Welp! Here we are. Coming to the close of the weekly recap series (unless someone truly thinks that these are awesome enough to keep going), as we near the inevitable finish line that is the 3M half marathon. I guess you could say that this was one of those "pivotal" weeks that everyone is looking for in their running buildup. I had some seriously good, pace-filled workouts where I felt like victory was assured at 3M. In that same week, I was swiftly kicked in the face by paces. So, what is it? I'm still not sure, but I'm willing to trust in the work that I've put in (and that's all we can do!). The cards are going to fall how they may on race day, but I know that I did the best job that I felt I could building. That being said, the next couple weeks of blogging will likely be boring for those looking for some sort of meaty workouts, since I'll be effectively "tapering" down. I'm using the word taper loosely here, especially considering that a) for some, my mileage was pretty low and b) I wouldn't necessarily recommend tapering very much for a half. But, I'm really just focusing on getting a bit more sleep the next two weeks, eating a bit better (but NOT sacrificing my PTerry's. Come pry it from my cold, dead hands), and working to keep everything relaxed and in check. As a few coaches of mine have said in the past, the hay is in the barn. Nay.
Total Weekly Mileage (Jan 1 - Jan 8) : 50.4 miles
Good morning - Happy New Year's! I headed to Rogue for the Black Eyed Pea run for a few new year miles. I had originally planned on running much closer to 10, but then decided I wanted to piggyback on a friend's workout in the morning (which included 10 miles of running), so decided to keep it light. I didn't go out the night before, in fact, I didn't even stay up til midnight. Sorry, I guess at 30 you get too old for that? Eh, either way, I didn't feel like I missed anything. Not to mention, we had spent close to six hours in a car driving back from western Texas in an ice storm... ringing in the new year by going to bed early sounded like a perfectly good plan to me!
If you had read the previous paragraph, you would have noticed that I mentioned that I had a 10 mile workout today. And then you're reading and you're like, "But Ashley, that says 6? What gives?" 22 degrees is what gives. And lungs that don't like 22 degrees. And more importantly, lungs that were decidedly against me completely a 5-miles-of-pacework-during-a-10-mile run type of workout.
It goes back to what I said earlier: you can have some great days and then you can have others that are just...well, shit. This was one of them. I was jumping in for a series of Yasso 800s, which, by all standards were, more than likely, too many (10) and too fast (3:25) for me. But there's also this thing called FOMO and there's another thing about fear. What if it wasn't too many for me? Or better yet, what if it wasn't too fast for me? I don't really know anything until you try. And on that same train of thought, I hadn't ran that fast in a while, so I figured that I would find out how many was too many when I could no longer hold on to the pace (6:45).
Well the answer to: How many is too many? is brought to you by the number 5. But also brought to you by searing lungs, which decided that fast track work, in frigid temperatures, was just a bad time. You see, the pace wasn't the issue, like I thought it would be, but instead, I felt like I was holding my breath for a fast 800 meters and then spent the remaining rest trying to get it back under control before I went around again.
After the cold weather 20-miler with pacework from Christmas Eve, in which I spent the rest of the day trying to fend off the invisible corset and fight to take a deep breath, I decided today was a perfectly good time to go home early.
I finished with 5 Yassos, perfectly timed at +/- 3:25 pace and then trotted forlornly back to my car, where I promptly sat and cried because I felt like a failure.
So here is the real part of training. It's not always a string of perfect workouts. Rather, it's the culmination of good quality work - some good, some bad - that is what produces results on race day. There's a saying - "You'll never get better at (insert thing) when you only work on it on the days you feel good" - that fits this perfectly.
Did I cut it short? Sure, did. But that doesn't discredit the 5 GOOD reps I did have. So, I'll stick with 6 miles for the day.
AM: 6 miles
I was pretty sure that I was out for vengeance on Wednesday because I jumped into another group workout with Marilyn and her group. They were doing In-N-Out 800s (2 miles, alternating between marathon pace (7:55) and half marathon pace (7:25). I knew that I was running later, so I didn't want to overdo it (the theme of this buildup was not being stupid, after all) but I felt so dang good after the first two miles that I did another two, for a total of four miles of work.
There's something so unbelievably refreshing about just crushing a workout after a big defeat. As I told Marilyn, I couldn't believe how easy marathon pace felt and, with inhaler in hand, I didn't have any of the soul crushing (lung crushing?) pain from the day before. It felt good to get out and stretch my legs, and I was happy with how the miles clicked off.
PM: 7 miles
I met up for some hilly Barton Hills fartlek work with Brit later in the day and kick off a solid day of training. I think Wednesday marked the final day of the end of the abysmal cold snap and in the afternoon it was 52 blissful degrees! What an awesome day.
4.1 miles + Dane's Body Shop Strength Class
Guess who finally made it to a strength class? THIS GIRL! And guess who will be coming back forever? This girl. Not to mention that Keith reads the blog (Hi Keith!) so he's the real MVP here. But I was also seriously slacking this week (a lack of morning clients will do that to ya!) so this was the only strength workout I got in...
Ran an easy 4 miles around the lake as a shakeout from the day before. Didn't feel as terrible as I imagined that it would. Wasn't memorable either. But the grunt miles are the important miles, remember that!
A little bit of free time in the mid day mean that I got in a nice long easy run around the lake again. Simple, quiet miles. The very best.
Got in a quick little spin around the lake before going and getting a massage at the massage school for a quick tune up. Felt good to sleep in and lazily get going before my noon appointment.
12.1 miles (long run workout)
Yet another Sunday long run workout! This time I organized a point-to-point 3M course preview with my group.
It was a really great prep for me to see if I was going to be able to run the race plan that I had been envisioning for 3M.
Built into the long run were two strategically placed 2 mile HMGP sections, for a total of 4 over the course of the 12. I wanted to gauge how my effort felt going down Great Northern Blvd, as well as Shoal Creek and Duval, and see what it would take to close hard.
Ideally, I see my race plan going one way (still deciding on all the details) but after Sunday, I'm feeling super confident about my plans! The miles felt so EASY - Becky and I were clicking off 8:18s like they were nothing, chatting and catching up on the week. The weather was perfect on Sunday, and again, solidified that I love the low-mid 50s for a half marathon on race day. So, here's to hoping for that!
At the finish, we made sure to have some juice and champagne for some victory mimosas and everyone seemed to have a good run! Thanks to all the volunteers for coming out and helping with the course!
Recovery & Self-Care
I made sure to go in and get a quick tune up massage at the massage school in Austin. I also booked my pre-race massage with my favorite Beva at Aura Medica to make sure I got in before the race.
And of course, I jumped into a freezing cold pool (41 degrees said the pool thermometer!) for our polar bear plunge challenge and "ice bath."
Goals for next week:
- Ease down in mileage (40)
- Get to 3 classes and lift heavy!
- Keep up with the blog