Monday, September 16, 2013

Training is paying off!

That's right! :)

16 weeks of training. 9 weeks down and 7 left to go until The Monumental Marathon.  Training has been going pretty good since my last post.  I am hitting all my major runs and getting some easy runs in between.  

This past week, I could really tell my training was in full effect, both negatively and positively.  I started the week with my normal interval run and tempo run.  I finished them but my legs were really feeling it for both of them.  This has happened to me before in each of the other marathon's I trained for.  During peak training weeks your legs just turn to mush.  I didn't finish those runs at the time that I would have liked but I pushed myself to finish them none-the-less.  On Friday I had a nice easy 3 mile run which felt really good.  When you run 6-7 miles on most training days and 15-20 on long run days, 3 easy miles just feels awesome.  I think that small 3 mile run kind of rejuvenated me in some way.  I ran without my headphones, didn't care what pace I was running, and really just enjoyed getting out in the cool morning air.  

Since I hadn't hit a pace I wanted all week and my legs actually felt pretty refreshed on Sunday morning, I decided to see what I could do.  

My training plan had a goal for me to run 20 miles at a 7:47 pace (I have never hit one of my long run pace times during this entire training plan).  I figured if I could keep it around 8-8:15 I would be doing pretty good.  I started off at a good pace (7:49) and kept a similar pace through the first 5 miles which somewhat scared me as I thought I might be pushing a little too hard.  At mile 6, I came around a corner to a long stretch of road and saw another runner about a quarter mile in front of me.  Of course at that time my goal completely changed to passing that guy :). I kicked it in gear and was able to pass him, also recording my best mile during this run (7:14!).

Now by this time I am really worried about keeping pace and making it through 20 miles.  Not only was I going at a pace faster than what I was used too, but I just used quite a bit of energy to get past the other runner I saw (which was totally worth it by the way!).  Especially since I was just about to hit the hilly part of my run.

As the hills came, I just kept my eyes focused about 10 feet in front of me and tried to keep the same foot turnover that I had been doing (grinding it out).  I just kept thinking, push up the hill and you can rest going down.  I slowed a bit through those hills, but still kept my time right around 8:00/mile. 

After the hills, I just kept the same mentality through the rest of the run.  I made it through 20 miles in 2 hours and 38 minutes and not only beat my 20 mile best of 2 hours and 45 minutes but beat my half marathon best by 1 minute and 51 seconds.  What a great feeling it was when I hadn't been able to hit a pace all week and then really crush it on my long run.  Like I said before, I could really see the training starting to pay off.

This has somewhat changed my goal for The Monumental Marathon.  I had been pushing for an 8:20/mile pace but I am debating about pushing that to 8:00 or below after this weekend.  If I could pull that off I would be ecstatic!  That would be a pretty big improvement over the 8:44 pace I did last year.

I also signed up to be a St. Jude Hero for the Monumental Marathon.  I figured since I am already running, why not put it to good use?  If you are not familiar with St. Jude, they are an organization that helps children with cancer and other diseases.  Please consider donating to this wonderful organization and help me reach my goal!  You can donate or learn more on my personal site for St. Jude -  http://heroes.stjude.org/nthompson