A Personal Best (Yipeee!)

This week was a mix bag. I over trained a bit and had to ice my knee for a full day, I also had a very special visitor so there was sangria, wine and cognac to be shared, laughs and sightseeing to be done. I had to change my schedule a bit, which didn’t quite work out as planned. I did long interval training which really helped me to increase and maintain a faster speed.

My goal for the week was not to run above a 9:30 pace regardless of the distance. Why? Well if you want to run at a faster pace during the marathon you have to start running at the pace before the marathon. I did well at the beginning of the week with that strategy. I held the faster pace, somewhere between 8:30 and 9:17 for at maximum 6 miles straight. The thought was to add a mile each day at the faster pace and make the majority of each run faster, gradually.

With my special visitor in town, I needed to put my 16 mile long run in the middle of the week. That didn’t work out well. There’s a reason why most long runs are scheduled after a day off, or at the very least, after a short run the day before.

Prior to Thursday, I ran a 10 mile race on Sunday, ran 8 miles on Monday, 6 miles on Tuesday and 9 miles on Wednesday. That’s 33 miles that I ran before attempting my second long run of 16 miles on Thursday. Care to guess how that went?

Well it started out ok. I chose a flat course because I wanted to test my faster pace at a longer distance without the added challenge of hills. I felt great until I hit mile 4, then it was a struggle. I carried on to 8 miles, which was really stop and go. Then I gave up after 11 miles, because I could barely move and I started to feel pain in my right knee. I knew that pain and I knew that if I’d pushed on to the 16, (I’m sure you are thinking “she only had 5 more miles to go”) I would have caused an injury.

The good part of that experience, was I knew when to quit, the hard part was having to walk the rest of the way home.

I took Friday off and ended up drinking lots of wine and sangria, only to remember late that night that I had a race the following morning. I was hoping to use that race as a speed quiz. Well, alcohol and speed don’t mix.

I woke up with a slight headache, ate a banana, drank lots of water and went to my race. I arrived with 15 minutes to spare before the start time. I had to run to the start, pick up my bib, put it on, check my bag and make it to my corral before the race started.

That certainly perked me up and I ended up running a PR for the distance 8:47 pace vs 9:05 a year ago for that distance. I would have matched my 5k pace of 8:33, which is the pace I practiced during my long interval training, but the course was crowded and it took me a good mile before I could run without human obstacles. I also stopped at water stations because I was dehydrated from the wine. So all in all, a good race, my core was a little stronger, still some work to be done there since my finish wasn’t as strong after the last hill.

So, there’s progress! I ran the 16 miles on Sunday, with some hills and slow to focus on fat burning.  I’m now thinking about my outfit for the race. I believe there’s a direct correlation between how coordinated your race outfit is and your finishing time. Serious runners don’t care what they look like, they just need to have the basics covered, warmth, dryness and comfort. Others, well they are slow so might as well look good because people along the course will have plenty of time to watch them.  I guess I fall somewhere in between, so I am on the hunt for the Nike Cheetah print Bowery leggings. How did I  miss those?


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