News flashed across Charlotte a few weeks ago that Phyllis Neriah was again putting on one of her SLR Unsanctioned Races. This time, the race was an almost ½ marathon in honor Paul Ryan's much publicized marathon PR.
After checking out the race logistics, I thought, I can make this work. Maybe not easily but yes, I think it could work.
Fast forward to this morning and I am up at 4 AM to get ready for the race. I'm leaving the house shortly after 5 AM for the drive across Charlotte to the McMullen Greenway.
Yes, the race didn't start until 7:30 but I needed 22 miles this morning. And, I felt like this would be an excellent opportunity for me to get in a fast long run finish.
With head lamp, cliff shots, and hand helds in place, I took off for the opening 10 miles solo along the very dark and very scary McMullen Greenway.
78 minutes later, I was back at my car to reload with H20 and pin on my race number before taking off on the up tempo part of the 22 miler. After a few words from Peter and an acknowledgement of Phyllis' fantastic efforts, we were off.
I quickly settled in with 4 other guys. After a couple of miles, our group dwindled down to 3 of us by 3 miles and by 4 miles, two of us. And by the turn around I was running alone.
I hadn't planned it this way. I hadn't even switched out to my usual tempo shoes. Nor had I changed my watch to capture the splits. No, this was to be about effort and effort only. I did reload my water bottle so they would be their heaviest.
If I felt good, I was stay with the pace. If I started to tire, I would let the pace drag. It's all about feeling when to push and when to rest.
The miles coming back started to take their toll my legs and my feet. After all, most of the others in this race were just running 12 miles and hadn't been up for running a 10 mile warm up in 78 minutes before hand.
Around 20 miles, I could feel my legs really starting to ache and the muscles start to tighten up. Changing direction quickly was getting harder.
I was never happier than to see the finish line. The clock read 1:15:36 for the 12 miles which is around 6:30 pace.
There was some humidity but the temperatures were down and this made for an awesome run.
Aside from the fast finish effort, I also got to check out some other things. Like, can I easily chew a cliff shot while running hard? Then, there is idea carrying water during a race or hard workout which I never do, but today, I did.
The primary reason I was trying these things was that I wanted to see what it felt like. I have a 50k coming up in 3 weeks and I needed to figure out what to wear, what to eat, and what to carry. All of these things will come into play during my 50k. I wanted see what felt like to run hard for a long time and carry those darn "hand held" bottles. My honest opinion, I am not a fan. My "trapz" felt like they wanted to seize up. I could definitely feel the ache in them around 10 miles.
But all and all, the 22 miles run went off very well. For the entire 22 miles, I averaged 7:09 pace and came away with no blisters but a lot of soreness. Well, more soreness tomorrow, but you get what I am saying.
Anyway, this is enough about me.
Everyone should give Phyllis a huge "thanks" for stepping up and organizing these events. The commitment to time and effort should never be taken for granted. Then, there is Peter who makes the trip over from Albemarle to time the event and to print us out those great shirts. A big "thanks" goes out to Peter for this effort.
These are the people in our running community that set the standard for "making a difference".
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner.