Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I'm not afraid

So much running, not enough blogging! Y'all know how it goes.

Well, I think I've sat down like 3 times in the past couple of weeks to write about something or another - mostly about the events of the week where I ran 80 MILES due to having to do my long run from the previous week (20) on Monday and then that week's long run (22) on Sunday. The short version: the 20 miler was probably the best 20 I've ever done, I felt completely relaxed and smooth the entire time, and completely forgot about the fact that I was running 20 miles...never had that happen on a major long run before.  The 22 was definitely harder, the fatigue of the week had obviously caught up (since I did a hard track workout of 2 x [800, 1200, 1600 @ 5K pace] on Tuesday...yup...the day after the 20 miler) and another easy 10 on Friday.  But it was hard in a good way, in the way of "I know my legs are fatigued, but this feels pretty damn good for having run 80 miles this week" way...and I also guarantee I negative split the last 5 miles as usual...that's just my style haha.

Which led into this week, the last "big" week of training I guess you could say, even though in reality by this point the hay is pretty much in the barn.  This week was more of a sharpening time with a long tempo on Tuesday and *gulp* a 5K race on Sunday.  If you had ever told me before now that racing a 5K 2 weeks before a marathon I would have called you crazy, but Tom was really adamant about the marathoners doing it and that guy knows his stuff, so 5K it was!  Tuesday's practice was a 10K on the track in disgusting humidity and mist, and I felt like shit during the warmup and through the first couple miles, just logey and like my legs didn't want to fire.  Then the further along we got, the better I felt, and the girl I was running with ended up dropping after 4.5 miles and I finished out the last 1.7 with negative splits. Fun! 

Nothing much exciting the rest of the week, just easy-moderate running, which could really be the title of this training cycle for me.  Do a few hard workouts, and other than that, just run. Run fast, run slow, just run. And I was about to discover that the "just run" philosophy apparently pays dividends on the shorter end of the racing spectrum too, since Sunday I went out and ran my second fastest 5K EVER, less than 20 seconds off my track PR and a road PR by over a minute.  Oh, and I spent the entire day before drinking while standing watching football.


For serious. The race was the RMH Providence Women's Classic, which this year was the USATFNE grand prix 5k for women's teams. As an aside, I cannot recommend this race enough!!!  Pro #1 - $15 entry fee...tell me when the last time you saw one of those was! Pro #2 - for the cheap-o entry fee, you get not only your choice of either a long sleeve cotton shirt or a short sleeve tech shirt [being able to choose was a nice touch], but also a cute little polka dot spike bag with the race logo on it, and my personal favorite thing...a coffee mug with the race logo! Oh, and none of these things have advertising logos anywhere.  I love it! Pro #3 - flat, well marked course ending with a really cool finish on the Brown U track. So huge, HUGE props to the RMH Providence running club...you guys put on a fantastic race!

I was very mehhh about the race going in....given my lack of speedwork, my confidence was not high about running a solid time even though I know I'm obviously fit.  I also woke up and just felt weird the morning of [maybe just a little bit hungover...ooops] but some Gatorade and breakfast helped that.  Didn't feel great on the warmup, but whatever, that's pretty standard.  I was SO excited to race in my new road flats...which I am completely in love with. 
Not that easy to see in this pic but...Saucony A3s...my new pride and joy :)

Got on the line with the HUGE group of GBTC girls...that was pretty cool.  The past 2 races I did with the club there were only a few women racing but since this was the grand prix the team was out in force.  So there was all sorts of cheering and clapping and yelling and high fiving and general excitement and it was GREAT!!!  Such a change from every other race I've done the past year where I've stood alone in a sea of people, looking around and just waiting for the race to start so I could stop awkwardly standing there. I still don't really know many of the girls but it was fantastic just to be a part of the team thing again, finally. 

So we all thought the race was about to start, but then of course they had to sing the national anthem, and then without warning the gun fired and off we went!  I forgot how crazy the first half mile of a 5K is...just screaming insanity, and your body being like "what the #*%)# are you doing??" as you try to run as faaaaast as you can. I just locked on a couple red singlets in front of me and went.  First mile was a 6:08 or something, I hit my watch a little late because Tom was taking pictures and I didn't want to be taking splits for a picture haha, but as I came up on the clock and saw it ticking down the ends of the 5s I honestly let out a little gasp/odd noise because I had NO IDEA that I was/was capable of running that fast at the moment.

It hurrrt obviously, that's the fastest mile I've run in...uh...like a year and a half...so now we were into mile 2 and it seemed to take FOREVER. Like longest mile of my life, seriously. I got passed by a couple women but I also passed a couple others so it evened out.  I could tell I had slowed down a little bit but it was fairly obvious that that was going to happen haha.  Mile 2 finally showed up, the clock wasn't working but I had 12:45 net time on my watch and I knew if I could hold on I would at least come close to a PR.

The last mile is where I wish I could have manned up juuuuust a little bit more. (of course its always easy to say that in retrospect, when you aren't in the process of feeling like you're going to puke everywhere and like your legs are going to fall off, hah) I think if I had known the course a little better I would have kicked earlier - I didn't realize that when we got into the stadium it was only like ~150m to the finish.   But regardless...when I got close-ish to the finish I started trying to push it even though I honestly thought I was going to vom...passed a Whirlaway girl...got into the stadium, onto the track, and in my mind thought "kick like Jade!" (my former teammate who just has a wicked kick) and blew past one other girl, through to the finish. I was a little disappointed when I saw the clock click into the 20s, but I couldn't deny that I had just run my second best 5K ever, on NO 5K TRAINING, and a road PR by over a minute.  Holy eff. 20:12. 

It's funny because I think about track two years ago, and how I was about ready to explode with joy when I ran 20:27 and 20:18 when I was really seriously training for the 5K...and those were on the track.  And now I just busted out a 20:12 on the road, and granted this is at the end of a marathon training cycle so obviously I'm fit, but with no real speed workouts to speak of.  So this is...good.  And needless to say, makes me very, VERY excited to see what I can do on the track this spring.

And then I got home from the race and ran 10 miles. Because that's just how I roll. :)

But wait, you say, isn't this girl training for some marathon that's in 2 weeks? Ohhhh right! Haha. Well it's been interesting actually having a coach/being a part of a team for the end stages of this training cycle, because it's made me rethink some of the things I did in taper the last couple of times around. (Case in point...racing a 5K 2 weeks before the marathon). Tom doesn't really believe in taper, or he does but not the extreme, drastic way I've done it in the past.  It kind of once again falls under the category of "don't overthink it, just run". 

So you may wonder: do I have some goals and aspirations for the marathon given that I've been racing and training well lately? Obviously in my mind I have them...yes.  But I will work with whatever my body gives me on race day and there is a wide continuum of numbers that I will be pleased to see.  That's about all I'll say about that for now...Tom apparently thinks I'm going to run out of my brain (I refuse to even put the number he threw out at me up here because its so insane, and if I actually achieved it I think my head would explode), and he wants us to win the team title again at Baystate.  I will most likely be the 3rd GBTC runner which means I count for our score - meaning I actually need to run well for the sake of the team, not just for myself.  The combination of team pressure and high expectations is making me a little bit nervous, I must say.  But I refuse to get sucked into what happened at Boston and let my mind get carried away and completely psych myself out before race day.  It's interesting because throughout this whole training cycle, I've never really thought to myself 'damn, I am MARATHON TRAINING!! I need to do all of these crazy pace workouts, and run fast a lot, and run my long runs as hard as I can'  I have just been doing these runs, running a lot of miles, once in awhile doing a workout. Simple. And yet, over August and September, the two 'big' months of training, I've run 7 miles less than I ran before Boston. 7. And by this point before Boston, I was overtrained, sluggish, and miserable. Now, I'm just doing what my legs tell me and enjoying the ride. And I think that's the plan for raceday: shut off the brain, and let my legs do their thing.  They're obviously ready..it's time to sit back, relax, let them loose and see what happens. :)

AND - I cannot be afraid to absolutely let it rock if my legs say yes.  Because I know I've got a really good marathon in me and if the conditions and day is right, I've gotta go big or go home. :)


Lacey Nicole said...

wow! congrats audrey! SPEED!

J said...

Great job on the super fast 5k! That is awesome! I think training with a team definitely helps mentally and physically! You really seem to be on top of your running!