Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday's Workout and Marathon Goals...

According to Janda, as of Wednesday, there were 2 hard workouts left before LA. One last Wednesday, and one this upcoming Tuesday. And they're workouts that will definitely keep someone honest. The prescription was 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 2mile on the track at 10 seconds faster than half marathon pace. Yeepers. 2 mile repeats on a track - alone?? And to add insult to injury, I had to go after work. I'm soooo not an afternoon runner. This was going to take serious mental toughness.

Felt miserable on my warm-up, and thought about trashing the workout. Then thought "well, the easy thing to do would be to bail. And the easy thing would give me just one more excuse for why I can say I didn't run well in LA. I'm not interested in excuses". Hopped over the padlocked fence (although more gingerly than last week. With a week and a half left to LA, I was determined to not hurt myself on that stupid fence). Had the conversation about focusing, digging deep, and making this workout worth my time.

First 2 mile repeat:
7:12, 7:25 for 14:38

Felt decent, although that last mile was HARD! Didn't take much rest in between. Not bc I didn't want the rest, but bc I wanted to power through and be done w/ the workout. Hee.

Second 2 mile repeat:
7:18, 7:12 for 14:30

So all in all, good workout. Track workouts alone are just hard. Plain and simple. I do much better when I have someone to chase, or someone screeching at me. But definitely good work. And faster than it was supposed to be. I'll get this pacing thing down one of these days.

So as I go into my last weekend before the marathon, I've been thinking about real goals for this race. And sure, I have the normal "finish without being injured" goal, and the "finish faster than than my worst marathon time", but I'm talking real goals.

This will be marathon #6 for me. I know how to run the race, and I've proven over the last few that I'm getting much smarter at racing the distance. I've put in a lot of solid training for LA, and I want to hold myself accountable to a real goal. A goal that will force me to push harder during the race, and keep me focused.

I'm always petrified to make my goal "qualify for Boston", bc if I don't, there's the letdown at the end of the race, despite the fact that I may have PRd or ran a great race. But if there's something this training has proven to me, it's that I deliver when I dig deep to see what I'm made of. So I'm saying it right now: my goal for LA is to run a qualifying time for Boston. Now it's in black and white, and I'm holding myself to it.

My last 2 marathons have been Baystate 2009: 3:42: 20 and Twin Cities 2008: 3:42:48. I simply need to find 80 seconds over the course of 26.2 miles. And I will. In LA. In 9 short days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Officially Time To Taper

T Minus 13 itty bitty days til LA. Which means my last long(ish) run was Saturday. And man was it beautiful out! Up at 630am and drove up to Seaside to run along the north shore. Feeling a little bit of pressure, bc this is the last real distance run before race day, and I wanted the training to end on a good note.

Left Seaside at about 830 after chatting a little w/ Janda He gave me the "stern" talking to about keeping it easy, and to stay focused on LA, not trying to whip out a fast 14 miler. The "keep it slow and easy" plan always works better when I'm running with someone, and I'm talking/laughing/distracted. When I'm alone, it goes something like this: "pound, pound, pound, gasp, gasp, gasp, look at the Garmin, oh crap I'm running too fast, I should slow down, reeeeel it in (for about 1-2 minutes), pound pound, pound, gasp, gasp, gasp..."

Off I went on what turned out to be a beautiful run on a beautiful day. First mile I felt slow and tired, but hit my groove at about mile 3-4. Did my best to mimic race day by taking my clif bloks every other mile, starting at Mile 3. God those things get nasty when you start hitting those higher miles. Still working for me energey-wise better than Gu however, mostly do to the constant glucose levels (versus the "shot" every 5ish miles). I had a little bit of achilles pain in the phantom injury leg, but nothing that concerned me.

The goal was to pull miles 10-13 within 5-10 seconds of MP, to keep myself honest. That strategy went out the window around mile 9.5, when I looked at the Garmin and realized that I had been w/in 10 seconds of MP the entire run. Oops. Change of plan (winging it) involved picking it up another 5 seconds per mile for 10-13, and then totally chilling the last mile. Needless to say, I still have a LOT to learn about pacing. But lets be real - I was running by store windows those last few miles, and when you catch glimpses of yourself, you ALWAYS want to look fast. No one needed to know that inside my "fast" look, I was breathing like a fat kid.

Finished up with an overall pace of around MP, which was probably faster than it should have been. However, I felt decent, never felt like I was "too" taxed, and it was a flatter course than I've been doing all of my other long runs on.

And with that, it's TAPER TIME!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Phantom Injuries

I swear to God, the closer you get to a big race, the more your body/mind tries to screw with you. As if to say "mwah ha ha, lets see how tough you REALLY are". Groan.

Planning a run from Seaside tomorrow morning , somewhere bt 14-16 miles, so I wanted to keep it easy this morning. Easy 5ish, have a great rolling hills loop from the house. Awesome.

Get dressed, turn on the Garmin. Garmin beeps back at me - "hey, I decided to turn myself on in your running bag, so now that you actually WANT to use me, I'm out of battery". Gah. Decide it's an easy day anyway, screw a watch. However, I did promptly plug the Garmin into my computer so it's set for the long run tomorrow.

My mantra the past week has been "stay in one piece for the race, no injuries for the race". First couple miles click off just fine, and then I start to feel shin pain. What?!?! Shin pain?? I never get shin pain. So of course, now I'm focusing on the pain, so it creeps around to my achilles and calf, you know, for good measure. Dammit.

This is where the phantom part of "phantom injury" comes into plan. When I stopped paying attention to my leg, I couldn't feel much discomfort at all. When I started thinking about LA, the race, staying injury-free, I had visions of ice and ibuprofen dancing in my head.

I finished the run just fine, and as I'm sitting here typing this, magically I feel fantastic. We'll see what kind of pain and suffering my body can torture me w/ tomorrow. You know, the kind of pain that isn't really there, but sends your mind into a complete panic? Eyeroll.

T-Minus 16 days...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear track, I hate you.

So I'm running the LA Marathon in 18 days , and the goal from here on out is simply to stay injury free. I want to put in a couple more solid workouts, my long run this weekend, and then back off until LA.

Today called for mile repeats on the track. A 5:15am alarm, out of bed, pour the coffee, and off to the track near work.

Its about a mile to the track from work, so I came up w/ a creative loop to stretch my warm-up to 2 miles. Got to the track – padlocked. Dammit. Thank God it’s a short fence, easy enough to hop over. I hate the track. Loathe it even. But it keeps me honest bc there’s no excuses on the track. The workout was 4 x1 mile, tempo pace. Just me and the trusty Garmin.

Hit the start button, start heading around the first turn, and come to a SCREECHING halt. The back half of the track is covered in ice. For the love.. As if running a track workout isn’t tortuous enough, now you’re going to make me get fancy? Really? Instead of jogging off the track and doing a 6 mile loop from there (which would have made me mucho happy), I decided to just wing it.

Baaaaack to the starting line (and I’m sooo counting that extra .1 as mileage on the day. Don’t judge me), and off I went. I have to run the back stretches on the infield, which is half frozen, and pretty sloppy. I was just trying to maintain the same effort that I was putting forth on the clean half of the track, to get the workout in. And oh yeah, not trying to slip and injure myself in the process.

Got in the 4 miles, and albeit a slow pace for a lot of people, it was considerably under MP for me. And I did it tromping through a sloppy infield and dealing with ice. And all by myself. I’m a rockstar.

LA Marathon – T minus 18 days.

Off we go...

I love to run. Far. I also love to write. So I'm thinking a blog is the best way to combine these 2 loves. This won't necessarily be a day-by day training blog, but will be a fun way to share my adventures of running (and soon triathlon training - gasp!). Enjoy!