Monday, January 25, 2016

Last Long Run for Marathon #5 Done!

Week 3 of 2016: MLK Day and last long run for my next marathon

Monday was in memorial of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King.  Schools and many businesses close to honor his life and achievements, so that meant no preschool for my munchkins that day.  I did, however, still have to teach my usual spin class at LA Fitness, so to their excitement, they got to accompany me to the gym.  I knew I wouldn't get much done work wise that day having the babies home with me, but I was also super excited to get to spend the day with them.  I didn't do much weights that morning either because I wanted to maximize my time with them, so just a little core before my class.  That afternoon, we got to have lunch with daddy, ride scooters in the beautiful weather and get frozen yogurt.  I'm sure they would agree, it was a super awesome way to spend the day!

Tuesday is the day I would typically do speed-work but because I had to do my long run on Thursday, I used it as a tempo run.  I started out a little faster than I have been these past few months in hopes to start getting my base pace back up.  Surprisingly it went really well and I was able to knock out 5 miles at a 7:30 minute mile.  Not where I used to be, but seeing improvements like this definitely makes me hopeful I will soon be there again!

Rather than doing my usual heavy lift day and spend my long run the following day regretting it, I figured I should do some laps in the pool instead.  Swimming was something I always struggled with.  Back in my tri days, it was my absolute worst event (I was so glad it was first so I could get it over with)!  I avoided the pool like the plague for many years, but early last year I was feeling somewhat burnt out with running and wanted to give swimming another shot to mix it up.  I am so glad I did.  Not sure if I had just gotten stronger, leaner and more conditioned, or if I just finally decided to let go of my fears, but I felt as if I were a mermaid!  It was all of a sudden so natural to me and I found myself actually enjoying it.  I began incorporating swimming as a regular part of my training regimen until I began training for my full marathon last fall.  I was spending so much time on specific training runs that I did not have time for swimming, but when I ended up getting hurt half way through training, swimming was all I could do.  But once again, marathon training came back into my life and bye bye swimming.  Wednesday was the perfect opportunity to pick it back up and glad I made it happen.  I even made some friends in the pool and guess who is now doing a triathlon this May!?!

Since training for my last marathon this past Fall, my training runs have been all over the place.  I was finding myself getting more and more frustrated if they did not go as EXACTLY as planned.  The self inflicted pressure and stress cause me to lose a bit of my love for running, which is NOT cool.  After getting hurt last fall, my knee jerk reaction was to jump right into another race to get that BQ I have been working so hard for.  But with my poor attitude, overtrained body and not quite healed injury, I am realizing my dream may have to wait yet again.  Rather than getting pissed off, I have decided to let go (for now) and just enjoy the process more.  So with this last long run for my 5th marathon, I made a promise of myself to just run and have some fun.  Run the miles not only because I had committed to doing so, but also because I get to do so, and it is what I love to do.

7:15am start time (for safety purposes, I typically wait for sunrise) and off I went.
It was only about 42 degrees when I got going.  I was half excited about the weather and half concerned since I have not a clue what to wear! #runnerproblems  I figured I would dust off everything I have purchased over the years for cold weather running, put it all on and peel it off as I go, lol.  I did have my watch, but I changed my settings to not see my pace.  My goal was to just run the miles, and that is exactly what I did.  For 15 straight miles it was just me, the trail and my thoughts (well and of course my iPod).  One foot in front of the other, refusing to give up or give in.  It wasn't easy, I wanted to stop and walk several times, but I was committed to just run,even if it's slower than I'd like.  Then, out of nowhere, and just what I needed was a friend of mine and fellow runner, Kim.  Kim and her friend Kris had just dropped their kiddos off at preschool and were out for a 5 miler.  Just what I needed, some running buddies!  For almost 4 miles, we talked about our families, our jobs, and our running goals.  We kept a solid pace and the miles just flew by.  Before I knew it, we were back to their cars and I only had 3 miles to go.  I couldn't have been more thankful for saving my run when I needed it the most.

Having had that little pick me up from my friends was exactly what I needed to crush those last few miles and even had some great negative splits at the end!  Finished all 22 miles in about 3 hours with an average pace of 8:30.  I know this pace is not what will get me that BQ I had originally hoped for, but I am completely ok with that and am hoping to pull off a good PR for this one.  Like I always say, there will be other races.  I've learned a lot both physically and mentally over the past two years of running, more than I had learned in the first 15.  So I'm excited to move forward with a much better attitude and start crushing some goals, but most importantly, have some fun!

Friday, my legs were a little sore but I still wanted to get a quick upper body pump in after I taught my Friday morning group.  Did mostly shoulders and biceps, and of course foam rolling.  Didn't make it to hot yoga that evening, but it was probably for the best, I needed some recover.

On Saturday, I figured I could knock out my usual 8-10 miles, but I quickly realized my legs did NOT agree with me!  A super slow treadmill 5k, that even involved some walking, was about all I had in me.  I foam rolled some more then hit up the pool for about 1000m swim.  Again, really digging on this swimming.  It was ultra cold, cloudy and windy that day, so me and the boys were all bundled up.  We spent some time with some friends and had a nice relaxing evening at home!

Sunday started off pretty chilly with temps in the 30's!  By lunch time, it had warmed up to the 50's and the sun was shinning bright.  The boys' had their soccer game that afternoon and despite a bit of a chill in the air, it had shaped up to be an absolutely beautiful day.  When I mentioned how gorgeous it was after we got back from soccer, my husband said "Yeah, you should get you a run in!"  If he suggested it and it willing to watch the kiddos, I'm so going for it, and I did!  No watch, no music, just a few quick miles around the neighborhood was all I needed for an absolutely perfect Sunday afternoon run.  My legs felt great and I hadn't enjoyed a run like that in I don't know how many years!

This was a pretty good week of training.  Glad to have my last long run complete and now I can focus on some speed work then start tapering down in preparation for the big race.  I am also excited to be back in the pool and plan to make that a regular part of my training.  My lifting always take a big hit during long run weeks and that is one thing I'm missing consistently in my life.  I am looking forward to getting back after it and getting my muscles back!  Who knows, maybe I will finally work on that other fitness goal I have been thinking about for years.  Definitely quite a different direction than my endurance sports.  But we shall see!

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