I’m using the Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan to get ready for the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 22nd. My goal is to get a 3:43 or better and re-qualify for Boston and PR. I would LOVE to be able to get a sub-3:40, but since I started my training and speed late, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to crank that out. But I’m sure gonna try! On Hal’s schedule last week was a half marathon race. Since I didn’t see one that I could go to, I decided to switch weeks up and run the 15k and some bonus miles this weekend and did this week’s workout LAST weekend. I’m amazed at how the change in schedule has allowed me to miss some really crappy weather to run in, so yea me! Fist bump.
I had Friday AND Saturday off this week, which was so awesome I almost felt guilty, then I looked ahead at the schedule and realized that no, I’ve got it coming. I knew a lot of people who were going to be at the race, so I was looking forward to it, and yet again, the downpours, wind, and crap had moved out of our area by race eve. The timing couldn’t have been better, as race morning was going to be cold but clear and sunny with little wind, if any. I LOVE to race in the cold. Not “freeze your face off” cold, but t-shirt, tights, and gloves cold.
I had a pretty hefty goal to run the 15k at 7:45’s, but it was more of a time trial so I could see where I was in pacing, speed ability, and endurance. I had nothing at stake and nothing to lose if it wasn’t going to work, but deep down, I had doubts. I know, shocker, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just so I wont be disappointed, maybe that’s my defense mechanism, but it’s getting old. The timing of the race was a little weird (9:00, which is late for me), and I did NOT want to run out of energy, so I ate a peanut butter sandwich before I left home, along with my typical small glass of orange juice. I grabbed a banana, granola bar, chomps, and two energy gels just to have. I have been very hungry lately, so wanted to be prepared!
I got there in plenty of time, picked up my packet, and had my 2 mile warm up to do. It felt like crap and turned into 1.6 miles. I wasn’t out of breath necessarily, but my stomach was bothering me a little bit, which it was when I got up, so that had nothing to do with my nutrition. But I felt like crap anyway. “Oh well, SHIT!” was what I thought. Having a bad warm up before a race is nothing new. In fact, the day before Boston, my 20 minute run was one of the worst runs I’d had the entire training cycle. Heavy breathing, no energy. It. Was. Horrible. So I’m not all that upset when it happens anymore, but I was looking to adjust my goals. I thought, “let’s try negative splits”. I was thinking of that anyway, but decided to go ahead and start slow and go from there. I ate the chomps and granola bar, got new gum, and found some peeps to hang with.
I planned to run in my Adidas Boosts, but I was hesitant since they didn’t always feel like they fit right. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and wear them, and if they didn’t work, I’d know after the race.
It was race time. The guy said, “Ready, set, GO!!” and we were off. Whoahhhhh there and slow down red rocket. Pace started at 7:15, so I took the foot off the gas and backed it down. Strange. I felt pretty damn good! Breath was even, good crowd to run with, but I still wanted to go with negative splits. At the 3 mile mark, I was at 23 minutes. Hmmm, that’s an aggressive pace. I knew I had a super fast first .5 mile in there, but I was glad that I still felt good with a 7:40 pace overall. Ok, then, so it was time to KEEP that pace. Garmins are Garmins, so I tried to go more on feel than what the watch said. When I was getting more out of breath, I backed off a little. When I felt good, I surged a little. When I crossed the 6 mile mark, I was able to do the math and see that I was still on the 7:40 pace (I know it’s not calculus, but remember, when running, I can turn a 40k into 60 miles in my head). Silly me, this is what I get when my warm ups are bad, friggin awesome runs. Bring it on then! So here goes. You want to do negative splits? Do them then. You want to go back to Boston? Then do the work! Get yo ass movin’!
I have to say, that this was one of the most focused I’ve been during a race since before Boston. I don’t know what it was, but I had my music on loud and I just paid attention to the road in front of me. It was a good focus, and I was happy to have found it. So with three miles to go, I pushed the gas a little. I saw women running in front of me, and I thought, “I’m comin’ for YOU”, and slowly, I picked off about four or five of them. I was definitely going faster this split, and I was amazed at how good it felt to feel good at the end of a race. THIS is why you negative split. I kept at it, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my Garmin, had to slow down on the wooden walkway that felt slick, but pushed myself. Soon, the end was near. I could hear someone behind me and once her shadow got close enough, I could tell it was a girl. Nooooo, don’t let her pass! The finish line came into view and it was RIGHT THERE. I gunned it as fast as I could. Then she flew by me. Shit. Well, the good thing is that I knew I couldn’t have done better right then. Maybe a little here and there, but I left it on the course, and I felt good. It was the second time that I’ve been passed right at the end during a 15k, and this was my second 15k. Damn. Both times, the ladies thanked me for keeping them going, so I guess I just do what I can to help other runners 🙂
Finish time: 1:10:45 (give or take a few seconds, haven’t seen official results yet)
Pace: 7:36 based on that finish time
Since I’ve done another 15k, I was happy to get a pretty big PR this morning too! A FIVE FREAKING MINUTE PR!
1st in Age Group 40-44 – Who whoo!!! I won shit!!!!!
As for the Boosts? I’m feelin’ some major Boost love going on. They were friggin’ perfect.
I’ve been planning to negative split in the marathon. Based on my little race today, it just makes me want to try it more. It feels good to finish strong, to have gas in the tank, to push when you’re tired, and to BE ABLE to push when you’re tired. It feels good to hold back, to conserve energy. It’s also cool to pass people too. Another thing I learned AGAIN is to push hard when tired, which is a first cousin to negative splits. I’ve done this before, but I have a tendency to let the fatigue take over and slow down. I had to focus, be determined, and know that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s all mental training for the marathon.
I’ve got a big week coming up, lots of miles to put in and two swim sessions to fit in. No other races are scheduled prior to the marathon, but I’d like to tackle a 5k next month. We’ll see. I’m also in full force with planning some sort of middle school running program. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to go about doing it, but I’ve met and am talking to lots of different people to help come up with a program. If anything, I’d like to bring the new and improved Middle School Stride program to every middle school in the county. The kids need it.
What did you do this weekend? Scoop snow? Race? Long run? Nothing?