Two long runs left on my “rapid ramp up” to the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 3rd.
I am a fair-weather runner. I cannot get out in the winter and I limit myself to short bursts on the treadmill. The spring marathon always sneaks up on me and I typically end up doing an abreviated training program and struggle the whole way.
This is just my way of saying that my training is right where it always is this time of year.
With the spring weather being unpredictable at best, I tend to watch the weather reports before selecting the day of my long run. This weekend, I had flexibility in my schedule…always a good thing.
Wednesday got hot…84F hot. But lots of lightning. Pass.
Thursday was cooler, but still well above average. Low 60’s expected. The wind would be the issue.
The rest of the week would be below normal…highs in the low 40’s with a “real feel” in the mid thirties.
I am tired of layers. So Thursday was the day.
I had run 6 laps of 3 miles last week. I was hoping for seven (21 miles) this time. If I could get 21 this week and 24 miles next week, then I would go into the race feeling as ready and as confident as I could imagine. At some point, I would need to crack the 20 mile mark. I was hoping that this was the day.
The winds had other plans. It had been a long time since I faced winds like these. 30 mph sustained winds. Gusts up to 41 mph. When I ran into a headwind, I was barely going at a walking speed. The cross winds knocked me around, and sometimes onto the shoulder of the road. This took it’s toll quite quickly. I almost packed it is after one lap, but decided this was good training, so I forged ahead. Besides, this was running in shorts, a t-shirt and sunscreen…which I have not done in a long time.
Ultimately, I fell short of my goal. I stopped after six laps (18 miles) of very slow running (3:23). It’s ok. I am still building my base. One more chance at 20+ miles next week before I taper down.
The downside is that my foot and ankle were giving me some issues during this run (they were not last week). My left knee was also not happy…and threatening to buckle out on me at times. These are reminders that I am injuring my body and that my decision to stop marathon running after this season is a wise one. But, I still want to wring out a few more before I hang up my marathon shoes for good…