Saturday, June 30, 2012

My training continues

I'm learning a lot about myself while training for a summer half marathon. Back in 2009, when I trained for the July Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon in sweltering Texas weather conditions I vowed to stick to cooler weather long races. It was so tough for me to keep up my motivation, and it showed during the race when I bonked at Mile 10.

For some reason I felt like this year could be different, and since we would already be in California in late July I decided to sign up for the San Francisco Half Marathon. Let the training begin!

Luckily, because I've been forcing myself to run in warmer conditions (98 degrees on Thursday night!), I'm getting acclimated. Last weekend's 10-miler was pretty awesome and I felt great the whole time, although the weather conditions were milder than normal. But it gave me a confidence boost.

This morning's run wasn't quite so awesome, but I really have no complaints. The plan was for 10 miles again, and with temps higher than last week, a 72 degree dew point (which basically means it feels like a sauna outside), and 85% humidity, I knew it quite possibly could hurt a bit. I headed out at a very slow pace and hit the first mile in 10:03. A good, easy start. Miles 2 and 3 were a lot faster, both at 9:23, and I was definitely warmed up. But I felt sluggish and tired and for some reason Mile 4 just dragged. I wanted to walk so badly, or turn around...anything to just not be running. Totally surprised it came in at 9:03.

I forced myself to run to my turnaround at 5 miles and then cut myself some slack and stopped so I could take my Gu. What a relief to stand in the shade for a few moments and catch my breath. Once I began running again, I started making deals with myself....just run another mile, just one more mile and maybe take a break. Okay, mile 6 is done, but I decided I didn't need a break....I was tougher than that. Right after 7 miles was a water fountain and I knew I'd need a refill so I concentrated on just keeping a steady pace and making it to the fountain. I gave myself a few moments to catch my breath again, but it was just hard to breathe out there. 2.85 miles left in my run...small beans compared to the 7.15 already in the books, right?

There was a girl out on the trail that had passed me on the first 5 at a very respectable pace, and she was about to pass me again right around 8 miles. For some reason that gave me a bit of motivation to not stop until I was done. Only 2 more miles to go...and I felt like I could just suck it up. My heart rate was high, but remained steady. Once I hit 9 miles (my only sub-9 minute mile), I slowed down a bit to make Mile 10 a little easier, more like a cool down mile. I could see the faster girl not far in front of me, running about the same pace. Funny enough, that last mile ended up being my second fastest (at 9:01) although it felt much slower.

Overall, I'm really pleased with my 1:32:35 finishing time for the 10 miles (running time, not counting my two short breaks). Overall a 9:15 pace, only 7 seconds slower per mile than the previous week's 10-miler. Not bad at all. Painful, but done.

I feel like I'm learning something new every time I get out there:

1. Heat training does work...the process just sucks
2. You're tougher than you think you are
3. You can always run one more mile
4. Speedwork benefits will show up in your long runs
5. A stronger core will help with form, and therefore pace
6. Sometimes we just need a rabbit to chase
7. Eating more the day before a long run will help in the later miles...I was getting hungry out there!
8. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!!

3 more long runs until the San Francisco Half Marathon...two here in Texas and one in California. 4 weeks until race day. I'll keep plugging away.

On my long run trail

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