Last week was the first week of the marathon specific phase of my training for the First Light Marathon. I did a 9 week fundamental phase and I have a 10 week specific phase (including the taper weeks). Also, I am pacing a marathon in just 4 short weeks (gulp … cue minor freak out).
Monday AM – Easy: 8 miles (8:11 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:12 pace)
The hubs and I got in a solid 8 miles Monday morning. The temperature was nice and it was SO MUCH brighter out! We both felt good and our easy pace was a little quicker than what it has been here recently, which was nice to see. I hope that means that my fitness is actually improving. I never want to force an “easy” pace, but it’s really nice when it happens naturally.
We did our first “dark” evening run after work Monday evening and boy was I decked out in reflective gear. For whatever reason, I don’t usually wear reflective gear in the mornings when we run, but when we run in the evenings, I want all the lights. I’m usually not a fan of the time change, but I gotta admit, I’m kind of digging it this year. I used to feel guilty for wanting to go to bed before it was dark, but now … I’ve got nothing to feel bad about! It’s 7 p.m.? Yes. It’s dark? Yes. It’s perfectly acceptable to go to bed? In my opinion … Yes!
Tuesday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:50 pace) + PM – Easy: GOTR Practice 5K
We did a an easy loop Tuesday morning. I had lots of last-minute things to get together for the Girls on the Run Practice 5K that afternoon. The girls did great and I really think they had fun. We tried to make it a big deal for them with signs, music, medals, treats, etc. Several of them didn’t think they would be able to complete the distance, but they did and that was so cool to see!
Wednesday AM – Tempo: 12.75 miles (7:12 pace) + PM – Easy: 3 miles (8:56 pace)
Wednesday morning my training plan called for 3 X 3 mile repeats at aerobic threshold pace with a 3:00 jog recovery in between sets. You know things are getting real when you see a 3 X 3 mile workout appear on the schedule. Holy Moses. That’s a long workout! I’ve done this workout at least once before, but this was actually my first time doing it outside, as opposed to on the treadmill. I actually used to do 75% or more of my workouts on the treadmill. While it is certainly a great tool to use, I think that doing my workouts on the roads (or track in this case) has been much better.
I hit the track fairly early (definitely earlier than normal since this was such a long workout). I did a mile and a half warm up and then it was time to get going. My goal pace range for the repeats was 6:35 to 6:45 with a slight negative split. My actual paces were 6:45, 6:45, 6:50 (6:46 avg), 6:49, 6:41, 6:44 (6:44 avg), and 6:35, 6:39, 6:31 (6:35 avg). I was very happy with how this one went. It was a confidence building workout for sure! I had to stay engaged mentally and really focus on the mile I was in and I think this was great mental practice for the marathon. It’s really easy to let your mind wander and think about how many miles or laps you have left, which can be totally overwhelming at times. It’s always best to stay focused and take things one mile (or one lap) at a time.
My husband wanted to run Wednesday evening and I thought it might be nice to shake my legs out with an easy run, but no. Definitely not. My legs were having no part of it. I let him finish the loop on his own and I called it a day at 3 miles.
Thursday – Easy: 8 miles (8:53 pace)
I ran a loop with the hubs and headed back out for 3 more miles after the loop. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying the extra light in the mornings?! Yep. Just wanted to make sure.
Friday – Easy: 9 miles (8:35 pace)
I got to listen to Lindsey Hein’s interview with Allie Kieffer (5th place finisher at NYC) on my run Friday morning. I found Allie’s outlook on life and training to be very inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode!
Saturday – Easy: 6 miles (8:57 pace)
I met friends for a run + coffee + breakfast Saturday morning (those are the best runs!). I had a race Sunday, so I wanted to keep the effort easy on Saturday.
Sunday – Race: 1.5 mi. WU, 12K race (6:21 pace), 3.5 mi. CD
Sunday morning I ran a 12K (not a typo). I’ve not heard of many 12K races, but this is my second year running this one. It’s 7.45 miles and is a fun little distance to race!
I knew from last year that the first mile had a nice little downhill start. I had to hold myself back during the first mile. The pace felt effortless, but we were running downhill and we had 6.5 more miles to go! My first mile split was 6:22, which was pretty much right where I wanted to settle in. Unfortunately, I didn’t ever settle in next to anyone (I am the queen of getting stuck in no man’s land during races). I turned my watch over on my wrist so that I wouldn’t look at it, except for the mile splits. I really wanted to just focus on running by feel and get more in tune with what that felt like. My go to mantra for this race was “run the plan.” I repeated it to myself several times and tried to really stay focused on what I was doing.
Miles 2 through 5 were fairly uneventful, as I was running totally alone. There aren’t a lot of spectators along the course, but you run across the bay, so there is plenty of scenery to take in. We had to go over a few small bridges, but the good news was that we also got to go back down the other side of each incline, which made it nice. My watch shows 6:25, 6:26, 6:25, and 6:23 for those 4 miles.
Once we passed mile 5, I picked the pace up a little bit. I was actually catching up to the third place runner at this point as well, so my goal became trying to steadily reel him in. I ran mile 6 in 6:12 and caught up to him! He stayed with me for perhaps a quarter of a mile and then I went on ahead. My 7th mile was 6:16. At mile 7 we turned into Battleship Park and there were volunteers at the last water stop handing out American flags for us to run in with. I almost missed getting a flag last year, just because I wasn’t expecting them to be passing out flags, but this year I knew what to expect and I was more than ready to get my flag and run it on in.
I finished with a time of 47:17 (6:21 average) for 1st female and 3rd overall. I am very pleased with the effort and execution on this one! Participating in a patriotic event on Veterans Day weekend is a wonderful reminder of just how much we have to be thankful for. There are so many men and women that sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
Total – 72.8 miles