CO Half-Marathon: Weeks 8 and 9

Busted! After 7 consistent weeks of blogging in a row, I fell behind and now I’m in need of playing catch up! That means my rambling will be minimal. Let’s get down to it.

edited to add: my rambling is not minimal

WEEK 8 (4/10 – 4/16)

This feels so long ago! Thank god for Strava and the iPhone notepad.

Monday: Rest! Perfect, blissful rest

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First step: sleep on the same couch. Second step: snuggle party!

Tuesday: 10 mile Tuesday on Green Mountain!

The best weekday run of the summer is back in the rotation! Julia and I ran our standard 10-mile route on Green Mountain and were #blessed with dry trails and a gorgeous morning. We ran super easy and it felt really good effort-wise. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed this run, my stomach had a mind of its own. I had to pull over on the side of the trail (first time for that on Green) where there were zero trees and a measly little bush. After we finished I had to go again, and I was pretty much off an on the toilet for the rest of the day. TMI, but this is unfortunately a theme recently. Luckily it all mostly calmed down by that evening.

Wednesday: November Project + run to/from (7 miles)

We did “100, 100s” at NP, meaning 100 leg tosses and 100 push ups split up over the course of 10-15 minutes or so. Considering this is the most “weight training” I’ve done in months, I was horribly sore, specifically my abs, for the entire rest of the week. It was a gut-punch (literally) of a reminder that it would be who of me to throw around my body weight every once in a while. I ran easy to and from the workout as well, which was intentional because I had speed work planned for Thursday!

Thursday: 3 x 2 miles + warm-up/cool-down (9 miles)

 

I debated about what to do for my speedwork all week and decided to up the ante a little on a workout Julia and I did a few weeks ago: the notorious 2 mile interval. Only this time, I would add a set. Scary! My plan was to run these between a 6:50-7:00 pace (goal race pace? TBD) and hope that I would be able to remain consistent effort-wise throughout the whole thing.

Full disclosure, I had a super bad night on Wednesday and when I woke up Thursday morning, I almost didn’t run at all. Then I thought, “Okay, I’ll just run slow and easy,” and eventually I decided, “Well fuck, I’ll just try.” Yep, sometimes you need to swear at yourself to get your butt out of bed. So what if I was dehydrated and tired? Was I going to die? No. Was I incapable of moving my body? No. There was no point in not trying, so off I went. Admittedly, I thought that just doing a 2×2 would suffice.

After a 1.5 mile warm-up, I started the intervals and felt…good? Dare I say it, I actually felt great; smooth, in control, and focused. I realized during my first set that doing speed work under not-so-perfect conditions is actually ideal race prep, especially for later in a race, so I was hungry to finish the whole thing. I recovered with two minutes of standing rest between each set, and I felt like I could actually feel the physiological benefit of this recovery period. My legs would flood with lactate toward the end of the intervals, and by the time I started the next one I felt fresh again. Cool stuff! Anyway, my last mile was rough, but otherwise I’m pleased with how it all panned out:

Splits: 6:49, 6:50, 6:47, 6:49, 6:45, 6:50

Faster than I planned, and I’m not sure what it all means for goal race pace. Maybe I’m just getting better at two mile repeats? Who knows.

1.5 mile cool-down, bada-boom.

Friday: Easy podcast jog (7 miles)

My legs were wrecked from the day before, but that’s the point of recovery runs, right?

Saturday: Dino Ridge Relays! (9 miles)

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The long awaited Dino Ridge Relays! Mike Bell and Julia planned a fun partner race/relay inspired by our favorite Thursday-morning hill. A bunch of us teamed up to tackle the 2.2 mile out-and-back course, which we’d each complete twice. Do I need to tell you Julia was my partner? She was. I went first and third, she went second and last, and I had some big time apprehensions before we got started; my stomach was super off and I was concerned about lingering fatigued from Thursday’s workout.

Shockingly though, I felt fantastic! Right out of the gate, I felt like I was somehow floating uphill. I was going faster than I’d ever run up Dino and felt the best I ever have. Crazy what a “race” environment will do for you, eh? Before I knew it I was turning around to head down and I had a great time cruising. Once finished with my first lap, my lungs were super wheezy, but the little rest I had while Julia was running helped a lot and I was rearing to go by the time she got back. My second climb didn’t feel quite so spritely as my first (although looking back my splits were almost identical each time up), but I hammered away on my final downhill. Glancing down at my watch I saw a 5:45 pace looking back at me while descending, which was scary and exhilarating! I loved doing this relay, and I had a lot of training confidence afterward.

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Side note: I inhaled a bagel and cream cheese immediately following my second lap and proceeded to be absolutely starving for the rest of the day, no matter how much I ate. Dem hills!

Sunday: Long run (14 miles)

I wasn’t super amped to do a long run, but I wanted to get one in since I hadn’t really done one the week before and it felt a little incomplete without one. So, I set out with very little expectation other than to try and run 14 miles comfortably. We were in Colorado Springs so I was gifted with my standard no-frills bike path that requires little thinking and ample Pikes Peak viewing. While I swear there was a headwind both ways, this run was decent.

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A competent running blogger would have taken a cool photo of Pikes to seamlessly transition from text to photo. Instead, I have a cutie photo of my mommy on Easter. It counts, though, because it was the same day as the long run, obv.

Total: 56.3 miles, highest for this training cycle! 2,450 feet of climbing all from Green and Dino

Highs: Tie between my Thursday workout and Dino Ridge relays. Nice to feel fast on both flats and hills.

Lows: My stomach was generally a mess this week. Abnormal, Crohn’s-related feelings which were not fun.

 

WEEK 9 (4/17-4/23)

Monday: Rest! Best.

Tuesday: Green Mountain! (10 miles)

The best thing about being lazy and blogging about two weeks at once is that I don’t need to remind you what Green is. Another ten-mile loop, no bathroom emergencies, good times. I truly love this run; it’s a rough wake up call (4:30 am for me) but it’s always peaceful and pretty, plus nothing makes me feel more badass than 10 miles on trails before work.

Wednesday: November Project + run to/from + afternoon run (12 miles)

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Stomach issues again! We did a workout that I love but I had to miss maybe 10 minutes of it to make a mad dash to a nearby bathroom. My go-to Panera had closed unfortunately, so I headed into CorePower yoga knowing they had a bathroom available. The girl at the front desk looked at me like I was a martian when I asked (begged) her to use it, but ultimately the crisis was averted. Annoying! The rest of the workout went well as did my hobby jog there and back.

I doubled-up and ran again in the afternoon with Mona. I wanted to also listen to a podcast but I’ve realized that the combo of the dog, her leash, and the spi=belt I need in order to carry my phone is just too much. So I just sang her praises and told her how good she was the whole time instead.

Thursday: Rest

I had to look this up because I’d forgotten that I look two rest days last week! Sweet!

Friday: Little Man hill + park loop (8 miles)

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I don’t know who that person is without a hat…

Little Man hill repeats is my favorite November Project workout so I was amped to run some ups and downs with my peeps. I did a little 4 mile park jog ahead of time to get 8 miles for the day and then drove over to the Highlands. The boys had a little bit of an alternative workout planned with a new hill route and a few exercises, but I just ran the hill portion instead since I really just felt like running and I’m also not great at switching a plan once I have my heart set on it. Working on that…

Saturday: easy run (8 miles)

Ugh. I fully intended to do my long run on Saturday (which was also my planned big workout for the week) but I woke up and knew it was a no go. My stomach was super off, I had a headache, and it was already getting a little too late. Once my out-of-whack ailments subsided a bit I cut my losses, planned to do my long run Sunday, and headed out for an easy jog instead (podcast included). This run was terrible! I felt like I’d never exercised a day in my life and generally everything felt crunchy and sore. Blah.

Sunday: Long run with 10k at tempo (15 miles)

I was feeling rather discouraged by the week (and my stomach) so I committed myself to having a good run on Sunday. I needed it! I was a little intimidated by the paces I had planned out, but I’ve found that when I go into a run mentally resolute and determined to make it happen, it always manages to work out.

I headed to Waterton Canyon which is a great option for a non-technical, no-climbing “trail” run that’s out of town but not super far away. I wanted to run here because it was dirt and it would give me a long gradual decline that would simulate the course a bit at the Colorado Half-Marathon. While there’s no real hills, the 6 miles into the canyon is ever-so-slightly uphill (~250 feet of gain total), making the way back optimal for practicing some “downhill” tempo running. The run into the canyon felt fine if not a little head-windy. I listened to a Runner’s World podcast to keep my pace easy (apparently I run with headphones now?) and sipped Tailwind consistently. Before I knew it I’d hit the 6.2 mile mark and it was time to head out – fast! My aim was to run around a 7 min/mile pace and stay as comfortable as possible given the slight decline.

I ran the 10k out of the canyon in 42:30 seconds (6:51 pace) and was both super pumped and wiped! My lungs felt great and my endurance was all there, but my legs definitely got tired toward the end. Which shouldn’t be entirely concerning considering 1) it was the end of another 50+ mile week, and 2) it was technically a 10k PR for me! I did a 3 mile cool down to round out 15 miles for the day.

After, I promptly treated myself to a burrito and an epsom salt bath. Hay in the barn!

Total: 53.1 miles, 2,100 feet of climbing

Highs: Successful long run with paces I don’t think I could have hit even a month ago

Lows: Lots of general lethargic feelings plus continued stomach woes

 

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