The theory behind the Hansons training program is "cumulative fatigue." There isn't a big 20-mile run, because no single run makes or breaks the program. Some runs are more purposeful than others, but the idea is to gradually and consistently exhaust the legs, then keep going, and learn to run through the pain and the boredom and the exhaustion. Marathon training is about training the mind as much as it is about training the body.
We're ten days out and I STILL don't know my race pace. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the absurdity of how much time and consideration I've put into this. Esoteric problems of the very fortunate...) I skipped Monday's tempo run when I felt mildly flu-like, so today's tempo run was my very last "something of substance" run, and it was an important run, because today's outcome would go a long way toward determining my race pace.
Tuesday had been crazy humid and close to 80 degrees. Then it rained and became fall. Today was mid-60s, low humidity, full sun, and just enough breeze to challenge me. It was PERFECT running weather!!!!
The Hansons wanted 10 miles at race pace, and I was exhausted, so exhausted after working 4 am-3:30 pm, but I knew the sooner I ran, the sooner I could go to bed! lol The first few miles were easy. They always are. Around mile 4, I started pacing off the boys' cross-country team, which did great things for my confidence. Aside from the fact that I'm old enough to be their mother, they're teenagers and boys, two factors that should make them faster than me, but I kept up pretty handily, and when they stopped, I kept going :D
At the 6-mile mark, I did a body check. Was there any way in the world I could last another 20 miles at this pace?
Lungs? Stay away from student germs and third-hand smoke, and we got this!
Legs? All day long!!!!
Brain? ummm It's soooooooo far, and fast. I'm tired. I'm bored. I'm cold. Where's the water? Let's walk.
My only problem is the gray matter in my skull. I know this!!! I got myself through 10 miles alone without any sustained agony, but can the pace team and the crowd carry me through the next 16?!???!??
Then I thought, this might be a moot point. When I registered, I predicted a 4:30 finish, which put me squarely in the G corral (got my race number today - 36243). If I run 9:30s though, that's a 4:10 finish, which is the F corral. If I'm in a different corral from the pace team, that's just not going to work. I checked, and there are TWO 4:10 groups, in corrals E and G. I have to try!!!! I have to! Magic happens in Chicago! And maybe I crash and burn and fall all the way back to the 4:25 group. Finishing with them would still get me sub-4:30.
Stay healthy, stay focused, stay determined. You got this, girl!!!! (Yes, I'm feeling a little grandiose. I might have had a drink while I typed this haha First one all month, last one til my big 312 draft in the finishing chute :D