Love the run (and race).

There’s something to be said about experience.

I did my best to sabotage myself in the last few weeks leading up to Spinx Marathon. I hated running; I didn’t want to run; I barely ran. Instead of focusing on race day and what needed to be done, I only focused on all the things I didn’t do perfectly. I very nearly didn’t race.

But, race day dawned, bright and beautiful. It was the perfect day for me (a bit too warm for some, but I do love the heat). Experience at the marathon and ultra took precedence and I was able to force my body into race mode. I chose to go out very conservative, managed to settle in with a great group, and slightly negative split my way to a 3:18:32. Good enough for a 2 minute PR. I’ll take it.

I was 9th woman here, about 7 miles in. Steady, steady.
I was 9th woman here, about 7 miles in. Steady, steady.

Of course I wish I’d been in the mindset to really go after the 3:15 or better. I know my body could have done it, but I just wasn’t strong enough mentally to do it. I’ll be better next time. I have a new game plan, new race goals, and an awareness of my faults and strengths at racing. I’ll be better next time.

By here, at almost 16, I was 7th. I finished 4th. My fastest miles were 23, 24, and 25 (mostly thanks to my pacer that just kept pushing)). Yes, I'm that pigeon-toed. It seems to work.
By here, at almost 16, I was 7th. I finished 4th. My fastest miles were 23, 24, and 25 (mostly thanks to my pacer that just kept pushing). Yes, I’m that pigeon-toed. It seems to work.

In the almost two weeks since the marathon, I ran about 25 miles and am on pace for about 55ish for this week. I’ll race a trail half on Saturday and spend the next few weeks remembering why I love running. I love hill repeats, I love fartleks, I love slow meandering runs that take me through the best parts of my city. I love running, and heading into winter– my least favorite season, I’ll take all the love I can get.

Until Paris Mtn 20k (that is on Dec. 6th and I care how I race at that one)….

**Photos Courtesy of Pace Running Magazine’s Facebook page**

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Darlington Half Marathon and Solidifying Goals

On September 27th, I raced the Darlington Half. If you know me at all, then you know I have a not-so-secret love for NASCAR. So given the chance to run around one of the most historic race tracks in a race that lines up perfectly with my marathon training schedule was pretty freaking awesome.

image

I ended up 3rd woman, and hit right at 1:35. That was the time I’d had in my mind to solidify my marathon time goal of 3:15 four weeks later. Of course, anyone who races knows that the final time is only a part of the equation. I’d had this little voice in my head in the week leading up to Darlington telling me to go for a new half PR (which is 1:32 and change), but another voice telling me that I’ve been training for a full and that there is no way I’ve got enough speed to pull it off.

After a chat with Palmer, the ever-logical fiance, I decided to go out at PR pace and just see how I felt. If things were going well then I’d keep digging and go for it but if not I could always back off and return to the original plan of 1:35. I went through the first mile in 6:59, followed by several more sub seven miles. Obviously, since I’ve already mentioned my finish time, this sub-7 experiment didn’t last. I never felt bad exactly, but I didn’t feel good at all, either. This resulted in a mental pity party from about mile 8 on and I slowed down more than I should have, really.

All in all though, this marathon cycle has gone as well or better than last year (so far). I’ve averaged over 10 miles more per week in the same time frame and I haven’t entirely (just occasionally) avoided the track and other workouts. I definitely screwed up last year in the last three weeks by tapering too aggressively and having my last long run go too well (as in, I was way fresh for it and essentially ran the race out of my legs in training). So, I’m hoping that I can rectify that this year by keeping the mileage and intensity up for a while longer, even if it means I don’t get the ego boost from crushing the last long run. Less ego, faster race day. 3:15. Probably.

Time Keeps on Slippin’

Name that song!

 

I certainly meant to blog in the last two weeks, but I mean to do lots of things and that rarely works out. I’m generally one of those that is a content consumer rather than a content producer which pretty much means I’ll never write a book because I’d just rather read one.

 

Anyway. Things happened since I last wrote, and most of it had nothing to do with running:

Exhibit A: I'm engaged to be married
Exhibit A: I’m engaged to be married.

 

Exhibit B: I really did graduate from Clemson.
Exhibit B: I really did graduate from Clemson.

 

Exhibit C: I have a job. I'm a barista, and doing my part to perpetuate the stereotype of underemployed persons with advanced Humanities degrees.
Exhibit C: I have a job. I’m a barista, and doing my part to perpetuate the stereotype of underemployed persons with advanced Humanities degrees.

 

As you can see, it’s been a reasonably busy couple of weeks. I’m not really sure on many wedding details, but it’ll work out and be awesome. And I’m not really sure when and how I’ll find a proper career, but will also work out and be awesome. And I don’t know how long I’ll be able to maintain this level of optimism, but it’s worked out for the better part of 30 years and is mostly awesome.

 

I’ve also been running, and there are now only 9 weeks left until the marathon. In many ways I’m pleased with how my mileage and quality are going, but it’s often difficult to see progress in the day-to-day. Mostly I’m just kind of tired and feeling the cumulative fatigue that leaves my legs feeling flat. However, this morning I did a 20-miler that, while nothing all that impressive, was a negative split run that ended up being quite similar to a long run I did 5 weeks out from the marathon last year. But I’m 9 weeks out now and hitting about the same times in much hotter weather. So, progress? I hope so.

 

This coming Friday I’m going to race Midnight Flight 10k. I was fourth place woman there last year. I’m honestly not expecting much more than that, but I do hope to race smart and not let the hill in the last mile do too much damage to my legs (and ego).

 

I never know how to end blogs, so here's a picture of the fence Palmer built to keep the chickens out of the garden area in the backyard.
I never know how to end blogs, so here’s a picture of the fence Palmer built to keep the chickens out of the garden area in the backyard.

Spinx Marathon training week 1

I keep a physical pen and paper running log, because my version of a running log also looks a lot like a diary. I write about how I’m feeling, how life is going, what demons I’m currently battling, and other such journal-y type musings. I like it because running, to me, is so much more than just gps data and workout splits. I like being able to look back and recall exactly what I was going through weeks or months ago, and how it affected my running. I find the patterns and try to recreate the positive ones.

That said, I have big goals for the next few months, and I want a public place to talk about them without spamming my poor social media friends. By actually using my blog, I will have an internet dumping ground for my mundane running stuff, but only the people that want to read about it all will have the option of clicking through.

So, today marks the end of my first of 14 weeks of training for Spinx Marathon.

I think it went well:
75 miles
8-ish beers
4 midday naps
2 lifting sessions
1 track workout (all negative splits, too!)
1 5k race (run at 10k goal pace in a controlled effort)
And 1 very hot 16 mile long run

I hope to write more specifically about marathon goals and such, but for now I will leave it at that. On to week 2…