1. I had the most extraordinarily beautiful day for my last long run - it was mid-40s when I went out, now about 50, sunny and clear and hardly windy at all. Beautiful!
2. I ran up to the Little Red Lighthouse, then back down along the west side. Had intended to go all the way to Chambers, but turned around at Houston instead, having realized that it was the difference between 21 and 19 and that given even the shorter distance was going to clock in around 3:15, there was no reason to go longer.
3. c. 19 miles, c. 3:15, avg HR 144. Polar device says avg pace 10:30, max pace 8:08.
4. Marathon training really works!
5. That gait analysis was extraordinarily well-timed. I was concentrating on "running tall" (chest out, head high) and also on not having excessive arm movement (keep arms fairly close to chest - interestingly the spin teacher the other day was also cautioning against excessive upper body moment with the mental cue "Hold that cup of hot coffee on your head!" - notional equivalent of cup-of-water-on-forehead backstroke drill!). But perhaps most of all to the point, the new shoes are definitely incredibly helpful. (I switched to the Mizuno Wave Inspire from the Wave Elixir - the new one has much more of a stability component, and I think it makes a huge difference.) There is nothing like seeing a freeze-frame series that shows you exactly how strongly your left knee buckles after your left foot rolls over to prompt a shoe switch!
6. Incomparably easier than my 18-miler two weeks ago - hard to say exactly what factors made the most difference, good weather and shorter work week certainly figure into it, but I think the shoes helped make this one easier...
7. Gravitated to my natural 9:30ish pace in the last little bit of park close to home - it felt really easy. I don't know - I am still undecided about race pacing - prudence would dictate a 4:08 goal, with even or slight negative splits - but I think I may well decide to make a real stab at 4:00. Run the first half as close to 2:00 even as I can manage, then assess and slow down slightly or hold pace depending on how I feel. The constraint for me is always the huffing and puffing system rather than the legs - we will see, it will be interesting...
8. When, oh when will I learn to apply the BodyGlide with a more lavish hand?!? I put a few dainty dabs on here and there, but entirely omitted to coat the area the heart rate monitor strap covers - definitely a racing stripe...
9. It is too soon to assess how this year's training stacks up compared to last. But I guess I am pretty pleased, all things told, with how it's gone. I have done my long runs at a much more strongly aerobic (i.e. easier) pace, and I can feel the difference in terms of ease at a range of paces. If I could do one thing differently, I'd have had one more one-hour easy run every week. But I made triathlon a priority, it was a very busy work spell for me and (this is perhaps the clincher - I hesitate to mention it, might jinx it!) I seem to have made it all the way to November from September without getting a cold - so perhaps it really was worth it. Definitely the tactic of not writing up any mid-week schedule and just putting the long runs straight into my appointment book as a weekly obligation was a good move - I should remember this for Ironman training. My mind is always so full of plans and systems, I do not really need it to be written down on paper - if I have the whole week planned out, it's very hard for me (mental insanity!) to skip a workout, and that's how injuries arise. In September 2008, I had a slight hamstring tear that was the pure result of not being able to skip runs and modify the training plan appropriately depending on circumstances, and it dogged me all season - as I get more experienced, I guess I may be slightly better at making these choices off a written plan, but I like the approach of just scheduling the "breakthrough" workouts and then working other stuff in as it suits.
10. It really was a lovely run!