Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 12

Note that the formatting on this post is all messed up because I tried to add an elevation map from Garmin Connect, and that garbled everything and I can't fix it!

I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. Mine was busy so I took some time off from blogging to get caught up with everything else.

The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is getting close! Four weeks to go! My mileage will build to its peak over the next three weeks, then I'll have one week of taper. Not only do I feel physically and mentally stronger than ever before when training for a race, but I also feel much less anxiety than I usually do. I'm sure I'll feel some nerves right before the race, but given how well my training is going and my performance in last week's Just a Short Run Half Marathon, I know I'm going to have a good race. And even if everything goes wrong, I'll still be running with my BRF Amanda and experiencing the course for the first time, so I think if nothing else it will be a lot of fun. I'm excited!

Week 12 Grade: B

When my body begged for rest on Monday, I gave in. This is the first full rest day I've taken this training cycle other than my usual day of rest. It felt so good.

Easy run: 5.25 miles, 1:03, 12:00 pace
Isn't it funny how you take one day off and your excitement level to run the next day is through the roof? I practically jumped out of bed to get dressed and go on this run. It was 41 and misty, so I wore a lightweight rain jacket over my long sleeve top and tights. I was comfortable, and the cool temps felt great. I did notice that I ran a bit over my target heart rate toward the end. I think I was feeling so good and just wanted to go.

In the evening I did the strength training and yin yoga I should have done on Monday.

Mile repeats: 6 miles
I had 4 miles of 1-mile repeats with .25 recovery. After a 1-mile warm-up, I got to work and ran the mile weaving on the trail and then up by the stadiums, trying to incorporate the small hills. I really liked this workout. It felt good to run fast after yesterday's slow run, and the pace feels comfortably hard and not like I'm dying, like when I run at 5K pace. During each repeat I practiced keeping my form strong, staying centered and focused, and controlling my breathing. The last repeat started to feel hard, but I didn't have a problem pushing. Target was 10:10 or less and splits were 9:57, 9:52, 9:50, 9:57.

Easy run: 6 miles, 1:13, 12:09 pace
When I saw it was 44 but felt like 41 and wasn't raining I wasn't sure what to wear. Mid-40s seemed like too warm to wear a jacket or many layers. I opted for a long sleeve top as my only top layer, a neck warmer, tights, and an ear warmer. I felt really cold when I walked out and was grateful for my neck warmer. I debated going back to put on another layer but figured I'd warm up. Well, it felt cold. There was a cold wind whipping around, and when I ran across the bridges or on the trail by the river, I got really cold. I don't think the 44 temp was right, because it felt like below freezing to me! Despite the cold, I had no problems with the run itself. Later in the day it got really warm--close to 70!

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

Long run: 12.04 miles, 2:28, 12:17 pace.
Amanda and I did our long run at North Park. The warm weather continued on Friday, but it got really cold on Friday night. On Saturday morning it was 34 but felt like 28. I bundled up in my usual layers. There were some fierce, cold winds during the run, but it warmed up as we were running. I had 12 miles on the schedule, and we opted for what we've dubbed the Hill Hell Route. The first two miles are up the long, gradual hill on Kummer Road. Shortly after that we went up the very steep hill that killed me at the end of the Frigid Five Miler race in January. After that it was the standard rolling hills, but toward the end I started feeling really tired. We reached our car at 10.6 miles, and I wished we could quit right then. But we doubled back to get the miles in. I only took two gels so a third would have probably helped, but I was beat for the rest of the day.

When I came home I did the recovery yoga video from Runner's World.

Pace run: 8.5 miles, 1:35
It was just over 40 degrees when I went out in the morning, but it warmed up really quickly. The sun was out too, which made it warmer. I got so hot! I stopped to take off my top layer and was happy I wore a lightweight long sleeve top under it. The wind was cold and biting at times, but otherwise this was the warmest I've felt on a run this year.

I was still tired from Saturday's run, and I had 7 miles at race pace (11:00) on the schedule. For the first time in years, I decided to run with music. That really helped the miles go by quickly, even if I was worried about not being able to hear people who might be running up behind me to attack me. The run was tough in general, with the last three miles being really tough. But I held on and got it done. One mile warm-up and .5-mile cool-down got me to 8.5 miles. Splits were 10:36, 10:49, 10:40, 10:43, 10:59, 10:49, and 10:53. I was really happy that I ran all 7 miles at race pace when I felt really tired. This gives me even more confidence that I can hold on and keep running at race pace during the race when I get tired.

Happy running and working out this week!

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