I'm long overdue for a running update! When we last chatted, I had finished the Monster Scramble 10K, and started up my training for the Winter Warrior Half Marathon on January 9.
I'll admit that this training cycle has been a bit weird. I've had two competing goals: to successfully train with a schedule that is less demanding than the Hal Higdon plan I used for my last half, and also to PR.
Why did I want a less demanding training plan? Higdon's plans are awesome (and I plan to use one for my marathon in fall 2016), but they often require workouts 6 days a week, and I knew that would be a strain on my family through the holiday season. Therefore, I made my own training plan that only required me to run 3-4 days a week, with a yoga day and some strength training thrown in. So far, I think this has been a great fit time-wise. I never skip the weekend long run (definitely the most important part!), and the weekday runs usually have some speed incorporated to push myself. I admit I've been skimpy on the strength training (as always), but the yoga has been amazing--I am really hoping to incorporate this into my weekly routine for good!
|A gorgeous sunset training run in Connecticut over Thanksgiving|
So, I readjusted my expectations, and started hoping for a sub-2:10 half. This would take 4+ minutes off my current PR, and given the course conditions (as long as it doesn't blizzard!), I thought this completely do-able. Baby steps, right?? A sub-2 half is a serious dream for me, but I knew I needed more time (and a more rigorous training plan) before I could get there.
|True Winter Warrior training! My 12 miler was done at 27 degrees (15 with the wind chill). Brrrrr|
Christmas day I did a 10 mile long run. This was supposed to be 7 miles easy, and 3 miles at race pace (roughly between 9:30-9:45 for me). I started the run at 2pm, unusual because I am normally a 5-6am runner, but we did Christmas morning festivities and I headed out during Tater Tot's nap. I was feeling FANTASTIC, and mile 1 clocked in at 9:18. Whoa there, captain. I tried to dial it back, but I just couldn't. That pace was feeling easy and it was hard to hold back. Mile 5 clocked in at 9:09 (exact pace needed for a sub-2 half) and I said, what the heck. I'll do the last 3 miles at a pace for a sub-2 half.
Last 3 miles: 8:38, 8:44, 8:51 (mile 8 was the fastest of the 10). Final overall pace of 9:04. I FELT INVINCIBLE. I don't know if it was the fueling (I had a whole morning of carbs under my belt before running, something I normally do not have at 6am), the weather (45 degrees and cloudy, amazing!), or the time of day (I have often felt faster in the afternoon/evening than the morning, maybe because I'm more stretched out?). Did I mention Winter Warrior is a 4pm start?
So now...barring any weird curveballs (bad weather, illness, etc) I feel like I want to go for it. Under 2 hours. I have to at least try. OMG, I can't believe I'm even saying that. I'm scared to attempt it (what if I start too fast and just burn out? What if my stomach goes crazy (as it is known to do) and I can't get close to that goal? WHAT IF I FAIL?). But those fears just...fears. The worst thing that could happen is that I don't hit sub-2. Whatever, right? At least I can say I tried.
With that said, I've got less than 2 weeks to go! I am going to keep the euphoric feeling of Friday's run in my mind, and hope I have similar feelings on race day!
Do you have any races coming up? What is your first race of 2016 going to be? Do you run better in cold winter temps, or prefer the warmth of summer?