Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 9

This was another really great week! I'm beyond happy with how my training is going. This is definitely the best I've ever performed and felt while training. It's also the first time I've followed a 16-week plan and focused on higher mileage with the bulk of the mileage made up of easy runs gauged by heart rate. I'm a believer.

Week 8 Grade: A+

50 minutes total body strength training
60 minutes yin yoga, hip series

Easy run: 5 miles, 1:00, 12:04 pace
At 39F, it was the warmest morning of the year. It felt incredible to be out and not bundled up in all my layers and to run without snow or ice on the ground. I felt like I was on a high the whole run on the river trail, across the three sister bridges, and around the stadiums. I think I became immune to the crap weather after running in it for two months straight, so this run felt like I was in heaven. Even better, I stayed in my low heart rate range and ran at a faster pace than my usual easy runs.
Happy to be free of all my layers! Just wearing
Lulu Heathered Slate Speed Tights, First Base Tank &
Athleta Plush Tech Hoodie

Mile repeats: 5 miles, 56:15
Did three mile repeats with .25-mile recovery and easy miles for warm-up and cool-down. I ran on the river trail but tried to incorporate the small hills up to the stadiums when I could. Target pace was 10:10 or less. Splits were 9:55, 9:43, and  9:54. I felt really strong. I think because of all the easy running, I really like running faster on speed days! It was another warm morning at 43F that felt so nice.

Easy run: 5.3 miles, 1:04, 12:15 pace
It was colder this morning at 33F but still a good run. Again I ran the bridges and trail until the section where it was flooded then went around the stadiums.

In the evening I did 35 minutes of strength training followed by 15 minutes of hip-opening yoga.

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

Pace run: 7.5 miles, 1:24
I haven't yet run any part of the South Side course, so my plan was to run around the perimeter of Downtown to the Smithfield Street Bridge then up Carson to 10th Street and turn back. It felt warm but there was a steady hard rain, so even though I knew I'd be too hot I put on my rain layers and headed out. I usually don't like running in the rain, but I didn't mind it. It helped that I put on a hat under my hood so that the rain wasn't pelting my face. I also put duct tape on the tops of my shoes, and it worked pretty well until the very end. I was a dry and happy camper! I had 5.5 miles at race pace (11:00) on the schedule (turned out to be 5.6 because I wasn't paying attention) plus easy miles for warm-up and cool-down. I ran across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, which is longer than the other bridges, and I was trying so hard to not slow down and hold my race pace that I overcompensated and went too fast. After the bridge I ran through Point State Park to Downtown. Even though it was before the St. Pat's parade started, it was still a bit of a mess between the people and all the traffic trying to figure out where to go with the roads closed. Plus, all the cars were splashing dirty puddle water on me. So I turned around, headed back across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and finished my run on the trail and around the stadiums. I did the first two miles too fast and then started to worry about not being able to do the rest of the run at my race pace. But I focused on running the mile I was in and keeping my pace for that mile and not worrying about the next ones, and that worked really well. I felt pretty strong for most of the run, and my heart rate was right where it should have been until the very end. When I did get a bit tired toward the end, I did a lot of positive talking to myself, and it really worked! My fatigue seemed to vanish, and I was able to finish strong. Splits were 10:33, 10:15, 10:51, 10:51, 10:47, and last .6 was 10:37. I was happy with this run, but next time I need to work at not starting out too fast and keeping a more consistent pace.

Hat under my hood helped keep the rain off my face.

The rain stopped in the afternoon, so we were able to take Django on a walk to West Park.

Long run: 12:32 miles, 2:26, 11:53 pace
Amanda and I decided to run part of the marathon course on Sunday. We ran the Oakland and Shadyside parts of the course, and would have run through Homewood if I didn't mess up the directions and go through Regent Square instead. It was 35F but "felt like" 27, so I bundled up. I was glad I did because it was cold and windy the whole run. Amanda and I both thought the run would go fast since it was a new route, but the first half up to Regent Square felt really long. I wasn't struggling or anything; it just felt long. The highlight of the run for me was seeing a couple walking their two pet pigs by Frick Park. I really wanted to stop to pet them, and Amanda was so nice to say it was okay, but in hindsight it was a mistake. (Note to Amanda: Please don't let me stop for pigs again!) I ended up talking to the owner for a few minutes. (The pig was crying because it saw their car and wanted to keep walking and didn't want to go home. When it's warm out, they can walk for hours, but the ground was too cold on their feet/hooves that day. She was eating acorns off the ground and grunting in happiness. Have I ever said how much I love pigs? Well, I do. Someday I would love to have a pet pig....when I have my farm where I also have a goat, chickens, and all the homeless cats who want to join me.) We started back up but then only a few minutes later I realized I messed up the directions and decided to ask a woman for directions. Mistake #2! It took forever, and by the time we started up again, I was really cold from standing around in sweaty clothes. I was so mad at myself for stopping! We circled back through Regent Square and back toward where we'd parked in Oakland, adding the big hill on Shady Ave. The second part of the run seemed much quicker to me, and before we knew it we'd done over 12 miles. This was my longest run this training cycle, and I felt fine from beginning to end. No major fatigue, no tummy issues. Hooray! So even though I made the mistakes of stopping and then getting us lost, I thought it was a pretty good run.

This week's speed workout is the one I love the most: hill repeats. (Maybe if I keep telling myself, it will become true).

Happy running and working out this week!

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