This was a recovery week and oh did I need it. After giving blood and running 71 miles last week, I was happy to cut back my mileage to 50 to mini-taper for my half marathon tune up race. I didn't have a lot going on in the evenings, Monday was a holiday, and so I also didn't get up early to run -- I figured I could catch up on some much needed sleep.
So.... Monday was 9 on the Accotink Trail - ran from the gym while the kids were in daycare and Jamie was on the treadmill, then we all did family swim. Tuesday I did 2 with the Guys on the Go team I coach (3rd - 6th grade boys... wasn't sure if I should count these miles in my training since I usually do them super slow and stop a lot to motivate the kiddos, but hey why not?) and 6 at the Tysons Running Store, Wednesday I rested for the first time in 11 days, Thursday was 2 with the Guys on the Go plus 3 miles of speed training after work, Friday I ran 6 with Brittany right after work from the marina before heading off to Pentagon City to get a new iphone (note to all: do not put your brand new iphone in your running jacket, then throw all your sweaty clothes in the laundry without checking your pockets...) -- it is SO nice to run with someone else who is my pace, wish she lived closer -- and then Saturday was insane and all I could manage was to run home from swim lessons before jumping in the car and heading to an inservice for work. At any rate, I felt pretty tapered for the race today.
Brittany (who was NOT tapered as she decided to run 14 miles yesterday) picked me up at 5:30am and we headed off to Gainesville. The weather was pretty perfect for running -- 50 degrees, no wind. We picked up our bibs and did a warm-up lap around the track, then I went to the bathroom (for the record, I went to the bathroom 5 times before the race started. Yes, that is five times between 6:15am and 7:00am. I am always terrified I'm going to have to lose precious seconds during the race in a port-a-potty, but I think Brittany thought this was a bit ridiculous by the 4th time....) Then I drank a bottle of Gatorade, did one more lap, (visited the ladies room a few more times), and got in line for the race.
My goal for the race was to try to keep the same pace I did for the ten miler in June - 1:17:13, so a 7:43 pace. I figured, hey, it's only three miles longer, I can do it, right? So I took off at what I thought was somewhere around 7:40. The Garmin buzzed and I looked down. 7:22. Oops. Anyhow, whatever. I didn't feel like I was pushing it and figured I'd settle back into a groove once the first mile adrenaline wore off. Sure enough mile 2 was 7:44. Then 7:42, 7:46, 7:55, -- these were all downhill and I was feeling great til I quickly realized this was going to be UPHILL on this out and back course and that the UPHILL would come when I was much more tired, AURGH - 7:44, 7:48 7:42, (and here comes that downhill-now-backwards-meaning-the-devil-uphill) 8:02, -- despite the fact that my 10th mile was the slowest of them all, I was thrilled that I crossed it right at 1:17, so I was on top of my goal - 7:59, 7:55, 8:03 (completely uphill! - elevation here if you are curious: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/fullscreen/68254160/), AND finally we are at the last 1.1 -- no more hills, and there was a girl who looked like she might be in my age group within sight of me... I tried to catch her, and as we made it onto the track for the last 400 meters, I ran past her. I was a pretty good distance ahead and had my music blaring, looked back at the curb and thought I had her. My Garmin said I was running towards the finish at about a 6:50 pace... and then as I got to the last straightaway she somehow managed to kick it up to like a 4 minute/ mile pace, I swear, and she blew ahead of me by like 5 seconds. I felt like I was going to throw up, but only for the last .15 miles. I did the last 1.1 in 7:29, I think.... my watch and and my official time were not in agreement. Final chip time was 1:41:05. 7:42 pace = Goal Met.
Last year the 3rd place winner in my AG was 1:43 so I decided to stick around for the results. Brittany is in the next AG down so we were not competing, but she had finished around the same time I did. We waited and waited in the cold for the race to end.... then we got in her car... then we got back out and waited some more. Finally about an hour and 15 minutes later they posted preliminary results. I was 6th in my AG and Brittany was 7th in hers.... oh well. Guess they had a speedier field (or perhaps better race conditions) this year.
Overall I'm happy -- that was a PR by 3:49. See happy photo:
My schedule called for 18 miles today with 12 at race pace... I counted our .5 mile warm-up, then ran from my house to Firehouse Subs when I got home to get in another 4.5. Jamie met me there with the kiddos. It was a slog - 10:20 pace (I walked up Pickett Hill) - but I knew if I didn't do the run right when I got home it wasn't going to happen.
Next week the training plan is back to insanity, and my week is kind of ridiculous as well. My tenth anniversary is Tuesday so I don't think I can really run after work.... we will see how/if I get in all 70 miles on the schedule.....