Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Category: Half Marathon Training Page 1 of 7

Hoo Boy…

It’s been busy!  Even with a weekend of relaxing and a 3 day weekend, I’m just now getting here to talk about it.

So yeah, things and stuff.

Rosedale Ride: I was going to talk about it in more details, but let’s just sum it up with these bulletpoints

  • Hardest race I’ve done in a while.  Riding for 5 hours took a lot out of me.  This needs to get better by the end of summer because I certainly don’t want to be taking anywhere near that long to ride the 56 miles for my half ironman, but happy to prove to myself that I can go the distance.
  • I’m still terrified of my new shoes.  Falling helped to get that freak out of my first crash out of the way, but the two times I fell down just stopped on the side of the road shifting my balance wrong, I think freak me out more even though they didn’t hurt at all – there is all manner of curb I’ll be riding on, and who knows if I have to stop near somewhere it will be tragic to fall over the wrong way.
  • Regardless, I’ve got my big girl panties on about it and not changing my pedals back – everyone else seems to do fine with them so I’ll learn too.  My heart rate may just stay a little high on rides and I may be chanting *please don’t make me stop, please don’t make me stop* when I get to intersections.  10 miles last weekend went ok though!

My runs have been very hit or miss lately.  Some days I have just draaaagged asssss through the miles and it was all I could do to keep going (but also found that all I needed to do is slow down – 11 minute miles may be frustrating, but that’s all I have sometimes).  Some days, I feel like a rockstar.  I’ve been able to do some pretty fantastic 3-6 mile progression runs where after the warmup mile, I’m pretty easily running under 10 minute miles.  For example this morning, I did 10:45, 9:55, 9:40, and 9 for the last quarter mile.  I just have to have faith that even though the first half to full mile will suck, I usually perk up.

Swims, I’ve been maintaining about 1 per week, about 30 mins for 1500 yds.  I need to get some open water lovin’ in here this month before Rookie in May, but I’m just not concerned.  I did just snag a groupon to finally get Zliten his Christmas swimming lessons, so that’s exciting!

My eating has been fairly subpar (for me).  As such, my weight and measurements really haven’t gone anywhere (I assume with the measurements, as I haven’t gotten the tape out in a few weeks).  This week, I am trying something new: smoothies for lunch.  Instead of spending my lunch break frantically preparing food, I’m trying out some new recipes.  Today, I put in skim milk, chocolate protein powder, water, chocolate pb2, 2/3 banana, and a squish of chocolate syrup (just tasted not quite right without it).  Tomorrow, I think I’ll try the strawberries/strawberry protein powder/banana/milk (trying to figure out a fat to put in there – c0conut oil maybe?).  I’m having a small savory side with it (today, veggie quinoa pasta salad, tomorrow, maybe a greek salad).  I couldn’t drink it all and saved the other half for a snack and felt really full today.  Bonus!

Also, I think that what I really need to do is the “eat 500 calories less than Zliten” diet.  He regularly burns about 500 more than me, and we mostly split our meals down the middle (so he’s losing weight, I’m not).  That’s a lot though – that’s like a whole meal less!  I’m trying to eliminate more snacks instead of a meal then, because I really hate eating 300 calorie meals, I’d rather just try to suck it up and feel like I’m eating a real meal unless my energy levels are super low and I’m feeling bad.  And honestly, the way I’m feeling after my lunch smoothie, I don’t need no stinkin’ snax!

Working on the training program for us through the half ironman.  Let me tell you, having 2 races a month and two vacations (one 4 days, one like 10 days) within a month and a half of race day (like, right during peak training time) is providing a CHALLENGE, but I think I have it conquered mostly.  I’ve never followed anyone’s tri training program, just did my own by feel, and that’s what I’m doing this time (I’ve done a LOT of research and picked and chose what worked for me).  I discussed with Zliten, and instead of a lot of long single sport training, we’re going to pile on the brickage.  That is, instead of getting comfy with overdistances like wanting to bike 100 so that 56 feels like cake, we’re going to do more bike/runs that are closer to half iron distance.  And, of course, we’ll train with the caveat that if our body needs a rest, we’ll back off (and planning in more rest weeks than I have ever before so that should help).

Fun Things I’ve Done Since Last Report:

  • Went to a wedding with a candy bar and BBQ for dinner.  I wished I could stay longer but it was Sunday night and work calls on Monday, so I had my sweets and danced my ass off for a bit and then headed home.
  • Had a board game and pizza day at work as a fun day not last Friday but the Friday before.  We played a bunch of D and D board game and DAMN IT’S HARD.  Then we went home and drank absinth and played more.
  • Spent March 30th without pants or workout gear on.  The most strenuous thing I did was hang out at the neighbors for a while.
  • Saw Hunger Games on April Fools Day.  No foolin’, I enjoyed the movie a lot.  They skipped some of the nuances, but they definitely did the books good and I’m just sad I couldn’t watch the next one yet!
  • Made some EPIC chicken and bok choy in garlic sauce.  I finally figured out awesome chinese food at home – it does just take a little chicken broth and flour to make it right.  I used brown rice flour so it’s a little better, I suppose.
  • Booked our trip to San Diego this summer.  We plan on spending most of our time there with Zliten’s parents, but also are hoping to get in a nice long bike ride early AM Saturday and run America’s Finest Half Marathon on Sunday.  Finally, a race in a different state!
  • Went to Camp Gladiator boot camp.  If I didn’t absolutely need to do traditional training for tris, I might blow off run/bike/swim for a month and do this.  It’s super fun!  We played freezetag!
  • 10 mile ride and 6 mile run at Pflugerville.  We plan on making good friends with the lake this year.  Didn’t have time to swim, next time for sure!
  • Played D and D (the actual role playing game) all day good Friday.  It’s an amazing core workout, the guys make me laugh so hard!  And, I fireballed FIVE trolls to death and ended the game early.  Ha!  Being a wizard is a good thing… here’s me triumphing over the fallen beasts…
  • Did the Mighty Texas Dog Walk, with this cutie pie – he only has 3 legs but that totally doesn’t stop him at all!  He was definitely in the first quarter of finishers, he just wanted to run run run run *sniff sniff pee* run run run run *sniff sniff peeeeee*.  He definitely tired his owners out.  However, he was definitely a sleepy dog after… apparently he barely complained when his parents left to go out later.
  • Between this and the next entry, had brunch, a short nap, got groceries, swam, lifted weights, and got all gussied up.  5 hours definitely was productive!
  • Had fancy birthday dinner with my good gal pal D in which we ingested: blue cheese with honey, pork cracklins, garlic bean sauce on toast, a pimms cup, spicy pickles, a cauliflower steak, buttermilk pie, and sticky toffee pudding (lots of tastes and sharing around the table).  So yum!
  • Then, we went to the Kung Fu saloon and I kicked ass at skeeball (I won almost EVERY game and they had it set up as a competition), drank grape vodka, watch people play an epic game of Jenga, played Jenga ourselves, and had a thoroughly fantabulous evening.  Here we are watching an epic match of centipede.
  • On Easter, we slept in (OMG 9:30 wheeeee), went to my parents house.  We ate ham, played cards, played bocci ball, ate pound cake, played more cards, and then got home and had a little relaaaaaaaaax time.  Not the most flattering pic but whatevs.

So, please forgive me for not blogging, but as you can see, iz been bizzy.  This is ommitting the fact we’re still training 5-6 days a week and I’ve been working hard to meet a deadline at work (met today! woohoo!)

This week, hoping to just train and relax as much as possible, as Thursday is bike maintenance class, and this weekend is the 10/20 (10 mile run race) and Dad’s 79th b-day celebrations, so we’re booked.

Now, I’m off to log some more miles because I’m off work earlier than expected and get my crunchtime on!

Questions of the day: What’s the awesomest thing you’ve done in the last 2 weeks?  Any suggestions on how to conquer my pedals on my bike better?  How long do you need to warm up for on a run before you feel like you’re really IN THE ZONE?  Any bets on how long it will take me to come back and blog? 🙂

Zliten wants to start posting too!

I am not very good at this sort of thing, but I kind of want to post to you people too. So I am going to start with a guilt post for yesterday. Because everyone wants to get to know me by a guilt post.


Yesterday was a day of being sore and taking a day off from the gym. But by doing so I over did it in the food department. I try to burn about 3000 to 3500 calories a day and take in about 2400 calories on average. You know to keep with the weight loss but keep fueled. Yesterday though, it was backwards. 3200+ intake and only 2600 burn. Oops… Oh well I will just have to make it up the rest of the week.

So really, stop trying to give me cake, cupcakes, ice cream, candy, or beer. For a few days at least 😛


Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about how excited I am for the up-coming Tri Season. Its almost here. Only like 5 and a half more weeks until Rookie! Can you believe it? Last year Rookie was my first Tri, and probably one of the most fun I have ever had in a race. I was so nervous and really didn’t do all that great, but it was amazing. This year it will be my 4th overall Tri, and my second one this year, if you count the Indoor Tri. (Not sure I really count that one but for this I will)

Compared to last year, My swimming has improved drastically along with my biking, and I am a whole different person now when it comes to running, I think I was doing about 13 minute miles for a 5k back then, this year I am about 10 minute miles, so its going to be amazing.

My training plan for the week in case anyone cares.



I use Training Peaks as the place where I track all my workouts, races and other stuff. I used to use it for food and exercise, but it was getting out of hand tracking my food in 3 different places.

I have been a Spark People tracker for years now, sometimes on sometimes off the wagon so to speak. It always drives me crazy when I start tracking but once I get a few weeks in it gets better, then I just love seeing the data I have. (Yes I am a data junkie, the more data points I can have the more I like something) Just like this here is my weight chart that starts Jan 1 2008.

I also have a Bodybugg but will go into that on another day. It gives me great stats too.



Finished my 17th book in 17 weeks last night, it was pretty darn good, it was Ashes of the Realm: Juliette’s Dream, Book 1 of the new series from Andrew Saxon. I have to say I tore through the Annihilation series 8 books in 7 weeks. It was a fun romp around the galaxy with a group psychics. Just my kind of pulp science fiction.

Once I finish book 2 of the Ashes series, I will be reading The Expendable Few its the new one from Randolph Lalonde, My buddy Zorak got it for me for my birthday. It’s going to be a fun read I hope. I think its an offshoot of the main Spinward Fringe series, but if you think of all the spinward fringe books its like book 11 of something. Gotta love how prolific these writers are now that they can self publish on the kindle with only a touch of a button. (Sure sometimes there are some errors an experienced editor and publisher would find and fix, but they are mostly ignorable)



Austin Half Marathon or Holy Hell the Hills Ate Me

So I’m sitting here, post race, cheese burger nommed, just kind of chillin’.  If it weren’t for the entire back of my body

Race #7.  Race #1 was next week last year.  Crazy...

Race #7. Race #1 was next week last year. Crazy... And don't ask my WHY but those mismatched gloves have become my lucky running ones.

being tight and burning like disco inferno from my heels to my lower back, I feel just like I woke up early.  I thought I was going to be completely wrecked, but I feel fine.  So far.  Definitely don’t think I exacerbated my illness at all, I feel better right now than I have in days – so that’s a bit of yay.

Sadly though – what’s missing from the equation is the frantic refreshing of the race day page looking for results.  I know I didn’t PR.  I was very close – within a minute or two, but I very much doubt I hit it.  Even if somehow I did – it wasn’t by the longshot I figured I would.

A week ago, if you would have told me my finish time, I would have been crushed.  I would have not believed you.  I might have questioned even running the race if my finish was going to be that worthless.  “How on EARTH can I not PR?”  I would have asked you.  “Flying monkeys?”  The answer to this, my friends, is the combination of one hell of a week + one hell of a course.

Y’all know what I’ve been dealing with – while I’d like to say I was healthy and happy this morning, I was not.  My nose was still sorta stuffy, my throat was still tickly, and I definitely had some of that delicious lung butter going on (you’re welcome).  In spite of this fact, I was finishing the damn thing if I had to crawl it.  Also, in spite of all the gory details above, and the fact that I didn’t sleep too well or long and I had to be up at five-in-the-buttcrack-of-dawn-fucking-morning, I was actually feeling fairly groovy in comparison to any day but Monday last week.  I was worried how I’d feel halfway into the race, but I didn’t feel bad this morning.

We got ready and got to the starting line (well, technically the 4:30 marathon/2:15 half pace marker as that’s where I

Zliten and me hangin out at 6am.  For no reason.  Sober.

Zliten and me hangin' out at 6am. For no reason. Sober.

determined I’d hang out to start) and waited around for about an hour in the dark.  I was thanking my little stars for the weather – it was 45 even at 6am and it just got warmer from there.  We were lucky for HIGHS in the 40s this week and again probably next week, but the weather deities decided to smile upon us this day!  I was a little cold as I shed my fleece for just long sleeves but once I got walking towards the start line I was a-ok.

It took just about 10 minutes exactly to get to the gate and the sun was just rising.  It was gorgeous.  As much as I say I get up this early for 2 things – vacations, races, and that’s it – it was a great way to start.  The first mile, admittedly, was a little rough on my lungs.  I hacked and coughed and checked my garmin a lot.  I figured that if that’s how it was going to be, it would suck, but I’d get through it.  Mile two got a bit better, mile three a bit better than that, and then before I knew it, I was cruising almost at my intended race pace and feeling WONDERFUL and half a mile had gone by the time I last looked.

This continued through mile four, five, and six.  I had made up a BUNCH of time and was looking in great shape to be

A beautiful sunrise at the starting line.  Hated getting up so early, but loved that part.

A beautiful sunrise at the starting line. Hated getting up so early, but loved that part.

well ahead of PR pace.  I hit the halfway point of the race, and then mile 7, and all I had to do was stick around 10 minute miles and I’d be in the gate around 2:10, which would be fine with me.

At the beginning of mile 8 things got a little rough.  I was feeling great, getting happy because all I had was 5 miles left to go, and then we started to go uphill.  A lot.  And it just didn’t end.  I toughed out about the first 15 minutes of uphill but when I was barely getting respite (beyond a few STEEP and SHORT downhill jaunts), I had to fold.  My glutes were screaming to the point where I was getting a little iffy on whether I’d be injured after the race, and my lungs were SCREAMING.  So I did something I’ve never done during a race.  I took some walk breaks.  The first one was up 10+% grade hill.  I was hoping that would be my only one.

Then the hills just kept coming.  I think I walked a total of 10 minutes of the race, starting in mile 9 and continuing through mile 12.  I felt like a righteous wuss, but it wasn’t just me.  Lots of people that had been running with me the whole race were doing the same thing.  It was liked they picked turn by turn the way back to the finish line with the worst hills with no flat and rare downhill (again, if downhill, plunging downhill) until about mile 12.5.  There were FIVE over 10% grade hills (one over 20, and one that said over 90 but I think the garmin screwed up there).

By this time I was done.  I just wanted to finish.  It’s like when you realize that someone’s cheating, or just beating you so badly that it’s not even fun anyone.  Let me reiterate – I have NEVER walked during a race.  I think the last time I

Bookin it to the finish.  My face tells the tale of 1000 hills.

Bookin' it to the finish. My face tells the tale of 1000 hills.

walked during a run was last April (and I remember it because it pissed me off).  I just kept thinking to myself, “fuck this course”.  If I would have realized HOW CLOSE I was to a PR I might have been able to pull out another little ounce of something somewhere.  Maybe.  Once I realized we were up (hopefully, please dear fluffy lord please please please) the last hill, I banished the pain from my legs and lungs and started to book it around the capital building (which was a nice race end) – and I got through the finish.  By that time, I was just happy to be through, and be somewhat close to my last race.

Then, the clusterfuck happened.  We cross the finish line and STOP abruptly.  Come ON people, I just sprinted to the end I need to WALK.   Then we shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for about 5 minutes and get our finishers medals.  Then we continue to shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for like 10 minutes and get our finishers shirts.  By that time I was so over it and needing to either walk or sit, I ditched the food line and went to go meet Zliten to go home.

I want to clarify this though – because I do sound like a bit of a negative nancy – I am fucking proud of what I did today.  I had about 3-4 pleasant miles in that race and 9-10 uncomfortable ones.  The fact that I came even

Yay!  Victory! Pretty bad ass shirts and medals.

Yay! Victory! Pretty bad ass shirts and medals.

REMOTELY close to PR ill and with the second half of the course climbing into the sky the entire time is a huge testiment to my training.  Sure, it didn’t net me the sub-2 hour half I wanted.  But I finished with a respectable time.  I pushed through a lot of crappy uncomfortable running to do what I set out to do.  I’m not sure if I would have done that well with the circumstances with last year’s training.

Oddly enough I don’t have this raging desire for revenge.  There is another half in 2 months, and I have no desire to enter it at all.  I trained my heart out, and my training helped me persevere.  How can I not be happy about that?  I do believe there is probably a little repressed emo as I am now sorta questioning whether I ACTUALLY want to do this marathon in November and thinking how much I like 10k races better than half marathons… but I think that’s just my sore muscles talking.


Time: 2:19:36**

Average Pace: 10:39**

Percentile of finishers: 47.2% (so that means I beat 52.8% of the peeps there… I’m ok with better than half)**

Max speed: 7.8 mph (hit this on 4 of the miles)

Total Elevation Climbed: 1701 feet

Heart rate: stayed between 80-93% of max the entire time (this one fact here made me realize that I gave it my all – there is no question.  I would say the majority of the time it was between 86-90%)

What hurts now: achilies, calves, hammies, and glutes.

Coolest getups: Shirts that said “Run for the Pedicure”, a lady decked out with hearts all over and heart sunglasses, a race shirt that said “Love Hurts”.

Biggest faux pas (es): men with shorty shorts that give peek-sees of their dangly bits, people that stop and turn around in the middle of the road without paying attention to who’s behind them, people that veer out of the way just in time to

...and this is my commentary about the hills and the end of the race.

...and this is my commentary about the hills and the end of the race.

ALMOST make me biff right into a big traffic cone, and crowded race finishes (I mean, seriously, if I was feeling as rough as I was after my first, I might not have made it through 15 mins of forced standing…).

Verdict: I will probably not run this half again in the near future.  If I do get into and like marathoning I might consider this one YEARS from now (same killer hills early on, but a FAST second half) because it goes almost right by our house.  I think I WOULD like to run the 5k next year with Zliten.  I also realized that last year, I was sick this very same week.  The year before, the week after.  Thus – maybe no more distance races in February.  There is a nice half marathon at a resort near here in the wilderness in April.  Or maybe I’ll skip the early 2011 season in favor of training for a tri.  Or doing something completely different.

What’s next?  Well, I’ve certainly prattled on enough for one day.  I’ll get into that soon enough.

EDIT: Forgive the formatting – I’m tired. 🙂  More tomorrow.

EDIT 2: Race results posted**

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 12

Well, this is it.  My race is in less than a week.  I’ve made it through all those crucial runs – the 5 – 1 mile sprints, the 8 mile tempo, the 12 mile long run, and everything in between.  I just have a few easy runs left and then it’s go time.  I am staring down that 2 hour half marathon and sizing it up.  It looks like a fierce competitor, but I also have all these things I’ve learned in the last three months.

I’ve learned that I can push through a lot of discomfort – usually what stops me is the voice in my head, not necessarily my physical capacity.  But I’ve run into both.  And I’ve learned the difference.

I’ve learned I can hold the pace I need to do it for 8 miles.  What’s another 5, right?

I’ve learned about how fast I can start out and not want to die at the end.  Running a couple good, speedy miles at the beginning actually boosts my confidence and helps me not feel behind.

I’ve learned that I run faster in the cold even though I hate getting out there.  Which is a good thing – since I’ll be running at 7am, it’s certainly not going to be very warm.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to sacrifice speed for distance, as long as I train smart.  Distance speedwork is AWESOME.

I’ve learned that not running two days in a row means much better quality runs and way less burnout.  I cannot foresee running more than 3 days a week ever again.  I guess technically I will this week but it barely counts.

I’ve learned that not worrying about a few extra pounds close to race day actually makes me a better runner.

I’ve learned that feeling like a human garbage disposal about a month out will happen every long distance race, and I just need to make sure to feed my body mostly good stuff.  And sugar is not the enemy, but it needs to be moderated.

I’ve learned that training my head is as important as training my body.

I’ve learned a lot.  And now it’s time to put it to the test.  So I am going to go for it at the race, and take all these things I’ve learned and bust ass.  Under 2 hours, here I come.  More importantly, cute little running skirt, here I come!  (priorities, right?)

Last week by the numbers:

Monday – 4×800 @ 4:02 per sprint, 400m recovery in between, 1 mile warmup and cooldown – done.  Easy peasy.

Tuesday – ditched serious business cross training to go to Adult Skate Night for an hour.  Totally decent workout.

Wednesday – 3 mile tempo @ 8:55 – done.  Also did abs and some legs after since 26 minutes doesn’t feel like enough punishment at the gym at all.  Woke up the next morning at 6:45 am because my abs hurt.  Must get back into lifting and pressing heavy things.

Thursday – 30 mins on the arc trainer, arms, and other leg muscles.

Friday – off

Saturday – 8 mile long run @ 9:40 pace (kinda demolished that at 9:27 pace).

Sunday – off

This week coming up it’s all about:

-No smokes or drinks until after the race.  I am in goody two shoes mode.

-Lotsa yoga to stay limber.  Every day if I can.

-No weights this week.

-Hydration and good nutrition, and no restriction on calories.  If I’m hungry, I must eat.


Monday: 4×400 sprints @ 1:58 per 400, 400 rest in between, 1 mile warm up and cool down

Tuesday: 30 mins cross training

Wednesday: 2 mile tempo @ 8:55 per mile.

Thursday: rest

Friday: 2.5 mile easy run in the neighborhood.  At 7am.  No matter the weather or temp.  I have never run this early before and I don’t want the first time to be on race day.

Saturday: rest

Sunday: 13.1!  Race day, BABY!

Last time I was really freaked out about the taper, but my legs felt SO FRESH and SO GOOD out there on Saturday’s run, that only putting in a few short miles this week seems like the right thing to do.  So good thing that’s the plan!

So, anyone out there with some karma to spare, send good running vibes my way., please!  Any last minute tips from you veteran runners out there?  Anyone want to lend me their morning-person-ness for a day so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the race (seriously, 7am = the middle of the night for me)?  Anyone running this race here in Austin this weekend?

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 11

It was a weird week – I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel at the end of it.  Monday, I rocked my sprints.  I completely and totally rocked them.  I rocked them like Amadaus (come and rock me Amadeus… and total tangent, did anyone else used to sing “I’m a danish, I’m a danish…I’m a danish?).  Anyhoo – sadly, I had given myself permission to fail at them.  I was going to be ok if I was about to die after 4, quit there.  Or if I had to take the last 2 a little slower, I was going to be ok with that.  I had a helluva day at work, I even kinda did something I haven’t done in a while and ate some cake because I was pissed off after I was totally full from lunch, and then for some reason it became REALLY important to me to do this.  Just to show myself I could.  Just to take control of SOMETHING that day when everything else was out in orbit.

And honestly – it almost felt easier than it should have.  Sure, it was tough, but it wasn’t TOUGH.  Maybe that’s me getting stronger.  Maybe it was me refusing to let the run beat me.  Whatever it was, it was damn nice.  It was one important crazy run down, one to go.

Tuesday and Wednesday were more crappy crazy days   I was in such a mood, never mind the working late, so I just managed to get about 30 mins half assed weight training in and take the other day off.  These strength exercises may or may not have been between/during drinks on the patio.  I may possibly be insane and completely irresponsible, but I was getting a kick out of doing  lat raises in my skirt and heels with a bourbon chaser.

Thursday I knew I had to get back to it, and it wasn’t SUCH a bad day, and it was 4 mile tempo day.  As I said last week, it was pretty cake.  Instead of just being a ball of limp putty, I was able to do 30 mins on the arc trainer after.  To make up for the severe lack of any other movement beyond runs.  The plan was to do some circuit training but I was soooo done with doing anything but dinner and chillin’ on the couch, and figured I’d just rest up for Saturday’s run.  So my cross training this week?  30 mins weights, 30 mins arc trainer.  Not optimal.  Not at all.  I was feeling pretty meh about it all this week but then Saturday came.

I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.  The weather report was not looking kind – there were very few hours of the day that would feel like they were above freezing with the wind.  I got up in the morning and we grabbed some early lunch – tuna sammiches from Schlotzky’s – oddly enough they are the only tuna I will eat out because they do albacore and light mayo (so the sandwiches aren’t like 50000 calories), and they are taaassssty.  So I ate that around 11, and we sorta bopped around the neighborhood, and then I got home and very very leisurely got ready and I set out around 1:30.

It was a little cold when I first set out, but once I got running it wasn’t so bad.  I decided to just do my neighborhood laps over and over so I could drop by the house if I needed to pick up or drop off layers.  I set out with warm water in my camelback, swedish fish for rocket fuel, and the promise to myself that I would treat myself to the hot chocolate I was craving, but only if I made my pace goal of 9:40.  I felt super strong the first lap and went well below pace, the second lap I slowed a bit, the third – around mile 6, the tuna really started talking to me.  I don’t usually eat so much before a run, usually a protein bar and maaaaybe some fruit if it’s later in the day, so at first I was cursing myself.  Then after I got through the cramps I realized that I was feeling something different than normal – I wasn’t hungry.   Usually around then I’d pop my rocketfuel.  I didn’t actually use it at all.  I ran 12 miles hard with no sugar.  That was pretty incredible.

So besides figuring out that eating a big meal is good if I can let it settle/deal with the possible side cramps (probably not for the race at 7am, but for future reference), what else?  Well, I’ve also learned another interesting thing about my running for long races… I went out really fast (about 9 minute miles the first lap) and was a little worried, but it was a MUCH better run than the last one where I tried to save it all for the end.  I seem to self correct my pace pretty well.  So my strategy is to go out as fast as it’s comfortable and don’t try to stay one pace and bust ass if I need a quick slowdown.  I was running 10:30 miles on the uphill parts and the short time where my side cramps flared up.  When I felt good and it was flat or downhill, I went closer to 9 minute miles or even faster.  As long as it averages out to the pace I want, it’s fine.  And that’s why I’m training those sprints and tempos – so I’m comfortable running faster than the pace I need to go for an extended period of time.

I finished the run in 1:55:10.  9:35 pace.  I am thrilled and feel quite confident now about the race.  I definitely feel like I had a bit of oomph left at the end, and if I was running to feel entirely wasted and spent at the end I might have been able to go faster.  So under 2 hours?  Still possible.  I’m thinking under 2:05 is more reasonable.

Next week – taper week 1.  I still can’t believe I’m just 2 weeks out.  I’m definitely ready for it, I’d like to do something different for a while.  3 months of pace pace pace has been awesome for improving my running, but it’s been a little tedious.  I so enjoyed my scenic and slow 9 miler last weekend, and look forward to more of those as I work on getting used to being on my feet for 4 hours at a time.  But first things first – lets rest up those legs.

Monday: 4×800 sprints @ 4:02 per, 400m recovery in between, 1 mile warmup and cooldown.  Easy peasy, nice and short.  I’m not sure when 5 miles with 2 of them sprinting because a stroll through the park but hey, I’ll take it.

Tuesday: DDR circuits (I was going to taper strength 2 weeks ahead of time but I think 1 week will be fine)

Wednesday: 3 mile tempo @ 8:55 min/mile pace – it’s like a 5k, pretty close to my PR pace from last summer.  Again, when did that become easy?

Thursday: DDR circuits

Friday: off

Saturday: 8 mile run @ 9:40  min/mile pace

Sunday: off

Fairly easy week.  I really slacked on yoga this week (though I DID stretch really well every running day), I need to not do that this week.  No injuries please!

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