The last Saturday of each month, the High Desert Runners has what we call the Apollo Rising Run… I am the instigator of this run… so I have to go. The plan is to invite everyone to come out and get in whatever run (or walk) they need to get in. The park has a 1 mile loop. It is newly paved – nice and smooth – pretty flat – perfect for fast running.
It is also a pretty place – for the desert…. There is a small lake, and trees. There are always lots of ducks… today there were Pelicans out in the middle of the lake… and I spotted this Blue Heron as well.
So everyone who wants to, shows up. They show up when they want and run as far and fast as they want. Most of us try to finish at about the same time so we can take a few minutes to be social. Some run clockwise, and some run counter clockwise, some – myself included, mix it up. It is kind of nice because even though you may be on your own, pace wise, you can still smile, wave, give thumbs up, acknowledge… others out there with you. The local running store, Runner’s Lane, has joined in and their Saturday training group gets out there as well.
As I train for Boston, I have been using the Apollo Rising run as a Fast Finish Long Run. This is a work out I gleaned (stole) from Greg McMillan (McMillan Running). He recommends a progression of Fast Finish Long runs building up to a marathon. His progression is 16, 18 and 20. You run the first 10 easy, then speed up to marathon goal pace for 4, 6, or 8 (respectively for the 16, 18, and 20), then you run the last two like you are racing a 5k.
Since I am running on a 3 or 4 day per week plan, with Elliptigo riding cross training, I have to make my 3 or 4 runs really count. They typically include an interval workout, a tempo workout and a long run. Also, again, since my weekly actual run totals will be relatively low compared to training regimens I’ve used in the past, I have decided to stretch the Fast Finish concept out a little farther.
Starting back in September I did 12, then 10 in October, then 14 following the Fast Finish format in November. In December I did the 16 and today in January I did the 18. I plan to do the 20 in February and a 22 (which should be right around the 3 hour mark) on March 31 – my pinnacle training run for Boston!
So, today I got there at 7 am. The sun was rising, it was peaceful and still… and cold. 28 degrees F.
One other runner was there early, Althea and I got started in opposite directions. The first 10 were pretty unremarkable other than I learned that a pair of socks works much better than a pair of gloves at keeping your hands warm. The first few miles, I had to be careful not to go to fast. My “easy” pace should be 8:30 – 9:00 min/mile. I averaged 8:27 for the first 10.
I noticed around miles 8-10 that my quads were not fully recovered from last week’s trail 30K. I wondered to myself how well the ‘fast part” would go. At 10 I ramped up to my marathon goal pace… my goal would around 7:55 a mile for an upper 3:20s finish. Again I found myself pushing too hard at times and had to concentrate on running relaxed with good form. Around mile 15 I was really feeling fatigued. I was thinking to myself – I raced last week.. it’ll be okay to shorten or slow for the last part of this one…
But then Althea, who was still out there with me, told me that, “the guy that usually runs with me, is trying to catch me..” I figured, it had to be Grant. Grant, by the way, did 101 miles in a 24 hour event last week, but he is younger and faster than me. I would welcome the company. I reversed direction and he joined me at 15.5. At 16 we sped up to see what I had left… It felt tough, but I just ran with Grant, his short quick stride reminded me to do the same. We managed a 7:18 and a 7:14 for the last two!
I ended up half way around the park… he wanted to jog easy, I slowly walked back…. Others began to finish and we had our time of sharing the accomplishments of the day (or last week – in Grant’s case)
I should be better rested for the final 2 Fast Finish workouts… In fact, the last one is going to be a good “practice” for Boston in a couple of ways. I am taking a cruise and it ends the morning of my planned 22. I will have a small breakfast on board, and drive or get a ride home. I will not be starting the workout till around 10 am…. all rather Boston like…