Training for this October's Munich Marathon is going well so far. Yesterday's run of 1:40 was a tough one, but I made it. During the two days before my long run I was doing a lot of stair climbing at work. One of the buildings where I work is being renovated and we had to remove all of the small things from the rooms. By 10 a.m. I lost count of the number of trips I made up and down stairs. The next day I had to bring some miscellaneous items to the basement from the second and third floors. No, that building doesn't have an elevator. I started off Sunday morning with tired legs.
My strategy was to go slowly and take it easy. I was slower than usual, which was a good thing. Otherwise I would never have made it. I also opted to go on my flat course instead of the hilly one to save wear and tear on my quads.
The Good: When I started off, my legs felt like they were made of lead. I started questioning my sanity about doing this run. But after a short while the endorphins kicked in and my legs felt good. Another good thing was that I was able to run the whole way even though I started feeling crappy toward the end. My only stops were refueling breaks every 30 minutes. If I start feeling like I want to quit during the marathon, I can draw on this training experience to get me through it. The weather was also cooperative. It was fairly cool with a little bit of light rain. The rain was very refreshing.
The Bad: The last 20 minutes or so were a real struggle. It was the first time this year I had run for this amount of time. My last long run, two weeks ago, was 90 minutes. I had been increasing my time by 10 minutes every two weeks. But the stair climbing from the previous days caught up to me. I told myself just to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I would make it home. Another strategy of dealing with the heavy legs was imagining that I was in the late stages of a marathon and to draw on how I dealt with this feeling in previous marathons.
The Fun: Even though I have made yesterday's run seem like a total torture session, there were several moments where I actually had fun. I started off to Pink Floyd's "On The Run" on the iPod. That's the perfect title for beginning a run. Two of the songs that were on my iPod playlist were Blondie's "Maria" and "Victoria" by the Kinks. I immediately thought of Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Viktoria Rebensburg, who are the two big stars of the German women's ski team and among the very best in the world. Those two songs have nothing to do with either Frau Hoefl-Riesch of Fraulein Rebensburg, but the mind does strange things when all of my blood is going to my legs instead of to my brain. My thoughts then segued into thinking about ski season and having fun on the slopes. More fun happened on a side trail that I took. It was muddy due to recent rain. Some of the mud was deep and almost felt like quicksand. It was a good workout for the quads to lift my feet out of the mud. I also thought it was fun to get a little dirty.
Next week's long run will be another 100 minute one. My legs should be fresher because I won't be doing any heavy stair climbing for two days before it. But I'm sure there will be some fun moments and ones that will help me in my upcoming marathon.