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.

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