Tuesday, I ran with my running club and did 2x2mi at tempo pace. The sun was shining and although it was quite chilly compared to previous weeks, it was nice to be outside and away from the office.
With all the pressure from work, I almost didn't make it to my running club workout on Thursday where I had 13 miles planned. But I did make it and I ran 13 miles during the week which was pretty awesome. I felt so good running that many miles on a school night but eating enough after ward and before bed was a bit of a challenge.
Saturday I was actually able to sleep in a little bit because this week I wasn't doing a normal long run. There was only 6 miles on my plan because Sunday was my first race of 2012.
Sunday dawned beautiful with a red sunrise. The redness was quickly replaced with gray gloominess as rain clouds came in. Thankfully the rain stayed away until after the race finished.
I met up with my favorite running friends for this race. A bunch of people from my running club run this spring 15k race in order to use it as a tune up for a spring half or full marathon. It is a very hilly course but a great gauge of fitness level and every year there are more and more participants.
There was no shortage of fast women at this race, but I wasn't planning on really racing - I was using this race to test out a half marathon pace. Last year I ran this race at a 7:45 pace and then 4 weeks later ran my half marathon at the same pace. This year I am running the same half in 4 weeks so I wanted to test my fitness and see if I could hold my goal pace.
The only foreseeable problem was that I started this race with 41 miles on my legs.
I decided before the race if at any time I didn't feel good during the race I would pull back and just finish because I didn't want to run myself into the ground. Thankfully that didn't happen. I started off and didn't look at my garmin and just tried to run a pace that felt good. My legs were moving along and tacking the hills as they came and recovering on the downhills.
The most exciting part of the race (for me at least) had to be about mile 6-7 when I was running alone but had sight of three women ahead of me. My favorite distraction during a race is picking people in front of me and trying to catch and pass them. I successfully caught up to the first women and was closer to the other two. We then came upon the dreaded mile 7 hill that stretches for over half a mile. I slowly reigned in the other two women and passed them just before we crested the hill. Now all I had to worry about is those women catching me.
In my head I was counting down the miles and with only 2 left, I was very happy to be almost done with the race. With each step I was using a mini mantra I came up with for the hills - "arms machine". It may seem odd but it worked because I was saying it in my head and moving my arms and my legs were following my arms. As I made the turn to the final uphill, I was feeling pretty good and then that hill just killed me. Finally all the miles caught up to me and I was losing steam with only 0.2mi to go. Once I got to the top of the hill, it was downhill to the finish - downhill on a pot hole filled dirt path. Not exactly my favorite finish but still its downhill.
My final pace for the race was 7:26 min/mile which was just 1 second from my secret goal of 7:25. It was a great race and I am glad that I was able to run it well and hopefully it is a sign of what my half marathon will be like in 4 weeks, but since I wont be tapering for that this year it is hard to tell how it will turn out.
After a cool down, I ended this week with 52 miles which is my highest week of miles ever and I ended March with 177 miles, also another monthly mileage record.
This week sure was hectic and long and after a post race shower and hot chocolate, I took a much needed nap. Hopefully next week wont be as bad!
Age group: 7/52