So this weeks training was pretty much like all the others, just with an increase in mileage on my long run. It was:
Tuesday: 30 min run/walk
Thursday: 30 min run/walk
Saturday: 12 mile long run <---YIKES!
If you can remember from previous weekly training recaps I can never get a Tuesday run in to save my life. Well, I got one in at the beginning of the week! <shock and awe ensues!> I was able to get off work a bit early on Monday and spend some time with the hubby, so when I got home I immediately changed into my running gear, grabbed my hubby and we were out the door! He had wanted to go running that day, so I figured we could spend some time together running since I needed to get some time in on the road as well.
We ran around our neighborhood, which is no easy feat as we live on a big hill and everywhere around us is hills, so just by running around where I live I will always get hill training. Check. Hubby was having a bit of a tough time breathing during the run, the hills plus the horrible air quality we were having because of the week+ of fog/stagnant air, didn't help. So we walked a bit more than what my run schedule called for, which was fine with me, because I was hurting myself. Oof! Now I know why the schedule calls to wait until Tuesday to run after a long run of 11 miles. My muscles were so incredibly sore and just not wanting to work in general. Boo hiss! Regardless, we got through the run and cheered each other along the whole way.
Thursdays run didn't happen. I was not feeling well for most of this week. Achy and had a headache off and on most of the week. I wanted to rest to make sure that it didn't turn into a full blown illness. So I decided to rest, I didn't even go to Pilates either, so I really just took it easy this week.
Saturday came and I was headed to Alki Beach to run along the water there, if you've ever seen "Sleepless in Seattle" Alki beach is the place where Tom Hanks played on the beach with his character son. Just to give you some background on where I was. On the schedule for the day was 12 miles. I had 2 friends meeting up with me at 11am for 6 miles, so I went early to get 6 miles done on my own and then run with them for the second half of my run. If I'm going to have company for my runs and they won't be there for the whole thing, I prefer them joining during the second half, because the conversation tends to help distract me from the pain I'm feeling. HA!
So out and back along the beach is 6 miles total, so I would make the trip twice to complete my mileage. Good thing it's beautiful out there, otherwise I would have been bored! The first 6 miles were good. Watched the scenery around me, ran along the trail with TONS of other runners and got lost in my own thoughts. It was a peaceful run actually and quite enjoyable.
Then I got back from my first time around, my running partners had arrived. It was nice to have these ladies with me to help with my next 6 miles, I would need them more than I knew. When I had gotten there to meet them, I started to get a pain in my lower left calf, a pain I had never had before and was troubled with it because it hurt with every foot strike. Ugh. I found that if I adjusted how my foot was striking it wouldn't hurt, so I had to be very aware of how I was running as to not aggravate it.
We continued on with the last 6 of my run and the first three were not bad. Tried to keep a good and steady pace and felt pretty decent. We had stopped and stretched half way through, so at 9 miles for me, which turned out to be not so good of an idea for me as my hips completely stiffened up during that time. I was running like I had just gotten off a horse after a long ride. So. Not. Pretty.
But by this time I wanted the run to be done. I wasn't hurting per se, I was just more wanting to get the mileage over with. So as we were heading back to our starting point and running into a really nasty and cold headwind (slowing you down by an average of 20 seconds per mile) some thing happened that I had never experienced before.
We were about a half mile from the end when I completely zoned out. It was kinda like tunnel vision if only for the fact that I didn't hear anything or really feel anything, I was just so focused that my mind zoned out. When that happened, my body completely took over. My stride became effortless and my pace, amazingly enough at mile 11.5, picked up. The ladies that were running with me, said all of a sudden I just started to pull away from them and I was going a lot faster, making it tough for them to keep up. When I got to the finish point and confirmed it on my Garmin, I "woke up" out of my zone out and was surprised to see what I saw. We had been running an average of 12:45 min/mile, however in my last .5 mile to the end I was running an 11:15 min/mile. I had picked up that much speed at the very end and I didn't even know it was happening.
I was able to look down at my Garmin and admire this though. 12 miles, done and in the books. At that point, I was hurting, but knew I could have gone another 1.1 miles to complete the half marathon distance. Knowing that and feeling that ability was humbling and exciting all at the same time. For the first time I really felt confident enough to admit to myself that "Yes, you can run the half marathon distance...and live to tell the tale after!" HA! I was elated, but still hurting a bit, so not a lot of celebrating. :) It's crazy to think that I've actually been able to run 12 miles by my own two feet, and also to think that this eventually will not be a feat for me. That this distance will be something that I will do with some sort of regularity for my future race training. That right there, boggles the mind!
So another week in the books and only three more training weeks before I hit my taper week (hahah...I actually said taper week and was actually referring to me, oh boy I crack myself up!). Then it's off to Orlando to run with the Princesses! AAAHHH!!! I can't believe it is almost here, I'm so freaking excited!!! But I can't get ahead of myself, training first, I have to prepare properly for this race. It's my first half and I want to make it a good one!