Last week marked peak week before the Nike Women's Half Marathon. The week started off slow as my legs were quite fatigued from the Capital 10 Miler the previous Sunday. Last week was also the warmest week we've had all year, with temps in the upper 80's and even one day in the 90's. I wasn't expecting how much I loved the warmer temps. Now I'm counting down the days until the semester is over and summer can really start. I've also been craving going to a baseball game.
To be honest, it seems way too soon for peak week to have already come and gone. In a way I feel like I just started training. At the same time I feel like I've been training forever. I'm nervous, excited and anxious for race day to be just around the corner. Even though this wasn't my highest week in terms of time training it was equally as tough on my legs after coming off of a tough race.
Monday: 3 recovery miles with no watch as the sun was setting. Best. run. ever.
15 minutes of abs and some foam rolling
Tuesday: 2500 yard swim
5.8 miles in the evening consisting of a mixture of road & trail. Somehow I got lost, which coupled with a cranky stomach made this a less than pleasant run.
Wednesday: 7 miles of intervals in the morning. One of the toughest runs I've had in awhile on a day that hit 93 degrees. I surprised myself and LOVED running in the morning.
Friday: 3100 yard swim
3.3 easy miles cut short from 6.5 due to a cranky stomach.
Saturday: 3.9 sunset miles. I was supposed to do my long run on Saturday but ran into some scheduling conflicts that caused me to push it back to Sunday. I was going to finish Friday's run on Sunday after my long run but when that got moved I decided to get the miles in on Saturday. I kept the pace really relaxed and chased the ice cream truck all over Arbutus.
15 minutes abs
Sunday: 13.35 mile long run. This was my longest run and my last long run of this training cycle. Instead of being nervous about tackling the distance I was actually pretty excited. The run started about kind of average with my pace hovering around 9:00. I decided I wanted to throw in some faster miles to mix things up, so I ran until the turn around point at a hard but conservative pace. I remember thinking "I could probably hold this for an entire half marathon if I really tried." I wasn't expecting to see I was holding around 8:23. Same pace as last weekend's race but considerably easier. Once I reached half way I decided I would finish out the run by doing 1 mile easy, 2 @ 8:20, 1 mile easy, 1.5 @ 8:20, 1.5 miles warm down.
The next two miles I was supposed to hold 8:20 for felt really good. Like really good. I didn't look at my watch but instead ran at a comfortably hard pace. At the end of the second mile I picked it up a bit by letting some faster people in front of me pace me. They were running faster than me but didn't require a sprint to keep up with. Miles 9 and 10 clocked in at 8:09 and 7:53. During the easy mile I noticed that my hip was starting to get tight and achy. Nothing too concerning but when I started to run harder my hip started to protest. The harder I ran the more it hurt so I ran at more of a comfortably hard pace. I tried stretching it before starting my warm down but it still hurt when I started running again. With a little less than a mile to go I was practically limping. I wanted nothing more than to finish all 14 of those miles but I knew it would be dumb of me to push through the pain.
Once I got home I stretched, foam rolled and iced my hip. It doesn't seem to be injured by any means, just cranky. I probably could have pushed through and finished the run but I was so close to being done anyway and had put in a really solid effort that I didn't want to chance anything. Hip troubles aside, this run was incredible. I felt a million times better than I did last weekend and was able to hold some fast paces with a lot less effort than I expected. This run was challenging but I felt strong the whole time. I remember finishing runs of 8.8 miles at the same pace and being dead by the end. If it wasn't for my hip I could have kept running.
This was the first time that I have really loved doing a long run. Normally I dread long runs because they completely wipe me out. On Sunday I actually felt ready and capable to handle the distance. Before I started running I thought back to a 14 mile long run I did while training for the NYCM/Harrisburg Marathon. That run took me the entire day. Every single mile was a challenge. Yesterday's run was a complete 180 from that run. I finished the run beaming with confidence. I rarely have gone into races (both running and swimming) with confidence. I am no longer doubting my abilities to run the race I want to run.
Week total: 36.35 miles
Even though my legs felt heavy more days than not I couldn't help but love all of my runs this week. They were the kind of runs that remind me how much I love running. It's a good thing I was loving running so much this week because I ran my highest mileage week ever at 36.35 miles. I really never thought I would run so many miles while training for a half marathon. I didn't think I would love running higher (for me) mileage so much. In the matter of a few weeks I have gone from dreading training for a fall marathon to excited to do it right this time and run even more miles.