Eleven

This weekend was the 3rd long run in my “maybe I’m going to run a marathon” training plan. And, it went great! The first two (8 and 9.5 miles) were very difficult, but this one was awesome. Don’t get me wrong; it was still exhausting, but this 11 miles somehow felt much much easier than the 8 mile run I did two weeks ago. There were only a couple of sections at the end of the run when I wished I was done, but I didn’t stop even when I had to run past my front door in order to bring my final total up to 11 miles.

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View from the top of the bridge.

I’ve been running portions of my long run route from marathon training last summer – starting out the same way, but cutting off miles at the end according to the distance I need for that day. Last summer I thought it was really fun to add on sections to the run every week and see how the route changed over the summer. So far, I’m liking doing that again, but I’m in a bit of a tough spot.

My route has 3 different sections, and right now I run the entire first section and am increasing the distance I run on the second. Here’s where the problem comes in: this second section starts with a “giant” bridge. It’s not an exceptionally steep or long climb when I look at my Garmin elevation profile (the liar!), but it is always a challenge for me. And right now, I am crossing the bridge at the end of my run. Last week, I crossed the bridge, turned around and came right back – ugh! This week was a little better – I had about a mile before I ended up crossing back over. But, both times, getting up and over the bridge was SO HARD.

I know that I could change around my route so the bridge is earlier in the run or not in it at all yet, but part of me thinks that the giant hill in the final mile of my run is probably good for me. And, it’s only going to get better with time. As I add more and more miles, the bridge will eventually be closer to the middle of the run than the end. And I’ll have more miles after crossing it before I have to make the return trip.

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Can you see the bridge in the distance? That’s the bridge I’m talking about.

I’ve been run/walking my long runs these past few weeks. For the 8 and 9.5 mile runs, I would run a song, walk a minute, repeat. Very precise, I imagine. But this week for the 11 miler, I ran for 0.9 miles and then walked 0.1 mile. And I LOVED it. I did this for two reasons – I ran with an audiobook instead of music, and I wanted longer sections of uninterrupted running. I was a little nervous about how I’d feel at the end of the run, but I ended up averaging a faster pace and feeling less tired than I did on the first two runs. (Just to be clear, I don’t think this change in run/walk strategy contributed to me feeling better, but at least it didn’t have a negative effect).

The new strategy, mentally, was a huge boost. I was able to get into a better running grove on the run sections, and I averaged an overall faster pace than the previous two runs – which made me happy. Also, I kind of inadvertently started thinking of the run as an interval run, and counting down the running portions gave me a little boost.

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From the bridge, at night.

I have one more little bit of news before I wrap this up: I SIGNED UP FOR A RACE! It’s called The Bridge & Back 10k. There was no map on the website, so I don’t know the exact route, but I know where it starts and I know that at some point we run across the bridge – the one I’ve been yammering on about – and then eventually we run back. Hooray!

I tend to shy away from summer races (heat makes me slow, then I do bad and get disappointed), but I made an exception for this one. It’s right by my house, and my friend is running it! And, it’s her first, I think, 10k!! And we’re going to have a sleepover the night before. How awesome is that?! Also, it’ll be my first race as a 30 year old! Great things all around.

Note: I didn’t start out with the intention of putting all bridge pictures in this post, but once I realized it, I couldn’t help myself. Foreshadowing! 🙂


 

Anyone else love running races on roads you train on? Isn’t it funny how an 11 mile run can feel easier than 8 mile run? Do you run/walk/ride across any bridges? 

The Friday 5 – 11th Edition

It’s Friday! And a special one – 4th of July! I hope everyone else is having as nice I time as I am today. And, I’ve got some awesome plans for tomorrow, too. I get to see my sister, brother in law, and baby niece! Yipee!   

Now, a list of five things:

1. Not every Friday is a Friday 5 Friday. I keep a draft of this post and add things to it as I think of them. When I get to 5 things, I post the next Friday. Sometimes this happens every week, sometimes it takes a little while. Maybe this is strange, but I don’t want to force it. I prefer free flowing randomness.

2. I  managed to pull myself out the door twice this week for “early” morning runs. Even at 7am it is hot, and so HUMID!  But it gets nearly 20 degrees warmer throughout the day, so I’m pretty glad I got some runs in early. 

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I really think you can actually see the humidity in this picture. Or it’s just blurry.

 3. I’ll be 30 this month! I don’t have any problem with the idea of being 30, but it’s crazy to think about. I’m a real live grown up! Tying this back to running, I’ll be entering a new age group…a whole new opportunity for PRs. Since I started running in my 20s I’ve always been in the same age group, but now I’ll have a new one, and can start tracking age group PRs! Exciting!

4. I got a new computer. I broke my computer about a month ago by spilling tea on the keyboard. (Ugh, I still cringe just thinking that I did that.) Today I got a new computer, and this is my first post on the new guy.

5. Happy 4th of July! I’m rocking an awesome new t-shirt today, and I ran in my USA tank this morning! It may have rained all day, but running in the pouring rain was awesome, and I’m having a fun, albeit wet, holiday!

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Enjoy the long weekend! 

 

Tuesday Morning Run & Marathon Thoughts

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jeff and I usually run together. It’s nice to have a couple days a week to have a training buddy and it’s a good time to chat about our day and other things like weekend or vacation plans. Normally, we go when he gets home from work, but today he has to stay late, so we decided to run in the morning.

We were up at our usual time, and out the door by 6:10 AM. I was surprised by how many people I saw out walking or running. Over the winter, when I was doing the winter running streak and ran in the morning, I rarely saw even one person. I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked that more people run at 6 AM in the summer than at 5 AM in the winter.

It was a nice way to start the day, but I wouldn’t say I liked it any more or less than running at other times. I know a lot of people have a preference one way or another, but I don’t know that I’m specifically a morning runner or an evening runner. Both have their benefits. I think the biggest plus about running early today was that it was a cool 70F at 6 AM, while it’s 87 F (feels like 91F) right now.

Hopefully, the ease of getting up and out the door this morning will stick with me for the summer. I have a tough time getting my butt out the door for my long runs, but it really would be nice to avoid some of the heat by going earlier. Last Saturday I didn’t leave the house until around 8 AM, and I know it would have been much more pleasant if I’d started an hour earlier.

Goal: Leave the house by 7 AM for this week’s long run. 

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By the end of my long run two weeks ago, I was so hot and tired I couldn’t even smile correctly. And it’s only getting hotter. I must remember this feeling as inspiration to get out the door earlier!

Now, speaking of goals and long runs….

This would theoretically be a good time to announce that I’ve finally made a decision about running a fall marathon. Unfortunately, I’m being super wishy-washy about this, and still have not decided. I really enjoyed training last summer, loved the high mileage, and I want to experience that again. But there is a part of me that doesn’t want the pressure of having to add mileage every week right now. I’d rather get up a decent base mileage and then get to a point where I feel comfortable running quicker for a shorter distance (8 to 12 miles) before I start adding miles.  I suppose it’s really a question of whether just running the marathon is enough or if it’s more important to me that I improve on my last one.

I’ve put together a mini long run schedule so I’m not completely unprepared should I decide I want to run a marathon this fall. Drawing that up made me super excited about racing and I almost signed up right then, but after running the first two long runs, 8 mile and 9.5 mile, I’m leaning more towards putting it off.

Both of those long runs were tough. I got through them both and felt pretty happy about it afterwards, but neither one left me feeling strong and excited to push further the next week. I ran/walked both, but wasn’t able to shorten the walking periods as I got further into the run (like I normally do), and I couldn’t manage to run the entire last mile either time (another thing I like to do).  This makes me think I was going too fast, but at an average pace over 11 minutes per mile, I definitely don’t want to slow down even more.

For now, I guess I’ll just stick with this mini training plan while I contemplate what my training would look like if I were to build to and maintain a base. I’m also going to consult my two sisters in law on what they think. They’re both runners, and we’ve talked about running a marathon together. I’m not sure either of them are sold on a fall race this year, but if they’re definitely interested, that would sway me.

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This little lady has a jogging stroller and says I should join her for a run some time. I don’t think it’s possible to say no to that face!

Now, some questions for you: Are you a morning runner/person? Should I run a Fall marathon this year or hold out for when I think I can do better and am really excited/sure about it? Should I add Baby S to my new list of training partners?