Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It’s the Final Countdown – Gabe

So since my last 20 miler, the distance tapered a little bit. I was glad to get the chance to re-charge the batteries, and allow my knees to recuperate a bit. While I felt lousy after the long distance, on my upcoming recovery runs, I felt like I was getting my wind back. Maybe it was the nicer weather, but I felt a new zeal for getting out and putting on some miles. Then, last week I got to have a change of scenery.
My family was nice enough to join me while I went to a CME conference in St. Maarten. Our hotel was right on the water, and was in an absolute gorgeous setting.  Per my training schedule I was due for another 20-mile run while on the trip, and I packed all of my supplies for a long distance run with the full intentions of accomplishing this feat. But the hills were pretty intense, as was the heat, and the most I did on any day was 5-7 miles. But man oh man, was it a gorgeous place to run.  Out of our hotel, I was able to cross from the Dutch side of the island, to the French side. Then, hugging the ocean I had spectacular views for my entire jog. My runs would start at sunrise, and there was typically an early morning sprinkle before the run would start, making the roads a bit slick. The hills were so intense that literally, your feet would slide out from underneath you, so pacing was a bit slow. 
When we returned, well rested, it was time to get after that second 20 mile run.  After the airline found my bag, and delivered it a few days later, I was laced up, hydrated, prepared with my Gu gel and ready to go. I went east on the course, and felt wonderful.  The sun was out, it was in the low 50s, and I felt especially motivated to accomplish this run. I followed the course, through Newton, up Heartbreak Hill, left at Cleveland Circle onto Beacon St, through Brookline and into Boston, got onto Boylston, and ran to the finish line. I purposely went around the finish line and did not cross it, as I want to save that for the 20th of April.  Turning around, I headed back towards Newton.
I find that miles 13-17 are tough miles for me. I think the novelty of a distance run has worn out at that point, and my excitement wanes. But at 16 miles, I know the end is near, and get it back together. I really tried to focus during this last long run to keep a consistent pace, and stick with it, and by the end of the 20 miles I was happy with my time. I had shaved 10 minutes off my last 20 miler! Maybe it was I actually prepared for this one by pre-hydrating, eating smartly and getting a bit of sleep, or maybe it was just the excitement of being in gorgeous spring weather. Either way I was pleased with my time.
I had a few more workouts this week, and a quick run in addition to another 15 miles this weekend. But after that, it’s time to really taper those miles. My knees and ankles are really excited.

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