Fellow blogger and training buddy John went to Ireland for his annual golf outing with his buddies. The pictures he took of Ireland's golf courses blew me away. The landscape is both beautiful and treacherous from a golfing standpoint. Too much wild grassy areas and rolling country-side make these courses look extremely difficult. Pictured above is a sand trap. You literally have to walk down a flight of wooden steps to get down into the thing. I can't imagine trying to hit the ball out of one of these things.
Our training for the Seattle Marathon has been very much like hitting into one of these sand traps. Both John and I got behind the curve in our long runs. I was supposed to do a 15 miler 2 weeks ago, but only ended up doing a 12 miler with John the night of my son's graduation party. John planned to try to get in a 14 mile training run in Ireland, but never managed to get off the course in time to allow him to put on his running shoes. Meanwhile, back in South Florida, it has rained about every day for the last 10 days. Don't get me wrong, we needed the rain, but it made it hard to get outdoors for a run. With all the rain, the humidity has stayed above 90% making for slog runs. Neither of our base mileage totals are were where we wanted them. We were in a training sand trap.
What do you do when you're in a sand trap? Get down in it and try your best to hit out of it. That's what we did. While John was away in Ireland, I dropped all cross training and started doing treadmill runs almost every day. Last weekend, I did a 20 mile long run on the treadmill. A chore indeed, but it had to be done. The following week, I alternated between 10K recovery/base mileage runs and 5K speed work runs...all on the treadmill. I would sing "Rain, Rain, go away," but as I said, we needed the rain.
Today, John & I returned to the outdoor long run by doing a 17 miler. With all the mileage and the prior weekends long run, I somehow tripped the switch in my body that tells me I'm marathon ready. The long runs go from being a bit of a chore, to feeling nice and easy to complete. I get in that "Little Engine That Could" mode and just plug away at the mileage.
John, having done nothing but walk the links for 5 days, had it a bit harder. He had a leg muscle hiccup about mile 13, where his foot started bothering him a little and he fell off pace a bit. But by mile 14 he was picking up the pace and was just off to my left back shadowing me. It was supposed to be a 15 mile run, but John had upped the ante to 16 on the outbound, and decided to tack on another mile at the end of the run to get back to the 17 he had on the calender he made for himself at the beginning of training. Not bad for someone whose last long run was 12 miles two weekends prior.
So, it looks like we've gotten ourselves out of the training sand trap and back onto the fairway. Of course, this will only take us through the Seattle Marathon hole of the 18 hole course that is our training for Ironman Arizona.
I'm already getting a little anxious about ignoring our swimming and biking the last couple of weeks as we focused on our running. But that's the next hole. I can barely see the tees for the next hole from here. I'm still trying to hit onto the green of landing in Seattle on June 25th.