Now that I no longer have Gansett planning as a distraction, I can devote all my nervous energy to that other little race I have scheduled this month - the one that once seemed so impossibly far away, but that I'm suddenly now tapering for.
It's been a strange training cycle, and I wish I hadn't had to miss all the workouts that I did, but I'm feeling like it hasn't thrown me off as much as I suspected it would. My crappy race at Gansett aside (and that can be attributed to a whole lot of factors), I'm running a lot stronger than I thought I'd be right now.
For my Tuesday run, I headed down to the beach for an easy out-and-back on Ocean Road. It was an absolutely lovely day, and without even really thinking about it, I ran a 7:45 pace for 7 miles. It was far easier running that stretch of road at that pace without 30mph winds driving rain and snow into my face.
I didn't really plan on running Wednesday, but felt like I needed to get out for a few miles in the afternoon, so after I dropped Carmine off at school I did one of my easy lunchtime loops of 4.5 miles. A slower run, but a nice run - just wanted to get out there in the beautiful weather (tank top and shorts, in November!), so I'm glad I did.
For Thursday, I checked what was on my training schedule. I'm not doing any speedwork at this point, but I wondered if I could do an actual tempo run at the prescribed pace. The schedule called for 5 miles at 7:19 pace. A couple months ago I could do that no problem, but I wasn't so sure I'd be able to pull it off now, but I wanted to try.
It was cool and rainy, and I'm still feeling slightly traumatized by my wet, cold, windy Gansett run, and was really tempted to wait and run Friday instead. But I stuck with the plan and headed out.
My first tempo mile came in at 7:15, and felt pretty good, so I was encouraged. The second mile was 7:14. Still feeling ok. Third mile - 6:57! I wondered if maybe that was a tad too fast, and I did stop and walk for about 20 seconds after that mile.
But then I got going again, and ran mile 4 in 7:06, and although I was feeling pretty wiped out, I knew I could stick it out for the last mile, and I did - 6:55.
Running those splits gave me such an enormous confidence boost going into my taper weeks. I've been really doubting my ability to run fast, but it occurred to me that I haven't really tried to run fast in the past couple of weeks, because I was afraid of re-injuring something. Testing it out on that tempo felt right, and I'm so glad that it went well.
But as great as that run went, this morning's was just the opposite. The long run for this week was a 13-miler at 7:49 pace. I figured I'd run the Gansett course - it's such a nice, fast course to run, it's hard for me to resist, especially when I have 13 on the schedule.
And I figured that I'd be able to run 7:49 pretty easily. But I haven't slept well this week, and was really dragging all morning, and honestly not even looking forward to the run, despite the beautiful weather today.
As I feared, it was kind of ugly. I was tired almost from the start, and not enjoying myself at all. The spots where I felt good were far outweighed by the many, many, many spots where I felt downright awful. I was tired, my legs felt dead, and I stopped to walk several times. The sleep deprivation that had built up all week finally caught up with me, and I was seriously tempted to cut the run short.
I trudged through all 13 miles, though, and I managed to run a 7:43 pace, but I fought for every step of it, and was so very glad when I was done.
I'm not letting it get to me, though. I went into the run feeling exhuasted, so it's no surprise that I got more tired as the miles accumulated. And I'm definitely not letting one crappy run lead me to believe that I'm doomed in Philly.
What I need to do is focus on getting some good rest over the next two weeks, logging the miles I need to log, and preparing myself mentally for my 6th 26.2-mile run. As long as I keep moving forward, I'll be fine.