Monday, March 16, 2009

Reality? Check!

Thank everyone so much for your comments after last week's post. I did indeed lay off the 15 miler on Sunday and rested and that proved to be the right decision. I had built 2 extra weeks into my training so was duplicating last week anyway and so I didn't feel too terrible about it (terrible enough - you know what you're like when you skip a run) and I think the rest did me good. So in my 2nd go at the training week I took some of the lessons learned in the previous week with me. In particular I aimed to do each workout as I should. I have, in previous weeks, been running workouts hard that I didn't need to and that (surprise, surprise) has affected my performance on days when I did need to do a hard workout. So easy 5 on Tuesday was just that. Wednesday's 12 miler turned into 14 as I was taking 2 miles off the Sunday long run to run a half - and it was a slow steady 14 miler. Friday's 10 miler had 5 1000m repeats in it at 5K pace and I was pleased with them - I did them in 7:39, 7:17, 7:25, 7:39 and 7:27. Not entirely rock solid but good enough. Saturday's 6 miler with 100m striders was on target and then yesterday I ran the Adidas Silverstone Half-marathon.

The race is about 2 and a half hours from my home and so I left early and got there on time. It's quite big - 10000 entries - and held on and around a Formula 1 track. The walk to the start was long - a mile or so - but once there it was quite vibey - food stands, music and even some sponsor shops. The race is sponsored by the same people as the London marathon so they push it really hard as a training race. Having said that, the London marathon gear I saw was UGLY so I wasn't tempted.

Carrying on the "opposite of me" vein I had prepared for this race far better than I normally do. Carboloading in the days before, drinking sportsdrink in the car on the way there and wearing the kit (more or less) that I intend to wear on the day. I was also - at some people's urging - using this race to see what I could do - speedwise. Tackle that BQ bunny right on the head, as it were...

I started off in the right place - between the 1:45 and 2:00 finishers and got chatting to a nice girl in the first few miles who was hoping to finish in 1:50. My mile splits were coming in more or less as I had hoped - underneath 9 minute miles - but when we hit 9:06 after mile 7 I could see she was slowing down and I decided to push ahead. By mile 9 I caught up with a man who I had bantered with earlier in the race and we really pushed each other to the last mile, where again I took off and pushed ahead. Without much fanfare, my splits were:

Mile 1 8:23
Mile 2 8:41
Mile 3 8:41
Mile 4 8:42
Mile 5 8:42
Mile 6 8:53
Mile 7 9:06
Mile 8 8:41
Mile 9 8:27
Mile 10 8:32
Mile 11 8:23
Mile 12 8:22
Mile 13 8:12
Mile .33 2:40 (yes that's what my Garmin tells me and plenty of other runners on the runnersworld forum complain the course is measured too long).

So. Finished in 1:54:30 which is a 4 minute PB for me (and that was February 2007 so it's been a while). A respectable time, but NOT a time that indicates I should be aiming for 3:45 in London. I was pleased with the race - apart from the few miles where I held back a bit at the beginning - I really paced myself well and negative splits are just great. I was really able to crank it up at the end as well which I liked (I didn't like it at the time but sitting down at my desk now I like it). I feel quite confident about doing a 9 minute mile pace in London which should get me in under 4 hours. All being well. So after last week's jiggles I am back on track. There is no doubt that the Pfitz is proving to work for me and improving my strength and endurance (after all, I ran this half after 35 miles in the earlier part of the week) but the improvement is steady. Which is as it should be..

There were two major highlights to the race - my family came to watch (despite the 135 mile journey each way) which is rare as my husband works Sunday mornings AND my BFF Dawn ran it as her first half in many many years as part of her training for London. She finished in 2:09 which is pretty amazing I think - my first half took me 2:15 and I'd been running much longer than she has been - she'll do so well in London.


So here's two shots of me. The official photos for this event are truly unbelievably ugly. My legs look like (Giant Redwood) tree trunks and my face is contorted into the most awful grimace. I thought about buying them just to show you how hideous they are but that seems a total waste of money, even for the sado masochist in me, so I'll spare you them.

Onwards and upwards..

Races, races, races... Still doing the opposite of me, I am racing a lot. Next Sunday I run the Ashby 20M (with my friend Michael who I haven't seen in a long time). We are aiming for a 9:30 pace which is perfect for the long run I should be doing that weekend. The week after that I am running the Lincoln 10K and the week after that I am running my second 20 miler with a Nike Team in London. And then it will be taper time..

Finally - looking into the future and races beyond London. 3 weeks after London I will be running the White Peak Swift Half. Old-timers on my blog might remember I ran the full there some time ago without training for it - a painful and humbling experience I dod not seek to ever repeat. I have been asked to run a 10K in London for a charity we support at work but I'm not sure yet - I will decide closer to the time..

And then - this year's bucket trip.. My parents came across recently and we planned a great October trip. They are going on a 5 week holiday in California and I will be flying out to San Francisco to meet them, probably on Friday October 9th. They will drive me to Susanville, CA and then on Sunday I will run the beautiful Bizz Johnson marathon there. After that, the plan is that we head up on the Monday to camp for 3 days somewhere in the Redwood National and State Park . We will probably head down to Healdsburg on the Thursday (for a soft bed and a shower, and a glass of wine) and then on Friday I will say goodbye to my parents and drive to see Maritza, just outside of San Francisco! So I am very very excited about this plan - and if anyone has advice on must-sees, must-do's etc. in the general area, please send them my way..

I'm into my peak week now - 55M total with 18 down. So it's early to bed, plenty of carbs and I'll talk to you at the weekend. Good luck with your running everyone!

9 comments:

aron said...

AWESOME job on the half!!!!! you did so great :) congrats!!!

sounds like training is going very well!!! I have really been trying this time to stick to the runs too and run the easy runs easy, etc... I think its really helping! Training is going so great for you, you are going to have a GREAT marathon!!!!

Good luck in all the upcoming races too :)

Marathon Maritza said...

Great job on the half!! A PB!!!!!!!! And how fun that your family and Dawn were all there for it!

I think you are doing amazingly well with training and I would not count a 3:45 in London out at all! You are going to have a great marathon!

I absolutely cannot WAIT to see you in October!

Road Warrior said...

It sounds like you got the answer you expected on the timing. At least that's out of your head and you can just enjoy the race.

1:54 is a great time for a half and you're clearly going to be ready for London.

Good luck on the crazy mileage this week!

jeanne said...

you look fantastic! so happy. and those splits-wow wow wow!! sometimes you just have to drop the nice chatty people and get the job done, right?

55m...in a week? must be a misprint!

I totally love the opposite of me. I have to figure out what the opposite of me is by 10 am tomorrow morning. you're such an inspiration!

jen said...

Congrats on the PR Petra! Awesome race and amazing pacing. You held a strong pace, picked it up when you realized you were slowing, and finished with a strong negative split!! Perfect!

Congrats do Dawn too on her awesome half! What a fun day. :) Good luck in the next race!

ShirleyPerly said...

Wonderful race and pacing!!!

Congrats on your PR, Petra. You've really been working hard and the results are showing it. A sub-4 marathon is definitely in your cards. And I too think you look GREAT in your photos!!

Irish Blue said...

Wow, I haven't been keeping up with my blog reading. You're all over the place, racing here, racing there. Geezzz, I'm jealous! You also look fabulous btw!

Bill's sister called tonight and he told her the only hold up on our trip out west in Octover is my stupid hip. Now I'm even more seriously motivated to get this baby shaped up.

Hugs!!!

mz

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