All Systems A GO…For Today.

I was nervous about this morning’s run. We were doing a “Boston Simulator” pace run that was over 10 miles. We started on South Lamar at 5:30am and ran 3 miles North to the trail. It’s three miles of downhill. It’s 3 miles of, “This isn’t so bad.” Of course, it’s the last 7 that you have to look out for. That’s also what I hear about the Boston Marathon. The first half is downhill and then you spend most of the 2nd half climbing your way out. I really wanted to go into this coveted marathon like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. I wanted to be surprised every step of the way, take my time, relish every mile, bask in the excitement. Coach Gilbert has other plans. Sure, he wants us to revel in the glory of success, but he also wants us to be prepared (maybe even OVER-prepared) and well-trained for the brutal course of the Boston Marathon.

I wasn’t nervous because of the route and I wasn’t nervous because of the mileage. I was nervous because my quads were pretty sore from Saturday’s deep tissue work and a 26.5 mile bike ride on Sunday. Shawn and I had a wonderful day on Sunday that started with our final official Swim Class. Later that afternoon we had to attend a birthday party for our friend’s 2-year-old son. Because it was FINALLY beautiful in Austin again, we decided to ride our bikes instead of driving. What a fun decision. I’m still getting used to my new bike and the seat still isn’t right, but I’ll continue to tweak and fine-tune my fitting.

I was also nervous about not being able to keep up with the others. Hills aren’t my strength and I didn’t want my weakness magnified in the company of so few runners. In any event, we were fairly conservative on our first few miles. 8:25, 8:19, 9:23, 8:36. We then hit the all too familiar Town Lake Trail portion of the run. It was darker than usual this morning. Of course, we started earlier than usual as well. I was feeling a bit tired and a little apprehensive about what was yet to come–the hills. 8:10, 8:17 OK hills–ready or not, here we come. I love the Barton Hills neighborhood because you get some amazing city views. Plus, streets are wide, houses are beautiful and it’s very serene. Neighbors are out for their morning walk with their dog and they actually greet runners. For the most part, I hung right in there. Amy and Anne never really got more than 10 yards away from me at any given time. Are they just being kind? Are they pushing it as much as I am? I’ve run these hills many times before, but I’ve never really RUN these hills for pace before. This run is going surprisingly well. 8:14, 7:49, 8:17, 8:24, 8:22 (last .15) I countdown the last four hills. The church where we usually break for water–and a prayer 🙂 is empty…no powerade. The last four hills come in quick succession with each one being a little more difficult than the next. There isn’t much recovery time. I haven’t run with a heart rate monitor in a long time. Not only are they uncomfortable for me, but they’ve also hindered some of my performances on occassion. I keep pushing up the last hill and can feel that lactic acid heaviness. At last, I’ve made it and Amy and Anne are right there about 5 yards in front. I didn’t fall back. I kept right up with them. Needless to say, I was a little relieved to know that they were tired as well.

We finished strong and all agreed that, although it was tough, we were all very happy with today’s results because it shows how far we’ve come. Last summer, I remember walking some of those hills. I remember falling behind. Today, we were right on our Marathon Pace Target and we actually had a negative split. Today, I passed a huge Boston test. Today, I felt like I truly deserved to be among the participants of the 110th Boston Marathon.

The “Boston Simulator” worked. All systems are a go. T-Minus 50 days until Big Day.

5:00am Piece of whole wheat bread with PB and 1/2 banana
8:00am-8:30am Chicken, Stir Fry veggies, Buckwheat Soba noodles…I know it’s not “breakfast food,” but it was left over dinner from last night and has a near perfect carb/protein ratio for a post-tough run. Weird craving…Coffee and bottle of water.
11:30am 1/2 cup of dry kashi cereal
1:00pm Lunch at Castle Hill Cafe with some girlfriends. Lunch consisted of a fabulous Interior Mexican Salad complete with mixed greens, black beans, corn, chicken, tortilla strips and an empanada on the side…1/2 container of Sugar Free jello pudding
5:00pm cup of dry kashi cereal
8:00pm Spinach salad and whole wheat pasta with chicken. 1/2 glass of red wine


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