I’ve now found the cure for a bad run.
I know, revolutionary, right? Who would have thought getting back on the horse and conquering some awesome runs would help me (/sarcasm). But for some reason, my mental state about this marathon had me convinced that the awesome 20 was a fluke and I had lost it all and I was fucked and the sky was falling and I had to turn in my endurance athlete card and I may as well just hit the turn in for the half on Nov 11th because I suck.
Dramatics, I know. But I was run-mopey and grumpy about it until I forced myself to put on my shoes a few days later and just RUN dammit. And it brought me out of my funk. My legs didn’t stop functioning, I didn’t stop enjoying a run, I had just had a bad day and needed to get the fuck over it. So I did 4 runs + 2 bikes over 3 days to get some miles in, all of which were solid, soul soothing, and I didn’t feel broken Thursday night when it was all over. This was good for Quix-brain.
Being that I had made a comeback, I decided that my last long day of prep today had to be a good test of stupid brain. I was signed up for a 5k race and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that when I needed double digits. At first I thought I’d just jog it at marathon pace, but then I realized that would be missing a good opportunity. I remember doing 25 miles of bike hills after my last 5k race, and how much HARDER it was than on fresh legs. Why not test how harder it was to hold m-pace on completely blasted legs?
Then I saw the weather. Fucking 40 degrees in the morning. I was not a happy Quix. I don’t like the cold. I am definitely not used to it, being this is the coldest it’s been since, oh, February. Oh well, out comes the cold weather gear. I was almost thankful for Alaska training because it wasn’t a COMPLETE shock to the system. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t a whiny little bitch about it.
6:40am today. Cold. Dark. Hate. Grumble. Get out of bed anyway. More grumbling. Get on compression sox, pants, shoes, long sleeve hoodie shirt, jacket, gloves. Note that my last outdoor run Thursday was 84 and sunny. Grumble.
7:20. Get out the door. Grumble and cuss. Walk just a little to get moving, and since I’m cold, get going. Grumble. Run run run. Hey, this could be worse. Run run run. Ok, this isn’t so bad. Run faster. Enjoy the first bit of sunrise. Unzip the jacket. Turn into wind. Zip up jacket. Think about the day to come, hope I have it in me. Run a little more and turn into the house. (3 miles – 36 mins, nice ez 12 min/mi pace)
8. Go home, change shirt, bra, put on arm warmers, decide at last minute that I was bringing my jacket too, nom some cliff blocks (I didn’t eat before), and get going to the race. When I get there, do a mile and as I finish, it’s time to line up.
My goal was to try to beat 29:16 from last year. Last year, I went out fast, blew up after 2 miles, and threw myself a pity party for my worst 5k finish time ever and gave up and whined until I got an email saying I was 1st in my age group. This year, I decided to try to run the opposite race. Start slower, accelerate, and then kick hard into the finish.
National anthem played, horn sounded, and we got off (that’s what she said). Zliten actually got ahead of me and I let him go since I was holding at 9:30s. That was hard. I wanted to keep up with him. A bunch of people passed me. I let them. I stayed in my little zone. I knew what was to come – this nice little flat would turn into a monster soon enough. The only thing that broke my zone was the moment where my jacket, tied around my waist, fell off and almost tripped me. Doh! Fixed it and moved on. Mile 1 ticked over at 9:36, Zliten was still ahead, and now my goal pace dropped from “anything in the 9s” to “under 9:30s”. We cruised down a hill and I braced myself because what goes down also goes up. I stopped looking at my garmin through that stretch and just tried to fight that hill with everything I could and then when I crested it, I took a deep breath and got back to the lower 9s.
Around 1.7 was the turn around, I caught up to Zliten, high fived him, and realized I felt good. I had 3 plans for the last mile. If I felt awful, just try to maintain whatever I could because it was the worst (STEEEEP downhill then STEEEEEP uphill), if I felt ok, just try to maintain pace. But I felt good. GOOD. So I decided to HURT. I turned the corner and took off, clocking mostly low 8s. Zliten said he tried to keep up but I just booked. I fought up the hill, I exploded down the steep downhill, and steeled myself for the last huge hill.
It was just as bad as I remembered. I also didn’t look at my garmin during this time but just pushed. I passed at least 3 girls and a few more when we crested it. “Keep it going, keep it going” I thought to myself. Just another turn and we’re done. I picked off a bunch of people that the hill destroyed, but one girl just flew and I couldn’t catch her. Sadly, as the finish line appeared my tummy did flipflops and I slowed down ever so slightly (probably from the 6s to the 7s, I was sprinting like I stole something) and crossed and the announcer mentioned my Ironman visor as I finished (thanks for noticing! :D). The clock said 29 something, so I knew it was close.
I paced around like a moron going “where the fuck is the water”, and then as soon as I looked back and I saw an orange jacket booking it in and I cheered. Zliten finished at about 30:20. To give you perspective on how much more of an awesome runner he is than last year, he beat his time by 5 MINUTES. Badass. And he was injured this week so he was not able to run until yesterday. Double badass.
Check out the new shooz. I converted him to my Asics ways. He likes em. Also, yeah, race 20. 4 more to finish out the year at 24 races in 12 months. HELL YAH!
We walked around a bit and he got food and I drooled over food and got fruit (didn’t figure good queso, sammiches, or scallops? would not be good mid-run fuel) so I grabbed a half of a quinoa wrap for later, took it to the car, and did a mile cooldown. I noticed I kept dipping into m-pace territory and forced myself to slow down (ended around 11;45). Maybe I was doing better than I thought.
We were going to stay for awards, but then noticed that the results were up in a tent. Last year, 1st AG (because I guess all the fast people were elsewhere). This year, 8th. Womp womp. Decided at that point, it was time to go get the rest of our day on. Got home, got some water, ate some honeystinger chews, and got back out before I lost motivation. I did half a mile warmup to try and make my legs un-stiffify, and noticed that 11s became easier as I went on. At .5 I reset my garmin and started the clock on 6 miles of m-pace (11:30s).
Mile 1 was easy (11:16). My legs felt warm, the day had warmed enough that it was sunny and gorgeous (with a ls shirt and arm warmers) and I was ready to rock. However, being half a mile displaced on my normal run course was a little demoralizing. And it started to affect my pace. I was slowing. (11:30). I got to my favorite part of the course and naturally picked up, and then had a little talk with myself. “Self, this is the test. It’s time to fight. This last lap, you are going to FIGHT.” (11:17). Mile 4 included some uphills, and I fought each one. When I hit 4, I thought “2 more like this” (11:10). When I hit the uphills again, I fought each one again. And every time I fought, I got faster. My avg pace was around 11:10s (? 20 sec FASTER than m-pace) and it kept feeling better. Fight. (Mile 5 – 10:49). Got to my favorite part again. In the 10s regularly. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. Mile 6 was the fastest at 10:39. Almost 1 minute faster than m-pace on my 15th mile of the day. I FOUGHT THE RUN AND I WON. 1:06 and change for 6 miles. About a 11 min/mile pace.
I felt AWESOME, but I figured I should jog it in. I dropped to the 12s. …and then my legs HATED me so I walked it in to stretch em out. Lesson learned. It’s going to be a huge mental game to stay in the 10s and 11s in the marathon, but thats where my body wants me to be. My stride felt great, my body felt great, I wasn’t winded… but my brain thinks “danger danger danger it’s going to be a long day slow down or you’re going to blow”. 11s is not too much to ask of my body. My brain needs to recognize. My brain needs to FIGHT. This will be my marathon mantra. FIGHT. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.
Now, it’s time to enjoy my pizza lunch, champagne, rocking out as the slutty pirate for weekend #2 of 3, and putting this mad mental game from today in a little box and bringing it out on m-day and tearing up that course.
I’ll leave you with that so I can start on champagne bottle #3 and more pizza.
Weight I took this week was 178. Not awesome, but not tragic.
Workouts this week:
Monday: grumpy pants triathlon of whining, pouting, and sleeping
Tuesday: 4.5 miles ran, 20 miles bike
Wednesday: 3 miles ran
Thursday: 5.5 miles before work, 3 at lunch, 11 miles bike after work
Saturday: as above. 15 miles in 2:48 total
Sunday: couch to ass reps
Next week – taper week #1:
Monday: 3-4 mile run
Tuesday: 7-8 mile run
Wednesday: 45 min bike
Thursday: 3-4 mile run
Saturday: 8-10 mile run (last 2 at marathon goal pace)
A range, because I want to see how my body feels. The next two weeks are for getting my leggies rested and ready to tackle 26.2. The proverbial hay is in the barn, so I won’t run through pain or discomfort and just want to keep my body primed for marathon:awesome.
MARATHON:AWESOME. Two weeks to go. Let’s do this. I wanna be a marathoner already.