Half Mary Musings | Week 6!

I’m currently training for my first half marathon in Aviemore, October 13th, 2013. Half Mary Musings is my weekly reflection of how training went, what I’m doing well and what I need to work on.

Hello half way point!!!!!! And poopy bum sheep friends…..

Keep in mind these different speeds as you read:
easy run:
60% effort, you can run and easily carry a conversation.
long/steady run:
65% to 75% effort, at least 1 min slower than race pace.
threshold run:
80% effort, comfortably hard, also known as tempo
85% to 95%, close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath.

Monday: rest day and abs.

Tuesday: 5 min easy, 12 min threshold, 4 min easy, 12 min threshold, 5 min easy

This looked like: About six minutes easy to warm up, then 12 minutes running at comfortably hard, 4 minutes of easy pace to recover, 12 minutes again of comfortably hard (of which the first 8 minutes were uphill, with a headwind), finished off with about 1.5 miles of easy running. We also did a downhill sprint finish to the end.

distance: 5.02 miles in 48:08 minutes; mile 2 was run in 8:23!

This run felt easy and went by incredibly fast. I made sure to control my breathing, focusing on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, which made the increased effort feel effortless. Wendy and I sailed through this run, despite the first 12 minute interval feeling like it would never end.

By the way, did I mention it rained the entire run?!?!?! We got soaked! I had dirt rings around my ankles from running forest trails and splashing in puddles, and my black tights had what looked like condensation forming all over them from the water.

I also did abs tonight! I like this programme because it has no actual crunches in it, just planks, superman and other stability core work, and it goes by very quickly. Thankfully.

Running in the rain fun!

Wednesday: 80 min easy/steady run, with last 20 mins at race pace

This looked like: 6 miles run at easy, conversation pace (over 10 minute miles), and the last two miles run at ‘race pace,’ so sub-10:00 minute miles.

 distance: 8 miles in 1:22:46

I chose to do my long run today because we were going away this weekend and I’m off of work this week. It was a bit of a risky decision considering I did a little speed work the night before and I haven’t run two days in a row in forever, but my mentality going in was that it was an easy pace and to start out incredibly slow to have enough fuel to finish fast. And Oh.My.God!!!!!!! This run was amazing in every way possible!!!!! I focused intently on my breathing: in through the nose and out through the mouth, and I totally credit this, and starting slow, for such a strong run. My mile splits below:

My average pace per mile was also 10 seconds faster than it has been in the past, a big sign to me that my fitness it improving. Mile 2 was up a huge, steep hill, and Mile 3 was running down that huge, steep hill. You can see the consistency in my pace, as well as the elevation profile of the run below:

Did I also mention this is only my second ever progression run?!?!?!? Looking at the mile splits, you can see that after the big hill, from mile 4 on, each mile became progressively faster. I started at an easy pace and by mile 6, I was easily running at 10:00/mile pace, which isn’t normally my easy run pace. It felt effortless and I felt strong! So strong, that when my watch beeped 6 miles, I quickened my step and finished with two sub-10 minute miles, stopping my watch at 8:54 pace. I’m so incredibly happy with this run, but also so incredibly proud of myself for pacing, for breathing properly and for just running smart!

View from the top of said steep hill

I also got some chafing, from my sports bra!

Thursday: Abs and rest. And lots of school work.

Friday: 10-min easy run, 3 x 7 mins of continuous hills at threshold (approx 45 secs up/45 secs down), 10-min easy run.

This looked like: 10 minutes easy running to warm up, followed by 7 minutes of running uphill at threshold pace for 45 seconds, then running downhill to recover for 45 seconds, this repeated up and down for until 7 minutes were complete. 3 minutes easy running, then another 7 minutes up and down, followed by 3 minutes easy running, then the final 7 minutes up and down. This was concluded with a 1 mile easy jog home.
distance: just under 5 miles

I was very much dreading this run knowing that it would be uncomfortable and a test of my endurance, discipline and mental toughness. After too much procrastinating, I reluctantly was out the door and running. This turned out to be another brilliant run, with each 7 minute interval going by quickly. I made a conscious effort to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, as well as to keep my stride small and knees high as I ran up the hill. I could also feel my abs working as well! I challenged myself to get further and further up the hill, and to culminate the run at the top, which I was able to do effortlessly. So happy!

As I was running home in the glow of yet another successful run, I said a quick Hi! as I passed our new neighbour who was out with his dog. The dog was running around and upon hearing me, started barking quite a bit. It came up to me to check me out, so I held out my hand for it to sniff me (like I do to all dogs and cats I meet), and it bit me!!!!!! Then, it proceeded to bark extremely aggressively at me, bearing its teeth too. I was quite shaken up and taken aback by all this because this is such a foreign thing for me: I’ve never been bitten by a dog. The owner was apologetic but also said that because the dog is a Border Collie, she’s a bit neurotic, almost as though it’s to be expected. I’m sorry, but I’ve met Border Collies before, and this is the first to have bitten me. I have two cuts on either side of my right middle finger (a bit ironic), which aren’t even worth posting. I’m fine, just annoyed and angry about the whole situation and having to deal with a bad dog. I’m also going into the doctor’s Wednesday after work to get a Tetanus shot as a precaution. Greeeeaat….

On a lighter note: I welcomed the arrival of my new best friend: Bodyglide.

Goodbye chafing
If you’re wondering why I did all my runs during the work week it’s because we were off to Oban this past weekend: my husband and his cousin Alistair were competing in the Craiggie Island Triathlon on the Isle of Kerrera, just in Oban Harbour. This was a sprint triathlon: a 300m swim (changed from 550m due to choppy seas), a 14km mountain bike and an 8km trail run. I was a spectator/’sherpa’ wife, but really all I did was hand Pat his recovery drink at the end of the race. It was a fantastic experience for both guys, and there’s already talk of the three of us teaming up next year to do the race as a relay; naturally, I’ll do the running.

Smells like Oban Harbour…. that’s cuz it is.

A few photos from the race:

The tiny ferry journey across the Sound of Kerrera to the race start/finish/transitions

Pat and Alistair with pre-race jitters
Getting ready for the swim start
And they’re off!
Pat came out of the water within the top 15:

And went on to have an INCREDIBLE bike leg, finishing in the top 10 before transitioning for the run. When Pat was a teenager, he used to train and race in mountain biking, so I knew this would be his strongest discipline. I managed to snap a photo of him on the bike as he sailed into transition 2:

I was the very proud wife, telling everyone that that was my husband! Due to such a fantastic bike, and knowing Pat’s a pretty fast runner, I expected (hoped) for a top 10 finish from him. But once the runners started piling in, the first ten finishers came and went, along with the second ten finishers; I started to wonder if Pat had gotten injured. Then I saw him slowly jogging to the finish, with numerous runners passing him. It turns out the run course was extremely challenging with some incredibly steep hills to climb (think rock climbing).

 He said that he made it all the way up but didn’t have enough in him for the last 2km unfortunately. Despite this little setback, he was happy:

 A few other sights from the race: the little boy bagpiper that serenaded the competitors upon the start of each new discipline.
And the relay runner, who started in from the bottom half of the pack after transition 2, only to claw his way through the competitors on the run course to finish in the top 5 runners. Did I mention his young Jack Russell terrier ran the entire 8km route with him, at heel!???!?!?!! That’s what I call a good dog!
What an incredible dog. And an incredible owner.

I won’t get into areas of strength and growth because overall, this has been an extremely successful week of running and ab work. I didn’t do any yoga, and I wonder if I ever will? We’ll see. Looking ahead, week 7 is an easy week, so a bit of ‘back down off it’ will be nice. Maybe I can write more than one blog post this week?????

Have you ever done a progression run before?

Have you ever had one of those runs that was amazing in every way possible?

Would you ever do a triathlon?
Happy Monday everyone, and happy first day of school to all my Canadian friends starting tomorrow!

7 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 6!

  1. I've competed in three sprint triathlons (all were 750m pool swim/20km bike/5km run) and I loved both the training and the actual events. I prefer the cross-training of three disciplines to just straight up running. This year I haven't been training/racing in tri's because they do them in the summer when it's 35-40 degrees (and they don't even start early!) and I just can't hack the heat. I hope Pat enjoyed his first tri. The scenery must have been beautiful, although the water must have been cold, even if it was summer (it's still Scotland!).

  2. Why thank you! I am very happy with them and proud of myself.

    You'll get there Hyedi, hopefully you're back into your routine and your body and mind will be more at home. Persevere (but don't over do it!).

  3. They should totally do triathlons in the winter in Australia!

    Pat did enjoy the triathlon and was watching tri videos the next day. His focus is now on the half marathon, but he's thinking about his next race after that.

    The scenery was absolutely beautiful, but like true Scottish fashion, it was cold, windy and rainy. With that said, we have had a fantastic, sunny and hot summer here that seems to have turned into an Indian Summer: it's still hot and sunny,into September!

  4. I'm noticing the improvements, thanks Erin! Body Glide is incredible, so glad I bought it. I can now wear my HRM with no chafe, no matter the intensity or length of my run.

    I welcome your visit, it's very nice here! But pack for all seasons 😉

  5. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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