At the end of an interval, my watch beeps. It beeps, I stop.
But it actually beeps a few times in a row. I’ve been stopping as soon as I hear the first beep and either hunched over my knees gasping for breath or, on a less grueling interval, walking as I start my active recovery.
But that first beep? Not the end of the interval. It’s the last beep that ends it. So not only have I been ending my intervals a few seconds too early, I’ve been skewing all my times by walking or totally stopping for the last FEW SECONDS of an interval! And when I’m running 200s or 400s or even 800s — hell, even my 2 mile repeats — my times have been slower than they would be if I just kept running a few seconds longer. ALL MY TIMES.
I realized this four 400s in on Tuesday’s 6×400 run. So the only true 400s were the last two. And they were faster. See how that works when you actually run through the entire interval?
1 – 1:47
2 – 1:41
3 – 1:39
4 – 1:42
5 – 1:39
6 – 1:37
So, lesson learned. It’s just frustrating because I feel like 11 weeks in, I shouldn’t be making these dumb mistakes anymore. I know it’s just a few seconds and not actually THAT important when it comes to my goals, but still. All my times could have been just a little faster. At least now they will be.
That 6×400 run wasn’t so bad. It was hard the way it should be hard, and while I had moments of rib pain and neck pain, those didn’t last. The intervals were hard because I ran them hard, and I feel good about my effort.
Here’s how the rest of my week was:
Week 11: July 28 – August 3
- Monday – Maintenance Legs
- Tuesday – 2 mile warm up, 6×400 (active recovery), 2 mile cool down (5.9 mi)
- Wednesday – Refine
- Thursday – 2 mile warm up, 6 x hill repeats (400m hill), 2 mile cool down (6.72 mi)
- Friday – OFF
- Saturday – OFF
- Sunday – 15 miles (2:33:06)
Total (running) miles: 27.62
Summary of Week 11 running:
Wednesday (cross training)
I met Emily (who also uses Coach Abby!) for the first time on Wednesday. She was on vacation in NYC, so of course I brought her to my favorite cross training workout in the world – Refine Method.
Boxes and bells at Refine
It was so nice meeting her in person! We’ve been talking through Twitter, email and Gchat for a year now. She used the same coach as me last year too (not Abby) and had a lot of the same concerns I did with our training. We bonded over that, along with running in general, and I just really liked her! I’m so happy that she loved Refine (but really, how could you not?)
On Thursday, I had my first hill repeats of this training cycle. The instructions were 2 mile warm up, 6 x hill repeats (.20-.25 hill), 2 mile cool down. I grappled with myself about the distance for this one. I knew I’d run my repeats up the Brooklyn Bridge because it is the most convenient option, and since the hill up the bridge is longer than .25 miles, I basically had my pick of how long these intervals should be. Going .20 seemed like taking the way out, and I want to stand at the start line at Bellingham feeling like I did everything in my power to hit my sub-4:00 goal.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with choosing the shorter option – especially if my legs were tired or something was bothering me. But I felt fine, and there was no reason not to go for it. Since I just did 400s two days before, I decided to go with that for the hills as well. Then I could have a baseline for comparison!
400 meters to this
This sign marked 400 meters exactly, and it was in my line of sight for the entire interval. Having an end in sight definitely helped me push hard, knowing exactly how far I had to go.
After my first hill, I could not believe I still had five to go. It felt ridiculously hard, but I was able to jog right back down for my active recovery. But after a few more, I had to stop and hunch over catching my breath before starting my descent down – which started with some walking before I could summon up the energy to jog. And 400 meters up a hill cause a LOT more sweat than 400 faster meters on a flat road.
On the fifth repeat, I felt nauseous. But with one to go, I gave it everything I had – and my final hill interval was my fastest. And I really like the consistency!
400m hill repeats
1 – 1:53
2 – 1:54
3 – 1:54
4 – 1:54
5 – 1:54
6 – 1:51
Ah, the long run this week. This was a stressful situation.
I woke up Saturday, planning to meet American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation teammates at the Hope Lodge. We were going to run 14 miles (I had 15, and intended to do 1 mile before I met them) up and down NYC’s Summer Streets (every summer, they close Park Avenue for three Saturdays in August and it is AWESOME). The run would end back at the Hope Lodge where we would have breakfast with some of the patients staying there while getting their cancer treatments.
I was really looking forward to this for two reasons: (1) Doing most of my long run with my teammates because I had all easy miles on my plan and (2) spending time with the very people I’m helping by raising money for ACS to run the NYC Marathon. I wanted to feel more connected to why I am doing this.
But when I woke up, it was POURING. I went outside, thinking I’d do my mile here in Jersey City as a weather test, but I only made it few steps. It was just coming down so hard, and the thought of running in that for 2.5 hours was miserable. I was still considering it though, when I saw the PATH Train tweet that there were signal problems and delays.
That meant that I couldn’t be sure what time the train would come and if I’d even make it to the Hope Lodge to meet my team. Along with the crappy weather, and the fact that I actually didn’t feel great (my left foot was hurting [I went to PT for the foot during the week, more on that in another post] and I just felt exhausted), I made the decision to stay home. And spent the entire day feeling guilty. And napping. And feeling down. And feeling exhausted. When the rain stopped, I felt worse. When I saw everyone’s tweets and Instagrams from Summer Streets, I felt jealous that they got to experience it and guilty that they ran just fine when I didn’t bother. The only thing that got me out of the house was dinner at Razza, because you don’t turn down the place that perfected the pizza.
Razza perfected the pizza. Trust me.
And the next day, I woke up and my foot felt much better. I wasn’t so exhausted, and I knew I could run 15 miles. The only downside was I’d be running it alone, and I’d be running it in Jersey City – the land of totally flat running paths and no shade. Oh, and it was raining. But it wasn’t pouring, and running in this rain was totally doable.
The run was fine. It wasn’t awesome but it wasn’t terrible either. About halfway through, the rain stopped. I ran through Liberty State Park to the Port Liberte area where my friend lives, and then I ran all around there (partially to check out the area because it’s gorgeous, and partly to see if she would wake up and feel better from her food poisoning and want to come out and play). Killing so many miles there helped big time, and by the time I was back in the park I had just 6 miles to go.
I thought about how during the marathon, if you only have 6 miles to go you know that barring a broken bone or major vomiting, you will finish the race. Even if everything hurts and you have to walk, there’s not much quitting going on after 20 miles. You’ve come too far, and the finish line is in reach. This helped me get through that first of 6 final miles.
It got better after that, I felt less tired though I was very hungry. The thought of French toast helped me speed up and finish those last few miles faster than I started. I don’t usually share long run splits for easy long runs, but I really like how I negative splitted (not a word) this run.
Statue of Liberty/NYC view from Port Liberte on a cloudy run
Long Run Splits
1 – 10:39
2 – 10:30
3 – 10:31
4 – 10:30
5 – 10:38
6 – 11:18
7 – 10:19
8 – 10:20
9 – 10:14
10 – 10:10
11 – 9:41
12 – 9:50
13 – 9:42
14 – 9:17
15 – 9:24
And then I had French toast.
Amazing French toast
This long run day also marked another milestone – 8 weeks to race day! I can’t believe it is so soon. August will be my most intense month of training – the longest long runs (up to 22 miles) and longer, more intensive weekday speedwork. Plus, I’m starting a new job on Monday that involves a bigger commute and I will have to figure out how to balance it all.
But back to the long run – I felt proud that I did all 15 alone! That was the last thing I wanted, but I got it done. I really wanted people to praise me. After a long run, I always feel like I deserve lots of praise. Especially when I do it alone. Do you feel that way?