am i ready?

this morning, i did my final long run before the top of utah marathon in three weeks.  i ran 26.5 miles over rolling hills in the redmond watershed preserve.
first of all, it’s nice running there again.  the preserve’s been closed for most of the summer, as a gas line running the length of it is replaced.  the uw x-country team ran there this morning too.  they ran past us fast, chatting up a storm, making us old folks feel like we were standing still.
second of all, 26 miles is a hell of a long way.  i was fine until about 19.  then my hamstrings tightened up, my calves tightened up, and i forgot to shut off the negative messages for a while so i whined to myself a bit.  at the very end, i threw in 3 minute-long accelerations – running at about a 7 min/mile pace (my training pace for the rest of the run was closer to 10 min/mile). 
i checked in on my cadence several times – it got slower over the course of the run (down to 74 from 80).  i did belly-breathing early, but forgot to do it later in the run.  i leaned carefully, trying to keep my column straight.  and i did another mind trick that i read about in this month’s runner’s world magazine – touching each fingertip to my thumbtip over and over as i ran – both hands at the same time.  it’s a little harder than it sounds and keeps your mind off of the seemingly endless slog through the woods.  little things like that can help, but they have no purpose other than taking the focus off of your physical state.
it got warm today.  right now it’s about 84.  it climbed into the high 70s when i was running.  this is supposed to be as warm as it gets in logan later this month.  i drank lots of sport drink – about 58 oz of accelerade and another 48 of gatorade (including the 16 oz i chugged down right after finishing).  that’s a lot more than i have been drinking.  i felt kind of bloated for it too – but being hot, i was very thirsty.
i only had company for the first 5.5 miles.  ram, kim, leslie, laine, and the two marks all bailed on me after that.  most of them are planning to do races in the midwinter, so their mileage is going to be lower.  it was a bit of a bummer not to have company, but i’ve been mostly training solo for utah so i’m used to it.  conundrum – i like social running, but really like the results i’m feeling from my more structured training (which i’ll never convince anyone else to do at the same time).  so – yeah – i run solo.
of course the run finished me for the day.  kris and the girls buzzed all over the house cleaning while i sat on my back end talking about being tired.  that only works sometimes, but i really meant it today.
overall, a pretty good run.  i am a bit concerned about how i’ve been tightening up – but since i’m not stretching at all afterwards, what else would i expect?

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