Y2Y Half Marathon Week 6 Training Recap

I almost made it back to 40 miles this week and loved every step. Next week I start a mini taper since race week is less than 2 weeks away!

Monday 8 miles
Originally I had planned on intervals. I’d be inside anyway thanks to the downpour. Once at the gym, I thought better of the plan. It’s such a habit for me to do speedwork on Monday but since it’s always my first run after a long run (with a rest day in between) I think I’d be better served to save speedwork for later in the week. The run ended up working out just fine.

Tuesday stationary bike warm up + NTC
This was a decent NTC workout. I actually made it through with minimal modifications.

Wednesday 8 miles
This was an okay run. I think I slept wrong because my back felt a little off/tight. Thankfully it’s nothing serious. I also headed into this run with some soreness from Tuesday’s NTC workout. With those two factors in mind, I’m very pleased with my time.

Thursday 8 miles with half mile intervals
I wasn’t so sure about speedwork Thursday. I told myself to at least get to 6 and then I could run the remaining two miles at a steady pace. By the time I got to 6 miles, I forgot all about that and finished the full 8. I had hoped to run the intervals at 7.6 but I’m happy that I made it the full 8 at 7.5. I am thinking about shortening the distance for interval training and upping the speed since 7.5 is the pace I hope to maintain in the half marathon and I should be running these intervals at 5k or 10k pace.

Friday stationary bike
This was a decent ride that went by really quickly thanks to this month’s Runner’s World Issue. (I should learn to not read the Boston articles out in public. :D) I didn’t have to sprint at the end to get the above distance so maybe I am getting faster overall?

Saturday 14 miles
This was an incredibly tough run. I know what made it tough though and I’m already looking forward to the next time.

Sunday rest
Well enjoyed.

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14 Miles – “Spring” Has Returned

The run beat me today.

Seriously, I haven’t had a run this hard in a really long time. The reason? Two words: hills and heat

Backing up a bit…

Last Sunday I heard from someone also running Y2Y that the course is hilly. Immediately I realized that running on the fairly flat Swamp Rabbit Trail was doing me no favors. It’s a little late in the game to throw in a bunch of hill work but I could get at least one long run done that included significant hill work. So I changed my long run route from the Swamp Rabbit to my old route closer to home. The real test would be seeing if I could also maintain a sub 9 pace aka my new goal for all my long runs.

I’m counting that goal as still alive but with an asterisk. (I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.)

Since I would be running a route that did not include any water fountains I decided to stash a Gatorade at the approximate halfway point. I figured that I would drink half of it then and then finish it off on the walk back to the car. Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen.

When I started running the weather was beautiful. I wish it had stayed like that. Instead, the sun came out in full force and turned up the temps. Those temps started to go up just like the terrain. There are some serious hills on my old route, hills that just never let up.

I kept hammering at those hills but started feeling fatigue really early on. I actually thought about just throwing in the towel on the second half and just making it back to my car. That’s how lousy I felt.

I’m stubborn though so I told myself to just make it to my gatorade. I’d stop and drink the entire bottle. Hopefully that would refresh me enough to get through the rest. I’m not sure that was quite enough but I do know that I would not have been able to finish had it not been for that rehydration.

I kept telling myself to put in the work. I want to get faster. I want to get a BQ. To do that I need to put in the work. (I won’t tell you how long it took my brain to figure out that phrase while I was running. My thoughts were more than a bit muddled at that point.)

I knew that my second half was easier but it still wasn’t as easy as my legs wanted by that point. I felt like I was plodding but somehow I managed to keep my body moving at about a sub 9 pace. (Full disclosure: apart from the water bottle stop I did stop 3 other times to try to catch my breath and calm down my heart rate. I did stop my Garmin at this time. I’ll get to the pace calculations at the end.)

I was so happy when I reached the turn around point in the second half. All I had to do was plod back to my car and I could be done with this run. It was at this point that my newest favorite running song came on “Something I Need” by One Republic. (Get this song. It’s the absolutely perfect running song.) This was the only point in the run that I felt like I was enjoying myself.

Too bad that had to end and the wind had to join the party. Seriously, the wind decided to blow against me the rest of the way back (almost) even though the route include three different nearly 90 degree turns.

Because I’m really bad at calculating new route distances I had to add on a tiny out and back before making the final turn. I was so done by that point.

Once I crossed the last street I put my head down and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I finished with a time of 2:03:28 on my Garmin.

That’s my moving time. Even when I felt like I was plodding I maintained a sub 9 pace except for one mile of 9:08. I’m pretty impressed by that.

Elapsed time was 2:11:10 which according to coolrunnings.com’s pace caluclator translates to a 9:22 average pace. That’s not that bad either.

I’m actually pretty pleased with this rude awakening run. (I’m also dreaming of longer runs too especially thanks to iRunFar’s twitter coverage of the Lake Sonoma 50 miler that I’m following while writing this post.)

Since this post is already longer than I planned, I’ll talk in a separate post about how it might change my goals for Y2Y and how I’m going to, hopefully, mix up my training.

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Y2Y Half Marathon Week 5 Training Recap

I noticed Saturday when I went to write my long run recap that I titled last week’s training recap a “training plan.” Whoops. I’m not sure where my brain is sometimes.

I loved the past week of training. It felt so good to get back to (relatively) high mileage after the mid-plan cut back week aka week 4. Only three weeks remain. That’s crazy. It feels like I just started this plan.

Monday 8 miles with half mile intervals
For this run I alternated between 7.5 and 7.6 for each interval. I felt strong the entire time, especially because the intervals didn’t feel as hard as I thought they should. That just means that I’ll have to go faster next time!

Tuesday stationary bike warm up + NTC workout
I chose an intermediate workout this time and definitely felt it. While I’m not the biggest fan of strength training, I’m committed to it. I’ve seen such a difference in my overall fitness through this training plan and also a lack of aches and niggles for which I’m very thankful.

Wednesday 7 miles
This run felt pretty good. I did have a little bit of fatigue in my legs, probably due to Tuesday’s NTC workout. My average pace was a bit disappointing though. I thought I was running faster than that. Overall it was a decent run.

Thursday 8 miles
I was going to be disappointed with this run. The warmer temps and some fatigue in my legs convinced me that I was running 10-15 seconds slower per mile than Wednesday. However, it turns out that I was running almost the exact same pace! This was a hard run. I definitely need to factor in acclimation time.

Friday stationary bike
I felt pretty good. I tried to push a bit but it turns out that I got the same distance last week. Overall it was a fairly average ride.

Saturday 13 miles
I loved this run so much!

Sunday rest
I switched up my schedule a bit (aka change the service I went to at church) and it made a huge difference. It was much more conducive to rest to get things done in the morning in one big chunk rather than start and stop.

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13 Miles – a Dress Rehearsal for Tune Up Race

(I almost titled this post “13 Miles – a Dress Rehearsal for a Dress Rehearsal but couldn’t.)

It’s April. That means that the half is this month, in three weeks to be exact. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous. It’s runs like today’s that give me a needed confidence boost going into the race.

I took my time getting ready and out the door this morning. It’s Saturday and it has yet to get unbearably hot.

I don’t know if it was that relaxed mindset or the great sleep I got last night but I started this run feeling awesome.

My goals for this run? Start and finish strong with average pace and splits all under 9. Mission accomplished. Sorry for the short post.

Just kidding.

The temps were amazing, perfect for running. I felt awesome through the first few miles. It also made me start to wonder why I seem to have no trouble whipping out a sub 9 pace on my long runs when that same pace feels so hard to achieve during the week. My preliminary hypothesis? Sleep. I need more of it.

Around mile 3.5 I had to stop. Up ahead were two loose dogs with nary an owner in sight. I don’t do dogs. Seriously. Some people may love and even run with them but that will never be me. I was not about to keep running past them and have these stray dogs bound after me. Talk about a potential heart attack. Thankfully there were some other runners coming the other way which scared the dogs off or something.

Speaking of runners, there were so many out on the trail today! That makes me really happy. I may run on my own most of the time but it’s a lot of fun to have other people on the trail to run with and let’s be honest, to pass.

I still felt great when I made it to my turn around point at Linky Stone Park. After a quick stop at the water fountain I was on my way back to my car. There’s something about that turn around that always seems to get to me. The run always seems a bit harder at that point.

Maybe that’s why my runs tend to get a little faster, if there’s anything left in the tank. Today there was.

The last 6 miles may have felt harder than the first 7 but I performed much better through them. I definitely got a negative split for the second half of that run. I’m even more pleased with those splits when I realize that not only did I negative split the second half of the run, but I also battled a headwind and an overall rise in incline to the end of my run.

I finished in 1:49:09 which I believe is my fastest 13 miles in training. (The only other times that I’ve run 13 miles faster than that were my three spring half marathons last year.) I also managed to shave 3 minutes off my time from my 13 mile training run two weeks ago.

I’m still a bit nervous about the half though. I know it’s just a tune up race but I still want to run well. I think I have a slight PR in me. That would take a 7:47 average pace which just might be doable.

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Running in ____ weather

So, I’ve had this post written for over a week now and keep forgetting to post it when I’m home and can type it up on the computer. Whoops. While it’s not quite as timely as I would have hoped, I still want to post it.

I’d love to say that the recent bipolar weather is unique to Greenville but I think it’s just this particular season. Actually, there’s nothing I love about this season but that’s beside the point.

My point has to do with my running weather preferences which I first started thinking about thanks to the weather’s pendulum swings.

Up until this winter I would not hesitate to declare that winter was my absolute favorite running season. Then came this winter and a little doubt about that determination. I started dreading heading out into the dark, cold outdoors to start a run.

I find it funny that I finally figured out why just around the official start of spring. It’s all about timing.

My first two “running winters” happened to occur while I was in school. Only on rare occasions did I venture out to start my run before the sun came up.

It’s amazing how much of a difference a little light-or lack thereof-will make. I’ve run far too many runs on the treadmill this season since any possible excuse sent me, cheerfully, inside.

Of course, I have this eureka moment weeks before South Carolina heat and humidity takes hold and doesn’t let go until well into fall and sometimes winter.

Runners are hard to please, aren’t we?

So…my goal for this likely super-hot summer is to avoid complaining about the weather. (I wouldn’t mind sill being able to run fast either.)

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Y2Y Half Marathon Week 4 Training Recap

It was a cutback week this week, well needed. I can’t wait to get back to higher mileage next week.

Here’s how the workouts went down.

Monday 6 miles
I, once again, had a hard time getting going that morning. The renewed cold weather did not help. I decided to head inside and use the treadmill but couldn’t make up my mind between making this speedwork or just a regular run. It ended up being both. I made it through two intervals before deciding to just run the rest at a 9:15ish pace since it was supposed to be a cutback week. It’s probably not a good idea to have the hammer down for every run. The rest of the run felt great.

Tuesday stationary bike + NTC
I really liked this particular NTC workout. It was a set (cycle?) of 5 exercises repeated 4 times. It was nice knowing what was coming next yet at the same time, that fourth round was a little difficult to complete.

Wednesday 6 miles
Temps in the high 20s and 10mph winds directed me inside to the treadmill. I felt great during the run. It was the epitome of average, nothing extraordinarily good or bad.

Thursday 6 miles
I didn’t expect to need hat, gloves and long sleeves at the end of March but that’s the weather for you. I felt great on this run and can’t wait for more.

Friday stationary bike
I felt great the entire time. I’m not sure what I did differently but I hope to repeat that.

Saturday 8 miles
The possibility of thunderstorms pushed me inside. Plus, I stayed out too late last night seeing Divergent so I appreciated the extra sleep. It was a really good run in my new On Cloudracers. I really like them. It’s a different feel, more minimal than I’ve ever worn but in a really good way. Hopefully next week I’ll get to run more than once outside.

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Y2Y Half Marathon Week 3 Training Recap

I ended this week with a higher mileage volume than I’ve run since MCM and I definitely felt it. As much as I want to keep increasing my mileage I know that I need a cut back week next week. That’s getting ahead though.

Here’s how the past week went down.

Monday 8 miles with half mile intervals
I tried to talk myself down to 6 or 7 miles worth of intervals. I obviously didn’t try hard enough because I made it all the way to 8. The first three miles worth were really tough. I did take a brief break after around mile 3 or 4. After that the rest of the intervals felt amazing! Bring on sub 1:40!

Tuesday stationary bike + NTC
I feel like regular strength training is finally having results. I have no objective measure but I felt a lot strong while doing both push ups and planks. This particular workout had some new to me exercises. I didn’t do so well on those but there’s always next time.

Wednesday 6.5 with downtown group
At first I doubted if I would be able to keep up because it was a smaller, faster group. I’ve got to stop doubting myself. Not only did I keep up but I also felt great through the whole thing! I even felt a few steps above death on the hills. :) That’s a dramatic improvement from the first couple times I ran with them. I’ve got to get down there more often.

Thursday 8 7.5 miles
It was tough to get going for this run both mentally and physically. I have to either stop running hard the day after strength training or do it often enough to get used to it. The first few miles were full of bargaining with myself to get myself to at least 6 miles. I decided to run 7 but it turns out that I’m bad at mental math while running so ended up with 7.5. I finished feeling strong and almost wanted to get in that last half mile, almost.

Friday stationary bike
I have got to figure out what will help the time pass more quickly while riding. The stationary bike has become almost like the treadmill first was to me. I made it through though and pushed just a tad harder this time. I did feel a little bit nauseous with about 15 minutes to go but it passed fairly quickly. If I want to, eventually, complete an Ironman I need to build up my mental stamina on the bike.

Saturday 13 miles
It was a pretty good run but I’m definitely ready for a slight step back.

Sunday rest
This rest day was well enjoyed.

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