As I ticked off the first of a two week taper, the weather has offered a timely reminder as to the weeks of effort and many miles I have logged during this journey. Whereas I started training in July during the long, warm summer days, I now find myself lacing up in darkness, with the chilly morning air making my hands hide under long sleeves until I have warmed up enough for them to emerge. Marathon training is not easy; and I think I sometimes forget the commitment and drive it requires just to get to the start line. The Chicago start line is within touching distance now though, and I am beginning to focus more on the race - a mere 26.2 miles amongst the hundreds I have logged this year!
MONDAY: Body Pump class - my last strength session before the marathon.
TUESDAY: an easy 5 miles to start the week, just trying to flush out any of the remaining soreness from weight training and my final longer run on Sunday.
WEDNESDAY: today was a good run; my legs felt strong, my paces were pleasing and I enjoyed a catch up with my mid week running partner after we missed our run last week. Having someone to run with particularly during these colder, darker days is really motivating - 5:30am alarms can be easy to snooze otherwise! The first few of our 6.5 miles were quick, in the 7.40 min/mile region. We then had a long gradual hill to climb towards the end which slowed us a little; however I did make it to the top of this hill, whereas a few weeks back during my peak tiredness, I had to stop. A bit of a confidence booster!
THURSDAY: two 4.5 mile runs, both involving some speed work. I left my own interval run until today to coincide with some planned intervals at Run Cub later; I wanted today to be one of the final high intensity days before the marathon, so opted to double up rather than splitting the two runs. My solo intervals in the morning involved 10 x 400m, with a brief 100m recovery period. The recovery did feel short, but I hit some good splits with some low 7 min/mile reps in there. At Run Club I really messed up my watch again in terms of logging splits accurately (shock!), but I enjoyed some speedier stuff with friends, using them to push me rather than numbers on a screen.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: it was parkrun's 15th birthday today and in the lead up to the weekend they had published a video which summed up perfectly how this weekly 5k is about so much more than just the running. It rang so true to me; yes I love my running, but heading down to Lincoln parkrun virtually every week of the year is not about the miles for me - lets face it, I am motivated enough to log these myself! parkrun is about the friends I have made and the community I feel part of - it is my happy place. This week I wanted to run well, but also not push myself to the absolute max so close to the marathon. I logged a quick first mile and then eased off slightly for the second. When one of our regular Lincoln parkrun marshals told me I was in first female place this then became my goal; do not worry about a time, just focus on trying to enter that funnel first. My mind was set on this target, and therefore as I entered the final mile and another marshal informed me second female was just on my shoulder, I kicked for a very strong final mile. My female follower kept with me all the way, making me work hard and testing my mental resolve. I knew I had a kick left in my legs though, and I managed to create a few seconds cushion in the final sprint to finish first female. I turned in the finish funnel and extended a hand to the second lady, a face I now recognised from parkrun but had never really spoken to in length. We shook hands; she was thankful of me pushing her to a new PB, and I was equally as thankful for an enjoyable challenge. We chatted some more about running before finally remembering we still needed to scan! Community first - finish times second.
SUNDAY: a steady 10 miles in which I spent a large chunk of the time trying not to think about having to run another 16.2 miles further! It was an ok run; this final run a week out from the race is always hard trying to avoid the mental games!
A few taper miles now remain, along with a flight to Chicago; race week beckons...
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...