This spring season is flying by! Only 5 weeks until Carmel Marathon. Of course, that means I’m right in the heart of the marathon grind. The first four to six weeks of a training cycle are easy, and the last two are usually tapering … but in between is the hard part. Because of my racing schedule, I had a bit of a drop-down week this week following last week’s big mileage week. So just 50 miles this week but a new PR in the 10k!
Monday’s run was a struggle. My calves and achilles were tight the entire time, so I only did 6, followed by a lot of foam rolling. I think this was more work shoe-related than running related, and fortunately it cleared up.
Before work on Tuesday, I taught a mini Pilates session at the office — a great way to start the day. Only one speed session this week and that was Tuesday’s steady-state hilly run. The tightness was only in my right leg and a good stretch after 2 easy miles seemed to clear it up. The workout portion was 4 miles at 85% max heart rate, which is somewhere between half marathon and marathon pace. It’s tough to not stop at the top of each hill and take a break! But I didn’t, and I hit some big hills. It was also sunny and 73*, which I was not ready for. I had about 327’ of climb over those 4 miles and averaged 6:55 pace. I felt good about it especially after Monday’s junk.
Wednesday afternoon was easy recovery miles on the treadmill as we entered monsoon season … nothing really noteworthy about it except I watched the season finale of “Just Jillian” and now I don’t know what to watch! I also taught Pilates after my run.
Monsoon, part 2, on Thursday. Plus I was pressed for time so the treadmill makes things a little faster. I only had time for 5 (schedule called for 6-8) because I had to make it to my massage on time! I figured with the race coming up and the calf issues earlier in the week, the massage was pretty darn important! I did teach Pilates Strength after that, which isn’t my favorite order of things but it’s what worked out.
Friday I had a fine early morning run, 6 miles in 50* weather does not suck. I had some striders mixed in at the end, 6×100. I don’t know that I would say I was feeling amped about Saturday’s race but I felt generally okay — just flat. Marathon grind in full effect this week.
I had a meeting Friday afternoon with someone who works downtown and was also running the race, and this saint of a woman actually picked up my packet, saving me a trip downtown. Hallelujah!
Race report: Rodes City Run 10k
After almost 10 years of running, you would think I would’ve perfected my pre-race routines by now. Nope. For a while I just winged it, thinking that if I didn’t stress about preparing for the race, then I wouldn’t be stressed about the race and would run better. I do not think this is a valid strategy. At this race last year, I got stuck in a port-a-john line before the start and didn’t get my bib from a friend until about 2 minutes before the start. Not ideal.
I had my bib already, and I laid out my top (even pinned on my bib) along with a few shorts options. There was a chance of rain the next day so I also tossed my hat and gloves into my bag. And I packed my clothes for teaching Pilates after, because that’s the part I would definitely forget. I also put my racing tool box in the car the night before — one less thing to drag down.
So, much like before the Anthem 5k two weeks ago, I got up around 6:15 a.m. I took a shower just to warm up and loosen up and foam rolled. I discovered that my fitted top is very hard to put on with the bib already pinned to it, so we may skip that next time.
I had half an almond butter sandwich and headed out just before 7 a.m. I actually parked in the same spot as I did for Anthem — it’s about 1.5 miles from the start. I was planning a 3 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down, so this was solid.
I put my headphones in and ran an easy .75 miles away from my car, then turned around and came back, with a bathroom stop on the way. It was misting a little but not supposed to rain, so I kept my long sleeve top on but didn’t bother with the hat. I hate wearing hats — they make my head so hot. But I hate having water in my eyes even more. Yes, I’ve tried visors, still not sold. Plus then people think I’m a triathlete.
I dropped off my iPod and jogged to the start and tossed my shirt into one of the lead trucks that I knew would be at the finish line after. I was feeling pretty good — no aches, no pains, moving well, and a decently-paced warm up. I did my strides and some stretching and various other time-killing maneuvers — and met Blake Roberson, another of Coach Ebersole’s clients! It was fun to see another PBT singlet in the crowd.
I knew I didn’t want to go out too fast because there’s a big hill that starts right after the 1 mile marker. I found a groove and clicked through the first mile in 6:16, right on pace. Mile 2 features the big hill — 95 feet of climb over about .3 of a mile, about 6% grade average. It hurts. My HR hit 180 going up it (fortunately, I had the monitor on but wasn’t looking at that data so I didn’t know until later.) My major concern/goal for the race was to not lose too much speed on this hill but to not go up it so fast that I bombed after.
So mile 2 was slow, 6:31, but I was back on it after that. You get a bit of a downhill after the 2 mile marker but then another hill at 2.2 that is deceptive. You don’t really see it coming and then suddenly you’re running uphill again. Mile 3 was 6:14 — halfway is where I knew I need to start to push. Coach had sent some guidance in terms of how the race should feel at different points, but with the big hill in the beginning there was some adaption. My instructions were to treat the first half like a hard training run and work into racing mode for the last half.
By then, I was also starting to catch a lot of people. Two girls who I beat at Anthem were ahead of me until about then, when I caught them both. After that, I could see two girls ahead of me — one I recognized, one I didn’t. I focused on gradually closing that distance. Conveniently, that’s exactly what coach had recommended for mile 4 — “the +/- place counting game and counting steps between you and a target are good games to keep focus.” YES.
Mile 4, which has a rolling hill so it’s a net almost 0 gain, was a 6:16. I wasn’t feeling great and like coach said, 2 more miles felt like so far to go.
Mile 5 — 6:16. Pancake flat mile but some interesting tangent action (same for the mile before — a lot of wide S-curves in the road). With just under a mile to go, you turn back onto Broadway. It’s a long, straight stretch home. Literally almost nine-tenths of a mile. I catch another girl who beat me in the 5k, halfway hoping I can help tow her in but also sort of not wanting her too because she’s the much better 5k runner and I didn’t want to get out-kicked! My last mile is 6:09 — perfect. Coach wanted more speed over the last mile and the last bit. Average heart rate is climbing here and my calf is tight — but the same way I’ve had it feel in quite a few races.
My friend Chad, a high school coach, is in the truck at mile 6 with the clock, yelling at me to go.
Last .26 (per my watch) at a 5:54 average. Official finish time 39:15 for 14th place. Heck of a field. This is a new PR by about 13 seconds. Not the big jump like in the 5k, but my 10k was also my strongest PR according to the Purdy Points system. So I had less room to grow, as it were, in the 10k.
I don’t feel as excited about this PR as I did the 5k. I’m not sure if it’s because it wasn’t as big of an improvement, or because I thought I had a shot at breaking 39 and didn’t, or just because I ran pretty fast and still finished outside the top 10.
After the race, I loitered around for a few minutes then grabbed my shirt from the truck and ran a very slow 2 mile cool down, then headed to Milestone for a shower before teaching Pilates.
Sunday was an easy recovery day. I’ve had more fun. The first 3 were crummy, then the next one was okay so I went ahead and did 6. I saw a lot of animals on this run — rabbits, squirrels, geese, ducks … and then some dead catfish. I have no explanation for the catfish. They were in a high school parking lot, close to the building — and not near any place catfish live. (Now I wonder if the school has an agriculture program with catfish. Possible.) They were whole, except the ones that had been run over. Probably a half-dozen of them. Very strange.
I ended up with 50.5 miles for the week, not a bad drop-down week! Plus my third PR of the year, so no complaints there. Another big mileage week on deck between race weekends; 5 weeks to go!
Smaller PRs aren’t as fun, but that sounds like a well executed race, and that’s something to be proud of. Also — hilly! How hilly was your prior PR? Because I think those hills have to count for something… Congrats!
Ugh, so hilly! My last PR at the distance was 2014 — but also hilly. 377′ of gain all out the out, then almost all of it back down on the way back. It’s way easier to drop a 6-flat last mile when that mile has 100′ of drop! I was also targeting that race specifically — I spent the entire spring racing 5ks with that as a goal race on July 4. So I *did* PR this time in the middle of high-mileage marathon training … Okay, I feel a little better!