Sunday, July 14, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 10

This week I decided it was about  time to make up my mind for real. Was I just going to train for the Athens Classic or would I actually go ahead and do a serious attempt at the event. I would have liked the training to come a little further before making the final decision but on the other hand, if I later decided to go for it and found out that the number of participants had filled up, I would regret my hesitation. So I registered. But for the rest of that evening I was asking myself over and over: "What have I done?"
 Now a few days later I'm content with my decision and will soon start looking for tickets and a hotel for the stay in Athens.

This was also the week when I recorded the longest distance ever. Probably also the longest distance covered in one run but since I don't have a complete log I'm not really sure if maybe I've done a similar distance earlier. More about the long run below.

Tuesday: Once again I ran further than intended but it is hard to quit when running is going well and the weather is great and you are having fun.

Thursday: Ran a loop of 7.5 kms and by going for the loop I had made my mind up not to go too far. The loop is done on roads some of it is tarmac and some is gravel roads. I tried to take it slow and easy to save myself for the upcoming Sunday run.

Sunday: The longrun for this week is scheduled to almost 28 kms and I settled for making it exactly 28. Having my last longrun in mind, when booth my knees were aching for the last bit, and considering an 11.6km race this coming  Friday I decided I would be very careful today. I would run slow. I also abandoned the usual 3/1 run/walk ratio to the more moderate 2/1. I was also wondering how I would manage this since I went out unusually early, I left home at 8 am and I usually run evenings so would I make it with only breakfast for fuel. I brought water and some snacks for fueling along the way. The morning was beautiful, sunny but not too warm and the breeze was cooling, I also started out in the shade of trees so I was doing fine. I kept the 2/1 ratio rather strict but did walk some uphill sections in the early stage. I had set out on the same route as last time and was planning an additional loop towards the end to get the distance needed but as I begun to calculate distances I found that the additional loop would be much too long so I abandoned that idea and tried to come up with something new. I needed an extra 5 kms or so and didn't know where I could find them. I could have just run a 2.5 out and back on any road I passed but what is the challenge in that.
  When the Garmin beeped and I looked at it to find it was signalling 7kms I suddenly realized. "Oh, I'm going to run a half marathon from here before I'm done." At that point I felt a little low-spirited but shook it off and kept going.
  At around 10kms I was caught up by a guy and we started to chat. He was from Morocko but now lives here and wanted us to speak English since he had difficulties with the Swedish language. No problems, I'm used to speaking English into the microphone when running but I didn't mention that. It was great to have company and we talked, mostly about running, for 3 or maybe 4 kms. Then we wished each other good luck, he turned towards his home and I continued running in search of the missing 5 kms. Running and chatting with him was great but maybe I did a mistake here since I didn't take the walkbreaks as we were running together.
  So I continued towards the city and instead of turning towards home I ran into town. I ran through one smaller and one larger park and found myself coming towards the canal and since that's a nice area I went on to the path that follows the canal and ran towards the locks. When I entered the canal I was quite warm and felt the need to jump in the water to cool myself but managed to resist that. That would in fact be a very bad idea since the current is strong and the walls of the canal are high and steep. Just as I left the canal I found a place where I could get access to the water and I stopped and soaked my hat. Putting the wet hat on my head felt good.
  Ok, so I kept estimating the remaining distance and according to my qualified guessing I was still 3 kms short. So I added another loop at the edge of a recreational area and then headed towards home. Well on familiar roads with known distance markers like mail boxes, rocks and houses. I found I was still missing half a km, so at the end I resigned and did a smaller out and back on a road. The Garmin was approaching 28 kms and I was approaching home. The Garmin won but that was all according to plan. I stopped the watch and walked the last few hundred meters to cool down.
  My right knee was aching a little towards the end but not as bad as last time and my left knee was fine so by continuing with the stretching of the ITB band I think I'll be fine.

Total distance for the week: 45km/28miles. Rather impressive for being me.

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