2 Weeks to Clarksburg Half Marathon
5 Weeks to Cal International Marathon
Well, here we are -- Tapersville; population moi. That's the one disadvantage of doing the half and the full three weeks apart. I need two solid taper weeks to be fresh & ready for the half, and once that's done it would've been time to start marathon tapering anyway. In terms of CIM, these next five weeks will be a tricky balance between getting in a little more quality mileage and giving my body adequate time to heal & get ready to race.
It's been a busy week for me, so I do apologize for the lack of non-training journal posts. I've got a few that are close to ready to go, so hopefully you'll be seeing those soonish. (Like, before this time next week.)
My boyfriend's car is in the shop so he took mine to work today. This meant that since I couldn't drive to the track, I needed to jog there & back. I planned to do my usual walk / jog 3.5 miles there, do my 6 miles at HMP at the track, then walk / jog back. Around mile 2, though, I started having asthma problems. Sometimes when they're minor they go away, but this time they didn't. I've learned that although it sucks a lot, I can do an easy run with an asthma attack, but fast running is out of the question unless I am feeling like my day has not had enough excitement and a ride in an ambulance is just the thing to spice it up.
When I got to the track, I sat & rested for a few minutes & had a little woe-is-me kind of moment & considered just jogging back home. Then another part of my brain kind of went Eff that noise, bitch. This week is our last chance to get some serious mileage in and we're not going to let something like a little oxygen deprivation get in the way. The HMP run was clearly out; instead, I jogged three miles on the track, then back home for a total of ten. It sucked and was incredibly hard and I had to stop several times to catch my breath, but I got it done.
Wednesday: 8 miles (2 wu + 6 @ HMP). FINALLY. I didn't much feel like it today, but this bitch was HAPPENING, one way or another. (I'm substituting it this week for the strength session at the track since it's the same number of miles & just a slightly faster pace. That way I can make Saturday an easy day, since I have a long run Sunday.) I've been doing my HMP runs on the track & decided to run on the roads today, just to prove to myself I could do it.
It was just a touch warm, and the first couple of miles were uphill / rolling & into the wind, so I had to work a little harder to keep up the pace (7:35, 7:35, 7:38). I knew the return trip would be easier, but I also think I needed a little more time to get warmed up, because suddenly my heart rate and pace dropped waaaay down, more than I think the slight downhills & tailwind should account for (7:32, 7:19, 7:24). Or maybe that was all it was. Who knows. Still, I finished feeling like I could've gone several more miles at that level of effort, which was exactly how I needed to feel. :)
Thursday: 6 miles easy. I'd scheduled eight but something came up suddenly in the evening and I only had time for six. Being in a rush, I ran them a little faster than true "easy" pace; also, my shoes have been on their last legs for a few days (so to speak), so between those things my feet & lower legs were hurting a little more than normal for after a relatively short, easy run.
Friday: 11 miles (2 wu + 9 @ MP). My first run in new shoes! They are prototypes that I am wear testing, though, so alas I can't tell you about them. :(
Remember how last week I was all like, "Wow, marathon pace is so EASY now!"? Well, this week I'm back to "marathon pace is teh sucky mcsuckerson." I guess that's the difference between doing this workout after two days of rest (last week) and doing it on a fourth consecutive running day (this week). I averaged 7:59 / mile, but just barely, and only because I really churned out the last mile (7:47) in a way I'm not sure I'll be able to do after 25 miles. My average heart rate was about 180 bpm, which is right where I think it should be (during that last too-fast mile it was more like 190, which is half marathon territory; I just couldn't stand the thought of finishing with 8:xx in the average pace window!).
I've been trying to do these runs on rolling(ish) hills as much as possible to simulate the first part of CIM by making creative loops along short stretches of the long, gentle inclines in Golden Gate Park. It feels good to know that I can still run this pace comfortably (at least for a while), but I think managing it well over hills is still something I haven't really nailed down yet. I did keep the first few net-uphill rollers a bit slower (8:02, 8:00, 8:06, 8:04) but then didn't really make up for it on the downhills (7:59, 7:58, 7:55). Finished with the biggest uphill on the course (8:07) and a significant downhill + running hard up the last mildly uphill half mile or so (7:47). This is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to running with the pace group; I've heard that the CIM pacers are knowledgeable about and experienced on the course & take the terrain into account in deciding how to pace things.
In case you haven't seen it, btw...
Don't let the dramatic net-downhill fool you; all those molehill-looking dips become rather significant rollers when you stretch this thing out over 26 miles. You can take Courtney's word for it (or that of any number of folks who've written race reports, which I have been reading obsessively).
Sunday: 20 miles easy - two laps around Golden Gate Park & the Panhandle, plus a little more. If I'd been able to run on Saturday, I probably would've capped this one at 16 or 18, but decided that after a rest day I should be able to handle 20.
I'll have to say more about it in a different post; the 30 second story is that it was easy for 12 miles, reasonable for 15, and bearable for 18. I averaged 8:48 / mile and finished a little stiff and with some not insignificant tendonitis pain (sigh...), but remarkably without any new injuries or tweaks. (Also, can I just say that the two trips back up MLK from Ocean Beach to Stanyan are an absolute BITCH. I'm mostly blaming those last few miserable miles on that.)
Grand Total: 55 miles
I'd kind of hoped to peak at 60+ this week, but what can you do when you find yourself daily at the mercy of a six-week-old injury that just hasn't had time to heal yet? Under the circumstances, I can't complain. Also, it's been over a year since I've been physically capable of putting up these kinds of numbers at all, so in the grand scheme of things, I REALLY can't complain.
Finally...I have to admit that I'm more than a little excited to have this last high-mileage week behind me and tapering ahead of me. While the physical break will be nice, I think I need a mental one even more. I'm starting to get into that place where it's harder and harder to stare down a week of workouts & get out the door, where the training schedule is starting to drive the running more than my enjoyment & desire to do it. That's nothing new & often happens towards the end of long training cycles for me, but still. Tapering. Big thumbs up right now.
Targeting ~40 miles / week for the next two weeks (counting the half on 11/13), which sounds positively luxurious. :)