Two weeks ago I ran the Rogue 30K, which is the second-to-last race in the Austin Distance Challenge. Since I imagine everybody is doing math in their heads right now, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that works out to 18.6 miles. But, since it was also our peak training week for the Austin Marathon, my group added on a few miles at the beginning and the end to make it a nice, round 22 miles. That’s my longest training run ever, and of that I’m pretty proud. When I trained for my first marathon, like many people do, I only ran 20 miles once. This time, I’ve done 20-plus miles three times, and I feel much better prepared. Last time I hit the wall hard at around 20 miles, and I’m hoping that won’t happen — or at least that it won’t be quite as painful — this time around.
Even though I pretty much treated the 30K as a training run, it was indeed a race, and a good tune-up race for the marathon. I finished in 3:18, which was basically with the 4:40 marathon pace group.* More importantly, though, I ran it with a good friend and running buddy of mine who is moving away soon (*sniff*) and we had a blast.
* My goal for this marathon was originally to PR, hopefully by a good chunk of time, over my 4:54 finish at the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2009, and to feel as good as possible doing it. That last goal is still intact, but with the illness and injury issues I’ve had this season, my real goal is just to finish at this point, whatever my time may be. Not saying I don’t have a super-secret ninja goal, too, but if I shared it with you, it wouldn’t really be secret, now would it?
I was thrilled to discover that this race also netted me one of my favorite race photos ever (besides this one). I was almost to the finishing chute when this was taken, and I saw Nora and the hubby cheering for me, so I broke into a smile. I actually look like I’m both actually running and happy, which is more than I can say for most of my race photos.
It wasn’t all puppies and rainbows, though — a nagging foot injury got worse around mile 15 and I was in a good deal of pain by the end of the race. Even though it was only 3 weeks before the marathon, I had to make an emergency shoe purchase (a new pair of my old standby Nike model) and bench my Newtons for now. I’m still hoping the Newtons work out eventually, since I love them for shorter distances, but running that long in them just wasn’t working for me and my high arches. Also, my Garmin died just before we hit 18 miles. I’m a compulsive watch-checker, and having it go out on me just before the end of a race was not cool. Not cool at all. So I had to replace it with a new one that can hopefully make it 26.2 miles without freaking out. It’s brand new, so it should be able to!
That’s my brief and scattered race report. If you’re just here for the food, you won’t have to deal with these running posts for a while after this month, since the Austin Marathon is coming up on February 17. Yikes! I’m psyched but ready for it to be over… and now that I completed my last 20-miler this past weekend, taper madness can begin in earnest. Fasten your seatbelts!