Well, this week of training was a lot better than last week, but that’s really not saying much. It was pretty good. I did all my workouts, and my two hard speed workouts – a fartlek on Tuesday and a tempo run on Friday – were really strong and went well.
My high #1 for the week was my Tuesday night fartlek. I was ecstatic to be able to wear LONG SLEEVES for the first time this season! The weather was perfect – a little misty, cloudy and chilly in the high 50s. In my light long sleeves and long tights, I didn’t even get that sweaty and was so much more comfortable. While I didn’t see a drastic improvement in my paces, it’s amazing how much easier running feels in this weather. My fartlek was “countdown” intervals at a hard pace – 5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00 and 1:00, with halftime recovery after each interval. Due in part to the unevenness of the trail, changing direction a few times and running my first two recoveries way too fast, my paces were kinda all over the place: 7:19, 7:26, 7:39, 7:11 and 7:06, respectively. I actually felt strongest on the 5:00 and the 1:00 intervals.
My high #2 was my tempo run. I needed to kill this workout, and I delivered. It was rock solid. 2×2 miles with a half mile recovery in between. My tempo splits were super consistent at 7:49, 7:52, 7:48, 7:52. I paced myself really well and it was nice, for once, to not end a workout with a positive split and inconsistent paces.
My low for the week was my 10 mile long run. I felt like crap for the first half. My body wouldn’t warm up, I couldn’t get my breathing under control, and I didn’t wear my Fitbit but I’m pretty sure my heart rate was way high. Maybe I was tired, maybe it was the humidity – I was, after all, drenched in sweat even though it was only 63 degrees – I don’t know but I was getting so frustrated and upset which only made it all worse. I started feeling better once I turned around at the halfway point, but it still mostly felt like trying to run in a sauna. I wasn’t paying attention to my splits throughout the run, and I later found out that I started pretty fast and didn’t really ease into the pace, which is probably why it felt so damn hard; most of my splits were the same in my 10 miler two weeks ago, but my first two miles of that one were about 30 seconds slower, which is probably why it ultimately felt more effortless at the same pace.
Despite a better week, things are still not all sunshine and rainbows over here. Last week many of you commented on how you appreciate my transparency and honesty in how I talk about my training, so continuing in that spirit, here’s the whole story about how I felt this week (and how I often feel).
I did feel really good and proud of myself when I nailed my two speed workouts this week. They gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe my race goals are only slightly out of reach instead of totally out of reach, and that maybe my body is picking up on some of this work after all.
But I still struggle with motivation. I always feel good after I run but there are so many days when I just really, really don’t want to, and I can’t tell you how many of my good workouts only happened after I summoned every bit of mental strength I had to get my butt out the door. It’s not that I even feel tired or burnt out, I just sometimes miss being a normal person who doesn’t have to worry about training all the time.
And, while I had some great workouts this week that have boosted my confidence, I still don’t feel like I’m good at this running fast thing, and I am still trying to brace myself for the fact that I’m probably not going to get the huge PR I was originally hoping for at the beginning of this training cycle. I seriously believe the whole “OMG I totally surprised myself at this race!” is something that only happens to other people – I’m just not that lucky. I already used up all my luck going 3 for 3 in the kissed-by-the-gods marathons I’ve run, so now I will have to settle for not being able to run that much faster than my training paces in the shorter distances, methinks.
In all honesty though, based on my past experiences with races, I think the training will be there for me, and what it’s really going to come down to is how I feel physically on race day. I’ll need to have a rock-solid taper and feel well-rested going into the race, and I’ll need to be eating well and getting enough carbs (and greens!) and all the nutrients I need, as well as staying well hydrated. And, obviously, I need cool weather. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why a race went so awesomely, but looking back at past races, one thing that most of the good ones have in common is that I felt really fresh and springy going in and not weighed down by fatigue and lack of recovery.
As for the rest of the week, it was mostly just work stress crap but I did ring in October by being suuuuuper fall-y this weekend. I made crockpot apple sauce with Door County apples, cinnamon, a little nutmeg and a pinch of ginger. You guys….it is rull delicious.
This weekend I have a 5 mile time trial race, and speaking of kissed by the gods, I’m overcome with glee because the weather forecast looks literally perfect – it will be in the 40s and sunny. I’m just beside myself. I keep re-checking it, terrified that it’s going to change, because I can hardly believe this kind of luck. As many of you know, my last two time trials have been duds, so I really really want to nail this one. Unless the course is super hilly, my goal for the race is a 7:50 average, which is the exact pace from my tempo run on Friday. It should be doable for me since it will be so much cooler and the race is pretty late in the morning which works to my advantage, but I’m a little nervous just because my last two time trials have been flops. I think I’m going to run without GPS, and in order to be successful I just need to go into it with I’m-in-control-of-this attitude that I had for Friday’s tempo run.
The race is part of the Central Waters’ Great Amherst Beer Fest, so it will be fun. We are going up there as part of a nice long weekend getaway for our 5th anniversary, which is on Sunday. Really looking forward to a relaxing weekend away and, with the perfect weather we’re supposed to get, hopefully outdoing ourselves in fall-y-ness.