I started out this week saying, “If I can make it through this week of training, the rest is all downhill.” It was my mantra. This is because this week was the highest mileage I had planned for the entire training cycle. (We’ll ignore that the next two weeks are roughly the same mileage before I start my actual taper.) And all capped off with the farthest distance I’ve ever gone (and ever plan to go, as far as I’m concerned, unless I get hit by a crazy truck and decide to train for a full marathon): 14 miles.
I decided to move my goal pace runs to Tuesdays and my easy threesy to Wednesday so that maybe my legs won’t be dead for my Thursday runs in the coming weeks. This week was a not-too-terrible two miler. I will admit that my legs were still a little sore from the weekend’s runs. (“Sore means getting stronger!” – another mantra.)
I might have had another ulterior motive, since I needed to hurry up and get downtown for a Preds game. So the shorter, faster run won out over the slightly longer and slower run.
Oh, yeah, and it had been snowing all day. Really, winter, what is your problem? Go away. No one likes you anymore. I donned the tights once more (thought I was safely into shorts and skirts weather, sigh) and headed out.
Since I was kind of in a hurry, I didn’t do much of a warmup. I jogged while I set up my watch and then did about 0.15 miles of warmup after I started the timer. I just went into beast mode after that and quickly spit out 2 miles. And by quickly, I mean I didn’t stay in my half goal pace. I went to tempo and ultimately 5k pace. Oops?
Can this count for next week’s three mile goal pace run? Because that’s what I ended up doing. I really didn’t mean to. I just started out feeling so good that, even when I saw I was 30 seconds to a minute speedier than I should have been at the end of the first mile, I still kept going at that pace and didn’t stop to walk. I’m sure this won’t catch up with me at all…
This week’s track intervals were 1200m (that’s three laps around the track) at 5k pace with 400m (one lap) of jogging recovery, repeat four times. And, yes, I actually made it out to the group run on the track this week. My goals for this week’s intervals were the first two at 10:30 pace, the third at 10:15 pace, and the last as fast as I could muster (at least 10). Or interval times of 7:52, 7:52, 7:41, and 7:30.
We started out jogging (okay, probably everyone else was jogging…this was faster than an easy run for me) down to the track, then everyone started out by doing a one lap warmup. Except their warmup pace is apparently my 5k pace (actually they were faster…I was already last), so I just used that as my first lap since I knew they’d be waiting on me in the end anyway. The first interval was a little bumpy, since I started a little fast, so I slowed down a bit about halfway through to come in closer to goal. The second one was a little smoother, and the third was as smooth as melted chocolate (and a little faster than goal too!). My recovery intervals were all a little faster than what I thought they should be (the last one was under an 11 min/mi pace!) but I did recover well enough, so I guess that’s all that matters. I really pushed on my fourth and had a nice finishing sprint while everyone waited for me to be done.
My final times? 7:56, 7:56, 7:39, and 7:15. Woohoo!
The plus side to being the slowest and everyone waiting on you is everyone cheers and applauds when you are done.
I do think it was a little easier this week than last because of actually being on the track and being able to say to myself, “Only one more lap!” We were also fighting against 20 mph winds (and it started to sprinkle on my last interval), so my times are all the more impressive to me because of that.
I was in a hurry on Saturday. I thought I had to be somewhere at a certain time (turns out it was canceled), so I blasted through my mileage for the day. I had planned 5 miles easy, of course, but, in an effort to speed things up, I cut it half a mile short and basically did the whole run at 5k pace with one 2 minute walk break around the 2.5 mile point. Yeah…I’m not sure I can call that my 5k pace much longer.
Fourteen miles. 14. How do people train for full marathons? How do people run ultras? I will never know because I doubt I will ever make that attempt based on the fact that I hate long runs and think they should all die.
Despite those lovely sentiments, I had spent the whole week visualizing the run in my head. This will be fun! I am going to kill this run! 14 miles? No problem! That’s less than the distance from my house to…uh, well, not work, that’s closer. And not downtown Nashville either. Um, well, it’s definitely less than the distance from my house to Disney World! I actually, at one point, had psyched myself up for this run so much that I considered signing up for a marathon. The brain is an odd thing.
I did, however, resolve to try out some fueling strategies during the three hours I would be pounding pavement. I looked up to see what they would be providing us during the half marathon and when so that I could mimic that during this run. (With the thought that if that didn’t work, I still had next week’s 12.5 miler to figure something else out.) Except the website doesn’t say. What the heck, people? The site doesn’t even mention how often water stations happen. Anyway, after a bit of googling I found out that last year it appeared there was possibly only one GU station on the half course, at mile 10. So I decided if I wanted to fuel earlier than that, I was going to have to bring my own.
I’ll detail this all out in a future post, but I basically just went to Fleet Feet and got a few things to try based on what the guy who works there told me. For my 14 miler, I decided to try a tri-berry flavored GU at mile 5 (roughly an hour in) and a blueberry flavored Huma at mile 10 (roughly 2 hours in).
In an attempt to see if the gels actually helped, I kept the same 5:2 intervals that I attempted last week. The first few miles were fairly uneventful with most of my running intervals done at easy pace. At mile 5, I trudged up the bridge that crosses the river from Shelby Park to the Stones River greenway and got my first taste of GU when I got there. It wasn’t bad. Mile six was pretty hilly, but I was flying by mile seven. If you recall, by mile seven last week I was practically dead, but here I was running 5k pace. Score one for the gels.
I kept 5k pace on my run intervals throughout the remainder of the run. That’s right. I actually sped up the whole run and ran the second half faster than the first. My legs didn’t even really start to feel tired (okay, they felt a little tired from the beginning because of my speedy run the day before) until about 12.5-13 miles in. That’s nuts. I ran through the 13.1 distance in 2:42:27. Considering my overall goal for the Country Music was 2:45:00, I’d say it’s time to set a new goal if I can best that in training. My final time for 14 miles? 2:54:16 or roughly the same time it took me to run 12.5 miles last weekend.
All in all, this was a HUGE confidence building week!