Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Athens Half Marathon: Final Countdown

My first "A" race of the year - the Athens Half Marathon - is a mere four days away. I think I'm in a state of denial or, maybe, ignorance with all that has gone in the past week that it will actually happen. Either way, I feel so separated from the quality training I've put in that a hard-earned time seems almost out of reach.

And then I ran today.

I had 3 miles, with 2 at race pace, on tap, and I set myself up for success {insert sarcasm font}by deciding last night that I would take advantage of warming weather, sleeping in and taking Miles in the BOB. Stroller running is tough - period. Running a race pace workout is tough - period. Together, well, it was sure to be interesting.

 photo runstroller_zps246423eb.jpg

As it turns out, interesting was a surprise run that felt hard but not as hard as it should have for the splits on my GPS: 9:07, 8:37, 8:30, 2:13 for 0.25-mile (8:54 pace).

Admittedly, I was pushing the pace out of fear, fear that I wouldn't nail the range I had in my mind for the race pace miles - 8:45-8:50 - but I didn't feel dead. I didn't feel defeated. I didn't feel like goals were out of reach. I had a bit of "help" with a couple stops, meeting requests for suckers, tying shoes and following traffic laws. But still, I was faster than goal pace and pushing 23 pounds of stroller + 28 pounds of toddler.

Does it mean that I'll smoke the course on Sunday? No. Of course not. It's the work I've done that will give me the edge then - and the work is what gave it to me today.

Training, in summary:

Plan: "Train Like a Mother" Half Marathon: Own It plan

Miles logged (thus far): 271.86

Farthest run: 14.6 miles, at 9:22 pace, on March 23 (three weeks out from race)

Fastest run: 8:34 pace for 5.75 miles (total time 49:16) on March 12. The workout was 2 x (1-2-3-2-1) intervals with 2 minutes recovery and 5-minute recovery between sets.

Most challenging run: Recently, it was my failed intervals on Friday but I think my long run on March 2 takes the cake. There was 4 inches of fresh snow, and I just could not get into it. I would have called it quits after 2 miles if I hadn't been with Joe. We manged 8.1 miles in 1:30:57, an 11:14 pace.

Shoes: I've been rotating between a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4 and Altra Provisioness 1. Both have less than 200 miles on them, and I'll be wearing Brooks on race day.

Fuel used: Rough estimate - 24 Gus (Salted Caramel and Chocolate Outrage) and 3,421 tubes of Nuun (currently using Nuun Energy Wild Berry - so good)

Biggest hurdle: No doubt, it was the weather. While I was able to stick to the weekday runs in my plan, thanks to the treadmill, I did not fulfill the long runs. Indiana was covered in snow and ice for the entirety of three months - no joke - and it made going far very challenging, if not impossible.

Greatest success: Toughing out the quality workouts. This cycle is the first time in a long time when I've put in some hard miles week after week. Even when I felt sluggish or tired, I made myself attempt the workout and only twice did I not make it through.

Goal working toward: A strong half, hopefully beating my post-baby PR of 1:58:56 at Fort4Fitness last year and coming as close to my life PR of 1:54:12 (from F4F 2010) as I can.


  1. Have an awesome race! You've worked hard for this one. I hope it's joyful!

  2. Best of luck this weekend! This was not an easy winter to train in and it looks like you did great!

  3. Great training for this half!! You are going to rock it!! Go get it!! Have fun and don't go out too fast!!!! Good luck!!