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Not another half marathon! (As well as thoughts on racing, training and more…)

Not another half marathon! (As well as thoughts on racing, training and more…)
Not another half marathon! (As well as thoughts on racing, training and more…)

Sometimes we need a break.  Maybe not from running all together but from racing a certain distance.  Right now me and the half marathon distance are not on the best of terms.  In the span of 6 weeks I raced in three half marathons.  Did I overdo it?  Yes. Do I need a break?  Yes.

Little Rock Half Marathon- 3/2/14- race report can be found here.

Germantown Half Marathon- 3/16/14- race report can be found here.
Doc Rock and Run Half Marathon- 4/12/14- race report can be found here.

On Saturday I was registered to run in the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon.  I had planned this race months ago.  It was actually my St. Jude Memphis Marathon comped replacement race.  However- I decided not to do it. The Doc Rock and Run Half Marathon sealed the deal for me.  I knew I needed a break- from this distance.  Give me all the 5 or 10k’s you want (and yes, I’m still training for my marathon May 18th) but please don’t make me run another half marathon.

I had planned to visit with my sister who lives in Nashville which was my main reason for going.  She was very understanding when I told her I had decided not to run it.  We are planning to visit her this summer but this just wasn’t the right time.  It was a busy week. Two of my children celebrated their birthday and Easter was right in the middle of it all.  *In the future I will be sure to appreciate the years that Easter does not fall during their birthday week even more.  It added to the craziness- and as a side note I had way too much cake and sweets.

His favorite cake is coconut cream so I make it for him every year. It was so good!

The birthday girls! My mother-in-law and my youngest daughter share the same birthday!

Easter!

On Monday morning I was in Arkansas but my heart was in Boston and I thoroughly enjoyed tracking runners I know during the race.  Boston is magical.  I love everything about it and wish every runner could experience it at least once in their lifetime.  I’m looking forward to doing it again when the time is right. 

The Training
Besides all the half marathons, training has been going well the last few weeks.  I’ve been putting in a lot of solid miles.  Most weeks have been in the mid 60’s (with peak week at 70) which is not the most I’ve ever done but it’s been very consistent (2+ months?) and more quality effort workouts.

Last week I tackled my nemesis workout.  In case you were wondering that would be 1k’s.  (1K= 2.5 laps.) They are incredibly challenging for me and on this particular day I had to do 12 of them. (With one lap recovery jog between.)  I have actually quit a few 1K workouts in the past and I’ve learned that I have to go into them with the same mindset as I would a serious race.  I stayed focused and strong and was able to knock them out getting a little faster each time. 

Last week was technically peak mileage week for my marathon training. I needed to run my last 20 miler for this marathon training cycle so I planned to do it Saturday morning.  There was a local 5K (which I have a hard time resisting) and I debated whether or not I should do it and move my 20 miler.  Timing-wise I really needed to do the 20 miler then so in the end I decided to do both.  I have never combined a 5K and a 20 mile long run (during peak week no less) so it was quite a learning experience.
The Race
This 5K raised money for CASA of White County.  (CASA volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children. They are trained community volunteers appointed by a judge to speak up in court for abused and neglected children.)  I have quite a few friends who are or have been foster parents and I’ve heard how important CASA volunteers are for children.  I really like being able to support a local cause like this by doing something that I love.  Abi wanted to run in this race as well so I registered us both.  It was very affordable- $15 for adult/ $10 for kids 12 and under.  I actually ran in this race two years ago and it was not so pleasant.  June 5k’s that begin at 9 am in the south should be outlawed.  Fortunately, this year the race was at 8:00 in April.  I appreciated the 30 degree temperature difference.

The Plan
The plan was to warm-up 2 miles, race the 5K and then “cool-down” with another 15 miles.

The Reality
I got in 1.5 miles and the 5K felt a lot harder than it should.  I usually feel so fresh and chipper during the first mile but then again I’ve never raced a 5K during peak mileage week. Not tapering = TIRED legs.  Seriously- it was rough. But I wasn’t trying to gun it either.  In the back of my mind I knew I still had a lot of running to do so I guess I just got in the 6 min pace mode and zoned out.  I’m so glad 5k’s are so short!

Mi 1- 5:58
Mi 2- 6:01
Mi 3- 5:55
Mi 3.12- 0:39 (5:22 avg.)

Official Finish Time: 18:34 / 1st Female (3rd overall)

Then I got some water before I turned around and jogged back to find Abi.  It took me a little over 3 minutes to get to her.  She asked if she had got to 2 miles yet.  I told her she was almost at 3! She kicked it in and finished in 25:48.  (Only 1 second off her PR!)  Then I jogged an easy mile cool-down with my friend Kerri who had also run- and finished with a big PR!  By this point I had almost 2 cool-down miles which left me needing about 13.5 to reach my goal of 20 miles.  I said good-bye to John who was going to stick around with the kids for the awards.  Fortunately, there was a giant bounce house by the awards location (and not too many little ones) so the kids were occupied and having fun.  Then I headed out for the second and more difficult part of the workout- running over a half marathon on tired legs.  Yes, this workout really mimicked how I would feel in a marathon!

The first few miles were really hard.  My time ranged from 8:00-8:30 minute miles.  I guess my body was still cooling down from the 5K and I couldn’t push the pace knowing I still had so much further to go.  The route I chose also included some of my favorite hills which made it even harder.  After about 7 miles or so I started to pick it up and the last 6 miles resembled my usual long run pace range (7-7:30).

In one way this workout was good because it reminded me how important it is not to go out too fast- especially in a marathon.  It also reminded me how tired my body feels the last 6-8 miles of a marathon.  I felt like I was in the final 10K of a marathon most of the time and I knew I had to push through and finish.  By this point the weather had warmed up to about 75 degrees.  (I had built in 3 water stops and had 3 shot bloks on this route.) 

Final Thoughts
I’m glad my last long run is behind me.  I love the long run but after a 5K it is definitely a little more challenging.  Sure, I could have jogged the 5K but that is not me.  It is really hard for me to line up at a starting line and not race. Also, peak mileage week and 5k’s necessarily do not mix- at least if you want a fast 5k!

This week I am going to cut back my mileage a bit since I have officially started my marathon taper.  I am racing one more time before my marathon and it’s this Saturday in Conway.  I’m planning to run in the Toad Suck 10K.  I ran this last year and broke 39 for the first time.  I would love to break 38 this year since I’m sitting on a 38:11 10k pr (from a few weeks ago) but we’ll just have to see.  I’m going to give it my best!

And finally, as you may have heard, tornadoes swept through the south last night right in our neck of the woods. We heard the sirens go off and went to the storm shelter at my in-laws house.  Then the tornado turned north and went around our city but there were many nearby who were less fortunate. Our prayers are with those who lost so much in this storm.

This is less than a half mile from my house.  My friend Heather took this picture last night right before the storm headed north.

I’ve seen this on a lot of my friends Facebook pages today and I thought I’d share it here.

10 Comments

  1. So glad you are safe and definitely praying for Arkansas and those affected!!!!! Your races are just awesome and a race in a long run is just amazing…I have no idea how you do it! Abi’s race was SO good too!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats to you both πŸ™‚

  2. I got stuck reading about the 12 1k reps that you did. That’s a huge speed session!! I still haven’t managed to lift my chin off the floor thinking about how much pain is involved in that session.

  3. Wow! You are incredible and fast!! What’s the secret to breaking 3:00 in the marathon?! I’m working on breaking 4:00 lol (4:04 PR inOKC) so glad I came across your blog. I look forward to following your journey. A brother of mine lives in Greenbrier, AR, so a part of my heart is in AR too. Glad you’re safe!

  4. Those are great stats! I didn’t think we got them for the half, and then got an email last night. Not sure yet if I’ll post them. Top 17% is something to be proud of! Especially besuace it seemed like there was a huge number of speedy finishers (especially in the full). I was looking at last year’s results, and there were way fewer speedy folks I bet lots of serious runners were in for the trials!

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