February hasn’t been a wonderful month so far as much as running goes. My focus for this month was building up distance in preparation for the Post Oak Lodge Challenge 25k in Oklahoma at the end of the month. However it’s not been ideal.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned much about Post Oak but at the end of the month, I’m heading off to Oklahoma with Jen and Kate to visit Jess. Our wonderful Crazy Cat Lady relay team from Oakland last year was cruelly split up when Kate and Jess moved away in the summer. Poor Jess even had to move to Oklahoma!!!! And so we’re holding a Crazy Cat Lady reunion in Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain) and running a 25k trail race. My fellow cat ladies run marathons and ultras pretty much every month. This girl hasn’t run 15 miles since 2004!!! I’m a little nervous.
Anyway. I skipped my long run in the last week of January to fit in extra speed work for my 5k PR attempt, which was totally worth it. But then on the following Monday, the Husband headed away for the week with work. This meant I didn’t get to run when I usually do (early mornings before he leaves). That weekend, we went to Portland and although I got in a fab run in Forest Park, it wasn’t a long run…which meant that suddenly it was two weeks since I ran long and my work was cut out for me.
So on Monday night, I began my slightly panicked Long Run Recovery Program. I headed out at 6pm and it was a disaster. Rough from start to finish. Mile One felt tough but I told myself never to judge a run by the first mile. At Mile 4, I felt much tireder than I should have. By Mile 6, I was ready to stop. At Mile 9, I stopped at a petrol station to buy a Kind bar. It was 7.30, I hadn’t eaten dinner and maybe I just had low blood sugar? The final three miles were just a death march but I plodded on and got those 12 miles done. I was a bit depressed at the end.
On Wednesday, I snuck out for speed work in the afternoon. It was pretty warm (El Nino, where art thou?) and suddenly I realized that speed work was not a good idea in the heat, especially when my legs still felt incredibly heavey and tired. Again, not an encouraging run.
On Friday, I was out the house at 6am to run intervals in the dark. I had no idea how this would go and was a little dubious but it wasn’t too bad. My six intervals averaged out at a 7.32 pace which was what I did two weeks ago (the last time I ran intervals) so I was a little more encouraged.
And on Saturday afternoon, I headed out again to run long. Two long runs in one week isn’t advisable and I very very rarely do it, but I felt it was necessary this week. I was very unsure. However I’d spent the morning watching the US Marathon Trials with Jen and BT and I was totally inspired by the ladies gutting it out in LA. I learned from Desi Linden’s spectacular pacing strategy and started out very slowly as it was warm! I ended up running 13 miles. The last four were uncomfortable and I was very VERY happy to stop but I felt decent all the way through and definitely felt much better than Monday’s death march. I kept thinking of the women I’d watched earlier that day and honestly felt like I was running taller and stronger. Nothing like some inspiration!
So there we have it. At 32 miles, it was my highest mileage week for at least 6 months and I feel really decent at the end. Post Oak, I’m not giving up on you yet!