Thirteen

There’s just something about that number.

I kid. The actual reason for the title being just the word “thirteen?” I couldn’t think of anything else to go with it. I need to work on that. ;)

As has been the case for a while, it took me longer to get going this morning than I hoped. There’s just something wonderful about laying in bed after hitting the snooze button for nine more minutes.

It also took me a few miles to get into the run too. I had a few moments of doubt about being able to maintain a sub 9 pace which is my goal for all long runs. I really have to stop thinking that way because right now, that 8:30 pace is an “easy” pace for me. My first mile was above 9, 9:17, but everything after that was textbook, pace-wise.

I don’t remember much about the parts in between that first mile and the turn around, except for the fact that I saw my friend Matt biking to work and realized that it was him right after he passed me. If there was a race that combined physical fitness and mental acuity I would probably come in last. It’s difficult for me to handle simple addition while running. :)

I loved seeing more runners out on the trail. It’s always fun to watch how spring brings out all the runners and cyclists. It’s even more fun to use them as motivational tools. I’d find someone a little ways ahead of me and determine to pass them. (I almost said that I tried to figure out how long it would take me to pass them. Then I remembered my poor thinking-while-running skills. :D)

At the turnaround point by Linky Stone Park, I felt amazing, really strong. Miles 6-7 of any long run seem to be my best.

A few miles later I started to feel a bit of fatigue in my legs. It was then I realized that this run capped off my highest volume week since MCM training ended. I’m a little sad that mid-thirties is high volume for me right now but I’m hoping to change that in the near future.

As I passed the spot where the side stitch attacked last week, I breathed a sigh of relief. I did something right this week to avoid any and all side stitches. (I’m not sure what that was though….)

I still felt the fatigue in my legs but I felt strong too. For the “fun” of it, I decided to try to get my last mile under 8. I started to pick up the pace but quickly realized that I could not hold that significantly faster pace for the whole mile so I backed off, a little.

Turns out, I had just enough! I clocked my last mile in 7:58 and didn’t feel like I was sprinting either.

I’m pleased with my 8:39 average pace for that run.

I think I might finally be getting some speed back and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to break into the competitive tier. I feel like I’ve been just below for the past couple years. I’m ready.

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Y2Y Half Marathon Week 2 Training Recap

As I mentioned in my post a couple days ago, I switched races halfway through this week. I’m very happy with my decision.

In fact, I’m very happy with this week’s training. I think it was awesome, thanks to the rose-colored glasses of an amazing long run Saturday. :)

Monday 7 miles with half mile intervals
These intervals were tough but just because I felt a bit sluggish this morning. I pushed through and finished. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the run. 7.5 no longer feels as hard as it used to. I may be ready to bump up my interval speed to 7.6. (I also should think about speedwork that’s not on a treadmill…especially since that scares me a little.)

Tuesday stationary bike warm up + NTC
I felt pretty good throughout the workout. For some reason, I was really motivated to “get strong” aka I think I liked strength training this time. I thought I’d be feeling all those lunges but I didn’t experience a lot of DOMS. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Wednesday 6 miles
Since the forecast called for rain and thunder, I headed inside. Yes, I’m a wimp but I’m okay with that. The run ended up being totally awesome. I felt really good the whole time. I hope this feeling continues.

Thursday 7 miles
I finally got back outside this week. While my pace wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted, I’ll take it because I felt amazing through the entire run and absolutely loved it!

Friday stationary bike
I felt pretty good on this ride, much better than last week. I pushed harder and kept Ironman dreaming thanks to a Runner’s World article. (I should probably learn how to swim though.)

Saturday 12 miles
This honestly was one of my best long runs ever. I can’t wait to get back out there next Saturday.

Sunday rest
I may have rested physically but I was itching to race. Hearing about all the PRs Sunday morning, including my friend Matt’s 2:55:20 marathon, made me wish I could have been racing with them. I also really, really, really want to run the NYC Half now too. I finished the day more than ready to dive back into another week of training.

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A Twelve Mile Confidence Boost

The longer I run, the more times I write long run recaps, the more difficult coming up with a title becomes. :)

Like usual, it took a little while for me to get going this morning. Thankfully, it’s (almost) spring so there’s no major rush to get out the door. (I won’t be putzing around come May to September!)

The weather, by the way, was perfect. It was chilly when I started but warmed up to just below 50 degrees. Amazing.

After last week’s boost from run with (and against) all the half marathoners, I wondered if I would be able to keep up with my goal of sub 9 minute pace for all my long runs. (As I’ve mentioned copious times before, I have a strong tendency to doubt myself.)

I headed towards downtown and settled into a comfortable pace. I’m not sure when I first looked at my Garmin but when I did, I was surprised to see an 8:30ish pace on the screen.

I felt great! I wasn’t pushing at all so I did my best to maintain that pace. Those next few miles I glanced down quite a bit, still shocked to see that pace.

Speaking of shocked, I was a little surprised to see a runner heading the opposite direction fully decked out with long-sleeve shirt, wind-breaker type long pants, hydration pack and … golf club. Yeah, I have no explanation for that.

Around mile 5 I passed a woman wearing a Boston shirt and started thinking about how much I want to qualify and run Boston. It’s pretty ridiculous how badly I want that. I instantly started daydreaming about what it would be like to qualify and how absolutely ridiculous I would act when I got my bib number. (Trust me. It will be ridiculous.)

After a quick break at the water fountain by Linky Stone Park I headed back and knew pretty much right away why that pace had felt as incredibly easy as it did. The wind. It wasn’t terrible but when I turned I ran straight into it.

I kept thinking about Boston though and pushed through the wind. It never really went away but at points it wasn’t as difficult to run through.

Then came mile 9. Right after that point I got a massive side stitch. (This has been happening more often lately and it perplexes me.) I tried to run through it but decided to pause for a minute and see if I could massage it out.

Right at that point a big group of cyclists passed by. Normally I’m not all that impressed with cyclists’ etiquette, especially when they’re in big groups but this group impressed me. They gave adequate warning and didn’t ride so close to me that I felt like jumping onto the shoulder might be safer.

On top of that, the last cyclist in the group noticed that I had stopped and paused to look back and ask if I was okay. That, folks, is how you share the trail.

Shortly after that I started running again. It wasn’t pleasant but I was able to run through the side stitch which lasted about a mile.

It doesn’t surprise me that after negative splitting all of my miles up until that point that miles 10 and 11 went a little bit backwards in pace.

Once the side stitch was gone, I concentrated on finishing strong. I had just started to feel the effects of my fairly aggressive pace. (That’s definitely something I need to work on when I start marathon training in August.)

I kept pushing and finished in 1:41:48 with a last mile just under 8 minutes. I’ll take that for sure.

Now comes the hard part…shaving more time off my pace so that I can run 1.1 miles more in that time or faster. :)

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Between Greer and Y2Y

If I had written this post last week as I planned, it would have looked a lot different. Before I get to that…

Before Reedy, I’d lined up another back up 10k just in case. I waited until after the race to decide between the second 10k and a half marathon. (I plan to run it as a fitness test.) After my surprise success at Reedy River, I decided that I would run a half marathon and go full force, perhaps even aim for a PR.

My choices? Greer or Y2Y in Spartanburg, both on the same day.

Initially, I leaned towards Y2Y. It’s a smaller race so the possibility of an age group place is quite possible. Plus, I walked away from Greer last year with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Then I went back and reread my race recaps, all three of them I decided that it would be so much fun to try to snag an age group place there instead. Plus, Greer is a lot closer to home than Spartanburg. I even started labeling my training recaps.

An interaction with a Greenville running friend got me thinking again about the race. It started with her posting a question on the GTC Facebook page asking about the course. She got no response. We started talking about the disappointing drop in participation last year and that reminded me of other disappointments that I’ve had with Greer that didn’t make it into my recaps. (I won’t go into those details here.)

As my friend and I tried to figure out more about the course, I noticed that registration is no longer through go-green. It’s with a company I’ve never heard of before. That fact combined with the fact that only eleven people have registered sealed the deal.

I’m sad to say that I won’t be returning to Greer for a fourth time. Instead, I’m happy to say that I will be running in the inaugural Y2Y half.

I don’t know much about the race but I think it will be a good test run. I’m also glad that I’ve finally made the decision. Now I just have to register!

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Greer Half Marathon Week 1 Training Recap

As you can see by the title, I’ve made a decision about my next half marathon. A separate blog post will hopefully be coming on this, later in the week.

I am psyched about training for this race. So far, so good.

Monday 6 miles
This run went really well. I ran inside on the treadmill because I wanted to force myself to take it easy after the 10k and because I didn’t yet have an armband for my new phone. Instead I got to watch Doctor Who, specifically “A Good Man Goes to War.” (If you’re a Doctor Who fan you’ll know exactly why this helped pass the time so quickly. :D) I felt great through the majority of the run though I started to feel a little fatigue in the last mile or so. Overall, running feel pretty great right about now.

Tuesday stationary bike warm up + NTC
I tried to push hard on this work out. It’s hard when deep down, I just really don’t like strength training. I love feeling strong but a strength training workout to me is a “workout.” Running? I’ll do that any day.

Wednesday 6 miles
It took a while to get going this morning. (another weird dream) The run felt tough at the beginning too. I had a bit of fatigue in my glutes and thighs. It’s a toss up as to whether that’s from the 10k or from the squats in Tuesday’s NTC workout. I kept pushing though and ended up finishing strong.

Thursday 6 miles with intervals
This was a decent speedwork session. On my way to the gym I kept trying to talk myself into 4 or 5 miles but stuck it out for 6 and felt pretty good while I did.

Friday stationary bike
If it’s not one thing, it’s another when it comes to these rides. This time it was slightly painful “pinching” at inner hip joint likely due to a combination of an already uncomfortable seat and underwear just a tad too small. (TMI, I know.) Chalk up that up to yet another lesson for a newbie rider. :) Hopefully next week will be better.

Saturday 11 miles
just a fantastic run overall

Sunday rest
I made sure to enjoy my day off. :)

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11 Miles – A Pseudo Race

First, I’m excited to bring back the weekly long run recaps. It’s definitely been a while.

If you’re a runner in Greenville, you’re probably aware that the GHS Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon took place today. I’ve run this race both times it was held before but chose not to shell out the money today. (The only reason I ran last year was because I somehow snagged a 50% off groupon type thing.)

Since this is a long run recap, not a race review, I’ll just say that I think that $60 (or $70) is way too much to pay for a race that uses a public trail for 80% of the course.

That being said, I knew that I would encounter a few more runners on the trail today when I headed out, although I didn’t get as early a start as I wanted. (I need to get back in the habit of not piddling around in the morning before getting out the door for the run.)

I chose to run in short sleeves since it was supposed to warm up to the mid to upper 40s by the end of the run. I’m glad I did but I was pretty cold when I started running.

The first two miles were my slowest overall. Obviously I needed to warm up. :)

I had the trail to myself until around mile 2.5. That’s when things started to get complicated. Either I have a faulty memory or there were simply a whole lot more people running this race than ran it the first two years. I was definitely “swimming” against the tide.

Admittedly, it was a bit frustrating at this point because several times I had to jump onto the “shoulder” to avoid oncoming runners. These runners had a variety of reactions. One was obliviousness. They just didn’t see me because they were staring at the ground. Another was pretending not to see me. They had their gaze straight ahead but at just the last moment they would look away. Both of those type runners caused me to have to jump onto the shoulder which was not very wide or rock free. The last kind of runner I encountered just made me laugh. They would move out of the way but glared at me the whole time, apparently judging me for using a public trail that a race happened to also be using. Obviously, these are just my observations. I, for one, am guilty or getting so absorbed in a run that I nearly run into people!

Thankfully, this section did not last long. Just before the gazebo in downtown TR I turned around and started running with the racers. This section, 5.5 miles long was my favorite. While not actually racing I got all the benefits minus water at the water stops. I love the endorphin high of racing. Plus, at the point I turned around I was running with people who were running a much slower pace than I was.

I didn’t even mind having to weave between runners and thrown on little surges to get through gaps before they closed. It’s a heady feeling passing that many runners. :)

I knew my pace was fairly speedy through this section but I didn’t consult my Garmin. I ran on feel and the drive to pass as many people as I could before I turned around and headed back to the car.

I hated to have to turn around. I really do love that race feeling.

Thankfully, the crowd had thinned out a bit so it wasn’t as hard to run against the grain the second time.

It felt so weird passing the last few runners and then being on my own, like a normal long run. Thankfully I had just over a mile left.

I started to pick up the pace for the last mile and then Timber came on with just under a half mile to go. I decided that I wanted to sprint as hard as I could and try to finish the run before the song finished. I almost made it, only five hundredths short.

I finished this run in 1:34:16. That’s an 8:34 average. Granted, my splits were all over the place. However, I’m thrilled with that pace and the fact that I feel fantastic over there. I was racing just a little, but definitely not to full effort.

I’m excited to start ramping up my half marathon fitness. Greer will be my first test. (Yes, a blog about the decision to run Greer again is coming.) Hopefully I’ll have made enough progress that a sub 1:40 at San Francisco will be within my grasp.

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Reedy River 10k Race Week Training Recap

It’s fascinating how the last work out of the week colors the entire week of workouts, in this case for the better.

I’m pretty excited about this week of training, specifically because of the results I got on Saturday. I still have to decide which half marathon I’m doing on April 26th (hopefully a post will be coming soon about that) but I’m ready to dive back into training.

Before I get too far ahead, here’s how race week training went.

Monday 7 miles with half mile intervals
This run felt pretty good but not great. Unlike last week, I did not increase the interval speed, just added a mile. I did have to take a water fountain break at mile 4.5. I think I would have been able to increase interval speed if I had been fully hydrated. That’s something I need to work on. I’m pretty bad about drinking enough water on the weekends.

Tuesday stationary bike warm up + NTC
This workout had more cardio than I expected. I pushed hard and ended up sweating. I can’t wait to get back at it again next week!

Wednesday 7 miles
A weird dream set me a bit off kilter that morning. I’ve got to figure out a way to wake up at a better time in my sleep cycle. It took a few miles for me to get into this run, thus my pace was slower overall than I wanted but I felt great and by the time I finished I was running strong.

Thursday 7 miles
I woke up before my alarm so at least I didn’t have to deal with a weird dream setting me off. The run still didn’t feel great. I never really got into a good rhythm and had to keep holding myself back so that I’d have something left for Saturday. I’m too competitive for my own good. (I wanted to have a faster pace than Wednesday.) The end of the run was also harder than I thought. I’ll just chalk it up to being “one of those runs.”

Friday stationary bike
I was so sleepy! It made the ride way too hard. It’s been a while since I felt that way so I’m glad that I at least got it done. Hopefully I’ll figure out the sleep thing soon.

Saturday Reedy River 10k
It all started with a great night’s sleep. :) This was an amazing race!

Sunday rest
After the race Saturday I felt like I could keep going, like I hadn’t worked all that hard. Then came Sunday. I definitely took advantage of the rest day.

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