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3M half marathon and winter running…

Let’s start by saying that I have been happy NOT training for a winter marathon.  My longest run since October has been 14 miles and it’s been great to not have long runs hanging over my head that need to be done in mostly darkness…you know, the 5 am start time with the need to be done by 7:30 where 18 miles or so gets run alone in cold and dark.  I did too many of these runs the last few winters and they are not what I would call joyful.  I prefer joyful runs that leave me happy to be a runner and not merely obligated to check off an arbitrary 20 mile box.

3M was about 3 weeks ago and was my goal winter race.  My goal was just to tie last year’s time (1:41) or to beat it…..and continue to recognize the fact I run much slower than I used to and to be ok with that.

I was cool as a cucumber going into this because it was a weekend of hanging out with friends.  Stephanie flew in with her sister in law and Meghan was also running. A running reunion of sorts.  Sure I could have forgone a glass of wine the night before at a girls’ dinner or planning brunch for a large group post race, but is any of that really worth it as a mid pack runner that does this for fun?  And would a glass of wine really do much damage to my midpacker’s time?  No to both.

The weather had been awful that week with school closures due to ice and a 15 degree morning.  Race say saw a radical change with 65 degrees, 100% humidity, and misty weather coating the streets in a layer of slime.  I don’t think the weather really affected me, but slick streets on a net downhill did.  I always felt like I was running with a “skier’s” gait and not how I normally run.  My hamstrings and shins were  all sorts of tight.

This course has undergone many changes over the years, and I found myself fully morphed into an old person as I lamented for the course of days past.  The current course is just really dull for the first half (strip malls, industrial office complexes and overpasses, I mean who doesn’t love all that for scenery.  Luckily it went by very quick for me, but I was hitting zero of my splits.  I’m being completely honest when I say I just think it was the slick roads.  I was close on each split and wasn’t slowing down or anything, but always finished each mile outside of my goal pace.  The effort was there so I didn’t stress.

The second part of the course is much better.  I chatted here and there with other runners, and was getting tired, but maintaining.  When I got to mile 11 I “took off” and try and start kicking it in a bit…..but I didn’t go any faster.  I think my perceived effort of being faster was really just allowing me to maintain.

Finished in 1:44.  Although 3 minutes off last year, I don’t feel bad at all.  I think the times translates for the conditions of the day.  One cool thing is I ran 3M as my first race in Austin 20 years ago.  The fact that I finished in the same time (I believe my time then was 1:45.  Not sure though, it’s so old it’s no longer posted online!) makes me happy. Perspective here….just happy to still be racing this thing 20 years later.

And time with friends was wonderful.  Post race brunch at my house barely came together with all the post race logistics, but it did come together.   I didn’t get in the shower that day until 2pm and was absolutely wrecked with soreness the next day.  The soreness confirmed I really was pushing myself.

Speaking of soreness, I broke down and got an Air Relax. Laugh if you must, but I had tried it a couple times, have two friends that raved about theirs, and my threshold for spending money on my body is significantly lower at age 45 then at age 25.  I love, love, love it.  I can’t really say if it’s making soreness less pronounced, but I’ll be able to test it after the Austin half marathon in about 10 days.  So far I’ve been using it almost nightly, and loving it.  Worth. The. Money.

Spring marathon, aka Vermont marathon, training started last week.  I’m meeting my group for track and tempo Tues and Thurs and doing the Hanson marathon plan the other days.  I was mainly drawn to the two weekend runs instead of one big long run.  The slower I get, the harder a 20 mile or more run is…they just take so long.  Make no mistake, this plan is not low mileage, as there is more running all week, just less on the weekend.  I’ll have to do a full post on how it worked.  I’m a little nervous to do something so different, but there are testimonials all over the internet about it….so time will tell.

Next up:  Austin half marathon, and hopefully some spring days!

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