I always imagine marathon training to be like an awkwardly shaped mountain - it keeps building to the summit and then drops off. Well, this week we have reached the pinnacle. I know that, once I survive this cycle workouts, everything will be downhill afterward.
Monday: 5 Miles - Today was definitely one of those times when I was grateful for the gift of running. Just letting my body set the pace, I trotted along enjoying the amazing sunshine and cool breeze. I even pushed myself a little up the hills feeling the burn in my core. This is going to be a good week.
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: 10 Miles - Picking up the peanut from here babysitter early, we headed to the park for an easy stroller run. About halfway through the workout, the wife met up with us so I could do the hand-off and finish the workout solo. However, to my surprise, these last five miles seemed harder than for the first, since my body was accustomed to pushing the little one along. When you get into the rhythm, changes become much harder to adjust to.
Thursday: 5 Miles - Like Monday, I felt like I was gliding along over these miles. The ease of last week seems to still be paying off up to this point. I'm hoping that, if tapering works this well, I'll be feeling strong come race morning.
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 20 Miles - I'm still in disbelieve that today was the peak distance of peak week. Like a decent contingent of runners who live in the 'burgh, I took advantage of the course preview run hosted by Steel City Road Runners. Meeting up with some of my Up-N-Running group members, we set out through the city of bridges to help prepare ourselves for May 7th. And by set out, I mean we ran about a block then were stopped at a light...then ran a block and stopped at another light...then ran a block and stopped at another light. You get the idea. I was reminded why I much prefer country running than doing miles in the city. Eventually, after making it out of downtown, we were able to cruise along. We kept a pretty decent pace, when not stopped at the various intersections or attempting to figure out which way to turn (none of us had grabbed maps and we were in between page groups!). And if nothing else, we now have a better idea of the route with all the horror stories put into perspective.
Sunday: 10 Miles Pace - With tired legs, I set out on the run today knowing that it was all about hitting the my goal pace. Like the past several workouts of this type, I set out to negative split the second half to condition myself to start out slow and kick it in at the end. While still ending up slightly faster overall than intended, I achieved what I set out to accomplish. I then promptly went and took an hour long nap.
By the end of this week, I was exhausted. The reserves of energy I had at the beginning were burned up and then some. My body is making itself heard that I may have pushed too hard too many times by my left knee developing a odd tightness/soreness. Beginning Week 16 with a rest day is a given, since it will all be tapering from here on out.