PIttsburgh Half Training: Week 10

Six more weeks until the Pittsburgh Half Marathon! It's getting close! This past week had ups and downs, both with training and the weather. Let's get to it.

One note is that my new Garmin Forerunner 220 has been so glitchy that Garmin has offered to replace it. It takes forever to acquire satellites, restarts instead of powering off, and won't connect to my heart rate monitor, even after doing the fixes Garmin told me to do. I've heard the replacement process is quick and painless, and I still have my old Garmin to use until my new one comes in.

Week 10 Grade: A+

45 minutes total body strength training

Easy run: 5 miles, 1:01, 12:12 pace
At 58F, it was the warmest morning of the year. But with the temps fluctuating between warm and cold so much recently, I didn't trust that it really felt that warm. I knew I should have worn a tank or short sleeve top, but I just couldn't do it. I dressed in a very lightweight long sleeve top and capris, knowing I would be too hot. Well, I'm glad I chose that outfit because while it was warm, there was a very cool breeze so I was happy to have my arms covered. Plus, the wind kept me cool so I didn't overheat. This was an easy run on what's become my usual route: on the trail to the three sister bridges, back and forth across the bridges for six bridge climbs, around the back of the stadiums to the science center, and then back on the trail.
Lululemon Pretty Purple Swiftly Long Sleeve
Athleta Asphalt Relay Capris

In the evening I did 50 minutes of yin yoga.

Hill repeats: 4.5 miles. GPS didn't work for first .25 miles so no other data.
This was my worst speed workout so far. I said recently that I have no trouble sleeping. Tuesday night was the exception. I woke up in the middle of the night and didn't fall back to sleep for hours, so when my alarm went off Wednesday morning I was exhausted. I seriously considered just skipping the run and taking a rest day. But I figured I'd at least try. My plan was to run repeats on the hill by my house, a .4-mile, 150-foot hill that goes up to Troy Hill. After a one-mile warm up I felt awake and started my repeats. I had no target pace but instead was supposed to run as fast as I could up the hill and do a slow jog for recovery back down. All my other hill repeat workouts were on shorter hills, so this was my longest hill. I imagined that this was the final hill in the race, the big one that comes near the end, and I focused on pushing the entire way up. My lungs could not handle it. Near the top I was wheezing so loud that I thought I might be waking people up as I ran past their houses and just could not breathe. My effort was there, but my paces were pretty pathetic and got slower with each interval. Worse, I kept an eye on my heart rate, and while it got at the lower end of my max zone each interval, it never reached max, so I wondered if I should have been working harder. I did four repeats and then a firth, shorter one to get to the 3.5 miles of repeats I had on the schedule. Toward the end I badly had to go to the bathroom, so I skipped my cool-down run afterwards to get home quickly. It was cold out--26 and felt like 21--but I hardly even noticed because I was so focused on everything else about this run. I was really bummed to see that my paces were so slow, but at least I did the run when I didn't feel like it and put in a good effort.

Easy run: 5.5 miles, 1:08, 12:21 pace
31F in the morning. Hey, I'm used to it. I pulled out my cold weather gear and ran the same route as Tuesday except went out to the casino to add an additional half-mile.

In the evening I did 40 minutes of strength training.

Rest day! I did a 30-minute hip-opening sequence from Yoga Journal. This sequence feels so good.

Pace run: 8.5 miles, 1:35, 11:10 pace
If Wednesday was my worst speed workout, this was my best pace run. I did 6 miles at race pace (11:00) plus 1 mile warm-up and 1.5 miles cool-down. I planned to run part of the course. I started at the two bridges on the North Side, did the North Side route to the West End Bridge, crossed the bridge to Carson Street, and then either ran on Carson or the trail when I couldn't run on the road until Smithfield Street. Then I veered from the course to cross the bridge, take Fort Pitt Boulevard to Point State Park, cross Fort Duquesne Bridge, and take the trail back home. Everything clicked on this run. The weather was perfect for me: cool (45F) but not cold and cloudy. I am still afraid to wear much less on runs because I don't want to be cold but was fine with a lightweight half-zip and tank and tights with mesh behind the legs. I didn't really need gloves but it seemed like too much effort to take them off, so I kept them on the whole run. I pretended I was running the race and took in the route as I went and had so much fun! This was a new route for me, and it was good to run it to get a feel for the little hills I didn't know were there. No part of the run felt hard, even the hills, and I felt so strong at my race pace, like I could have run the full race. I think the lap pace setting on my new Garmin has been off, in that it will read one pace for most of a lap and then show a much different pace at the end of the lap. So I set my Garmin to show lap pace and pace, and that really helped me keep a more consistent pace. I also realized I am overcompensating and running the hills too fast because I'm afraid of the hills slowing me down. Running hills too fast will surely tire me out on race day, so I need to trust that it will be okay to slow up a bit on the uphills since I make up for it on the downhills. I also practiced running just in the mile I was in, and that worked great. I kept focused on only that mile and when I saw my split would mentally congratulate myself and say, "Now one more mile just like that!" The miles flew by doing that. The last .25 miles of the pace run were up the long Fort Duquesne Bridge, and was I easily able to push and give it everything I had. I held a 10:00 pace for that last portion, which for me up a hill at the end of a run is really good. When I was done I actually fist pumped the air! I felt so fantastic, so strong, so ready for the race even if it were tomorrow. My goals for this run were to not start too fast, a problem I've had the past two pace runs, to keep a more consistent pace, and to not run slower than a 10:55 pace, and I nailed them all. Splits were 10:42, 10:43, 10:51, 10:46, 10:49, and 10:42. I enjoyed every minute of this run!
Athleta Half-Zip and Black Chi Tank
Lululemon Bordeaux Drama Speed Tight &
Coco Pique Ear Warmer
After the run I did the Recovery Yoga video from Runner's World. Felt wonderful!

In the afternoon we took Django on a walk across the 16th Street Bridge, to Downtown, and back across the river trail. It was in the mid 50s and felt awesome!

Long run: 10 miles, 2:00, 12:00 pace
When Amanda sent me the route at North Park she mapped out for us, I thought, "She's trying to kill me." It included every hard hill at North Park--the 2-mile hill up Kummer Road, the super steep and long hill on Ridge Road--the hill that killed me in the Frigid Five Miler course--and a final climb by the Boat House. It got really cold overnight and was only 29 and felt like 26 when I left the house. I bundled up in all my cold weather gear, and while my fingers were a little cold (I didn't wear my two layers of gloves), the sun was out so it didn't feel too cold once we got moving. Kummer isn't really steep but is really long. The deceptive signs caused us to miss our turn off, so we ended up going a different way and went too far to do the mileage up Ridge Road. Instead we just went out and back past the Boat House, doing the hill by the Boat House both times, and then back to the car. It was a good run overall with some good hill climbs. I said goodbye to Amanda, and then she headed out for 10 more miles for her first 20-miler!
Cold but sunny!
Next weekend I'll be running the Just a Short Run Half Marathon as a training run. My goal will be to nail down my fueling strategy.

Have a great week running and working out!

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