Sending a message

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Motivation, Pace and Racing
Tags: , ,

The alarm clock sounded at 4:45 a.m. to wake me for my 21 mile training run on Sunday morning.

Sunday’s long run would push my weekly mileage to a new high for me, 61.45 miles.  I had never run more than 57 in a single week.

I didn’t need the alarm as I had been lying awake since 4:00 a.m. listening to the rain and wind pound the windows in our bedroom.  I kept hearing a quote from Tom Fleming playing over and over in my head.

“Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not.  When you race him, he will win.”

I hopped out of bed, brushed my teeth and checked the weather station in the bathroom.  Windy, cold, temperature around 38 degrees.  Winds gusting to 17 mph.  Rain falling, precipitation chance, 100%.

Part of running in the elements is mental, there is no question about that.  If you let it get into your head, it will affect you.

The other part however is having the right equipment and gear.  There is also no question that staying comfortable, or as comfortable as you can anyway is key to pressing on when most “normal” folks would roll over and give up on the run.  This was a run that I had been looking forward to all week.  A run that quite honestly, I had been looking forward to since the first day of marathon training for Austin more than 12 weeks ago.

The ultimate run at the end of the ultimate training week.  It would all be “easier” from here on out.  Just one more tough workout and we would gradually start dialing it down leading up to race day and hopefully our best ever marathon performance.

As I bundled up in my running tights, moisture-wicking top, running jacket, headband to keep my ears warm, running ball cap to keep the rain out of my eyes, Flashing LED lighted vest to help cars see me on the road.  Headlamp to help me see the road itself, two pairs of gloves, water, Gatorade and gels for nutrition Dawn came out to the kitchen to greet me.

This is not a normal occurrence as I am usually long gone without the two of us crossing paths in the morning, but she came out to remind me to be careful out there.  She is the greatest.

Out the door I went and like most bad weather runs, after a few minutes in the rain, wind, snow, cold – whatever the situation – it really becomes more about the run than the weather.  I found my rhythm very quickly and knew that I was going to have a strong run.

The plan was to take the first 10-11 miles at a comfortable pace.  A little bit slower and easier than usual, gradually ramping up my leg-turnover and pace over the final half of the run.  A negative split.  Something I would love to be able to put together at the Austin Marathon.

As the miles ticked by I thought about the week that was and the fact that on every Sunday long run for the past two months I had “tacked one on” to the end of the run.  Running one mile further than I had planned.  Pushed myself just a little bit harder, hoping it would make a difference over the final miles at Austin.

21 miles, 22 miles, I mean really, what’s the difference?  You’re already wet I figured.

I decided to add a mile to the route as I reached the turn at mile 14.  Better to add the mile now, than to have to add it when I’ve reached the house at mile 21.  That can be a cruel mental test when you are so close to being finished.

Strangely, I felt strongest late in the run, the miles were ticking by easily.  My pace was holding steady, the only slowing was occurring over the final few miles as I hit the trail and the ground was very soft underfoot.  I was having to dodge large puddles and my shoes were getting heavy with mud and soft gravel.

As I made the turn back out of the trail and into the neighborhood I took a few heavy steps to shake loose some of the extra “weight” my shoes were carrying and pushed for home.

22 miles, 2:41:10, 7:20 pace.  Over a full marathon that translates to roughly 3:11:50. 

Just 1:51 off of our “B” goal for the race and a new PR by roughly 6 minutes.

Not too shabby I thought as I walked for 1/2 mile as part of my cooldown.  I revisited Tom Fleming’s quote as I was heading into the house, knowing that I had sent the Austin Marathon a little bit of a message this morning.

I was the one out there training today.  In fact I did not see another runner at any point over those 22 miles.

Hey Austin, I hope you got the message this morning.  In 6 weeks, you are in a world of trouble.

  1. Jodi Higgins says:

    And this my friend is exactly why you are going to crush it on February 20th! Another favorite quote of mine from our high school track team was “I’m the runner your coach warned you about”. It definitely fits in your situation yesterday. Way to stick to it and head out in the elements! Rain for you and frozen eyelashes and sub zero feel temperatures for us. We were definitely strong yesterday!! Way to go Joe!!!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jodi! Man, I might have to pirate that quote come race day. I usually have a mantra that I repeat during a marathon – I’m not quite there yet, but I have an idea rolling around in my mind …. take good care!

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