Race Preview & Week in Review

This week has been full of ups and downs but it wouldn’t be training any other way, right?  As I wrote about earlier this week, I dealt with the frustration of injury which also prevented me from sticking exactly to my plan (and forced my weekly mileage to come in low as well).  I also added another fun 5k to the record books and booked a spur of the moment vacation for next week.

All in all, I have continued to do a great job sticking with my plan.  I haven’t missed a single workout because I didn’t feel like it, was feeling lazy, or found something else I would rather do.  So in that sense, major triumph.  There was a time (much earlier in my running career) where I definitely couldn’t say that.  Injury, however, stops for no man (or woman) and Tuesday’s track workout was unfortunately sacrificed to the achilles-tendon-gods.  I am going to have to adapt next week’s training to accommodate my exciting upcoming vacation (more on that later) but I am excited to be entering the final week of my training plan.  I hope the see the dividends of my hard work but I know, even if it’s just the mental part of becoming a better runner, I have grown by leaps and bounds.

This Week in Review:

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Monday –  I woke up early to start the week off right with 4 easy miles before work.  I needed to front-load this week’s mileage since I wanted to be ready for Saturday’s 5k so that’s what pushed Monday to 4 instead of 3 miles.  I felt pretty stiff at the beginning of my run but loosened up and started to feel pretty good within the first half mile or so.  Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, I started feeling weird sensation in my left achilles tendon while I ran.  I ended up with an average pace of 9:45.  Sure, I have achilles tendon issues all the time but they usually don’t rear their ugly head until after the workout is long over.  This was a first.  It only started to feel worse as the day went on but I hoped that a restful night’s sleep would right the issue.

Tuesday – No luck.  I woke up and still felt some funkiness in my left achilles tendon.  I made the frustrating, but wise, decision to skip that night’s track workout.  I was so looking forward to it too so that made for even greater aggravation.  It was, however, a little bit nice to have an evening to catch up at home.  I made another more-elaborate-than-usual dinner for Charles so I’m sure he wasn’t too upset about my injured state.

Wednesday – I was fairly sure that my tendon would feel better and TA-DA!  I woke up feeling good as new.  I reorganized my plan for the week to move my tempo run up a day so I could create a little larger buffer between this hard effort and race day.  I prepared myself mentally that bailing on the effort was ok if I started to feel any tendon weirdness.  I also decided to get up early to get it in during the cool morning hours.  It has been getting hotter and hotter here in Florida and I just couldn’t imagine really putting forth adequate effort in the 83 degree predicted temperature after work.  I continued to have no pain and churned out another successful tempo run.  It was a nice change to get off the treadmill for the first time in weeks too!  I warmed up for half a mile, aimed for 7:50 pace for my 4 miles at tempo (7:49, 7:51, 8:00, 8:06), and cooled down for another half a mile.  My pace started to slip at the end but it was just a tough effort.  I still felt good about it and even better about the fact that my body felt good and ready for more.  I got to hit up my wonderful Kazaxe class at my gym that night as well.

Thursday – I continued to feel good and was excited to rejoin my running group for our lovely 5 mile Thursday run.  I made sure to take this run easy to begin the recovery of my lets for Saturday’s 5k.  I just enjoyed the time and got a nice opportunity to chat with my running buds as we went.  My average pace was 9:08.

Friday – It was time to get mentally and physically prepared for race day!  I wanted to keep the run a healthy length to make up for Tuesday’s lost miles, but didn’t want to compromise my 5k as a result.  Although the weather was fine, I was very tempted by the idea of watching Once Upon A Time (which my dear friends now have me hooked on) on Netflix while I ran.  I set my speed at a very easy 6.3 mph and increased bit by bit as I got warmed up.  My average pace ended up at 9:32.  By the time my evening rolled around, it almost seemed like this run was longer ago and I got some lovely relaxation time in.  I put my feet up, ate a nice pasta meal, and just relaxed.  I made sure to get into bed and wind down EXTRA early since getting a good night’s sleep before early race wake up calls can be very tough for me.  I think I was asleep just before 10 pm which is very early by my normal standards.

Saturday – It was a 6 am wake up call to give us enough time to get ready, hop in the car, and make the 30 minute drive to Downtown Windermere for the 12th Annual Windermere Race Among the Lakes 5k!  I will write up a full race recap later but let me just say, this ended up being a really difficult race.  The race description said it was almost entirely on packed dirt and sand roads.  Well, it was really pretty much entirely on SAND, much of which was not packed at all.  Granted, it wasn’t exactly like the beach but it was really impossible to have great traction.  I turned my ankle once badly (luckily I wasn’t injured) and almost a few more times.  The course was also fairly hilly so that added an additional degree of difficulty.  Try running up hill on sand.  Nightmare.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a PR but I am actually quite impressed with my time given the circumstances.  I finished with a time of 23:59 (7:43 average pace) and ended up getting 2nd place in the 20-29 age group and 8th Female overall.  Not too shabby!  I even got a lovely Windermere tote bag as my “award.”

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Sunday – I went on a bit of a shopping spree for workout gear yesterday and was excited to try some new shorts with a slightly longer inseam that I thought might work for long runs and races.  Jackpot.  They worked like a charm on my 11 mile run today.  I just cruised today and really enjoyed my time.  I have some “deer friends” who I keep seeing almost every week on my run and they no longer even run away as I go by.  That’s always a highlight of my Sunday.  It was super hot and humid so I decided to give myself a break and just wear a sports bra to stay as cool as possible.  My average pace was 9:23.

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Next Week’s Very Magical Vacation

So I am practically bursting at the seams with excitement about my last minute vacation.  Can you guess what it is?

That’s right kids – I am about to set sail on a 3 night cruise aboard the Disney Dream!  My mom and I have been talking about a nice little getaway aboard the Dream and were just waiting for the right opportunity.  Well, this week it came.  My very first Disney Cruise aboard the Wonder was a girls trip with my Mom and I have been dying to show her one of the new ships.  Just to back up – although I love all Disney vacations – sailing with Disney Cruise Line is by far among my favorites.  This will be my 7th sailing and far from my last.  If I have time between now and when we set sail on Thursday, I will have to fill you all in on just why Disney cruises are so special.  For now, I’ll just tell you that I cannot stop thinking about all the fun we are about to have.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me much this week and next – after all, it’s hard to round out half marathon training, work most of the week, and then prepare for and take two consecutive weekends of incredible vacations.  Rough life, right?  Trust me, I know how lucky I am and I am thankful for it every day.  Don’t worry, I won’t fall off the training wagon while I’m away.  I plan to spend next Saturday kicking butt during the Castaway Cay 5k – one of the many amazing memories I cannot wait to make!

THROWBACK!  On our first Disney Cruise - March 2008

THROWBACK! On our first Disney Cruise – March 2008

Have you ever taken a spur-of-the-moment vacation?

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