Well, with just 4 weeks until the marathon, one wonders if the magic of training will come together to allow me to reach my goal.
Today's run was to be a 20 miler and I originally set out with a goal of doing the last 5 miles at race pace (7:50/mile, 4:52/k). But 13 miles into it, I was feeling good and approaching that sort of speed anyhow, so I decided to step it up and do the last 7 miles at race pace.
Everything appeared to be going well until the 6th race-pace mile. A combination of slight headwind, the heat from the sun, and the fact that my muscles were getting tired forced me to walk -- as much as I hated the thought. After a bit of dry-heaves attempts at puking and a couple hundred metres of walking, I was able to get back on track again and knocked off that last mile at pretty close to long-run (5:11/k) pace. Here are my kilometre splits:
5:17 (600 m.)
Jenny ran with me for 6 kilometres in the middle of the run, which was much appreciated.
I did try something different on this run: drinking pickle juice. Because of its high salt and potassium content, its supposed to be quite good at preventing and curing leg cramps. While I didn't have any leg cramps today, my calves were very sore after I took the walk-break with a mile to go -- but not before. So my sense is that while it can prevent leg cramps, it certainly doesn't take the place of training: You either have the leg muscle or you don't. I'm not sure if the dry heaves have anything to do with the pickle juice. I've done that before when I've been overheating. And because I wasn't puking up anything, my sense is that the pickle juice I'd consumed a half-hour earlier wasn't in my system any more.
The biggest concern, of course, is that it was just a 20 mile run. I have to do 24 miles next weekend and 26.2 on race day. If I'm being forced to walk at the 19 mile mark, I could be in for some trouble. But that is where once trusts in the magic of tapering and race day.
Sitting here 12 hours later while I type this post, my legs feel pretty good. So I'm hoping I built some muscle today!