1 Week to Clarksburg Half Marathon
4 Weeks to Cal International Marathon
I'm writing this after returning from my super-relaxing weekend of wine tasting in Paso Robles. As always, we had a fantastic time, drank a lot of delicious wine (and brought way, WAY too much of it home with us), and had a *spectacular* dinner Saturday night at an Italian place called Il Cortile. Seriously. If you go to Paso, that is where you need to eat dinner. Just be sure to make a reservation.
Thinking of doing a separate Paso post for all you wine-o's out there, but first, let me get this training journal up.
My original goal was to manage around 40 miles this week, which would mean averaging 10 miles a day Tuesday through Friday (since I wasn't planning on running in Paso). That didn't end up quite happening, but it wasn't because I got lazy or wimped out or anything. This was one of those weeks when I absolutely could've run more, but decided that the smart thing to do was run a little less. (I talked about it some in my pre-Paso weekend post already.)
Most of the time ten easy miles is no biggie, but two miles in, I was exhausted & my legs felt like lead. I decided this wasn't so weird, since I'd just run 20 on Sunday for the first time since approximately the Pleistocene Epoch and probably wasn't completely recovered, and if I could get in eight, that would be okay. Two miles later, all I could think about was getting to the end of the run. Finally I decided six miles would have to be good enough, because that was going to take everything I had.
Shake it off, shake it off, I told myself; maybe you just needed an easy day after the long run.
A week before, I'd done this workout at a 7:30 pace with an average heart rate of 184 bpm (ie, less effort than normal), in the heat. Today, I wanted to die after a mile and a half, managing barely a sub-eight pace. Through some miracle I made it through two miles & managed to pick up the pace a little, but I felt terrible. Soon I was telling myself, It’s a taper week, so just get through four miles. You can make it through four. Well, no I couldn’t. It took everything I had to get through a third mile. Average 7:45 / mile. I had to walk a quarter mile before I could even jog again. Still, I did jog again, and if nothing else, got in the same number of miles. Not exactly confidence-building, eleven days out from a race.
Still, I think it speaks to how far I've come as a runner that I didn't completely fall apart emotionally at this point & instead was like, "Okay, body. It's been a year / cycle / month of lots of miles & hard work. Maybe it's just time to back off a little & just make sure I'm rested & sharp on the 13th." I even decided to be a little proactive & spend Thursday resting, rather than going out & having another shitty run.
"Comfortably fast" started out around 8:20 - 8:30, but I was surprised & pleased to see that after a mile or two, I was running pretty comfortably in the 8:10 - 8:15 range, which is what I'd call my "conservative" marathon pace. (By the way, my new plan is to run with the 3:40 pace group, 8:12 / mile, for at least the first half.) I knew that there was a convenient turnaround point coming up that makes a nice ten mile loop, so I decided to do my best to keep running at that pace & complete that. By the end, I felt like I could've run two more MP miles & finished the workout on my schedule, but given how crappy I'd been feeling & that my priority was not doing anything to jeopardize Clarksburg, I decided it was a better idea to just stick with 10.
Saturday & Sunday: Rest / sleep / drink / eat / regrow soul
Grand Total: 24 miles
No, it's not 40, but it's what I think I needed this week. I think I have a very good shot at breaking 1:40 at Clarksburg next Sunday, but only if I show up rested, refreshed, & focused. This week, I'm hoping to get in a couple of short easy runs, a shorter version of my usual 9-10 mile MP runs, & a few HMP miles a couple days before the race, just to remind my legs that they can run fast.