Hey New Year! Welcome! I had a great year of training and racing in 2016, so I’m a little sad to see it go.

But I wrapped up the year with a 60-mile week and a race win on January 1 — not a bad way to transition into the new year!

Salty Running writers running!

Monday: 10 miles easy with two of my fellow Salty Running contributors, 79 minutes, AHR 151. So fun having Salties in town for the holidays and meeting up. While we failed at getting a photo together, Rochelle and I messed around with my new GoPro at the end of the run. Went on a 2.25 mile walk with my husband after lunch because it was inexplicably 75 degrees.

Tuesday: 10 miles, 72 minutes, AHR 150. 3 mile warm up then 5 miles steady-state (75-85% max HR), 2 mile cool-down. I averaged 6:42, right around marathon pace and HR average 163, or about 82% max. I was really happy with this workout. I also did about 15 minutes of Jasyoga, foam rolling and planking.

Wednesday: 6 miles, 50 minutes, AHR 140. I had almost forgotten what the Wednesday struggle bus felt like since I’ve been easing back into workouts post-marathon. Plus 12 hours of recovery between runs and this was WOOF.

DCIM101GOPROG0072791.JPGThursday: 8.25 miles, 62 minutes, AHR 150. Abbreviated workout because of Sunday’s race, 12x 30 seconds hard, 60 seconds slow jog. I split each interval (sometimes with these I don’t bother) so I could see the paces/HRs but didn’t actually look at my watch during them … I’m using my old FR25 while I await a replacement FR35 from Garmin, and the 25’s screen setup isn’t great for this workout.

I had time and distance on one screen, but not pace or HR (which were on other screens and I’m not hitting all those buttons during a 30 second rep at 5:30 pace).

12 reps! I counted right. HR fun.

Anyway. Winds were gusting in the 20 mph range so there was more variance than I would’ve liked but I was happy with the results. I spent most of my recoveries trying to remember which interval I was on. Taught Pilates Strength after.

Friday: 6 miles, 49 minutes, AHR 132. Easy miles with bestie and her baby. Windy still. Our pace was pretty good considering how low my heart rate was.

Occasional yogi.

Saturday: 6.75 miles (I had to fix Thursday!), 51 minutes, AHR 144. Stopped at Panera for a bagel in the last mile. Mmmm bagels. Finished the year with 2,808.75 miles. Not sure if that’s a lifetime best but it’s 754 more than last year and well over the goal I set for myself of 2,260. Did an hour of Jasyoga after I ate my bagel. Mmmm bagels.

Sunday: Race day! 13.75 miles total. Too much work to figure out overall time and whatnot. 2 mile warm up, Hangover Classic 10 Miler plus .3 for everyone going the wrong way, 1.45 cool down. (If I was paying attention I would’ve done another quarter to hit 14 even. Oh well.)

Race report: Hangover Classic 10 Miler (ish)

img_0129I ran this race for the first time last year, even though I’ve gone down other years and cheered for it. I had a great race there last year, negative splitting the halves and catching a rival around halfway to finish in second.

This year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I ran a great marathon two months ago and have been easing back into workouts, but really have no good gauge on my fitness (that’s what this race is for!). It’s hard to separate the shape I was in then versus right now. Sure, I had a couple more easy days this week but it was still my highest mileage week since mid-October. I went into the race with no hard goal other than to race competitively (one of my goals for the year, might as well get started on it!), but wanted to break the 65-minute barrier. For me, that’s one of those milestone markers. A 10 mile race at under 6:30 pace? Mentally daunting. It’s amazing how scary yet arbitrary these markers are, since we usually ascribe them to round numbers. I think the 6:30 barrier held me back during my half marathons this fall — I just didn’t believe I could run that fast for that long. So if I could get under 6:30s for an off-season race, it would be a nice boost!

This race starts at 10 a.m. on New Year’s day and is basically flat as a pancake. It’s low-key and homegrown and always has that “local” feel.

The late start meant I slept in until 8 or so, then had time to stretch, foam roll and even unload the dishwasher before I headed out. I had a few drinks for NYE but not too many; I was definitely feeling the lack of sleep from staying up until 1 a.m. though!

I got a great parking spot this year — last year I was quite a ways from my car which made it hard to change gear around for the warmup and cool down. I grabbed my bib and then started my warm up. It was around 39 degrees so I started off in my training shoes, pants, thermal top, mittens and headband. I wasn’t seeing any of the fast girls I know —I was actually hoping the girl who beat me last year would be there, because she’s a great competitor and I thought I might be able to even the score this year. Plus it would give me someone to chase — not to be snotty but there’s a dearth of women to compete against in Louisville right now, at least in longer distances. There’s maybe six of us, and it’s a crapshoot who might show up to what. And I knew I’d run better at this race if I had someone to push me.

After 2 miles, I stripped down to shorts and singlet, and traded my mittens for gloves. I left my headband behind, too. Exactly the outfit I wore for Monumental, and it was about 5 degrees colder there. I did a few strides down the pot-hole filled starting stretch and then lined up, still not seeing any girls that I thought would run with me.

We apparently didn’t listen well to the race director’s instructions, because about a half mile in, we went the wrong way and added an unnecessary loop. Of course, we didn’t start to figure that out until the 5k turnaround was at 2 miles and the 10 mile turnaround was at 5.4. Anyway.

The front pack was pretty slim and I went out way too fast in the first mile. I settled down and chatted with a couple of guys I know, then let them pull away. I settled in around 6:25s for the first half, but when I realized at the turnaround the race was going to be long, I started to lose focus. Also, desolate. I couldn’t really see any runners ahead of me or hear any behind me, although it was nice seeing people on their way out as I headed back. I got a lot of cheers for being the first female, but I was starting to struggle. Add to that a part of the course that involves weaving under columns under the interstate and I was just not feeling it. I was fighting the urge to back off and cruise in.

Dropping under the HR average in the end.

Around mile 7 another guy caught me and pulled away. At 8.3 we took a sharp turn and I gave a glance back. I could only see one runner anywhere close and it was definitely a guy. I fought against letting that be my permission to relax. I challenged myself to fight to the next mile marker, and then it would just be one more mile to go. But my HR data shows I started to slack off.

Even though I felt like I was really slowing and struggling, I was holding low 6:30s. I still didn’t know we had run the course wrong, but I was certain it meant I wasn’t going to have to run the uphill bit that we did at the beginning.

I noted my 10 mile split — 64:27, hooray! — and ground out the last bit. Official time is 66:25, first female by 4 minutes. Splits for 10 miles were 31:52 (6:24) and 32:35 (6:31). Disappointed that it ended up being long so no PR, and a little disappointed with my fade after halfway. Sure, it is hard to race when you’re by yourself, but I expected myself to be a little tougher. Disappointed that I positive split pretty hard; I’m usually pretty consistent. Proud that I ran under 6:30s and 30+ seconds under goal. Proud that I made myself keep pushing through the last few miles. So, I suppose, mixed emotions about that one.