After running a 5K Friday night, and a 20-miler Sunday morning, I was less than thrilled about having to go to the track and run mile repeats on Tuesday morning.
But that's what the plan called for, so that's what I set out to do. Since it was Gabe's first day of middle school, I wanted to be home in time to drop him off (I like to drop them off on the first day), and since middle school starts so early, I needed to move my workout from 6am to 5am, which meant mile repeats on the treadmill (no track in the dark for this girl).
I actually don't mind doing speedwork on the treadmill. That's where I did every single one of my track workouts for Boston 2013, and although I can't go so far as to say I liked it, I did get used to it, and it wasn't so awful.
The miles went by surprisingly fast, and I was a little surprised that I managed to run pretty much my goal pace. Goal was 6:31, and I ran the three repeats in 6:37. 6:34, and 6:33. It wasn't easy, but it felt good to get it done. And since the humidity was pretty opressive that morning, I was actually kind of glad to be inside on the treadmill. The beach-loving part of me was very happy to have a little blast of summer weather this past week, but the runner part of me hasn't enjoyed it.
Luckily when it came time for my Thursday tempo, the air was much drier, and I ran a great four tempo miles - 7:09, 6:47, 6:47, and 6:55. Goal was 7:04, so I done good :-)
The humidity returned, though, just in time for my Saturday morning 18-miler. If Scott hadn't had his Century Bike Ride this morning, I would have waited and run today instead, as a front blew through last night and brought in lovely, cool, dry air.
But it wasn't possible, so I just mentally prepared myself to be even more uncomfortable than one normally gets on an 18-mile run - and also made plans to start really, really early.
I set out at 5:20am (in the dark!), ran 5 miles solo, and then met up with friends for 10 miles. I was sopping wet after just two miles. Thankfully it stayed cloudy, so the temperature didn't get too warm, but the humidity made for really disgusting conditions.
It was great to have the company for the middle miles, though, and the only drawback was that when we finished our 10, I had to go run 3 miles alone. I'm totally fine with running alone, but having to do so for the final few miles of an 18-mile run, after having had company for such a long portion of it, is kind of tough.
But I got it done, and I think I just wanted to get it over with, because I ended up running those final three miles in 7:55, 7:47, and 7:39 - and honestly felt really great.
Those strong finishes give me so much confidence. I ran almost every one of my Boston 2013 training runs that way, and it helped me so much, both mentally and physically. Running fast on tired legs is definitely a skill you have to hone, and I feel like I'm well on my way to doing it again, which is really encouraging.
After running in Saturday's soupy air, I woke up to beautifully crisp, dry air and sunny, blue skies this morning, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I just had to get out and run. It wasn't a scheduled run day, and I normally don't deviate from the RLRF plan, because I know it's well-designed, and you only run three days for a reason.
But I couldn't resist today. It was too nice out, and the thought of going out and just running - no goal, no planned pace, nothing to worry about besides just putting one foot in front of the other - was too tempting.
And it was every bit as great as I thought it would be. I didn't pay much attention to my watch, except to make sure I wasn't running too fast. I ran a lovely 8:19 pace, and it felt nearly effortless - one of those runs where eveything clicks, and you feel like you could run forever. I needed that.
The week ahead is proof that I am fully in the thick of marathon training. Tuesday's track workout is very intimidating, and I have 5 tempo miles (7 total) on tap for Thursday, and another 20-miler on Sunday.
The good thing is that Sunday's 20 will be run in conjunction with the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly. I'll run 7 miles beforehand, and then jump into the race for the other 13.
I don't plan to race this one - even though I really wish I could, because it's a beautiful, flat, fast course, and I know I could FLY on it. What I plan to do, though, is run the first 3 miles of the race at my long-run pace, and run the final 10 at my planned marathon pace of 7:49.
There is a part of me that freaks out a little bit when I think about running 26.2 miles at that pace, but there's another part of me that feels completely confident that I can do it. I'm trying to focus on that confident side - training the mind is just (maybe even a little more) important than training the legs and lungs and heart, so I'm working hard on both.
Here's to another week of mental and physical training, and 15 more to go!