Speed

I am finally recovering to the point where I can regularly run, and it feels great. Right now, I am focusing on getting out as many week nights as possible to run 2-3 miles and work on speed. Speed is an area that I put on the back burner during my four months of marathon training. I was preoccupied with getting my distances in and keeping my training sustainable. I accomplished that and I ran the marathon, but by race day my mile times were slow. Which is FINE. That is why I finished strong and did not have an injury!

 

However…

 

Half marathons are a different game, and I know I can run them with a faster mile time. I finished the Whidbey Island half last April with a 2:11 time. This is my half marathon PR. I finished the Seattle Half marathon last November with a 2:26 time. A year ago, that was tremendous. This year, I would like to best my Seattle time from last year. Eventually, I would like to break my Whidbey PR and one day, perhaps, I will see a sub-2:00 time! A woman can dream!!

As a runner, I would describe myself as slow and steady. I am never going to win the race, but at any point along the course, I have enough breath and energy to cheer myself on and usually build up some other runners around me. Giving that energy to others brings me joy and makes a race day special. I also rarely encounter walls… and when I do, I can talk myself through them. I attribute that in part to steadiness. I still have my wits about me. I aim to never be physically exhausted until I get to the finish line.

How do I balance what I appreciate about steadiness with my desire to push myself physically and run a faster mile? That is what I am focusing on. Learning to feel confident again at a 9 or 10 minute mile, rather than the default being an 11 or 12 minute mile. A half marathon is a shorter distance, but you can’t burn too bright at the beginning or you will suffer. I also need to remember that while Whidbey and Portland the following month were great times for me (2:11 and 2:16, respectively), I was hit with IT band issues after both of those races (probably a consequence of not rehabilitating the first instance well enough before the next race). So I would like to continue the strides I made over the summer and early fall to avoid injury through gradual and mindful attention to distance and exertion.

Just one month to go until the Seattle Half! I am looking forward to enjoying this race!

I am rocking the headlamp again these days!

Monday, Monday

Hello! Sorry for a blogging hiatus… I have been fighting just about the nastiest cold I can remember. I had a barking cough for a week and a half, which I finally went to the doctor for because I wasn’t sleeping at all. As soon as that subsided, the congestion settled into my sinuses, and, I am still a bit drippy this week. But getting sleep! And for that, I am grateful.

Yesterday was a big deal because I laced up my shoes and ran a mile! I did not feel 100%, but getting outside for a short run helped me feel so much more relaxed. When I can’t run, I am not the best version of myself. Here’s to hoping the recovery keeps chugging on this week and that I can run more than one mile in a few day’s time.

monday5

After the victory mile. I love crunching through the leaves.

Post-Marathon run, a world of good

I went on a fun 3-mile run yesterday morning. It was a conclusion of my week of rest, and the beginning of getting myself into gear for the Seattle Half in less than two months. I am working on shortening my mile time a bit, back to where it was in the spring. When I started training for the marathon, my miles became longer as I reconfigured my approach for running 16, 18, 20 miles. Now I do not need to worry so much about running for 4 hours, so I can burn a bit more energy earlier. The other thing I am trying to do is balance running on pavement with running on trails (my preference and tendency is to do mostly trails) because Seattle is a road race, and also to incorporate rolling hills, since Seattle is hilly.

Running felt really good yesterday. I do not have any injuries from the marathon, which reinforces that gradual training is really the way to go. Also, can I just say how fun it was to run just three miles? Even though long runs produce that meditative state that I can’t quite capture during shorter runs, I am enjoying the novelty of not being gone more than 30 minutes. I am going out again this evening, since my partner will be at a conference the second half of the week. Got to fit in the workouts.

 

Oh, pavement. I don’t enjoy you, but I will deal with it.

Scratchy Throat Thursday

Oy vey, I am coming down with another cold. Or, perhaps the cold I willed myself to health from last week. Sickness after a marathon is a well-documented phenomenon. Long distance running suppresses the immune system. Yet another reason I am welcoming a season of shorter distances.

Regardless of this cold business, I am looking forward to a short trail run this weekend. Saturday is supposed to be clear, crisp and sunny, so I think I will go run one of my favorite lakes.

Since the temperatures are dropping, I am gradually breaking out my winter gear. Everything is helplessly stinky, but there is a wonderful realization that I am a dedicated enough runner that I am actually revisiting seasons in my running and re-wearing clothes. Some of my favorite pieces are my neon green turtleneck and my black fleece long underwear pants, pictured here:

In other news, I am starting to get really excited about the Seattle Half Marathon in just 2 months!! This race is pretty close to my heart and it will be the third year I am participating (the first time I did it I was pregnant and registered as a walker). Just as I am enjoying the novelty of rediscovering my running clothes from a year ago, I am pleased that I am now in the habit of repeating and revisiting races each year. It is gratifying to compare the experiences and gain awareness of my own growth as a runner.