On Sunday, I completed a nice 22-mile training run along Coal Creek Trail with target heart-rate sets. Specifically, in the second half of the run, I was scheduled to include a main set of seven 1-mile repeats at a high zone 3 heart-rate. I was able to stay relaxed for most of the run, and was glad to finish feeling like I still had lots more to give.
As I set out, a cluster of 8 hot-air balloons launched from the Boulder Reservoir in the distance. They all floated directly towards me, and around mile 9, one of them passed directly over my head, just barely over the tops of the trees along the trail. They were close enough for me to hear their greetings of, “good morning! Having a good run?” They drifted past the trail, and landed about 100 yards away in a nearby field.
I extended my previous run by heading along the cart-path on Coal Creek golf course. There was only one small group on the course, as I was near the end of the course and it was still very early. After my turnaround, there was still virtually no one on the course, but this time I passed by the beverage cart as it zoomed out to the 18th hole. It was tempting to buy a cold drink, but I pressed on.
Since the Salmon Marathon course is along a river (the Salmon River), I tried to imagine that I was running the course, although the Coal Creek is much smaller. Just like the Salmon course, the run follows the direction of the water flow, giving you a distinct feeling that you are running downhill for the whole race. So, I practiced feeding off that “downhill” feeling, even when the trail had rolling hills.
I was relieved to finish this run, the longest of my training, without any discomfort in my Achilles, which had been nagging me for a while. Now, the mileage gradually decreases, and the taper towards race-day begins!