Boston Qualifying Training. I woke five minutes before my alarm went off. As I laid there I briefly contemplated the idea of falling back to sleep for a few minutes. Not really my style. I was up and really, I wanted to get out there and get this work out done.
It was the first of five, 20 mile runs in this work out program. There was a little anxiety about this run, mostly because it was 20 miles, though the pace would be slow, heck, it's 20 miles no matter how you do it, that is a lot!
I grab the bottles and make my way through the streets of Alpharetta, strategically placing bottles to drink along the way. Jay and I meet at LTF and lace up the shoes, as we stand out front we see Corey he wishes us luck as we embark on our 20 mile adventure.
The streets are dry after a rainy evening the night before. We start out knowing our pace needs to be 9:00 minute miles, that equates to 3 hours over 20 miles. The pace is easy, comfortable. It is supposed to be and Jay and I are doing a good job reigning in any push for speed. We hit our third miles and the rain begins. This fate was sealed yesterday when I promised Jay in an email that we would have no rain, not a cloud. Reality, it came down hard, to the point it was comical and Jay and I were both laughing. However as I have been know to say, there is an underlying seriousness, “it rains on Race day” so you better know how to run in the rain. Human nature causes you to naturally speed up when the rain starts, it takes a lot to refrain from doing so.
By the fourth mile we are soaked, shoes are now filled with water and much heavier. My technical shirt is too heavy and sticking to my body. I ditch the shirt. My apologies to the population of Alpharetta for having to suffer as my “chubbies” bounced through all of downtown and the surrounding areas. It was the right decision through and I felt better for doing it. The first 2-3 miles I have a lot of stiffness in my left quad, though this went away until miles 8-11, there was a point I kept thinking, if it hurts now what do I have to look forward to…? This however is “stinking thinking” and nothing good comes from those thoughts. I spin back around an consider how effortlessly I am breathing, that aside form the one leg, everything feels good, great even. I know that once we cross the half-way point and make a charge up our last challenging hill, life will be good.
By the time we rounded the top of the hill, the rain had stopped, there was a slight breeze and it felt good. Our last water stop was a mile away and everything was feeling good, pace, pretty darn close to goal, legs, a little tired, but hey we had 15 miles down. We turned on to a long straight road with a slight up hill climb.
The conversation was good, traffic had picked up than it happened again, in almost the same spot we had the first down pour, it came again, with a vengeance. This time, there was no place for the water to go, puddles were too big to leap across and after 16 miles, our legs might not have made the distance anyway. Splish! Splash! Splish! Again, we picked up the pace, a natural reaction to the rain and again we knew better and backed it off. Rain was coming straight down, hard, and as the cars came by, we would also get hit with water from the side. It brought a little levity to a long run at a time that it was needed.
The rain was slowing as we hit the final stretch, 17.5 miles and that is when it hit me. I my legs, done. Wind, okay, but I was fatigued. The next 2.5 miles were tough. I focused on form, I did not want to get sloppy. I could feel my left hip and knew that my leg was coming out to the side like a puppy running sideways down the road.
Focusing on form worked for the next two miles. I really wanted to pick it up and tried to a couple of times, to be reigned back in by Jay... "Pace Bob, Pace" "Right" Thanks Jay. The last half mile, I was a bit out of it and feeling every bit of the mileage we had run. It was like it hit me all at once.
Finally, 20! Time, 2:57:19, pace, 8:51. Not bad. Target was 9:00 that is really close and very consistent. We jumped in the pool and stretched. It was good. Followed the big run with a great breakfast. I saw Jay even eat sausage, turkey sausage, but still. Jay eating meat, wow! Weight 178. I’ll take it.