I exchanged some email with a friend this week about my training conundrum, and she's reassured me that thing will be fine and that I'm doing the right things. Her main point: AVOID INJURY.
Her other suggestions were to continue to include tempo/interval runs and to add "speedups" to the long runs as well. Also, hill workouts. And perhaps the most reassuring: to not go beyond 20-21 miles on the long runs.
Otherwise, the training runs had been going well the last few weeks (basically, since getting back from L.A. and readjusting to the time zone). I've been mostly running in the mornings, and I've generally felt pretty good both during and after the runs. It was mainly the length of long runs in the training plans I had seen that had made me nervous.
Yesterday, I proceeded with my new plan with the intention of ramping the miles of my long run, shooting for around 15 miles after only running a bit over 11 miles last week. (I had also snuck a hill run in on Thursday, but I did take Friday off as a recovery day.)
Route planning has gotten so much easier since the advent of GoogleMaps and the portable GPS.
In the old days, I would drive prospective routes, taking notes on street names and odometer readings. And then at home, I'd go as far as measure string on a driving atlas to guesstimate distances for trails or roads I hadn't driven.
I *heart* GoogleMaps and all your route dragging, mileage-calculating goodness. And with the GPS, After I map out a route on Google that's generally the right length, I just remember the one or two street names where I need to turn and then go. The GPS lets me know how far I've gone and how fast I'm going (for the most part... it does occasionally go off into the weeds where pace is concerned in hilly and/or wooded areas, but it's pretty obvious when it's off, and it's been pretty accurate for distance for the most part) so I don't sweat the details as much anymore.
Which may be less of a good thing sometimes. Take for example... yesterday's run. 15 miles, head out through Weston on 117, take a left on TOWER ROAD, and then follow the roads I'm familiar with once I pop out on Boston Post Road.
First off, I got held up by the train. Railroad crossing gates came down, so I turned around, retraced maybe 100-200 yards and then came back around. Still no train. On the second go-around, I see the train finally pull up. ...and stop, maybe 50 yards from the road. 2 minutes have already gone by at this point. After 3 minutes, I get impatient and just cross the tracks. I know I'm not supposed to. I was even good and waited when the gates first came down. But impatience, and fear of burning too much critical energy looping in the holding pattern got the better of me.
That threw me off. And I hadn't bothered to check where the train tracks were relative to the Tower Road turn off. And then I hit Route 126 and I was pretty sure at that point that I'd missed the turn.
I thought I might have missed it because I was distracted by the train or there was poor signage, but when I eventually found it, there were 3 signs, on both sides of the road. I either totally spaced or there was traffic on the road that was either distracting or obstructing the view.
So, instant 19+ mile run. I actually started walking after 15 miles, so I don't think I can say I ran 19 miles. I was actually feeling pretty good even on the 15th mile, but I guess my body took the 15 mile plan to heart because at 15.1 miles, my hamstrings and gluts suddenly got really unhappy. But I didn't stop -- just walked the next 3 miles or so and then ran the last mile and a half. (There was a false start maybe at the beginning of mile 17 where I tried to get it going again and the anterior tibs started complaining immediately, which led to some more walking.)
Anyway, really long run yesterday. Big ramp from last week. And... feeling pretty good. The quads are sore and the achilles has tightened up a bit, but pretty good, all things considered. I'm even thinking of running an easy 3 just to get the body loosened up a bit. Held off first thing this morning because I'm waiting for another stupid Craigslist person that I was hoping would call me back, like sometime during the day that she said she could pick the damn thing up "anytime." WTF is up with the flakey Craigslist people?
A few random notes:
- After crossing the tracks, I ended up running almost a half a mile MUCH much faster than I had planned (driven by adrenaline and possibly guilt for doing a no-no). Definitely sub-8s for a 9:30+ intended pace.
- Sheep! Moos! And only because I missed the turn. (but which unfortunately made me think of this comic.)
- Also saw a cardinal and a flock(?) of wild turkeys. (Not to be confused with a case of Wild Turkey. [Yes, that was bad. Sorry.])
- really good luck with the traffic lights on the last few runs -- thank you, Traffic Goddess.
- 3 Obama yard signs, in Lincoln and Weston. I saw my first McCain sign on a run on Wednesday, in Auburndale/West Newton of all places, which always struck me as slightly more working class than the other villages.
- Hit another "private road" that looks like a normal road on GoogleMaps. It cuts through a golf club. Only slightly nervous. Still better than some of the dead-end roads and non-roads that I used to hit from my driving atlas days.