"Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will add up to something great." –@karagoucher via @oiselle tweet
Last week was the hardest, longest week of my entire plan and I CRUSHED IT.
The first workout was 14 (FOURTEEN) 800s. I think my coach has a diabolical side. He also said that if at all possible, do these on a track. Most of my speed work has been done on a treadmill, however, the last few weeks I was doing the workouts outdoors, albeit not on a track.
OK. Time to start researching tracks.
There is a track near our house, 1.6 miles away to be exact, which served as the reference point for my warm up and cool down distances for my speed workouts. Unfortunately, the times that I do my workouts (EARLY morning or post 7 PM), the track is not open.
So my solution was to get to work early, leave early and do my workout at 3:00/3:30 on that track.
I didn't think about the fact that it is the high school's track and therefore not open during track practice.
Next plan - there is a track 1.5 miles away from my office. I took a late lunch/flex time to get the workout done there. It ended up being a beautiful day to run, a little windy. I had the track mostly to myself. 14 x 800: DONE. My goal for these was to run them in the 3:15-3:20 pace zone. My slowest 800 was 3:17; my fastest was 3:05. I felt good during this whole workout.
The workout that had me anxious was my long run, the longest run of my plan, scheduled for Saturday. I was to run two hours, 45 minutes following the same principle of all my long runs - run the first chunk easy, next chunk medium, final 20-30 minutes hard.
I had been in conversations with B, the woman who I ran two previous long runs with, all week to make a plan for the run. We made a plan to start at her house at 6:30 AM as it is a mile from the Bugline trail and we wanted a trail pic for a Oiselle contest. (#truth).
Friday night I had really bad stomach cramps which had me worried. I ended up falling asleep on our couch around 8 PM while my husband watched the basketball game. When I woke up an hour later, I felt a little better and made my way into bed with the 5:30 alarm.
I have mentioned my dislike of early morning runs often in this space. I was going to try to counter act that by:
a) Getting up earlier than I absolutely had to in order to give my body time to wake up - thus the 5:30 alarm
b) Making coffee and drinking some on the drive over to B's house (15 minute drive).
c) Eating a real breakfast - not a Picky Bar, which is what I was eating before other early morning runs. I have been having cinnamon quinoa for breakfast and liking it so I made a ton of quinoa the night before so I just had to reheat it.
My other concern was clothing. We had a brief snowstorm Thursday evening that made for some cooler weather. However, the last two long runs, I have felt too hot with the amount of clothing I had. I made the decision to do a lighter weight tight (Oiselle Juno), a short sleeve, and my favorite long sleeve tee to run in (Oiselle Lux) and a light vented jacket on top of that. I wore a baseball style hat and gloves.
I arrived at B's house with a belly full of quinoa and a cup of coffee. I peed quick and we were off. Our mantra was start slow...start slow...start slow. My read on our partnership is that we are both competitive people and so it is easy to feed off of that and go out faster than intended. We paced ourselves beautifully in my opinion in those early miles - 8:04, 7:48, 7:51, 7:39.
We ditched our water bottles early on as we were planning on doing a partial loop course. It felt so good to not be carrying that damn water bottle! Unfortunately for me, I could feel the coffee working. I was going to need a bathroom. We re-routed course to make a gas station stop. PHEW. After that we made our way back via the trail, tackling a few hills.
Once we got on the trail, we noticed that the storm had knocked over a tree blocking the entire path. We had to quasi-climb the tree to keep going on the path. LIGHT BULB! This would be a great photo entry for the contest. Mental note made. We did some quick math to figure out how to go back to the house, grab a phone and get back to the tree in our time allotment. This entire time felt so natural and easy. I was excited and still trying to reign it in as we had over an hour to go.
I ate a gu around the 2 hour mark and we started picking up the pace, both commenting on how good we felt. Two women passed us going the opposite direction on the trail and I overheard one of them say, "They are FLYING". I felt so badass. YES! We are flying and are strong!
Once we hit the 20 mile mark we were on it. We climbed the tree for the final time, having a walker take our picture quick and then back at it. I had unintenionally slowed the pace and B looked at her watch which was displaying pace and yelled (and I mean YELLED) for us to finish strong. I felt like a horse that just got whipped and was bolting out of flight or fight. After my initial startle, I realized that I still felt really strong and was mentally picturing myself at that point in the race just going AFTER it.
I passed the 2:45 time mark and realized I was 0.1 miles away from the 22 mile mark and wanted to close it out at that point. I heard the beep indicating I had hit the mile and I hit stop.
22 miles, 2:45:43. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I AM STILL riding the wave of that run, and it is 2 days and several hours later.
I like how Strava displays splits for long runs so I am including a screen shot of my mile splits:
I typically do not do any running on Sunday; however, the combination of the snow storm and our schedules last week did not allow for my 3 mile easy run to take place on Friday as scheduled. So I had to make up yesterday. My legs were tired, but 3 miles was not as difficult as I was anticipating it might be. STRONG!
Total miles last week: 39.75 (Wish I would have looked at that before doing all my running - would have made my 3 miler yesterday 3.25 miles to get to an even 40!)
Total miles per plan: 38.25
I have officially made it to the taper period. I am celebrating a great 16 week block of training and looking forward to the final 3 weeks! I don't know if I can accurately convey how much excitement I have about the race via this blog but in the coming weeks, I will try!
Heard on the run -
I did not listen to any podcasts last week while running!