Monday, March 27, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : 3/27-3/31

Lunch This Week 

Pork Tenderloin
Black Beans

Pork Tenderloin : I coated the top with garlic powder and oregano, then cooked in the oven at 400 for about 80 minutes, until a thermometer read over 140 degrees internal temperature. 

Black Beans :  I simmered the beans in a pot of water until they reached my desired texture.  Then I sauteed about 1/3 of an onion with garlic powder and olive oil until it started to brown.  I added 8 roughly chopped mushrooms, then added the beans to the skillet.  I mixed it all up and let it cook a few more minutes. 

Carrots : I chopped 6 carrots, added them to a skillet with olive oil and garlic powder, covered them until the started to soften, and then cooked them with the lid off until some edges started to brown. 

The meal : A big spoonful of carrots, a bigger spoonful of beans, and 2 slices of pork.  

Friday's meal will be carrots, beans, and salmon.  

We will see how this week goes with nothing that really qualifies as a carb to my tastebuds in my lunches.  I'm using the beans as my carb here, but I'm going to be missing the taste of pasta, potatoes, or rice.  I suspect I will be adding potato chips to these meals...we will see. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Counting down the days til Blue Ridge!

...and I realized at some point during this week that while endurance training has been going spectacularly well, I've been completely failing at keeping my lungs in shape/strengthening my lungs.  Oops.  I now have less than 4 weeks to try and get my lungs ready for a strong finish at Blue Ridge.

I plan to use the pace function on my watch a lot in the next few weeks, to help myself build up speed without overdoing it.  And I am going to have to be really disciplined and stick to the paces I plan, unlike this Thursday when I went faster than my planned pace and then completely died.

This week: 

M :  TRX 45 minute class @ GVF
horseback ride 3 hours
Pub Run 3.1 / 9:11 / 0 ft

T : hill run 11/ 8:21 / 699 ft

W : hike 2.6 miles / 285 ft
horseback ride 75 minutes

R : group run 7 / 7:34 / 174 ft

F : bike w/Chuck 20.4 / 15.8 mph / 1316 ft

Sa : group run 17.7 / 9:20 / 2054 ft
shakeout jog/walk 1 / 13:47 / 43 ft

Su : 20 minutes yoga
shakeout 3.4 / 8:05 / 131 ft

total miles run 43.1

I did yoga several times throughout the week, for 10-20 minutes at a time.  It has definitely been helping, I have had little to no hip pain since I started doing it!  Now I guess I just have to embrace the fact that I need yoga in my life and learn to like it.  

It was nice to be back in Lewisburg this past week.  My friend Sue teaches TRX classes at the gym, so I made sure I got to go to one of them this time.  It was nice to have someone else make the workout for me, and to be back in a class environment, not to mention having all the space I needed!  My hallway is cramped and really limits the variety of exercises that I can do.  

On Tuesday, I was definitely sore, though it's hard to say if it was more from the TRX or from the extra-long trail ride.  I guess it was probably from both.  I was determined to run my long hill loop though, as I have meant to run it on all of my previous visits and never seemed to get around to it.  

A gray day, but warmer than I thought it was...I was way overdressed!

Wednesday I enjoyed a hike/photo adventure at Roaring Run, and then was happy to get to ride my horse again.  This winter seems to have taken its toll on her -- she has lost a lot of weight, but she is still in good spirits, happy to see me, and with plenty of energy for the ride, so I'm trying not to worry too much.  She is 30+ years old, she was going to start losing weight eventually...but for now I will hope that springtime will put the weight back on her!

Thursday I wanted to do some speed and push my lungs harder than I had been, so I decided I would do a mile warm up, 4 miles around 7:20 pace, and then a mile cool down.  I even decided that I could run on the Creeper Trail so that I could hold a pace without hills messing it up.  Unfortunately, I was not smart enough to stick to the plan.  Our warmup was good, right around 8:00 minutes.  But then we sped up, and my watch said we were going around 6:45.  It felt good, so I figured I may as well try to stick to it.  It might have worked if we hadn't been talking at all, but despite my asking that no one talk to me because I needed all my air for running, it never works...and I can't keep myself from answering when questions are asked!  I did ok for the first 2 miles, and decided to try for 5 hard miles instead of 4.  However, when we turned around after 2.5 hard, I was starting to feel it, and we were now on a slight incline going up, instead of down.  The trail looks flat, and I never want to believe that an incline so slight it looks flat can effect my pace so much...but it does.  I started struggling hard and really losing the pace.  It was getting so rough, I ended up jogging after 4 hard miles, and having a 2 mile cooldown instead of pushing for 5 hard.  I didn't see the point in continuing to push when I was falling so far off the pace.  My fast-mile splits ended up being 6:37, 6:45, 7:07, 7:26.  The GAP paces (pace adjusted for incline) were at least slightly more consistent at 6:55, 7:05, 7:08, 6:53.  Either way, I failed at sticking to my plan, and I failed at keeping a consistent pace.  But my lungs got a workout either way, so I guess it's all good.  

Thanks to Chuck, I actually dusted off my bike for the first time this year!  Earlier in the week, he suggested a Friday afternoon ride since it was supposed to be really warm out, and I agreed.  I was overdue for my first non-solo bike ride in Abingdon, and it was nice to go with someone who knows the local roads better than I do!  Plus I got some exercise without really hurting myself for Saturday's long run.  

Saturday's run was chosen by Ben.  Running from Damascus to Whitetop on the Creeper Trail has been on his bucket list, and I have been putting it off because I can't stand the Creeper, and because I didn't want to deal with all the extra time to run a vehicle up to the top.  Yesterday, he had it worked out so his dad would drive to the top and bike down, and we would run up, so we didn't have to do the car shuffle ourselves.  The run was 17.5 miles.  I had 16 on my schedule, and Mollie was looking for 20, so we all settled for Ben's plan.  Mollie and I started around 11:40, Ben and Corey started about 20 minutes later.  It was so warm out, I ended up ditching my shirt 1.5 miles in.  I knew that if I soaked my shirt with sweat I would freeze when I stopped to wait at the top once we were done.  Unfortunately, it was not a good day for Mollie, and we were getting slower and slower.  By mile 10 we were over 11 min/mile.  I didn't want to leave Mollie alone, but I needed to run faster than that, and she kept telling me to just go.  So at 10.5, I decided to push the last 7 miles, and sped up to 8:00 pace.  We were on a more or less invisible uphill incline for the entire run, but it did get a bit steeper as we got closer to the top, so my pace gradually got slower.  The guys caught up with me around mile 14.  They pulled ahead, then Corey dropped back, not having a great day either.  I ran with him for a bit before leaving him behind.  All 4 of us finished, though at different times.  The three of us who finished first waited a long time, and then I got worried and decided my legs would survive if I started running again to go find Mollie.  Thankfully, I only had to go 1/2 mile before I found her. 
I thought the run was hard...but the ride back to my car was the worst part!  I was in the back seat of Ben's pickup and the road was really curvy...I ended up feeling really carsick.  It got so bad I had to trade seats with Corey to sit in the front halfway.  It helped a bit, but by then I was feeling so sick it didn't wear off til sometime after I got home, even though my drive from where I had parked was mostly straight.  

I used this run as a trial for my marathon 
with the compression socks, a storage belt, and a smaller camelbak. 
I don't love feeling like I'm carrying a fanny pack, but the pouch is pretty small, and thankfully it stayed in place nicely, no bouncing or riding up.  It fit my phone and ID.  I will probably use it for car key, inhaler, and ID during my marathon.  I was worried about the compression socks because they aren't as cushioned in the foot as my normal running socks.  I like the cushioning because my orthotics are hard plastic and the cushioning is more comfortable.  They worked out pretty well though.  And I still have plenty of time to decide if I want thicker socks and compression sleeves, or just the tall compression socks.  I think I'll be fine with either.  The camelbak was perfect, it didn't chafe even on my bare skin, and held the perfect amount of water.  I drank almost all of my 50 oz during the run, with 4 scoops of Tailwind Endurance Fuel.  I didn't need to eat anything; the fuel is supposed to be all you need, and it worked for me.  

Today I did about 20 minutes of yoga to stretch out and warm up my legs, then went for a nice easy shakeout jog.  It was sunny, but there were also some dark rain clouds, and I ended up getting pretty wet with passing showers twice during my short run.  

Looking forward : 
I have 10 mile runs planned for the next 2 Saturdays, but nothing longer than that.  I have made pace goals for each of my runs over the next 4 weeks, that I hope will help me prepare for Blue Ridge.  I made conservative goals, hoping that I will stick to them for the first 2/3 or 3/4 of each run, and only speed up for the last part if I am able to.  No speeding up early!  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Roaring Run 3/22/17

I was determined to go on a photo-adventure while in Lewisburg this past week.  It was hard to decide where to go though.  My closest options were an hour away, with some of the places I wanted to go closer to 2 hours away.  The weather was also not super cooperative.  There were some dreary wet and gray days, which in hindsight would have been better because I was trying to photograph water, but in the end I went hiking on a brilliantly sunny day.  It was a gorgeous day to be in the woods, but a difficult day to get the silky long exposure photos I like.  I did manage to get a few though, and I definitely enjoyed my time in the sunshine!

Always got to jump for joy!

Playing around on some fallen branches across the path.

More photos from this visit and my visit several years ago can be found at GMcD Photography
(photos from this visit start at #26)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : spring break

 I'm on spring break this week, and staying with friends in Lewisburg until Thursday, so I haven't done any cooking.  But I started cooking weekly meals before I started posting them here, so I'm going to post my meal from the week of January 30-Feb 3.

Pasta Primavera with Chicken

I cooked up a bunch of rotini pasta, and tossed it with olive oil and pesto.  In a large pan, I combined some chopped carrots, a bag of frozen cauliflower, and a bag of frozen broccoli and cooked them together with olive oil and garlic powder.  I added some chopped mushrooms towards the end.  Then I mixed the pasta and veggies together, and portioned it into my lunch containers, adding a few small slices of chicken breast to each container.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Low Mileage Week + 5k

I was going to call this a recovery week, but then I remembered that I didn't technically take it very easy this week at all...I just had reduced mileage.  I'm imagining that my legs needed some recovery time from the 27 miler, but it was hard to take it too easy because they didn't feel like they needed recovery.  But taking it easy for recovery seemed like a good excuse to skip the run today, even though maybe by today it doesn't matter anymore.

This week : 
M : 20 minute yoga
T : run 7 / 8:16 / 591 ft
W : hill workout 6.5 / 8:23 / 909 ft
R : TRX 30 minutes 45/15
F : off
Sa : warm up : 2 / 7:44 / 95 ft
race 3.1 / 6:43 / 194 ft
cool down 2 / 8:40 / 128 ft
Su : 15 minute yoga
total miles : 20.6

Yoga is not my favorite, but it is definitely helping me keep the hip pain at bay, so I guess it's good that I started and ended the week with yoga.  I've also made great strides with my frog stand this week, I can now hold it for about 10 seconds, and I can come out of it smoothly instead of falling on my face.  I'm about to find out what the next step is between frog stand and handstand.  

Tuesday's run was cold with blowing snow, but of course I ran anyway.  I wasn't sure how many miles I was going to get, but as usual, once I settled into the run I felt great and went farther than I expected to.  It was my first run post-27 miler, and everything felt good.  

Cold and snow can't stop me from running!

On Wednesday I ended up with a day off school because of ice on the roads, with temperatures too cold to melt it off the untreated roads.  Because I live in the south where they don't know how to deal with ice and snow on roads... I was lucky I was running late that morning, normally I would have been already well on my way to work at the time the call was made.  But I was dragging, so I was just on my way out the door when the call was made.  (And when I say late...I just mean later than usual.  I still would have been early to work.)  I ended up settling on the couch to read all morning, and took a nap for about an hour.  It was pretty cold and windy outside so I put off the run all morning, but then went out around 12 to get it done.  I did a loop warmup that was about 1.6 miles long, then did suicides up and down the hill I live on.  There are 3 side streets off the main part of the hill, so I ran to the first one and back down, then the second, then the third, then all the way to the top, around a short loop, and then made my way back down one street at a time. I ran hard going up, and jogged back down each time.  Then I ran my warm up loop in reverse as a cool down.  The hill I ran was pretty steep, so all the times running up it wore me out!  

the beginning of the hill...

I was a bit sore on Thursday, but I needed my TRX for the week so I went ahead and did it, and I didn't spare my muscles at all.  I upgraded myself from 30/10 to 45/15, and did a lot of tough leg work.  It didn't seem like the brightest idea 2 days before a 5k, but I decided marathon and strength training was more important than a 5k.  

TRX fun

I took Friday off because I like to take Friday's off...but also because I drove to Lewisburg after work.  I hadn't been here since Christmas it's nice to be back!  It would have been weird to celebrate St Patrick's Day anywhere other than the Irish Pub in Lewisburg!  I'm on spring break now, so I get to spend several days here.  I'm looking forward to a TRX class at the gym on Monday morning and running some mountains at some point!

Saturday's 5k was the Celtic Knot 5k which I have run about 6 times now.  I missed it last year because of a sprained ankle.  I was really sore from the hills on Wednesday and the TRX on Thursday so I was afraid to run too hard.  I also want to work towards negative splits in races, but there's a giant hill in the last mile of this race so negative splits seem rather unrealistic.  I gave it a negative split effort though!  I started out a bit easier, instead of starting as fast as possible like I usually do for a 5k.  Then I pushed a little harder for each mile.  I finished in 20:52, not the 19:45 I had 2 years ago, but a good time for where I am in my training right now, especially since I really haven't been training for a sprint race!  

I had planned to run today, but my hip was bothering me yesterday, and I got lazy, so I ended up just doing some yoga.  
frog stand success

Monday, March 13, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : 3/13-3/17

Lunch This Week

Baked Chicken Thighs

Chicken : I put 4 chicken thighs into an oven dish, sprinkled them with garlic powder, and cooked them at 425 for 50 minutes.

Risotto : I wanted risotto, but didn't have any broth.  I did have the leftover water from cooking black beans though.  Seemed like it would be more flavorful for the rice than plain water, so I used it to make the risotto.  It doesn't look super appealing, but it does taste good.  I sauteed onions in olive oil, then added the rice, then the black bean water a cup at a time.  I added a grated carrot somewhere along the way.  And of course lots of garlic powder.  

Peas : I didn't feel like putting work into cooking a vegetable this week, so I just grabbed a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer. 

Meatless Friday will most likely be pasta with a pouch of salmon.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New personal distance record!

Twenty seven miles.  I finished over 24 hours ago and the soreness still hasn't set in.  I'm not in the clear yet though, tomorrow will be the day that any aches and pains set in.  Good thing Monday is easy miles/yoga day!

I would have liked a shakeout jog today, but I had to be at school all afternoon for our 10 year VAIS accreditation, and I had to spend most of the morning sleeping in to recover from yesterday's run since being at school meant no time for a nap today.  I did get almost 12 hours of sleep last night though, that was glorious.  If it wasn't a time-change weekend I could have had 13...

This week : 
M : 5.2 / 7:21 / 256 ft
20 min yoga for hip flexibility
T : group 6 x 800 track repeats 7.5 / 8:30 / 125 ft
3:17, 3:15, 3:16, 3:17, 3:18, 3:12
W : 30 min TRX full body
R : group 8 / 8:00 / 446 ft
F : rest
Sa : group 27 / 9:11 / 1239 ft
Su : rest
total miles : 47.7

Monday's run was supposed to be easy, but it felt good to be out there on a solo run since most of my runs are now group runs, and it was warm-ish, so I accidentally went kinda fast and pushed some hills.  Oops. At least the yoga was relaxing-ish.  I did the same video as last week.  I think I will probably do this same video for a few weeks, it seems to hit the spots I need help with.  

Tuesday was the second rainy track tuesday in a row, except this time it was raining even harder.  We went to the track and decided to do 800s with active recovery, since no one wants to stand around in the rain.  Each recovery was walk 200, jog 200.  There were 3 of us, and our 800 paces were pretty varied from each other, so we ended up spreading out pretty far and not regrouping in between.  

I did the same TRX video as last week, as last week it made me sore.  It made me sore again this week.  Looks like another good video to repeat until I don't need it anymore.  This time I tried a frog stand before my workout instead of after, since I realized it could be easier on fresh muscles.  I think I made it a whole 3 seconds this steps.  

frog stand!

Side planks are so hard...but this time I managed to get one hand in the air for part of it!

Thursday's 8 was probably more than I needed before a 27 mile run, but I decided to stick to the plan. I think it turned out to be ok. 

There were 4 of us for Saturday's long run.  Mollie was going for her first 20 miler, but I was hoping for something over 26.2.  The boys were willing to do as many as I wanted.  The boys are faster and I knew they would have trouble with the pace Mollie and I were going to run, so I told them to start at least 30 minutes behind us.  It worked out pretty well, they ended up catching us around mile 17, and then didn't have to wait too long for me.  We ran from Ben's apt in Abingdon to Mollie's house 20.5 miles away in Glade. Then Mollie was done and the rest of us kept going.  Corey was able to finish out the whole 27 miles with me.  And Mollie was able to cook our bacon burgers and fries while we were running so we could eat as soon as we were ready.  

Since I ran the first 20.5 slower than I needed to, I still had some good energy left and was able to speed up to Corey's pace for the last 6.5.  My feet were hurting from the extended period of time running, but I feel like that problem was purely the time, not the mileage.  My right knee did start to hurt pretty bad towards the end, and that was probably mileage-related.  Overall though, I would have to say that the run felt great...for 27 miles!  I never hit a wall of any kind, and I didn't get dehydrated or calorie depleted.  I did have some Tailwind endurance fuel mixed with the water in my camelbak, and ate some snacks along the way.  I put about 1.5 liters into the camelbak and drank most of it during the run.  

I tried compression gear for the first time this weekend, and am hooked!  I stumbled across a good deal for 3 pairs of compression calf sleeves, and decided to give them a try.  They just happened to arrive on Friday afternoon, which was perfect, because one calf had been cramping on and off throughout the day.  I put on the sleeves and the pain went away.  I wore them again for the long run, and hard to say if they actually helped, but they definitely didn't hurt!  Better safe than sorry I like to say.  I wore another pair for the rest of the day/evening.  

Wore these awesome calf sleeves from PRO Compression under my running tights for 27 miles.

Mollie and I, about to start running!
We clearly have different levels of cold tolerance.

We all survived! 3 of us had the longest runs of our lives!

Here's the plan for the upcoming week : 

M : jog, yoga
T : easy track tuesday
R : 6-8
F : off
Sa : 5k race
Su : shakeout

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : 3/6-3/10

Lunch This Week

Pot Roast & Carrots

Pot Roast & Carrots : I chopped 4 very fat carrots and covered the bottom of my crockpot with them.  Then I coated a 2.5 lb roast with salt, garlic powder, and flour and placed it on top of the carrots. I poured in 1 cup of red wine and a bit of tart cherry juice (cause those are the things I had...I didn't have any broth...), put the lid on, and cooked it on high for 6 hours.  Then I added a bunch of rough chopped mushrooms, and used forks to shred the beef.  I ladled out most of the liquid and brought it to a boil on the stove, adding some cold water mixed with flour. I stirred over high heat until it thickened, then added it back to the crockpot.  

Barley : I brought 2.5 cups of water seasoned with salt to a boil, then added 1 cup of barley, and cooked on low heat until tender but not mushy.  Unfortunately I dumped about 1/4 cup down the sink by accident while I was draining the excess water...

The meal : I divided the un-ruined barley into 5 sandwich containers, and then added a big spoonful of beef and carrots on top.  I have green grapes and sugar snap peas to choose between for extra fruit/veggie each day, and I suspect I will be bringing potato chips some days as well...extra salt and carb since I lost some of the barley...

I'm going to have to figure out something else for Friday's lunch, and keep one of these for the weekend, since it's now Lent.  I was so far in robot mode as far as lunches go, I didn't remember that I wasn't supposed to eat meat on Wednesday last week until I got home, at lunchtime (we got dismissed early for severe weather).  And then I remembered no more meat on Friday's either.  So I ended up with two lunches left over at the end of last week.  On Friday last week I ended up grabbing some leftover pasta from something else, and throwing some salmon from a pouch on top.  With 1/2 an avocado.  It wasn't much, but better than no lunch!  I suspect lunch this Friday will also involve a pouch of salmon, but I have no idea what I will be eating it with...I'll probably figure it out Thursday night.  Meatless meals are hard now that I don't eat tuna fish sandwiches every day.  And meatless twice a day has always been hard because I don't really care for that many types of fish.  I like shellfish and salmon, but they are expensive!  I recently discovered the pouches of salmon though, that are quick and easy and cheaper.  I usually shy away from pre-packaged stuff like that, but hopefully these are more rather than less healthy...I'm trying not to overthink it. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Grateful for my running buddies!

This week : 
M : 20 min yoga for hip flexibility
T : group run mile repeats 7 / 7:42 / 0 ft
(6:29, 6:28, 6:32)
W : 30 min TRX full body
R : group run 10 / 8:44 / 499 ft
F : off
Sa : group run 12.2 / 8:49 / 696 ft
10 minute ab workout
Su : hill workout 4.6 / 7:36 / 318 
total mileage : 33.8

I was tired and starting to drag this week, but my running buddies helped me stick to my schedule!  I love that they will keep me on my schedule and run with me even when none of us really want to!  It was cool and rainy on Tuesday, and none of us liked the idea of a track workout, especially not with inactive recovery to get cold standing in the rain.  There is a loop around the brewery where we meet that is just barely longer than a mile, and mostly flat.  I proposed that we run mile repeats on that loop, alternating easy and hard.  I said we should do 2-3 hard miles.  The guys agreed that 2 was probably enough.  But after the first, I knew for sure that 2 was not enough.  I was doing 3 whether or not I had company.  We were spreading out on the fast miles, but regrouping for the slow ones.  They weren't thrilled with the idea of 3 hard miles, but they weren't going to let me go alone either.  So we all made it through the 7 miles together.  My legs felt strong, but my lungs were struggling hard.

 After almost 4 weeks of trying to get in touch with the doctor for an inhaler refill, I finally received a message that morning saying it couldn't be refilled because I hadn't had an appointment in over a year.  I was pissed that it took them so long to get me that message. Also, I think it's ridiculous to need a yearly visit just for an albuterol inhaler.  A previous doctor of mine filled it for about 5 years without seeing me before cutting me off... Thankfully, I had a doctor I know here ready to fill the prescription for me when I gave up on my previous doctor.  I got to pick up my new inhaler on my way home from Tuesday's run. And now I am enjoying having oxygen on my runs again!

On Wednesday, I really didn't feel like designing my own workout, so I went on YouTube and found a TRX video that looked promising.  It was a good one, but I had to modify some things because they only place I can hang my straps is in the hallway, and it's not wide enough for all the exercises!  It was a bit hard to workout while fasting for Ash Wednesday, but I managed with only a bit of light headed-ness and some low energy.

On Thursday, I was even more tired, and really not feeling like running 10 miles.  I told the group I wouldn't mind dropping the plan and running less.  But they said if 10 was the plan, 10 was what we were doing!  So glad they keep me on track.  We did the 10 miles and of course it didn't feel half as bad as I thought it would.

I was supposed to work out on Friday.  I spent the whole drive home from work telling myself I was going to go for a jog and workout.  Then I got home and changed my mind.  I put on sweats and decided I wanted to keep Friday as my rest day.  I made myself sushi for dinner and spent the rest of the evening on the couch.

Saturday I drove out to Glade Spring to meet the group for a long run.  Mollie mapped us out a nice moderately hilly loop on low-traffic roads.  It was nice to run somewhere different.  The slow group pace left me with plenty of energy even after our 12+ miles.  So when I got home I made myself do the ab workout I had skipped earlier in the week.  15 exercises, 30/10, plank every even number. #6 and #8 were side planks, the rest were planks on my elbows.  Odd numbers were all assorted core exercises.

I was feeling good today and it was back up in the 50s after a cold week, so I had to get out and enjoy a run.  Once I was out there, I decided it was time to enjoy some hills.  I love my group, but I miss my solo runs, and I miss really pushing the hills!  So I made up a route as I went, hitting all the good hills for pushing.  I ran a moderate pace in between the hills, and went up the hills at something between race effort and sprint.

February Summary
Less mileage than January, even accounting for the fewer days, 
but I did start working out this month, so that is a plus! 

The plan for next week : 

The real hope for Saturday is 26, but after the last 20 miler, I don't want to push it.  I'm hoping that having a new inhaler will make all the difference and that I won't have any trouble adding the extra 6 miles, but if I don't feel up to it, I won't push it.  I'm mapping out a route that gets me to the finish in 20, and has option the option to add a 6 mile loop at the end if I want it.