|Playing some tunes with LF. The girl has chops!|
|Our devoted audience, Kerry and Kevin, and Josh, the Dancing King!|
While I'm thrilled to be able to train hard again, the road back to healthy running has not been without its challenges. Dr. Ball pronounced me cured a week ago Thursday, but I still hadn't run anything harder than a few strides. I suggested that I run a speed workout the next day (Friday) just to make sure I was cured before heading off into the sunset. He agreed that this was a good plan.
I did a workout that I had done back in early November: 13 total miles including 2 x 1.5 miles hard + 2 x 1 mile hard with 4 minutes rest between the repeats. I had no pain during the workout, which was brilliant, but I was disappointed in how slow I was compared to the last time I did the workout, being off by about 10 seconds per mile for each repeat. It was hard to know whether this was a loss of fitness from 3 weeks of little to no training or whether my legs were just figuring out how to run fast again. Regardless, it felt good to train hard again.
I left for home that afternoon and got to my half-way point, Edwards Air Force Base, late Friday evening. I left early on Saturday so I could get home in time to take the Genius to dinner for his carbo loading extravaganza for the California International Marathon the next morning. I was so excited for him and everyone I knew running this race and was grateful to be healed in time to make it home to watch.
I cried both tears of joy and sorrow watching some of my friends' dreams fulfilled while others' came to an end. My Genius met his goal of a huge PR and is now a 2:40 marathoner. Twenty-five women met the B standard and qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials, including 6 of my Impala teammates! I was so impressed watching the huge pack of women along the course on their way to this major achievement. A couple of my friends missed the qualifier, but impressed me nonetheless with their determination and commitment to their goal. Kerry Camberg posted about her experience here. I have to say that her commitment to the goal and attitude about the journey make her my new heroine.
I was all fired up after watching the race and took on my own challenge of running my first 20 miler in a month. I wasn't sure how I would feel. My legs were sore from my speed work on Friday followed by 14 hours in the car, but I negative split the run and felt particularly strong the last few miles. I was also surprised that I had accumulated 80 running miles for the week.
My coach told me I needed to get back on schedule with my training since there is not a lot of time left to get in big miles and bigger workouts. So, I jumped back in with a double run on Tuesday including an evening track session of 12 miles including 10 x 800m with 2 minute jog rest. I felt like doggie doo and my splits reflected that. I started out running 2:50-2:51 thinking I would cut down from there and I just didn't have the legs for it. I had a minor breakdown around the 4th repeat and thought about throwing in the towel. That's when I thought of Kerry and came up with my mantra for the evening, "Kerry don't Kwit!" Running hard was what really mattered at this point, and I wanted to have the satisfaction of completing the workout.
I told my coach about this and he said I was absolutely correct in completing the workout at whatever effort I could muster. He also pointed out that my body was telling me I needed two days of rest between workouts rather than one and that I was likely feeling the effects of my body not being able to absorb the training. We adjusted my schedule for the week so that my next hard workout would be a long run on Friday.
Thursday, I came down with a cold, of course. I got in my morning run but wanted to make sure I was feeling well enough to do my hard workout the next day. I skipped Thursday afternoon's run and went to bed early that night. Friday would be a vacation day from work (though I still managed to work for 5 hours-FML!) but at least I got to sleep in--12 hours of sleep has amazing restorative powers.
I needed to wait for some work issues to get resolved before I could head out for my long run yesterday. I finally got out the door at 3 p.m. I wasn't sure whether I would be able to do the workout or not, but the cold symptoms had subsided some with the help of Dayquil. The workout was a ball buster: 20 miles including the middle 13 miles hard. What does hard mean? Well, I wasn't quite sure, but my coach said that the idea was to start out comfortable and speed up. I had some rough paces in mind, but I wasn't exactly sure what I would be able to muster. I broke the middle 13 miles into 5 splits consisting of 2, 2, 4, 4 and 1 mile with no rest in between.
I was pleasantly surprised with how the workout went. I warmed up for about 4 miles and did some strides, then launched into the workout:
2 miles @ 6:45
2 miles @ 6:37
4 miles @ 6:31
4 miles @ 6:22
1 mile @ 6:21
3 mile cool down for 20 total
I wanted that last mile to be faster, but my legs were not giving me anything more. Nonetheless, I was thrilled to feel so strong in those last 5 miles. My average was 6:30 pace. That's the pace I ran a few weeks ago at the Clarksburg 1/2 Marathon, except the mile splits for that race were reversed! Better yet, the tightness in my hamstring and IT band that I had been feeling off and on throughout the week completely went away during the workout. I woke up today feeling better than I have in a month! I still have my cold, but it is more an annoyance than anything else. I will run a little over 90 miles this week.
The best feeling in the world during training is when you start to feel the strength in your legs building. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling, but it is as if you can feel the power in your muscles just while walking around from all of the work you've been doing. I felt that before I did my long run yesterday and had a feeling it would go well.
My next two weeks are killer. I will shoot for 100 miles each week and have some hard workouts on my schedule. I need to do everything right in terms of rest, recovery and fueling in order to make them count. I found out the hard way earlier this training cycle that I can't do it all. I nearly missed my chance at running a race I can be proud of at the Trials. With the rumors flying about new qualifying standards for 2016, who knows whether there will be another OT race for me. I want to make this one count and thoroughly enjoy the journey.