We are now officially less than two weeks out from Rocky Raccoon 100. Where does the time go?
I like that we've picked an early-season 100 mile race so that we can still properly recover and rejuvenate without feeling like we're missing out on anything before starting to ramp up again for the spring/summer/rest of the season :)
Saturday, Geof and I milled around the apartment in the early morning, and then forced ourselves out the door around 11:30 for our long run. Neither of us were in the best of spirits due to the cruddy, utterly depressing weather we were having...low 40's, but unbelievably dreary and nasty out. The entire city was shrouded in dense fog and blah. You couldn't see the tops of most of the highrises even. Plus, it was windy as a mutha. We decided to go north for a change, and instead of gambling with the Oak Street Beach ice-capade, we stuck to inner Lake Shore Drive until the underpass near Michigan Avenue, thus bypassing all the ice that still hung out on The Curve. From there, we ran.
We were both in shorts, but by the end we wouldn't have minded long tights :) It was a little misty out, so I was glad to have on my waterproof jacket. I was trying out my new Nathan Intensity hydration pack and while I liked it a lot, I did not love it. Since I can be lazy at times, I didn't want to put anything but water in the pack (too much work to clean it out!), so I still carried a bottle with my Perpetuem in it. Maybe it just takes some getting used to, having something strapped to your back. Then again, I've never lamented my Nathan Vest (non-hydration) before so perhaps I'm just out of practice with having something there. The plus? there was almost zero bounce going on, and what little there was was negligible. I'm still planning on using it for a loop or two at Rocky, though :-)
More than a few people felt compelled to comment on our shorts attire. C'mon, it's not like it was freezing temps, it was just gross out. Anywho, we ran and ran and ran. Neither of us were sure (quietly) about how far we'd go, but we pushed it and made it 10 miles out, so that meant we were getting in our much desired 20 miles. Not gonna lie, it was tough. While my legs felt tons better than they did during last week's 20-miler, and I felt more..spritely...this time it was a mental battle of sorts. Once I realized I had mis-calculated how far we'd gone (checked against Geof's GPS) I wanted to stomp my feet and whine like a 2-year old right there. "Only 9.1 miles, are you kidding me?! We still have another mile to go?!!" While I did in fact still whine about it like a 2-year old, we kept moving forward. It took me the rest of that mile to get over it :)
After a pit stop in the Starbuck's on Sheridan, we put our heads down and cranked it out. Once back on the actual Lakefront Path, the miles passed by slightly more easily. It took all we had not to hop on the redline at Hollywood and call it a day :) The wind had picked up and chilled us both to the bone. But we kept at it. I could tell we were moving a little faster than the week before, and despite the mental challenge of it, I was feeling physically good.
And then we bought bananas. Pulling off the path at Michigan again, we stopped at a new convenience store around the corner from us and bought bananas for our protein smoothies. Twenty miles = done and done! We finished this week's run in 3:27 (last week's was 3:31) and that even included the 5 or so minutes at Starbucks for our bathroom break. Bam! I'll take it.
Sunday, we got in a quick 5.5 miles to shake out the long run stiffness. It felt good and I had a lot more spring in my step than a week ago. My ankles flared up once we got home and it's still bothering me some today, but now it's TAPER TIME so that means lots of rest, more ice, ibuprofen as needed, and lots of foam rolling to prep the legs for the ultimate. Can't wait!
Now, what to eat? :)