I had conflicting feelings about how to tackle this last 20 mile progression run. The debate stemmed from the idea that lord, potatoes!--this is the final major long run of the training cycle. So--part of me (Jen knows this part way of me all too well) wanted to hammer out 20+ miles, with 8 or 9 miles of sub-9 minute miles. But doing that type of workout is far more likely to cause injury than sweet, sweet PRdom. Another part of me (ie- the reasonable one) wanted to run the 20 miles, with 7 miles at my (what I think) semi-conservative marathon pace of 9:30. Doing a hardcore pace would be the highway to pain, while running the 7 miles at a reasonable pace would be taking the high road.
I drove out to Walnut Creek bright and early in the morning. When I started the run on the Iron Horse Trail, I still wasn't clear what my plan was, but the running felt good. My legs had energy even though it had been a fairly high mileage week. I let myself run at a medium pace for the first 12 miles. It was warm-to-hot, for sure. By that point, I'd had plenty of fluids, 2 gels, and was listening to music.
For the pace miles, I think I split the difference because my first 4 miles were sub 9:20, and the next 2 miles were sub-9. The last mile was 8:24 :> I was pleased that the miles got progressively faster. I noticed that I do need to concentrate to maintain a 9:20 pace but it never felt hard, and I never got out of breath at that pace. I didn't feel the 'wall', and I had a bit more energy than June's SF 20 miler. On the last mile, I dug pretty deep and reminded myself to kick it in! At the end of the run, I was a hot and sweaty mess but wasn't feeling heat strokey or anything too awful. Always good.
The good news--the 20 miler is done. The great news--my legs feel decent. My quads and feet feel fine, though tired. The awesomedawesome news--my turkey sandwich was delish & there's a watermelon & corn on the cob waiting for me...