10 miles – A photo diary

I’m behind on some posts (my last Scavenger Hunt post, a recap of August), and I’ve had some other half written posts in the works for quite a while (a camel bak review, a Throwback Thursday race recap), but you’ll have to wait for those because today I have a photo journal of my long run!

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It was just barely cool enough (high 60s) to try out my new “knickers”.

 

This week, as a step back week, I covered 10 miles. I did a different route than my normal long run, and even ran down a new street. I tried drinking more water than usual and taking a gel more often (every 45 min), but I have no idea whether that made a difference because I normally make it about 15 miles before I start to fade. At the very least, I didn’t suffer any adverse effects from the added fuel, and that’s good to know.

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Ready to go! Yeah, I wasn’t terribly excited.

I took a picture at every mile. This means I don’t have pictures of some¬†interesting stuff, but it should give a more fair view of what I see on my run. I was a little surprised that I got some fun things in almost every picture. Especially if your definition of fun is a loose one. ūüôā

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Mile 1: Park + Ocean

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Mile 2: Check out that greenery. Contrary to what everyone and their pumpkin spice lattes are saying, it’s not fall yet.

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Mile 3: I’m not really sure what this building is, but I like the fountain.

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Mile 4: Looking back where I came from.

At mile 4, I took my first gel, salted caramel gu. It’s pretty good, as far as this stuff goes, and I like the picture of the yeti on the front. I didn’t take my usual walk breaks this week, but I stopped to snap a photo at every mile, and walked while I ate my two gels so it wasn’t really too much different from the norm.

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Mile 5: Cool little gate on a street I had never run down.

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Mile 6: Stone Eagle.

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Mile 7: The sun is officially out, and I think it actually felt nicer out than when it was hiding behind the clouds. Good.

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Mile 8: Me running down a residential street.

I took my second gel at this point, chocolate cherry clif shot gel. This is the one with all the caffeine. It is also delicious. Last week I had 2 gels over 19 miles, today I took 2 over 10 miles. I was hungry, so I don’t think it was too much, probably too little last week.

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Mile 9: More ocean views. I see the ocean a lot on this particular route. My kind of run.

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Mile 10: Finally a run where I finish before arriving home rather than the other way around. Running past my front door to finish up is the worst!

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Finished! I felt like a watch photo would be fitting, of course, the screen is not visible. At least I didn’t drop my phone while taking a left handed photo.

And there you have it. That was my 10 mile run! There’s nothing like marathon training to make 10 miles feel enjoyable. And I’m still on a pretty intense runner’s high. (Don’t believe they exist? You should have seen me dancing around and jumping up and down while we cooked pancakes.)

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Bonus photo: crazy hair! And looking a lot more excited than pre-run!

I hope you all are having a good weekend. Have you ever made a photo journal? Aside from this one, I took a series of photos of an all nigher I pulled in college (to complete schoolwork), and those photos are pretty hilarious. That was back when I had to use an actual camera to do it. ūüôā

 

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Do other people do 19 mile long runs?

Since today was long run day, I hit the road for a 19 mile run. It seems like an odd distance to me, you hear a lot about “the 20 mile long run” and even the 18, but rarely (if ever) have I seen someone talk about the 19 they ran. Also, I’ve seen a lot of training plans that¬†jump directly from 18 miles to 20 miles. What’s up with that? Are other people not running 19.¬†I’ve basically made up the long run mileages of my training plan, so I’m curious what other people do.

Anyways, my run went pretty well. My legs seemed to be on board with the whole thing pretty much right from the start, and I continue to be elated with the mild temperatures this summer. My glutes (or something nearby) and hamstrings have been feeling pretty tired all week, and that’s how they felt this morning, too. Aside from that all was well. It’s pretty exciting to think how good my legs are going to feel for the first part of the marathon when they’ve been nicely tapered. (That sounds weird. Like I’m getting my legs surgically modified to fit perfectly in tapered jeans.)

I spent the first 6(ish) miles getting into a groove. I was searching for some stragglers on my scavenger hunt list and listening to an audiobook (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn), so I was pretty well entertained. I reached the top of my steepest hill right before 6 miles and the downhill that follows is where I tend to really start feeling good. The next 7 miles flew by, bringing me to 13.1 miles at around 2 hr 25 min.

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I really like this part of my run. The view helps me ignore the hills, at least.

After I reach 13 miles, my brain tends to get a little fuzzy. I have an extraordinarily difficult time keeping track of how many miles I have left to run, and simple subtraction (19 – 13 = 6) can easily get messed up. Today I missed a turn that I take on a regular basis. And not just any turn, this street I forgot to turn down is one of my favorite parts of the run. I ran a quarter mile passed (past? which is it?) it before I realized…oops! My thoughts were something like “Wow…I’m feeling really good for 13.5 miles, and I’m still pretty sharp, I can even do math – I have 5.5 miles left….wait a second…..I’m not supposed to be here…”

I turned around so I could run down Pickman & Neptune Streets (my two favorites), and by the time I was back to some louder, more difficult streets I’d reached 15 miles. The point where things start to hurt a little. Like a switch turns on.

“What, your legs are starting to hurt? Let’s run up this really hilly street. It’ll be fun!”

The next 4 miles were pretty much just a countdown. I still felt pretty good for a while, but it was getting hot, and I was excited to finish up. While my legs were still hanging on at 16 miles, my brain had completely checked out.

My inner dialogue:

  • 15.85 miles: “Sweet! Almost at 16, and then only 2 short miles to hit 19…no, 3 short miles.”
  • 16 miles: “Woo! only 2 miles until 19! No, 3 miles, 3 miles…”
  • 16.2 miles: “2 miles, 2 miles….Seriously, brain?! It’s 3, come on. ¬†Just stop looking at the watch.”

At that point, I started focusing on the ground so I wouldn’t hit any uneven spots and trip, and that task kept me sufficiently occupied until well past the 17 mile mark.

I had purposefully sent myself out on a run that I knew would end with me crossing the bridge to Salem, and pretty much immediately turning around to cross back over. Even though I knew it was coming it was still a very, very sad thing to actually have to do that. The timing ended up working out so that I got a walk break immediately upon reaching the top of the bridge. The walk break then ended as soon as I had finished the downhill portion. No fair! It was difficult¬†having to start running again only to turn around after a tenth of a mile and climb back over, but I know (hope?) it’ll be good training for late hills in the marathon.

18 miles plus bridge = ūüė¶

Despite my pitiful face in the picture above, it was really a great run. I can’t believe that with step back weeks and tapering, I only have 3 more long runs before the race. I mean, it isn’t until October 26th for goodness sake!

Next week is a step back week, so I’ll probably go for 10 miles. I’m going to try to keep my pace in check because these last two long runs have really done a number on my legs. I suspect I’m running them too fast (11:14/mile average pace, around 9:50ish on the running portions), but it’s not easy to slow down when I’m having such a good time.

Have you or do you plan to run a 19 miler? Anyone else have huge brain farts towards the end of long runs? And what are your tricks for keeping the “S” in LSD? (LSD being Long Slow Distance)

 

When did my short runs become so long?

Yesterday morning I was struck by a sudden jump in my weekday mileage. I’ve always enjoyed when my long runs have climbed to a distance that makes normal people shake their heads and wonder at my sanity, but I like to keep my week day runs on the shorter side. I’ve repeatedly avoided training plans that climb to 8 or more miles on a weekday. I mean, come on, who has time for that? Certainly, not someone running at my pace.

But right now, I do have time for longer runs during the week, so this week I allowed my training plan to trick me into an 8+ mile run on a Thursday morning. I say trick because it was written as a ladder workout (warm-up, 1 mile @ goal pace, recovery, 2 mile….etc.), those miles sure do add up!

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I never get sick of running by the water.

My 8.13 mile run (yes, I count every teeny tiny bit, I refuse to round down to 8) included two 1 mile segments and two 2 mile segments each run at goal pace. Currently I’m using a range of 9:35/mile to 10:05/mile for goal pace workouts. (I don’t have a very strict time goal, so I used my predicted marathon pace based on my last two races to arrive at that window.) I ended up running around 9:50/mile during those portions of the run, and it never felt impossible, which I’ll take as a good sign.

One thing I’ve been doing that I’m not sure is a very good idea: walking on my recovery intervals. I don’t walk the entire recovery part, but at least half. I don’t know whether this is bad or not. I’m not super concerned because I plan on taking walk breaks in the race, but I still feel a little guilty when I do it.

What’s the longest “short” run you’re willing to do? Should I stop walking my recovery?¬†

Week in Review [8/4 – 8/10]

This past¬†week was tough. I think my legs were tired from the long run and 10k the week before (BTW, still working on the race recap for that), and I was a little lacking in the motivation department. I still got out there, but it wasn’t quite as exciting and my legs were really dragging by the time I got my long run in on Saturday.¬†

Of course, that doesn’t mean this week wasn’t exciting…

This week’s highlights:

1.) ¬†I¬†SIGNED UP FOR A MARATHON!!! ¬†Yes! I finally made a decision and signed up! I’m running the Cape Cod Marathon on October 26th! It’ll be my first time to Cape Cod (after living in the area for 8 years, it’s about time), and I can’t wait. It was a really difficult choice, but the route is supposed to be really beautiful. Let’s hope the scenery can carry me through the hills that start at mile 15.¬†

capecodstart

Here I come!

¬†2.) I saw some weird and interesting things on my long run on Saturday. I didn’t get a picture of any of them because they all happened after mile 14. At mile 14, I walked for a 1/2 mile because I was so exhausted. Once I’d started up again, I didn’t have the energy to stop, take a photo, and restart…so no photos of these amazing sights.

* First, I saw a children’s triathlon. The part I saw was the boys ages 4 to 6 running from the beach to the bike transition. They were all so small…and running so much faster than me. I’m glad they weren’t all passing me on their running segment.

* Next, I saw a man dressed as a pirate (outfit and hat but no peg leg or eye patch) riding a bicycle. He gave me a nod, which to me said, “Yeah, I’m a pirate.”

* Lastly, I saw a man running backwards. He was dressed like a normal runner, wearing headphones, but he was going backwards. Up a bridge. We were going in the same direction, so we were face to face for quite a while, but no head nods or explanations came my way. I think this was stranger than the bicycle pirate. You know, it was pretty hot out there….could I have been hallucinating?

Pirates? Backwards runners? What was in my pre-run smoothie?

3.) The last highlight from the week is not running related. I took my second actuary exam on Friday, and I PASSED!!! Woohoo! 

And the numbers:

  • Monday: ¬†Cross Training/Rest Day ::: Went for a walk.
  • Tuesday:¬† “Fartlek” (8x 3 min fast, 2 min recovery) ::: 4.65 miles ::: 9:57/mile¬†
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes easy – Scavenger Hunt!¬†::: 3.57 miles ::: 12:30/mile
  • Thursday:¬†¬†30 minutes easy ::: 2.37 miles ::: 12:49/mile
  • Friday:¬†Test Day/Rest Day
  • Saturday: Long Run ::: 16.96 miles ::: 11:46/mile
  • Sunday:¬†Rest Day ::: Binge watching TV on Amazon Prime

This coming week I’ll be taking a step back week, and I’m so ready for it.¬†

¬†How was your week last week? What’s weirder: bicycle pirate or backwards runner?¬†

 

Week in Review [7/27 – 8/3]

Another fun week of running…¬†

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I ran my easy run on Wednesday at a pace that actually felt easy! My easy runs do not have specific pace criteria, instead, I aim to: feel like I could run forever, be able to speak in full sentences without gasping for breath, and stop and take pictures of fun things I see.

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Monday it rained. I did not run. I’m not hard core or beast mode or whatever we’re calling it these days.

¬†2.) I did speed work on my birthday, and as a present to me, Jeff ran with me! It was tough – turns out 1200m repeats are hard. After the second one, we walked the recovery intervals, and that helped us stick with it for all 6 intervals. Later, I noticed that the second interval was our fastest…no wonder that one felt particularly difficult.¬†

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Which one of these is intervals? Just Kidding, intervals don’t come all wrapped up!

3.)¬†My definition of cross training: any physical activity or combination of activities that is not running and lasts for at least 30 minutes. I’m getting better at it! I kayaked, and continued on with Kinetic Revolution. I also added some Wii Fit in there. No, it’s not terribly intense, but it’s also not nothing…score!¬†

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We walked by the Hale House on Saturday. It’s really old (16??). Rev. Hale apparently was responsible for putting a stop to the witch hunting in Beverly. And that’s why all the crazies go to the next town over on Halloween. (Salem)

4.) I ran a 10k on Sunday. Recap – coming soon to a blog near you!

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Ready to race!

 

And the numbers:

  • Monday: ¬†Cross Training :::¬†Day 2 Kinetic Revolution, and Wii fit
  • Tuesday:¬† 1200m intervals, 3 min recovery ::: 6 miles ::: 10:30/mile (~9/mile on intervals) ::: Day 3 Kinetic Revolution
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes easy – Scavenger Hunt! ::: 3.7 miles ::: 11:25/mile
  • Thursday:¬†¬†Rest Day
  • Friday:¬†Long Run ::: 15.5 miles ::: 11:12/mile
  • Saturday: Cross Training ::: Long Walk¬†
  • Sunday:¬†Bridge & Back 10k

 How was your week last week? 

 

Week in Review

During half training, I started a little training log by recapping my weeks here.¬†I haven’t done that since the race, but I’m going¬†to start again because¬†I want somewhere to keep track of what I’ve ¬†been up to. (note: I’ve tried an actual paper running log, and it was not my cup of tea.)

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I ran all of my weekday runs in the morning. This is unheard of in Amy land. While I enjoyed getting it done early and in cooler temps, it was tough. I definitely notice a difference in morning and evening in terms of alertness and the amount of time it takes to wake up my brain and get my legs warmed up.

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While waiting for my watch, I was fascinated by my shadow.

2.) My marathon goal pace is most likely too fast. But it doesn’t really matter because: a) I’m not signed up for a race, and b) I don’t have any attachment to running that particular pace if I do. I’ll still use this pace for training, unless it becomes overly difficult, but I don’t have any illusions that I’ll magically be able to PR by over 40 minutes. (again, if I end up racing)

3.) My favorite boat has been missing for months and months, but I noticed a snazzy new boat that I like quite a lot.

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No one can replace the Amy Elizabeth, but that red one in the middle there is pretty snazzy. I’ll have to get a close up some time.

4.) I need to run slower on easy days. I ended up with almost the same pace in my Tuesday easy run as I did on Monday for my Goal Pace work out, and as a result my¬†legs felt like concrete during Wednesday’s run. I tried harder to be slow on Thursday and it worked out. I’m more proud of my 11+ miles on Thursday than of those 10 min miles on Tuesday.

5.) With temp and humidity swinging wildly from day to day, I have no idea what paces I should be running. I try to run by feel most days, but then when I look at the pace afterwards, it’s really hard for me to tell if that was good or bad.

6.) OMG I did cross training! ¬†I started (completed day 1 of) ¬†the Kinetic Revolution 30 Day Challenge a few weeks ago. But then I stopped after only 1 day, because I have trouble sticking with things like that. This week I started again..repeating day 1 on Friday morning! I had good intentions of doing day 2 on either Saturday or Sunday, but that didn’t actually happen. I have high hopes for this week, though.

7.) I stuck to my long run pacing plan, really well. I ran very easy for the first 7 miles, I ran medium hard for the next 5 miles, and then I ran the last 2 miles reasonably hard (not all out). As always, I wish my average pace was faster, but effort wise this system felt great.

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Errrm….my tan lines are getting pretty bad.

And the numbers:

(probably more interesting to future Amy than to anyone reading this right now):

  • Monday: ¬†(4x) 1 mile GP, 3:30 jog ::: 5.75 miles ::: 10:03/mile¬†
  • Tuesday:¬† 35 minutes easy w/ (6) 20 second strides ::: 3.53 miles ::: 10:05/mile
  • Wednesday: 55 minutes¬†– 25 brisk, 5 easy, 25 brisk ::: 6.2 miles ::: 10:16/mile
  • Thursday:¬† 40 minutes easy ::: 3.62 miles :::¬†11:02/mile
  • Friday:¬†Day 1 of Kinetic Revolution Challenge (Basic Mobility Stretches + Balance Drills)
  • Saturday: Long Run – 14 miles ::: 11:28/mile¬†
  • Sunday: Rest Day

 How was your week last week? Anyone else have some awesome tan lines?

 

Recovery Week: Group Run!

Aside from gallivanting around Western Massachusetts, another fun thing I did last week was my long run. My two sisters-in-law and I have been talking about doing a long run together for quite a while, and it finally worked out! It’s a little tough to get all together with everyone’s schedules, and I live a bit far away from them (about a 40 min drive), so I don’t often get to join them. But this weekend was good for everyone, so it finally happened.

The two of them live fairly close to each other, and they also both live near running/bike paths, so we picked one of those, and met up for our run on Saturday morning. The plan was to run 8 miles together with the option of adding on extra to the end if anyone wanted to. I ended up sticking with 8, but both of them went longer (I think 10 and 12 miles).

My niece also came along for the ride in her brand new jogging stroller! I think she slept most of the way while her mom did all of the hard work. I took a (short) turn pushing the stroller towards the end of the run, and while it wasn’t as physically difficult as I imagined, it was really tricky having something else to focus on. Maybe next time I’ll take a longer turn and get a better idea of the difficulty. We’ll see.

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Sunglasses, check! Camelbak, check! Giraffe, check!

Before heading out, I was nervous that they would be a little too quick for me, but I really shouldn’t have been. I told them I was worried about it, and they agreed to take it slow if I needed to. In the end, we ended up around the same average pace that I have been doing in my long runs. The whole thing went by really quickly. With three of us, there was at least one of us talking the whole time, and that was a great distraction.

We discussed whether to run a fall marathon together and which one to chose, and it seems like we’re pretty close to a decision! All the races we’re looking at have price increases at the end of the month, so we (I?) set that as an unofficial deadline to figure it out for sure. Regardless of whether we sign up or not, I think there will be more group runs in our future. ūüôā

Do you think long runs go by quicker with friends? Have you ever pushed a running stroller? Do you bring a giraffe when you exercise?

 

Recovery Week: Adventures in Western Mass.

Last week for me was a recovery week (sort of). I built in a few rest/step back weeks into the long run plan I made up because whenever I’m adding miles, I like to have a few weeks here and there that I get a break. And, last week was a perfect time for this because Jeff had some time off work and we went adventuring out in Western Mass.

It wasn’t a true recovery week though, because I squeezed in some speed work before we left. I just decided last weekend to add speed work into my training plan, and I didn’t want to quit that before I even started. So Monday morning I¬†did a tempo run, then Tuesday an easy run¬†before we left on our adventure.

While out in Western Mass. I didn’t do any running, but there was still a lot (in my opinion) of activity. (Cross-training, woo!). On Tuesday we visited Historic Deerfield Village, the Yankee Candle Store/Village, and the Bridge of Flower in Sherbourne Falls.

Historic Deerfield is a section of Main Street that has several old homes from the 1700s preserved and furnished as they would have been back in the day. It was interesting to see, and we learned a few fun facts (this area is good for growing broom corn, adults with tuberculosis used to be kept in adult cradles to make them easier to care for, and people would put beds in pretty much any room of the house – kitchen included).

Stebbens-House

Photo of Stebbins House from Historic Deerfield Website. Click photo to visit website.

After Historic Deerfield, we went to the Yankee Candle Village store. This place was HUGE! There were tons of candles (obviously), but also a lot of other stuff. They have a whole Christmas section w/ decorations and ornaments, and a room where it SNOWS EVERY 4 MINUTES! And they also have housewares, and toys, and make your own candles. Just a lot of stuff, really.

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After candle world, we stopped in Shelbourne Falls to see the Bridge of Flowers before heading to our hotel. It’s an old (out of use) train bridge that is landscaped every year to be covered in plants and flowers. I hear there’s a 5k/10k, but it doesn’t actually go over the Bridge because it’s too narrow. I’m not sure I’d add this to my race bucket list, but the area is nice enough to make it worth a short trip.

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There should be more bridges like this.

From the Bridge of Flowers, we picked up some food for dinner and headed to our hotel. We had a pretty low key night and got to bed early because we needed to be up early again on Wednesday morning for more fun!

On Wednesday we went zip lining in the morning and kayaking on the Deerfield river in the afternoon. Both were super fun and we ended up being the only two people on both tours! I’ve never kayaked anywhere with a current/”rapids” before this and I really liked it. I enjoyed just floating down the river on the gentle parts and when I wasn’t worried about hitting a rock and falling in, the rapids were fun, too.

After cleaning up from those two activities, we went out for dinner and then ice-cream before heading back for another early night. We wanted to be well rested for another early morning of adventuring.

Thursday morning we hiked a trail at the Western Summit of the Hoosac range. It was a beautiful day, and once I stopped freaking out about being in close contact with so much nature, it was pretty nice. We hiked up to Spruce Hill, which really wasn’t much of anything. There wasn’t even a view, so it was pretty anticlimactic. Luckily there were a few other spots to check out the view because I would have been pretty annoyed; I mean, isn’t the view a big part of why you hike up a mountain?

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From a Vista that was not at the top of so called Spruce Hill.

The hike ended up being 5.5 miles and taking us 3 hours round trip. It was a pretty good workout and I’m glad the weather cooperated, and that for the most part any bugs left us alone. I don’t think we would have completed the whole hike¬†otherwise.

After our hike, instead of heading directly home we stopped over in Connecticut for some casino gambling. Although we didn’t win big (someday!), we didn’t bankrupt ourselves either, and we had a lot of fun. I can’t really explain why I think the casino is fun, even when I don’t win, but it was. And after a few days being all outdoorsy, it was a nice change of pace.

By the time we got home on Friday, I was tuckered out. It was a pretty active week, even with 3 days in a row of no running! For the most part, I usually am pretty good about running on trips, and have done a few running tours that were super fun parts of vacation, but on this little adventure, it made more sense to enjoy some other activities. So that’s what I did.

Do you run on vacation? Do you feel guilty if you don’t? What if you’re doing a lot of other physical activities? ¬†

Hot and Fast

Another week of “I might be running a marathon” training has concluded, and I’m still not signed up for a race. But I do think that I’m closer to a decision now! I’m leaning towards racing this fall (!), and I’m ready to change up some of my non-long runs to reflect that.

So, two things happened this weekend that have me leaning towards signing up.

First, I hung out with my husband’s family on Saturday and talked to his sisters about all doing a race together. We’ve been going back and forth on this together for a couple weeks, and on Saturday I realized that his one sister is about 90% there. That made the whole thing seem more real and I got excited about the possibility of racing.

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Us three in the back would be marathoning together! Two in the front seat would (hopefully agree to) be part of our support crew.

The second thing that happened was that I realized that my alternate plan is stupid.

My main reason for not wanting to run this fall is that I¬†want to build speed before my next marathon, and I am doubtful that I can do that in this training cycle. As an alternate to running a marathon, I’ve been thinking that I¬†would¬†run about 10 to¬†12 mile long runs all summer and somehow magically get faster at that distance without having to do¬†speed work during the hot and humid summer.

Yesterday, I realized that that is insane. Sure, I will build a good base with that, but I will not get significantly faster. If I want to get faster I will have to do speed work. For some reason, this realization is encouraging me to run a marathon. Probably because my favorite part of the alternate plan was that there was no summer speed work.

So, I’m adding speed work to my “I might be running a marathon” training plan. And marathon or not, I’m going to push as hard as I can to get faster this summer.


I started with a tempo run yesterday morning.

I had been somewhat following a Leading Edge training plan during May and June, and have decided to pick that back up after a few weeks of only easy runs. My current plan is to follow this training schedule for midweek runs, while continuing to up my mileage according to the long run schedule I made up a few weeks ago. This is a bit of a mish mash, but strictly following the Leading Edge plan would require me to jump into a level that is too advanced for me (speed work wise) at this point.

training plan

Speed work is less scary when it’s on a plan that looks like this. (At least I hope that’s true)

Yesterday’s tempo run was the key speed workout in level six.¬†It was oppressively humid, but I want to get faster, so I had to just get over that.

The run was: 10 min easy, 25 minutes A.T., 10 min easy. ¬†The plan describes A.T. (anaerobic threshold) as significantly faster than goal pace and pushing the edges of my comfort zone. I used an online pace calculator with my spring half marathon time to decide my goal pace. The pace calculator thinks I can run a 4:10 marathon (current PR of 4:51), which is totally insane, but puts my goal pace at 9:32ish. So I shot for faster than that. I ended up averaging 8:52/mile in that 25 minutes. Is that “significantly faster” than goal pace? I don’t know, but I’m pleased with my pace and I certainly wasn’t comfortable, so I’m judging this a success.

Whatever I decide about the race, I’m happy with my decision¬†on the speed work.

 

 

 

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! ūüôā


 

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?¬†