I would advise any of my athletes against running a half marathon on very little training and only one long run of 10 miles. It’s just not the best idea. But sometimes, if you’re expectations match reality, you can pull it off.
This past week it felt like everything was ramping up: my first week back to base-building, the week leading up to Rise.Run.Retreat. and the Seacoast Half Marathon. There was a lot going on, but all of it was good and oh.so.fun.
This past week mark the first week back to base building. Since deciding that winning the CHaD half marathon is going to be my focus, I’ve shifted my preparation to be more road-based vs. trail and mountain based-although I’m still shooting to get in a decent amount of climbing on each run (my 7 miler yesterday had 804 in elevation gain).
I’ve gone back to square one, basically and looked back to my training in 2015 where I was building back postpartum after having Liam. In October 2015 I ran the EXACT 5K time at the CHaD Hero on a similar weekly mileage base (25-30 miles) and from there started base-building and layering in shorter speed sessions (200’s and strides) to wake my feet up and increase turnover. Everything I did during that time was carefully written down in my Believe I Am Training Journal. I spent some time looking back over it and mapped out a plan for November and December where the focus is on building weekly mileage and increasing foot turnover.
This is what my first week looked like:
Monday: Run & Strength
15 minutes mobility and core strength; 15 minutes of strength (thrusters, pull ups, knee drops with dumbell)
Easy 4 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday: Hilly Run (7.01; 1:03:02; 8:59/mi; 643 ft gain)
Wednesday: Track Workout (1o min warm up; 6×200 w/ 200 jog recovery [44, 42, 42, 42, 39, 41]; 10 min cool down; 3.75 miles total)
Thursday: Hilly (6.22; 56:28; 9:03/mil 528 ft gain)
Friday: Recovery Run & Strength
25 min hip, core, mobility drills
Run (4.04; 34:37; 8:32/mi)
Saturday: Shakeout Run with Runner’s Alley (3.02; 26:01; 8:51/mi)
Sunday: Seacoast Half Marathon (13.35; 1:41:56; 7:38/mi)
I ended up with 41 miles for the week. Highest mileage of all of 2017!
The retreat ended up being such a fantastic weekend, even with the modified structure people who joined in each event were able to connect with one another and have a great time. We kicked off the weekend with a Meet-and-Greet at my house. I was so happy to have the help of Lauren from BlissfullyLively.com in the food prep, which included cheese from one of our sponsors, Cabot.
On Saturday morning in a chilly 19 degrees, we joined Runner’s Alley for a shakeout run around Portsmouth and then snagged brunch after at the Friendly Toast. Before heading back across the street to collect our packets for the race. Runner’s Alley did a fantastic job as a host for the run, race sponsor and also provided our runners with some sweet swag.
Later on Saturday night we headed to RiRa in Portsmouth for dinner, sponsored by Coolcore. We got to see, feel and try on some of the newest pieces from Coolcore; some that aren’t even released yet!
By far it seemed that the new Aurora Hoodie is everyone’s favorite. I wore my hoodie all weekend since the temps decided to take a nosedive and it was the coldest it has been by far this fall. It’s the perfect layer when the temps dip below 20 degrees.
We rapped up the weekend with the race and grabbed a bite to eat after, trying to delay the departures for as long as possible.
Seacoast Half Marathon
When I lined up for the Seacoast Half, my expectations were to treat it as a long run: run with someone else so I could chat the whole way, start slow and if I was feeling it finish fast. And that was all a last minute race plan, I hadn’t really given it too much thought at all.
Which is a good way to go when you have no expectations and are simply running ‘for fun.’ I ended up tagging along with Liz from Running for Bling, since we thought we’d be around the same pace. We started off relatively easy, but I still could feel the miles from the week in my legs and my breathing for the first mile wasn’t really relaxed. Around mile 2 we settled into a good rhythm and found ourselves chatting away about every possible thing. It made the middle miles fly by. As we approached mile 7 I could feel myself start to fade/struggle. My legs felt like it was mile 10 and I anticipated hitting a wall and slowing to a shuffle. I really thought I’d gone out too fast.
I told Liz to go and she began to ease ahead of me. I took my GU, was revived a bit and miles 8 and 9 went off with some focused effort. I found myself locking into a good effort and not even paying attention to my pace: just run hard enough that you don’t slow down, but not so hard you don’t have anything left. I knew the final mile would have two hill climbs back to the finish and I wanted to make sure I saved some energy for that. Everything still felt very effort-full and somewhat labored in mile 9, but as I approached mile 10 something shifted: I still felt good! I wasn’t fading and slowing like I thought I might and even felt like I could push a bit.
I let my effort naturally increase, focusing in on my form to allow my body to naturally pick up the pace. When I approached the mile 11 marker, I decided to “take the gloves off” and really pick up the pace and see what I had left. I locked in on a solid effort and mile 11 churned by, my form felt fantastic and I knew I was running efficiently, glances down at my watch showed that I was right in that 7:00/mi pace. Wow. I didn’t think I had THIS in me. Being able to drop the pace gave me a huge confidence boost and I was rolling past people as if I was flying. I knew that I could maintain this effort to mile 13 and that the pull of the finish would get me through that last mile. As I approached the final hill I saw Sandra and Liz in the distance and did my best to catch them, I charged up the hill and then down into the finish chute to finish in 1:41:56.
I really didn’t care too much about the finish time, but what I was most pleased about was the fact that I was much stronger than I thought I’d be in the end. Instead of fading and positive splitting the course, I was able to dig a little something out of somewhere and put it out there at the end.
What a fantastic weekend!
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