Monday, September 28, 2009

Tick...Tick...Tick...Two Weeks to Go

As this training cycle winds down, so do things to talk about. In a lot of ways, this week of the cycle is the toughest. The miles are reduced, there is only one tough run to look forward to and the excitement that comes with marathon week is still a week away. With that, let the rambling begin.

Last week ended with a total 0f 55.1 miles. Nothing too fancy. I commented to some friends that it was kind of a boring week. Pretty amazing, considering I gimped my way to a peak of 54 miles last September. I did put in a 17 mile long run yesterday. It was pretty uneventful, minus covering the last half mile or so the marathon course in the middle of the run. The run started a little after 6 in the morning on the lake path. If you like to run (even a little bit) and live close to Chicago, I'd encourage you to wake up early on a Sunday and hit the lakefront path. It was pretty empty for much of the first half of my run. You kind of feel like you own the city and wonder why everyone couldn't be out there enjoying the fresh air, the sunrise and the view out over the lake. I put a ton of slower-paced songs on my shuffle last week to try to keep my paces in check. Combine that with the general peacefulness and it was borderline religious.

As I was down near Soldier Field approaching my turn around point, I decided to head to over to Roosevelt so I could run the last bit of the marathon. Now, it's not new to me as this will be my 6th time running Chicago. Wow. That last line makes me feel kind of old. I would have never imagined that my running habit would be born after I laced up my running shoes that fateful day just about 6 years ago. Back to the run - I headed west over Roosevelt and hit Michigan Avenue. I stopped on the corner, kind of peeked south, looking at the part of the course that precedes the final 0.3 miles or so. I turned around and started running. I remembered one of the other times I ran over that stretch in the marathon. The sidewalks packed, runners all around and digging as deep as humanly possible to make it over that bridge and make that final left turn up Columbus. It's very odd to see it pretty close to empty. At 7 something in the morning, there's hardly anyone out and I was able to actually run that stretch on the street. Pretty bizzare, as I have played out this stretch hundreds of times in my head. What will the giant clock above the finish line read as it slowly comes into focus? Despite my heart rate jumping up a tad, I was able to keep my pace pretty even despite knowing that in two weeks to the day, I'd be giving it all I had in that very spot and hopefully bringing home a 3:10 or better. Overall, the run went well, as I was able to average an 8:20 pace across the 17 miles, with an average heart rate of 145.

This upcoming week will feature only 43 miles, but will include a 13 miler on Sunday. I am considering trying to make that 13 mile run cover a good chunk of the last half of the marathon course. If I can figure out the logistics of either parking or taking the L down, I'll do it. I also have my last tough workout on Thursday. It will be an 8 mile run with 3x1600 at 5K pace in the middle. Fun times.

Besides that, I am trying to rest the legs and not overdo the eating over the next two weeks. I have been in the mode of eating whenever I feel the urge over the last 16 weeks and have not had to think about the ramifications because of the number of miles I have logged. That obviously has to change with the reduced miles the rest of the way. I'll probably check in a few times next week with some pre-marathon excitement posts and will put up a picture of my race day shirt. Until then, see you later.
Oh, if you are planning on coming out either with my regular support crew (which appears to be a little thin) or on your own, please let me know. If you are on your own, I'll need to know where you'll be and I can give you a pretty good idea on when I'll be passing that area.

Also, you can track me here on race day:
You can sign up for texts or emails letting you know of my splits. For the record, I am bib number 2033.


Puerto Rican Kenyan said...

It sounds like we're definitely dealing with some similar themes in our entries this week, not surprisingly.

With regards to the training run on the course, I agree that the logistics is the most challenging part of it. I have used public transportation, and I find that the commute time to and from the respective start and endpoints take almost the same amount of time as the run itself. I don't know what the parking situation is like downtown on Sunday mornings, but that could be a less time consuming option.

Melissa Fanaro said...

Hi Paul,

We will be near LaSalle and Chicago and near McCormick Place. We will be looking for you. I signed up to get alerts. We will be wearing our "Running for Cru" shirts :)


Greg said...

Alright slick.. I'll have my lawnchair... in front of my computer that is.. tracking your splits. I can't wait... this is gonna be good stuff!!!

ExSoccerGuy said...

Zab, I think the anticipation I'm feeling is only slightly less than what I felt this time last year, and I'm not even running the damned thing!

You couldn't have trained any better; your tune-up races have been amazing; you are healthy (keep it that way!); and you WILL (I repeat, WILL!) get perfect weather.

I think I'm stuck with the first round of beers in Boston. DOn't pass up a chance for a cold one on me.

Preston said...

Wow I didn't know you have run Chicago six times!