What a difference a week can make. This week had the perfect running weather. Lows in the 50’s, highs in the 60’s-70’s, it almost felt like fall. This weather was exactly what I needed to get back on track. I kept Tuesday’s run pretty easy, just a simple out and back with a little bit of wind. I headed to the track on Thursday and was in between ladders and mile repeats. Last minute I decided on mile repeats and I’m so glad I did.
I started with an easy warm up and naturally went out a little too quick on the first mile. Knowing that I had to do three, I tried to slow my pace down and eventually got to 8:24. Last time I did mile repeats my first one was at 8:22, so I wasn’t far off. I took about a three minute break and then began my second one. I started off too quick again, and by the second lap I was feeling really tired. But I wasn’t going to give up. I reminded myself that there will be moments like this during the marathon, where my legs and body want to give up, but I have to keep going. I dug deep and pulled out an 8:05 for my second mile, my fastest mile since college. I had one more left and wasn’t sure what kind of time I was going to pull. I gave it another shot and kept telling myself that these are the days that make you stronger. Stronger indeed, I ran 8:04, negative splits for mile repeats.
Tuesday: 3 Miles
Thursday: 5 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 3xmile 8:24, 8:05, 8:04, 1 mile c/d
Saturday: 18 Miles
Total Miles: 26 Miles
Saturday was rough, and ugly and I’m glad it’s over. I was supposed to meet up with an MCRR runner at the woods for some miles Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I saw groups of runners, but never saw her. I’m not sure what happened, but it put a small damper on the start of my day. The weather was cool, but it was still humid and damp. I started around the marsh and then headed around the pond to the woods. I wasn’t feeling it and was struggling beyond belief. My pace was dropping and I thought about doing the same. I finished up 5 miles, and unfortunately the only thing I enjoyed were the views.
I had to think of a way to get the last 13 miles in, and so I became creative. I headed to the rec center and tried to run as many miles on the indoor track as I could. After 50 laps, or 5 miles, I was getting tired and could feel my energy level was going down. I knew that because I was breaking up my run, my hydration and fueling rituals were nothing like they should have been. I came back home and ate part of a granola bar, thinking of my next way to get miles in. By this time the rain was picking up and I debated on trying again the next day. Our complex has the world’s smallest gym, so I tried the treadmill in there. Within the first mile my knee was starting to bug me and I knew it was from running the same direction for so long on the track. After two miles, I gave in. I had no energy, I was over heating and I was in a ton of pain. I was frustrated and still 6 miles short of the 18 I needed to run.
I went back home, showered, ate a 500 calorie cinnamon roll, and stretched out for quite some time. There was finally a break in the weather that afternoon and I ventured out to attempt the last 6 miles. I started out slow and tried to stay as hydrated as I could. My legs felt good and I surprisingly felt better than I had all day. I ran an out and back with a small loop added on the end. I ran up to our front door, heard my Garmin beep and was relieved that the longest 18 miles of my training was done.
I really struggled with my run Saturday. Part of it was because it was split up into so many different routes and miles. The other reason was because I never hit that 18 mile training run for Columbus. Because I was injured, I only made it to 16. I knew that this would be a challenge, but I feel like I accomplished more than just 18 miles, I made it over the mental roadblock of actually training for a marathon. And yes, I know it wasn’t run all at once, but the will power I had to keep coming back until I got those 18 miles in will help on race day. At least I hope so.
What I learned:
No bullet points this week, but I did learn one thing that will stick with me for a very long time. It wasn’t until Saturday night that I realized how amazing the support system you have is during training. I’ve never had a single run where Darren is telling me to hurry up and finish, or to skip it. He’s never complained about a run getting in the way of plans or a busy weekend. And I think it’s great. Having a support system is huge, especially when you’re getting deep into your training. Whenever I feel doubt, I think about crossing the finish line at Columbus, where he was waiting, open armed and tears in his eyes. 26.2 miles is a long way to run, but it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears to see the love from your support system at the finish line.
Have you ever broken up a long run? How big is your support system?