So, after today, it's nothing but 7 days of taper and the race.
Week -2 was pretty good, in terms of training.
Memorial Day: Cut-down 2 mile run with E in the heat. 9:21; 8:49. I was proud of this one, as I felt like I could have pushed another mile even faster despite the heat. Of course feeling like you could do something and actually doing it are different... but I do like that the increasing summer heat is naturally forcing me to get in better shape.
T: 2.55 miles easy @ 10:05; 2.73 walk. My hip flexor was starting to bother me. Decided not to push it and instead promised myself to stretch in the evening while letting Chompsky out and supervising.
W: Track day. 1.14 jogging w/u @ 10:57. 6 X 800 (Splits: 4:06; 4:18; 4:14; 4:16; 4:14) Slow and Struggling, but still a great workout that I would not have pushed myself to complete without the track group. 0.5 miles walking c/d. The assignment was 10X800 but I cut it short and stretched at the end. My hip flexor had been getting worse with each interval and I was slower than normal. It just didn't feel right. Even so, it was a good workout, and as always, great to hang out with all the ladies in our track group.
Th: 5.01 @ 10:24 AVG w/last mile @ 9:43.
F: REST/GARDEN/YOGA. More stretching while watching Chompsky.
Sa: Run the hardest part of the 1st half of the SFM and then some: parts of the presidio climb and the bridge and the drop from the bridge to go under to the other side and back, with F, D, and L. This is a *DIFFICULT* but beautiful and great run if you're ever looking for a hard 11-12 miles in San Francisco. Bonus, we had lunch in Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed the views of the harbor as a post run treat. Final performance: 0.1 walk w/u; 11 @ 10:32 AVG pace; 0.25 walk; 0.86 @ 11:45; 0.14 walk (803 ft ascent, out and back from Fort Mason to GG bridge Marin side).
Su: My hip flexor was *very* annoyed with me after all of the hills on Saturday. So I treated it (and Chompsky) to an hour of yoga in the sun while I supervised Chompsky enjoying the garden and the lawn outside of his enclosure. I walked twice to try to loosen things up for a total of 3.91 miles.
Weekly Mileage Total: 34.23 (including walking). 2+ hours stretching to try to get my hip flexor to calm down.
Week -3 was a true taper, and it was easy to do because we were in mourning. The decrease in mileage felt great, physically, and there was no psychological backlash because we were depressed and I found it hard to motivate, emotionally, except on track day, when the company was a welcome instigator of effort.
M: 5.01 super easy with H. 10:58 AVG pace (including 2 minutes + walking, so perhaps 10:35 AVG for the running?). 0.25 walking c/d. No noticeable hip flexor pain, which was a welcome change. I think Chompsky gets the credit for this one.
W: Track day. 0.69 w/u @ 9:47 uphill to the track; 3X100 pickup w/u + 100 jogging c/d (9:25; 7:41; 6:50 paces); 9X300 w/ 1-2 min RI (Splits: 1:09; 1:24; 1:22; 1:21; 1:18, 1:18, 1:18, 1:18, 1:21). Final effort: Last 100 to pace F on the last 100 of her last 300: 20 seconds, starting from a standstill (!!!); 1 mile walking c/d [3.45 total @ the track].
I haven't run at paces like this in a very, very long time. My first 300, when I went out *much* too hard, I came in at a 6:07 min/mile pace, huffing and puffing. I'd never really ran intervals of this distance and had been too busy to look up paces on a calculator before the workout. The first one quickly showed me I should target something around 1:20 if I wanted to be able to finish the workout. So that's what I did. I also increased my recovery interval of 100m jogging + rest over the assigned 1 minute to whatever felt appropriate, including, in one case, 2m20s.
When all was said and done, I finished 9 intervals (plus the 100m sprint) and felt awesomely exhausted and athletic. Even better, unlike last week's speed session, my hip flexor didn't hurt (Hurray for rest and stretching!).
Technically, I'd only run hard for 11 minutes and 59 seconds, but I felt exhausted and sore by the end, and I could tell that this was one of the more physically demanding efforts I'd pushed myself through this year. I felt muscle-bone tired in a familiar but not recently experienced way. That last sprint against F had been my gift to her, but also to myself. I never really push myself to the edge while running. This time, I'd dropped my last 300, jogged to the mark for her last straight away on her last 300 and waited, recovering. I'd started a few second before she hit the line and then just kept increasing my speed as she got closer and closer, never quite letting her pass me 'til the end, where, frankly, I have no idea what actually happened, but we were both in as close to a dead-on sprint as we could be at the end of an hour long workout. It was fun. And, more importantly, neither of us got hurt.
F: 3 @ 9:39 AVG pace in 85F+ heat.
Sa: 1.48 walk w/ E2
Su: Last long run of 8, broken up quite a bit. 1.46 @ 10:05 by myself, slowly decreasing pace down to sub 9 at the end. Swing by the house and pick up E. Do a 2 mile step down in the heat w/ E: 9:50 & 8:44. Walk 0.36 with E back to the house. Grab my mp3 player, start the audiobook and head out for an easy 4.2 miles at an AVG pace of 10:58/mile. Pick it up for the last 0.63 @ 9:24/mile. 0.28 walking c/d. Later 0.75 walking to & from our neighborhood block party.
Weekly total: 22.7 miles. Not much stretching.
How do I feel about the race? Conflicted. Part of me looks at the training and sees many hilly and 10 mile plus runs plus a solid taper and a healthy recovery from a hip flexor strain. The other part of me looks at last weekend's performance and says, "That is a difficult course" and "I am not in as good of shape as I like to be before I try to break 2 hours, much less on a hilly course." The weather looks like it will be perfect, and I've been training in the heat for the last few weeks, so that's a definite plus. But, on the other hand, I don't really have any good recent hard efforts to point to that I can use to estimate my true fitness, so I fear I'm deluding myself. I think my current plan is to go out with F for the first mile, just for the experience (and also to keep her speedy instincts in check), and once I'm nice and warm, I think I'll probably let her go and will try to settle in to a pace that feels comfortable. Ideally that'll be 9:09/mile, but if it's slower, it's slower. Given how difficult last weekend's run was with the hills, in all honesty, I'd be impressed if I managed to finish with anything under a 10:15/mile AVG pace. Everything beyond that will be gravy.
Excited to race and happy and thankful to be healthy enough to do so.