Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 9

This is the last hard week before the taper starts! I can’t believe it is done! This was the longest week with 70 miles total. On Monday, I had a two a day run with 6 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. In my usual 5 am fashion, I couldn’t really get going and did 8:20 pace overall for the 6 miler. It was hot for the 4 miler but I pushed the pace since it was so short. I did it in 7:51. Tuesday was supposed to be 11 miles with 6x1k at 5k pace. It was hot and sunny and my legs were still feeling a little jelloish from the 5k. I ran 3 miles and then went for it. I couldn’t ever really get down to 5k pace but I figured the effort is all that really matters. On the 4th one, things started to unravel. Half way through the 5th one, I had to throw in the towel. I wasn’t even sure I could finish out the 11 miles but I did. The overall pace was 7:34 so the run was still pretty good. This was the first workout that I wasn’t able to complete in this entire training cycle. I was a little disappointed but not really. I was mainly worried about the 15 miler the next day. The weather was supposed to be up near 80 degrees and sunny for the run. I knew it was going to be tough. When I got to work, I realized that my afternoon was free and even my 11:00 had cancelled. I got out of there as soon as I was done with my 10:00. It was overcast and breezy and I wanted to take advantage of that. It was hard. For the first time in this training, my legs just felt sluggish. I kept telling myself that this was it, no more mid week 15 milers. I did it in 8:18. Honestly, I was just slogging through so I’m pretty happy with that pace. That afternoon, the clouds cleared and it did end up being very hot and sunny. I would have had a really hard time in the heat so I’m glad I was able to take advantage of cloud cover. It was storming Thursday morning so I just got on the treadmill, set the speed at an easy pace and plowed through it. I did the 6 miles at 8:35 pace. I took Friday off and hoped the rest would bring my legs back to me. I decided to run with a couple of other local girls that are going to Boston. They typically run a little slower than I do but they were running a route that was flat for 7, had a big uphill and downhill in the middle and then another flat 7 to the finish. It was the perfect route and they were going at 5:30 in the morning. The thought of getting it over with so early was really appealing. Any worry about pace was overshadowed by this. Also, I’ve done all these runs pretty fast so I didn’t mind taking it easy for this last one. When we met up, the other two agreed to go 8:45 to 9:00 pace and I wasn’t sure what to do. I can’t run at that pace even if I just took it completely easy. It was pitch black and I didn’t want to just take off so I went out at a comfortable pace and just tried not to push the pace too hard. I also decided that I could take off for the last 6 or so if I felt ok. We all agreed that we would split up if we needed to and there would be no hurt feelings. We ended up going more in the 8:15-8:30 range for the first 13 or 14 miles. At 15 we stopped for a bathroom break and the pace had come down below 8:00. They encouraged me to take off so I did. I ended up staying in the 7:30 range for the last 5 and it felt surprisingly good. I had a little bit to walk once I was done. I could see the other girls once I got to the parking lot so I waited for them. They had done the last miles fast too and were really excited to have had such a great training run. I was happy they were happy because I was a bit worried I had pushed the pace too hard and someone would bonk. My overall pace ended up at 8:08 and I was really happy with the run and even happier to be done with 20 milers! Mentally, it was the easiest one of all. I had company and a nice easy pace for 15 miles and only had to really crack down for the last 5 which wasn’t hard to do. To finish the week I ran 8 miles at 8:05 pace on Sunday. I haven’t done a 70 mile week since 2008 and this one felt unexpectedly good. I’m still super glad to have it behind me. Now I get to slowly back off until the race.

I taper gradually so this week will be easier but it won’t be insignificant at 59 total miles. The plan looks like this:

M-General Aerobic + Speed 6mi w/6 x 100m strides
T-VO2max 9mi w/5x600m@5k race pace
W-Med Long Run 11mi
R-Recovery 5mi
S-CCC 10k 11mi total
S-Long Run 17mi

I’m most excited about the 6 miles on Monday and only having to do 11 on Wednesday instead of 15. I’m most worried about the 10k. The distance intimidates me and I’ve never felt very confident while running it. I usually lose focus around mile 4 and then just drag it in. My PR is 41:44 which I should be able to beat but it is hard to say what my legs will feel like. Sometimes the legs can feel weird at this point in marathon training so we will have to wait and see.

My official packet from Boston arrived this week. My number is 16680. I’m in the first corral in wave 3 so I’ll start at 10:50am. When I did Boston in 2008, there were only 2 waves and I was pretty far back in the second one. I was probably 2 or more miles in before I didn’t feel absolutely claustrophobic. I couldn’t even see where my feet were coming down and it was unsettling. I’m really hoping that being in the first corral will help with this. Also, Boston is a seeded start so the people in my corral ran a similar qualifying time. My qualifying time was 3:30 so 8:00 pace which is a lot slower than my goal pace so I’m hoping that will also help with the crowds since I’ll go out quite a bit faster than that. Of course, lots of people will go out too fast and there will also be people like me that can run faster than their qualifying time so I know I won’t be all alone but I’m hoping to have some breathing room. I have to admit that I’m also pretty excited to get to line up right on the start line at Boston. That will feel amazing!

Books wise, I didn’t set the world on fire this week. I ran my 20 miler and the 8 miler with people so I didn’t listen to anything. I did manage to read Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand and it was ok. I’m currently reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan and I’m having a hard time sticking with it. I’ve got several things on hold at the library that I’m hoping will come available soon. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 8 and a Race Recap

This week I got to scale back my mileage just a touch-63 total instead of the 66-68 I’ve been doing. Also, the tempo runs are done and the speed work had begun. Monday started out easy enough with 7 miles and some strides at 7:59 pace. Tuesday was a hot, windy day so I was a little worried about the 9 mile workout with 5x600 but it was fine. The wind, while challenging, did keep things cool and there was cloud cover for a lot of the run. I did the repeats at an average of 6:21 pace and the entire run was 7:32 pace. I felt like it was pretty successful! I was absolutely covered in salt afterward. Even my eyelids had salt on them. A cool front blew in and Wednesday had highs in the 50s and lots of rain. I ended up working half a day and was able to do my 15 miler before the worst of the rain hit. These 15 mile mid week runs are getting tougher and tougher. That’s just such a long run to do on a weeknight and coming after tempo runs or speed work the legs are always heavy. The first few miles were tough. Well, lets face it, all the miles were tough. I just put one foot in front of the other and got it done. The pace was 8:07 so I can’t be unhappy with it at all. I got up at 5 am on Thursday and did a 6 mile recovery run at 8:31 pace and then rested up on Friday to get ready for the Spring Fling 5k on Saturday.

I’ve done this race several times over the years. It’s not really one of my favorites but it is part of our Grand Prix Series so I end up doing it some years. It has rolling hills in the first two miles and then comes down a hill and ends on a track. Technically, it is a net downhill but it isn’t a very fast course really. I just missed breaking 20 minutes (I ran 20:00 exactly) at the Valentine’s Day 5k last month so I was hell bent on doing it now. Ideally, I wanted to go out in 6:25, do the second mile in 6:20 and then just go as fast as I could for mile 3. In my head, mile 3 was a plunging downhill but in reality, mile 3 has quite a bit of incline so my plan didn’t really happen. I started out pretty slow. My Garmin indicated 6:38 pace for the first quarter mile and I just hung out there while the crowd thinned. I used some down hill to pick it up and as I finished the first mile I was at 6:19 pace. I saw about 3 women not far in front of me and started locking down on them. I spent the first half of the second mile chasing them down and caught the last one around the 1.5 mile point. A girl that beats me all the time was about 10-15 seconds in front of me so I just tried to keep her in sight and slowly pull her in. I hit mile two at 6:12. The last mile was so tough. I knew that some downhill was coming but if felt like the incline would never end. My Garmin was showing 6:38 or so and frustrating the crap out of me so I pressed on and quit looking at it. Just before I plunged down the steep incline to the track, I took a look at I was at 6:25 pace. After that, I never looked again but I did end up with 6:25 for mile 3. The last tenth was sub 6:00 and my time was 19:42 which is exactly my PR. Interestingly enough, that is 6:21 pace which is what my intervals on Tuesday ended up averaging. This being a net downhill, it doesn’t count, but it is still exciting to be hovering around PR pace. It is especially exciting since that PR is pre kids and is over 6 years old. 

On Sunday I had an 18 miler. It was raining so I went out without my iPod which was too bad because I’ve been working on the 2nd Game of Thrones book for what feels like forever and I could have gotten through quite a bit of it. I took off with absolutely no course in mind and ended up doing a big hill around mile 4 and then a plunging downhill that got me to mile 5 and back to my house. The rain had stopped so I made a pit stop, grabbed my iPod and was able to finish the book while I ran. I felt pretty good considering I ran a fast race yesterday. I ended up doing the 18 miles in 7:59 pace, even with the big climb.

Still feeling good. Obviously no problems with sluggish legs as evidenced by the fast 5k. I started having some minor knee pain during the speed work on Tuesday. It just feels like runner’s knee type stuff. It was the worst on Thursday but felt fine by Saturday and I really didn’t feel it much at the race or during the long run. I’m definitely getting to that point in the training where the longer runs are a real mental struggle. Taking comfort in the fact that there aren’t many left has helped get me through them.

Next week’s plan:

M-Recovery 6mi am & 4mi pm
T-VO2max 11mi w/6x1000m@5k race pace
W-Med Long Run 15mi (LAST ONE!!!!)
R-Recovery 6mi
S-Long Run 20mi
S-General Aerobic 8mi

At 70 miles total, this is the highest mileage week, the peak of the training, the last 20 miler and the last week before the taper starts! I can’t believe I’m here already! Boston is less than one month away!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 7

No winter weather to deal with this week! There was quite a bit of rain but the temps were in the 50s or higher so no big deal. On Monday, I started out with an 8 mile run with some strides. It felt nice and comfortable and came in at 7:59 pace. Tuesday was the last and longest tempo run of this training cycle! Tempo runs are mentally very hard for me and I’ve had days where I worried about them all day long. This one was 12 miles total with 7 at tempo. I like to keep tempo at 15k to half marathon pace so 6:59-7:10. I didn’t feel great at the start of the run but I didn’t feel bad either. I did 3 miles to warm up and then got stated. The splits were 7:10, 7:03, 7:01, 7:04, 7:03, 6:55 and 7:03. 7:03 pace over all for the tempo section. I would have rather been just under 7:00 for all of it but I can’t complain about that effort. From here on out it is all speed work. I don’t love speed work but it is mentally easier than long sustained tempo runs so I’m glad to be past that part of the training. Wednesday brought temps over 70 degrees and lots of sun. I felt like I was melting on my 14 miler. 70 isn’t that warm, especially for someone that lives in the south but the extreme change was hard for me. The Wednesday before I was getting rained and sleeted on in 32 degree temps. It was also pretty windy for the 14 miler which wasn’t helping. I got through it in 8:06 pace so it wasn’t that bad. I was covered in salt afterward though and you’d have thought I ran in 90 degree temps. I got up at 5 am on Thursday for a 5 mile recovery run. I did it nice and slow at 8:26 pace. It was 50 something and lovely! After a rest day from running on Friday, I set out for 21 miles on Saturday. This is the longest training run I’ll do. It was drizzling and in the 50s. I actually kind of like that combination. The worst thing was lots of puddles as it has been raining pretty steady here for the last few days. I did a long loop all around my town with some hills but nothing too crazy. It was my birthday and I was a little checked out mentally. A couple of times I had to turn my ipod off and really think about what I was doing. I felt pretty good but I was kind of tired of being out there. I was happy with the effort though in the end. I did 8:08 pace which I think is plenty fast for a long run. At some point, it really is just about time on your feet and I certainly got that with this run as it was 2 hours and 50 minutes long! Brian had to work on Sunday so I got up early once again to do a 6 mile recovery run. It was tough. My legs didn’t want to get going and it was still dark when I left. My tummy wasn’t too happy with me either since I was pretty indulgent for my post long run/birthday dinner. I ended up with a pretty sluggish 8:36 but I'm not worried about it.
Post run/birthday hydration!
I’m feeling good. My aches and pains are minimal and my blisters are gone thanks to my Injingi socks. I was able to make it to yoga twice this week. Once for my usual power class on Thursday and then to a 2 hour yogathon on Friday with my two favorite instructors. I hadn’t seen one of them in a while and she commented that I was looking lean. This always makes you feel good but I’m especially glad to know that my hard work can be seen by someone other than me. I’ve done really well with my nutrition this training cycle and I’m hovering just a few lbs above my goal race weight for Boston.

Next week’s plan:

M-General Aerobic + Speed 7mi w/6 x 100m strides
T-VO2max 9mi w/5x600m@5k race pace
W-Med Long Run 15mi
R-Recovery 6mi
S-Spring Fling 5k 8mi total
S-Long Run 18mi

The mileage is 63 total so a little bit of a back off from the last few weeks. The week after this will be my highest in total mileage with 70 planned and then the taper will begin! Getting so close to being done! The Spring Fling 5k is a net downhill and not really a favorite of mine. The plan called for an 8k race. Those are hard to come by and the Spring Fling is a Grand Prix race so it will do.

Reading wise, I finished Looking for Alaska by John Green. I liked it. There is a great prank involving a male stripper that makes the entire book worth reading. I’m now on the second Game of Thrones book. These books are long. So.Very.Long. I do like them though so I’ll press on. I’m only about a third of the way done with it and I’ve been listening to it most of the week. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 6

This week brought the staple of all marathon training, the 20 miler! After the half marathon last Sunday, I was a little sore but not too bad. On Monday, the run was only 7 miles with some strides so I was happy about that. I actually felt good and ended up running 7:56 pace. Not bad. Tuesday was supposed to be 11 miles with 6 at tempo pace (15k-half marathon pace). The last 15k I ran was in 2011 but it was my PR. I ran it in 6:59 pace. The 7:11 pace for the Little Rock half is my half PR but I know I can do it faster. I assume these runs should be done sub 7:00. Since I had just done LR, I was worried about this run and figured that as long as I gave a good effort, the pace today wasn’t that important. I was still going for it though and arbitrarily assigned 7:15s as respectable. I used the first 3 miles to warm up and then took off for the tempo run. As it often is by the river, it was pretty windy. It was a cross wind which meant I’d never really get any help from it no matter what direction I was going. I felt pretty strong in the first mile which is usually my slowest and hardest mile. I did 7:12 which was fine. After that I did 7:07, 7:06, 7:03, 7:01 and 7:04 with a tempo average of just over 7:05. I would have been fine with this on any tempo run day but considering I just did a half marathon, I was really happy about it! On Wednesday, they were predicting more winter weather. It started raining in the early morning hours but the temperature was up in the 40s. I was supposed to drop through the day and eventually turn to freezing rain, then sleet and then snow. At first they said it would happen around noon but it kept getting pushed further back. We made some calls to our patients and everyone either cancelled or came in early. I was done seeing patients by noon and left work around 1:30. At that point, it was close to freezing and raining. I dressed as best you can for those conditions, prepared for life to suck for the next two hours and left the house for my 15 miler. Since it had been raining so long, parts of the trail were flooded so I had to stomp through some really cold pools of water that were ankle deep. By mile 8 I couldn’t feel my hands. I kept moving them around and they actually did warm up a bit before I was done. I was soaked to the skin though. Around mile 10 the rain turned to sleet. It was windy and the sleet bit into my already cold face. It hurt and felt like hundreds of pin pricks. I was about a mile from home so I decided just to head that way and finish the run on the treadmill. Once I got to turn out of the wind though, everything became bearable again. I took a different, longer route home and decided to tough it out. Once I got into one of the newer sections of my neighborhood, the road got really slick and I had to slow down and be careful. Once again, I decided to just get home and finish on the treadmill. When I got onto the older streets of my neighborhood, it wasn’t slick anymore and I passed my street at 12.25 miles and decided to keep going. I did another loop and ended up in the slick new neighborhood again but I wasn’t as discouraged since I now knew it was just that the newer pavement was slick and it would get better once I hit the older streets. Unfortunately, the sleet had been coming down long enough at that point that the old streets were nearly as slick as the new streets. The last mile back to my house was tough. I’m sure I was tired from the run anyway but the sliding was making it worse. When I got to my street, I needed  little more distance so I passed it and ran down the other side of my circle. It was getting slicker by the minute. By the time I had to run up the hill to my house, I was crawling. I got over into the grass but that was like running in sand. I managed 8:19 pace overall which I was more than fine with. It was a real adventure and at least I avoided the treadmill. When I walked into the house, I was soaking wet and my skin was so red. Brian looked at me and couldn’t help but laugh. I had left a towel by the door and stripped everything off right there to keep from tracking water everywhere. I took a warm bath. I was numb so I didn’t want to burn myself with a hot bath. After that, some warm clothes and hot apple cider, I felt tons better. The sleet turned into snow so I did my Thursday 5 mile recovery run on the treadmill at 8:24 pace. I took Friday off. Saturday Brian had a 2 mile race in a town about 20 minutes away so I had to wait to do my long run. This is actually good because I’ll probably get to run Boston no earlier than 10:30. A few weeks ago, the thought of doing my long run at any time other than first thing in the morning would have given me hives but I’ve done several long runs later in the day on this training cycle and I actually like it-especially since it is relevant this go around. Brian won his race so that was exciting! I couldn’t run from home because the snow on our trails was still pretty bad since they are mostly shaded. I decided to hit the river trail and go up Fort Roots Hill. Fort Roots is an old Army post that now happens to be the NLR VA hospital that I have worked at for the last 12 years. It sits atop a big hill and the back way up, Fort Roots Dr., is a mile long, switchback climb. I started at NLR side of the Big Dam Bridge and ran about 10 miles and then headed back on the trail. It was fairly clear but I did have several patches of slushy snow so I got a little adventure here and there. I headed up Fort Roots Hill after I turned around. It is shaded and so there were lots of patches of snow left. Luckily, the road is still closed to vehicles so I was able to safely run in the clearest parts of the road without worrying about getting hit by cars. At the top of the hill is the hospital gym so I was able to stop and get a drink and take a Gu. I did a lap around the campus and headed back to my car. It was all pretty uneventful and I did the 20 miles at 8:03 pace which was pretty good considering the big climb in the middle as well as having to slow down for various patches of snow and ice slush. The real challenge of the 20 miler is how you feel afterward. I always feel a bit beat up. My joints ache and various places on my body are sore. Predictably, my hamstring was pretty tight but the general rule after a really long run is not to stretch for about 24 hours as the muscles are so damaged that you can actually cause more harm than good. I would typically take an ice bath after a long run but this winter has been cold and I just straight up don’t feel like it. I soaked in a warm tub and did as much couch sitting as possible for the remainder of the day. On Sunday I was supposed to do an 8 miler with some strides. I really, really didn’t feel like running and the fact that it was “only” 8 miles wasn’t helping. It was supposed to rain so my running buddy went early to avoid it. I had to wait because Brian did an 18 miler. We also had to spring forward so getting up early wasn’t appealing to me. I lucked out and the rain never came. I had a hard time getting started on the run and first few miles were slow but once I warmed up and the strides started, it wasn’t so bad. I ended up doing 8:14 pace which was pretty good considering how slow the first couple of miles were.

I’m still feeling good. I don’t feel over trained at all so that is great. When I trained for Go!STL last year I was feeling very sluggish by this point. I did go to yoga once this week but the other class I would have gone to was cancelled because of the stupid snow. I have a 20 minute DVD that is actually really good so I need to do it when I have to miss class. Gah! Why is it so hard to do what is good for you?

Next week’s plan:
M-General Aerobic + Speed 8mi w/10 x 100m strides
T-Lactate Threshold 12mi w/7@ 15k to half marathon race pace
W-Med Long Run 14mi
R-Recovery 5mi
S-Long Run 21mi
S-Recovery 6mi

More of the same really. The tempo run will be the longest and the last of the training cycle but I’m not too worried about it since last week’s went so well. There was a time when I would worry about a tempo run the entire day before I did it. While they aren’t easy and I don’t love them, I glad they aren’t anxiety producing anymore.

I think I have the blisters under control. I was really getting frustrated not being able to run without pain bad enough to change my mechanics. That is a recipe for injury. The 2nd skin and blister pads were just making it manageable but not fixing the issue. The Little Rock half had me scared to death since I knew it was going to rain the whole time. I decided to try my old Injingi socks and see if that did the trick. If you aren’t familiar, these are the socks with individual toes in them.
They help by keeping your toes from rubbing against each other which really seems to be my problem. Even with the wet conditions at the half, my feet held up. I bought several pairs on Monday and I’ve run in nothing since then. Two of the three blisters on my foot are completely healed and the worst one is better everyday. I think this is the answer to my issues!

Books wise, I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Loved it and I can see why it is a classic. I then read Paper Towns by John Green and started Looking for Alaska also by John Green. I like both of these. YA stuff that is entertaining and helps the miles pass.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 5 and a Half Marathon PR!

This week has been strange. We had a lot of winter weather. The worry about how and when I would run far outweighed any actually issues though. The weather started on Sunday night with sleet and freezing rain. Daycare was closed on Monday morning but Brian had worked the weekend and had Monday off so he could stay with the kids. I got to work fairly trouble free but it started snowing again and I had some difficulty getting home. Brian decided to chance a snow run and ended up with 11 miles. Since I’ve got Boston coming up, he advised against the same for me and I hit the treadmill for 10 miles at an easy 8:13 pace.  I listened to an interesting book and it wasn’t that bad. Daycare was closed again on Tuesday and I stayed home this time. The sun came out and temps came up to nearly 40. Unfortunately, Brian was really busy at work and had given several people rides so he didn’t make it home until after 5. I was dressed with keys in hand and was out the door before he even got out of the car. I had speed work to do which I can’t really do from home because of the hills and winding trails. Also, I needed to go somewhere that would be safe after the sun went down and where I knew I could find trails/road without ice and snow. I drove to a local hospital in an industrial park that has river trail access. My daylight was limited but I figured I’d use the trail as much as I could and then do laps around the well lit industrial park when the sun went down. It is roughly a mile and flat. I needed 11 miles total and planned for 5x1200m at 5k pace. I did 5 miles on the trail to warm up and then started the intervals on the industrial park loop. Between the cold and the dark and who knows what else, I could not do the intervals as fast as I wanted. They were ok though. They were all easily sub 7:00 and the overall pace was  7:37. I was just glad to not have to do the treadmill. The half dark run reminded me of Lincoln training and I am really appreciating my current schedule. Wednesday was interesting. Daycare opened because the roads were clear but the forecast showed a high likelihood of snow. I worked at the Conway clinic and we didn’t get any snow at all. Co-workers from North Little Rock started getting snow by 10 am and they all left by noon. Brian works in Little Rock and got lots of snow as well. My co-worker in Conway lives a half mile from me and her husband works from home. He said we got flurries for about an hour and nothing stuck. I ended up being able to stick to the plan and do 15 from home at my usual time. The run was hard. The cold and the cutting wind were really beating me down mentally and physically.  Also, my left foot is a mess. I have no less than 3 blisters going at all times and they really were bothering me. I did my best not to change my gait but it was a real struggle. Despite this, I did 8:06 pace. It actually would have been a lot faster but I fell off the pace hard with a mile or so to go and just didn’t care to push it. I went to the store and bought 2nd skin and blister pads. On Thursday the plan was a 6 miler in the morning and a 4 miler in the afternoon. The temps were super low and I was worried that the wet roads might have patches of ice so I did the morning run on the treadmill and caught up on Better Call Saul. The worst part was that my blisters really hurt. I set the treadmill just below 8:30 pace and went for it. No reason at all to run fast. I went to work and after I finished my patients for the day, I headed to the gym on campus and did the 4 miler. My feet felt a little better but not great. I did that run in 8:16 and afterward, me foot felt really awful. When I got home I cleaned it up and got all the blisters patched up. They felt better Friday morning and I didn’t notice them much throughout the day. I did a 6 miler when I got home from work and they felt much better after the 24 hour rest. I did that run in 7:55 pace. I took my rest day on Saturday.  My training plan called for a 16 mile pace run with 12 miles at marathon race pace. I’ve done this run on previous training plans and it is always tough but confidence boosting. It coincided with the Little Rock Marathon so I signed up for the half so I could use the race to do this run. I parked and headed to the start line and ran into a training buddy. She was hanging out at the firm she used to work at so I was able to stay with her there in the warmth (it was 34 degrees and drizzling) and use the nice indoor bathroom  and avoid porta potties. Yea! We ran 2 miles to warm up and then got in the corral. She wasn’t sure if she was going to do a pace run or go ahead and race it. I knew I wasn’t going full out. I decided to try to stay between 7:20 and 7:30 pace. At the mile 4 timing mat, I was running 7:28 pace. At 10k I was running 7:25 pace. At some point around mile 8 or so, I sped up without really meaning to. Once I figured it out, I felt good so I went with it. When I passed the 10 mile marker I did a little bit of math and figured if I ran 7 minute pace to the end, I could PR. I was able to stay below 7 pretty easy. The course was terrible and doubled back on itself so in the 11th mile, I started overtaking walkers. There were hundreds if not thousands of them and they took up all 4 lanes of traffic. I had to dodge them and run all over the road. It was such a cluster that I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way anymore. Around the middle of the 12th mile, I saw the spot where I was supposed to go straight to finish so I knew I didn’t get misdirected. Even in the finish, I was overtaking people walking the 10k and got no relief. I hit the finish in 1:34:17 which is actually a PR. I had to laugh because I did not see that coming. I’ve always said that my half PR was not indicative of my ability and I think this proves it. I really wonder what I could run if I did an honest effort. Now isn’t the time though but I am happy to have my very first post Leo PR!

For the week, I did 68 miles. I feel pretty good besides the blisters but even they were better after taking Saturday off. My hamstring tendon doesn’t feel great today but that’s to be expected with the hills and the speed in the half marathon. I missed yoga all last week because of the winter weather and some apathy so I need to make that happen next week. Things are going to well to not take good care of myself.

Next week’s plan looks like this:
General Aerobic + Speed 7mi w/6 x 100m strides
Lactate Threshold 11mi w/6@ 15k to half marathon race pace
Med Long Run 15mi
Recovery 5mi
Long Run 20mi
General Aerobic + Speed 8mi w/6 x 100m strides

First 20 miler of the training cycle! I feel ready and I’m so glad to have the pace run out of the way. Because of the winter weather and the race, I didn’t get as much reading in as usual. On the treadmill I often watch TV and I didn’t wear headphones in the race. I did manage to finish Brain on Fire which was a really good, nonfiction book. I then listened to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This is my first experience with her and I’ll admit, I’m not sure I get it. It is supposed to be satire but since it was written so long ago, I’m afraid some of it is lost on me. It wasn’t terrible though. Now I’m reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I like it so far and I’m guessing I’m around half way done.