This week was all about refocusing after last week’s cut back week, and honestly, things couldn’t have gone better. Without a doubt, this week was my strongest yet, and completely restored all confidence in my running.
I started the week with Body Fusion, and I was so glad to get back into class. Having the rec center shut down for a week really put me in a funk last week. This week we focused on maxing out our arms. I was able to go all the way up to 15lbs for free weights/kettle bells and I never felt stronger. My arms are still weak compared to what I know many other people can do, but I’m slowly getting there.
Tuesday was the real test. With some slight twinge still in my hip, I hoped I’d be able to complete my workout without stopping early. I met up with Mo and we planned on running our 800’s at a 4:15 pace. We ended up under pace for all but one, which is exactly where I wanted to be.
Wednesday was my recovery run and in the the first time in about three weeks, I actually had my iPod on me during my run. I stayed close to home, but I got lost in my thoughts and the music. I tried not to look at my watch and ran whatever pace my legs were comfortable with. I was all over the place from 9:04 to 8:12 to 8:48, but I felt great. It was exactly the run I needed to reassure me that I am still going strong with training.
Thursday was the group run with Second Sole. We started as a group, but by a half mile in we broke up into our smaller groups. I spent most of the run speaking with one of the employees about our old college conference and I became completely unaware of my pace. We headed out for five miles of rolling hills through town, with the last mile about 95% uphill. I averaged an 8:51 pace and felt really strong for my third run in a row.
Friday was my rest day and I took every precaution to get myself ready for Saturday’s long run. I knew that this 20 miler would be a big deal and pretty much set the tone for the rest of training. I knew I could keep my pace around 10 minutes for most of the run, but I wanted to slow down a bit. After my 18 miler a few weeks ago, I felt great for about 15 minutes, but shortly after I fell apart and was sick for most of the afternoon. I didn’t want that to happen again.
Saturday I met with a small group of MCRR and we headed out for our long run. We all had different distances, so our route was full of out and back and loops, but it worked out perfectly. We started on the inlet and headed out on the back roads before turning around. I was still warming up, and a little unsure if I could handle the full 20 miles, but I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise and forgot about the miles for a little bit.
We made our way back and dropped off a few runners. By now we were already at 6 miles, keeping steady just under a 10:00 minute pace. Next we headed out to the rail trail and I was so excited to explore a new route. The trail was heavily shaded and kept us cool as the weather started to heat up. We made a slight adjustment and took a turn near Chippewa to pick up the inlet again. We made our way back to the cars, dropped a few more runners off, and decided to make a loop around the outer roads of Buckeye Woods.
The roads had more than a few rolling hills, so our pace slowed down, but we were still right around a 10:00 pace. By now we were approaching mile 15 and I knew my legs would start to wear down a bit. I was feeling ok, but prepared for the worst. We took a few miles around the marsh and let our legs recover from the pavement. Running on crushed limestone saved my legs, but I did feel a small pain in my left knee that went away by mile 16.
As we made our way around the marsh and headed towards the woods, we lost one more runner. We were approaching mile 18, and I knew I had just 20 more minutes of running left. I couldn’t help but get excited for the final miles, knowing how great I felt and finishing up on the trails couldn’t have been more perfect. With a half mile to go, I started to pick up the pace and gave what I had until the final beep.
I couldn’t have asked for a better 20 miler, especially considering it was my first one of the training cycle. The two biggest things I wanted to focus on were pacing and fueling. I wanted to stay over a 10:00 minute pace, but spent 13/20 miles under. I ended up with a 10:03 average pace, a quicker pace than my 18 miler two weeks before.
As for fueling, I wanted to make sure I stayed on top of it, and wanted to test what would work best on race day. I was spot on, and nothing ever gave me any issues, my main concern for race day. I stuck with the following:
- Sips of water at every mile mark, more often if needed in the later miles
- Two-three sport beans every four miles (miles 4, 8, 12, 16)
- Salt tabs every hour (miles 6, 12, 18)
- Honey Stinger chews every hour (miles 6, 12, 18)
This worked out perfectly. I never felt tired, dehydrated or hungry, so I’ll be sure to keep this fueling strategy for all of my future long runs. Without a doubt fueling was key to making this the perfect 20 miler.
Monday: Body Fusion Class – 30 minutes of lifting/abs/squats & 30 minutes of yoga
Tuesday: 5.5 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 7×800(4:12, 4:17, 4:10, 4:10, 4:11, 4:12, 4:06), 1 mile c/d
Wednesday: 3 Miles
Thursday: 5 Miles
Saturday: 20 Miles
Total Miles: 34 Miles
This week was great. I hit every workout like I wanted and felt stronger than ever. I also hit my highest weekly mileage ever and I’m just under my goal of 600 miles for the year. I have to admit, I had my doubts about training recently, but this week was the turning point. I couldn’t have done this week without the help of the amazing MCRR members. They’ve definitely pushed me more than I know this year. Now I’m excited more than ever for Wineglass!