Countdown to Little Rock
Life was hectic the week after Christmas, to say the least, and working out was mostly non-existent...SO...I'll summarize it for you here:
I realized I was insanely sick on Monday. I didn't run from Sunday afternoon until Thursday evening! Geez. When I finally had enough energy to make it happen, I tolerated a solid 6 miler at 9:15/mile average. The next day, I just wanted enough to meet my goal for the month. If I ran 4.57 plus my planned 18 mile long run, I would have exactly 160 for the month. The 4.57 miler happened (9:16/mile average), but the 18 miler did not. I made it only 6 miles and knew I could not make the rest happen. My average for that 6 was 9:45/mile. Most of my miles were between 9:50 and 10:10. I was feeling like complete crap. I knew I needed a rest day. I didn't get upset about it because I knew I had Monday off of work. That would be the perfect opportunity to try again! With that in mind, I rested on Sunday because my body needed it. I did no strength workouts this week.
- 1/2: 18 miles, 8:49/mile; Core workout. FINALLY!! I was determined to get this 18 miler! I broke it up into three 6 mile loops. That wasn't completely intentional, but it seemed to work out well. My friends Meg and Jessie wanted to get 6 miles with the goal of 9-9:30 average. This sounded perfect because I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to tolerate running. I figured it would be a great warm up and a good test to see if I'd be able to tolerate the rest of my run. We ended up averaging 8:59/mile. Amanda met me for the next loop. She had absolutely no agenda but to run easy. Again, I didn't know what to expect, but my body responded well. We averaged 8:27/mile which is in my race pace range for my marathon! I like to try to throw in some race pace miles in some of my long runs. The last loop was the most challenging...mostly because I was solo and starting to fatigue a bit. I was good about taking my gels (miles 6 and 12). I think I was just tired from my week of being sick. My body just wasn't used to running again. I averaged 9:04 for the final loop. I was very happy with my run, and it gave me a little confidence going into the second half of my training cycle.
Loop 1 help from these lovely ladies! [Jessie, ME, Meg]
- 1/3: 7.5 cycling miles; leg circuit. My hammies were tight and my legs fatigued from my long run. I powered through, and I'm hopefully stronger for it!
- 1/4: 7.05 miles, 8:49/mile. The average really means nothing because the workout was HILL REPEATS! Woo Hoo! Amanda recruited me to do this with her. At the time I agreed, I didn't realize I had hills this week anyway. Perfect...torture with others is much better than solo torture. I didn't have a specific workout so I just did what she did...except not as far because she's faster. We ran approximately 1.5 mile warm up and cool down with 15 x 1 minute hill repeats at 4-6% grade (about 4 miles of hills). For those familiar with Dublin, we did the Cardinal hill at Dublin Rd/Emerald Parkway. I was initially overwhelmed by the number 15 and didn't see how I could survive. Amanda decided we'd break it into three sets of 5 and that seemed to help mentally. We survived and even ended with that pesky gradual hill on the way back to the gym. Might as well go all out, right?!
Hills, hills and more hills.
- 1/6: 8 miles, 8:33/mile. Race pace run on the mill! These will either make you feel really awesome or bring that confidence way down. There is never an in between for me on race pace day. Fortunately, this was a good one for me this week. I did a two mile warm up increasing from 6.4 to 6.7 every half mile (9:22 to 8:57/mile). I followed that up with 6 miles in my race pace range. I don't have a solid goal for the marathon so I gave myself a range. I started at 7.0 (8:34/mile) and increased my speed by one every 1.5 miles until I reached 7.3 (8:13/mile). I felt comfortable the entire time! Woo Hoo!!
When I'm not running, I'm 1) thinking about running, 2) hanging out with my running buddies, or 3) eating. Having some fun at Theresa's cat party. Happy Birthday, Ciatee!
- 1/7: 12.08 miles, 8:36/mile. This was a cutback week since I've spent the entire training cycle ramping up my long run. I figured I deserved it after being so dedicated AND being sick the week before. It was a perfect day for a shorter long run because it was freaking FREEZING outside. We started around 6:30 a.m. When we finished just before 8:30, it was 2 degrees with a real feel of -8!!! Say WHAAAT?!! So many words spewed out of the mouth during this one...well, when my mouth could move anyway. Jokes aside, I actually dressed well and felt warm for the most part. My hands were the only part of me that suffered some miles. Also, fueling is so difficult during these cold runs. I desperately wanted to drink water but the spout and cap were frozen shut. I also couldn't will myself to open up gel (not that I really need it for 12 miles but I'm trying to practice during every run over 8-10 miles). My legs felt like toast during this run. I figured they would since I did my race pace run the day before. I didn't look at my watch and could have sworn I was running 9mm or slower. I might as well have called this a race pace run (average only one second slower than the higher end of my goal!).
If we had balls, we would've frozen them off. [Marion, me]
I feel like my paces are all over the place. I figured they would postpartum because the body is so weird for a while. I promised I would do things by feel this time around and not get so hung up on paces. With that being said, it does make it hard to plan runs with others or make goals for races. Even though it's against my personality to let these things go, I'm going to continue to go by feel and not get so worked up about my inconsistencies right now. I am so excited to run this marathon (less than two months away!) and continue my journey of deciding whether or not I actually like the marathon! LOL.