Week 7 is the week where my Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon got serious. Or, as Toby would say in the song above…This is Not a Test. Whenever you have a 9 mile long run on the calendar, it’s time to get serious. The big miles are coming. This was a very busy week for me. So, I had to make alterations to get all 4 workouts in. After a week where I only got 2 training runs in, I needed to get back up to 4 and did!
It started with 4 miles on Monday. This is not a usual night for me to run. However, things on my calendar for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, I needed to get out on Monday. The goal going out was to take this run easy. I wanted to get the miles in, but not kill myself to do so. I decided 4 miles of run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds is what I needed. I was right. Here are the splits:
As you can see, every mile got slower. I was okay with that. My goal was to keep to my intervals and finish all 4 miles. Mission accomplished! Since I knew I’d be running again the next day and couldn’t miss, I didn’t want to be too tired at the end of the run. Again, mission accomplished!
Tuesday, I was out again for another 4 miles! I love getting my mid-week runs in! When I thought about this week, I had hoped that I would be able to go back to the 60 second walk breaks on this run. However, when I got out running, my body was telling me to keep it at 90 seconds. With this run, different things hurt in different miles. It started with my ankle in the last quarter-mile of the first mile. I was seriously worried about that. It was my ankle that caused me to keep the walk breaks at 90 seconds. After 1.25 miles, the ankle was fine! A little later in the mile, my calves got tight. I actually stopped at one point in mile 2 to stretch it out. That worked out pretty well. By 1.75 miles, I was okay again. However at 2.4 miles, my lower back started bothering me. By this point, I started thinking…”This just isn’t my day.” All I wanted to do was finish ALL 4 miles. My time was about what I did the day before. However, this time, it wasn’t on purpose. By the time I got into mile 4, all the aches and pains were pretty much gone. I was a little worn out from pushing through each miles’ problems. This was truly a 4 mile battle.
Here are the splits from this run. As I look at it, I’m kind of amazed at how consistent I was in this run. I finished around 30 seconds slower than Monday’s run. However, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I made it through to the end and got all 8 mid-week miles! I’m also proud of myself for finishing all 4 on this day when I had excuses in each mile to call it a day.
On Wednesday, I had an early St. Patrick’s Day meal with my wife’s parents. Then, Thursday, I had a choir practice at my church for their Easter Sunday. So, I couldn’t run on either of those nights. I was supposed to do laundry on Friday evening. However, by the end of Friday, I was just too wiped out and needed a veg night at home.
Saturday, I was back at the gym. I think that’s 3 out of 4 weeks! For the first time in a while, I’m actually enjoying being at the gym. There are times where the gym can seem pretty boring after all the fun stuff I get to see running outside. I’ve settled in on a workout regiment where I spend 27 minutes on the Elliptical Machine, 2 sets of 15 reps of assisted chin ups, 2 sets of 15 reps of assisted dips, 4 sets of 25 reps on the leg press machine, and 4 sets of 25 reps on the abs machine. The weights I’ve been using have finally gotten to the point where I’m thinking about an increase! This is what consistency brings about. You get to actually increase the weights! I’m so looking forward to next week at the gym!
On Sunday, I was up for my longest run since the Star Wars Half Marathon. I had 9 miles on the calendar. So, I headed off to the Rose Bowl for 3 laps around the loop. I absolutely love running here! Whenever I get a training run where the mileage is in multiples of 3, this is where I prefer to run it. Each lap is 3 miles. When you have multiples of 3, it works perfectly.
I was feeling a bit tired and even contemplated skipping this run when I woke up. I was simply not feeling it. However, I kept reminding myself how important each training run is and how skipping runs makes my races so much harder and less fun. So, I got in the car with the idea of just keeping the 90 second walk breaks going for all 9 miles. Since I haven’t run that far in so long, the goal for the day was simply to finish.
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you probably have heard me say this many times before. However, I’ll repeat it again. On the loop around the Rose Bowl, the first mile is largely uphill and flat. The second mile is where it starts to level out and go downhill. Mile 3 of the loop is the easiest. What I like about this is that I get to finish each loop feeling pretty good.
The first loop was my fastest and easiest. I started out running with a lot of fog. I’ve been in crazier fog that what was present for the run. However, it was still pretty foggy when I started out. This kept the temps on the cool side and perfect for running. The fact that I finished mile 1 in just over 12 minutes was awesome to me. I wasn’t expecting to be fast. For this route, anything faster than 12:30 is a good first mile for me. When I look at the splits…
I see that I was slowing down. However, everything felt really good on the first 3 miles (first loop). As you can see above, mile 4 was my slowest mile of the day. Honestly, that’s how it felt. I don’t know why, but the second loop was the hardest on me Sunday. I had some minor freak out moments in the 2nd loop about having to do another. It was a total mental thing.
Once I got going in mile 7 (the start of the 3rd loop), I was okay with finishing all 9 miles. Mile 7 was hard. But, I kept going. Run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds. I kept reminding myself how great it was to be going through this hard mile for the last time. I finished it around 10 seconds quicker than I did mile 4! By the time I got to 7.5 miles, I knew I was in for the easy part of the course and knew I’d finish all 9 miles. When I started this run, I was worried that I’d finish in more than 2 hours.
At the end, I beat that 2 hour feeling by around 3 and a half minutes! While I do want to finish 9 miles quicker, I was happy with this effort as it was my longest run since the Star Wars Half Marathon in January. So, it is a victory. Plus, I finished all the miles on the calendar for myself this week!
The next three weeks also have a crazy schedule to them. So, I’ll have to be flexible if I want to keep up the weeks with 4 workouts. Additionally, as my long run distances hit the double digits, I’m planning on incorporating more hills to them. I anticipate that my 11 mile run (in a couple weeks) to come out a little slower than this 9 mile run. I’m willing to take the hit on time in order to start working on hills. Both the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon and the TCS NYC Marathon will include a lot of climbing to them. If I want to have the best chance of success in both, my legs need to get used to running hills.
I’m now to that point of training where it’s getting serious. Every run counts. Every run matters. It’s now or never. Time to get after those goals!