I’m a little late with this one, but better late than never I suppose. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Last week was the third week of the marathon specific phase of my training for the First Light Marathon. I am also pacing a marathon in less than 2 weeks. Eek!
Here is what my training looked like the week of 11.20.17 – 11.26.17:
Monday – Easy: 7 miles (8:28 pace)
I ran on the treadmill Monday mid-afternoon. I listened to an episode of the Man Bun Run podcast and had an enjoyable run.
Tuesday AM – Easy: 7 miles (8:41 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:26 pace)
Tuesday morning I did 6 miles outside by myself, which is fairly rare. I came back, grabbed Brooks and we ran one mile together. I did an easy loop with my husband after work on Tuesday.
Wednesday AM – Easy: 9 miles (8:22 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:07 pace)
I got to run with one of my best training buddies Wednesday morning! Woo! Her schedule has been crazy lately and we haven’t gotten to run in the mornings very much. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving break.
I got to run with my other best training buddy Wednesday evening! Woo (again)! I love running friends and running with friends.
Thursday – 5K Race: Turkey Trot
Since I am in the midst of the marathon-specific phase of my training right now, I didn’t really have any big expectations for this race. I wasn’t sure how my legs or lungs would react to running at VO2 max pace, as most of my workouts have been focused on strength and not speed. My coach thought that I should target somewhere in the 6:00 to 6:05 range. He is usually spot on with his pace recommendations (even though that is not a wide target pace range at all). Spoiler: I averaged 6:01.
My husband and I planned to run the first mile and a half together. His plan was to pick it up at a mile and a half and really go for it and I wanted to wait until about two and a half to really go for it. We talked about it beforehand and were each comfortable with our respective plans. We ran pretty much stride for stride through the first mile. I figured we would start fairly quickly (within the goal range) and run the first mile between 6:00 and 6:05 pace.
I have been really trying to not look at my watch during races except for at the mile splits. I want to learn to trust myself to run by feel and not worry or obsess over whether I am running too fast or too slow. I want to be a zen runner and be one with the pace. I am definitely not there yet! When my watch beeped to signal the first mile split, I looked down and saw 6:19. What?! I said out loud, “Wait. 6:19? That can’t be right. What does your watch say?” I legitimately thought that my watch was wrong … fake news. Unfortunately, he confirmed that yes, the watch was accurate (go figure) and we weren’t actually running as fast as it *felt like* we were. In hindsight, I think there was a bit of a headwind during that first mile, but of course, I didn’t realize that at the time.
At the time, I was just mad (so not quite to the “zen runner” stage yet). Anger isn’t an emotion I typically experience while racing, but I think it actually helped me in this case. All of a sudden, I made a conscious decision to run faster and work harder. The hubs stayed right by my side, just as we planned, through the first half of the second mile. As soon as we got halfway through the second mile, he cranked it up a notch and promptly left me in his dust. I was mentally prepared for this (thank goodness) and I just focused on chasing him as best I could. I hadn’t looked at the pace again during the second mile (in fear that it would be slower than what I had deemed “acceptable” in my head). When the watch beeped to signal the second mile split, I looked down and saw 5:57. Yasss! That’s more like it!
The best part was that I still felt good (really good even). At this point, I knew I could maintain the pace for another mile, if not pick it up slightly. During the last mile, I kept telling myself that I can do anything for one mile. Less than 6 minutes to go, less than 5 minutes to go, less than 4 minutes to go, etc. It’s important to stay mentally focused during a 5K because if you let up, even just for a minute, you can lose your momentum. I focused on the runners ahead of me. I was making up some ground on several of them, but I ran out of real estate and didn’t catch anyone else before the finish. Before I even knew it, my watch beeped to signal the third and final mile. I looked down to see a 5:49 split!
I even managed a finishing “kick” for the last tenth and dropped my pace down to 5:20 for a few seconds. I don’t usually do that. Ha. I finished in 18:45 according to the results (18:42 according to my watch … I wish we could go with watch times :)).
Friday – Easy: 8 miles (8:19 pace)
I ran with my best running friend again Friday morning. We both had long weekend runs planned and so we tried to take it easy on Friday.
Saturday – Long Run: 22 miles (8:16 pace)
This was my longest run so far and was supposed to be done a little quicker and actually was supposed to be done on Sunday, which would’ve given me another day to recover from trotting with turkeys. Several of us are training for First Light and we are planning to do a few of our key long runs on the marathon course. Saturday worked best for the majority and so that’s what we went with.
I’ve run this marathon two times before and so, I kind of know what to expect from the course. However, this run was definitely eye-opening. The middle section of this race is tough!
I drank my UCAN and did my typical pre-race routine for this run to try to simulate race day conditions. My stomach felt off for the majority of the run and I was never able to get into a good grove. Honestly, I had lots of doubts in my head as to why I am running this race and whether or not I will be able to run as fast as I hope to. Basically I finished the run questioning whether or not I even want to run the marathon. I guess we’ll just chalk it up to an off day and keep on keeping on at this point.
Sunday – Easy: 10 miles (8:56 pace)
My legs weren’t sore Sunday, which I guess is a good sign. We still took it easy, but I was happy to get a decent run in. The run was good and the company always makes it even better!
Total – 82.3 miles