considerably as the run went along. My pace wasn't stellar, but it was a whole lot better than it has been, and that was enough to make me feel like I'm finally on the right track.

So now I feel a lot better about running a half marathon this weekend. It's funny, for a long time I could've stepped up to the start line at a half-marathon at a moment's notice and not thought twice about it. It seems a bit more intimidating at the moment. Although I am not sure I have ever run a half marathon that didn't come the day after a 5-6-hour bike ride in the midst of Ironman training. I actually get to sort of taper for this one. The most exciting thing for me is that I finally get to carbo-load! I have missed pancakes desperately in the past several months, and now I finally get to have them again. Just for a day, but it's better than nothing.

So tomorrow I will head down to Hyannis to run a half marathon for the first time since last May, when I had a dismal showing after coming back from 6-weeks of not running, about 10 days of training and a long run of 6 miles. That one was not pretty. This one hopefully will be better. I am choosing not to count my overheating at Mooseman and my complete meltdown at Timberman in August, Have you ever had a run split that was longer than your bike split? I now know what that feels like. It is not fun. But hey, it's a new year.

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