It is hard to believe that Week #14 is closed. I've completed 36.95 miles for the week and logged 505.78 miles this training period using Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Advance 1 Program. So far, my year to date miles is 1,284 for 2011. I've never really paid much attention to miles before, but the wonderful DM (Daily Mile) website and community, makes it so much easier to keep track. I wonder how this compares to my mileage in 2010 or 2009 back when I started running 4-5 marathons in a year.
Week #14 went well. It was a pull back week with slightly lower miles. I've scaled it back by almost 29% from the week before with 52 miles. I consider this to be one of my strongest weeks because every single run I ended with a negative split and fast finish. To recap:
Tuesday: 6.14 mi,
1st half pace 9:46, 2nd half pace 9:09; dropped 37 sec
Thursday: Tempo 6.32 mi, pace 8:20 (identical to 3 weeks ago, but felt easier, didn't push as hard to achieve 8:20 pace)
Friday: 5.53 mi,
1st half pace 9:23, 2nd half pace 9:04; dropped 19 sec
Saturday: 6 mi,
1st half pace 9:22, 2nd half pace 9:03; dropped 19 sec
Sunday: 1 mi w/u and c/d & 12 mi LR,
1st half pace 9:21, 2nd half pace 8:51; dropped 30 sec
Not only do my numbers prove that the training is going better than I had expected, I can feel the difference in my running. For instance let's start with my neighborhood hill. It used to be that when I get to this hill, halfway through the top, I would be reduced to a walk. Then came around the time when I could run through it by jogging it. I would still be huffing and puffing and feel the burn on my quads, but no more walking. Then after the hill work outs and during my long runs, I could run it steady at say 10:43 pace. No more burn on the quads and I was running it with an even effort. Then this past weekend, I didn't even remember passing this rain gutter that usually marks the spot where I would start to feel the effects of running this hill! What does that mean, you ask? It is significant to me because effectively, I am now cruising this hill like it is nothing. It used to be I would see it, I knew it was coming and I would take a deep breath and as if jumping in a cold water, say "here goes nothing," before jumping in and holding my breath. (You get the picture, I really can't swim.) Don't get me wrong, after I crest the hill, I still feel the lungs worked hard, but no longer is the need to walk after cresting the hill, either. In fact, this is when I pick up the pace. I keep the same effort going into the hill, not the same pace. Only after I get to the top is when I pick up the pace. I would say this is definitely the returns I was looking for in Hal's program.
One more observation about Thursday's tempo work. I usually run track on Wednesday nights along with the SLDC (San Luis Distance Running Club), this time to allow for more rest I pushed tempo to one more day. I had to run it at lunch, in the heat of the day all by myself. It is always hard to run track by my lonesome. For one thing there is no visual cue to push me or motivate me as running with the club. That's probably one factor and the heat, another. At first I was a little dissappointed with no improvement from the numbers I posted. Thankfully, a fellow blogger, who knows a thing or two about a thing or teo (since he has been running since 1966), Runspittle.blogspot.com, opened my eyes to this. He says that two postive results could come out of the tempo work. One would be I get faster with faster splits or two, achieve the same time, but feel easier effort-wise. I did the latter. That is progress indeed.
I am looking forward to the last hard core week with another 55 miles coming up. Week #15 is upon me and it looks like this:
Tuesday: 10 mi easy
Wednesday: 8x800 yasso
Thursday: 5 mi easy
Saturday: 10 pace
Sunday: 20 mi easy (Paso Harvest Marathon)
Interestingly enough, I am quite tempted to run another marathon to use as a last long run training for NY. But the smart runner in me reminds me that I have grown from previous mistakes. Knowing how I am, there's no way I could hold back. The unwanted result would be a flat performance in NY. I couldn't have that, considering all the training I've invested already. I will choose to cash in NY. So, I am sticking to my gun and not participate in the marathon. I didn't get a bib number (although it is available to me for free, I have an in with the RD) and to me that's enough to say it won't count. Instead I will only run 20 miles of the course. Even though I will be running with the official marathoners, I have the security of this week's training to leave me with depleted legs somewhat. On top of that, I have the 10 mile pace run the day before the event. That's even more guarantee that I will not and cannot run any faster than I should for a last long run.
My "A"race is NY, the big picture is NY, therefore my focus is on NY. No matter how much I want to run this local marathon, it will have to wait until next year. There! I think I'm done convincing myself.
Happy Running! And Happy Happy Birthday to my favorite mother-in-law! Oh wait I only have one!
Happy Birthday Momzies!