This past week was #13 of training for the local Just a Short Run Half Marathon, which will be my 8th half marathon. I’m following the Hansons’ Half Marathon Method for the second time.
The countdown is on. Two more weeks of hard training and two more long runs. Then two weeks of taper. Four weeks until race day. It can’t get here fast enough.
On my worst days, like Friday and Saturday, I’m tired of week after week of hard runs. I’m tired of running on tired legs. I’m tired of winter and worrying about snow and ice taking over my running route. I’m tired of going to bed and getting up so early. I’m tired of eating bagels, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, and bananas. I’m tired of having to do so much laundry because of all the sweaty clothes that six days of winter running generates. I’m tired of having a messy house because I have no time to clean it. I’m cranky, moody, depleted, and just kinda done. And of course I’m worried about how I’ll be able to handle marathon training, when I’ll be running 10+ more miles a week than I’m running now.
On my best days, I remind myself to keep on doing what I’ve been doing–taking it one day and one run at a time. On a day like today, with the sun shining and the morning warm but not too warm and just perfect for running, with buddies to talk to and a new running route to try out, I still love it all.
Week at a Glance
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 41.67
- Miles this training cycle: 453.64
- Miles this month: 157.67
- Miles this year: 322.42
- Time running: 8 hours, 52 minutes
- Strength training sessions: 2
- Stretching: 7 days
- Foam rolling: 7 days
Easy Run: 5 miles | 1:03:52 | 12:46 pace (33 degrees)
In the evening I did 12 minutes of strength training: push-ups, jump squats, regular plank, side planks, Russian twists with weighted ball, supermans, and weighted clamshells.
Strength Workout: 8 miles | 1:35:27 (36 degrees feels like 32)
Damn. This was hard! I knew last week’s 44 miles would hit me, and it really did for this run. It seemed like every step was a struggle. I had to cut the run short by 1 mile. I left the house late and then had to go back to use the bathroom, which made me pretty late for work. Instead of doing 3 x 2-mile repeats, I did 2 x 2-mile repeats and then 1 mile at goal pace 10:30, plus .5-mile recovery, 1.5-mile warm-up, and .5-mile cool-down. Splits: 10:29, 10:29, 10:32, 10:29, 10:34.
Rest day! I did 22 minutes of strength training using weights.
Tempo run: 8 miles | 1:31:19 (36 degrees feels like 29)
I had 6 miles at race pace 10:40 with 1.5-mile warm-up and .5-mile cool-down. This was another really hard run physically, plus there was a crazy strong wind and stinging rain and snow to deal with. I got into a good groove in the first miles and was able to hit my pace without constantly checking my Garmin. In mile 4 I didn’t check my Garmin until the very end, when I realized I’d really slowed and it was too late to get back down to pace. Oops. I was better at staying on pace the last two miles, but they were tough to get through. Splits: 10:41, 10:39, 10:41, 11:13, 10:41, 10:44.
Easy run: 5 miles | 1:05:09 | 13:02 pace (26 feels like 12)
This was the day my legs officially died. All the weeks of all the miles seemed to finally hit me. My legs just felt dead, and I had no idea how I’d be able to run Saturday’s race.
Long run: 10.14 miles | 1:56:51 | 11:32 pace
I did my long run as part of the Spring Thaw race, my first of the year. The Spring Thaw has 10, 15, and 20 mile distances, so most people running the Pittsburgh Marathon use this race as a warm-up for the marathon. It takes place at North Park and is two 5-mile loops of the Just a Short Run race course, only backwards. Even though this was just a training run, I was dreading this race. I just don’t like races. The only thing I like about them is crossing the finish line. My stomach was upset Friday night and Saturday morning, likely because of nerves. I took Pepto and dilly-dallied Saturday morning, hoping in the back of my mind that I would be late and miss the race. Then I just outright considered skipping it. But since I had to do 10 miles anyway, I sucked it up and headed to North Park.
The forecast for later in the morning was 38 with a feels-like temp near freezing. I didn’t even check the weather when I got there, but it was really cold with a cold wind. I got to the start in time to use the bathroom and chat with the friends I ran into. I had originally considered running the first loop easy and the second at race pace, but because my stomach was upset and I just wasn’t feeling it, I decided to just run it at an easy pace. I lined up near Joanna, with whom I ran the race last year. I told her to go on ahead, that I was going to take it easy. I expected to run at about a 12:00 pace. But in the first mile I was right behind Joanna and her group, who were running about a 11:30 pace. That felt easy to me, so I caught up to her and we ran the rest of the race together until I was done and she continued on for another loop to get her 15 miles in (and finished with a PR of fastest long run over a half marathon distance ever!). It was great talking with her. The miles flew by, my stomach was fine, and the pace felt easy. I wasn’t paying attention to pace, but somehow we ran the second loop faster than the first, and the last mile was the fastest with an 11:06 pace.
Official results had me finishing at 1:56:48 for an 11:41 pace. Last year my pace was 11:30, but this year I definitely had a better race. Despite having stomach issues before the race and just not wanting to run it, the pace felt easy and I felt strong the whole run and finished with a negative split. Last year I struggled the entire second half, with the pace feeling really hard. If I can run at this pace this easily with feeling so run-down from the cumulative training that the last 13 weeks of training has built, I’ll take that as a great sign that I’m getting stronger and faster.
Easy run: 5.53 miles | 1:05 | 11:45 pace (50 degrees)
Because neither Jamie nor Anna ran the Spring Thaw, I didn’t get to run with them for my long run so was really looking forward to running with them for this easy run. For a change of scenery, we ran on the jail trail (a trail near our jail), crossed over to the South Side and ran on the river trail there, and then looped back. It was a wonderful morning and a wonderful run. It was very chilly in the shade and with the wind, but the sun warmed us up quickly. It was just nice to be out and enjoying the morning.
It got into the 60s in the afternoon. Loving these February days where it reaches 60! It was breezy but a gorgeous day. We took Django on a 2-mile walk through the trails at Riverview Park in the city. I love that Pittsburgh has so many great city parks! When we got home, we gave Django a bath outside and washed all his bedding. Greyhounds don’t produce oil like other dogs do, so they don’t shed a lot and they don’t get that dog smell. But he’s been smelling not-so-fresh since his last bath in the fall, and he loves getting baths. It must make him feel good, because he runs around like a nut afterwards.