Getting closer and closer to toeing the line in Hopkinton. This is when the jitters and excitement usually start. Just one more 20-miler and it’s taper time. OH.MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS. What?! When did THAT happen?!
This week was less intense than Week 10 because I am running the ChiTown Half as a training run on Sunday. When I looked at my schedule and saw 4 easy runs and 1 longish run, I was actually pretty excited. I really like running half marathons and it was nice to know that I could relax and refresh most of the week before running a no-pressure race that would give me a good idea of where my fitness is before Boston. I’ll post a full race recap from the half later this weekend but here’s how my week went and how I’m feeling about the race.
I ran 34 miles + 3 core routines + 1 strength workout. (Expect to finish the week with 49-50 miles including Sunday’s race.)
AM: 6 mile recovery run; 8:40 average. I took rest to a whole new level after Saturday’s 20-miler and didn’t foam roll or stretch much the rest of the weekend. Whoopsies! (Chanthana called me a BAD RUNNER! Derp.) It felt good to just move the legs and not worry about how fast or slow I was going on Monday morning.
PM: 1 hour massage. This is a new routine for me. I’ve never been the kind of person to treat myself to a regular massage but I’ve realized that it’s one of the best things I can do while training. Those little aches and pains usually disappear after 1 hr of relaxation. I was looking forward to this all day.
The best moment of the day came when I was talking to Jude (yes, his name is Jude) before the massage. Here’s how the conversation went:
Jude: Are there any areas that you want to specifically work on today?
Me: Not really. My legs are just fatigued in general after last week’s training.
Jude: What did you do last week?
Me: I ran 50 miles.
Jude: (look of shock) How many??
Me: 50. I’m um….I’m running the Boston Marathon. (This should be in your notes, Jude!)
Jude: …..Oh, so you’re a pro….
Me: (look of absolute shock) HA! Ummmm no, not quite.
Jude: Oh, but you have to qualify for that marathon though, right?
Me: Yeah, yeah….you do.
Jude: So, you’re a serious runner.
Me: I guess!
I know plenty of runners that consistently run higher mileage than I do. And I would actually say I’m on the lower end of that spectrum especially for marathoners. But Jude definitely made my day when he assumed that I was a very “serious” runner. Confidence boost!
I planned on getting 11 miles out of the way early in the morning. But then I checked WeatherBug and saw that it was 16 degrees outside and it felt like SIX!? What is with this weather, people! This time last year it was 70+ degrees in Chicago. And while that is extremely abnormal, I’m using it as a precedent for this year’s cold craziness. I delayed the run until the afternoon so that I could run in a balmy 25 degrees with 25 mph crosswind on the lakefront. You know…tropical, right?
11 miles, 7:56 average pace. (Faster final 3: 7:25, 7:22, 7:15). Had to put up with a consistent 20 mph wind out of the west the entire time (surprisingly easier to deal with than that wind from the north during last weekend’s 20…good sign that I’m getting stronger perhaps?) Finished up the day with a short core routine too. Woot woot!
4 miles, 8:37 average. Normally a rest day for me but Coach told me I could run an easy 3-5 if I felt like it. And I did so I went to the gym after work for an easy 4 miles.
I used the 30 minutes that I needed to let my smoky black bean soup (seriously yummy recipe from Runner’s World! See below) to simmer to get in my normal core routine x 2. I’ve struggled to do core immediately after my runs and find it’s easier to do at home at night in front of the TV. I was a “good runner” and even stretched and foam-rolled for 30 minutes that night.
8 miles, 8:24 average. Another easy run on the schedule. Feels weird to have so many easy runs on the schedule but I’m taking full advantage of them and feel like I’m staying loose.
5 miles, 8:21 average. Just another quick easy morning on the treadmill at the gym. I could (and probably should) have run outside more this week but when I have the choice between one layer and 3 layers of clothing, I usually opt for just one. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Seriously, warm temps can’t come soon enough.
I forced myself to do another core routine and some form drills following my short run too. Easier to get that kind of stuff done on lighter days.
Sunday: RACE DAY! Full race report to come following the race!
The goal for this half is to run at slightly faster than GMP (goal marathon pace). When I first saw this on my schedule, I was like “piece of cake”! But then I realized exactly what that pace is. If I run the goal pace, I’ll actually PR this weekend. That’s kind of crazy. I have to keep reminding myself that I ran my half PR in Carmel in April 2012. I’ve progressed a lot since then and I know that I’ve become a faster runner. It seems like I’ve gone through this each year. I’ll focus on my half for awhile, run a PR (somehow), focus on the full, and run a PR (holy heck). So that by the time I start a new racing season, my average pace for the half and full are super close.
Case in point:
- My half PR is 1:36:08, which is 7:20 per mile average.
- My full PR is 3:17:47, which is 7:33 per mile average.
That means that either I’m capable of running a much faster half or I’m just a freak of nature and can run 26.2 miles almost as fast as I do 13.1 miles for all eternity.
Cue the course map!:
Ok, so not the greatest course. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever run a half with so many hairpin turns and curly-cues. It will be an interesting one for sure. I’m just hoping congestion isn’t a problem in the early miles. My motivation for running a fast, competitive race is SPIKED MILKSHAKES! Not kidding. Hillary, Xaar, Britt, and I are going to dominate post-race brunch. [Although I may change my mind about the milkshake on Sunday if my face is frozen off from the wintry mix we're expecting that morning.] PLUS, Chanthana is going to be out there ringin’ her cowbell to cheer us on. She’s going to earn her spiked milkshake too.
Highlights o’ The Week:
- Added to my running playlist: Around the Bend by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
- Spent Thursday evening at Fleet Feet for their Taste Madness event. The highlight was the tasty beer and the good conversation with other runners in normal “civilian clothing”. Now I have a handy little tasting glass to use at Dark Lord Day! (Beer beer beeeeeer….)
- This was the first week in a LONG time that I consistently made meals at home. (Ok, except for the Chipotle tacos that were ravenously consumed before the Taste Madness event!) Meal planning is definitely not something I do nor do I have much interest in doing but buying groceries that actually form MEALS as opposed to random-snacky-things-that-taste-gross together is progress. Plus, I’m savin’ my nickels and dimes. [Side note: the Smoky Black Bean Soup from a past issue of Runner's World is delicious. However, I doubled the amount of chipotle peppers and suffered through one spicy bowl before calling it quits. Lesson learned!]
Pictures o’ The Week:
Cute little mutt
Despite the chilly temps this week, the sun actually showed itself during my 11-miler on Tuesday!
What is that big ball of fire in the sky?!!?!?
Sadly, this explains my battle each and every morning. Doubt I’ll ever be a consistent predawn runner
Smoothies when it’s 30 degrees out? Why not.
Race Weather Forecast. Just in time for another snow storm to hit Chicago (can you tell I’m bitter?)