Monday, October 12, 2009

Up the Mountain

I have lots to talk about, but will hit the heavy stuff on another post. For now, the focus is on running.

Our family, mother and sister in tow, went to the Cumberland Plateau this weekend to our little hideaway in Beersheba Springs. Normally, the overlook of nearly 1,000 feet is breathtaking. This weekend, it was rainy and foggy. We had a nice fire and great food, but no view.

I left the cabin at 8:30 Saturday morning to hit my last double-digit training run before the Cape Cod Marathon. Hard to believe it's two weeks away. Humidity was 100% and the temp was around 58 degrees. I ran on top of the plateau for the first 1.8 miles and then headed down the mountain. The elevation change was more than 900 feet down three winding miles. The grade was an average 6%, as high as 8% in spots.

My plan was to run back up the mountain on the return. My reasoning was twofold. I needed some climbs before Cape Cod, and I always wanted to run up a mountain like this.

At the base, the five-mile mark, I tacked on a mile out and back. The valley view was stunning, even in the mist. On the return, I started my ascend at seven miles. I went into a zone, just focused on working up the hill. After 1.2 miles, I did a brisk walking fuel and stretch, maybe for a minute. I renewed the run, getting in another mile before another brief stretch. With a mile to go to the peak, I told myself the work I was doing now would pay huge dividends in two weeks. I scaled Beersheba Mountain, averaging an 11:30/mile pace.

I had to take a real break at the top. I was spent. For a few minutes, I just walked. When my legs came back, I started running to compete the 12-miler. Around a bend, I saw five noticeable figures - my Mom, sister, Dori and the kids. They were headed to Beersheba Porcelain, a three-mile walk for them. The kids call it Pug Pottery because of the small dog that greets them at the door.

Speaking of the kids, they recorded personal bests at the final cross country meet yesterday afternoon. Will ran a 7:40 mile, finishing in the Top 20 for the first time this year (18th), while Kathryn ran a 7:35 mile, finishing 8th, a best by three spots. They looked strong.

I needed to run again last night, so I headed to Radnor Lake at dusk. I ran easy the first half, getting loose from Saturday's run. On the return, I floored it, running eight-minute miles, hardly feeling like I was working. I finished the 3.8 miles in 33:45, an 8:52/mile pace. Weekly mileage was 28.5. I'll taper this week into the low 20s, then almost shut down next week.

I am ready to run a marathon.

Congratulations, by the way, to my training friends who finished the Chicago Marathon yesterday. I saw finishing times for Sara, Jim, Joelle, Kathy, Erin and Rosemary. Way to go, gang.

No comments: