Okay, run #12 just about made me want to quit this whole training process. It was a Tuesday evening run, so it was super hot outside and no breeze at all. We did a 4 mile route, much of which is along the same route as the Hyde Park Blast course. I started out fine, right in the pack with my group. But early on, like around mile 2 I was really feeling some pain. My legs felt like concrete, my hamstrings were screaming and I still had 2 miles to go. I fell to the back of the pack...walking when I was supposed to be running. I knew that I still had a long way to go, so I tried to push forward and not get too down on myself. After the mid-way water stop, I thought I could kick into gear and re-join the group, but the next challenge was Handasyde hill, which I've written about what a beast this hill is for all runners. I didn't even attempt to run this - by the time I walked to the top of the hill, my coach was waiting for me and tried to cheer me up with the fact that I only had 1 mile to go. In the end, I finished the 4 miles in 1 hour and 8 minutes. That breaks down to about 17 min per mile - usually I pace about 14 min a mile, so it was a slow day for me for sure. What I took away from run #12 is that one crappy run, does not mean it's time to give up and it doesn't mean the next run will be crappy too. Lots of things go into play when running - weather conditions, hydration preparation, eating the right foods before a run, getting enough rest, etc. This run was a bad one for me, but I've been working really hard for this and I'm not quitting. I left the training group that night fighting back tears because of how shi**y I felt, but in the end I was out there doing my best and that's all I can ask for from myself.
Run #13 was SO much better than run #12, and I was extremely thankful for that! I actually woke up the morning of the run to see it down pouring rain and lightning outside. I figured the group run would actually be cancelled, but after checking my email like 50 times, no such luck. The lightning and thunder calmed down by the time I needed to leave to meet the group and the rain had slowed to a steady light rain. The turn out for the group was small to say the least! But those of us who showed up stretched out our legs and hit the streets for a 4 mile run. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be - I managed to dodge all the big puddles, keeping my shoes pretty dry and I was glad I threw on a hat at the last minute to keep the rain from out of my face. We ran a few bridges during this run and I handled those much better then I had in the past. My pace was just about the same as the whole group and I didn't take any walk breaks when we were on our 2 minutes runs. Although I left the run that morning looking like a drowned rat, I was happy with my performance and felt much better about this whole process than I did coming off a such a crappy run earlier in the week.
Last night we had our final group training run (run #14) - it was a really short run, only 30 minutes. We ran a very familiar route...just 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. The heat and humidity was back in the 'Nati and of course that made for some tough breathing moments. I ran the whole time with one of the girls who is training for a half marathon. It was nice to run and talk with her, but we both noted how much our conversation had dropped off on the back half of the run b/c we were getting pretty worn out from the humidity. After the run, the training coaches sponsored a happy hour, so we all enjoyed hanging out after the run and chatting it up a bit while indulging in a few adult beverages - courtesy of the coaches!
The Hyde Park Blast is 3 days away and I'm ready. I'll do a run/walk tomorrow to keep my legs fresh and then I'm splurging for a 1 hour massage on Friday afternoon. It will be early to bed on Friday night for me, then the run starts at 8am on Saturday morning. I expect to keep the same pace I've had while training, which is averaging to be a 14 min mile pace. Temps are supposed to be in the 70s in the morning, warming up as the day goes on into the low 90s. My goal is to finish well before those temps rise into the 90s - I plan on having a beer in my hand by that time!