WOW! I can't believe I'm four weeks into my marathon training schedule. That means that I only have six more training week and two taper weeks until the race - eight weeks until I run my first half marathon! Kind of a scary thought. It's one thing to put a plan together and work at it day to day, but to see the weeks passing and inching closer to the actual event is something different. I've hit the point where I'm starting to focus more on the mental endurance that it will take to get through the 26.2 miles. Sure, it's a hugely physical event, but, most marathon runners will tell you that it is the last three to six miles that count.... and they are ALL mental!
Here's how Week 4 went for me:
Sunday 10/2/11 - Harvest Fair 10K
After three weeks of building up the mileage it was time to back down but a few of us still wanted to push our pace and see how we could do, so we opted to run the Harvest Fair 10K for speed! That's 6.2 miles as fast as we could do it. It wouldn't be too bad if it were a flat course, but it's not! Hills abound in this race course so it was going to be a tough push to try to break some personal records. The day was beautiful! I picked up running pals, Cathy & Jennifer, and we headed over to the fair grounds and parked. After getting our race bibs, we went for an easy two mile jog to warm up. Our warm up jog had another purpose as well - to find coffee! Sadly, SoCo Coffee is closed on Sundays - which if you ask me is just plain wrong! How can a local coffee house be closed on a Sunday?!?!?! Have no fear though, we were rescued by another running pal, Amy, who brought us short drip coffees from Starbucks! Totally saved the morning!
It was great walking around the fairgrounds, as we made our way to the start, and seeing friends from high school whom I usually only get to interact with via FaceBook. It was nice being able to see them in person and to chat over the common topic of the race and running. As we lined up we all wished each other luck and waited for the race to start.
Cathy and I are pretty evenly paced, though she is a little faster than I am. We agreed ahead of time to try to stay together on this race so we could push each other, both knowing that we wanted to break our PR's (personal records). As we took off at the start, we wove our way through the crowd and found a pace that felt good, but hard. We talked some when we could, and focused on our breathing when necessary (like when we were pushing our way up the hills). It was around mile 5 that I felt the wall coming. We were maintaining a pace that was just sub 9:00 minutes per mile. Cathy heard my breathing get a little harder and ushered out some words of encouragement. Coming up the last hill with less than half a mile to go, the wall came down and I wanted/needed to be done. As Cathy pulled in front of me, I thought, "This is what it might feel like at mile 23.... are you going to quit then??" So, having given myself a mental kick in the butt, I pushed through the wall, and picked up the pace a little more, finishing about 30 seconds behind Cathy.
I looked down as the time on my Garmin and got super excited. I was sure I had PR'd! At that moment I could remember my exact PR time but knew it was a 56:xx and I just finished the race at 55:26. When the official race results went up, I was listed as 5th in my age group! Once our group was all together we compared our finishes. Amy had a great time on her 2nd 5K race, which was the first time she had to run hills; Cathy, Leslie and I all PR'd; Cathy & I both took 5th in our age groups and Leslie took 2nd in her age group! It was a great race for everyone. Awards were being handed out to the top three finishers in each age group so we hung out and relaxed while we waited to cheer on Leslie as she got her reward.
The first thing I did when I got home was look up my old 10K time (which turned out to be 56:55). I shaved 1:29 off my time! That is a sweet reward for the work I've been putting into my running!
Later that afternoon, we met back up at the Harvest Fair for a fun girls' afternoon of wine tasting. We had a blast sharing tastings, sampling food and having fun conversation.
That evening at home, I did a ton of chores around the house and prepared a bunch of stuff for the kids for school the next day. It was 10:00pm before I got to bed and I was exhausted.
Rest day! I woke up feeling tired which is to be expected after a long day combined with an all-out effort on a race. After driving the morning carpool, I hung out and tried to catch up on some computer work and only got part of it done before I got stuck on the phone finishing up loose ends to the carpool and childcare drama of last week. As I was finishing up the last phone call, my client showed up. I worked with my client on strength training she can do at home or work (for down times or when she can't get to the gym) and she did great! As she was leaving, carpool dropped off my son, Jazper, and I had to start getting ready for work. Work was good, and despite it being my "rest day" I had to do some strength training for demonstration and as someones partner because there was an odd number of participants in class. It was all core work though, so that felt good.
Slow, recovery run day. Cathy's training schedule said 2 miles but she felt like she could do a little more, and my training schedule said 2 - 5 miles, so we went out for 3 miles. Like all Tuesdays, we're suppose to keep a SLOW pace of around 11:23 minute/mile. We have the hardest time going that slow and today was no exception. We did a total of 3.15 miles at a 10:14 pace. My heart rate average was at the high limit of the range I should have been in, so that was okay; and the run felt good. It didn't feel hard and we were able to talk the whole time.
After the run, I changed clothes and headed out for the rest of my busy Tuesday - acupuncture, helping in Sevannah's classroom and driving the afternoon carpool. I was hoping for a restful afternoon with the kids once we were done with carpool, but I ended up working on some projects for Sevannah's class that were given to me since I am the "Purchaser" for the class. One particular project required finding and purchasing 3/4" oak dowels and cutting them down to the appropriate length to make Rhythm Sticks. The teacher also wanted them to be in a basket. James helped me with this project. He cut down the dowels and then instead of driving around trying to find the right size basket, James & I came up with the idea of making a custom sized wooden crate to house the Rhythm Sticks. Here's the end result:
Wednesdays are one of my mornings to drive the morning carpool which this week is perfect because I had the Rhythm Sticks to deliver to the class. Sevannah's teacher loved the sticks and the crate James & I made for them. She said it was so much better than a basket and she couldn't have asked for anything better! This left me feeling great and ready for my morning run.
My training schedule for the day had me running eight miles at race pace. I had some other errands to run this morning so I was a little pressed for time, and some of my running pals were needing to run in the evening. So I decided to split my run into two. When you split a run, there's a formula to follow - one run is half the original distance and the second run is 3/4 of the original distance. Needing 8 miles originally, makes my two runs 4 miles long and 6 miles long, or 10 total for the day. Now, I also had to take into account the pace & distance my friends would be doing in the evening. I knew they would get around five miles, so I opted to do five miles in the morning too, so that by the end of the day I would have around 10 miles.
My morning run ended up being 5 miles at a 10:11 pace, just slightly faster than race pace (10:19). My average heart rate was right in the middle of the range I should have been in. The run felt great! After the run, I ran my errands, went home and did a few chores, packed my bag for the evening run and got ready for work.
Work today was a stretching day so I got to stretch a lot with the two groups. It felt really nice on my hips - helping loosen then up. After work I drove straight to our meeting location for the evening run. We ran a total of 5.63 miles, which included 4 x 15 second sprints at the end. It was a "speed" workout where we ran a fairly easy pace for the first 32 minutes, then picked up the pace for 7:30 minutes followed by a 2:30 minute recovery jog. We did that twice, then finished out the remainder of our distance back to the cars at an easy pace. In the back of the parking lot, away from traffic, we did our 4 x 15 second sprints. These were hard tonight!! It didn't feel like my legs were really into the sprints until the last one. It felt good once we were done though. Our total numbers for the evening run were 5.63 miles at an 11:02 pace. My average heart rate was below the range I needed to be in, but it was still a good workout.
Daily total 10.63 miles - I'll take it!
Thursday is the hardest workout of the week. Both Cathy and I had a tempo run on our training schedules for today. Our tempo run was suppose to be 5 miles long, with the first mile being a warm up, the middle three miles being around a 9:45 pace, and then the last mile being a cool down mile. Here's how the run actually went:
Mile 1 - 10:24
Mile 2 - 9:33
Mile 3 - 9:35
Mile 4 - 9:19
Mile 5 - 12:42
Both of us, by the time we hit the end of mile 4, our last speed mile, were done! We took a walk break before picking the pace back up to a cool down jog. It was a hard run.
Afterwards, I headed off to see a client, went to Costco and then picked the kids up from school. Once we made it home, we unloaded the stuff from Costco, had lunch and then snuggled into bed for a nap. The kids both slept, I did not, but I did rest there with them. After their nap, it was time to run a few more errands - grocery store and a birthday present for the party Sevannah had on Saturday.
On today's training schedule was Cross Training/Strength Training, but it was also Sevannah's first 2nd grade play! She's was the tree in the class's St George Play. It was so sweet and so well done!
After the play, I helped my mother run an errand and then met up with a friend for coffee. It was a nice morning.
I did my strength training in the afternoon at work. It was a lot of leg work - squats, lunges, etc... After all the speed work this week, my legs were tired and I really felt the strength training.
My second rest day of the week - though I teach my Outdoor Family Fitness class - so I do, do some minimal strength training. Today's class was Favorites - so all the exercises were made up of some of my all time favorite exercises.
After class, we picked up a friends son, Liam, because her daughter had pneumonia. The boys and I dropped Sevannah at her birthday party and then went to the Fire Safety Fair. They had so much fun checking out the inside of an ambulance, watching one of the big ladder trucks do a basket rescue and getting their Fire Chief Hats. Jazper kept asking me, "Mommy, do I look like a real fire guy?" It was truly adorable!
After the boys had, had their fill of Safety Vehicles, we headed home and had lunch. After lunch it was time to go pick Sevannah up. The birthday party ended at a park so of course the boys wanted to play when we got there. Everyone played for about half an hour and then it was time to go. We dropped off Liam, made a deposit at the bank and went to the grocery store for milk. By the time we got home, I was so ready to be done for the day. Tired did not even begin to describe how I felt; and that made me anxious about whether or not I would be able to make it through the 12 mile run we had planned for Sunday morning. So after dinner, I got my stuff for the morning run together and headed to bed, hoping that a good night's sleep would help me make it 12 miles in the morning.