Monday, July 28, 2014

Marathon Week 6

I am pretty sure that this is my highest mileage week to date. It is kind of exciting to be breaking new mileage records again! I remember training for my first half marathon and getting to the point where each long run became my longest run ever.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 4.0
Wednesday: 6.3
Thursday: rest
Friday: 4.0
Saturday: 4.0
Sunday: 13.06

Total miles: 31.36 miles

I tried to run Tuesday's run at my tempo run pace (about 8:00), but the heat (mid-80s) really slowed me down. My average pace was 8:19. I tried to push the pace a bit on Wednesday as well, but fell off a bit in the second half of the run. Friday's run was at recovery pace.

Saturday I aimed for my predicted marathon pace of 8:45 (based on my most recent half time). Since this is my first marathon I don't think I'll be able to actually hold this pace for the race, but I don't think using it for training purposes is going to cause any problems.

Against all odds, my long run on Sunday was amazing. I didn't make it to bed until 1:30 AM on Sunday morning. I am normally in bed by 10 so this was extremely past my bed time! After sleeping in and waiting out a major thunderstorm I didn't get started on my run until 2:00. Fortunately it was not too hot or humid! I knew about a half mile into the run that it was going to be a great run; I just felt amazing. I held a steady pace of 9:30 for the first 11 miles and then kicked it up to 8:15 for the final 2 miles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dart for Art Race Recap

On July 14th I ran The Ann Arbor Mile - Dart for Art and learned that racing a single mile can be just as challenging as a longer race. I am not joking at all. A one mile run where I am not worried about time? Easy! A one mile race where I running faster and harder than I thought possible? Completely different story.

About a week before the race I did a one mile test run. I spent half a mile warming up and then ran as hard as I could for one mile. I finished in 7:17. I knew that this wasn't the fastest I could run (my 5k PR pace is faster) but with the humidity and heat it seemed to be my best effort. I was hoping that the race day excitement and presence of competitors could some how push me to a sub 7:00 mile, but figured that was a long shot.

The race was the Monday following my failed long run, this did not do much to boost my confidence. I knew I would be running on tired legs, but with my marathon being my primary objective, taking an extra rest day was not an option. The races started at 6:00 PM, but my race would not be starting until 6:20; the elite runners would be going first.

So many goodies for such a short race (shirt, bib, finisher's medal, Hammer Gel, lip balm, and a sticker).
Watching the elite runners was amazing. I can not imagine being that fast. The top male, Nathan Brannen, finished in 3:54, while Sarah Boyle claimed the top women's spot with 4:42. After watching both elite heats it was time to get in line for my own race. I lined up near the 7:00 pace sign and took a bit of comfort from the fact that this was the fastest pace sign.

When the race started I took off as fast as I could imagine and told myself to just hold that pace no matter what. I left my watch and ipod at home so I could focus solely on running. I wanted to quit after about a quarter mile, getting passed by a couple of guys pushed me to keep running. There was an elapsed time sign at the half mile mark. I glanced at it once to see if I was on pace. I saw 3:03 and knew I was ahead of pace.

The last half mile completely sucked. My legs wanted to quit; my lungs were on fire. Another guy shot past me and I forced myself to dig deeper. I almost tripped coming around the last corner, but somehow managed to stay upright. And then it was over. A volunteer was handing me my finisher's medal (a cool ceramic medal made by a local running store) and offering to find me some water. Thank you, kind volunteer for taking such good care of me! My official chip time was 6:16.7. So much faster than I imagined was possible!

Art tiles based on artwork by Charley Harper were the age group awards. They feature a hare to represent our swiftness.
I even managed to turn around in time to watch my coworker finish a mere 30 seconds behind me. Then it was off to find the post race snacks and libations (doughnut holes and beer from a local brewery). I made sure to check the race results before we left, in case I had an award to claim. Unfortunately I ended up finishing in 5th place and age group awards were only 3 deep.

That night I looked at the results online and it showed me in third place in my age group. What?! It turns out that when they posted the results at the race only the top finisher had been pulled out of the results. The race actually had special awards for the top three finishers. Second and third place ended up getting pulled from the 20-29 age group which bumped me up to 3rd. Which is awesome, but I feel like I kind of cheated my way into an age group award. Fortunately I was able to contact the race coordinators and arrange to pick up my award.

I will definitely be doing this race again next year. Since it is such a short race, I don't think that I will follow a specific training plan just for this race. However, the pace I held for this race indicates that I should be capable of a much faster 5k. I need to get to work on that! I think some 5k specific speed work next year could help lead to a new mile PR. Maybe even a sub 6:00!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marathon Week 5

Nine weeks to the half marathon, thirteen weeks to the marathon. 

Monday: 1.0*
Tuesday: 3.04
Wednesday: 6.3
Thursday: 3.04
Friday: rest
Saturday: 4.0
Sunday: 10.89

Total miles: 28.27 miles

*The one mile run on Monday was the Dart for Art race. Race Report coming soon, promise!

With a race scheduled on Monday I accidentally ended up with a 6 day stretch of solid running (Saturday-Thursday). My legs were definitely feeling a bit fatigued by the end of the stretch. I was so glad that Friday was a rest day. I've tried a running streak before and it was just not for me. I like my rest days!

Due to a slight math mix up, today's long run ended up being closer to 11 miles instead of the 10 that I was aiming for. This long run came together much better than last week's. There were definitely times during the run that my legs were tired (thanks, hills!) but I never felt like I was pushing too hard or that I wouldn't be able to finish.

Mr. Shoe also did his long run this morning and, at 8 miles, it was his longest run ever. We didn't actually end up running together; once we got to the park we went our separate ways. I took some off road trails and he stuck to the paved paths.While I enjoy running together, this worked out well since we were both able to set a pace that worked for us. When we run together we have tendency to really push the pace, which is less than ideal for long slow runs!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Marathon Week 4

Monday: 2.56
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5.0
Thursday: 3.22
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5.3
Sunday: 4.0 and 2.24

Total miles: 22.32 miles

So you're probably looking at this and wondering what happened to my long run this week. I was scheduled to do a 10 mile run on Sunday, but my legs just would not cooperate. My Sunday run started with a night of tossing and turning instead of sleeping. The park I planned to run at was hosting a race Sunday morning, which I didn't know about until I got there. So I ended up driving all over the place just to end up back at the park closest to home. It also went from not raining to pouring while I wasted time driving around town.

During the run my legs felt heavy and tired. This quickly progressed to feeling like every step hurt more than the last. After 4 miles I decided to call it quits. My body was clearly telling me that I needed a break. I spent a fair amount of time icing sore muscles and then took a glorious 3 hour nap. Sunday night I was feeling much better so I decided to try a double. I kept the pace light and easy and everything felt much better. I'm frustrated that I missed a long run, but I know it is important to listen to my body. I have been upping my mileage pretty aggressively and I didn't want to push myself to another injury. I'll try for 10 again next weekend.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Marathon Week 3

Three weeks completed, only 15 weeks to go! I kind of went way off schedule this week. I was planning on running 4 miles on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, followed by 8 on Sunday. Of those runs, I only actually followed through with the Sunday 8. I still logged the 20 miles I was aiming for, but I definitely don't want to get in the habit of deviating from my plan every week! I think I need to revise my plan for the next few weeks. I seem to be coming back from my injury better than anticipated.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3.22 miles
Wednesday: 6.3 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: 3.4 miles
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 8 miles

Total miles: 20.92 miles

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dart for Art

I just made a bit of a last minute addition to my race calendar: The Ann Arbor Mile - Dart for Art! It is a one mile race (obviously!) that takes place the week of the art fair. I have a degree in history of art, so as soon as I saw this event I knew I had to participate. An event that combines two of my favorite things is just plain amazing!

DartForArt Race Logo- Color

Two reasons I am excited about this race:

1. I have never raced anything shorter than a 5k. So this will be a completely new experience. I'm not quite sure what to expect.

2. Freebies: t-shirt (please have the above logo on the shirts!), finisher's medal, and (really good) free beer for 21+ participants.

Two reasons I am not excited about this race:

1. The week of art fair is a disaster. All of the roads downtown are closed. Traffic on the roads that are still open is insane. The buses are always behind schedule due to detours.

2. The race is at 6:00 PM in mid-July. It is going to be HOT!