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Back in the Race



Things are starting to pick up here in Bangle-land. November and December were about rest and recovery. Then I had a cold the first week of January. But then it was time to get back at it. Because Boston was calling. With only 13 weeks left, I was already behind schedule. But I could just look forward and do my best, so I started picking up the miles, running more often, and laid out a rough schedule to get me up to a long run of 20 and some weeks close to 50 miles. Boston expectations are low, but I'm going to have fun with Quadracool and enjoy the experience. Just hope the body holds up and I don't bonk too spectacularly. 

So, week of Jan 7 I managed 22, and the next week I was up to 33 with a long run of 13. Phew! That 13 was tough! Proof that I had lost my marathon shape since NY. But the good news was my knee was holding up OK. The rest didn't seem to help it much. Seemed like it hurt worse than ever during Christmas. Yet increasing the miles was no problem. In fact it has been getting gradually less of a problem as I run more. Weird. I have been going to the gym about every 5 days and doing leg extensions and the knee is getting stronger. Definitely progress. So I'm hopeful.

Week of Jan 21 I ran 34 including a 14 miler that wasn't quite as bad as the previous week's 13. I also had a speed workout where I felt surprisingly chipper! Knocked out 4x400s with the last two about 85, and then 2x1600 at 6:50 which was not too taxing. Positive vibes! I've also got the chance to run in the rain quite a bit this year as we are having a wet winter. I've been enjoying the novelty of it. 

Last week was only 31 because I skipped the long run as I tapered for a 10K on Sunday. But I plan for 37 this week and 46 next week with longs of 15 and 16. Feeling pretty dang tired, but I guess that's what I'm supposed to feel during a marathon buildup.

So, race report!

Sunday was our local Super Bowl Sunday 10K, a race I have now run 24 times. It is less than a mile from home, so I trot down to the start for my warmup. Forecast was for rain, but then it let up so it looked like we would miss it. However a little squall came in 5 minutes before the start and soaked us through. It quit about 15 minutes later, but we were all drenched by then. It was pretty breezy too. But with temps in the low 50s it was fine for running.

My goal was to break 45, about 7:15 pace. I also had many club members to race against. The course has a few hills in the first two miles, then is mostly flat, and then rolls for a mile before a nasty hill at 5.5 and a downhill finish. My strategy is to go out easyish (7:30?) through the first two and then start racing. Feeling dead and spent after two miles is no way to run a 10K.

So of course I go out a little fast with my clubmates and see a pace under 7 before restraining myself a little. Then coach Ed pulls up to my shoulder and I start running with him because we're rivals you know, and another girl joins us so I run with them for a while, which means I go out too fast. 7:09 for mile 1. Oh well. Not too bad and I'm not hurting yet.

By the end of mile 2, Ed and the girl have slipped back and I am alone. My other rival is so far ahead of me I can't see him. I can only hope he fades badly. (Spoiler - he didn't) Mile 2 comes in at 7:30 and I am disappointed because it feels faster and I am pretty darn tired already. Oh well. I keep plugging.

Mile 3 is normally the fastest, but there is a pretty good headwind from the South which is NOT helping. I hopefully look at the Garmin, wishing to see something close to 7:00 pace but I see 7:20. Ugh. I start to push a little more, but without a rival to chase, the will is lacking. I come through 3 in 7:23 and say goodbye to my dreams of running under 44.

As we turn back to the North in mile 4 the wind fades, but I am searching for a reason to suffer. Or more like, a reason not to just coast it in. Rival is still out of sight. This pace feels harder than it should. Poo. But then another clubmate, M, pops up on my shoulder. This is a guy I should be beating (although he is getting faster lately). So here's my incentive. No way this guy beats me. I start to push more. He hangs tough at my side. We work together. Mile 4 is 7:16.

As we go over a few little hills I keep the hammer down, especially on the downhills, and M fades back. I am now feeling the race mojo and accepting the increased breathing rate and associated pain as an acceptable price to pay. Mile 5 is 7:16. Yeah I am still slow, but whatever. I'm going to do my best and push this last mile, because M is NOT going to catch me!


I survive the steep hill of death and as soon as I get my breathing somewhat back to normal, I put my foot back on the gas and redline it in. Mile 6 is 7:09 (including the hill at 9:00+ pace) and the final .3 (!!) is 6:20 pace. M does NOT catch me! (He was 8 seconds back) I cross in 45:35, which is a little disappointing. But you know, it's close. It's not too bad. I'm getting older. Blah blah blah. Age grade was 69.4% so that sounds decent. Only good for 10th in my competitive AG.




So anyway, back to marathon training. Monday I rested and Tuesday I was still feeling the fatigue as a nine miler felt pretty rough. But the knee is doing pretty well. Feeling pretty positive and ready for eight weeks of training.

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Fantastic news that the knee is behaving! 

Nice 1st race back. That is quite a streak!

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I admire how you race with complete abandon - no fear whatsoever. I hope one day I find the same craziness you have. Well done!

PS - so proud of you for doing strength workouts :)

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10K may be my least favorite distance. Funny how the old knees respond so well to mileage increases. Mine do the same thing. Best of luck getting ready for Beantown 2019.

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^ and ^^ 10ks are the BEST distance! 

It's amazing how you can go from "I might be dying" to miraculously finding another gear when there's a rival or a challenger suddenly present. Way to hold off M and finish strong!

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