Sunday, August 23, 2015

Big Time Training

Since I fell short of my "Big Time PR" at the half marathon in the spring, I've been training hard for my second attempt which is in about 6 weeks.  I think losing some weight, incorporating more regular strength/cross training, as well as running longer/more frequently has made all the difference.  I am regularly churning out mileage at faster the PR pace.  I even pulled off PR pace while pushing Megatron in the stroller for a portion of my long miles recently (a friend was taking turns with me pushing).
Letting Megatron stretch his legs post-run.  No playground nearby?  That's ok, he's content to climb on anything available including the stroller and park benches.
Just trying on mama/s sweaty running shoes.  Never mind the fact that I'm not wearing pants...I was really hot after our run!
Getting these runs in has been interesting lately.  The Pilot's schedule has been pretty rough on all of us so Megatron is usually in tow for my runs.  Luckily I have some amazing friends who have been pushing him in the stroller so I can lighten the load and focus on my pace.  Luckily Megatron is still really good about going along for the ride.  Early morning runs he just sits there and eats his breakfast.  I've done a couple evening workouts and those I usually bring a book or toy for him.  But honestly, I think he just enjoys the scenery.  He now announces when he sees another "babeee" in a stroller or someone on a "baaa" (bike), among other things that I don't understand what he's saying.

Why does mama keep dragging me out of bed to meet up with these crazy people?!

Now that my long runs are over 8 miles though, I feel bad making him sit that long.  So I've had to do my last 2 long runs on a weekday because that's when The Pilot was home.  And even more insane for me is that I'm knocking the miles out EARLY so I can get home, cleaned up and spend time with my boys.  The Pilot is hardly getting any days off so when he's home, I don't want to run out the door and be gone for hours at a time.  I want the three of us to be together.  So this week I did my 10 miler at 5 am.  I was done before Megatron even woke up.  I did 4 miles with another mama and then when she needed to head home to get ready for work, I set out to finish the last 6 on my own.  I will say, the only other times I've watched the sun come up while running was during the Disney races.  Granted the sunrise in Central Ohio isn't quite as magical as the sunrise over Cinderella's Castle, it was kind of fun to watch my little town wake up and start its day.

That 10 miler gave me a huge confidence boost as I head into the home stretch of training for this second attempt at a "big time" PR.  While my splits were all over the place (like usual), I held it together and never really hit a wall.  I do think my perspective on long runs has changed.  Now rather than it being something I have to do, I look at it as a great time to get some me time. Normally I start slow and then pick up the pace around mile 3 or 4.  For my 10 miler though, I did the first 4 miles with someone faster than me.  Obviously we went out too fast for me and I kept slowing down.  Then I had a recovery mile once I struck out on my own, and then I found my groove again. 
Since I had already done my long miles for the week, when my usual crew met to run yesterday, I still showed up with Megatron just so we could socialize while getting some miles in.  I was planning on 6 miles but like with many runs with them recently, I get to all that socializing and forget to watch how far out I've gone and ended up doing 7. :) Never thought that would happen!  I used to stare at my watch just waiting to turn around.  Now, I just run.  Even with the stroller.  Now obviously I have to take some cues from Megatron to make sure he will be patient to get all the way back.  My wonderful friend Kim pushed Megatron for the first 3.5 miles (when I realized I needed to turn around!) and then I pushed him back.  I was really proud of those last 3.5 miles because I was still managing PR pace while pushing the stroller.  And that 11:33 at mile 5?  Hot damn!  I kept thinking it was a fluke but I know exactly where I was when that was happening.  My training group starts 30 minutes earlier than another group and by the time I hit mile 5, the other training group was coming towards me but their faster runners were coming towards me, then turning around and heading back so then I was getting passed by runners.  Any one who has done a race knows that running near people who are faster can make you run faster.  I felt a surge of energy and without realizing it, I was hauling.  I didn't notice it until I had to stop to take a very tight turn with the stroller.  At the corner, there was a runner who was lost so I stopped to help....and realized how heavy I was breathing.  Haha.  Once I got going again, the pack was long gone and I was pooped.  I was also starting to get some heckling from the front seat and had to open a fruit pouch for my passenger.  It was also time for his immunosuppressant (my little Pavlov dog starts grunting when the alarm on my phone goes off signaling its time for his medicine) so that also gave me a chance to catch my breath and back off to a much more comfortable pace.

Why yes, I always look this happy when pushing 50 pounds of toddler and stroller while I run. ;)

Hopefully I can keep this up as I head into another 10 miler and hopefully at least one 12 miler.  Then it will be time to taper...which means I will lose my mind and think I'm losing all my speed and I will cry when it hurts to do 4 miles. ;)

Post run selfie!

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