When I wrote about being intimidated by my own goals the other day, I was mostly thinking about this week’s long run. When I made my training plan for Miami, I decided I’d run by time instead of distance; I ran a half in August and another in October and the idea of looking at one more training calendar of 6-8-10-12-8-race made me sad. I also wanted to just get used to spending more time on my feet; I maxed out at 12 before the Giant Race (but that’s also when my IT band problems started) and at 10 before Nike (and really felt that in the last 1.5 miles of the race), and I wanted to see how I’d respond to a different approach.
So I set up my calendar starting at an hour the week after Nike, then added 15 minutes to every week’s long run, with a max (which I’m set to hit next week) of around 2:15. For the first few weeks, I loved this. I routinely exceeded my expectations for distance and pace, and running felt awesome again.
This week, though, was the 2:00 week. And running for 2:00 at something less than goal pace when I’m training to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon and have no mental game in the first place? Yup, that could cause some problems.
I debated changing the time, stopping at 1:55 or going to 2:05; I thought maybe I’d just run 12 miles like every other training cycle; I thought of forcing myself to run as slow as possible so I’d know I had a large margin to improve before race day. And ultimately, none of that sounded like it would solve the problem; it’s not like I wouldn’t just do the math and do a lot of “well YEAH, but if I ran another .5 miles, my time would be ___.” I decided to just go get it done.
Long-running on Saturday is unusual for me, but I was supposed to take an intro to road biking class on Sunday (since called off because of rain), so I watched the early football games (go U Northwestern!) and then headed out. A bar breakfast sandwich and a diet coke isn’t my usual pre-run fuel, but I still felt great at the start. My original plan was to stick close to 9:30 miles, but somewhere in the second mile, I decided that I’d run any pace that felt comfortable, as long as I never came close to feeling I was maxing out and always had room to speed up.
I ran my usual lap through the park, hit the ocean, and turned north toward the zoo. I ran smack into a headwind going out to the zoo, and I didn’t get as much of a boost as I expected from the tailwind on the way back, but I kept feeling good until I hit the uphill back through the park. I’m used to that now, though, and I just turned my watch to show average pace and made sure it didn’t drop too far.
With 10 minutes to go, I was back on flat ground and realizing I had a Jamba Juice in my sights if I played the end right. With 2 minutes left, I tried telling myself, “sprint to the finish!” and found that my legs actually could keep turning over.
The results: 2:00 (not including one bathroom stop and one stupidly long wait at a stoplight), 12.9 miles covered. And I felt great, confidence-wise. If I could do this at the end of my highest-mileage week ever (long run on Sunday last week, then on Saturday this week, put me over 35 mpw, still a huge number for me), maybe I can do even more in Miami.
And maybe I do have a little mental game after all.
So let’s talk playlist.
I was so excited to run to this RadioLab, but the actual Patient Zero storyline was a little too much for my run-addled brain to follow as closely as it deserved. The segment on the original high five, though, was awesome.
Music-wise, “Regret” is a contender for my Miami playlist; it reminds me of listening to Open House Party (which still exists?!) in junior high. “So Alive” has been stuck in my head for about three hours now, and “This Heart’s On Fire” was a forgotten gem from an old playlist. Best boost on this run? “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song,” which is so abjectly obnoxious that I can’t not smile when it comes on.