Monday: After a pretty grueling long run on Sunday, we weren’t up for an early morning Lookout session. I slept in then ran a slow 5 miles after work. It was fairly awful. I was having abdominal cramps and my legs felt super heavy and I was just blah. I was planning on doing 6 but settled for 5.1 while listening to an episode of the Rich Roll podcast with Olympic swimmer, Conor Dwyer. I know absolutely nothing about swimming, so it was pretty interesting to get some insight into the training that it takes to make an Olympian in the sport.
Tuesday: Robyn and I had a workout together planned. With her in Denver and me in Golden, we decided to meet in the middle at Sloan’s Lake at 5:45am. I’ve never run at this park in the morning and I was surprised to see how many people were out there that early. Our plan was 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 2 miles at 7:00 pace, 4 x .25 miles at 5k pace, 2 mile cool down. If you saw my Instagram post, you know the story. I felt pretty ho-hum during the warm-up and didn’t know if a workout was even going to happen. As has happened more times than I care to admit, I forgot my watch so I had to totally rely on Robyn (which honestly, works out for the best most of the time). When we started our first 2 mile segment, I thought it felt pretty fast. We managed to hit the first mile in 6:55 and the second in 6:58 – right on. I kept telling myself ‘this is okay’ – doing speedwork, I think I can get freaked out by the idea of running fast even more the actual feeling of it. We took a couple (I think 2, but again… no watch) minutes of standing rest before starting the next set. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the penultimate repeat during an interval workout is the hardest. So, I was surprised to hear that our third mile was the fastest one yet. Once we got through that one, I knew we could do one more. We finished the second set of 2 slightly faster than the first. I suggested that we drop the fast quarter-mile repeats we were going to do at the end, because I was beat and was happy that Robyn agreed. During our cool down, I was desperately searching for a bathroom – I would think at a place like Sloan’s Lake, that wouldn’t be an issue, but there were no unlocked bathrooms to be found. So, those last 2 miles were pretty slow and uncomfortable. I think I told Robyn I was dying. Thank you Robyn for pulling me along, being pacer extraordinaire, and not listening to me when I say I’m dying.
Wednesday: I had an appointment that was going to keep me at work until 6:15, so I planned to go in later than my normal time of 7:30am. With this change in schedule, I knew I had to take advantage of sleeping in. I didn’t think I could handle leaving at 5:45 for NP and then not getting home until 6:30 that evening. SO, I slept for 9 glorious hours and then went for a run at like 7:15am. Amazing! I went up South Table and it was so peaceful. I saw one person the entire time and lots of deer. There was a cool, hazy fog. I really enjoyed myself and ran longer than planned, 7.6 miles.
I was in this blissful, tuned-in (to myself) state during my run and then immediately, when I got back home and opened the door, all these anxious thoughts flooded in. I was thinking to myself, ‘OMG, I’m late! I have to get going! I have to leave soon! I’m going to have a million emails when I get to work. I need to do this. I need to do that. I feel bad about missing NP. Did people notice I wasn’t there? I should have gone. Ugh… I dropped something. I can’t find my key. Okay, out the door now. Everyone’s waiting for me at work. I shouldn’t have slept in.’ I am telling this because it’s something that I’m committing to working on. I feel like I’m always rushing everywhere, even when there’s no reason to, because it’s not often that I’m actually late to something. I felt like my awesome run went to waste because I let myself think this way.
Thursday: You know what time it is! Dino Ridge with PG, of course. This was what Mike Bell and I call a DGAF workout. I stopped to try to play music on the jambox, I stopped to take pictures, I never really got into a groove. That’s alright, though. Even with all that, I managed 6.4 miles and 722 feet of climbing.
Friday: I had planned to go to NP to hang out with people even though it was my rest day. I set my alarm for 5:20 so that I could make it and when I woke up, it was raining and the temperature was right around freezing. I decided to not stand outside, not working out, in that weather on my rest day. It looks like it ended up not being that bad, so I felt guilty about not going. After work, Dan and I walked downtown for a beer. It was a pretty lowkey day as I was preparing for Saturday’s run.
Saturday: The plan was to do a sort of race-simulator run – I wanted to do 13.1 total with 8 at HMP (between 7:10-7:14). I calculated that 8 miles at 7:15 pace would be 58 minutes on the dot, so the goal was to be under that. I gathered my crew and we started at Four Mile Historic Park in Denver to jump on the Cherry Creek Trail. Meaghan was doing 22 miles total with her MP miles around 7:35 pace (so fast!), so she was going to just trail right behind me and Robyn. Dan was doing his own super long, fast run. And Starbuck joined us to do a MP race interval workout. We warmed up 3 miles together and then stopped for a minute to get a drink from our stashed water bottles. Then we were off! Robyn and I headed off together for 4 miles out and then 4 miles back.
We knew the way out would be slightly uphill so we should try to average around 7:20s and then make up the time on the way back. Our first mile was 7:07 and it felt so hard. Second mile: 7:16 – still so hard. Third mile: 7:18. We were both hurting. Fourth mile: 7:22 and we stopped to take a break and collect ourselves. I was not expecting this to be so difficult. We knew we had to get back so there was no option to quit. We also knew the way back would be slightly downhill and we could use that to our advantage. So, off we went. Fifth mile: 7:03, sixth mile: 7:08, seventh mile: 7:07. It was around this time that Robyn reminded me that this was one of the hardest race workouts we had ever done. Eight miles at half marathon effort is no joke! Okay, one mile to go. I knew we had to make this one the fastest, when we were feeling that hurt that is inevitable on race day. Eighth mile: 6:58.
As soon as we got back to the park and our watches beeped 11 miles, we stopped and took another break, both of us so relieved to have gotten it done. We joined back up with Meaghan and Starbuck for a 2 mile cool-down. While we were out there, we saw Troy and we had also seen Adrienne and Jaci earlier. Having familiar faces out there was the best – I felt invested in everyone else’s runs as much as my own. We finished with exactly 13.1 miles and I was spent. At first, I was sort of disappointed that it had felt so hard and that I just wasn’t having one of those magical days when the miles tick off smoothly. It was hard work from the start. But, after reflecting on it, that is exactly what I wanted from this run. Looking at our splits later, we managed the 8 miles in 57:19 which is a 7:09 pace (with one untimed break at the turnaround). I’m really proud of myself for knocking this out – it’s a confidence boost for race day.
My run wasn’t even the best part of the day for me, though. You’ll have to read Dan’s blog to get the details about his run, but he absolutely crushed it in every sense. He set a huge marathon PR and a 50k PR during his training run. As exciting as that is, what was really cool was to see how supportive everyone was. I know I’ve talked about the notion of having a team in running before, but it truly feels like we’re part of one right now. I can’t wait for Meaghan and Starbuck to run Boston because I know that they are so well prepared and are going to do so great. I can’t wait for Dan to run Wings for Life and for all of his hard work to show on race day. I’m feeling really grateful for my little corner of Colorado and of the running world.
The second best part of the day: our post-run meal at Olive and Finch in Cherry Creek. Dan and I went and got Americanos, fresh beet juice, and sandwiches. Everything was amazing. I was so happy. I wish every long run could end there.
Sunday: I had planned on doing an easy trail run to round out the week. But for various reasons, I decided to take another rest day. The weather is cool and cloudy – perfect for staying inside. I leave for San Diego on Tuesday and I want to get some good runs in while I’m there. And my race is two weeks from today! I haven’t really thought much about tapering, but 40 miles for the week two weeks out seems right to me. I might wander over to the rec center later to either do some light cross training or just relax in the hot tub/sauna.
Total mileage: 40.5 miles
Total climbing: 2,034 feet
High: Saturday was a really great day. I loved running with people and hitting my goal, even (especially?) when it was hard. I loved seeing Dan finish a run that will go down in the record books of his training. I loved talking to my two best friends from home on the phone. I loved hanging out with the Gravinas and eating Thai food that evening. All good stuff.
Low: I’ve been dealing with a burning, sore throat for awhile which has been really frustrating as I’m trying to figure out how to make it better. It, fortunately, doesn’t affect my running much, but it’s uncomfortable throughout the day.
I actually didn’t really feel great on many of my runs this week, but when I look back at it, I’m thinking very positively about it all. It’s even more fulfilling to get the work done when feeling less-than than it is when you’re feeling your best.