So as it turns out my 18 week training plan is set up in 4 different stages and takes 4 pages in the book. So turning a page represents a milestone on the journey. Page 1 (Stage 1) is building up endurance and takes 6 weeks. Page 2 (Stage 2) is continuing to build endurance and lactate threshold work. It takes 5 weeks. Page 3 is called Race Preparation and takes 4 weeks. Page 4 represents the taper is takes 3 weeks.
Today when I turned the page to Stage 3, the end really is in sight since now I'm looking at the two last pages.
Yesterday's 20 mile run actually turned into 21 and was a doozy.
One thing I've learned from running all over this town is where the bathrooms are. The first test is to push on the door and hope it opens. So far, I've been good on that score even when it's been before or after hours. I try not to get my hopes up but it's a relief (HA HA) when the door actually opens.
So there I am on Sunday at mile 4 of a 20 mile run and heading for the Cornwall Park bathroom needing desperately to find an open stall. First good sign, the bathroom door actually opened. Bad news - only one stall and someone's there. For all I know it's a homeless person sleeping as clothes are spread out on the floor. There's a womens bathroom right next door, it's 10:00 on an overcast cold Sunday morning with no one in sight. No, not yet, but I'm not going to stand around and wait either. The closest bathroom on my journey will be a mile and a half ahead. I ran between a quarter and half mile in the park and circle back. Still there. The woman's bathroom is too good to pass up. I peek my head in, two stalls and no waiting. Thanks ladies!
According to the book, Advanced Marathoning, the long runs and medium- long runs should be run at a certain pace to maximise benefits. The first part should be around 20% slower than marathon pace and the last half closer to 10% slower.
My hopeful pace is 8:20 per mile. 8 minutes and 20 seconds conveniently comes out to 500 seconds so 10% more is 550 or 9:10 per mile. The 20% is 600 seconds or 10:00. I'm here to tell you that 10:00 miles are hard to run for very long - too slow - at least some days.
My strategy has been to run somewhere between 9:40 and 10:00 for the first half of long runs and 9:10 for the last half.
After 10 miles, I reset my watch and noticed the first of the snow flakes falling on the South Bay Trail. By the time I got to Boulevard Park and the Taylor Street Dock it was full snowstorm mode with big fat flakes falling.
My pace before heading up Bill McDonald Parkway was 9:08 average. Right where I wanted it to be and I hoped I could hold it for the 1.5 mile uphill. When I crested the top, my average was 9:06, a good sign. I actually finished in the sunshine with an average for the last 10.5 miles of 8:59. It was just too hard to hold back.
It was a great confidence booster to go over 20 and to beat the pace I was aiming for.
After a cold bath and hot shower, I looked out the window and the sunshine had given way to snow again and this time it was sticking.
A deep, deep sleep and off to work on a Monday morning with only 1 month and 16 days until race day.
The 20 mile runs (of which there are 3) are the big events in this program. It's nice to have 2 of them under my belt.
The page is turned.