I really should be working, but if I don’t finish this blog post, it will never get published! Let me rant for a little bit. Work has gone from zero-to-60 in the last 2 weeks, which includes preparing a new 1.5 hour lecture I’m co-teaching next Tuesday, a couple of applications due in the next 2 weeks, and getting ready for a 3-day, 250-person professional workshop organized by our group (i.e., me and my boss, and a few helpers) at the beginning of February. Did I mention my boss was out of town last week on vacation? If she wasn’t so nice, I’d be pretty agitated about it.
Anyway! Because I’ve been writing it in bits and pieces, this is a multi-part post. Part I: Kaiser Half – week 4 of 7! Here’s how it went down:
Tuesday: 7.85 miles @ 09:46 pace.
Prescribed workout: 2 x 3 mi @ half marathon goal pace (HMGP; 9:00-9:09/mile), 4 min recovery in between sets. Warm-up & cool-down on either side.
1st set: 9:27, 8:59, 8:56 (average 9:07)
2nd set: 9:15, 9:07, 8:53 (average: 9:05)
Clearly, I’m still having issues zeroing in on the target pace, as my first mile is always too slow. In my defense, it was awkward to run fast (for me) with a reflective vest and a headlamp! My average heart rate (HR) was 158. I kept it in the 160 range for all of the faster miles, but the last mile was 205 – yikes!
Thursday: 5.85 miles @ 9:52 pace
Prescribed workout (or what I thought was the prescribed workout): 8 x 800 (0.5mi) with 60 second rest intervals. Warm-up/cool-down on either side – which are getting progressively shorter since I’m short on time in the mornings. Goal splits: 4:15 (8:30/mile)
Actual splits: 4:25, 4:26, 4:22, 4:23, 4:22, 4:25, 4:17, 4:17 (average: 4:22)
I *thought* I was targeting 4:15 (8:30/mile), but upon re-reading the workout, I realized that I was supposed to aim for 4:20 per 800. Oops. Even so, I didn’t hit my goal splits, but I was still happy with my effort and with the semi-negative split. Best of all, I feel like I’m getting mentally stronger with every workout. Average HR: 146, max 171.
Saturday: 8.2 miles @ 10:43 pace
Easy, mid-distance run with the company of my audiobook. This run felt a lot better than the 12-mile slog last week. Average HR 133.
Sunday: 4 miles hiking at Joaquin Miller Park
Birthday hike for my friend AJ. You know you’re getting older when your friends want to do low-key things for their birthdays that don’t involve any alcohol, like go on a meandering hike and eat sandwiches. We started on familiar territory to me (Sequoia Bayview Trail, I heart you), and then explored some new trails as well. Mileage is approximate, as I went Garmin-less.
Total mileage for the week: 25.9 miles (21.9 running + 4 hiking)
How I feel about it: I thought that this was a quality week – all of my runs went fairly well. My two points of self-criticism: (1) I wanted to run 4 times instead of 3, and (2) I did 0 out of 3 core workouts. (Spoiler: I haven’t been any better this week about doing those.)
I was thinking recently about how the “speedwork” I’ve been doing is much more about building mental than physical strength. I doubt that I’m much fitter than I was 4 weeks ago, but I do think I’m getting more accustomed to running fast and focusing mentally. I’ve purposefully been going iPhone-free during workouts to increase my mental strength, which makes it a little tougher to get out the door sometimes, but once I start running, I don’t mind at all. To make things even more tedious (and mentally tougher), I’ve been running the same 1.3-mile loop during my workouts. I’ve definitely noticed that my pace slips when I start dissociating, and my form gets sloppy too.
Speaking of form… I’m happy to say that 2/3 of the way through this very short training cycle, I’m still pain-free (knock on wood!). No aches or pain in my hips or low back to speak of, which makes me feel so relieved. In the past, hip and low back problems have always popped up whenever I pick up the pace. I’ve noticed that part of the issue might be a change in my form as I start running faster — my back tends to arch and my chest juts out. I’ve been constantly keeping this in check, mostly by making sure my shoulders are relaxed and dropping my elbows so that they’re more next to me than behind me (if that makes sense?). Whatever the reason, I’m happy to be pain-free!
Quick Foster City 10-miler Preview:
This will be my second time running this race. I’m going into it with much of the same attitude as last year – to see if I can hold HMGP for 10 miles and to practice my race routine in advance of Kaiser. I’ll probably run with my Garmin covered and run by feel. This worked to my advantage last year, when my Garmin couldn’t find the satellites. I ended up running faster and less conservatively than if I had depended on my watch for pacing. I have no idea if I’ll PR – that’s not really my goal. My idea of perfect race execution would be to run the first 2 miles just a bit slower than HMGP, then run miles 3-9 at HMGP, then run as fast as I can for the last mile. I’d also like to run the tangents as best as I can. (Since I don’t have last year’s Garmin data, I don’t know how close I came to running exactly 10.0 miles.) I’m looking forward to racing and testing myself, as well as seeing some friends out on the course!
Last but not least, I wanted to tell y’all — especially Bay Area folks — about an awesome contest that’s being sponsored by my favorite new website, RaceRaves. They’re giving away some awesome prizes, including an early bird entry to a Brazen Race of your choice, running shoes, a gift certificate to RoadRunner Sports, and more! Check out the contest details for more information on how to enter. Contest ends on January 22nd so get your rave on!
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I have not been compensated to promote this contest or these companies.