Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Week Post Boston

So the race is done and I’ve been in a weird in between place for a few days. I’ve been able to bask in the glow of a great performance which is always nice but you also end up with that strange empty feeling you get when you are done chasing a big goal. For me, it is almost like that mourning period you get after you finish a good book and you’ll miss the story and the characters and wish it could keep going. I feel like I am recovering well. I took the day after the race off and then ran 1.8 on the treadmill the next day. It didn’t feel that bad. I ran 4 miles the next day and it went really well. We were in Concord, NH so the temps were brisk and the air felt amazing. I ended up running 7:53 pace. The next day I ran 5 miles around a cove in Portland, ME. The trail was crushed gravel so it felt good to my feet and joints. It was cold and windy and I managed 7:46 pace. Running in a new place is always great. I took Saturday off while we were flying back home and then ran 9 miles this morning. Sunshine and 60 something degrees felt so hot after the cool New England temps. I took it easy and ran 8:07 pace. I do have some aches but they are minor. My left groin hurt for a couple of days after Boston but seems better now. My feet are still sore too. The worst thing right now though is my back. After carrying luggage and kids through airports yesterday and then sleeping in a weird position, my back ribs are sore on the left side. I’m also bloated and sluggish after a week of eating pretty poorly on vacation.

The good news is, I’m raring to go! I want to get faster at shorter races and I’m eager to work toward that goal. Right now, the hardest thing will be forcing myself to recover properly. I typically feel pretty good after a marathon and I’ll start training or racing too soon. I’m certain this is why I got injured last year so I have to really be on myself to go easy for a while. Next week, I’ll add a little mileage but I won’t do anything big. I’m loosely following my Boston taper in reverse and won’t do any formal training plan for another couple of weeks. My next race will be an 8k on May 30th.
I’ll probably take a break from this blog until I really get into more focused training so I’ll be out for a couple of weeks.

P.S.-Here is my favorite pic from Boston. Check out the rain drops and my red from the cold skin. As much as the weather sucked, I am starting to look back on it as a fun adventure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


So I did it! The weather was terrible. Miserable actually and it looked like Mother Nature was going to ruin everything but it went pretty well. It was hard fought. I couldn’t run my 3:15 but I did manage 3:16:11 which is a 3 minute PR! This entry will get long because I’m into the minutia of running and racing so bear with me...or don’t. I’ve already told you the ending anyway.

Let me start with week 12. The plan was 32 miles. Monday I did 5 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. The weather was terrible with rain most of the day. It started after my morning run which I managed in 8:30 pace. I was not so lucky in the afternoon. I hit the treadmill and did 8:10 pace. My legs were finally starting to shake out. I went to the gym for some yoga but the instructor couldn’t make it so a Piyo instructor taught the class instead. I should have walked out but I felt rude so I stayed. I’m an idiot. I got absolutely no stretching out of it and she had us do a bunch of squats and lunges. I don’t know if my gym has the worst Piyo instructors in the world or if it just isn’t a workout I enjoy but I HATE it and it is the worst thing I could possibly do on a marathon week. I was sore the next day. WHY DID I DO THIS!?!? Commence freaking out. I got up early again on Tuesday for 5 miles. My legs hurt so bad I couldn’t sit or stand without pain. The run sucked and was 8:29 pace. I went to yoga that night hoping to shake everything out but it just isn’t the same. I did get a good stretch though. My legs felt even worse on Wednesday. This was the dress rehearsal run. I’d had a lot of drama with what I was going to wear. I need to carry 4 Gu packets with me so either my shorts, top or some combination of the two has to support this. I also want whatever I wear to be flattering and functional. This is impossible for some reason. I do have an Asics top that is very functional but it looks terrible on me so I try to avoid it. I ordered several different shorts and tops trying to find something but most of it didn’t work. None of the tops worked at all and the final option arrived the day before the dress rehearsal run. I loved it. It looked good, was really supportive and it had large pockets in the back for all my Gu. This meant I could wear whatever shorts I wanted since all my Gu would be in the singlet. Unfortunately, when I ran in it, it rode up. I also didn’t like the feel of the material when it got sweaty. At that point, I was so frustrated that I just gave up and went with the old Asics top. The run itself went well except my legs still hurt. The two miles that were supposed to be at marathon pace were run in 7:20 and the overall run was 7:45 pace. Legs hurt but seem to still work. On Thursday I did 5 at 7:56 pace wearing the Asics top just to make sure it really did work. It did. Legs still felt terrible but running didn’t seem to be a problem. I kept telling Brian how sore I was and that I didn’t know what to do and he kept telling me the race wasn’t until Monday so it would be fine. I woke up just as sore on Friday. I also started looking at Boston weather forecasts. The temps looked ideal but it was supposed to rain. I actually don’t really mind the rain but it was saying the wind would be up to 20 mph from the East. That was very bad. Boston is a point to point course that runs pretty much West to East. I tried not to worry about it but I did. The Friday run was 4 miles in 8:11 and my legs did seem to feel better. I got packed and ready to go. 

Our flight left at 6 am on Saturday morning. We loaded up the car the night before, woke up at 4 am, got ready and were in the car by 4:30. Not bad considering that included dressing and loading up a 3 and 5 year old. The flights went pretty well with both kids and we ended up in Boston in the early afternoon. We took the T to the hotel, got checked in and set out for the expo. I wanted to get my bib and be done with everything so Sunday could be all resting up and relaxing. Our good travel behavior with the kids ran out on the way to the expo and Darwin melted down pretty bad. I didn’t even actually go to the expo. I just went to bib pick up and got out of there. The forecast got worse and worse every hour I looked at it. It was calling for 38 mph gusts! Brian assured me that this is measured at the airport which is right on the water so it would probably be better the further inland I was. I hoped he was right. The hourly forecasts said it would be in the 40s and raining but it would feel like the low 30s. That didn’t sound fun but I wasn’t worried about that. I ran 2 miles on Sunday morning. It was 50 degrees and windy. I ran from Cambridge across the Charles to Boston and back. I felt great! Even taking it easy, the first mile was pretty quick and I had to really hold back on the 2nd one. The soreness was finally gone. The overall pace was 7:56. I relaxed the rest of the day and even got a nap. The Boston Athletic Association sent out a warning email about the weather and suggested dressing warmly. Honestly, if you are wet, what does it matter? I had a sleeveless singlet and short shorts. I did bring gloves and I had a pair of sleeves so I figured I’d wear those. I didn’t have any pants to wear to the athletes village so I did go buy a cheap pair of those. I actually slept well but Darwin got in our bed around 5 am and I never got back to sleep. I got dressed and checked the weather. Yep. Still terrible. I wasn’t sure what to do goal wise. I knew that 3:15 probably wasn’t going to happen but I couldn’t give up all hope. I decided to go ahead and see how it felt at the race and just go from there. I had a pace bracelet for 3:15 and figured I could just add 5 or 10 seconds to each mile as needed. I like the bracelet because I try to run with an even effort meaning that each mile may be a different pace depending upon the topography of the race. has a huge database of marathon course elevation profiles and you can generate your custom bracelet based on your pacing strategy and goal. This way the bracelet doesn’t just help me keep pace, it lets me know when the hills are coming. I figured that would be handy even if I couldn’t keep up with goal pace so I took it. 

I rode the bus to Hopkinton with a girl I met from my suburb named Whitney. She was 2 corrals back from me. We didn’t even know each other when we signed up for Boston but I looked her up when I saw her on the entry list. She lives a little over a mile from me and we were able to do several training runs together. I was so glad to be able to ride to Hopkinton with her because that is a long ride to take alone when you are all keyed up with nerves.
Whitney and I freezing in the athletes village.

It started raining on the ride but stopped before we got there. The athletes village was freezing. We stood in the porta potty line forever and then found a little comfort in one of the tents. It was still cold but the wind was blocked. Before long, my corral got called and I was out of there. I kept my extra clothes on until just before I got in the corral. I took my pants off but kept my fleece hoodie. Once the corral was loaded we had a little under 10 minutes to wait. About then, the rain started. I couldn’t feel my feet at all. I considered starting the race in my fleece but when they moved us up to the start mat, I took it off. The rain on my bare neck and shoulders was torture. The gun went off and we started. Boston plummets downhill hard in the first 2 miles and is a net downhill until about mile 16. I had to really hold back to stay on pace. Besides being cold, I felt ok. The rain stopped or at least slowed down at some point and I felt ok around 5k. I was right on pace and felt relaxed. The rain started again and was sometimes just drizzle and sometimes a downpour. The wind was present and unpleasant but it was not the wall I had feared. At 10k, I was still easily on pace but I was getting colder. I’ve never had that happen in a race before. My teeth were chattering and I was uncomfortable. I was fine through 15k but I had some trouble opening the Gu packet at mile 10.
Still feeling ok at 15k.
With a lot of effort, I got it open with my teeth but I still had trouble actually squeezing it into my mouth. I was so cold that my hands weren’t working and even my forearms felt weak and useless. So useless I didn’t have the strength to squeeze a Gu packet. Before my mile 15 Gu, I was still on pace. My quads hurt and were stiff but I couldn’t tell if it was because of effort or cold. I saw a medical tent at some point and actually thought about quitting. I figured they had blankets and could get me to the finish line. I started fantasizing about warm baths and coffee. From mile 14 to 15 I squeezed my hands open and closed trying to warm them back up. I had done this on training runs in the past and it worked. No such luck today. I did manage to get the Gu open but I couldn’t get it into my mouth. Some of it went in, some of it went down my chin and a lot of it just stayed in the package. I got some water and decided I would try to make up for it by taking the packet offered at mile 17 by the volunteers. I had a similar experience there and got part of the Gu down my throat but it was not worth the trouble. At that point I was well into the Newton hills. Around mile 15, my arms started shaking so hard that I really couldn’t read my pace band anymore. I was on pace to that point and I knew mile 16 was supposed to be fast and then the climbs were slower. After Heartbreak HIll, I was supposed to drop down in the 7:15ish range. I didn’t take the bracelet off but I quit looking at it. No more Gu and no more pacing. I wasn’t giving up though because I was still doing good. I hurt so bad but it had little to do with the actual running. I did slow down for the hills but they weren’t that bad. I did feel myself tightening up though. I just really hoped that I wouldn’t cramp up in the downhill after Newton. There was one of the downhill sections between the Newton hills that was supposed to be quick but I didn’t really speed up for it. When Heartbreak came, I ran right up it and my time for that mile was 7:40 which was actually quicker than my pace band intended. I was able to speed up after that but not to the degree I had planned. At that point, I was overtaking people from the wave in front of me. Lots of people. Sometimes it was fun but other times it was obnoxious. On the hills, people would just start walking right in front of you and you’d have to dodge them. Same thing once I was in Boston. I almost plowed right into a couple of people because they abruptly stopped. Sometime around mile 20, I botched a water grab so bad that it went all over me and the volunteer. My dexterity was a joke at that point so I gave up water too. I put my head down and just ran for the finish line. The crowds were great despite the weather but I had my head down and was just thinking about running. The wind did start to suck and I had to reach up and tighten my hat because it almost blew off my head a couple of times. It also tore into you like a dagger. I already felt like I couldn’t get any colder and the wind made me feel like I was going to freeze solid. Before I knew it though, I was at the Citgo sign with 1 mile to go. The last mile in Boston flies by. Even in 2008 when I completely fell apart, that mile was over before I could blink. This time when I turned onto Boylston, the finish didn’t seem a lifetime away. It also wasn’t as crowded. I had a clear path and I could run. I could also see the 26 mile marker. I completely missed it in 2008. I ran for it and then ran to the line. The fact that it wasn’t my ideal goal was not even on my mind. That weather sucked, the course is hard regardless of conditions and it is freakin Boston! 3:16 is a 3 minute PR so I smashed my secondary goal of setting a personal best. They hadn’t switched to clock over from the 2nd wave yet so it said 3:40 something. When I stopped running, my legs tightened up so hard that I had a weird floating sensation. I felt very bad and I had a pretty long walk to get to the T. I was cold. Like I want to just scream cold. My teeth chattered so hard that my jaw got sore. They gave us our medal first and we had to walk what seemed like eternity to get a blanket. The blankets were nice. They had armholes, a hood and they velcroed shut. A volunteer very carefully helped me into mine and I love her for that. They handed us food. I was not hungry but knew I had a good trek back to the hotel and should eat something. Once again, my hands failed me. I couldn’t even peel a banana. I should have asked for help but I didn’t have the energy. The people in front of me were moving so slow and I felt like I would never get out of there. Once I hit Boston Common, a lot of people went into the park. I didn’t check any gear so I stayed on the sidewalk and made a beeline for the T. The wind ripped into me and I did my best to hold the blanket down over my legs. I saw the green line stop but didn’t see the first red line stop. I need the 2nd red line stop. I had a panicky moment where I thought I went the wrong way but I saw it on the other side of the street. My T pass was zipped into a pocket in the back of my singlet in a ziplock bag so it wouldn’t get wet. I kept wondering how I was going to get it out with my hands being worthless and all. I decided not to worry about it until I got down into the stop and out of the wind. I actually didn’t have much trouble going down the stairs. It didn’t feel good but I made it. A Boston police officer let me in without my card. I guess the T was free to marathoners. That was so great! I didn’t have to fumble with the card. I worried that in my post marathon fog, I would get confused about which line to take but I easily found my way to the outbound red line platform and the train mercifully arrived less than a minute after I did. Once I got on the T and sat down, I felt so much better. I was warm and I could rest. I only had 2 stops until our hotel and the stop was right in the courtyard of our hotel so I only had to walk a few feet to the elevator. I never got my room key out. It was in the ziplock baggie with my T card. I knocked on the door and Brian answered right away. I immediately cried a few tears in the most pathetic way and said something about how much that hurt. I got into the bath immediately and Brian, after giving me a hug and making fun of my stupid looking, yet functional race blanket asked what he could get me from Starbucks. I love him. I got in the bath and life got like 1000 time better almost instantly. With dry clothes and coffee, I felt like I would after any marathon except that my skin hurt. Everything felt sort of wind burned yet it didn’t actually appear to be chapped at all. I had so many messages of support and praise from friends, relatives and e-friends that it took a long time to get through them all. I felt really loved! I was also happy to see that I was my state’s top finishing female! Both of the local running stores back home had given me shout outs on their Facebook pages so that was cool. People I didn’t even know had liked and commented on the status updates! Nearly all of my local running friends PRed or ran right at PR pace. My friend Whitney had a 5 minute PR for a 3:29! In that weather and on such a punishing course, that is really something. I know how easy it is to have a bad race in Boston so it is amazing that at least one of us didn’t have a bad day. I’m still a little bitter about the weather but mostly because it ruined a lot of the experience for me. My overall feeling about the race is still negative but I’m hoping that will fade with time. Boston is magical and I had my head down willing myself to finish for a lot of that. There were a few moments out there that I did smile and think to myself how great it was to be there. I LOVE the Boston crowd. Love them. Thankfully, while my head was down and I was missing the sights, I could still hear. From Heartbreak all the way to Boylston, the crowds were insane. They were good before that too but it really got rowdy in Boston. I feel sore but not nearly as bad as I did in 2008. I’ve been up and down and in the car a lot today (the day after) and I’m getting around pretty well. I’ll try to run tomorrow and I’ll let you know how that goes. TIme to regroup and come up with a new focus and goal. I’ll let the dust settle on this one first though.
Me, Leo & the medal.

P.S. Brian, who actually wrote down “not run a marathon in 2015” as one of his goals this year, got bitten by the Boston bug and wants to go again! We may be back sooner rather than later. I feel done here though. I had a bad race and now a good one. I think doing it again would be pushing my luck. I will never say never though.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 11

Coming into this week I was excited to really get to scale down. Unfortunately, between the week end combination of a 10k and a 17 miler, my legs were tight and tired. I got it in my head that the Monday run was 6 miles and when I finally looked at the plan and saw 8 miles it was like someone kicked me in the gut. I tried to be positive and suck it up but my legs protested. I got it done though. The run included 10 strides and I just tried to relax for everything which ended up at 8:10 pace. Fair enough. I am tapering after all. I celebrated with a 20 minute yoga video. I’m determined to take care of myself these last few days of training and my tight legs needed to be loosened up. That night, Leo was fussy and ended up in our bed. In the middle of the night he woke up and puked all over Brian. I stayed home with him which meant I wouldn’t be able to run until Brian and Darwin got home which also meant I wouldn’t be able to make it to my usual Tuesday night yoga class. I pulled out another DVD and did 25 minutes of yoga while Leo napped. I set out for an 8 miler with 3 mile repeats at 5k pace around 5pm. It was 80 degrees. In my 3 mile warm up it became pretty clear that mile repeats were a bad idea. I went ahead and did one at 6:45 pace. That was all I could do. That isn’t even my 10k pace. That isn’t even my OLD 10k pace. With Boston less than 2 weeks away, I decided to just finish the mileage. I’m not worried about my speed. I’m PRing or near PRing at short distances. The speed is there. I squeezed in another 20 minutes of yoga for good measure. Since the Wednesday run was only 7 miles I got up at 5 am and ran it. I managed 8:18 pace with the legs still feeling tight and tired. Can’t complain though because NO WEDNESDAY MEDIUM LONG RUN! Seriously, those were the worst! Once again, I managed a 20 minute yoga DVD. It is my goal to get as much yoga as possible for the rest of the taper. I was up again at 5am on Thursday for a 5 miler. 8:21 pace this time. On my way to the power yoga class I like to do on Thursday night, we drove into a storm with hail, crazy wind and like no visibility. Traffic came to a complete halt so I turned into a neighborhood and went back home. Leo was with me and was very freaked out by the hail hitting the car. We made it home but it was quite an adventure. A huge tree fell and completely obstructed the road at one point. I drove on the sidewalk to get around it. The universe just really doesn’t want me at a yoga class this week! Oh well. I did manage a 20 minute yoga DVD when I got home. I took Friday off. On Saturday I did my last double digit run. I did the 13 miles at 7:58 pace and the legs felt ok. I always feel like my legs should feel amazing during the taper but they never do. Brian ran the 1500 at a college meet that afternoon and had a really good race. We then went to a get together at a friend’s house with lots of people that are also heading to Boston. Both of our boys ended up with their shirts off and ultimately, Leo ended up completely naked. It was fun. Before we had kids, I felt like I was a big part of our local running community and that I knew most everyone that was around. Brian has managed to stay ingrained but I’ve missed a lot and I feel like I know less and less people. I used to go to a race and know everyone at the starting line and I’ve really felt like a stranger lately. It was nice to get to know some of the newer crowd. Brian worked on Sunday so I had to wait until 5pm to do my run. It was only 5 miles but it was 80 degrees. I still managed 7:57 pace.

Next Week’s Plan:
M-Recovery 5mi am, 4mi pm
T-Recovery 5mi
W-Dress Rehearsal 7mi w/2mi@marathon race pace
R-General Aerobic + Speed 5mi w/6 x 100m strides
F-Recovery 4mi
S-Rest and fly to Boston!
S-Recovery 2mi

Just to give you an idea of the work that has gone into just this training cycle which officially began on 1/26/15, here are some stats.
  • 676 miles run up to this point (4/12/15)
  • 22 medium long runs completed (runs 10-15 miles long)
  • 18 books read
  • 13 hour long yoga sessions plus all the yoga I did at home
  • 12 lbs lost
  • 8 long runs completed (runs 16 miles or longer)
  • 4 races completed (2 5ks, 1 10k & 1 half marathon)
  • 2 PRs set (soon to be 3 hopefully)
  • 0 ice baths! Interestingly enough, I usually do several but I didn’t feel like absolute crap for any of this training and a lot of it was done in pretty cold conditions. Last thing I want to do after running a 20 miler in 30 degree temps is submerge myself into ice cold water for 15 minutes.
  • 0 massages! Again, a real testament to how well my body held up through this training.
I really have loved nearly every mile of this training. It was hard and some days were downright brutal (33 degrees with rain for 10 miles and sleet for the last 5) but it was so much better than any other marathon training I’ve ever done both physically and mentally. Even if I don’t get the outcome I want in Boston, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve accomplished. Honestly, that 10k PR is one of my brightest running achievements to date and I’m not going to lie. I’m really, really proud of it. Goal wise, I’m just going to set two. The “if the universe cooperates and everything is perfect” goal is 3:15. The secondary goal is to PR which would mean faster than 3:19:16. I’m fine with either. I’ll be fine with neither too if that is the way it works out. Boston is a punishing course so we shall see but I have no reason to believe I won’t have a great race.

On the book front, I finished All the Light We Cannot See. It was haunting and wonderful but sad. I then read some much lighter chick lit. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews. It was not really that good. I’ve just started Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I’ve meant to read her stuff for a while but it is so popular that it is never available at the library. I’m only a few chapters in so no judgment yet.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 10 and Another PR!

This is the first week that I get to start tapering slightly. At 59 miles total, it wasn’t exactly easy but the scaling back was certainly welcome, especially on Wednesday.  Monday started with 6 miles with some strides. It was pretty warm but I was still able to do 7:53 pace without pushing it too hard. Tuesday was another hot one and it was 9 miles total with 5x600m intervals. It was a hard workout but it went well. I did the intervals at an average of 6:15 pace and the total run was 7:42 pace. My legs felt pretty tired on Wednesday but 11 miles is so much better than the 15 I’ve been doing so I just pressed on. The weather was better than it had been with some breeze and cloud cover. I did 8:03 pace which felt fine during the run but I was pretty spent and completely salt covered afterward. I got up early on Thursday morning to do my 5 mile recovery run. My legs were tired but not completely sluggish. Without the sun, it was cooler but it was in the mid 60s and pretty humid so not great. I did 8:11 pace and then rested up until Saturday morning which was the Capital City Classic 10k.

This is a fast flat race that has been around for something like 30 years. Most agree that it is a great course and perfect for a PR. I actually set my PR there, 41:44, in 2011. 10k is hard for me. It is a long way to run that hard and I get mental and physical fatigue around mile 4 in a good race and even earlier in a bad race. It’s one of those glass half full/half empty type things. If you feel good at the 5k point in a 10k, thinking about being half way done can sound great. It can also sound like torture if you aren’t doing too good. Most 10ks I’ve done end up in the glass half empty category. The Chile Pepper XC is an exception. I typically run faster there than we think I can even though it is XC. I believe it is because of the multi loop course which helps me break things down mentally and the XC spectator atmosphere which I just happen to love. These fast flat courses which are great in theory, tend to get monotonous to me and I just kinda give up around mile 3 or 4. I knew this was an opportunity to PR and I really wanted to capitalize on that for once.  I looked at recent race paces, used some race converting calculators and talked it over with Brian and came up with a realistic goal. I really wanted to try for 6:30s but Brian pointed out that I really shouldn’t be able to do 6:30 flat if I could only do 6:21 on a net downhill 5k. He is right of course. Hillrunner’s race conversion calculator (which doesn’t take into account course elevation) predicted a 41:04 based on my 19:42 5k from a couple of weeks ago. Usually, race conversions over estimate your ability if you are using a shorter race to predict a longer one. I find them to be helpful tools but they must be taken with a grain of salt of course. I often will set more than one goal for a race I really care about. I decided that my main goal was to PR which meant a pace faster than 6:43 but I also wanted to break 41 minutes if I was having a good day which meant at least 6:36 pace. Brian felt that I could do something in the 6:30s but probably on the higher end like 6:38 or 6:39. I decided that I’d go out at 6:40 for the first 2 miles and then try to drop to 6:35 for the next two and then try to do 6:30 for the final 2. This strategy would actually be pretty difficult and I didn’t expect to meet it exactly but I liked the idea of it to guide me. On Friday, I thought a lot about the race and knew that it would come down to me staying focused. I needed a mantra to get me through. In Lincoln, when all my joints were aching but I otherwise felt good and had perfect weather, I said to myself over and over again “If not today, when?”.  That really helped me seize the opportunity. The weather for the Capital City Classic was supposed to be perfect and here I was in great shape and poised for a PR. Overall, I decided to stay calm and keep the first miles relaxed and to remind myself what a 6:40 mile feels like on a training day which would likely be a lot harder than what I would feel on race day. I also decided to remind myself at mile 3 or 4, when things start to hurt, that I’d already done 3 or 4 miles at a fast pace and that it would be a waste and a shame to just throw those away. I got up at 5am on race day, had some coffee and a Cliff bar and then did some final strategizing. I got dressed and the whole family took off for the race. It is only about 15 minutes from here. I already had my chip so I didn’t need to register or pick anything up that morning. Brian wasn’t running but the boys were going to do a kids’ race after mine. I left him with the kids and hit the bathroom and then did an easy 2 mile warm up. After one more bathroom stop, I was ready to go. The race does a loop in the park and then goes out onto the roads so I saw Brian and the boys at the starting line and then again about ¾ of a mile into the race. I built up to the 6:40 pace I wanted slowly and felt good. (My Garmin went off a few feet before each mile marker so the splits I’m going to post are what my Garmin said while in reality, they were probably a few seconds slower.) The first and second miles both came in at 6:36. I was feeling good and had already passed all but the super fast females that I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch. I was racing my watch anyway. In mile 3, I started to pass lots of guys and I did try to speed up a little. The Garmin went off at 6:31 and I pressed on. I was just starting to feel a little tired but it wasn’t anything to worry about. I told myself that I felt tired because I was rockin it and to just keep going. The Garmin had me at 6:31 for mile 4. When I turned back onto the main road, I knew I’d have the wind at my back. It wasn’t a strong wind, but I had noticed it on my way out. I stayed focused and hit mile 5 in 6:28. It was starting to get hard at that point but it should be. I was pretty much alone but I could see a teenage guy in front of me so I worked on catching him. I came up to him at the entrance of the park which probably meant about ¾ of a mile to go. He stayed with me at first but I lost him on a tangent when the road curved. Why do people not run tangents? I really felt like I was slowing down and I did let myself ease up a little. I knew I would easily PR and I thought I could still break 41 so I told myself to take a little breather and then kick it in at 5.7 miles, which would mean about half a mile to go. I hit 5.7 and couldn’t quite muster the motivation to do anything big. I took the final curve and could see the finish. I finally found my kick and pushed. The clock came into view and it said something like 40:30. I watched the seconds tick by and at first I thought I had plenty of time but it is amazing how fast it goes when you don’t want it to! I crossed the line at 40:47. The Garmin had me at 6:26 for the last mile and 6:02 pace for the last .2. The official overall pace was 6:35! Even better was that I had a great race. I felt absolutely fine until mile 4 and didn’t really start hurting until well into mile 5 and I got faster as I went. This is a huge victory for me since I’ve had a little mental block at this distance. I shattered my old PR by 58 seconds! I cooled down for 2.8 miles and ran a total of 11 for the day. 
The boys at the starting line.

The boys both ran the kids’ race and did great. In the past, we’ve tried these runs and they have refused to wear the numbers and had to be carried for a lot of the race. They both did great this time. I ran with Darwin. His race was a little over half a mile. He ran the whole time. I could tell he was tired at the end but he pushed on and even kicked. I teared up several times watching him. There was just so much joy present and it was emotional for me to see him enjoy something that I love so much. Brian ran with Leo and said he did great too. His race was about a third of a mile and he apparently ran the entire distance too. 

Brian had to work Sunday and since it was Easter, we couldn’t find a baby sitter so I had to wait until he got off to do my last long run. He got home a little before 5pm and I set out. It was pleasantly cool-upper 50s and overcast with a breeze. My legs were certainly tired but I’m not sure if this run was harder physically or mentally. The very last long run done at 5pm on a Sunday? That’s just cruel. I threw a couple of hills in the middle of it just for good measure and ended up running 8:12 pace. The hardest part was finding something to eat afterward. It was too late to cook and all 3 Subways in our town were closed. Lame! I ended up with Taco Bell. Gross. Thankfully Starbucks was open.

Next Week’s Plan:
M-General Aerobic + Speed 8mi w/10 x 100m strides
T-VO2max 8mi w/3x1600m@5k race pace
W-General Aerobic + Speed 7mi w/10 x 100m strides 
R-Recovery 5mi 
S-Med Long Run 13mi 
S-Recovery 5mi

At 46 miles total there will be no way that I don’t notice the lessened work load. The mile repeats on Tuesday will be tough because they always are but that’s it, it is the last speedwork. I’m most excited about 7 miles on Wednesday. The least I’ve run on a Wednesday since January 28th is 11 miles. 7 will be amazing! Saturday will bring the last double digit run and then the real taper will start the next week. It is getting so close!

Reading wise I finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North which was long, boring and pretty depressing. This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that I really didn’t like at all. Now I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I like the book but I am so over the WWII novels. Nothing against that particular genre or era but I’m burned out on it. I failed to read the synopsis of this book before I started it or I would have skipped it altogether simply because I can’t do anymore WWII stuff right now.