29 March 2011

Nearly there

"Are we there yet?" That's what Kathryn and I wanted to know this past Friday when after 3 hours we weren't home yet. 18 miles is a long way to run (but we'll do one longer before race day), but it's a lot nicer to run together than alone.

Speaking from experience. Looking over last year's training log, I see that my last 3 long runs were solo: 16, 18, 21. All of them in the Morton Arboretum, and I think all of them cold. Coach Rich set me up well earlier by introducing me to those roads, pacing me, and encouraging me through some dumb mistakes.

This year it has been great to get nearly all the long runs in with Kathryn. We will run the Big Sur course together, so why not train together? It isn't convenient, living about 25 miles apart as we do. But she's a good sport to come out on the weekend, and we try to keep our time flexible, convenient, and fun.

She had a foot injury - probably resulting from the 14 miler we did on our last outing together. She missed her 16, which I did alone on the Prairie Path a two weeks ago today. But as of this past weekend, the foot was back intact, and she had some catching up to do. We decided to scale back the pace quite a bit (which, now I think of it, might have been prudent on our 14-miler). Understand me now - I really enjoyed running this slow!

Last year even my longest training runs came in at just under 9-minute miles. So Kathryn's proposed 11-minute miles struck me as ... I don't know, pokey? Kathryn, you know I love you, right? But once we settled into the pace, I have to say it was downright enjoyable. She was good at not letting me push our pace, and that helped me just relax and enjoy.

We started late morning, because it was yet another cold overcast late March day. [Insert grr here] We thought we'd have sunshine before we were done, but knew it wouldn't warm up. And it didn't warm up; but the sun came out within minutes of our start, so we had a nice, long, slow run in the sun. Our route was the Illinois Prairie Path - again, deferring to the recovering foot we were staying off the hills we should be training on. Closed out of the western leg due to tree removal crews, we turned back east and enjoyed the run through Wheaton into Glen Ellyn, then back to Winfield and through the Hawthorne Woods subdivision of West Chicago.

This week is scaled back, and next week is our longest training run - 21 miles. We will hit the hills this week, and see about the 21. Kathryn has demonstrated that she is ready to go the distance. She just has to believe that she can, relax and enjoy. I'll try to help with that, by learning to enjoy her pace!

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