Well it happened. I knew it would…you know, the week that all of this great training, I’m hitting my paces, life is good, would come crashing to an end. Yes, this week was hard, really, really hard!
Recall last week I finished my week with a long run at the Celery Fields. That was a tough run. The hills there are super hard. Maybe that’s what did me in. Who knows. I just know Tuesday morning when I started my run, I was tired…actually Monday I was tired too, but Tuesday…
Tuesday, my training plan had me doing 4 x 1 mile at marathon pace minus 10 seconds with a quarter mile recovery between. These sets plus my mile and a half warm up and cool down was only 8 miles. This workout was my first marathon specific strength workout (recall Tuesdays have been all speed up till now). On paper this workout was a piece of cake. In practice, this workout was OMG hard!! I survived because…a potty break after the second mile repeat = extra recovery. Shhh, don’t tell the training police!
Thursday came with another hard, hard workout…2 x 4 miles on hills with 1 mile recovery, plus warm up and cool down for 12 miles total. I did the first 4 miles on a bridge (SWFL hill) and actually hit my pace. On my recovery run, my plan was to go to the southbound bridge (I had run the northbound) and do my next set there. That is where I psyched myself out. There were people walking on the bridge…oh no you don’t want to deal with that! Maybe you need an extra mile recovery? Yes, do that. Maybe you need to do your second set flat? Yes, do that too. And so I did!
By the time I got to Friday’s easy pace run I was already dreading my Sunday long run. I tried to run super slow to give my legs some much needed active recovery. Saturday, I ran Babcock Webb Wildlife Management Area with my dog Otis. We explored some off road areas that are often not accessible. We did a lot of run, walk, running, but we also really had fun.
I suspect taking it super easy Friday and Saturday is what saved me on Sunday. I had a great run Sunday. Most of my friends were running races, but I had to stay focused so I begged out, as did my friend Gary. He is also training for a marathon and wanted to get 20 miles, so we planned to run together. My plan had me doing 14 miles with the last three at marathon pace. But, since I am running a half marathon next week, I was fine swapping my 16 mile easy to moderate paced run scheduled for next week with my 14 mile run this week.
When we met for our run, Gary already had three miles in. We headed out to the east with plans to make a big loop that would include two overpasses (more SWFL hills). Our run started out well with us maintaining about a 9:10 pace. Around mile nine we began hitting a major head wind. For the next seven miles we ran into the wind. And, as the wind picked up, so too did Gary. All of these miles were sub 9 minute miles. They were hard too. I did not do my last three at marathon pace although I did get close on a couple. But we did finish with an overall pace of 9 minutes and Gary got his 20 miles. Good way to end a less than stellar week. 11 weeks down, seven to go!