I am a little late posting about last week's runs. It was another big week, at least for me. I ran another 37 miles. It was probably my toughest week as I added speed and hills to the mix.
Tuesday--5 miles easy
Wednesday-- 6 mile hill workout
Thursday-- 6 miles easy
Friday-- 5 mile track workout
Sunday-- 15 miles
I did three runs in a row in my neighborhood. I didn't mean to, but I got lazy. I couldn't pull myself out of bed early enough. I had every intention of driving to Lake Murray on one or two days, but I dilly dallied around until it was getting too late. I need to be home by 7:30 or so in order to get the kids ready for their days. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the lake, so I need to factor in an extra half an hour if I want to run there. The only problem with running so much in my neighborhood is the fact that there are so many hills. To leave my immediate neighborhood, I would have to run down a very steep hill (which means running or walking back up it at the end). Hills aren't a bad thing, but they are tough every day.
My hill workout was brutal. I didn't have much of a plan, so I just ran a hill, went back down and ran it again and then found another one. We have a hill in our neighborhood that isn't quite as steep as the others. It is a little less than a half mile long and is not quite as steep as 6th street, the main hill at the end of the AFC Half Marathon. I ran up our hill at race pace. At the top, I thought I was going to pass out or throw up. It was tough. It made me realize that I might need to count on running that mile or so during AFC a bit slower than my race pace. It also means that if I am going to PR, I might have to run the early miles faster. I think I like the early hills of La Jolla better. Once you have the big hill out of the way, you can push yourself till the end. My legs were jello by the end of that hill workout. So a question about hills-- should I focus on running up them at an easy pace where I can breath regularly, getting used to the incline or power up them at an anaerobic level? What do you do?
I did have a plan for the track workout. I used a combination of some calculations from my certification training and McMillan. McMillan was a bit faster than the paces I figured on my own. It gave me a nice range to shoot for. I decided to try to aim toward the fast side of things, just to see if my legs could still move quickly. It is funny how much you can dread a track workout. It is a lot of work. But it ended up being fun. Here is what my plan was:
1 mile warm up
4 X 100 @ :24-:28 with 100m walk
4 X 200 @ :45-:57 with 200m jog
4 X 800 @ 3:40- 4:00 with 200m jog
1 mile cool down
Here's what I did:
4 X 100 @ :20*, :22, :23, :25 w/ 100m walk/jog
4 X 200 @ :48, :49, :47, :49 w/ 200m walk/jog
4 X 800 @ 3:44, 3:49, 3:46, 3:49 with a short water break getting my heart rate down-- no distance between sets
3/4 mile cool down (it was getting late, so I skipped the last lap)
Obviously, I got a bit slower as I went on, but I am happy with it. I still kept well below my original paces (the higher end of the ranges). I am going to add a few miles at race pace this week in order to train my legs to run at that speed. I am hoping for a race pace of around 8:25 per mile. I know that is a pretty aggressive goal. As we get closer to the race, I may reevaluate that goal.
I thought of Terri during the sprinting portion of the workout. She often wrote about how much she loves the sprints. During the 100's, I felt free. I just ran fast, without really worrying about the time. The longer intervals were harder. I had to really push myself on one or two of the 800's. I considered skipping the last one, but am glad I completed all the intervals.
I have mentioned the track where I like to do these workouts. It is part of the Cuyamaca College campus, a junior college near my house. The track feels like a true community track. I always see other runners and walkers there. They have visitor parking spaces (where the rest of the campus is permit only). It has a drinking fountain and a porta potty. The other college nearby has a gate and I have encountered it locked on several occasions. There are ways in, but I then feel like I am trespassing. Well, the other night, it again felt like a community spot. There was a young sprinter, some walkers, a couple running laps and then going into the adjacent hills, and one special member of the community. This guy was booking across the track into the grassy infield. He's definitely not my favorite, but I would rather see him than the other pesky desert-dweller, the rattle snake. It was getting dark and I only had my phone with me, but I had to get a picture of this guy. It is a bit grainy, but I think you can get the picture. He was HUGE. I mean... almost as big as my hand! I would have put my hand down to give a point of reference, but I am not that crazy!
My last run of the week was my long run. Once again, it was a group run. This was one of those mornings I was thankful to be meeting the girls. I really didn't feel like running, but I was excited to keep up the momentum of these group runs. It was a smaller group this week (only five of us), but it was another success. I am particularly proud that all five runners completed five different distances, yet everyone felt like they were part of the group run. We had runners running eight, ten, eleven, and thirteen miles based on their individual plans and fitness. I had fifteen to do. Everyone ran at least four miles with someone else and two of the runners were able to run their entire distance with a friend.
The only bad part of the run was the return of my potty issues (warning: possible TMI ahead). I read AKA Alice's post last week that stated that the bathrooms at Balboa Park aren't open until 8 a.m. Uh Oh. That was NOT good news, since I was starting at 5:30 at Balboa Park and not running by any businesses until about mile seven! I tried to use the bathroom several times before leaving home. I started running with my friend, Anne, and all was well. I thought I could make it until I ran by the McDonald's later on. Unfortunately, around mile four, I was searching for a leftover porta potty from a park function or a race (I have found them in the past). I left Anne so she could finish her run (she had to be home earlier than the rest of us) and searched desperately for an open potty.
By the time I got back to the car, I was at a point where I couldn't run anymore. I needed a bathroom. I was meeting Alicia and Jenna and had ten more miles to complete with them. So I searched through the trunk of the car, grabbed a plastic bag, some baby wipes (always good to have!) and headed behind a bush**. AKA Alice, at this point, I thought of you and your bush. However, I didn't take a picture of my bush. It was not my finest hour.
The rest of the run went well. We ran up around the zoo parking lot and then down to the convention center. Comic Con was going on, but I didn't see any celebrities or cool costumes. It was probably too early. We did get some strange looks. Running in the sunshine is a foreign concept to some of the Comic Con attendees. LOL. We then ran up the route of the half marathon. Once again, I ran the hill twice, going back and checking on my runners. Running between the different pace groups helped give me an extra mile bringing my total to fifteen miles.
All in all, I'd say it was a successful weeek. Looking at the length of this post, I'd say I should have posted about each of the runs separately. If you read through the entire week... I thank you!
*I'm not 100% sure of this one. I think I started on the wrong line and ran a shorter distance for the first interval. When I stopped my watch, it said :14. I knew I didn't run 100 that quickly, so I estimated based upon my perceived speed in relation to the other four intervals.
**Hey... sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.