Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Calm Before the...?

I am strangely zen about my training right now. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm totally pumped to attempt another PR in two and half weeks, but recently something switched in my head and I went from "I have no idea if I'll be ready to race another marathon hard" to "Relax, everything's gonna be cool, man."

You know, kinda like this guy:

I was feeling a little out in No-Mans's Land because I hadn't run any races all summer where I could gauge my fitness.  But lo:

Oh hey, it looks like I finally beat my 5K PR from over FOUR YEARS AGO. It's cool. I've only barely come within maybe 30 seconds of it in the last half dozen 5Ks I've run. So I do this one in the middle of my peak week for Lakefront Marathon and BOOM. Won my age group too! So happy.

The best part is that Jason came down and did the race as well. His second 5K this summer:

We totally do races together now. It's a thing we do.
Then, two and a half days later I tackled my last 20 mile workout of training. Some long runs I do a "whatever feels good" pace and other long runs I consider "workouts," meaning that I have something specific I try to accomplish during the run (usually a fast finish or intervals.) This one was an interval workout:

5 mile warmup
3 miles at GMP (Goal Marathon Pace)
1 recovery mile
3 miles at GMP
1 recovery mile
3 miles at GMP
4 easy miles to get to 20.

My goal marathon pace this time around is 8:15 but I seemed to settle in at about 8:05-8:10 for my faster intervals. It just felt good. (Or, as good as running 20 miles fairly aggressively can be expected to feel.) The point is that I didn't feel terrible and I was able to hang on and hit that speed for all of the (9 total) goal pace miles. Woo! Plus I got to go to Soldier Field and eat nachos and drink beer afterward. The high of nailing this run almost took the sting out of the Bears loss that day. Almost.

To top everything off, yesterday I did a speed workout where I managed to run every one of my half mile repeats in the 6s, Sure they were all 6:5X but dammit if they weren't under 7!

Pretty graph.
Anyway, all bragging aside, I'm feeling pretty chilled out right now about my chances of lowering my BQ time on October 4th. I'm sure I'll go through few dozen more ups and downs before race day but right now I'm going to ride this feeling for as long as I can:

On the Playlist: Part 14

Tigernite on repeat.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Knock Knock

I'm still here!

Wow summer really has gotten away from me- mostly because of my gig working on the Milwaukee Running Festival. Obsessing over my own training has taken a back seat to obsessing over how to pull off putting on Milwaukee's first urban marathon (plus half marathon, plus 5K, plus Mile Race) on November 1st. Eeeeeeep.

Today I'm sitting here after yet another 20 miler- one that was rolled into the Lake Michigan Trail Half Marathon just a few miles from my house. It was was hot, humid, gross, icky, and pretty much a struggle bus- especially the last 3 miles that I ran home. Luckily, I had not specific time goal for today and was scheduled to run "easy," but even that was a tall order today.

So how has training been going? Honestly a couple of weeks ago it felt like this:

Why? I like I said before, I'm much busier this time around so I feel like I'm logging the miles I've mapped out for myself but I haven't taken a lot of time to process what I've been doing. (Which is new for me because historically I over-analyze everything.) Also, with summer being what it is- hot and humid- those days where running feels truly "easy" are few and far between.  Even though I've been completing all the workouts, hitting the paces, and checking all the little boxes, I was missing that feeling of everything is starting to come together.

Until last week!

Last week we had a glorious dip in temperature and I headed out for a run on Tuesday morning that  I was kind of dreading- 10 miles with 6 at marathon pace. Fortunately though, that sudden burst of fall weather lit a fire in me. I was cranking out 15 seconds faster than the pace I needed and it felt like I could have run like that all day.  THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. I went home and started combing through my Strava workouts and realized that I actually have been making some pretty good improvements this summer. My speed workouts have been tougher than last time around, and although my long run pace remains the same overall- I've been completing them with fast finishes (something I desperately need to learn to do in races.)

This worry that I haven't been progressing this summer is totally unfounded. My mileage has been a wee bit lower than for my spring marathon, but that's really just because this cycle is only 12 weeks this time instead of 18. Going into peak week next week I'm feeling energized right now instead of drained. Now I just need fall to happen and hopefully I can coast into October in top form.

Can I really be on track? I think I might be.