Half Marathon Amnesia?

I’ve heard mothers say that you forget how sucky pregnancy and childbirth is after the baby is born and that’s why you continue to have children. I think half marathons must be the same because seriously all I have been thinking about since running the Country Music is what my next one will be. In fact, I have started keeping a list of the ones I want to run.

I have to keep a list because it’s too hard to remember all the half marathons I want to run.

What is wrong with me?

I’ve stated time and again that I don’t like running distances over eight miles or so. It makes my knees hurt. But I love the sense of accomplishment. My brain keeps telling me, “It’s just 13 miles. You’ve done it before!” Like it’s so easy.

really?

I’ve written tentative years down on my list of halfs, and I currently have five written down for 2015 alone. Sometimes I do not understand myself.

Week of 4/28/14 – 5/4/14: I suck at trail running

Ah, the blissful week after completing a half marathon where you don’t have to run unless you want to and don’t have to hit specific paces or mileage!

week of 4/28/14 to 5/4/14

Friday

I didn’t get to my first post-half run until Friday. I was going to run with the East Nasty group on Wednesday, but then we ended up getting concert tickets to see Local Natives at the Ryman, so I did that instead. And then Thursday was Arcade Fire at Bridgestone, so I didn’t make it out to the pavement until after work on Friday.

It was a bit of a stiff run, since it had been almost a week, but I just did whatever I wanted and it felt glorious. Sometimes I sprinted. Sometimes I walked. Once I decided to do impromptu hill repeats (who does that?), but after I ran up once, I decided nah and kept going down the street.

Saturday

I was second shooting a wedding Saturday afternoon, so I went out for three miles beforehand (because I hate my legs and wanted them to be as sore as possible by the end of the night). Just down the main road and back, although my turn around point was right around Sonic, and I wished I had brought some money for a slush or a shake because it was really hot outside and I hadn’t brought water. Because of this, I ended up walking a couple times on my third mile to cool down, even though I hadn’t initially planned to. (Thanks for telling me it was cloudy and in the 60s, weather.com.)

Sunday

I had an itch to go running on Sunday, as well, but by the time I had gotten out of bed, it was nearing 90 degrees. So I decided this meant I needed to go somewhere shady and that meant trail running!

You’ll remember the last time I tried this, it did not go so well, but I chose a different trail in the same park. This trail was much easier to actually run on and wasn’t covered in leaves so I could actually tell where the trail went. I did the first mile in 11:30, my normal running pace. I decided I should probably slow down, since I had limited water with me and parts of the trail were out in open sun, so I was getting hot fast. So my next mile was done in 12:54, which is still okay with me on the trails, since I was occasionally having to climb over trees and do some fancy footwork around tree roots and rocks.

percy priest lake at long hunter state park

The first mile is right by the lake. It was taking everything I had towards the end not to jump in.

I turned around after half an hour (about 2.4 miles in). Soon after I turned around, I came upon a small incline with some tree roots, and thought to myself, “This looks tricky. Be careful.” And then I freaking fell! It was one of those slow motion things where I could feel myself trip and then helplessly feel myself falling without being able to do anything. I skinned up my right knee, which seemed to take the brunt of the fall, and got a couple tiny cuts on my left hand.

Needless to say, I was much slower after that. My right leg felt pretty bruised and just generally sore from the jolt of the fall. My final 2.8 miles were done around a 13:20 average. Still better than my last trail run!

I do enjoy trail running (I saw a deer at one point!), I just don’t know if my klutzy self and it can get along. At least I did not get lost this time and end up in the woods after dark.

Review of my Country Music Half training!

We all remember how badly my Disney half training went, right? I resolved to train properly for my second half!

My training plan was mostly based on the training plan provided by the East Nasty group, with a few things moved around to work with my schedule and some added goal pace runs towards the end.

The plan called for approximately 318 miles of running, and I am happy to say that I ran 297 of them. Those that I didn’t were for good reasons, like needing extra recovery days to insure that I didn’t get injured, and not just because I was lazy. (Well, perhaps with the exception of the 15k progressive run that I cut short by 7 miles because it was hot and the gym was closed. That’s not really a good reason, but it was two weeks before the race and wouldn’t have increased my fitness on race day anyhow.)

I loved all my speed workouts. Yes, they were hard, but I felt so accomplished when I was done with them! Even when I was the last one getting done on the track. And clearly my speed work paid off, since I PRed in the 5k during this training as well, even when I wasn’t planning to.

I’m glad that I did one run that was at or longer than race distance. It showed me that I was capable of beating what was (at the time) my goal time!

Speaking of goals, when I created this training plan last fall/winter, I created it with a 2:30 goal in mind. Which is why goal pace was around 11:30 min/mi. Then after the terrible training for the Disney race, I decided I didn’t have a time goal at all; I just wanted to finish. Around the time of the Hot Chocolate 15k, I had changed that to say 2:45 was my goal time for this half. But then I bettered that in training. So I ultimately ended up with my top goal being what my training plan was designed for: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

One thing I definitely will do in future training plans is to run a lot of miles at goal pace as the race gets closer. I think this probably helped more than anything. Most of my runs, including my easy runs, were being run at goal pace in the last 3-4 weeks before the race. This made goal pace feel like my new easy pace and made it a breeze to run at on race day! It also helped to run shorter and faster races in training. I do like racing and the faster paces made my half pace seem even easier.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I could have done differently, which makes this training a huge success! Which should be obvious, since I beat my goal time by 2-3 minutes!