Monday, October 29, 2012

The countdown is on!

Not much left to do from here on out... the work is done, so I just need to trust my training and hope for the best!

Monday - 15M in 2:02:12 (8:11)
Double out and back on the ATT with company from Ellen and Sara.  Mostly an easy, comfortable run with 4 faster miles (7:30s) sprinkled in at 8, 10, 12, and 14.  Last "long" run done!

Massage at Randori Bodywork.  I highly recommend this if you are looking for a (very) deep tissue massage.

Wednesday - 6.7M in 55:26 (8:20)
Met Donna at the Duke track for some speed work.  2M easy warm up followed by 10 x 400s (95-98 sec) with 200 recoveries and a short cool down.

Friday - 5M in 39:29 (7:53)
This run was scheduled for Thursday but I couldn't find the motivation to go out in the dark solo, so I bumped it to Friday in order join some of the BCTC ladies.  It was supposed to be a very easy (8:30ish) run, but miles 3 and 4 were in the 7:30s.  Not exactly what I had planned, but that is slow for my speedy friends and I decided it was better to run faster with company than run slowly by myself.  

Saturday - 10M in 1:16:34 (7:40)
My schedule called for 10 miles at goal pace (7:40-7:45) so I figured I'd run the American Tobacco Trail 10 miler to practice pacing and nutrition/hydration at race pace.  I went out a little too fast at the start but reminded myself that this was not the end game, and settled in to my planned pace, running mid-7:30s on the downhill sections and mid-7:40s on the uphill sections (not really "hills" but not really flat either).   

The other upside of using a race for my last training run was that though I've practiced nutrition and hydration on our long runs, it was at a slower pace or during gu breaks.  So today's goal pace run was a perfect opportunity to test out my strategy of taking gel across two water stops, taking half just before the aid station and drinking on the move. I really didn't want or need it, but I took half a gel just before the mile 4.5 water stop and the other half when I passed that aid station again after the turnaround.  It felt like too much at once and my stomach felt a bit unsettled, so I think I'll divide it up across 3 miles/water stops in NY instead of 2.  Hopefully practice makes perfect...  

Overall I felt fairly comfortable, but it definitely wasn't quite as easy as I'd hoped.  A volunteer on the course around mile 9.5 said I looked like I hadn't done anything, so I guess that's good!  And despite sticking to my pace place, I still won my age group!  Woot!


Of course my baker's cyst has chosen marathon week to act up, and I am starting to come down with a head cold.  UGH.  Hopefully ice and rest can take care of the first problem, and I've been loading up on Emergen-C for the second.  Scheduled for a short easy run this afternoon, a little speedwork tomorrow, and an easy run on Thursday, so at least it will be a restful week.  Fingers crossed that I'll be knee pain-free and feeling well on Sunday... 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Short and sweet

Week 1 of tapering went pretty well... lower mileage, but thanks to a couple of short races this weekend, still some good pace.  Two weeks to go!

Monday - 4M with Sara (33:49 - 8:27)

Tuesday - 11M with Amy (1:28:45 - 8:04)

Wednesday - 6M with Bex (47:55 - 7:59)

Thursday - 5k with Sara (26:45 - 8:29)

Saturday - Oktoberfest 8K (35:41 - 7:10)

Originally my plan was to run this as a tempo run rather than a "race", and with temperatures in the mid-70s combined with running in a costume, I figured that would put me somewhere in the 7:15-7:30 pace range.  But they had an awesome glass boot for fastest female in a dirndl, so when the first 2 dirndl-wearing runners went out I decided to try to hang with them for as long as possible and see what happened.  I kept up with them around 6:30 pace for about a mile and a half, but unfortunately that is well under my 8k pace and I could only ignore that fact for so long.  Once they put some space between us, I slowed to 7:20s and 7:30s, and though I was disappointed to not be able to push through and take home the boot, I did win my age group, got my free beer, and enjoyed a nice afternoon outside with my hubby.  The course was pretty hilly and the 3pm start meant warm temps with little shade and only two water stations, but I liked the festive atmosphere so I'd probably recommend it.  And I do want that boot, so I plan to give it another shot next year :)

Sunday - Ramblin Rose Half Marathon Relay (6M, about 47 minutes)

I got the lucky draw for our relay, having to only run the short and relatively flat 2 mile middle leg.  I did a easy mile and a half from the start to my relay exchange and stretched and chatted with the other runners while I waited.  The pace cars came by and Laura was leading the race by a pretty good distance, so it was exciting to cheer for her as she sped by.  Sara came in a few minutes later, maybe 7th or 8th overall, handed off the race belt, and off I went.  I passed a couple of runners, and each seemed quite relieved that I was running the relay!  Other than those few runners and a few spectators and police officers, it was a pretty quiet and solo run, but the 2 miles went by quickly and before I knew it I was handing off to Ellen.  My goal was to stay around 6:30 pace, and my garmin has my average at 6:34, so I am pretty happy with that.  I ran a nice 20 minute cool down back to the start, where I met up with Sara, Monte, and Caren in time to cheer in Laura (who won by over 6 minutes!) and Ellen, who finished fifth overall and first among relays.  Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see everyone I knew who ran the half today, but congratulations to all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

ING Hartford Half Marathon

Monte and I flew up to Hartford on Friday after work, and met up with my stepsister Erika and her family to go pick up our packets.  Though listed as open until 9, a lot of vendors had packed up and left by the time we got there around 8:00.  But we got our numbers and shirts, headed back to the hotel, snacked on some pretzels, and went to bed reasonably early.

Saturday morning I got up early, even though the race didn't start until 8:00.  I had some coffee and a power bar and at 6:30 I jogged the .75 miles down to the start/finish area in Bushnell Park for the weigh in required for award-eligibility in the athena division (for women 150+).  The temperature was a little under 30 degrees, and I worried that I would freeze but it actually didn't feel that bad and I warmed up pretty quickly even on my short jog.  After weigh-in I went back to our hotel, drank some water with nuun, and did a little stretching.

We waited as long as possible in the hotel, and jogged down to the start line about 20 minutes before 8. Got into the seeded corral without any problems, and it was much less crowded than the rest of the 13,000+ field, so that was nice.  My goal for the day was to try to run a 1:35, or about 7:15 pace.  I figured this would be comparable to the PR of 1:34:16 that I set last fall, since that course was all downhill and flat and this was more rolling.  I thought that might be a struggle though, because I've been doing more distance training and less speed work than I was last year when my A race was a half marathon rather than a full.  But after the disappointing race I had at the XC festival, I decided I had to just go for it, and if my legs fail me then so be it; but I was determined to not let mental weakness get the best of me this time around.

After the anthem, the corral moved up and we were off.  I tried not to get carried away and go out too fast, but the garmin beeped for the first mile split and I looked down to see 6:51.  Oops.  I slowed a little, deciding to see what would happen if I kept the pace closer to 7 than the 7:15 I'd planned.  Normally for a race that long, I would try to pace "comfortably hard" but after the last disappointing race I realized I needed to just suck it up and take the "comfortable" part out of the equation and embrace the discomfort.

The course was slightly rolling, with no major hills, and I just concentrated on the people in front of me, my form, and maintaining my pace.  I honestly remember very little about the course, which is unlike me... I guess I really was focused on the run this time!  Since 7 minute miles is my 10k pace and not my half marathon pace (or so I thought), I was sort of waiting to hit a wall or have the wheels come off.  But it never happened.  I just kept moving along, focusing on one mile at a time and all of a sudden I had made it 10 miles in 71 minutes.  What?!  I could see the Hartford skyline coming back into view and tried to pick it up a little.  That didn't work, but I also wasn't slowing down.  Once we made the final turn, I could see 1:32 on the clock and gave what I could to get in under 1:33.  Stopped the garmin at 1:33:03 for a 13.22 miles, averaging 7:02 and I really couldn't believe it.

I made my way through the finish chute and met Monte, who had just missed my finish because I was ahead of the schedule I'd given him.  I went over to the results tent where you could type in your number for results and it came up 1:32:00.  The wheelchair athletes had started before us, so I thought maybe that was the difference from the finish clock time and the computer time.  It turns out that the computer was just wrong, and the official results have me listed as finishing in 1:33:01.  Of course I wish I could have gotten in 2 seconds faster, but it is still over a minute off my PR and I honestly could not be happier.  I didn't feel horrible, but I also pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and am really pleased with my effort.  What a difference a few weeks can make!

Erika also had a great race, running well under her 2 hour time goal to finish in 1:51! I am hoping at some point she'll get hooked like I am and we can race together more often :)

6:51-6:59-7:06-7:04-7:17-7:03-7:01-7:06-7:06-7:03-7:02-6:58-7:03-1:25 (.22)

Official time: 1:33:01
1st place, Athena division
10 / 534 F30-34 
35 / 3324 Female
228/ 5953 Overall

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Karanukkah and 5-Year Runniversary

The idea of Karanukkah (8 days of food, drink, desserts, and presents) occurred to me last weekend, and somehow my wonderful husband agreed to go along with it, so it has been a fabulous start to October!  I don't think this week's miles even come close to balancing out the gluttony (including stops at Maple View Farms, Moonberries, Tomato Jake's, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Noodles & Co., and Piola; plus cake, donuts, ice cream cake, and cupcakes), but it was worth it.  I'm registered as an Athena for next weekend's half marathon anyway, but after that I'll be much better about my diet and will hopefully lose a few pounds before NYC.  In the meantime... stretchy pants.

I also hit a milestone of sorts today - it has been exactly 5 years since my first race!  On 10/7/07 I ran the Anna's Angels 10-miler, which at the time was the longest I'd ever run.  Five years, a few thousand miles (3,485 since I bought the Garmin in May 2010), and 80+ races later, I must say thanks to Jenn P for talking me into that despite my protests that running 10 miles was just crazy!

As for training this week, it's had some highs and lows, but today's long run went really well and was exactly what I needed with NYC only one month away.

Monday: 1500m pull swim

Tuesday: 10M in 1:19:50, including 5 x 1M
Very humid and then rainy run on the ATT with Sara.  It felt tough, which I am going to blame on the not-so-pleasant heat and humidity, and having run over 20 miles two days ago.  Not super consistent with the splits (6:41-7:03-6:56-7:04-6:55), but with the long gradual up and down of the southern section of the trail it seemed like a pretty even effort and I'll take it.

Wednesday: 6M in 51:36
Nice recovery run through Colvard Farms on another ridiculously humid morning.  

Thursday: 6M in 46:36
Crazy humidity, take three. Where is fall?!  Middle 4 miles around goal half marathon pace (7:22-7:16-7:19-7:14).  The pace felt great for the first mile or two and fairly challenging after that, so I'm not sure how I can hold it for 13 if 4 is a struggle.  I'm hoping that a day or two off and cooler temperatures will help.

Friday: 8M in 1:03:01; Sync Cycling
Lovely, less humid run on the ATT with Ellen. 2M warm up then 6M averaging 7:46.

Sunday: 22M in 3:04:09
Lora, Caren, Ellen, and Allie were sweet enough to join me for my birthday long run, starting from my house and heading south on the ATT.  My plan was to run easy (around 8:30 pace) and though I went a little faster than planned, I resisted the temptation to try to keep up with my speedy friends.  Thanks to Lora for hanging back and keeping me company.  I can't imagine doing these long runs solo, especially in the pouring rain!  I felt great after sticking to the plan, so when I hit 20 miles I decided to pick it up and try to get one faster mile in.  Made it through the 21st mile in 7:18 and then slowed back down for a cool down mile.  Though one fast mile is not going to reap any physical benefits at this point, mentally I am happy to know that I can run relatively fast (for me) after nearly 3 hours.  Top that off with bagels, coffee, and mimosas with my lovely running friends, and it makes for a pretty great Sunday morning!

Weekly total: 52 miles