Work it out: 8/19

Monday- planned rest. I knew we’d be driving back from Cleveland on Wednesday, and I knew the last thing I’d want to do when I got home was run, so I planned on resting Monday, running Tuesday-Thursday and doing my long run Saturday. I was so excited to start in my newly adjusted plan. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Tuesday- unplanned rest. Grr. I woke up with a painfully swollen middle toe on my right foot. I still have zero idea what it is. It hurt like hell to walk on during my morning commute, and I was freaking out because I don’t have health insurance through my new job yet, so seeing a doctor is kinda out of the question. I hadn’t run since Saturday, so I knew it wasn’t an injury. The only thing I could imagine was infection. It felt better throughout the day, but after my commute home (I walk about 2 miles each way) it was achy, swollen and red again.

If I had insurance, I would have just chanced it and run, but I’m not tempting fate right now. I rested, but I was not pleased about it. It honestly ruined my night. Combined with the usual first day back at work blues, I was a real peach to be around.

I opted for some strength training instead. I did a little bit of everything that didn’t involve my toes (you’d be surprised at how much that rules out) and it felt good, but not as good as running. Grr.

Wednesday- 3 miles. I woke up to my toe no better or worse than the previous day. While walking to work, I realized that I’d need to continue walking 4 miles a day in order to remain gainfully employed, so it didn’t really make sense not to run. It wasn’t like my toe was getting a break either way. I brought an ice pack in with me and discreetly iced my toe throughout the day. It felt ok when I got home, so I decided to try my luck.

It went pretty well. I could definitely feel my toe the whole time, but it wasn’t excruciating, and I don’t think I made it any worse. Chris and I were exhausted, and the heat and humidity have been climbing back up from last week’s gloriously cool temperatures. Basically, it felt like we were hauling butt when in fact we averaged 10:28. I absolutely hate those runs the most. When you feel like you’re running at top speed and clock in below average- ugh.

I don’t think a PR for the half is on the horizon. In order to do that, I’d have to maintain sub 9:15s which I barely do on short runs. I’m right on pace to match my time for last year, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to step it up in these last couple of weeks in order to hopefully perform a little better.

The goal of this race was never to PR (it’s actually just a check in race for a possible marathon, so I can see what pace to aim for there), but it’s hard to resist the siren’s call. Especially because I don’t plan on training for anything longer than a 10k next year. I’ll just have too much going on with wedding planning, and I’m hoping to start a toning regiment like yoga or crossfit for the year. This may be my last half for a while, and I’m wishing I had made it more of a goal race. Do all your PRs reset when you get married? I mean, I will have a new name on Athlinks.

Thursday- 6 miles. Oh boy. I was determined to get this run in. Something about long weeknight runs make me feel like training is real. I think it’s because I enjoy weekend long runs, so it’s the weeknight runs that feel like sacrifices. Anyway, this was my longest weekday run since I started getting home much later, so I tried to be prepared. I prepped dinner the night before and planned on leaving as soon as I led the house. Well, plans are for fools. Some domestic stuff came up, and I didn’t end up walking in the door until 9. I ate dinner at 10:15 and went right to sleep. My stomach loved it.

The run itself went well. I started too fast and from there it was negative split city. I’d like to run under 11 minute miles for the half, so I think this was a good trial. Even at my worst running time of day, I felt ok.

It was stupidly scary running in the suburbs at night. I stuck to sidewalks on main roads, but it was dark, and I was terrified of getting grabbed or twisting an ankle on uneven pavement. I didn’t realize how different it would be out here, and I’m sorta dreading the idea of doing 80% of my marathon training on a treadmill. We’ll see. Avg pace: 10:15.

Friday- rest. Happy hour with my new coworkers. It took me like 2 hours to get home on the train that late at night (not late at all, just the suburbs) but it was worth it.

Saturday- 3 miles. These miles felt like that terrible pre-race dream every runner has where you feel like your legs are moving, but you’re just not progressing forward. I felt like a cartoon character. Like my legs were spinning underneath me, and a cloud of dust was kicking up, but I was staying in the exact place. It was rough. I think I was dehydrated from happy hour and tired, but who knows? Avg pace: 10:24.

Sunday- 12 miles. I didn’t leave for this run until 12, which wasn’t as bad as I expected. It was hot but not unbearable, and it was nice to sleep in after our engagement party (which was AMAZING by the way; more to come on that when I’m not so tired). Chris joined me for the first 8 miles, and after a quick stop at home, I finished the last 4 solo. I’m a little nervous that I’ve made pit stops in my last three long runs. I’m not sure what that will mean for race day. I’m planning on walking through water stops, but mentally, I don’t know if I’ll be prepared for running the whole thing start to finish.

I’m also really bummed about my speed (or lack there of). I mean I made my own bed on this one. I’ve been really inconsistent about my weekday runs, and I know you’re not supposed to focus on speed and distance a the same time, but I was hoping after three lackluster halfs, I’d start to get faster just be training so frequently. But if my training runs are predictive of my race time, I’m on pace to finish in the exact same time as my last three if not slower. I wish I had blogged about my second half (my PR) because I know I am capable of running faster, but I just can’t remember how!

I tried to stay under 11 whenever I checked my watch and took my gu chomps at 6 miles, 7 miles, 9 miles and 11 miles. I also carried water and refilled at my stop at the house. I don’t think fueling was an issue. Maybe I was just tired. Avg pace: 11:04.

So, the upside is that I finished all the runs on the plan for the week for the first time in a long. The bad news is that they all felt hard. Too hard. I’m hoping it was just a bad week because things are about to pick up in a big way, and I want to be ready for it.

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