Last week was a confidence booster. As of Sunday I’m 4 weeks out and I feel great. The highlight of the week was definitely my long run. It was by far the best I’ve ever felt finishing up a 20 mile run and also the fastest I’ve ever run 20 miles outside a race. It feels like everything is just coming into place. I’m starting to really look forward to the race – I’m excited to see where all this hard work takes me!
Rest day. I was really tired on Monday and not feeling like even going to kickball after work so I just went home and got in bed at 9 p.m.!
AM: Club Pilates
PM: 7.4 miles easy with Brooke. Brooke and I met after work and ran around the UCSD campus since it’s mostly lit and she lives nearby. As always, it was great to have company!
AM: 10 miles with 3 minutes @ 10k pace every 5 minutes. After a 1 mile warm-up, I started the workout. I didn’t pay a ton of attention to my watch for the first few intervals since it was so early and I was still warming up. After a couple, I really started to feel good. The intervals were just long enough to work but not so hard that I was exhausted after them. I found myself easily running in the high 8s on a lot of the off segments. The 3 minutes averaged 7:28 pace and overall this run was 8:35 and I definitely felt like I had plenty of gas left in the tank after this run. It did the job of being challenging but not exhausting.
AM: 7 miles Zone 1. I finally got new batteries for my heart rate monitor and was happy that when I strapped it on, my heart rate was nice and low for this run. It was about a 10 min/mile, but I’ve never run this “fast” in Zone 1 before (when I first started doing heart rate training I had to walk at times in Zone 1- I would average almost a 12 min/mile).
AM: 10 miles “moderate.” My plan called for 10 miles at a moderate pace. It’s hard to define moderate but I decided I’d use this as a test to see what pace I could average at the very top of Zone 2 using my now operating heart rate monitor. Unfortunately, the heart rate monitor started acting funky within a mile of the run (saying my heart rate was either very high or very low), similar to how it was acting before I replaced the batteries, so I wasn’t able to really test my theory that I can now run in the 8s in Zone 2. Either way, I started to feel not so hot around mile 7-8 and ended up slowing down and taking it easy for the last 2 miles. We woke up really early for this run (5 a.m.) and I only had a banana before and nothing during, and I may have run out of steam. Or I was just tired from the week. Either way, I didn’t beat myself up about it as I knew that the real test was Sunday’s long run, not a silly “moderate” paced run.
Lunch: Club Pilates. The Level 2.5 class I usually take got switched to a new class called “FIT Level 2” which as I learned, incorporated some higher intensity intervals. It wasn’t anything high impact – more like faster squats and lunges. My heart rate got up, there was a little more emphasis on legs than I wanted, and I got a little sweatier than I like to get during a lunch workout, but I was glad I went!
Rest day. I slept 11.5 hours on Friday night! Mike joked that he had to check on me to make sure I was still breathing. I was out cold! I had planned to do some super easy yoga on Saturday but time got away with me and honestly, I just didn’t feel like doing it, so I didn’t. I had an enjoyable, relaxing day, including a pedicure with Asia who just got back from her honeymoon!
20 miles with 15 miles @ MPG + 10 sec (actual average pace: 8:05 min/miles). Mike and I got up early for this one because it was supposed to be hot on Sunday and we wanted to beat the heat and the crowds on the coast. We started the run at 6:45 and we both practiced our race day breakfast and nutrition, as usual. I also weighed myself before sand after to make sure I was drinking enough water (I drank nearly 100 ounces and lost 1.5 lbs so I think I did a good job!).
I ran the warm-up two miles with Mike and my legs didn’t feel amazing. 2 weeks go when we did a similar run (18 miles with 14 @ MGP + 10-20 sec), my legs immediately felt great. However, this time they were a little more sluggish. Mike started doing some strides and I was having a hard time getting my legs moving. Little doubts started to creep into my head. This was my 3rd week in a row with mileage in the mid/high 50s and I was wondering if my legs were up for the challenge. I was getting a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to repeat the amazing run I had 2 weeks prior.
However, once I picked up the pace, it was easy. Since my goal was 10 seconds slower than MGP, I decided my goal pace would be somewhere between 8:10-8:20. Right now my goal range for the marathon is somewhere between 8 -8:10 (8:12 is the BQ pace but that is cutting it close). I ran the first three miles fairly easily at 8:10 and then found the more I ran, the better I felt. The miles ticked by and I couldn’t hold back my legs. At times I found myself easily running in the high 7s. The route I chose was the same as last time – north up the coast into Carlsbad and back. There are plenty of rolling hills and I think it’s perfect terrain for CIM training (which although has a net decline of 300 feet, there are also quite a few rolling hills, which I think I’m ready for living in San Diego!).
Unlike last time where forward the end of the run I started to lose steam, I ran my fastest mile at the end of the hard effort (7:46!). I even had enough energy to take out my phone and snap a photo of the awesome new sign welcoming me into Leucadia (one of the 5 small communities in Encinitas) during one of the final miles. I finished my final 3 recovery miles and wrapped up the run with an average of 8:32/mile, and the 15 miles turned out to be an average of 8:05/mile, which was faster than planned but felt easier than planned. This was truly the best I’ve ever felt on a 20 mile run, and possibly ANY long run. It was a great confidence booster!
After the run Mike and I changed into our swim suits and headed down to the beach for the best ice bath on the planet – the ocean!
- Miles Run: 54.4
- Hours Strength: 1:40
- Total Time: ~10 hours
What is the best long run you’ve ever had? Do you ever do ice baths or ocean ice baths?