Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon: Weeks 6 & 7

So, I didn’t post last week, so I’m a week behind in updates, PLUS I still have to post my race-recap. I’ll just combine weeks 6 and 7 in this post, and write my race-recap later in the week.

We’re getting closer and closer to my big races. In fact, the 10 mile race is a mere 20 days away. I’ve been doing a bit more research on the races courses and I discovered something shocking: Neither race will be flat as a pancake. Ok, that’s not so shocking, but seriously, the race in 20 days is relatively decent, save for the 11% incline in the last mile of the race. And the half is pretty much consistent rolling hills. My training? Has been on a treadmill or in my flat-as-a-pancake neighborhood.With that in mind, I decided that my long runs need to have more hills. So this weekend I mapped out a route up and down the Mississippi River. It wasn’t significantly hilly, but there were enough ups and downs to give me a good workout.

This was also the first time I tried fueling mid-run AND running with a fuel belt. Neither were as terrible as I thought! The belt fit nicely on my waist with no bouncing, and it was so nice to be able to take a quick drink whenever I wanted. The GU gel was an experience. Thank goodness I had water with me to help get it down because that gel is just ….. thick. And sweet. And made my teeth feel like they were going to rot out of my head. However, I really feel like it made a difference. I took it around mile 4, about 45 minutes after I started running. I was able to get through the rest of my run without feeling like I needed to just pass out right there on the side of the road.

I should also mention the several runs I skipped the last two weeks. Honestly, I have no idea what happened Week 6 that made me drop the ball so hard, but I did one scheduled run plus the race on Saturday. My goal was to get back on track for Week 7, but I did one scheduled 4 mile run, and one wacky 3 miles run before the long run, which was short .24 miles. The good news is it doesn’t feel like I lost much, if any, fitness, and I was able to do my long run with no issues, so I should be just fine as long as I’m 100% on track for the remainder of the training cycle.

And now, on to two weeks of dailies:

Week 6

Tuesday (March 10) – 3.5 miles in 38:43 (11:04 pace)
Since I failed to get up to go to the gym two mornings in a row, and since the weather was so nice, I was able to squeeze this run in Tuesday evening outside. It was fun to do an old route that once took me over 45 minutes to complete and see just how much I’ve improved. Also, this was the last scheduled run I did before the wheels feel off the training …. train.

Saturday (March 14) – Everybody’s Irish 5K in 34:46 (11:05 pace)
I won’t get into this much, I’ll save that for the recap. But this was a PR by almost two whole minutes! I cannot believe how much I’ve improved since last October (my last 5K race)!

Week 7

Wednesday – 4 miles in 45:45 (11:26 pace)
Yep, you read that right, Wednesday. I didn’t run for 4 days after my 5K, which is completely ridiculous. I mean, my fitness level didn’t drop much, if at all, so I didn’t do too much harm, but still. I’m getting into the really hard, demanding part of my training, and having two weeks in a row of spotty attendance isn’t great. Regardless, I dragged my sorry behind out of bed this morning and made it to the gym.

Thursday – 1 mile in 11:51, 2 miles in 22:00 (11:00 pace)
I bought a used double jogging stroller/bike trailer this week, so I thought I’d give it a try for this run. It was AWFUL. Pushing 70 pounds of children PLUS the weight of the stroller was one thing. The commentary from the 5 year old was another. “Mom, why are you walking?” “Mom, you aren’t running very fast.” “Why did you start walking again?” “Go faster!” “The iPad is out of power.” “Why are we going home?” “Why didn’t we go all the way around the lake?” Yeah. Not fun. I brought the kids back and as soon as Tim got home I headed out for another 2 miles.

Saturday – 6.76 miles in 1:17:42 (11:30 pace)
I cannot believe how well this run went, other than the whole not-making-it-a-full-7-miles-due-to-a-map-error thing. But still. The change of scenery was just what I needed. At no point during the run did I feel like I wanted to die. This may have to do with using a GU gel for the first time (practicing for race day) or having water with me at all times. Or maybe just the change in view. Either way, this was my longest run ever and, I’d argue, my strongest run ever. I’m actually really looking forward to my next long run on Saturday!

I mean, when this is your view, how can you NOT run well?

I mean, when this is your view, how can you NOT run well?

In case you’re curious, here are my splits:

Garmin 3.21.15

Mile 4 was a bit awkward. I stopped on the bridge to take that picture, but didn’t stop my watch. The auto-pause may have kicked in, then restarted when I went to put everything back away. Only I couldn’t get everything back together again. So I manually paused my watch, took the belt apart, re-positioned everything, then started the watch again. The chart looks all kinds of messed up in that area! And mile 7 was ALL uphill.

So now I’m back on track and ready to finish the last 6 weeks of training strong. Bring on Week 8!!

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