The Tuesday after Spearfish I found myself incredibly grateful for having already registered for a marathon, and thus, already having a reason to get out of bed and run. I was a little creaky that first day back (looking back, maybe more than one day off would have been an okay idea) but I put up a 29-mile week and felt great. I’ve actually gone past Higdon’s mileage targets for a couple weeks now–being half marathon-ready put me 5-6 weeks into the marathon plan, so, on the advice of Jacqueline, I decided to keep my mileage up instead of starting at week one.
Last weekend Megan and I checked out the route for the Sioux Falls Half Marathon, which we’ll be running this weekend. We made it a 14-miler and kept the pace at 9:27, which I’ve NEVER, repeat, NEVER come close to on a long run, so that was a great confidence boost. Then last week I decided to see if I could stay under 9-minute miles for the slew of 6’s I put in–and it turns out I can–on HILLS even!
I decided to make this past weekend’s long run a 16-miler, and then desperately whored myself out all over Twitter and Facebook asking for someone to run with. I ended up with Jeff, who was doing his last monster run before the Twin Cities Marathon, and said he’d be happy to have company for 16 miles (and run slower than he usually does, obviously.) I was so grateful to have the company, and a friend of his (also a Jeff) biked along for company. (Biker Jeff was recently benched with a stress fracture–he was training for TC too. The fact that he’s not only willing to be around people who are still training but be of help to them seems incredibly noble to me.) With the exception of a 5-MILE-LONG stitch I got at the end, it went pretty well–even on the stretch of trail out by the airport that I’d been dreading. I ended up over a 10-minute pace, which I wasn’t super thrilled with, but Higdon says it’s acceptable to do your long runs up to 2 minutes per mile slower than target pace, so I’m not going to dwell on it. At this point, it’s still just about getting the miles in. Also, come to think of it, if I ran Philadelphia at a 10-minute pace I WOULD be thrilled. I often need to step back and look at the big, long, 26.2-mile picture.
This week I’m not exactly tapering the way I did last time, because overall, my goal is the marathon, not a PR. (Although, I think if I had a great day and ran smart I COULD PR, but it doesn’t seem likely.) I’m keeping my mileage up, but relaxing the pace. I did 6 right around 9-minute miles today, which is faster than I meant for it to be. Jeff ran with me again today, and we’re running together tomorrow too–bonus! I’m telling myself I WILL stay closer to 9:30 tomorrow–while I’m not obsessively preparing for this race the way I did Spearfish, I don’t want to be tired either.
So my focus for this race is to go out slow, and run smart the first 10 miles, and then see what I’ve got. I keep hearing/reading that having a negative split is where it’s at, and I NEVER run negative splits. (I’m a textbook start-too-fast-then-putter-out runner.) The only anxiety I have about this race is the fact that my stomach has been an unholy monster to me a couple times in the last few weeks, but I’m hoping eating light Friday and Saturday will prevent anything Paula Radcliffe-like from happening to me. (Not that I’d ever do that. I’m just saying I think I have some idea how she felt.) Ah, the joys of running!
I’ve also decided that the key to losing weight while marathon training must lie in not eating everything in sight after your long run. This, however, is not something I am capable of.
In non-pavement-pounding news, I’m obsessed with this handbag (I’m providing the eBay link because Coach’s website is Flash or some crap and doesn’t let you link to specific items…and DON’T JUDGE on the price…I have a discount and a part-time job whose wages are fun money) and am thinking about snatching it up when I get my next bonus from Coach. Thoughts? Is it too weird? Will I think this was a terrible idea a year from now?