Sunday, November 11, 2012

Everything's groovy

Today's half marathon settles it. I'm in a groove. I've had glimmers of hopeful workouts lately that made me take notice, but today's 13 mile race/workout within a 20 mile run confirmed that these workouts weren't one-hit-wonders. I think I was most worried about the lack of volume in my training and how that would affect my endurance in a longer race. This week has been my longest yet with a whopping 72 miles. I'll try to get to 80 next week before tapering down.

Because I was running this half marathon as a workout, I was completely relaxed about it. My goals were all centered on pacing it correctly with no overall time goals. I ran this same race last year and had a really bad day. I should have been able to run what I expected to (low 1:20s), but I had no way of knowing I was headed into a funk that would last until the Olympic Trials race in January. Instead, I went out at the pace I thought I could hold and then fell off in a major way. It's possible I was a bit gun shy today too, given that horrible memory from last year.

I still haven't settled on a goal pace for the Cal International Marathon, but I've been running around 6:20-6:30 for my marathon effort workouts lately. So, I chose 6:30 as a good pace to start with today. I behaved very well at the start. I watched the fast women pop off the start line and I remained farther back, checking my Garmin to make sure I was minding my pace. My first two miles were 6:30 and 6:33. Awesome.

With each split, I found myself picking up the pace. I decided early on that I would not let my pace get below 6:20 until I hit mile 10. I wanted to run a good negative split and wanted to experience feeling strong enough to cut down the last few miles of the race. You might wonder why I wouldn't just race hard. Generally speaking, you don't want to run a long race like a half marathon all out a few weeks before a marathon. A lot of people do it, but I wanted to ensure I would recover well enough to get in another couple of weeks of training before CIM.

We were blessed today with perfect racing weather and sweet nature moments. I saw and heard numerous flocks of Sandhill cranes and dizzying swarms of shorebirds waving overhead as we ran through the lovely wine country of Clarksburg. I know at least one runner I saw around mile 3 was none too pleased with the birds as they launched a rain of doo doo on her head. Glad it wasn't me! It is funny how different the surroundings can be when you're having a good race. I'm sure last year was equally as lovely, but I couldn't pull myself out of my personal running misery to enjoy it.

I held to my plan and kept inching closer to 6:20 pace but didn't go under until mile 10. At that point, I had been making up time on the 5th and 6th place females and felt as though I had enough road to make a run at passing at least one of them. I passed the first runner just after the 10 mile marker and then ran up to my teammate, the second runner, with about 2 miles to go. She told me after the race that she was grateful that I came up at that point because she was entering no-man's land. We pushed each other for the next two miles. I had a bit extra at the end to drop the pace and finish fast.

I had only been paying attention to my mile splits the whole race, so I had no idea what my overall time would be. I was happy when I saw 1:23 on the clock as I rounded the corner for the finish. My official finish time was 1:23:35. As an added bonus, I was the first Master finisher and 5th woman overall.

1  6:30
2  6:33
3  6:26
4  6:25
5  6:23
6  6:23
7  6:22
8  6:24
9  6:20
10 6:18
11 6:18
12 6:16
13 6:08
last 0.1 41 seconds
Watch time: 1:23:29

I finished off my 20 miler and still felt peppy. I am now very excited about seeing how CIM goes. I proved to myself today that I can pace a smart race and I plan to do the same during CIM. Just a few more weeks to go.

As for my health issues: I have continued to get migraines though this weekend was a major breakthrough for me. I have been getting the migraines regularly on the weekends for the past few weeks, but I have not had one yet this weekend. The last one was Wednesday. I started taking some supplements recommended by my doctor and the many doctors that inhabit the internets. I am taking B complex, magnesium and 5-HTP in addition to my iron and Vitamin D. It's a shit load of pills each day.  I do feel more energized and the migraines are occurring a little less frequently. Fingers crossed.

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I am working from home with my new job. I set up my workspace so that I have a sitting desk, but I also got a standing workstation, which is a fancy name for a desk with long legs from Ikea. The advantage of the standing station is that my hip flexors don't get shortened and my hamstrings don't get smashed near the attachment point like they would sitting in a chair. It's a bit tiring, but I have gotten used to it. My hope is that I'll continue to have fewer problems with my butt and hamstrings as a result of this new configuration. I've had no problems this entire training cycle (knock on wood).

My fancy standing workstation.
On tap for next week is my highest volume of training (hopefully) and one last 20 miler. It seems silly to me to taper when my mileage has been so low, but I have to remind myself that it's all relative. It won't be a dramatic taper, but it's still important to get to the starting line fresh.

Three more weeks!          


  1. So amazed, and you felt peppy afterwards! You will go BIG at CIM

    1. Thanks! I just found your blog. Sounds like I'll be seeing you at CIM! Good luck with the rest of your training.

  2. That's fantastic! Did I read this right, you did 13.1 plus 7 mile cooldown? You're in great shape. maybe your body is thanking you for the change to lower mileage this time around (and the absence of job stress?) oh and migraines are awful. I've struggled with those too, wish I had helpful advice bit all I can do is sympathize. Hope the supplements help!!

    1. Actually, I ran 2 miles before the race and 5 miles after, but who's counting? I think my body is thanking me for lower stress levels right now. I also think fitness and good racing come in cycles. I can't be "on" all the time. Maybe some people can, but not this runner. I'll definitely keep updating about the migraines. It will be hard to tell whether the supplements work since I am also lowering my stress levels. But, this is my blog and I can attribute my cure to whatever I want, right?!

  3. I actually have an old wooden desk so I'll knock on that for you if it helps.

    That was a solid half - good progression and a fast finish - woohoo! You should recover well from that workout too. Good news re the migraines. Don't think I'd like a standing desk! I'd go for one of those kneeling chairs first. I like sitting ;)

  4. I found your blog by searching for piriformis... but now I'm addicted to the whole thing. You're inspiring me to "run away fast"!