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When last I checked in, I was entering month 2 of 13.1 training. I set some big goals for myself for this month, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised at how well I'm doing. Before I got MJ fixed, this is about the time of training where the wheels would fall off and everything would go to shit. Loopsters, everything is far from shit. Week 5 was a week where I didn't get my 4th run in, but got in an hour endurance spin session (whew!), 2 strength training sessions, and had two nice mid-week runs. Sunday's long run was post-poned because we had a freak snap of winter cold. Why run on Sunday in feels like 20 when Monday afternoon is going to be in the 50s? So instead I did another spin session, and tackled 7 miles Monday afternoon. That was also Patriot's Day, and while I couldn't watch Desi do something magical that day (thanks, NBC), the flotrack Twitter feed sufficed. Her achievement and my first 7 miler since surgery (post-surgery mileage PR, or psmPR) made it a great day for the Americans. (srsly, does anyone know how to edit photo size in this platform or do you have to make things smaller in a photo editor & then upload) Week 6 brought the 4th run in. the 4th run (although technically 3rd in the line up) was a nice, easy shake out after a 4 mile fartlek session the day before (surges of 9:59 pace for 4 minutes, with 2 minute jogs). Gosh I use parentheses a lot. Anyway, that shakeout run on Friday was followed up by something even bigger on Saturday. I went to an open casting call for SURVIVOR with the BF and a work friend. I was going for the runner look. Sunday was an afternoon long run, where I did 1 4.22 mile loop in a nearby park, stopped at my car for Nuun and part of a gluten free honey stinger waffle, and finished another 3.8 for 8 miles and another psmPR. I was pleasantly surprised to find my last two miles were my fastest, even though I felt like I was tiring. I also found that, while that waffle was delicious, I also nearly threw it up about 6.5 miles in. So maybe that will just be a post-race snack. Week 7 was probably my favorite week yet. Instead of spinning, I took Monday off for some odd reason. Can't remember why now. Tuesday was a mobility and strength session, Wednesday I did a 30 minute spin instead of running (raining like mad), and Thursday was a 5 miler at "easy" pace but averaged 11:39 mm. It's only about 20 seconds faster than the bottom range of my calculated easy pace, but I feel like I'm pulling a lot of Bangles with my easy and long runs lately, AKA going a bit faster than I "should". But, it feels good and MJ is cooperating, so maybe my easy pace is just getting faster. Saturday, there was a free 5k, so I moved Friday's run and did a nice jaunt with a co-worker. We chatted the entire time, enjoyed the beautiful weather and finished in 33:30, exactly 11 min pace. The last time that pace was conversational, I was doing coached speed sessions during marathon training. Someone's getting their fitness back. Finally, yesterday, I joined the LRS Sunday morning run group for my long run. I woke up late, made it to the store just as everyone was taking off, and was about 10 minutes behind by the time I finished my quick warm up. This was only an issue because there is a new leader for the group and they don't use nearly as many flags to mark turns, so I ended up choosing the wrong "straight" coming off a paved trail. I nearly had to look the map up on Facebook at mile 3 when I saw an aid station ... for mile 6. I literally just sighed. The plan was 9 miles and the idea of having an aid station at 3.3 miles instead of 4 just really messed with me. But, I sucked it up, ran to 4.5 on Polar Polly, turned around and ate my cheerios at 5.7 miles instead of 5. It was fine. The rest of the run went really well, I just enjoyed it, went at a pace that felt good and finished 9 in 1:47. My 7 miler two weeks earlier had been 1:28. Less than 20 minutes faster for 2 extra miles. <--- that means the world to me Appropriately used the 'beast mode' filter for this picture. If you didn't deduct from my 5 sentences about my long runs, I've been trying to find good mid-run fuel. I just can't handle gels or chews anymore. Too much sugary syrupyness for me. I tried making banana chews from Run Fast, Eat Slow and do not like the texture of them at all. So, I tried the Honey Stinger Waffle (nope!) and yesterday, Honey Nut Cheerios. Other than the need for a plastic baggie, they worked really well. I had about 2 handfuls before the run and a handful mid-run and felt great. The little cups of gatorade I had at each aid station helped, too, I think. How's your training going? Go to any open casting calls lately? What's your long run fuel?
I have a confession to make. I haven't run a good half marathon in over 2 years. Even my last Rehoboth wasn't great. Admittedly, it was faster than the 2015 iteration, but 2015 felt...stale. I ran walked from mile 6 on, I felt undertrained, I felt like I didn't have any stamina in me... I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself. Again. Sorry about that, it seems to be a thing I just do when blooping. There was a moment earlier this year when I was going to run the full marathon at Rehoboth. See, I was drinking one night and pissed off that I thought I hadn't gotten into Chicago (newsflash: I had) and I started drunkenly ranting in Loopville about it, and the verdict came back: Rehoboth! And then there was a time I realized I'd gotten into Chicago and I thought I might actually be able to run the fulls at both Chicago and Rehoboth (newsflash: I didn't) because the races were months away and I had seen some training plans that would allow me to do both...even though I'd never done that before. As the summer wore on and my training kind of sucked, I audibled and decided that I'd run the full at Chicago and the half at Rehoboth. I regret literally nothing about this decision. I initially expected very little from this race. It took me way longer to recover from Chicago than I thought it would, although I was cautiously optimistic about 2 good runs Thanksgiving week. I just didn't really think that a bad marathon training cycle, a bad marathon, bad runs since that race and 2 good runs a week before the next race longer than 5 miles was a formula for success. In retrospect I underestimated a few things, specifically how much tenacity I'd gained during my horrible, awful, no good, marathon training cycle and the mental strength I'd gained. It turns out both of those things matter a lot more than I thought they did. As I packed the day before the race, I was pretty sure I had a 2:40 in me if everything was good. My goal was to beat the speedy full marathon runners and get to the after party in time to enjoy a lot of beer. I had a really early flight (6:54 departure from O'Hare, which is about 45 minutes from my apartment with no traffic) so I really needed to be up by about 3:45 to be sure I could get out of the house by 4:15 and get to the airport on time. I was worried enough about this that I mentioned it on Facebook, so like you do when you're worried about something, I stayed on the phone with an ex until 12:30 am just to keep things interesting. I woke up utterly shocked at 4:45 am having totally overslept my alarm and somehow managed to get 90% of my shit together, take a quick shower, and be sort of human as I raced downstairs, ordered an Uber and prayed that I wasn't going to miss my flight. I did not miss my flight and was on my way to Detroit to catch my connection. Loop magic: 1 Reality: 1. In Detroit reality decided to test me, so the handle that lets you pull your suitcase behind you in a fairly effortless fashion broke off my carry-on. I then carried my bag 29 gates to my connection. But when I got on that flight, it turned out I had a row to myself, and I decided that even though reality was really testing me loop magic was clearly in full effect. Loop magic: 2 Reality: 2.
I really wish I had pictures for this one, there were some good ones, but my phone has been on the fritz and, well, let's just say the battery dies if I try to do anything cool. So the only pictures I took for this race were a selfie before and a selfie after. But really, I feel like I maybe turned a corner (although it wasn't soon enough to make a difference for the upcoming Rehoboth festivities). Dear Loopsters, we last met after I vanquished the marathon demon. I sacrificed many toenails in that endeavor and it took me way longer to recover than I anticipated was ever possible. I'd originally planned to run the Hot Chocolate 15K. I laid out my flat me and took a picture and posted it on Facebook, and it didn't matter, because the next day I woke up like "who exactly do you think you are and what made you think you were ready to run a half a mile, let alone 9.3 of them, crazy woman?" and I stayed in bed. It was rather embarrassing, and I now have a really nice half zip that I'm pretty sure I never get to wear because I couldn't drag my butt out of bed 3 weeks after a marathon. But I digress. I spent the remainder of October and the first part of November wondering why my legs wouldn't just GO. I'd try to run and stop. I'd pack my running clothes for a work run and stop. I'd attempt to harness some running energy on a weekend and walk most of it. Frankly, I couldn't tell what was actually going on. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure it was a particularly vicious combination of needing to recover, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and lack of a new goal (yes, I know I'm signed up for Rehoboth, but it was never a goal in the same way Chicago was...IDK how to explain it). After briefly wondering if I'd ever run again in November (this is a slight exaggeration, I did some decent run/walking to cover some miles, but I've NEVER had so much of a problem just RUNNING), I finally got it back together for my annual Turkey Trot. It was a lovely day and the race didn't start until 9 am, so I could sleep until 6:30 and still make it with plenty of time. It was also only an 8K and even though I'd barely run since Chicago, I knew I could do an 8K. And I did. It was brilliant. I ran it at an easy 11:17 pace, which frankly was on the fast side of what I thought I had in me. I had a blast, it was sunny, and fun, and even though I thought about walking a few times I was able to mentally defeat that. I'm glad I did, because, guess what? Not only didn't I need to walk, I sped up a bit, and my legs were fine. My lungs were fine. Everything was fine. It was like my Mojo was slowly returning after a year's worth of bad runs that had been laughing at me. I almost laughed aloud as the 8K field met up with the 5K (and walker) field in the last mile because I was so annoyed that all of the walkers were slowing me down. And then I remembered that I had been walking a lot lately, and a week earlier, I would have used that as an excuse to walk, and I didn't. I resolved to run at least one more time during the Thanksgiving break. AND TODAY I RAN!!!!!!!!! I wasn't as far as I would like, it wasn't pretty, but I ran. I ran the whole thing. 8.32 miles around one of my favorite loops. It didn't hurt my legs or my lungs. It was a nice way to clear my head. I have the time for a couple more runs. I'm not sure what they will be. Part of me feels like they should both just be 3ish miles, part of me feels like one would be okay to be a little longer. I am in no way shape or form ready to run a great half marathon at Rehoboth, but I'll finish. I'll likely run 5 or 6 miles, or however long I can, and then run/walk the end. I'll enjoy friends and keep it crazy slow and laugh and have a good time. I don't have a race I care about the time of again until April in DC and Rehoboth is really just a time for me to run with great friends. I've run that 13.1 miles before and I'm looking forward to running it again. I'll likely run it slower this time, but I'm okay with that. I'm just happy to feel like I can love running again. There is something magical about feeling like your mojo is back.