Before I recap today’s race I want to briefly review my training from last week. It was quite a mix of highs and lows.
Monday, 11/16: Rest
Tuesday, 11/17: 6 miles easy after work
Wednesday, 11/18: 4.3 miles of hills before dawn
Thursday, 11/19: My first early morning track workout in almost a month. I chose a workout with short, fast repeats in anticipation of the 5K I’d be running a week later.
- 1.16 mile warm up
- 6 x 800m at 5 seconds faster than 5K pace. McMillan put me at 7:09 pace for a 5K based on my 10 mile race time, so I aimed for 7:04 pace or 3:32 for these repeats. I was pretty much right on target (3:30, 3:31, 3:31, 3:33, 3:33, 3:30) and felt like I was running hard but not at an all-out effort. I ran a 400m recovery between each repeat.
- 1.18 mile cool down
- 6.59 miles total
I was really pleased with this workout after being away from the track for so long. However, (spoiler alert) in retrospect I think it made me a little overconfident about my actual 5K pace.
Friday, 11/20: 5 miles easy after work. This would have felt so much better if I’d done it in the morning but I was up late on Thursday night doing laundry, dealing with urgent work emails, and baking cookies. We had our Thanksgiving potluck at work on Friday afternoon (Thanksgiving #1) and even though I made a concerted effort not to stuff myself I still felt bloated and blah during my run.
Saturday, 11/21: Saturday afternoon was our annual Friendsgiving, i.e. Thanksgiving #2. I wanted to eat, drink, be merry and stay up late without a long run looming over me. So I opted to do my long run (13 miles) on Saturday morning even though my stomach still didn’t feel great, my legs were tired, and there was a wind advisory in effect all day.
The result was one of my worst long runs ever. I felt awful the whole time. I’d originally planned on throwing in some HM pace miles but quickly ditched that idea in favor of just finishing. My 12 mile run the week before went well but trying to run 13 miles for the first time since January with achy legs, heartburn, and a periodic > 30 mph headwind meant just covering the distance was a huge challenge. Miles 1-11 were right around my usual long run pace (9 minute miles) but then mile 12 was 9:35 and mile 13 was 10:53!
On a more positive note, we made homemade pumpkin ice cream in the ice cream maker for Friendsgiving and it was fantastic. We were originally going to try this sweet potato ice cream recipe but HEB didn’t have any sweet potato puree and I didn’t want to add beer because I wanted to keep the ice cream gluten free. (We have a friend with celiac disease and I really wanted to make a dessert she could eat). So we used canned pumpkin, nixed the beer, used 2 cups half and half, and kept everything else the same. Super easy and super delicious!
Sunday, 11/22: 4.14 miles easy
Total: 39 miles
I reached a few conclusions after that week of training:
- I bumped up my weekly mileage too fast (32 miles to 39 miles).
- I have been slacking on strength work and the PT exercises for my foot. My right foot is feeling a lot like my left foot did after the 3M half marathon.
- I probably shouldn’t have signed up for the Decker Challenge. I am definitely a bit faster than I was back when I ran it in 2013 but I’d done more long runs that fall, including a 16.2 miler that remains my distance PR.
- I’ve paid the money to run the race, so I’m going to run it. But I am definitely not going to race it. It may well end up being a personal worst half marathon time for me. But that’s okay. It’s a great race and I’ll be able to bounce back faster and get back to 3M training.
I took Monday and Tuesday off from running this week and then did an easy 4 on Wednesday. Today’s Cedar Park Turkey Day 5K served as my workout for the week. Last year I ran this race in 22:50 in perfect weather (40s and sunny). This year I was hoping to break last year’s time and maybe go sub-22:30.
Unfortunately, this year the weather was less than optimal: 70s and humid. I got to the stadium around 8:15 for a 9:00 AM race start. Got my race bib (which was a very quick process– no line) and went off to do a ~1 mile warm up. I was already starting to sweat during my warm up and my hair was sticking to the back of my neck. I was also feeling generally negative about my running in the wake of last week’s long run debacle and not feeling well trained for 5K racing. The reason I wanted to recap all of last week’s training before I wrote about this race was so you’d be able to understand why my head wasn’t in the game today.
I started off at the McMillan projected 5K pace, which didn’t feel too bad but I also knew was a bit too quick given that I haven’t done much speed work recently and haven’t trained for a 5K in a long time. Mile 2 was greatly aided by a long downhill but a bit slower because I went out too fast. And then mile 3 was a mess.
My overall time was only 1 second slower than last year but I felt like I ran a much worse race. My splits actually aren’t that much off from last year’s– apparently I positive split pretty consistently in 5Ks– but I think last year I was just happy to be racing again after my lengthy stress fracture recovery whereas now I’m putting more pressure on myself to be in PR shape.
With that said, I still really like this race and will probably continue to run it instead of the much bigger turkey trot in Austin. A number of my boyfriend’s family members did the Austin race this year and I mentioned at Thanksgiving dinner today (Thanksgiving #3!) that the Cedar Park race is so much better because there’s zero traffic, ample parking, and actual bathrooms…but please don’t defect because I don’t want it to turn into a massive event with thousands of people!