3M half marathon report…

The medal was pretty sweet this year, best one I’ve ever gotten from this race.
Coldest long run I’ve ever done a couple weeks ago….19 degrees with a wind chill of 10 degrees.

The 3 M half is really Austin’s premiere running event.  It’s a better course than the Austin marathon and extremely well organized.  I hadn’t done it in four years mostly due to cost….it gets expensive if you don’t register early.  This year after a disappointing marathon in the fall, I decided to make it my goal race.  Training for a goal half and marathon pacing is a little complicated.  I need those long runs and the speed workouts.  I love my little running group, and we’ve had some killer track sessions and tempos to bring the speed along.  As for character building,  my 19 mile run on the record cold day with 6 miles of that alone in the dark, took care of that.   People in places with real winter feel free to laugh but in Texas sub 20 degrees in no joke.   Plus I has the usual treadmill days and ridicously early wake ups and it all adds up to putting in some work.

But I love the training.  I love that I have people to meet for the hard stuff now and I love getting coached workouts.  There are many moments of wanting more sleep, but overall I look forward to the training days and don’t love my off days on the schedule. 

My only complaint about the race this year was packet pick up.  You couldn’t pick up someone else’s packet, no exceptions.  But packet pickup was at the downtown convention center during a massive event (just a little thing called the women’s march)  and was a major cluster.  Luckily I walked down during work on Friday and got it on about a 2.5 mile round trip walk.  But I felt sorry for my running buddies who had to eat up a bunch of their Saturday.  Rant over, but I just didn’t get it…

wind gusts up to 50 mph was the forecast…..and it really did happen.   The start areas was a wind tunnel.   Pre race went flawless with no hassle parking and meeting up with all friends easily.  The day before was an epic eating fail with a sour candy challenge and a totally screwed up dinner out which resulted in way too much French fry nibbling to prevent from eating my arm off for food during an hour and a half wait for pub food.  Grrr.  Pleasantly surprised my belly was intact this am (healthy eating resumes tomorrow….if I type it, it will happen).  Sooooo…the course was windy.  Sometime a tailwind, sometimes a head wind.   Some sometimes I was flying, sometimes struggling.  I just wanted a time that reflected all my hard work, and the 1:41 I got feels fairly like it does.   I’m bummed I used to run so, so much faster on this course and I’ll never get that back, but big picture, is you can’t really complain about running healthy.  

My friend/ coach, George paced me, which was great.  I wanted to stay comfortable until 10 then drop the pace.  I did that and I was happy that 7:40ish pace was comfortable.  Last year I raced a half in March and 8:15s was my best.   So pretty happy that this year was 30 sec a mile faster.   The wind knocked my packing down pretty good at the end.   I think I was running faster, but it was into a headwind.   Ended up maybe a few seconds short of what I’d wanted, but again, I think the race went well.  And now for the old timers:

-I miss the cotton long sleeve shirts so much.   I’m over cheap tech shirts. 

-I guess the super fancy medal makes up for the cheap tech shirt.   It is seriously  one of the best medals I’ve ever gotten. 

-this course is still pretty awesome.  I want the marathon back on this course!  It was so much better then.

-barefoot running must be over.    I didn’t see anyone barefoot.  Thank God,   Worst running trend ever.  

-I’m really tired.  Even racing a shorter distance wears me out.   Bed and Netflix calls….

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2016 as told through running

Ushering in 2017…

As I become more and more of “masters” runner (such a polite term), I realize the most I can hope for in any year is staying healthy.   If I can do that, the year is a good one as far as running goes (and probably in general as well).  I did manage to stay healthy this year.  Sure, I am probably sore at least two days out of every week, but I guess that’s just what happens when you start doing speed work and lifting weights more than twice a year.   So this is a long, drawn out recap of what I did different this year.  It may seem boring but these are the kinds of posts I search for when figuring out my own training and racing.  

The year was early training for the Austin marathon then some downtime with a couple fun races then dedicated Fall marathon training that started in May.   Enough already on the Fall marathon fail, but I felt like I gained a lot this year.  It took months but I think I can finally follow a training plan.   I still get edgy when I get weeks with two off days and I do a lot of dog walking on non running days, but I think I have accepted the lesser mileage.  For one thing, I’ve definitely gotten much faster.  I don’t say this from a bragging point but from a point of declaring that speedwork , works.  And real speedwork.   I did a pretty wimpy version of speedwork before where I kept it in my comfort zone.  The runs now are way, way out of my comfort zone and I actually get nervous for some of them and I don’t really like some of them.  But when I get home from a hard track session I feel pretty darn good.

The other thing is that I think this is a smarter way to run for the long term.  It helps keep up the body systems that allow for fast running, that as we age are not going to stick around if not used.  The lower mileage is better for longevity in this sport.  It has been tough to do what I know is the right thing.  I tossed out any mileage tracking; it really doesn’t mean anything and I never look back at it…..and most importantly NO ONE CARES how much I run.  

I took up body pump classes for strength training this year.   Those, yoga, and lower miles are what I credit for making it all year staying healthy.   I started strength work last year, but I found the class to be much more effective than doing it on my own, and pushing me and working every muscle group. It’s tricky to schedule around speed sessions because both can leave me sore, but sometimes I just get sore and deal.  (I also started doing epson salt baths for sore muscles this year and am a convert on those as a way to take the edge off really sore muscles).  

This year also gave me hope that I can follow a plan.   Plans never worked for me before because I “modified” them so much, I really was just doing my own thing.  If my little training group doesn’t keep going I know I could get a plan from a book and follow exactly and even do the days I don’t like. Plans are smarter than I am as they add in more rest and do things in a purposeful way.   Plans are the way to go….why did I take me so long to get on board?

So the summary, run less, run faster workouts that can be on the sucky side (aka 400s on the track at 5 am), and do strength training in a class where you feel inclined to do all the difficult things that make muscles say ouch.   And buy epson salts in bulk.   They are super cheap and much more pleasant than ice baths.  

Up next:  3M half marathon, two very important birthdays, Austin marathon…