Saturday, September 09, 2006

Now THAT'S a little better

ORN: 21.2 miles, 3:32:20, 10:01/mile

My second and last 20 miler before Portland was on the books today. After the difficult 20 miler I had two weeks ago, I wondered how this one would go.

No comparison. And, boy, am I glad.

On reflection, I realized I had dehydrated in both the earlier 20 miler, plus the half marathon I ran in Parkersburg. So, I resolved to drink more than I was used to today. I stashed three, rather than two, bottles of Gatorade along the route. I also went out conservatively, trying to keep to a 9:40ish pace, but knowing I would walk through a lot more water stops.

It seemed to work. Though the morning was milder, moving from the mid 60s to the mid 70s during the run, I drank regularly. Forced myself to take in more fluids than I felt I needed. Around the 10 mile mark, I realized it was working, as the legs still felt fresh, the mind sharp and I was loving the run. My splits looked like this:

10 22, 9 39, 9 42, 10 02, 9 31;
10 09, 9 51, 10 06, 9 48, 9 46;
9 52, 10 23, 10 20, 10 12, 10 06;
10 26, 10 45*, 9 49, 9 50, 9 53;
9 56, 1 43 (@9 32 pace).

The splits are not that great, but they are even. My 20 mile time was a full 16 minutes quicker than the 20 miler two weeks ago. I only walked to retrieve Gatorade. I got a little distracted on the pace after mile 11, getting lost in thoughts about family, then woke up a bit. The 10 45 mile contained a short break to talk (again) with long-time friends Dick and Marilyn, whom I have mentioned before, as we grieved together the untimely death yesterday of an MS sufferer in our church.

More significant was just how fun the run was. As I neared the turnoff to head home, I purposely extended my turnaround point to add another mile to the run. I simply did not want it to end. I used the last five miles as a chance to simulate late miles in the marathon, forcing the pace a bit and paying close attention to form.

I am more confident now than I have been in a month about the prospects for a good run in Portland. I could have easily done another five miles this morning and, even at this paltry pace, would have PRed. I think the forced hydration was a key part of it all.

Another encouraging fact came in a surprising way. Middle son Nathan flew in from Portland late last night to visit big brother David before he deploys. Mid-day today, Nathan said to me "Dad, I can't believe this heat and humidity." Whoa. You are spoiled, my son, if today feels like heat and humidity. I thought it was a dry, beautiful day. If Portland weather is this good, it will only help.

One other fun part of this run; to get in 20 miles, I have to make a large loop through the Purdue campus. Today, Purdue had a home football game against Miami (Ohio), so campus was hopping, even at 8:30am. I looped past my old apartment, which was a rattle-trap in 1973-1975 when I lived there. How does it still stand? Saw a guy with a silly grin on his face as four pretty Zeta Tau Alpha girls squeezed into his Mustang GT convertible with the top down on such a nice day. I'm sure his parents figured he was in the library. It then hit me that one year from now, my youngest son will be on some college campus...oh my...I'll be the one thinking he's in the library. Oh my.

It also struck me how irrelevant football seems to be to the total "football experience." The number of huge RVs and other people tailgating hours before an inconsequential game was astounding to me. Regular readers of this blog know I like baseball and football only serves to remind me baseball will soon end. So the effort that goes into the spreads for tailgating kind of amazes me. But, hey, it is a big part of our local economy. I eventually finished the 3 mile loop on campus and moved back to the quieter portion of the running trail. For the record, Purdue barely knocked off Miami, needing OT to get the job done. Could be a long year, again, for the Boilers. But, hey, as Chicago Cub fan, I'm used to long years.



susie said...

16 minutes!! Amazing.
I am hoping my 11-miler goes as well for me today:)

Darrell said...

I'm glad you were able to end this training cycle on a good note.

A couple of mid-mileage runs, some taper and you're good to go!

Since I went to Kent State, I won't/don't hold any grudges against Purdue.