Time for the final push to the Goofy Challenge! Ideally coach Angie wants me to get in two 20 mile runs before the race. I’ve had several weeks of big training in a row so to give my body a break this week I only had one run to do midweek before a large weekend of running. My midweek run was an easily paced 1 hour with 10 x 1:00 hills thrown in at the 30 minute mark.
The weather was phenomenal and luckily my friend Kelly was willing to tag along and do my workout with me. We ran the curling club hill because it seemed to fit the bill of a steep hill where I could focus on my toe push and knee lift. Thanks to the nice weather we’ve been having lately the path up the hill was clear of snow and ice so I didn’t have to worry about slipping and hurting myself. Having Kelly on the hill with me was a great motivator and I had a great run.
On Saturday my friend Tara joined me for my run. I had 2 hours to run with the first hour at a nice slow pace, then the second hour at my goal marathon pace. When we started off on our run I felt a bit rough and thought running at goal marathon race pace might be hard. Luckily my legs came around and I was able to nail my pacing on the second hour. I need to remember that my legs need a good 20 minutes to warm up. I ran 11.35 miles in my 2 hours so it was a solid pre-20 miler Goofy Challenge training effort.
As soon as I got home the focus on recovery started. I drank some chocolate milk, showered and pulled on compression socks. The cheese fondue I ate for lunch may not have been the most ideal recovery meal but it sure tasted delicious.
On Sunday it was time to tackle 20 miles. I loaded up my Camelbak hydration pack with Skratch (the matcha with lemons flavour is amazing), gels and my iPhone full of tunes. Thankfully the weather was still on my side as it was just above freezing and there was minimal wind.
Considering some of the arctic weather we had this fall I felt really lucky to be running in conditions this amazing on December 21st.
My goal for the run was to break it into two out and backs, with the first out and back getting me farther than half way. This would give me a chance to run home to refill my Camelbak and it would be easier to mentally break my long run up into chunks. Rather than staying on the flat river pathway the whole time I took a detour and ran up the big hill at 10th street so I could be rewarded with some great city views from McHugh Bluff.
I then ran toward the YMCA at Eau Claire so I could make a quick pitstop and I spotted these lovely Christmas decorations!
After my pitstop at the Y I ran back the way I came. Up the bridge at Centre Street, across McHugh Bluff, down 10th Street. Some dark clouds were off in the horizon and the sun went in hiding at this point unfortunately!
The hills made my knees feel a little tired and achy and miles 10 - 13 were a real struggle mentally even though my pace was in great shape. It just goes to show that you can keep running well even when you think you are tuckering out…just keep moving forward and keep your form! Don’t give in to the shuffle!
I popped by home about 14.5 miles in to my run. I knew I didn’t have that much left to conquer so I wasn’t hit with the feeling that I should just call it a day and spend the remainder lying in bed watching Christmas movies. That is generally my worry of stopping by home in the middle of a long run! My previously tired and achy knees felt great and my run was ending on a high note. When miles 18 and 19 clicked off on my Garmin I even gave a little fist pump because they went that well. I gave the final push to mile 20 and then it was done. 20 miles in 3:46:05 (an 11:18/mile pace). Two years ago when I ran 20 miles it took me 4:05:20 (a 12:11/mile pace). This was a nice improvement…and I had more than 11 miles in my legs from Saturday’s run.
I meant to take some kind of “yay, I just ran 20 miles” victory photo but I was too tired and forgot. Instead I hobbled home, made myself some hot chocolate and promptly got in to a warm bath (which is what I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to do). My legs continued to feel tired, restless and achy Sunday afternoon so I determined an easy recovery spin may be best to help flush them out.
Indeed the short spin helped do the trick.
I’m a bit nervous that I still have one 20 miler left on the calendar… Fingers crossed this great weather holds!
If you are training for Disney was this your final long run before the big race? How did it go?