The first week of half marathon training is in the books! This week I only needed to do three three mile runs and one four mile run but since I’m already able to do that with no problem I decided to add extra miles where possible.
I always go to the Big River Running group runs on Monday at 6pm and do three or four miles depending on how I’m feeling. It was slightly chilly and sprinkled a little at the start, adding to the coolness. I was feeling pretty good and ended up doing 4.22 miles in 37:24, or a 8:52 pace. This pace has become my normal pace for runs less than six miles.
Song of my run: “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox Twenty
I go to Zumba on Tuesdays at 6:30pm but am able to sneak in a run beforehand depending on when I leave work. I love Zumbaing after a run because I really feel like it stretches me out. Tuesday runs are treadmill runs because at I’m the gym anyway for Zumba. I tend to go slower on treadmill runs. I keep my mind occupied by starting at a certain pace, like 6.0, then increasing it by 0.1 every song, or two songs, etc. By the time I’m done, the treadmill is covered in my sweat, which is lovely.
I walked a little after the run; the run itself was 3.15 miles in 30 minutes, or a 9:31 pace.
Song of my run: “Daylight Fading”, by Counting Crows
I ran in Tower Grove Park on Wednesday and my legs felt dead. I’m not a fan of running four days in a row. I kept telling myself it’s only three miles and finished with 3.14 in 29:03, a 9:15 pace. I was surprised I went that fast because my legs felt like they were moving in slow motion. Thankfully, when I got home my Pro Compression Socks were waiting for me, and they really helped alleviate my soreness.
Song of my run: “Molly”, by Sponge. They were my second or third concert ever.
Sunday is long run day. The longest run of my plan this week was four miles which I don’t consider a long run, so I decided to do whatever mileage felt good. And I got new shoes that I was excited to break in!
I ran with the 9:30-10 minute mile pace group during last week’s Big River Training Team run and I felt so great that this week I decided to jump up a pace group, to 9-9:30. The girl leading this group didn’t mess around. She got a general idea of the mileage people were running and then we were off, barely after we all got there. We headed out of Forest Park, north on Skinker, then west on Delmar through the loop. No sugar coating it–this portion was hell for me. It was a gradual uphill which I’ve done on other long runs as well as the U City 10k, but today it just felt awful. Plus, our pacer was very ambitious, as my Nike+ app thought we were running at an 8:45 pace, which is not what I bargained for. I thought I was going to puke so before I even hit 2 miles I stopped, walked, and drank some Gatorade. I watched the other 25 or so people continue on and felt defeated. Then I saw one straggler who appeared to be going the pace I planned to go and decided I’d just try to hang with him.
This guy became my motivation. I continued running for a while until the uphill just became too much and I walked again. I guess my two walking breaks lasted only 30 seconds or so but to walk when others are running away was just so sad for me. I began looking for streets to turn around on (I don’t like running back on the same street I ran out on) but the only roads I saw at that time were no outlet. Maybe that was fate. I ran again. When we turned left from Delmar I’d caught a group of several people, so I was back in a pace group of sorts. I ran with them through Clayton and back east on Wydown. It was incredibly helpful to have that group of slightly slower people than the pacer. And the guy I was using for motivation seemed to be getting faster. He started out as the last runner in the group so I was really impressed that he was now passing people. I realized I now felt great, so I passed people with him. Somewhere on Wydown I caught sight of the bulk of our pace group.
Yes, they were very far away from me, but I never lost them even though I walked. When I saw them I knew I’d catch them, even though that meant upping my pace to probably 8:30 in order to catch the 8:45 pacer. This reminded me of what I do in races–focus on people ahead of me, catch them, pass them. That strategy really makes the miles go by.
I’d just hit the 7 mile mark when the pace group got stopped at Big Bend, allowing me to catch up some more. I pushed and pushed, and finally I reached them around Wash U.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d nearly quit 5 miles ago and now I’d caught them and was still feeling great. What a wonderful reminder that I tend to feel better as I go deeper into my workouts and sometimes you just have to push through a ton of uncomfortableness in order to get to the good part. My pace was now faster than the pace group, so I kept passing people. We crossed over Skinker and back into Forest Park to head back to the visitor’s center. I ran with a couple guys at the front of the pack for most of that portion then as we approached the history museum I passed the guy in front. I only had a little further to go to the visitor’s center, so I kept my fast pace, fueled by the adrenaline rush I got from passing everyone in the pace group that nearly left me an hour earlier. I could have cried, I was so thrilled.
I was only scheduled to run 4 miles; ended up running 9.07 in 1:20:01. 8:49 miles is the fastest I’ve ever gone on a run that long. I think I just had the greatest run of my life, and had I quit I would have missed it entirely.