Half Marathon Training: Weeks 13 and 14

Two weeks left!  I’m excited for the race to get here, and excited to sleep in on a Saturday once training is over.  Oops… did I just say that out loud?

Tuesday of week 13 I used the Johnson and Johnson 7 Minute Workout app to get in a quick sweat session.  It may be only 7 minutes, but it sure gets your heart pumping!

7Minutes

Wednesday was the usual group run, but it was a little tough this week.  It had rained all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so it was pretty humid.  My lungs were feeling it, and my legs were pretty tired too.  We got through six miles though, and it wasn’t a too awful pace.

Thursday after work before dinner, I decided to go for a walk.  No destination, just around a few blocks.  It was full of pretty fall leaves! Love it.

leaves

Saturday morning I was prepared to run 12 miles, but when I got there it had been changed to 11.  Woo hoo!  We were on track to run 13 miles for our longest run before the taper, which seemed a bit much to me, so I was fine with the drop to do 11 two weeks in a row and then 12 as the longest.  The weather was a little nuts.  I had eventually decided on a t-shirt, which I ended up regretting when it started raining.  Blech.  The last few miles were ROUGH.  Which was later explained by final pace: 10:03! WHAT?! I do NOT run that fast, especially for that far! Except for the fact that I did!  I got a little teary at the accomplishment, but sssshhhhh.

11take2

I then rewarded myself with this kind of afternoon:

fb11Sunday evening I did a little at home arm work out.  I did this Sexy Shoulder Workout from Erin over at The Almond Eater.  The squat / overhead press?  Love.  Fits in with my squat challenge slash operation-fix-the-knee-pain.  It adds some new variety to squats, and works shoulders.  Excellent.

Going into week 14, we’re getting down to crunch time.  There’s been a few weeks where I’ve only gotten in two runs, rather than the three I would prefer.  This is due to a combination of 1) being a bum, and 2) blisters and knee pain.   More like using the blisters and knee pain to rationalize being a bum.  Running with the group on Wednesdays has been longer runs during the week than I’m used to; my body wasn’t doing well with running 6/7/8 miles on a Wednesday and then 10+ on Saturday.  That wasn’t enough recovery time, so I decided to do similar mileage this week, but spacing it out to three runs rather than two.

I was sitting at my desk on Monday being impressed with the superstar pace from Saturday’s long run.  The thought jumped into my head that if I’ve gotten so much faster recently, that maybe I could break my 5K PR.  If I can run 11 miles at just over a 10 minute pace, maybe I could beat the 5K at a 9:20 pace.  I set it two years ago, and it was kind of a freak accident.  I talked briefly about it here.  Well, I don’t have any 5Ks coming up due to no-free-weekends-ever, so I decided that I’d try to break it after work.  Nothing like 4 hours of preparation.  Anywho, Monday at work kinda sucked, so I was grouchy when I set off on the trail, and busted out an 8:34 mile. WOAH too fast, though that’s probably a 1 mile record.  So the next mile was about a 9:51 trying to recover.  I was doing math and figured out what I would need to hold my pace at to get under 28:59 for my 5K.  Well I ran, and it hurt, but I did it!  Yeah, I know it’s unofficial, but I’m not too concerned, I just wanted to know if I could do it! Next time, I’ll go for more even splits!

5kPR

Tuesday was a weights day at the gym with the boyfriend.  Productivity + my favorite person?  Not a bad evening.  Judging by the pain (in a good way) in my arms the next day, we had a pretty good work out too.

Wednesday I did my second 5K of the week.  I tried a new route, got creeped out in the woods, went back the way I came instead of completing my planned circle… I need to stop watching so much TV.  Still got in the three miles, even if the Garmin map looks like I am crazy.

I took Thursday and Friday off in preparation of Saturday’s final long run before the taper (YAY! Taper).  Got to give my knees and blisters a rest before 12 miles!  Saturday’s run ended up being pretty warm out.  I wasn’t properly hydrated, and I didn’t sleep very well the night before so it was a bit rough.  My knees ended up being OK, but my hips were killing me.  I just can’t win.  Regardless, finished!  It’s taper time!

12MInstaI’ve been happy with how this training has been going, but I’ll be glad when it’s over!  I’m getting tired!

 

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Friday Five! Race Memories

My main fitness activity is running. There’s no better way to tell you about my journey thus far than to tell you about some races.  I’m going the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.

1) We’ll go way back, all the way back to my first 5K.  I started running again after I graduated from college and started working full time.  My first 5K was a race supporting a local community college, College of DuPage.  It was a disaster.  Not the race itself, just me.  It was an evening run and I didn’t know what to do for the many hours of the day before hand.  I forgot to eat, then ate at the last minute and had side stitches the whole time.  Hot mess, but I finished.

2) One of my favorite races was the Firefly Run 5K in Chicago. It was pretty warm out, but dark. We ran along the Lake front down town, and it was really cool to see thousands of people running through the dark. The race had given out two red LED arm/leg bands, and then most people also had some glow sticks. Seeing the masses of people boucing through the dark, along Lake Michigan with the Chicago Skyline lit up in the back ground? Gorgeous. The race organization left a little to be desired (come on strollers, to the back!), but over all a highlight.

3) I keep returning to the COD 5k, the race that was my first. So far I have ran it three times. The second year I ran it in 2012 is still my standing PR. I was really tired right off the bat, then I run past the person calling the first mile split, hear thed sub-9 mile time and though, “ah yes… that would make me tired.” But I kept on and kept on. The end of the race runs around about 3/4 of the track at the college.  As I neared the track, I remember thinking, “once you get to the track, pick it up for the end!”  I got around the final turn and could see the clock ticking… 28:50. What?! That got my butt moving and I sailed across the finish line. I knew it was close, but it was a few minutes before I found record of my time. 28:59! Up until then, my goal was “Run a 5K in less than 30.”  Smashed that out of the park, AND got third place in my age group!

4) The start of 2013 was a mess of injuries, more training and impromptu vacations that left my training plans in shambles. My foot injury was mostly cured with new shoes, but I was left with a hurting hip. I was already signed up for a 10K though, and I wasn’t going to DNS on account of “a little pain.” I did what little training I could, and then on that oh so VERY HOT July Chicago morning, we drove into the city for the race. 6:30 am and already about 90 degrees. First three miles? OK. But it just kept getting hotter, and hotter. By about 4-5 it was getting bad. I was in pain, and it was hot. The race finished on the warning track of US Cellular field (Go White Sox!) and even though I thought my hip was going to fall off, I had done it. I came towards the finish line and could hear my boyfriend cheering for me. So hot, so much pain, but that was definitely a race I earned. And even if those types of races hurt physically, there’s something great about knowing that you worked SO hard and succeeded.

5) Saving the big one for last! This past May I ran my first half marathon. It was the First Midwest Bank Half Marathon in Palos Heights, IL. I wouldn’t say I rocked this race, a million things could have gone differently (come back soon for the recap and what I learned!), but I finished. What more can you ask for during your first half? I rocked that medal all day. I do believe I continued to rock the bling even during my post-race nap!

Half1

Finish line of my half!

That’s it for my first Friday Five link up! Thanks, ladies, for hosting!