Friday, August 21, 2009

Third 20 in the Berlin Lead-Up

I was on the road at 8:30 a.m., with temps in the mid-60s and a thick marine layer overhead. (It's a different sort of marine layer than you get in Northern California, chunky instead of smooth; splotchy, not so monochrome. Also, it's not so regular. Growing up in San Jose and living later in Berkeley, San Francisco and Napa, from spring until fall there would be never-ending stretches of "low clouds and fog along the coast, extending inland nights and mornings," as the forecasters put it. Here in Portland, you get the stuff for a day or two, or maybe four or five, but then it's gone for a month or six weeks or maybe the entire season. It happens, but it's not like back home, where sometimes anything other than the morning gray coming in and then burning off begins to feel unnatural, as though the Bay has forgotten to breathe.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, my run. So no sun to start and it never came out (still hasn't, quite, and it's nearly 3 in the afternoon). Lovely running weather. The plan called for a pace of 7:30/mile. I wanted to do that for the first 15 miles, then try to push it a little harder on the final five. And it worked out just like that, with the last five miles coming in around 36:15, or 7:15/mile. Total was 20 in 2:28:20 (7:25/mile).

Congratulations to me are in order because I vowed to do a better job with hydration and nutrition during this run and I did. On my front porch I left a 24 oz. cycling bottle of ice-cold Perpetuem; a 12-ounce bottle of ice water; and a Mojo Dipped bar. I stopped by the house at six, 12 and 18 miles. Before the run was over I had consumed probably around 24 oz. of fluid and 350 calories. OK, I can do better—maybe 36 oz. and 500 calories. But for me, not bad. And maybe even that minimal sustenance helped keep me strong late in the run?

Onward to some key learnings: The tempo runs have clearly improved my lactate threshold. I was aerobic the whole way, pretty much just cruising. Even at the harder pace over the last five miles I was still in a comfortable zone. Also, the calves are much, much better. A little tight here and there—the left one (huh?) at a few points, the perennially troubled right at a few other points, never both at once—but all very minor, not even a distraction. Massage and stretching rule! (And compression socks after workouts might not hurt, either.) Oh, and the Achilles that was bothering me through much of my Ironman training and even afterward? A thing of the past.

The only tough aspect to the run—beyond the fact that running 20 hard is always demanding—was the general feeling of my body being beat up. My hips and back were aching and it felt as though my leg muscles were working extra hard to compensate for those stresses. This might be a product of running more on hard surfaces lately. Even wearing the Gel-Cumulus, my well-traveled, much-abused, 168-pound and 46.7-year-old self takes a pounding on the streets. Of course, what one hopes is that with the taper—beginning a little over a week from today—a lot of that bone, joint and muscles weariness will fade away and on race day I will toe the line fresh and frisky.

The big question to begin thinking hard about: What pace, what pace, what pace for the race? Next post.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you're cookin'. Exciting to read all this -- and nice job on getting some calories and liquids on board during this one.