Couch to BQ the sequel. Usually sequels suck, this one did too. This summer, I had a spill on the track that really F'd me up. I banged my hip. That caused pain that caused me to adjust my stride. That adjustment led to powerful shin splints and I finally had to shut down running.
I promised Naggy Spice that I would try and run Philly with her then CIM. I was so out of shape at Philly that I didn't even travel. 9 weeks out from CIM, I decided I should probably start training. This cycle was just going to get me mileage so that I could cover the distance. I enjoyed my measured entrance back into training.
80 <-- Ok, ready
That proves I am stupid, but somewhat durable. I will say that during this period I was constantly alerting my support crew that I was just flailing. Everything hurt; nothing was comfortable; my pace was well below what I am used to. They all talked me off the roof. Thanks Wrigs, Candice, Stephanie.
Mid November I finally saw glimpses of possibility. 14 miles with an unplanned drop after 5 miles to 6:45 then another drop 4 miles later to 6:30 and it felt like old me.
I kept logging miles; getting some long runs in and plugging away. None of the long runs finished feeling strong, but they all finished.
The week of the marathon, I was chomping at the bit and tried to throw my first speedwork in. Nobody said I was a good coach. I ran 4 x 1 and wanted 6:30s but ran 6:05s with 1 sub-6. I Then shut it down for CA.
I traveled Friday and met my imaginary friends Ben and Candice. The ride from the airport was 20 miles and the elevation and as far as I could see was a 0 elevation landscape. Sacramento is FLAT. That night we found a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Foreshadowing was awesome; my fortune cookie was empty. I was unfortunate (EJ).
The next morning we set out for the final shake-out. We ran around the capitol park. Ben took us on a tour of the finish and then he picked up the pace for he last mile. Then we got showers and food. They had been to the expo the day before, but I still need to go. Ben had an elite starting position and the option to provide his own fluids for the RD to bring to the water stops for him. In order to do this we needed bottles, so we headed out to a bike store, got his bottles and I got my Stinger honey as well. Candice wanted to decorate the bottles so that Ben could pick them out on the table amongst all the other elites' bottles. She chose mustache duct table with and orange stripe; they were pretty fantastic. We then grabbed lunch and headed to the convention to get my packet and drop off the fluids. NBD, but Kim Conley was sitting on the couch just hanging out and chatting. At this point we've logged about 6000 steps, new phone has pseudo-fitbit. We head back to the room, and rented a movie to just chill the rest of the day. So Ben and I did share a bed. After dinner we started dinner: salad, Spaghetti and 2 boxes of Texas Toast. It was a great quiet dinner. After which we headed for bed. Race day had an early wake-up call.
Race-day started at 4:00a. We all slid into our flat stanley suits and headed for the bus. The bus ride was in the dark and has some terrible attributes. The bus driver had Christmas tunes on. While it is the season, most Christmas songs are kinda sullen in tempo and that is not what you need on race day.
We get to the dam with about 40 mins to start, Ben split off and headed to VIP village and Candi and I headed to porta-potty paradise. About this time I said to her that I really feel good today, no aches & pains. We sat on the bus until we had 15 mins to start then put our clothes in gear check and headed to the start. We're about to run a marathon. When the gun goes off we start down a gentle slope away from the dam. This caused a faster than desired start but I felt very relaxed. first turn is less than a 1/10 from the first mile and we get our first up hill. I'm only 8-10 seconds fast. As marathons go, that's closest to plan ever. I made a concerted effort to slow down. I relaxed as hard as I could. that caused an increase in pace. This race has a lot of rollers in the first 1/2 - 3/4. The falls are always bigger than the rises and I do like the hills because it feels like 100 small races, get up the hill without breathing too hard then relax and recoup going down. It was a good rhythm for me. by mile 5 I am rolling 6:30-35 very consistently and decide that today this must be my pace, oh well. This whole race I am entertaining myself with the environment vs. any kind of real running strategy. Hey look a Pony Tail, let's go see what she looks like. Oh look another one up ahead. And in the spirit of hair speak; rinse/repeat. Every mile ticks off and I glance down to see the damage, take an assessment and plan the next mile. That keeps sounding like this: Wow, that didn't feel to bad. Listen you better relax and slow down this mile. At 6 I take my first gel. I have taken water at every stop. I am really managing this race very well. Around 10 miles I start thinking that something good is happening today. Let's make a plan. Oh look that guy and his daughter sitting there sipping coffee, hey I want coffee. Oh and yeah, don't ruin this, stay calm. You can't speed up at all until 21 miles and that's 11 miles away so just settle in and enjoy the day. Hey look a Pony Tail.
I go through the half and still feel amazing. I have not poured out 50% effort but I am 50% done. Somewhere between 10-13 there is a really long downhill. That caused a 6:20 mile, but I assure you it was the terrain, not me. I immediately got back into 6:3x pace. Around 13 I take the second gel/honey. Start thinking next one is in 7 miles and 7 miles seems like a foregone conclusion and better yet that it's just a little ways up the road. At 18, I make note that it's just 3 more easy miles before you can release the hounds. 18-19-20 pfft...During these miles I am still picking folks off, but they are fading more than me accelerating. I did tell myself that in a few miles I was gonna make them all my bitch. I am easily amused by me.
Now it's 21 and I take an assessment; I'm unscathed. I decide to apply some pressure to the gas pedal. Back down to 6:30. Take a honey and say to myself, this is just more fuel that will hit the legs in the next mile. 22 is 6:17 and I am just rolling. This is really fekkin' happening and I am still feeling great. This is not normal for me, I should be begging the gods for a chance to walk soon. The final stretch is mostly a straight shot to the capital area and its the most gentle downward slope. I really just rip through the line of runners and gain speed with almost every step. I think I'm in range of a PR, let's see what we have. Where the fek is the Bagel store. The day before Ben took us on a tour to get his race morning bagels and it was on the street. It has to be coming soon. Nope? Ok, run harder. Ok the last little jog in the route to setup for running past the hotel and park. Now I should start seeing familiar landmarks. Where o' where is that damn hotel. Viola, a hotel. Now just run along the park to the u-turn finish. Hey look there's Ben on the curb. Lemme freak him out and say Hi. He may be as surprised as me that today is my day. Ok, with the pleasantries done, I can start the closing march. I see the edge of the park and know it's not 2 more block a 1 block turn and the chute. I'm really starting to build speed. 'm making ugly passes because I am so rested for a strong finish. Ok, I made the last turn thinking my PR was 2:51:50. moments after posting I realize I did not PR, but it was still a good day.
Final 4 miles in low 6:20s
Closing segment on my watch was .32 miles and at 5:40 pace. Might have held back too much ;)
The day was only made better by Naggy Spice crushing her PR as well.
Couch to BQ +34mins in 9 weeks; it's just that easy.