Four weeks to go, two weeks until taper. This past week was interesting. I made it through a 15 day running streak with some of my highest mileage totals ever. I kept any questionable pain at bay and even had a solid track workout on Tuesday. However, Sunday really played with my body and mind at the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon. I am grateful for the experience, a little worried for my “A” race, and ready to move forward.
Heading into my last few long runs and workouts, I am going to focus on slowing my target paces just a tad so that I can be my most confident self on race day. Initially, I had plans of going out at 8:00 pace. Coach still thinks I can do that based on my workouts but also agrees that it is best to ease into that pace. So, this changes my race plan a bit but when I look at the bigger picture, I realize, what’s the rush? I love running and I want to be able to do it for the rest of my life. There is no rush to meet big goals.
Monday: 5 miles on the mill with the course video. I feel like I know the course so well but I’m sure it will feel a bit different once I get there.
Tuesday: 5 miles with 3 x mile on the track (70 seconds rest).The purpose of this workout was maintenance and the suggested pace was 7:20. I hit them in 7:20, 7:16, 7:01. I was holding back the entire workout, except on the last one. I felt like picking things up a bit as I haven’t run much faster than that pace during this training cycle. It made me realize I’m in good shape right now even without doing 5k specific training.
Wednesday: 6 miles on the treadmill again with course video. I also did lower body strength training after the run.
Thursday: 4 miles easy and core work.
Friday: 5 miles steady on the towpath.
Saturday: Off/rest from running but did a little core work.
Sunday: 15.7 miles with half marathon pacing practice and upper body strength training in the evening. I decided to give the pacing group (through a local running store) another chance as last time I ran this race, they took us out ahead of pace. Well, the same thing happened again. My plan called for the first half at 8:00-8:10, then second half at 7:40-7:50. Part of me thought, piece of cake and the other part subconsciously thought I could go faster. When I saw pace the group went out in (7:40), I thought, alright, change of plans. But then I thought, no, stick to the plan. So after 3 miles, I found myself running 8 flats and still feeling good…until I almost pooped my pants. It came out of nowhere and since this was only practice, I decided to use the bathroom. This took about 3 minutes off my time and while I was able to get back into 8 flats for the next two miles, I started to feel dead around mile 8. My legs felt heavy, my breathing felt stuffy, and I was mentally checked out. It was extremely humid but I think I just went out a hair fast and had an off day. I finished in 1:51 (8:24) pace on my watch but with the bathroom break, my official time was 1:54:21.
When I began walking at the water stops in mile 10, I knew my time would be quite slow for me (my PR is 1:39 and I feel in much better shape than I did in 2012 when I ran that). It bothered me at first to think I would have such a slow time recorded but that didn’t last long. I let the feeling pass and made peace with the reality of the situation. At the end of the day, it’s never about the time.
Total: 40.7 miles