Back to Back races

Great weekend! We were busy...

Friday afternoon looked at homes in Northfield. We found one we're interested in, so that's fun!

Saturday we headed down to good ol' Gustavus for the annual CC alumni meet. I was pretty nervous going down there. Normally that's not the case (normally I know what I'm capable of, confident I can "wear down" other runners during the later part of the race, etc). I warmed up with Laura -- wow, she looks great -- she looks really fit and she's had a great summer of training. Needless to say, I was a little intimidated and was planning just to try to stick with her as long as I could.

Guess I'm stronger/more fit than I thought -- I was able to hang with her for the first mile and pull away the 2nd and 3rd. I felt awful; I've done no VO2 max work, and I can tell. My lungs didn't know how to handle 5:50 pace! I thought during the race: bummer, my training isn't really coming around yet. Wonder how much longer it'll take before I really feel fast and strong? I finished in 18:20, which is a solid time, but not anything great.

Sunday we woke up early for Woodbury's Country Mile 1/2 marathon. Oh man... operating on very little sleep :(. I decided to jump into the "race" to be able to do my long run workout with people -- I was supposed to do a 2 mile WU, then 15 at MP, then 2 CD. The thought of doing that alone...

The gun went off and during the first mile I felt myself smiling to myself. Ahhh! What a great feeling! THIS is what I'm trained for!! (as opposed to yesterday's "oh no" feeling during the first mile) Marathon pace felt really effortless, and continued to feel that way until the last mile to mile and a half. I hit my mile splits consistently (6:30s) until the 2nd to last mile which was a continual up and up (actually, the whole course was pretty rolling) -- I finished in 1:25.25, and felt great the entire time.

What a confidence booster! I really needed that, especially after struggling to a 18:20 on Saturday.

Now... set for a mid-80 week this week. Should be fun!!

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Stopping on a repeat, and paced by a 12 year old. Just your run of the mill tempo workout :)

The email last night to Jerry after the workout:

Little mental hic-cup tonight :(

Workout: 4x10-12 at tempo w/ 2 minutes rest, 2 mi WU and CD

Recap:
2 mile warm up. Legs felt a little rested, but weird. Like I didn’t have good control over them (or had sort of forgotten how to run?).
Started the 1st rep. Decided to do 11 minutes, in the middle of the Daniels range. Maintained 6:11 pace (around 1.75+ miles). A little bummed, since I really was hoping this would be a breakthrough workout, at the fast end of the pace targets, that it would feel easy, etc. Don’t know where that expectation came from – maybe because of the rest day (usually my legs recover quick) and the wonderfully cool weather. 6:11 is still fast!

2 minute rest, then started 2nd. Mentally pushed a little harder. 6:09 pace for this one.

Started 3rd. Had a hard time making my legs turn over right. After 1 mile, my watch clicked off & I looked down after 30 seconds. 6:30 mile pace for that little bit. It was up a little hill, but for some reason, mentally, I checked out & STOPPED. What?!? {the combined pace for everything at that point was 6:14, still within my target times}

Then I didn’t know what to do. Disappointed in myself. It was just 2 seconds of a mental check-out and there I was, stopped. Do I start again and finish the 4.5 minutes? That doesn’t make sense (at least for the purpose of the workout). So I decided to take 2 minutes of rest and start again. So, started the 3rd one again. I started this one with a lot clearer head (no expectations of trying to hit the faster end of my times, instead just focusing on running easy & finishing) and maintained a 6:08 pace. Legs weren’t as tight & moved a lot better too. Much more fun without expectations!
Then found a random biker on the 2 minute rest & asked if they would ride alongside me on the last one. She was 12 or 13  and bikes around the HS a lot so has seen me more than a few times.
She did & that helped a lot. Maintained 6:05 pace, and it was fairly easy.

So… I need to get better at running these things alone. I’m OK on the shorter reps (previously longest tempo reps were 6 minutes), but this was the first longer one. Need to work on getting that mental toughness back. I’m usually good with that, so I’m sure it’ll come. Also a good reminder just to run hard, without too many expectations.

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Another tempo workout tonight...

4x10-12 minutes tonight.

Oh, boy.

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Getting stronger? Or just better able to handle heat/humidity?

I'm pretty sure before most of my workouts this cycle, I've wondered if I could actually finish them. Today was no exception.

20 miles total: 2 WU, then 2x10 minutes at tempo, 10 miles easy, 15 minutes at tempo, 2 CD.

I tried to do this about a month ago, and failed miserably. It was a really hot day, and either my body was tired from earlier in the week or it couldn't handle the heat and humidity. Even on the first 10 minute tempo pick up I couldn't hit anywhere near 6:15 (high end of that pace range). The last 15 minute tempo pick up was awful. 6:45 pace, and I couldn't go ANY faster. I ended up packing it in & just going easy.

Today was much, much better. First 10 minute pick up was in 6:13 pace. Second was 6:07. Then 10 miles, nice and easy, exploring the bustling city of Hay Creek and Highway 58 south (actually very nice running!!), and then back to try for the 15 min. It actually went great! 6:12 average, covering 2.42 miles. 2 mile CD, which was a little bit of a death march. It's really hot/humid out at this point, and I just really, really want to be done!! :)

So... yeah. Another seemingly too hard workout completed!!!

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Mis-Counted

TCM is just 6.5 weeks away, not 7.5!

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I think I could have gone harder

I think all runners have this thought/fear at some point or another.

I had it last night, laying in bed. I had done a good tempo run earlier in the day:
2 WU, 8x5 minutes at tempo (6:10 pace), 30 secs rest, 3 CD.

I was pretty happy with the workout. I can tell I'm starting to recover quicker (30 seconds was actually perfect, just enough time to catch my breath and start again), and even though my legs didn't feel great, they were able to hit the middle of my time range.

But as I was reflecting on my training at night, I wondered: should I have gone 8x6 minutes instead? Daniels had given the range 5-6 minutes, and I had chosen to be conservative, so I could make sure to do all 8 with the limited amount of rest between each. Is 8x5 minutes even a hard workout? I can't tell what's actually hard -- either for me, or for other women around my ability. What did Laura (the woman who won Lumberjack in 17:43, who I know is looking forward to kicking my butt at Alumni :)) do today??

Another facet: TCM is just 7.5 weeks away, Chicago 8.5. I still haven't chosen which marathon I'm going to run... but either way, I'm not feeling super prepared at this point. You can do a bit in 2 months, but I still feel like I'll be building/getting stronger at that point! Wish they were a month later (know of any good late October or November marathons?)!

My husband patiently listend and responded, "Today's workout was just a stepping stone so you're able to go harder/longer next time". He reminded me how early in the building process I am, and that now I'm really focusing on the long term progression (prior to Jerry, my training was a wreck and there really wasn't long builds or a long term view on workouts or mileage) -- so as long as I was able to get in a good strong workout today and look ahead to a stronger workout tomorrow, I shouldn't worry about it. Just keep plugging away, and good things will eventually happen.

Good way to look at it. Do what I can do in the next two months. Stay healthy, keep getting stronger. Don't freak out. Good things will happen.

To circle back, I really should decide which marathon I'm going to target this year. I'm terrible at deciding things (especially when both options are good options and I can't decide based on a simple financial view alone (i.e. what I do at my job everyday)). Thoughts?

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Plugging away

Nothing too exciting this week...

I came down with a good head cold after the 1/2 marathon last week. Go figure. Or maybe the sore throat before the race was the start of the cold & trying to race with it just made it worse.

Either way, it forced me to edit the plan a little bit. We took out the Daniels' workout for the week and just did easy miles. The first two days were pretty ugly (it's hard to run at a decent pace when you're stuffy!), but got better as the week went.

All in all, I'll log 75 miles this week. YEAH! First week in the 70s!

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What a week...


Where do I even begin? This'll be a long post... reader beware.

I left work after a 1/2 day on Monday to hop on a plane to Utah for work. Arrived around 8 or 9pm and worked until 11 (it's budgeting season at work... which means that every minute I can be working, I should) and set the alarm for 5 the next morning. I needed to get a 12 miler in before the trade show started.

12 miler went well! It was an uptempo run, which I really enjoy. Didn't hurt that the scenery there is AMAZING. Running through the foothills in Salt Lake, watching the sun rise. Wow.

I didn't end up getting back to the hotel until 10 - it was a late day at the show, and we grabbed dinner together afterwards. I called my husband that night, and was just zombie-like. Need sleep!

Up again at 5:30 (1/2 hour more of sleep!) Wednesday for a quick 5 miler. Last day at the show; left around 3pm for a 5:00 flight. We were delayed an hour and a half at first, but once a plane arrived, Delta didn't have a crew to man the plane (it was past their allowed consecutive time) -- so we waited until nearly 8 (or was it 9? I don't even know). Gross. So... got into Red Wing past 1am, and was in bed shortly before 2.

If I was zombie like on Tuesday night, I was COMPLETELY fried when I came home.

Thursday I was sent home from work mid-day by my boss. He said I looked terrible (thanks!), and I really wasn't thinking right. I tried to nap that afternoon, but when your brain is THAT tired, it doesn't sleep well.

I've tried to sleep a bit this weekend, and that's helped. I came down with a sore throat Fri/Sat, probably partly because I was so run down.

Fast forward to Sunday's 1/2 marathon. I didn't really lay out a goal for myself. My training plan had a 12-13 mile marathon pace run (6:30s), so I figured I'd shoot for that. The gun went off, and I couldn't "feel" 6:30. (Note to self: need to do more MP pace work.) Not only couldn't I feel that pace, but I couldn't hit that pace, either. Was it because I was a little under the weather? Because it was super hot and humid? (probably 80? And nearly 100% humidity. It was just ugly) Or just because I'm not that fast yet? I couldn't tell. I know I don't race well in heat/humidity, so I told myself to stick to around 6:40, which worked for the first 5 miles. Then things started to go downhill...

Around 6-9, I think I slowed to 6:50. After 9, it became 7:00. Jerry came down to watch the race, and he actually biked the last 3-4 (maybe more?) with me. I was SO glad to have someone right there. He'd say some light hearted things every so often, which took my mind off the heat and my body's inability to deal with it. I became really, really dizzy in those last 3 miles, and I allowed myself to walk twice. I'm embarrased about that now... even though it was a miserable day and I felt awful, I'd like to be mentally stronger than that. Jerry was there both times and gave me water. He didn't say much during those two times... I really wish he wouldn't have had to see that :(.
Note to self: need to mentally prepare myself to HURT during that marathon. Today was good preparation for that.

I didn't even look at my watch the last couple of miles, I was just focusing on finishing. Jerry said I slowed to 7:10s or 7:20s. Ouch.

Finishing time: 1:30.30.

That's my slowest 1/2 marathon. A few weeks ago I ran a 10k and that was my slowest ever. Hope this isn't the start of a trend...

Other random race highlights:
-My husband finished 22 minutes slower than last year, after catering to someone who he was running with who had to be carted away in an Ambulance.
-My 17 year old cousin ran a sub 1:34, placing 2nd in his age group. He looked great!

Coach Jerry & me after the race

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11 weeks, 310 miles

The other day I took a look through my logs. I feel like I've been "back" for a while now, but taking a look at what I've done-- I really haven't!!

To recap:
I began running mid May. Between then and the end of the month, I averaged 6 miles/week.

Beginning of June started with a few 12-20 mile weeks. Late June was a mileage "breakthrough" for me, where I moved from averaging around 20 miles/week to a 42 mile week the last week.

July has been great. Other than the minor re-injury the first week (where I cut a 50 mile week to just 25 after I felt a little pain), I've been in the mid 50s for mileage, adding a little more (or longer) tempo work in each week. Mileage has been: 25, 52, 58, 55.

Guess this took me by surprise. I knew I haven't been back & feeling fast yet, and I wondered why... now I know. I was starting from nothing 11 weeks ago, and haven't really started "training" until this last month. So, let's hope I can continue to build consistent blocks of training time & hope that the "fast" breakthrough comes in the next month!

Up for this week: Travelling for work first 1/2 of week, so we're altering the hard workouts a little bit (I'll be at slight altitude). 1/2 marathon on Sunday in Red Wing.

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