Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: Half Marathon Training Page 1 of 4

The legs, the lungs, the head, and the heart.

On Saturday, I had an eight mile run on the plan.

Eight miles for me is not extraordinary.  It’s a weekday run during marathon or half ironman or ironman training.  It’s something that is 90% of the year totally within my comfort zone, as it is right now.  It’s one of those runs that’s not long enough to really be daunting, but definitely not short.

However, five of those miles were planned at half marathon pace.

For someone who’s spent the majority of the last few years running anything over a short handful of miles at a pace in which I could carry on a full conversation and probably also juggle, that was intimidating.  My original plan with this training block was to do a lot of these, but when it decreased from 10-12 to 5 weeks, I barely got comfortable running anything with two digits at significantly slower than race pace.   However, I had been diligently (at least, for the last four weeks) doing my speedwork, and that had gone from hilariously bad to actually being able to hit the paces I should most of the time.

I needed to know where I stand eight days out from the race.  I knew this was a run I needed to do.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t procrastinate the eff out of it.  I mean, Saturday mornings without alarms are precious things, and I’ll enjoy them while the cold lasts, but I woke up and read for a long time and then dithered around the house until my husband got annoyed enough with me he started warming up on the bike, convinced I was just going to sit on the couch all day.

I didn’t even though it was tempting.  I got my warmup in on the bike, and we decided to hit the gym instead of running outside because my eyes were already itchy from just existing.  Over an hour outside sounded like a death wish.  The air filters at the gym are AWESOME, and I knew that it would be the best thing overall for my health and well being.

3M 2017 – 2:13:40.  

I started up the treadmill, and the first two miles seemed to go on forever.  I was straight up dreading these five miles.  Anything below 10 minute miles scares me nowadays.  I can hold it sometimes, but recently, it’s a toss up how long.  I’m decent at running slow forever, I’m decent at running pretty fast (for me) for short stints, but approximately 45-48 minutes just outside my comfort zone?  Ick.  Worst.  Give me a 20 mile long slow run instead.

1.98.  Sighhhh.  1.99.  Eeek, ok, let’s get this over with.  2.0.  I clicked the button to increase the speed from 5.5 to 6.3 on the treadmill.

I went through the five stages of grief within the first half mile.

Denial.  “Hey, this isn’t so bad, I just feel like my feet are turning over a little faster than normal.”

Anger.  “F#%k, never mind, this s#&t feels pretty f@%$*#g terrible.  What horrible coach put this on my schedule?  I hate this!” (keep in mind that coach = me)

Bargaining: “Ok, well, 6.3 pace isn’t soooooo bad.  If I get too thrashed later in the workout, I should be able to come back and hold this 9:30/mile pace alright and still *technically* complete the workout at the minimum acceptable standards.”

Depression: “Oh. em. gee.  I’m at 0.3 miles into my 5.  This is going to take sooooo long.  I’m never going to make it.” *cues the dramatics*

Acceptance: “Right.  I’m a half mile in now.  Just nine more of that same distance to go.” (maybe a little bit of bargaining still, but I was in…)

3M 2016.  2:11:02

By the end of the first mile, I realized this was doable.  Slightly uncomfortable?  Sure.  But my legs were turning over and my lungs were holding out.  I had calmed my brain into submission to accept that this is where we are suffering right now.  And my heart felt the importance of this run.  I tend to lack the confidence to really hold my foot to the gas pedal when things feel tough because I’m scared I’ll crash (even though I have plenty of reserves).  I have been building confidence by holding pace for quarter miles and half miles and miles, and now it was time to prove to myself that I could string miles of that pace together, enough to approach half the race distance.

The second mile, as each subsequent mile, started with a little adrenaline rush as I hit the UP arrow on the treadmill (was this going to be too much, would this send me over the edge?).  Then, around a quarter to halfway in, it got tedious (ackkk, isn’t this mile over yet?).  Then, around  three quarters in, I felt confident (I have survived, I got this), and then it started all over again when the mile ticked over to SOMETHING POINT ZERO.

Every mile, I checked in with my legs, my lungs, my head, and my heart.  My legs started the run feeling great and had moments where they felt heavy, but it definitely wasn’t a slog at any point and if I focused on my form it felt better.  My lungs felt taxed by the end but not maxed out, well within the place where they could keep this up for longer.  My brain had many moments of wavering motivation and focus, commercials on spotify were an absolute TRAVESTY to me while grinding out the last mile, but once I realized that the first two components of my body were actually doing just fine, I told it to shut up and deal.  I think one thing that helped was tapping into my heart near the end.  My heart would REALLY like to prove to everyone (though mostly myself, ’cause I can’t imagine anyone else gives a shit about my 13.1 PR) that I have a better half marathon than 2:08 in me.

The last quarter mile, I found myself tired but not crushed, so I “sprinted towards the finish” envisioning the last part of the race and the finish and I was about at my half mile repeat pace by the end of it.  I needed a few moments to catch my breath once the mile ticked over, but the cooldown mile followed the same formula – mentally tough (you mean, I didn’t *actually* just finish the race and I get my bagel and beer now?), but my legs and lungs felt so good I sped up the pace to about 10-10:30 min/mile (since I knew I got an extra 10 minute bike cooldown anyway).

3M 2014 – 2:10:02

I find myself going into race week feeling a little anxious about the preparations (or lack thereof) I’ve made, but more confident than I was a week ago.  The little training I have been able to complete has been pretty specifically tailored to THIS race, and I haven’t been able to do that for a long time.  3M has been a stepping stone to a marathon, a longer triathlon, or just weeks after coming out of hibernation or a project as a pacer.

As an aspiring coach, I do a heck of a lot of reading about training and bodies and how to structure the former so the latter performs well.  What’s hilarious is there are perfectly valid theories that are mutually exclusive.  Maffetone would tell me I’m a flipping idiot for doing any training above 143 beats per minute.  Almost ever.  Bill Pierce and Scott Muir would wholeheartedly concur with my training program (in fact, I’ve based my weekly schedules loosely on their wisdom).  I think the difference is the quick fix vs the long game.  The 3-day a week but serious business technique will eek some fitness out of you fairly quickly without a huge time commitment.  MAF is the long game where in six months, you’ll have a huge transformation, but it’s going to suck in the meantime.

I realize I’m playing the quick fix card here.  I know to realize my true fitness, I need a lot of base building first, but I’m choosing to sharpen the stick I have instead of hunting for a new one.

Chasing whatever magic I found that morning over 7 years ago with my 2:08:08 at Rock and Roll San Antonio.

Sunday, I need to bring out my best version of SAPPHYRA the barbarian warrior racing badass to conquer the course.  I need her strong and capable legs.  I need her large, hearty, and conditioned lungs.  I need her head, the one that stays cool in the heat of battle.  But most of all, I need her heart, the one that fights until the end, the one that doesn’t give up when she’s tired, but when she’s done.

She’s ready to line up with that 2:05 pacer and find a new PR, even if this cycle has been imperfect and even if my longest runs were 10 and 11 a few weeks ago and even if the idea of low 9 minute/mile pace for two hours scares the bejeezus out of me and even if even if even if…

I’m ready to go for that PR or fizzle out trying.  If I don’t hit sub-2:08, it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s 2:10 or 2:15 or worse.  After 22 of these things, it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s my third or fifth or twentieth best result.  I want it to be FIRST.  So, I might as well go for it with all the fight I have in my legs, lungs, head and heart.

3M Half Marathon – hold onto your hat! #upwindtodowntown

Right after running 3M in 2016, I signed up again.  It’s seriously one of the best chances I’ll ever get for a PR – it’s in January, so it’s 99% likely to be gorgeous weather for running, and it’s net downhill which makes it fast (they call it #downhilltodowntown).  Every year I sign up, I’m like “this is when I’m going to take a crack at that 2:07:xx”.

Pre-race, the ever important porta potty stop and huddling for warmth with a few thousand of your closest runner friends.

Then, every year, I realize that January is not really my month.  I’m either deeeeep into marathon training and fatigued or this year, very undertrained and also deeeeeep into fatigue having finished a 3 week block of the highest volume I’ve ever done.  I’ll probably early sign up for it again, and say the same thing.  I actually think next fall/winter I might just concentrate on halfs and see if I can get faster but something will inevitably come up.  But it’s still a fun race that everyone does so I don’t mind showing up and seeing what happens so much.

Let’s talk about how untrained I am to run a solid half marathon.  If this was a cycling race, I’d be golden.  Swimming?  Probably a little better off.  However, in the last 3 months since my 70.3 I have run a 10 miler and two 11 milers, but ZERO of the miles in any run have been speedwork, and my total mileage is about 100.  Yeah.  My normal weekly mileage this time of year is more than my currently monthly mileage.  Yeah, I’m riding all the bikes, but still.

The point of this big long depreciating diatribe?  I lined up with only two goals yesterday morning: 1) work hard but still be able to get up and train today and 2) if at all possible, try not to get a personal worst at this race, which meant I needed to beat 2:27. Any of the outdoor runs I’ve done lately have been paced slower than that so that was actually a consideration.

It was a SUPER pretty day for running… except for the 25+ mph wind gusts… #upwindtodowntown

We started with the 2:15 pacer since that seemed like a reasonably hard goal right now, and ran with friends until they decided to take off and go a little faster.  I took in a caff gel right away over the first two miles, and stopped at an aid station to wash it down.  It was so windy, my hat blew off and I had to chase it, and then I had lost them.  I figured that was the last I would see of anyone and it wasn’t even mile 3.

Let’s also talk about how Zliten and I respond to rest.  He takes months off running, he runs amazingly (even better than during training).  He is the epitome of a low volume runner.  I take more than a week off running regularly and my legs forget how to run.  It will be MONTHS until I feel like I’m a competent runner since I took a fall break.

I ran harder trying to catch up, and finally I saw Zliten running alone.  He was wearing a red shirt, which was the same color as this year’s race shirt which EVERYONE was wearing, so it was hard to pick him out.  I was looking for Matt, the shirtless guy in the kilt, who was slightly more unique.  I asked him what happened and he said he wanted to race with me instead.  Awwww.  I’m not sure if he was fatigued or just being nice, but I decided I would take it!

We clipped along at 10:30-ish pace – he stopped to use the porta potty and I kept running but slower, so he could catch up (and he did within half a mile).  I found that the 10:30-ish pace was just a hare past comfortable, so I kept letting Zliten get a little bit ahead and then put on the gas to catch up.  Around mile 6 that was getting tougher so another gel went down the hatch.

Spoiler.  We all finished.

By mile 7, we took a turn (more) downhill and that gel started doing it’s thing and I started feeling good, so we sped up.  We passed the 2:15 pacer and started talking finish times and we figured we’d put as much time as we could into the 2:10 pacer and see how close we could get to catching them.  Actually doing it was kind of an impossibility without me running my 5k pace for 5 miles at the end of a half marathon (which would take all the pixie dust and magic in the world), but I said I’d be ok holding the sub-10 pace we were but it was business time, no talking.

I shoved my headphones in and we went fishing.  I actually felt really good until about mile 10, which is where the hills start going the other way.  Zliten loves the hills and runs faster on them, so I spent that period fishing for him, I’d let him get a little ahead on the way up and catch him on the flat.  At that time, I started moving from actual words to grunts, except I told him I hated his face and legs for going too fast, so I’m pretty sure I was the best running companion ever.

However, I stuck with it.  Every time he ran ahead, I asked myself if I had that gear and was I willing to shift into it, and the answer was always yes.  This is a good thing.  I’m not exactly sure how much slower I would have finished if Zliten wasn’t towing me, but I am certain it wouldn’t have been faster.

Rainbow legs followed Zliten’s stupid (lovely) face and legs.  Thanks Zliten for your face and legs!

We found the last uphill right to the finish and crossed the line together at 2:13:40 (just slightly above top half in my age group).  It’s my 5th best half (out of the 14 I’ve ran) and I expected to be much slower, so I’ll take it!  Hooray for aerobic capacity crossing over between sports, because I *know* this is not because of my run training.  The best feeling is that even though this is my fastest and longest run in months, I feel like I had more distance in me (though more speed? not really).  One of these days I actually will spend a cycle trying to crack open that PR, but for now, I’ll get on with rest week and keep building that cycling for Ironman Texas.

The rest of the day was for mexican food, some beers, using the puffy massage legs, napping, and watching movies.  I’m loving the post-race nap tradition and I feel pretty decent today to get on with my training, so I can check off both my goals for this race.  Win!


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**

Timing Is Everything

So today, the throat is more tickly than sore, but I definitely have some chest congestion now.  I forced myself to sleep 10 hours (completely countering my whole “get up early to get used to a 7am start time” initiative this week).  Yay, t-minus 5 days before the race and I’ve got some sort of bug.  At this point, I’m going to throw all my energy into preventing it from getting any worse and hopefully I’ll feel right as rain by Sunday.  If I’m being honest with myself, I feel about 80% (and 100% being like my best most awesome ready to get up and bounce around the block day).

The worst thing about it now (besides the chest congestion, which if it’s not cleared up by Sunday, I have worse problems like preventing death), is even with all the rest I’ve had, my body is kinda achey.  Monday night my left glute was a little sore (so yes, the THIRD time this training period with the sore butt muscle – and the third time I realized I was slacking a little bit on the yoga/stretching…) and now my lower back is all tense.  I usually manifest a little bit of my sickness in my muscle, which normally makes me happy, as it’s not all cold symptoms, and sore muscles I can deal with, but this time – this week is supposed to be able resting them and keeping them loose.  I am very much not loose right now.

I’m trying to control the drama in my head, all the “woe is me” thoughts, and realize that this is not the end of the world.  I could be DEAD, not sick.  I could be in the hospital, and not able to race.  The race could be canceled due to a freak alien invasion in which we are to become servants to the little green men or some other natural disaster.  I could be injured.  There are many, many worse things than a mild sickness early in the week-I’ve got time to rebound.

I am going to be testing the theory that you don’t lose much cardio fitness within a week.  I did my baby sprints on Monday, skipped my cross training yesterday, and considering laying off everything but yoga unless I feel 100% until the race.  I’m debating on just doing some mild cardio today (walking, arc trainer on a very mild setting) just to try and stay loose, but I know that’s generally not a good idea.  But I *feel* fine, and it almost feels like it would help me somehow, so I might try and hop off at the first sign of fatigue/uncomfortableness. EDIT: Did 20 mins really EZ on the arc trainer, feel better after, exhausted now, will let you know tomorrow if I did good or bad.

I am also continuing to allow myself to eat until satiety and fullness.  I am not questioning anything nutritious – if I want to eat a whole head of broccoli or some cheese or pistachios or meat, then I’m letting myself.  If I start getting pre-occupied with snack food, then I’ll be doing a head check.  For example, last night I wanted some chips/popcorn/pretzels/etc.  I realized I hadn’t had too many carbs so I let myself graze a little.  Then, after dinner, I was craving ice cream.  I dug into that and figured out I just wanted something to soothe my throat, so I went for a all-fruit pop that’s 25 calories instead of 170 for the ice cream.

I’ve also been looking into other holistic type remedies and here’s what they suggest:

*Staying very hydrated (check)

*Hot tea/water/soup (check)

*Neti pot (tonight – I don’t have a head cold yet but maybe preventative medicine perhaps?)

*Hot water (aka shower) – tonight, I plan on a niiiiice long one.

*Massage – might see if our temp roomie massage therapist might know some good stuff to do for alleviating cold/chest buggies.

*Hot and Spicy Foods – this is no trouble for me *grin*.  I’ll just make sure everything is hot like I like.

*Chanting.  Ummm, I dunno about this one but I’ll try anything.  Zliten already thinks I’m off my rocker.

*Yoga – I searched this because I noticed this morning that my chest really opening up during certain poses, and figure that I might as well add some different poses to my every-day this week program to help get me better!

Rclining Bound Angle Position

Reclining Bound Angle Position

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

Childs Pose

Child's Pose

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Legs-up-the-Wall Pose

Legs-up-the-Wall Pose



Now I ask the audience… what do you do to get over minor illnesses?  Have you ever run a race doped up on cold medicine or otherwise ill?  Any tips for me to be back to myself by Sunday?  Any suggestions if I’m still a little under the weather?

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?

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