Slowly but surely my training has started to take on some consistency. It really hit me the other day that the marathon is in just 6 weeks, so no more excuses, time to get serious! I've decided it's more important to get in any time I can on my feet rather than only focusing on upping the mileage. I've planned out a schedule that I'm hoping to stick to over the next 6 weeks that should get me marathon-ready:
Mon: rest/strength training
Tues: run (3-6 mi)
Wed: run (3-6 mi)
Friday: run (3-6 mi)
Sat: run (3-6 mi)
Sun: long run
My runs during the week will probably range from 3-6 miles, simply because the routes I run near my house happen to be in those increments, plus I don't want to burn myself out. Sunday long runs will increase by 1 mile each week, peaking at 20 miles, and leaving at least a week or 2 for tapering before the big race. This is pretty similar to my training schedule before my first marathon, and it definitely felt like enough. Once in a while I might throw in a 6 or 9 mile run during the week, but other than that I want to take it somewhat easy during the week so I can have a good quality run on Sundays. I'm trying to fit in some speedwork or hills, too, but we'll see.
Last Friday I had an interesting run, heading from my house to the pier at Goleta Beach for an easy 6 miler. I always underestimate how early it starts to get dark, and so I usually end up finishing a ways after the sunsets. It's not that I fear for my safety after dark, but rather the variety of creatures that tend to come out. On multiple occasions I have had run ins with skunks and raccoon families, and I'll just say they are best avoided. As I was running down a hill next to the lagoon on campus, I noticed something long and skinny stretched out across the path in front of me. When I was right in front of it I suddenly realized it was a huge snake! Almost 4 feet long, it covered the entire path, so since there was no going around it I leapt into the air, hoping it wouldn't decide to strike. Safe on the other side, I turned around just in time to see it slithering away in the bushes. Once I was finally back in civilization, I picked up the pace a bit for the final stretch...only to trip over the sidewalk and go down, in front of several people! More embarrassing than painful, I jumped right up, turned the corner, and started sprinting away from all witnesses of my stumble.
Sunday morning I met up with my TNT friend and current coach for the new season, Tom, and his friend Stacey, also a current coach, for a long run. Stacey's friend Duncan was in town from New Zealand and joined us as well. We set out with a goal of 15 miles, running a portion along the marathon course. It was fun running through parts of Goleta I'd never been before, since most of our TNT runs were in downtown Santa Barbara, and also to get an idea of what the course will be like for SBIM. We started out way faster than I was used to, averaging about 10 minute miles for the first 6 miles, so at the turnaround I was pretty pooped. Stacey was feeling it a bit too, so we slowed it down significantly and did little walk intervals when we needed them. We walked a good part of mile 14 as we waited for Tom to catch up from a water stop, but it was a much needed break that gave us enough energy to finish the last mile strong. Afterward I was pretty exhausted, but I think a lot of it had to do with the inconsistent pacing. We met up a bit later for a hearty breakfast, and surprisingly, I wasn't nearly as sore as I usually am after a long run. I think it's because I was super hydrated during the run and I was constantly moving the rest of the day so my muscles didn't have time to tighten up as much. All in all it was a great time, and I'm looking forward to running with Tom and Stacey every Sunday!
Last night I ran my trusted 5k route around the West Campus lagoon for the first time in at least a month. I pushed the pace at about 10min/mi and felt really good the whole time. It was nice to be back running a route I'm so familiar with, especially since it was the main one I did during training for my first marathon. Anyway, things are looking good so far with training, and hopefully I'll keep it up!