Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last Big Week

It's been a beautiful weekend here in Portland- we finally got a break from the rain and are actually seeing some sunshine. It was really nice for all three of my runs that I have to report. Let's get to it!

10.0 miles/1:33:22/9:20 average pace
Easy run in Forest Park. It was really mushy. The dirt trail is covered in a layer of leaves which have since turned to mush. Squishy squishy!

5.0 miles/45:40/9:08 average pace
Short easy run on the Beaverton Greenway Trail (aka Fanno Creek Trail I think). I drove out to Beaverton to go to Target so I took advantage of the chance to run on a different trail. Very scenic and lots of people out enjoying the sunshine.

20.0 miles/2:52:46/8:38 average pace
Marine Drive Trail along the Columbia River

This was exactly the 20 miler I wanted to have. I felt great, my legs felt strong, my spirit was up, and the pace felt easy. Yay!!

We made a point to get going early in the morning. Lately I've been sleeping in and taking my sweet time getting ready, but I know I need to sort of practice the early morning start for the race. So while I wasn't about to get up at 4:30 or whatever (projected wake time for CIM - we have to catch the shuttle bus at like 5:00) I did set my alarm for 7:00. :) We were out the door by about 7:45. This is very early for me!

It was going to be a clear day but it was cold and there was a very thick layer of fog hanging in the air when we started. Like, 20 feet visibility, visible water molecules, San Francisco fog. It was about 42 degrees so I started off in a long sleeve shirt over my normal running outfit. The first few miles were really easy and I was glad my legs didn't hurt. We were running right near the airport but you couldn't see a thing. This was really weird because the planes were SO loud, and like RIGHT above us, but they were invisible. I ate my first Gu at mile 5- Chocolate Mint, my favorite!

Oh ya, side note: I had finally received my new shoes the previous afternoon and decided to just wear them on the 20. I know that's kind of a risk since they were not broken in at all, but my old shoes were shot and I decided to go for it. Luckily they were very comfortable and really helped me finish the run pain-free.

First 5 miles were at an average 8:50 pace.

We took a little side trip on a trail that lead by the airport and through a shopping center that wasn't open yet. Luckily a Starbucks was open so we stopped there to refill our water bottles in the sink and use the restroom. Hey, when there's no public park you do what you gotta do. We made our way back to the trail and continued East along the Columbia. We had to take another little detour on a side road because the Marine Drive Trail doesn't actually connect, but that was only about a half mile or so. Finally we were on the trail again and still heading East. Second Gu at mile 10- Vanilla Bean.

Second 5 miles were 8:44 average.

I hadn't been on this stretch of trail so it was fun to see a new area. There were some big cranes along the river and we saw a hawk right above us in a tree. We weren't talking much, just kind of zoned out and running. I usually get some kind of musical refrain stuck in my head that I repeat over and over... like last week it was "I've been working on the railroad" (after seeing some people working on the railroad tracks) and this time I was alternating between "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" (It isn't) and "Lothar, of the hill people" from that Saturday Night Live skit with Mike Meyers. PLEASE somebody tell me you remember that. It's very random and from the 80's. Zach made some comment about Lothar in the morning and it just stuck with me all day. Awesome.

We turned around just before we hit 12 miles (since we'd added on the Airport/Shopping Center side trip) and headed back. I immediately noticed a big headwind so our first turn-around mile was slower. We detoured back through the side connector road and stopped another (different) Starbucks to again fill our bottles. Finally with about 5 miles to go we were back on Marine Drive heading West - the home stretch. I ate my last gu at mile 15: Chocolate Outrage.

The fog had cleared up by this point and it was absolutely gorgeous. We had an awesome view of Mt. Hood- you can see it in the last picture below.

Third 5 mile section was done at an 8:43 average pace.

On the last stretch we were pushing a little bit harder and still not talking much. I still felt great! I remember on our last 20 miler I was giving myself little pep talks and playing mental games just to keep going. This time I was just running along no problem. Zach was picking up the pace and I was staying with him, although he did finally drop me on that last quarter mile. And that's saying something because my pace for that last mile was 7:35! I think his was 7:20 or so. Damn.

Final 5 miles were at an average pace of 8:29.

I'm so pleased with this run, and I am SO ready for the taper. I'm going to rest, recover, relax. I'm going to ice, I'm going to stretch, and I guess I might even run just a little. I'd like to think I've finally learned the big lesson of the taper: less is more. I want to arrive at the starting line feeling fresh and happy and full of energy. The work is done. YAY.

total miles for the week: 50 :)



lilrunner N.D. said...

Wow - what a great pace and it looks lovely out. This rain has been depressing!!!

Emily said...

I totally remember the SNL skit! "For I am Lothar - OF THE HILL PEOPLE!" and I don't remember much beyond that...maybe I'll you tube it to jog the memory. I watched SNL straight from age 7 on so I remember all of those random ones from the 80s. Remember the Sweeney Sisters and their duet medleys? Those were my favorites.

Anyway, back to running. GREAT job, am very very excited for you and the upcoming RACE. That is so awesome that you're almost there.

Cindy said...

OMG, talk about negative splits. way to finish off the run! i need to check out the beaverton trail. ive been trolling for places to do my marathon training. i had scoped out the marine drive trail too , and from your pics it looks great. would you feel safe out there by yourself? that's what i have to consider.
congrats on your peak week!

*aron* said...

awesome job jen!!! way to finish out that last week strong! you are going to have an amazing race... welcome to taper time!

Kelly H. said...

Gorgeous, looks like it was a beautiful run. Enjoy the taper. That seemed like a fast paced 20miles, nice job!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy the pictures. Awesome job on the run and what a great run to go in to taper with. You are right, you put the hard work in, now it is time to rest up.

Ewen said...

A San Francisco fog? Come on!

That was a great 20 miler - you're set for the 'thon. I'll make a fearless prediction that it'll be you running a PB with a 7:20 final mile, and Zach floundering 15 seconds behind.

Great atmosphere in those photos - they're like those old English sky paintings.

ShirleyPerly said...

Very exciting to hear how well your 20-miler went! Really makes me want to run more and do some faster running too. I don't think I ever trained as diligently as you.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Fantastic job with your last 20-miler! Now just make sure to listen to your own words and rest your way through your taper. You are going to be so ready for the marathon. No doubt about it.

Michael said...

Great news Jen! You'll do great at CIM...we're running our marathons "virtually together," remember? 3:45 or so? Glad to hear your 20-miler went so well...have a great one!

KK said...

Congrats on your speedy 20 miler! That is just the confidence you need going into the marathon. You will do awesome come race day.

kelsalynn said...

You are such an inspiration to me. I just want you to know! Way to knock out that 20-miler and I'm glad it was a pain-free and awesome run!

Choc Mint is one of my faves too, but I absolutely hate Vanilla Bean. I can handle any of the fruit flavors or chocolate but that Vanilla Bean gets my gag reflux going! YICK!

Please post on your taper if you think of it- I need to hear what you do (don't do) and stuff so I can learn!


ncrunner12 said...

it must rain up that way a lot... but i'm glad you're getting some sun.

It really sounds like you had one hell of a run, great job! Enjoy your taper time... i think you're really earned it.

C U Soon - Inga said...

Awesome!! Great Job!!

Petraruns said...

Nice 50 mile week Jen - well done. I am so envious of your pace and confidence - keep it going. I'll use you for inspiration!

Petraruns said...

Hey Jen you're probably surprised to see a comment on this post so late after you posted it. Truth is Aron pointed me to your blog archive to check out your Pfitz tapering experiences.. I was saying that I feel Pfitz's taper isn't really much of a taper and she said that she felt she didn't taper enough last time and might cut out some of the runs in the last weeks... I see your less is more note re taper time and I'm going to plant that in my head - I will see how I feel but definitely want to feel fresh on race day. I've worked so hard the last thing I want is to overdo it.. So thanks for posting your thoughts and experiences - they really help!