I was curious to see how my marathon training (at least the early weeks of it) would translate, when it came to a short and speedy race. This is a race that I’ve only gotten to do once before, due to travel conflicts, I suppose. It goes around the test track for BMWs, which is pretty cool. The first time I did the race, I had a sub-par performance time-wise, but I did snag 9th place. It was during my first year running post-college, so I was still pre-marathon then, and getting 9th was special.
THE 2-WEEK TRAINING LEAD-UP
Saturday, September 5
My parents were visiting for the long weekend, but they weren’t arriving til Saturday morning, which gave me a chance to squeeze in my long run before they arrived. It would be my first legitimate long run of this marathon training cycle, since I had run/walked/geocached my first two (9 miler in NYC and 12 miler in DC) during trips where I had wanted to kill 2 birds with one stone. 14.1 in 2:06:15, 8:56 ave, at the Swamp Rabbit Trail spongy section. It was cloudy, and temps were pretty decent. Was able to do it without water or food (and with the cold). Had a spinach and apple smoothie before the run. I signed up for my first virtual race, as part of the facebook group “Hogwarts Running Club”, which was hosting its 2nd annual Platform 9 ¾ K run. I considered doing a fast-finish run, with the last 6 miles counting as my race, but I didn’t have enough in me left to do a race effort at the end, so I’ll do that virtual race another time. The trail had tons of runners on it – the most I remember seeing at once. Could’ve potentially done another lap, by my parents had arrived, so I headed out to meet them after 14.1.
Monday – Labor Day – Hiked Big Creek Trail in Tennessee. I found a geocaching trackable in Milwaukee that wanted to go to places without cell phone reception, and this hike fit the bill. I was proud of my mom, who completed the 10-mi hike. It’s a nice hike, with a wide and straightforward trail that just follows the river the whole way, out-and-back. During a rest stop, we were taking pictures, and my dad slipped both legs into the creek by accident, which was pretty funny. Probably not too comfortable to hike 6 miles with wet sneakers and jeans, though.
Tuesday, September 9:
Treadmill intervals, at 1 degree of incline. 5.0 in 36:07, 7:13 ave. This was after pulling myself out from a nap. My legs were surprisingly ready and fast from the start. 1 mi warmup in 8:03, 4x[9mph for 0.75 mi (5:01), 7.5mph for 0.25 (1:59)], 7.5mph for 0.25. 4 reps either ties or exceeds the most reps I’ve done at 9mph for 0.75mi. Surprised! Felt easy, given the pace. I wonder if it’s because I was rested from the long weekend, mentally and physically.
Wednesday, September 10:
55 min strength session.
My legs weren’t runnable Friday night, but I was looking forward to getting to run the next morning, and I was excited about being able to do a Spartan race again about a month from now. It’s funny… on Friday evenings before long runs, I’m typically so excited about getting to do my long run the next morning that I stay up late because it feels like it will come sooner. By the morning, after I do fall asleep, though, it is more of a chore to get myself out the door.
Saturday, September 12:
Second legitimate long run. 16.0 in 2:22:33, 8:54 ave, at the spongy trail. Had eaten a full breakfast 2 hrs prior (then had gone back to sleep), because I had been hungry. Did the run without water and food during it, although there were times where I craved a hearty almond butter sandwich, oddly. I also craved lemony water with salt. My arms felt a bit catabolized in the last couple of miles. I was scheduled to do an easy 6 miler this day, but I decided to bring forward the 16 miler to this week, and to do the 6 next week, because next week, it would be hard to fit in a long run, schedule-wise. It was doable, too, since I had only had 1 1true long run, so I wasn’t beat up.
Sunday – did 6 hrs of geocaching, to finish up the Hub City Geotrail, put on by the City of Spartanburg. It’s a challenge where you need to find 20/25 special caches placed around the city, and if you do, you earn a special Spartanburg geocoin. I had done about half of it during my previous trip. My laptop hard drive died, though, and I lost all of the codes that I had recorded to prove that I had found those caches, so I ended up re-visiting them all, during this second trip.
Monday, September 14:
I was scheduled to do that 2 mile race on Friday, so I knew I had to fit in runs early in the week, to do a taper later in the week. I also wanted to get in miles before my next trip made training difficult to fit in. 6.0 in 49:47, 8:18 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 7:40 effort. I watched the American Ninja Warrior 3-hr final while doing this, and it was such good motivation. I pushed the pace pretty hard.
Tuesday, September 15:
I would’ve normally done 4, to keep it easy for the upcoming race, but I ended up doing 6, to fit in miles. I decided that the race would be one where I’m somewhat “training through” (aka, not pulling back on training in order to be more rested for the race, even though it may harm my race performance). BMW wasn’t my A-race, but the marathon was. I had tried to nap after dinner, because I was tired, but I was also wired, so I couldn’t fall asleep. That made getting out the the gym a bit easier. Work’s been intense this week. I had great motivation again during today’s run – NBC Sports was showing Spartan Race episodes! They’ve started televising the race, and it was fun to watch. 6.0 in 49:57, 8:20 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 8:00 effort.
Warm evening! My legs were feeling heavy that day. Sometimes, my body surprises me, though, and I’ve had some great races on days where my legs felt heavy. I remembered this race feeling very crowded, the last time I did it. It wasn’t too bad this time, though. I did start like in the second row. The first 0.5 mi is a straight stretch, with a downhill that we come back up before mile 0.75. Then, winding. I ran extra distance by having to take the outer side of the turns, to get around people, but it was necessary. I hit mile 1 in 6:21. Just before the race, while waiting in the car for the start, I had used the McMillan Race Predictor to see what a 6:00 mile would equate to… 6:22, so that was spot-on. I have run a 5:48 before, in more recent years, but I had done 6:00 consistently during college, so I figured that was a good typical day. I kept it up and logged the second mile in 6:26… maybe a bit of fade, maybe the curves, but it was awesome to be so close to my goal time. The fastest male finished sub-10. I surprisingly got 2nd. Oh, after the race, they had German beer – awesome. It was refreshing and awesome. I got a Spaten Optimator. Thank you, BMW!
2.0 in 12:47.