Last Week of Long Runs and Making Peace With the Treadmill
Last week was the last week of training before the infamous taper. I cannot say that I wasn’t pleased when I finished Saturday’s long run. I was 100% thrilled. The last couple of long runs, while physically have felt amazing and strong, but have also killed my entire ability to knock anything off my to-do list on a Saturday. There are 4 words in my blog title. Sometimes it feels like only the first two get any play.
I also fought with my nemesis, the treadmill, and sort of won. I didn’t pack any long sleeve tops on last week’s work trip, so an outdoor run in the evening was out of the question. I also doubt the good sense that would be to run on dark roads that I do not know with moderately reflective run gear. So, all in all, I was forced into the basement gym. It wasn’t just a basement gym. They had set their treadmills up so that they faced away from the TV. Who does that?
Now, admittedly, I may be showing my age or the fact that I have not been a member of a gym in over 4 years, but they seemed pretty swanky machines with their own TV screen in them. Of course, I didn’t realise until afterwards that you needed the gym headphones to work the TV, so instead watched Tosh.O on mute while listening to Vampire Weekend. The two didn’t really complement each other at all. I was scheduled to run a 7m tempo with 5 at 8:45. And this is where we get to “what I don’t like about treadmills and why the great outdoors is so much better”. Since around August, I have been consistently beating the teams set out by my training plan, and I have been loving it. My body has been feeling strong and fit, and my mind has been able to ask (sometimes nicely, sometimes involving lots of cursing and swear words) my legs to push themselves that little bit harder. Therefore, my tempo pace has gone down to around 8:30ish. But now that I’m on a treadmill, I can see exactly how fast I’m going, and exactly how much I’ve run, and all that, and my mind just has that harder time asking my body for more. Plus, it’s just so damn slow and unresponsive.
However, the plus side is that the treadmill is just so damn boring that I had to speed up significantly for the last 2 miles because if I didn’t I would have killed myself with the fanbelt. The last 2 mile were 8:27 and probably around 8:15. Not bad for a Wednesday day basement treadmill workout. Oh, and when I turned around and saw myself in the picture, I was a hot sweaty mess. AWESOME.
Saturday’s long run was a simple route that I’ve done a couple of times and like. I did it in a slightly different direction though. I ran down the West Side Highway, up the East River, and into the Park. I did my usual tuning into NPR, and ended up listening to two shows – one on adventure and one on walking away from something. The West Side Highway was hilariously windy, and it felt as if I was running just to stay still. It just made me laugh. You can’t fight the weather on days like that. I have finally settled on my GU flavors for the marathon – Jet Blackberry, Mandarin Orange, Triple Berry, and Strawberry Banana. I tried the Vanilla GU that everyone said tasted like frosting. It does, but it a gross, frosting from a can way. Almost worse than the Clif Citrus flavor. Almost.
I ended up running this 20 miler in 9:56, which is the first time I’ve come in under 10 min/miles, so it felt like a good way to finish up long run training. It was also the first one that I felt pain in my legs the day after, which I’m putting down to not ice bathing, running around immediately like a crazy person, and the wind. Going up and down the subway a couple of hours later was hilarious.
One of the best things about marathon training is the pre and post run fuelling. Yes, eating has a whole new verb. On Saturday night I convinced my better half to go to Ippudo for a ramen feast. If you haven’t gone, you must. Their ramen is amazing, and get the pork belly and poached egg toppings as well. Salty, porky, noodley, brothy heaven. Amazing.
And now I’m tapering. I haven’t gone crazy yet, and I’m 2 days in. Woah.