Buenos dias, Salty Readers! I have completed yet another week of marathon training and lived to tell about it! My third week of Boston training consists of 6 runs for a total of 47.31 miles. Highlights include a pretty abysmal attempt at speed work on Wednesday, and a mini race report from the Charleston Half Marathon on Saturday. So cozy on up to your laptop or mobile device and read all about it!
Monday, 1/14 Recovery Run, 4.13 miles. It was a clear, crisp Monday morning and I was kind of glad to have some seasonally appropriate, non-crazy weather. Just one other brave soul joined me in tackling Monday Runday, and it was one of the quicker souls from my little at-work running group. As always, it was a lovely way to start the week, and I was grateful to get a few miles in at respectable, but comfortable pace. Monday Runday FTW!
Tuesday, 1/14, Easy Hour, 7.64 miles. For the second Tuesday in a row I found myself on a solo afternoon run. Last Tuesday I was holding out for the “heat of the day”, better known as 20 degrees or the least polar-y part of the polar vortex. Today, after an epic Monday that included a 4 a.m. wake up call and zero hours of napping, I decided that I deserved to sleep in. I further rationalized this when no one from our little running group listserv responded to my pleas for an early a.m. running buddy. I’m pretty sure I’m incapable of getting up to run by myself in the morning even when I don’t need extra sleep. So to make a very long – but not all that interesting – story short, I opted for an afternoon run today.
My plan was 1 hour with 3 to 4 miles at marathon goal pace (7:30 ish), and I suppose I kind of accomplished that. I definitely got the hour run part, anyway. As I always do when I run the boring loop around the campus at work, I felt really sluggish in the beginning, but progressively better as the run went on.
The miles I had hoped to run at MGP turned out to be 7:44, 7:23, 7:20, and 7:41, so a little slow, then a little fast, and then a little slow again. Whateves. I didn’t do the math, but I’m betting that all averages out to roughly 7:30, so let’s just go with it. Cheers to getting it done on Tuesday!
Wednesday, 1/15, Something Akin to Speedwork, 8.42 miles. Guys, Al Buehler punched me in the face this morning. (Not Al Buehler the legendary Duke University Track and Cross Country coach, but the trail that bears his name.) Holy super-tiredness! Someone pass the coffee and the foam roller!
This morning’s run was a comedy of errors to say the least, but my always rock-solid friend and teammate, Nancy, was there to keep me company and save the day, so I’m optimistic that it wasn’t a total bust. (God bless you, Nancy!)
According to the BAA’s intermediate Boston Marathon training program, my workout today was to be 3x 2000m at 10K pace. I thought this sounded like a wretched suckfest, and I proposed to Coach Saffron that I substitute our track club’s workout of the week, 2 to 3xs a ladder of 1 min, 90 sec, 2 min, 90 sec, 1 min with 90 sec rest between efforts. Saffron ruled this an unacceptable substitution, but I spent my entire warm-up fretting over which workout to do nonetheless.
I had agreed to meet the track club group at our normal 6:30 time, just so I would have someone to be accountable to, and I had it in my head that they would be starting their workout on the fitness loop (this weird little add-on loop to the XC course) for some reason, but before I knew it, our warm up gang turned on the Al Buehler Trail and we were off. Guess I’m doing the track workout. Confused and caught completely off guard (some sort of verbal cue announcing that the workout was starting would have been awesome) Nancy and I muddled through the first round of the ladder. The surprise start plus the up and down-ness of Al B. (let me tell you, it’s one hilly son of a gun!) made it very difficult indeed to hone in on 10K pace. I think we were both feeling a little frustrated and out of control at this point, so we decided to switch it over to the BAA’s 2K workout.
We did one effort to the fitness loop. 2K proved to be long enough to get a nice sampling of both uphill and downhill, and my average pace was nowhere close to 10K. (7:08 vs. 6:30) Pretty far off the mark, but I think with all the hills and the sloppiness the effort was probably still pretty 10K-ish. We took a 3 min recovery, which we mostly spent complaining about how awful 2Ks and the Al Buehler trail are, and then did a 2nd 2K effort (2 laps) around the fitness loop. Talk about FML.
I managed to keep that effort (barely) sub-7, with a hard-fought a 6:57 average pace, and I was very, very glad when it was over. Nancy is a XC Club Nats 2013 veteran, and she said next year’s race should be at Duke because Al Buehler is way harder than this year’s course in Bend. I believe her.
So needless to say, it was a pretty tough run, and I was really, really grateful that Nancy was their to get me through it, even though she was way ahead of me most of the time. Hooray for getting it done, and Happy Hump Day to all!
Thursday, 1/16, Another Glorious Rest Day! 3 cheers for 45 min of aqua-jogging!
Friday, 1/7, 6 at 6 with the girls, 6.01 miles. You’ve gotta love running friends who cheer wildly in the parking lot when you pull in at 6:03 as opposed to your usual 6:08 to 6:12 arrival time. It’s all about the small victories, y’all. I was feeling pretty grumpy when my 5 am alarm went off, but I couldn’t help smiling when I was greeted by my run buds Jen and Kyle’s happy, cheering faces.
It was dark, and even with headlamps, (theirs, naturally I forgot mine. Remembering the headlamp AND being on time (ish) would just be way to much to ask for) it was pretty much impossible to see what was happening on the watch, but that was why this run was awesome.
The miles flew by quickly as we chatted, listening out for the Garmin beeps to count down the miles until the turn around. It was one of those runs that felt gloriously comfortable and effortless. Just what I needed on the eve of tomorrow’s, hopefully not-too-gnarly marathon goal pace + a few miles at LT long run, also know as the Charleston Half Marathon.
Cheers to fun friends and fun miles!
Saturday, 1/8, The Charleston Half Marathon! 13.1 miles, plus 2.25 miles warm-up/ cool-down. I’ve always thought of Charleston, SC as a warm, sunny place. This was not the case on Saturday. It was sunny enough I guess, and the temperature was chilly, but certainly not the coldest I’ve ever run in. The thing that made it unpleasant was the wind, which was in our faces practically the whole way.
Teammate Caren and I lined up a little further back than we usually might. I thought this would be helpful in avoiding going out too fast. It was, but if I had it to do all to over again I would move up a little more. But I got to say hi to fellow Oiselle bird, Sara who was running the full, so no regrets. Congrats on your new PR, Sara!
The start was kind of a crowed cluster with much bobbing and weaving, but we managed to escape the first mile in 7:39. Since my goal for the race was to keep things mostly around marathon goal pace, I decided I was fine with this. Once things spread out and opened up a little we clicked off a 7:18 and a 7:20 for miles 2 and 3, and I decided to try to chill out a little.
Miles 4, 5, 6 were mostly through lovely, historic downtown Charleston, and we cruised through them easily in 7:24, 7:32, and 7:26. All well within the MGP zone! So far, so good!
Somewhere in the midst of mile 7, we found ourselves on a yucky, un-scenic highway, floundering in the crazy headwind which was rampant with no buildings to block it. Gross. We tucked in behind a really tall guy for some seriously blatant, unabashed drafting. This was worked out pretty well for us for a mile or so, but he was rather non-responsive when we tried to engage him in conversation, so we let him go for fear that we were annoying him. Despite the unpleasant wind, we made through miles 7, 8, and 9 in 7:22, 7:29, and 7:22, respectively.
The plan was to pick it up at mile 10. I was envisioning a nice,strong finish at roughly my lactate threshold pace (6:40 ish). That isn’t exactly what happened, but I did manage to drop it down to 7:00-ish and hang on for the last 3 miles. The first fast mile came easy enough, but at approximately mile 11.5 there was this part where you kind of jump down off a little curb or railroad tie thing on to an unpaved greenway trail of sorts. As I made the step down I was taken by surprise by a feeling of light-headedness. Huh… “What is that?” I wondered. And then it dawned on me that this was the feeling of hitting the wall. Of course once this thought crossed my brain, it was all over mentally. No 6:40 pace for me today.
I told myself not to be to be a douche bag and summoned up every shred of tenacity I could muster to maintain the 7:00 pace to the finish. It wasn’t easy or pretty, but eventually I made it to the line, and I was successful in not slowing down.
Needless to say, my inability to pick it up at the end was a little disappointing. I can think of a million different excuses for why I didn’t do it… Fatigue from fighting the wind for so many miles, inadequate fuel for a marathon goal pace effort before and during the race, just not having my head in the right place to go fast, and the list goes on… But at the end of the day I’m mostly ok with it. The good news is that I can most definitely run 10 miles at MGP, even in an awful headwind, and I can even speed up and run 5K at 7:00 min pace after that. I feel like all of this can only be beneficial in terms of marathon training.
So there you have it friends, the story of how I survived the brutally windy Charleston Half Marathon! Now bring on the shrimp and grits!
Sunday, 1/19, Pre- Brunch Shake-Out Run, 5.5 miles. I was glad that Caren wanted to get in a few miles this morning before we packed it up, threw down on some serious Charlestonian brunch, and headed home. We set out from the hotel for an easy jaunt. It was one of those classic out-of-town non-scenic down-the-main-road out-and-backs, and it was still windy as all get out. But aside from general fatigue and some minor tightness/ achiness in the lower butt/ high hamstring area on my left side, it didn’t feel too bad. So I think I probably survived yesterday’s 10 miles at MGP, plus 3 miles at 7:00 min pace without breaking myself. If you need me I’ll be at brunch celebrating with the “Bottomless Mimosa” special!
And so concludes the story of the 3rd week of my little marathon training journey. Big thanks to all of you who were a part of it and to those who bothered to read about it! It feels good to have another satisfying week of training in the books!
What’s your big spring goal race? How’s your training going so far?