Every marathon training plan has a peak training week before taper begins and this was my big week to be ready for Columbus marathon (in addition to completing my first month back to work). The week included a half marathon, a 5K and finished off with a 20 mile run! I have been diligent with my miles, getting ~40 miles a week, but I have not been doing any speed work and little tempo. After so many of my long runs on my own and little racing compared to years past, I needed a sense of where I am from a fitness standpoint so I planned to get a check in a half marathon.
It was a downpour all night long and still when I woke up at 5am to get ready for the race, but right about the time I was getting parked, the rain stopped and the conditions were perfect for running, cloudy and cool. In years past I would have had pasta before a race, tapered a bit the days before, and gotten plenty of sleep, but times have changed. We had dinner with friends the night before which was ginger-miso salmon and rice and I got to bed about 11pm, but as it turned out salmon may be a pretty good pre-run meal because my stomach and legs felt great the whole race. My goal was to run under a 1:40 half (7:30-7:40 pace) after running a 1:41 at the Pig back in May. When the race started I went out about 7:05 pace, which I knew may be faster then I could hold for the whole race, but I was feeling good and decided to see how long I could hold the pace. I pretty much held the pace until mile 10 when I was starting to feel my legs, but I knew I only had 5K to go and held on to a 7:20 pace finishing down the runway in 1:34 (7:13 pace), race day magic is amazing!
Thursday afternoon was our semi-annual 5K at work, there is no better way to spend an afternoon then getting outside of the office to run a 5k with your co-workers. I went out fast to keep up with a girl who usually wins, hung behind her for most of the race but was never able to catch her and finished ~20:40. A good fast weekday effort and probably still a little tired from the weekend half.
To finish it off, today was my 20 mile run, first in 2 years since Ironman Wisconsin. There is nothing like the weight of a looming 20 mile run, there is just something about that distance that feels like a weight over my head until I get out and do it. 18 miles no problem, but 20 miles is mentally tough knowing I am going to be out running for nearly 3 hours. To top it off I've really been struggling to get sleep these past few weeks. When our daughter was sick I gave into feeding her when she woke up at 4:30am and now she's gotten into the habit of waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep. So on 5 hours of sleep 20 miles seemed even more daunting. I set out for my run this morning with my Ipod and knocked out the miles on my own, trying to hold around 8 min/mile, sometimes picking it up and slowing down when needed to keep going. I broke the run into 6 sections, just telling myself to get through that portion of the run and made it through feeling strong but also worn out when I got home. Time to taper!