Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Home Stretch

Four weeks from today is the Detroit Half Marathon. I have four full weeks of training left. Starting tomorrow, all of my regular weekday runs will be five miles in length. I will be getting up and running five miles before going to work. Holy crap.

Yesterday I ran another eight miles. Even though during the run I felt like I was moving slowly, I finished it in the same amount of time I did last week: 1:17. I ate another two packets of Gu, but this time I had Espresso Love (yummy) and Chocolate Outrage (YUMMY!!). This time the Gu did not sit so easily. I felt like I had a lead ball in my stomach and I had an annoying side stitch from about mile 1.5 on, which I never get. I deployed some breathing tricks I've learned from my vocal training to stretch my intercostal muscles and diaphragm, which alleviated the pain somewhat. I was very irritated because I have had very good luck in keeping side stitches at bay. In fact, I never even had to consciously think about avoiding them because I simply just didn't get them. However, yesterday I did. That, plus my general feeling of stomach heaviness, had me convinced I was going to be slower for this 8-mile run than I was last week. That turned out to not be the case.

Interesting. I felt like I was going more slowly...but I maintained the same 9:37/mile pace I did last week. So...could I have run even faster and not had it bother me? Is this what (gasp) training is supposed to do for one's strength and stamina? You's actually working? Well, who would have thought.

It's becoming exponentially darker each successive morning. I spend most of my pre-work runs in total darkness. My five-mile loop includes a section (from about mile 1.5 to mile 2, along Dexter-Chelsea Rd.) where I have to run directly on a road (there is no sidewalk). I'm kind of nervous about this as people don't always pay attention. I have my reflective vest, and I hope it will keep me safe. I'll hug the berm as close as I can but past that I'd be running in the ditch. And past that are the railroad tracks and that's so not even an option. It's only for a half-mile, which taken out of five isn't that bad, but a lot can happen in even half a mile. I just have to trust that the good Chelsea folk heading to work aren't yammering on their cell phones and not paying attention to the road that early in the morning.

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