Monday, February 27, 2012

Half Marathon Training: Week #7

Sunday: Rest

Monday: 4.5 mile easy run
Great weather + mostly dry trails = good running conditions. Having to go to the bathroom almost as soon as you start to run = one very uncomfortable run. Argh$^#&alsdfhas. That is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday: 8 x 400m speed workout + Strength
Once again I had that "blah" and "I-don't-feel-like-doing-this" day. But, I already had told the hubby he was going to take me to the gym after work
(days before, and I reminded him everyday), so I couldn't talk myself out of doing the workout. Dang it.

Based on how I felt 2 weeks ago during this workout I set the treadmill to the faster end speed of my recommended speed work range (hitting right around 1:46s). My legs felt very sluggish and tired the first couple sets, but it gradually got easier as I went on. Well, kind of easier. I was just mentally not focused -- if I had been out on my own this workout would have almost for sure been a complete disaster.

After I was done my hamstrings and quads were very tight, which was kind of unusual for this workout compared to my previous speed work. At least the hubby convinced me to come do some core and upper body strength work with him so I didn't put that off another day like I was originally planning.

Wednesday: 3.2 mile easy run
Nice and easy, definitely not pushing myself after the day before. My legs were still tight and tired.

Thursday: Yoga + Indoor Soccer Game
2 days after my speed work, 48 hours out from my 10 mile race, and I was still feeling the effects of my speed work. Not a good sign. Thus, I nixed my planned run prior to my soccer game and focused more on getting my muscles nice and stretched out. Enter yoga and lots of foam rolling. Despite my stretching attempts, I still felt a step slower than normal during our game, which made me very worried for Saturday.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10 mile RACE RECAP
First and foremost, can I just say how happy I am that this race had a 10am start? Of course the weather all week had been wonderful, hanging out in the 40s and 50s, but just had to drop into the high 20s/low 30s for Saturday. Not to mention some gusting winds taking the windchill down into the teens. Ugh. But I bundled up and away we went. (Okay, side note: I don't really think that the low 30s is really all.that.cold. for a run, but it was seeing the "Real Temp" = 11 degrees that was kind of throwing me for a loop.)

I kind of felt like this:

(Don't even tell me you don't know what movie this is from...)

compared to everyone else hanging out in their running gear. But no, I didn't run in a snowsuit, even though that would have been awesome. I prefer to not have a heatstroke in the middle of winter.

Anyhoo, after standing around for 45 minutes or so, it was finally time to take off my toasty layers and start the run. I apparently have an incredible knack for finding the wrong spot to line up in at the start. I'm always way too far back, thus having to perform the infamous bob & weave for the first mile or so. Frustrating.

After coming through the first mile mark at 9:07, I was a little discouraged, but it wasn't totally unexpected since I knew I'd lose time at the start. Things started to spread out a bit heading into mile 2 and I finally hit my groove. I was still having to pop onto the shoulder or time my passes to get around people, but I ended up knocking out an 8:20 and 8:34 for my next two miles. Apparently, mile 4 had a nice tailwind going as I cruised in right under 8 minutes not feeling like I was working all that hard. But the nice-sized hill and a headwind in mile 5 ate back those extra seconds giving me an 8:38.

Mile 6 became the mile I lost focus a bit and strolled through with a 9:12. For my goal, this was unacceptable. At first I started doubting myself -- that I could actually run 10 miles at an 8:30 pace. Maybe I went out too fast, and now I was dying? I refused to accept that this was the case, so I pushed myself to go faster, to keep up with the "group" I had been running with and to slowly start to close the gap that had formed. I had to tell myself I COULD do this, and I WOULD. This was not meant to be a training run, but a race. I told myself I needed to feel strong and good for the rest of the race to finish at my goal time, and it became sort of a mantra for me the remaining 3 miles.

Apparently it worked as I came through mile 7 in 8:30. I picked up the tailwind again in mile 8 once again coming in right under 8:00. I was determined to hold on to that pace for the remaining two miles, even with a headwind and a hill. I really focused in on closing the gap between me and a few runners who had passed me earlier, and successfully passed them in mile 9. I knew once I hit the mile 9 flag I knew I was so.close. A little over 1/2 of the way through the final mile I checked my watch and saw I was less than 3 minutes away from my goal time. I could see the finish way up ahead, but could I make it? I really pushed myself, and coming into the final 150m, Adam was there cheering me on. Coming around the last corner I saw the clock and I knew I had to go. So I emptied what little left I had in the tank and gave it everything I had, finishing out the final mile in 7:57.

Final time? 1:24:09 (chip time & new PR)
Avg pace = 8:24

So. How did my efforts stack up?
Goal #1 - Sub 1:30:00 Check
Goal #2 - Sub 1:25:00 Check
Goal #3 - Sub 1:20:00 Maybe next time

I honestly wasn't expecting to hit Goal #3, so I'm overall pretty happy with how the race turned out. Chilly windy weather and all.

Hopefully all this good momentum carries into next week!


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