November 21, 2018

First Half Marathon in 2+ years -- the "training" (with bonus Aruba photos)

I'd strung together ten weeks of 20+ miles, gamefully increasing my weekly long run, decreasing my average pace, and fitting in a bit of strength and speed work here and there.

I'd registered for a half marathon on Thanksgiving, and, while I'd done a lackluster 10 miler 3 weeks prior to the race, I really wanted to get in a solid 11-12 mile run beforehand.

The Antilla Wreck was the largest wreck we've ever dived!
Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for me.  I woke to the smell of camping in our house 13 days before the race, as the Camp Fire smoke had been blown into the bay area.  I opted to bike to yoga instead of the planned for long run, and even though I took it super easy and it's just a little over a mile, I returned sneezing, coughing and crying from the smoke in my eyes.

It's so cool how coral takes over shipwrecks and turns them into reefs!
The smoke was really bad.  And super depressing.  California fires have been a staple in my life since birth, but the last two years have been shocking with their increased size and ferocity.

Aptly named.
Saturday was more of the same, with the air registering firmly in the "unhealthy" range, so I skipped the run, sent good fire-fighting thoughts up north, and hoped that it would clear up soon.  The government recommendations were to stay inside with the windows closed, and when we went to brunch it certainly appeared that people were doing just that -- downtown was a smoky ghost town.

If you are in Aruba, you *must* go to the Butterfly Farm!
Sunday morning, the air quality dipped down into the "moderate" range, so I did a super easy 1 mile near target race pace with another mile of stride/jog intervals, but it didn't feel great on my chest and throat, and I wasn't sure whether I was doing more good or more harm with the effort.

One entrance ticket ($15) is good for unlimited visits during your stay.  
I returned at 7 AM to watch butterflies emerge from the chrysalises -- Amazing!
Monday, I woke and dressed with the intention of trying to fit in the 11-12 mile long run, hopeful that the trend toward better air would continue from Sunday, but no.  The air was back in the red "Unhealthy" range.

We flew to Atlanta on Monday afternoon and arrived to constant rain, but gloriously easy to breathe air.  Tuesday afternoon, I headed out with good intentions for the long run, but it started to really pour on me at mile 2, which turned the typically dodgy Atlanta roads and sidewalks into an obstacle course of puddles and random slippery bits.  So, I made the conservative call yet again, turned around and comforted myself with a cold/wet 4 miler including 8X30 second uphill surges.  I felt fit on this run -- it was easy, athletically, even on some of the hills that have historically taxed me.

The original plan was to taper in Aruba, while scuba diving, but thanks to fires and weather, I pretty much tapered the week before we arrived.  I toyed with trying to get in something slightly longer than normal taper stuff, but the running from our hotel really made it difficult to get anything longer than 2 miles done without just running back and forth along the same path with tons of pedestrians.

I got in one good workout day by combining 2 miles on the treadmill with 1.5 miles of stride/walk intervals outside.  All the rest were pretty lame 1-2 miles slow due to the terrain and crowds plus some additional walking.

We'll see if scuba is a good taper activity or not!
So, here I am.  24 hours 'til my first half marathon in 2+ years and my longest run was 10 super slow miles more than 3 weeks ago (not ideal).  But, the air is clear, I'm *very* tapered, nothing hurts, and the weather looks perfect for me with the start supposedly at 37F and the finish around 44F.

Wish me luck!


Jen said...

Looks like you had a great time in Aruba! Good luck at the half and Happy Thanksgiving!

bt said...

Thanks, Jen!

Angela said...

Good luck!!! Aruba is definitely on my bucket list. :)

Biting Tongue said...

@Angela -- it's pretty amazing!