I ran 14 miles this morning, in 3 parts, with a race in the middle. This probably wasn't the smartest idea. I was dreading this run/race because I was convinced it would be super foggy and I wasn't looking forward to running in cold damp weather. Instead, we awoke to sunny and clear blue skies, which was all the motivation I needed to get it done -- days like this don't come around often.
Part I was with Jason using 2/1 intervals, from the Marina to the race start at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park. After we registered, we still had a bit of time, so I ran another mile to keep my legs warm and avoid getting too stiff before the race. I ran a total of 6 miles @ 12:08 pace, which is a little fast for a long run (not for 6 miles, but remember I was doing 14 total) but not super fast. I am not surprised because 5 of those miles was with Jason, and I could tell it was a little fast yet it felt comfortable.
Part II was the not-quite 5K Golden Gate Cross County race, hosted by the Dolphin South End (DSE) Running Club. Their motto is "start slow then taper off" with the goal of hosting at least one race per week at an affordable price ($5-10). I love these low key DSE races that go back to basics and remind us that running is supposed to be fun. The picture to the right shows my "bib" and timing chip--women's were orange and men white. They time each race manually by ripping the button and sticking them on a pin in order across the finish line. I think someone pushes a button on their timer machine when each person crosses and then they match them up.
The course today was 1/2 mile short, but I was glad because pushed pretty hard and averaged 10:17 for 2.6 miles. I planned to take it easy since I still had to run 5 more miles after the race, but I got carried away and pushed a bit too much. At that pace I would have finished a full 5K in just under 32 minutes, which is pretty fast for me. I walked 1 min after each mile, but I do much better when I use shorter intervals instead of trying to hang on for a whole mile, so I think I'm going to try running 4 minutes and walking 30 seconds at next Sunday's 5K race. The race itself was great. The course was gorgeous, mostly flat and 95% off-road through dirt and grass. They had bananas, grapes, cookies, and uber bars after the race, which I indulged perhaps a bit too much before heading back for the last 5.5 miles.
I ran part 3 alone on a slightly different route back home while Jason ran a different route to get in his 10 more miles. It was a slow and painful 5.5 @ 13:31 pace using 2/1 intervals. It was a lot slower because my legs were tired from the first 6 with Jason and the race, plus this route was mostly uphill and unpaved, but I'm perfectly ok with that because this is closer to my training pace and the route was very scenic. Part of this route (and part of the first) was across Golden Gate Park. Every Sundays, they close a section of a major road at the park to motor vehicles for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy. It was so peaceful running there without the roar of car motors. I'll definitely be running there again for my next long run.
Today's total was 14.18 miles in 2:54:54 @ 12:20 average pace. This was probably the hardest 14-miler I've ever run. The hills and unpaved terrain really do add a level of difficulty, and running 2.6 miles at 10ish pace in the middle surely didn't help either. But I they are done and I did enjoy them overall. I experimented with nutrition during this run; instead of my usual gels or shot blocks, I ate mostly fruit snacks (like gummy bears). They are so delicious and much cheaper than those other products, but still chockfull of sugar to provide that energy boost and keep the carbohydrate flame burning. I think they worked just fine, but I also ate that food after the race, so I can't conclusively say yet whether I can run a whole marathon with just that. I'll try it at my next half marathon race next month and see how it goes (I did and will bring at least 2 gel just in case or if I need an extra boost towards the end).
So Goofy training is well underway. I technically don't need to up my milage just yet, but I want to maintain my endurance. This was my last long run before my next half marathon race on September 16. After that I'll begin upping my milage to 15+ with long runs of up to half the distance the previous day. I think these past 2 weeks have been good for acclimating to the hills and terrain, and I do feel like my legs are getting stronger. They really have to no choice because running anything more than a mile will encounter both.
How's everyone else's training coming along?