I’m rejoicing that I’m half way to taper to distract myself from the fact that I’m entering the hardest part of training.
I had my longest long run so far this past weekend. I’m doing more longer-runs in this training cycle. That seems to get a lot of criticism and “you should’t do that” comments (most often from runners that I don’t feel have enough experience to judge one way or another) so I haven’t talked about it much, but I tend to recover better from long easy runs than speed work. My speed work has been kept simple simple and I’m doing a lot more endurance training since that seems to work better for me. Saturday morning I had a 19 mile run, but my training group only had 10 so I set out early to try to get 5-6 miles in before the group run. It was (as it has been) very hot and humid start despite it being 5:15 in the morning. I took it easy and explored a new neighborhood I hadn’t been in until the sky was light enough that I felt comfortable hopping onto the trail. I managed to get in 6.5 miles before our group started. We set out for our group 10 which took us down to the campus area for our turn-around. We snapped a picture in front of the Shoe (that’s Ohio Stadium’s nickname for you non-Ohioans).
When we took a break for the picture, a cool breeze started and seemed to break the humidity. Suddenly it felt like September instead of August and you could not have witnessed a happier group of runners in August. September in Ohio is still hot, but the humidity tends to lighten up so being outside is more enjoyable. The rest of the run was pretty pleasant and I stayed with the group until mile 9.5 when they broke off and headed back to the start point. I continued on and over-ran a little so that when I got back I had about a half mile walk back to the start point.
The sudden break in the weather definitely helped, but overall I felt really good on this run. It was nice to think back to last summer when I was training for my first marathon and I started hitting 17-20 miles. It felt like a really big deal. I’ve already run 17 this cycle and my 19 didn’t feel like a big deal at all. I expected to be down-and-out the rest of the day, but after my usual nap my husband asked if I wanted to go out for a late lunch and I actually felt good to go. I had a really good grilled chicken sandwich and a margarita that I’d been craving for 2 weeks now. My husband got nachos because it’s hard work being married to a distance runner (side note: he said that’s not the reason he got them).
When I woke up Sunday morning I felt good for having done 19 the day before. A big part of this is the strength I’ve developed from my weekly class that is helping me recover quicker. I headed out to the trail for some miles. The nice weather continued and it got me a little excited for fall. This was just a tease and it’s going back to 70 degree mornings this week, but for my first really hard weekend of training it was nice to catch a break. It was just what I needed. Even though I often refer to these Sunday runs as “easy miles” they’re really not easy at all. A lot of runners come to this park for the hills and it’s a challenging route. It’s a nice way to end a week of running and it will be really pretty when the leaves begin to change.
After 43 miles last week, I still had to go to my strength class. Because everyone in class is not on the same training schedule, we’re given a lot of options (no weights on some moves, light weights, heavier weights, faster reps, slower reps, etc.) and are told to do what feels right to us. Our instructor is really interactive and gives us one-on-one attention during class. In our first set this week we did off-set dead lifts. When our instructor got to me she half-laughed and said, “Are you ok? You’re legs are looking a little shaky today.” My legs were done! Luckily we focused a lot on core and upper body that day because I’m not sure how much more lower leg strength I could’ve handled.
After class I had to head home and take a quick shower because it was Nicole’s baby shower! You may remember Nicole as the woman that ran along side me during my first marathon just 4 weeks after running her goal marathon. She also ran the Boston Marathon 16 weeks pregnant! We had a nice time showering her with mom-to-be love. Check out the awesome cookies her friend made!
It was a really low-key/relaxing shower with a nice brunch and a few fun games. Nicole is due the day before the marathon so it will be a very exciting week.
Well that wraps it up for week 8. I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about week 9 so we’ll see what it ends up having in store for me!