Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 3

Happy February! This week was the worst so far this winter in Pittsburgh. We got about six inches of snow on Monday, then it rained, then it froze again and everything turned to ice, then it dipped down to below-0 wind chill, then it rained (with thunder on Thursday!), then it snowed, and now it's snowing and we're due for about six more inches today. Despite the weather, I had another great training week.

A few notes before I get to the recap.

Week 3 Grade: A+

Recap by Day

45 minutes lower body and core strength training
50 minutes yin yoga

Easy run: 3.5 miles, 47:47 minutes; 13:33 pace
It was 18 degrees when I went out in the morning. I ran near the stadiums, which are pretty good about keeping their sidewalks clear, and then ran back on the trail. The trail was nasty--undulating little hills of ice from people's footprints covered with snow. My ankles were twisting like crazy. I also got two bridge climbs in. Even on easy days, I want to get some bridges in to make sure I'm ready for them come race day.
Lululemon Speed Tights, Beat the Sleet Pants
Swiftly Long Sleeve, Race Your Pace Long Sleeve,
Spring Forward Jacket, Neck Warmer, Run with Me Toque
In the evening I did 25 minutes of upper body strength followed by 10 minutes of gentle yoga.

Mile Repeats: 4.5 miles; 54:45
I did two mile repeats with .25-mile recovery and easy warm-up and cool-down miles. I was worried about running fast in the snow and ice, but I did great. I went behind the stadiums again, where the majority of sidewalks are clear. And when they weren't clear, it was easy to jump onto the road, which has very little traffic that early in the morning. The goal was to run each mile in 10:10 or faster. Mile 1 was 10:11 and mile 2 was 9:52. It was only 12 degrees when I went out, so I wore my face mask. It was very comfortable and kept me nice and warm for my warm-up mile. I took it off after I warmed up and before I did my speedwork. I was really happy that I was able to hit my paces with the weather being so crappy.
Lululemon Speed Tights, Beat the Sleet Pants
Swiftly Long Sleeve, Think Fast Hoodie,
Spring Forward Jacket, Neck Warmer,
Run with me Toque
In the evening I did 15 minutes of gentle yoga.

Easy run: 3.15 miles, 38:11, 12:07 pace
I went across the 16th Street Bridge and headed Downtown for this run. All the sidewalks were clear except for the Wholey's distribution center when you turn right after the bridge (shame on Wholey's!). I ran down Penn Avenue and then back on Liberty Avenue. Liberty has tons of bus stops, and there were tons of people waiting for buses smoking cigarettes. Yuck. I was able to pull my neck warmer above my nose so I didn't inhale all the smoke, and then I just went back down to Penn. There is a bike lane on one side of Penn, which means no bus stops and no people, so that was much better. It was 20 degrees when I went out.
Lululemon Swifty Long Sleeve, Think Fast Hoodie,
Spring Forward Jacket
Neck Warmer, Run with Me Toque
Athleta Polar Tech Stretch Tights
PS: In case you're wondering, the Spring Forward Jacket gets about three uses before I have to wash it. Because I wear wicking layers, all of them get sweaty, including the jacket. My other Lulu clothes are very durable and hold up great to regular washing. The jacket is made with water-resistant fabric, so I'm hoping it doesn't lose some of the water resistance from my repeated washing and continues to hold up well.

Later I did 40 minutes of lower body and core strength, including a two-minute plank! I followed that up with 10 minutes gentle yoga.

Rest day! I did 25 minutes Essential Yoga for Runners from Runner's World.

Long run: 7 miles, 1:36, 13:50 pace
With the forecast calling for snow all day Sunday, I switched my long run to Saturday. The forecast was predicting sub-0 wind chills in the early morning, so I waited to run until about 10, when it was 14 degrees out. Because I was starting late, I wanted to save time and run from my house instead of driving to North Park. I chose a challenging route from my house. I picked a route through the Strip District where I knew most sidewalks would be clear, then headed up Liberty Avenue to 40th Street, which is a very long though not terribly steep hill. From there I ran on some big hills in Lawrenceville between Butler Street and Penn Avenue. I was surprised that so many of the sidewalks weren't clear in front of those houses. I was bummed I couldn't run with Amanda--we've been doing our long run together every week for about two months now--but watching for snow and ice really kept my attention and helped the run go fast. I posted this past week about how I want to make sure my easy runs are at a very easy pace, so I set my Garmin to show heart rate and not pace. I tried to keep my heart rate below 75% based on what Higdon prescribes in his plans. It is tough and takes a lot of discipline to run that slowly. My heart rate was frequently above 75%, usually only slightly, but much higher on the hills. When my Garmin announced my splits, the slow pace made me cringe. On the miles with the toughest hills, splits were 15:16, 14:44, and 14:24. For a slower runner who wants to get faster, I was unsettled by how slowly I was running. I didn't think I could even run that slow without walking. (Note that I'm saying these paces are slow for me, not for everyone.) But, I kept the slow pace and monitoring my heart rate. I was bundled up more than usual, but I figured I'd be running at a slow pace so would need the warmth. Sometimes I did--in the shade, on down hills when I was cooling down--but when I was running up hills in the sun, I got pretty hot. I never got tired during the run and felt great the whole time, but when I got home every inch of my clothes and all of my hair were drenched. Between the cold, the hills, finangling the snow and ice, and the length of the run in general, I think this run wore me out. I felt really tired and wiped out in the afternoon.
Lululemon Speed Tights Tech
Swiftly Long Sleeve, Think Fast Hoodie,
old Lululemon run jacket made of fleece & wind-resistant panels
(I don't remember the name)

After the run, I did 10 minutes of recovery yoga.

This is the elevation chart from the run.

Race pace run: 5.5 miles; 1:03
I did 3.5 miles at race pace with easy miles for warm-up and cool-down. Race pace is 11:00, and I did great with a 10:58, 10:58, 10:54, and 10:50 for the last .5 mile. I ran by the stadiums and on the bridges, getting in six bridge climbs at race pace. I was really happy with this run. I was able to easily hit my race pace even on the snow-covered bridges. My legs felt fresh, and I had a lot of energy. I think going really easy and slowly on my long run yesterday helped. It was 28 and not cold but snowing, so I dressed in my rain gear.
Lululemon Speed Tights, Beat the Sleet Pants,
Cadet Blue Swifty Long Sleeve, Raindrop Jacket
Athleta Parkour Beanie

Enjoy the Super Bowl today, and have a great week running and working out!

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