Monday, October 10, 2011

last long run & goals for the half.

i'm finally blogging in october ABOUT octobter - go me!  so today's post is about my last two long runs before my half marathon!

sunday, october 2nd: 12 miles on the docket.  the weather forecast, pretty much amazing:
Oh hello FALL WEATHER!  Love it.  Pretty soon it's going to be time to pull out the cooler weather running clothes!  But not today.  I have finally found the absolutely perfect thing to wear on long runs, and I now refuse to change it up.  It consists of an American Apparel v-neck t-shirt and cotton shorts from Victoria Secrets.  M had on slightly warmer gear when she met me at our usual spot at 9am, but after a few miles she agreed that shorts and a tshirt were perfectly find for the low 50s.
We ran a new route for the 12 miler, one that I had been itching to try every since my friend A told me about a local trail I had never run on.  It winds through a few parks and changes name twice, but it's about 5 miles 
long, so we started about 1 mile away and decided to do an out-and-back route.

Have you ever had a run where everything just seems to go perfectly?  It's effortless, comfortable, enjoyable, even euphoric?  That is how I felt about this run.  I didn't look at my watch for the first time until 36 minutes in!  We found a water fountain with a bathroom on the way.  I was never too hot or too cold and I was energized the entire time!  Oh, and we found a dinosaur:

This was also the first run I decided to try some sort of energy chew/gu/gel on the way.  Per Susan's suggestion, I went with Power Bar Energy Blast Gel Filled Chews.  Unfortunately, I read the label incorrectly and thought that a serving size was 1 chew, for 190 calories.  So I took one chew with me (they are the size of maybe 2 fruit snacks) and had it 45 minutes in.  I did feel great and energized the whole time, but when I got home I realized that the entire package of chews (9 chews total) was 1 serving for 190 calories.  Energy fueling FAIL.  Ah well, the raspberry  flavor was delicious and I look forward to having them during the half!
The last mile of the run was a little rough, but we powered through and our time was 2:03:20 - which is a 10:17 pace overall.  RIDICULOUSLY fast for us on any day, and ESPECIALLY to keep that pace for so long.  Feel pretty spectacular!!! I can't believe we finished 12.0 miles only 6 minutes slower than we did 10.2 a few weeks ago.  Not sure if it's the cooler weather, us getting in better shape, or both (okay it's probably both), but I'm liking it!
Anyway, 12 miles was the max distance we had planned to run before the race - which is actually a little on the high side for a beginning half training program - but I think it was perfect for us!  I'm feeling very confident knowing that I only have to conquer an additional 1.1 on race day.

Fast forward a week to Saturday, October 8th: we are tapering!!!!  I had originally planned to do 10 miles but Susan suggested 6-8 would be better.  Since she has run 9 marathons I figure she knows what she's talking about, so M and I searched USA Track & Field's website for a good 8 miler.  We found a good one around campus and set out around 9am.  It was around 50 degrees and mostly sunny with very light wind - awesome!  The run started out great and the first 3 miles zipped on by.  Somewhere around mile 4 I started to hate whoever made this route - it was hilly!  There aren't many hills in Durham so I'm not sure how the author of this route managed to find SO. MANY. HILLS.  Even so, at mile 6 I remember saying to M "this time last week we were only half done - but now we only have 2 miles to go!" and a few minutes later "it doesn't feel like we've been running very long but it's been over an hour!".  Unfortunately M wasn't feeling quite as perky as I was and around mile 7 she started feeling less than fabulous :-(  Since this is my blog and now her's I won't give you all the details - the important part is we both finished 8 miles :-)  And, just like it was a sick joke, the last quarter of a mile was a very steep uphill for about .10 miles followed by a less steep but steady up hill for the last .15.  Not cool!  Either way, I finished strong in 1:23:33 for a 10:26 pace.  VERY pleased with these long run paces staying around/under 10:30.

So, we ran this morning (our usual 3.4 miles) and we'll run again Wednesday... and Wednesday will be our LAST run before the half on SUNDAY.  Crazy.  I think it's time to make my goals public and official, as Susan often does.

2011 Ramblin' Rose Women's Half Marathon Goals:
  • Goal A: 2:17:39.  This would be a 10:30 pace.  I would feel like a freaking rock star.
  • Goal B: 2:24:12.  This would be an 11:00 pace and would make me feel like a respectable runner.
  • Goal C: 2:27:00.  This would be an 11:14 pace and would qualify me for a Corral for my next race!
  • Goal D: 2:37:19.  This would be a 12:00 pace and would be a slight improvement over my pace from the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April.
  • Goal E: Finish and HAVE FUN! (and not get kicked off the course, which you will if you fall below 15:00 miles).

The race is only 6 days away... and advice for first half marathons?!?!?

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