15 mile long run
8 mile "uptempo" run
1 hour yoga
By Tuesday of this week, I could tell that my body was finally starting to come around. My stride and cadence began to feel more natural, my breathing more controlled and my overall level of fatigue significantly reduced as compared to the previous week. On Friday I was feeling ambitious enough to attempt an 8.5ish mile uptempo effort--albeit with no real concept of splits or pace--and when I checked my watch at the end of the run I was pleased to see I'd covered the loop about three and a half minutes faster than I had the previous day on a not-slow "normal" run.
As if that development weren't exciting enough, the week was further improved when Jordan went out for a tentative tester run on Saturday and ended up covering a full 10 miles with me after proclaiming his back/SI joint felt 100% better. The fact that he will be as sore as if he'd raced a marathon afterward is of small consequence when compared to this mental and physical transformation. Though both of us have quite a bit of travel in the coming weeks, his return will definitely make it easier for me to resume my early morning run schedule and, just as importantly, significantly reduce his level of grouchiness.
Though the highlight of most red-blooded Americans' weekend is undoubtedly the Super Bowl, for running nerds like myself the prospect of a football game pales in comparison to attending the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday night. Tickets were already sold out when I checked the meet web site on Friday morning, but two of my kind and generous friends who also happen to be employed by New Balance hooked us up big time. It was great fun to cram into the stands like sardines with several thousand of our closest friends (including some of our actual friends like Jeff and Melanie, Teresa, Emily and her mom, and Tom and his girlfriend) and enjoy a competitive running event purely as a spectator. We capped things off by spending the night at Emily's and joining in on the BAA Sunday long run, where we once again traversed the Boston course and lamented the placement of Heartbreak Hill before finishing off the run with a few soft surface loops around the reservoir. Oh, and did I mention that Emily's husband Matt made brunch? After two weekends in a row of great runs and even better breakfasts, I could get used to this routine.
So now that my body feels like it actually belongs to me, I suppose it's time to think about resuming "normal" training. I'll probably try to increase my mileage into the 70s this week and I'm actually returning to Mercedes Marathon, home of last year's OT qualifying run, to attempt to recreate that magic in the half. Considering that this morning's 6:50 pace run felt like 5:50 pace for the final few miles, I'm less than optimistic about blasting a huge PR like I'd rather naively envisioned when I signed up for this a few weeks ago. Regardless, I do hope to get in a long, hard effort and at the very least revise my embarrassing official half-marathon PR of 1:19:58. (For those of you who aren't math majors, this time is about 30 seconds off of the half-marathon pace I ran twice in a row at the Trials. Pathetic.) Whatever happens at Mercedes, the important thing right now is that my body truly feels 100% and I'm finally mentally excited about running again. It's a great feeling!
Sunday, February 5, 2012