This is my last big week before the marathon taper begins. And today kicked off the week with my last 20 mile run.
I have to admit, I was not looking forward to this run. I knew it was going to be cold; I would have to do it by myself; I had to carry a water belt (more on this later this week); and with the season in full swing, I have to admit I'm a little tired of training. I psyched myself up, though, and got my stuff together on Sunday. I woke up this morning with purpose and ready to go. It was time.
The run looked like this: several miles of warm up, more miles at race pace, a couple miles faster than race pace, and finish up with a short cool down. Okay, it was more specific than that, but I have a coach and I'm gonna protect her work. :) I started and wanted to keep my warm up pace around 9:00. But 9:00 came and went and suddenly I was doing 8:55s, then 8:50s, and then sub-8:50s. I thought, "crap, that's too fast to start out." I felt too good, though and just kept with it. The warm up came and went and it was good. The next part was a race pace. I started around 8:30s, dropped to 8:15 for several miles, and then finally was averaging around 8:05s. Perfect. Things were going well. The next part of the run dropped the pace below race pace. At this point I was late in the run and wondered how this was going to go. Surprisingly I dropped the pace down below 7:45s and was just cruising. Finally I cooled down around an 8:20 pace. I finished those 20 miles in 2:47:24, for an 8:22 overall pace.
The big run training is over. It has been awesome! I nailed every long run. I've done every short run. I haven't missed any marathon training. My body feels good. My mind is in the right place. I may not be as fast as I've been for previous marathons, I'm definitely feeling more fit, more ready for this marathon. I'm ready.