On Sunday I was pretty sure I had run my last tough 17-miler before the big marathon. Today, I'm not so sure.
On Facebook, Chad had mentioned that there were lots of great races coming up this weekend, and this morning during our usual DART run he said he had settled in on one: The Run of the Mill 5K Run/Walk for Charity in Catawba, NC. He didn't exactly talk me into it, but somehow I've decided to do it. I live about a mile from the Catawba River, but I've never been to the town of Catawba, about 40 miles from here.
It was only after I signed up that I noticed that the race is run "on a cross-country trail." Yikes! This could be anything from singletrack to smooth, hard-packed gravel. At any rate, it probably means my 5K PR is safe for the time being. Whatever the trail is like, it also probably means my planned 17-mile run on Sunday just went from being a relatively easy one to another toughie on tired legs.
Today's run marked the start of my taper for Big Sur. Often on Tuesdays I'll run a very aggressive pace for the 6.3 mile loop with the DART group, but today I decided to take it easy. I ran the 1.3 miles into town in a light drizzle, and was surprised to see Todd, Chad, and a new runner, Michael, waiting at the CVS despite the rain.
We didn't know how fast Michael wanted to go, so we took off at an 8-minute pace. That ended up being a little fast for him, so he and Chad slowed down while Todd and I kept going at roughly the same pace. It was good to talk to Todd about his performance in the Charlottesville Marathon last weekend. He set a 3:18 PR in the race, qualifying him for Boston and helping him relax a bit about Big Sur. He told me he was planning on starting off Big Sur at a relatively easy pace, and only picking it up if he was really feeling great. I've heard that before, right before he ripped out a few 7-minute miles. Todd and I will be running Big Sur together, but I doubt we'll actually be running side-by-side for long, if at all.
After Todd and I finished, I jogged back to meet up with Chad and Michael, and ran back into town with them. I'd done 8 miles, which I decided was close enough to my planned 9-miler, so after a cup of coffee at Summit, I got a ride home with Chad. Tomorrow I'll do another 9-miler, which, assuming everything goes according to plan, will be my longest midweek run between now and Big Sur.
Details of today's run are below: