Saturday, March 13, 2010

Training Run No. 4

My marathon training plan has me ramping up my long runs every two weeks, and then taking a step back for a week by cutting out a few miles. This week was supposed to be my step-back week, but I've got a mini-vacation of sorts coming up that coincides with one of my intense weeks. So I've taken it upon myself to be the brilliant, inexperienced marathoner I am and alter my training. I'll do my best to run my daily runs while in San Francisco, but I can't imagine myself wanting to go for a 15-mile jog when I have other things to do and people to see.

Instead I ran the 15-mile run this morning (which was scheduled for two weeks from now), I'll do my race and my scheduled 14-mile run next weekend (yikes), and then after 4 straight weeks of ramping up, I'll relax for a weekend by doing this week's scheduled 9-miler while I'm in the Bay. Let's hope it works out as well in real life as it is working out in my head.

The Minneapolis Marathon training group met this morning for a 5, 8, or 10 miler. We met along the south part of the course to experience a different part of the marathon route. During the actual marathon, this will be miles 7.5 to 12.5 and, because it's an out and back course, 19.5 to 24.5.
Like what I've seen along the course so far, this part was relatively flat with just a few slight rolling hills along the river bluffs. Nothing seemed too strenuous or demanding and I'm actually pretty shocked at how quickly I did it, especially since I can say I haven't run more than 15 miles in almost exactly 6 months.

I have run a few races in this part of town and remembered that Minnehaha Falls is close to the area. Minnehaha Falls is the coolest middle-of-the-city waterfall ever, and it's also the birthplace of Minneapolis. I headed out a bit early to run to the falls as to get in a few additional miles, and check to see if the water was still frozen. I've only seen the falls when it's rapidly flowing, but it is known to freeze over.

I followed the pedestrian path up to the falls, and loved seeing all the snow gone! It's a big change from last weekend, when we still had close to 9 inches of snow pack. I think we are down to less than 1 inch, and that's only in random areas. It was still foggy this morning, but nothing like it's been all week.
Along my way to the falls, I stopped by the relocated John Harrington Stevens house, which is located in the park. He built the first house in Minneapolis, is pretty much the father of Minneapolis, and apparently was quite a strapping young lad.
A few extra miles and a history lesson this morning! I was feeling pretty productive.

From the house I could hear the falls, which obviously meant it wasn't frozen. I ran over there and saw that a lot of it still was, though -- pretty awesome site.

Frozen falls from the west.
Falls from the top looking down; I'm on the bridge above it.
Frozen falls from the east.
Many of the staircases that head down to the bottom of the falls were blocked off for winter safety reasons, so I wasn't able to go down. Perhaps during the actual marathon I'll take a little detour. :)

After that, I ran back to my car to drop off my camera, meet up with the other runners, hear some announcements, and head off on the organized 10-miler. Not even two steps into my 10-miler I hear, "Hey, I recognized your hat! How are you!?"

I look to my left and see none other than "Benny."

I said hi, told him I was good, and cranked up my headphones. I wouldn't be surprised if he could hear my music. He tried to make a little small talk, and I ignored him as much as I could. I did tell him our mile splits from last week and how I was right on track with how I would like to do the marathon. With that in mind, he kept telling me to pick it up because "[I] don't want to have to settle for any certain time during the race" but instead should blow it out of the water. (I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was running for anyone other than me. I also didn't realize I asked him to set my goals for me either.) Right around mile 6, he tried offering me some advice on how I should hold my arms to conserve energy, and at that point I'm nearly positive I swore at him. By mile 8 he went ahead of me, leaving me to run alone -- which was much preferred.

Back at the starting tent, he asked me what his pace was!? I gave him a rough estimate based on how many strides he was ahead of me and what Mr. Anastos was telling me. He verbalized some sort of "No way, I was going so much faster than you toward then end" and then I know I swore at him as I told him to get over himself.

I grabbed a cup of water and headed back toward the falls to fit in a few more miles before he could follow me around anymore. I'm pretty sure I won't be running with Benny again. Thank god.

I'm pretty amazed that many of my miles were right around 9 minutes; maybe Benny did inspire me to pick it up a little. I have been shooting for a 9:15 pace, but this training run actually gave me hope that perhaps I could do it a little quicker ... until I really started hurting toward the end. :)

84 days left to tack on 11.1 more miles!

15.1mi splits (2h 17m 30s):
1: 8:49
2: 9:27
3: 8:50
4: 9:03
5: 9:09
6: 9:04
7: 8:58
8: 8:58
9: 8:56
10: 9:05
11: 8:55
12: 9:04
13: 9:01
14: 9:19
15: 9:23
.1: 1:22
Air Temp: 43F

Oh, I was asked yesterday if I wanted to start a running club for residents in my apartment complex. I enthusiastically said yes -- I'm geeked and I want to spread the running love!

Then I found out they want to start in April, right as my marathon training really buckles down. Shall we start a countdown to burnout?

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