Half Mary Musings | Week 8

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 things I need to improve upon.

Week 8 also welcomed the arrival of one of my favourite foods from home.

Thanks Mom!

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, fierce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from last Sunday’s 6 mile run + 20 minutes of kettlebells, Week 7 blog post, and that’s about it.

Tuesday: 5 min easy run, 3 x 10 mins at threshold pace/race pace, 5-min easy run

This looked like: easy running to warm up for 10 minutes, then 30 minutes of running comfortably hard, followed by 10 minutes easy running to cool down. 

Distance: 5 miles in 50:05 minutes, average pace: 10:01

I got mixed up with the weeks and prescribed run for the day, and apparently I read a different week’s warm-up and cool down; this explains why they were double the time. Pat has now started doing my training runs with me, as he’s also running the race, so him, along with his parent’s two working Cocker Spaniels, joined me for this threshold run. We had a hilly start, then did all 30 minutes at threshold pace on farm tracks and rocky trails rather than the road. It was tough going, and at times, I felt really sloppy with my form, but over all, it was a good run.

Love this guy

Wednesday: rest day and no abs.

Thursday: 10-min easy run, 3 x 8 mins of of continuous hills at threshold pace (approx 45 secs up / 45 secs down), 10-min easy run.

This looked like: 10 minutes easy running to warm up, then 3 sets of 8 minutes each, running uphill at comfortably hard for 45 secs, then 45 secs recovery jog down, with 3 minutes recovery walking uphill between each set. Cool down of 10 minutes easy running.

Distance: 5.31 miles in 58:08 in the rain

Amy, Pat and Amy’s sister Kelly did this run as well. We ran up Garvock Hill, just outside Laurencekirk, and basically smashed this run. We were all motivated and into this workout, and we nailed it! I acted as leader because I had the timer on my watch, and at the end of each 45 second interval, I yelled some variation of YES! upon which we all turned around to head either up or downhill. I also had a bit of a joyous moment, where after hearing the MOOOO! of a cow close by, my face broke into a huge smile and I thought to myself “I’m loving this!!!!” I was loving the run, loving the weather, loving the atmosphere and loving the company. I’ve felt determination, pride, frustration, boredom, satisfaction, all of the above with running, but never joy. Today, I added joy to my list.

What also makes me smile after hill intervals is my Garmin stats report for elevation (green) and heart rate (red):

I love seeing the zig zags

Pat also paid me the greatest compliment to date: “You’re a good sports coach.” This athletic girl totally loves it!

And to make things even more joyful, we had Indian takeout of Tandoori chicken!

Friday: Dinner at the in-laws for their 40th wedding anniversary. And no abs……

Saturday: 90-min easy/steady run, with last 20 mins at race pace

This looked like: 7 miles running at easy pace to a bit faster steady pace, then the last 2 miles at sub-9:45 pace.

Distance: 9 miles in 1:34:25, average pace of 10:29.

Again, Pat joined me, and we did this run Saturday instead of the usual Long Run Sunday because for Pat, Sundays mean doing nothing. He chose to run the workout according to time, whereas I did it according to distance. Next weekend is the last long run before tapering begins, and the maximum distance I’ll run is 11 miles. While I know I need to trust the training, I also want to reassure myself that running 13.1 miles October 13th is something I’ll definitely be able to do; by running these long runs according to distance, I’m kinda soothing any concerns I have. One might think that I’m overdoing it in terms of distance over time, but considering I was only 4 minutes over the prescribed time, I think I’ll be okay. As well, I plan on running my race in three stages, all involving mile marks rather than time marks. More about that in a future post.

Did I mention this run was also a bit of a progression run?!?!?

I love these stats!

I had a delicious lunch of eggs and maple syrup beans on toast to get some of the 1083 calories burned back:

I also received some new Under Armour winter compression tights in the mail from my favourite sports gear website Sport Pursuit, the members only, pop-up sale website that sells anything and everything for active people, and that could easily cause one to go bankrupt! Photography skills by Pat:

Business in the front…
…. party in the back

Sunday: rest day and lots of fantastic events to watch from BBC Sports! And no abs….

Mo Farah turned me into a fan with his spectacular sprint finish attempt for first at the Great North Run in Newcastle yesterday. Such passion, such determination, such pain and honesty in his face. Both Pat and I were screaming at the TV in excitement, but unfortunately Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia held his lead.

Click here to watch the exhilarating finish for yourself!
I also marvelled at Haile Gebrselassie’s performance: to pace Mo and Kenenisa the entire race so far into his running career is incredible! It’s understandable that his sub-65 minute half marathon time set a world record for runners over 40!
And as if the Great North Run wasn’t enough, the ITU World Triathlon Championships were on right after! Complete with Chrissie Wellington (yes I read her book) as a reporter!

 I also baked a blueberry poppy seed cake, and the photo below shows how much of a hit it was: that’s all that’s left.  

Areas of Strength:
– Support: Pat and my friends running with me always feels great.
– Discipline in pacing: I’m getting so much better at this! Easy run pace, threshold pace, everything. During Saturday’s run, I found myself holding back on some miles because I didn’t want to run too fast, too quickly. This discipline is what I need to run smarter races overall, and I can’t wait until the Arbroath 10km in two week’s time to test this out.
– Knowing myself: it is incredible how much I’ve learned about myself and my abilities throughout this training cycle. I can take educated guesses at how much further or longer I’ll have to run, and I’m astonishingly accurate. Training programmes help you become a much better and stronger runner, but also teach you a multitude of things. I plan to write a post on this, just don’t ask when.
– Sleep: still acing this one! And with another week of dark mornings, I’m now sleeping until my alarm goes off. Love it.
– Getting physically stronger: Remember when I used to get horrible pains in my right hip and right heel? Well, they’ve disappeared and haven’t been around for about a month and a half. I totally think my half marathon training has made me stronger in general, and because of this, my body isn’t in pain anymore. I even cancelled a physio appointment I’d tentatively booked, in case the pain got bad closer to the race. I’ll go for a tune-up once the race is over.
Areas of Growth:
– ABs!!!!!! Apparently I thought that because I did kettlebells last Sunday and experienced DOMS from it, I didn’t have to do abs. Then, I plain just forgot! I need to get back in it.
That’s me in a nutshell this week! I’ve got a huge list of posts I’d like to write, but again, I’ve got no time unfortunately. Blogging isn’t as high on the list of priorities as I’d like it to be, and until I get more settled in with my English teaching job, they will just have to wait.

Did you watch (or compete in) the Great North Run?!?!?
What’s your favourite post-long run meal?


9 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 8

  1. Love that you found the joy in running! Reading about your running progress has been so fun… you are ready for 13.1 in a few short weeks!

    Those compression tights looks awesome. Love my compression socks, but I really must get some tights… the rest of my legs need it, too!

  2. Your training for Aviemore seems to be going really well, and I'm glad it seems to be having a positive impact on your aches and pains! 🙂 Don't sweat missing a couple of things in your plan here and there – just focus on everything you've already done, and, like you said, trust your training. Good luck at the Arbroath 10k!

  3. I just *have* to find a way to try some beans in maple syrup! Who invented that?!

    Looks like things are coming together very well for the 13.1. Keep it going!

  4. I'm so loving this training right now. I hope I'll be able to embrace 13.1 in all it's glory!

    I love my new tights, and have noticed a positive difference in how my legs feel post-long run if I've worn my compression tights afterwards. Plus, they're great for winter running too!

  5. Those baked beans are to die for! Not sure how you could get your hands on some short of going to Canada yourself or having a Canadian friend send you some.

    Thanks! Looking forward to 13.1 in 3 short weeks!

  6. Thank you and thank you! I love my Canada Olympic hoodie: I buy one every time I go home for a visit.

    Eggs and beans, along with many other artery clogging meats and fried things, are staples in a full Scottish/English breakfast. You should try it one day, (just not all the artery-clogging stuff!)

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

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