Monday: For the second week in a row, I started Monday with a run up Lookout Mountain with Dan and Meaghan. I love this run and starting my week this way. From our house to the Windy Saddle parking lot is about 8.8 miles and 1200 feet of climbing. Even with that much elevation gain, this run almost feels… easy. It’s a good way to trick your body into getting in the mileage because it feels like all you have to do is get to the Windy Saddle turnaround, about 4.5 miles away, and then it’s just a cruise back down to home.
Tuesday: I ignored the alarm I had set and slept until 7am. Glorious! After work, it was cold and windy and I debated taking my rest day. But I didn’t really have a reason not to run, so I went out for an easy hour. I went from home to the Kinney Run bike path and up through some neighborhoods, almost to Apex park. Without trying, I managed to get in 600 feet of climbing in the 7 miles. That’s life in Golden. I was really happy I ran and felt pretty smug about saving my rest day until later in the week, when I knew I would need it more.
Wednesday: NP in the morning. To be honest, I was pretty low energy and didn’t work out very hard. It was good to move a little bit and hang out, though. I ended up having a long, busy day at work so scrapped any plans to do an easy short run when I got home. I ended up only getting in like 7,000 steps, so this was sort of like a rest day.
Thursday: Oh, this was the best run I’ve had in awhile. We got back to Dino Ridge for PlayGldn and had quite a few (fast!) people join us for hill repeats. We started by doing the full out-and-back (2.2 miles) together as a warm-up. Then, we did, what Dan and I like to call, hard frontz. The segment is about .7 miles from the bottom of the hill to the top, with about 170 feet of vert. Turn around, run back, do it again. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning and with everyone there pushing, we all ran the repeats harder than ever I think. Teamwork – it’s real in running too. I got in 8 miles at 7:46 average pace (!) with over 900 feet of gain.
Friday: Rest day! I walked to the library after work and that was enough for me.
Saturday: I had plans for a big run – I wanted to do a 5 mile half marathon paced workout within my longest run yet of this cycle. I came up with the idea to run 5 easy, 5 between 7:10-7:14 pace, 5 easy. I immediately recruited Robyn because she’s training for a half as well. Then, Meg, being the badass she is, decided she wanted in too and was going to run 5 miles before meeting us to get to 20 for the day in her prep for Boston. I was admittedly a little nervous for the run. Earlier in the week, I told Robyn that I was unsure if I’d be able to hit the 5 miles on pace, forgetting that I had just run the NP5280 6k (3.7 miles) at a 6:47 pace . If I could do that, I could surely run 1.3 more miles at a ~30-second slower pace. Also, this 15 mile run was going to be longer than I’ve run since December, though the distance didn’t concern me because I was really just thinking of it as three 5 mile segments. I wanted to do flat and on a bike path to simulate Platte River so we headed to Glendale to jump on the Cherry Creek trail, hoping to be away from the busyness of it near the city.
Luckily for me, both Robyn and Meaghan are faster and more experienced runners than me. They know how to pace and have run this pace or faster in races, so I selfishly tasked them with taking the lead for the tempo portion. We got to the 5 mile turnaround and when we started the tempo, I was practically sprinting. I had no idea what this pace was supposed to feel like – in my mind, it’s just fast. They calmed me down and I realized that, when our first mile hit in 7:13, this pace doesn’t have to feel that hard. I don’t know if that mile was a confidence booster or if I was just having a good day, but after that, I couldn’t run over 7:10 even if we tried. The thing is, it felt like half marathon effort. We were still talking, I felt comfortable, and wasn’t breathing super heavy. I couldn’t have gone for 13 miles at that pace yesterday, but I can see how it is doable. Our 5 mile splits were: 7:13, 7:08, 7:03, 7:05, 6:58 (35:27 total). These 5 miles went by faster than any miles in my life. As soon as we started, we were done and it was time for the last 5 mile segment of our run. We ended up with 15.1 miles at 7:44 pace.
I don’t think I’ve ever run 15 miles that fast before, in a race or training. And at the end of it, I felt like I had just gone for an easy jog – I wasn’t even that tired. This was such a confidence boost! I think I was just having one of those rare magical run days, but I also owe a lot to having the girls there. Also, I highly recommend doing race pace workouts during long runs. I’m going to do more in the next few weeks to help me practice making it feel comfortable.
After the run, the three of us met up with our husbands and we all went out to coffee. What a treat! After eating three Girl Scout cookies with my Americano, but nothing else, I was starving. Dan and I got our burger fix at Park Burger and it tasted sooo good.
Sunday: Because my next race after Platte River Half is the Dirty 30 50k, I figured I should probably run some trails. I slept in, lounged around, and was feeling lazy so decided to run from home to Windy Saddle via Chimney Gulch Trail. I was pretty ‘meh’ out there but I’m really glad I got it in and managed a good deal of climbing this week in addition to some faster miles. 7.2 miles and about 1300 feet of elevation gain.
When I started blogging about my training for this half marathon, I had said that I set a goal but wasn’t really invested in it. I feel fully committed now and actually wish that I had more time before the race because I’m having such a good time and am seeing progress. I feel like a runner again. Before, I had thought that sub-1:35 was my goal because I SHOULD be able to run that time. Now I feel like it’s my goal because I CAN run that time.
Total Mileage: 46.5 miles
Total Climbing: 4,206 feet
High: Running 5 miles at HM pace easily during my longest run since the 50k!
Low: I had a couple bad sinus headaches this week. I sometimes get these in the afternoon, so it doesn’t affect my running as long as I get it done in the morning.