Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Eastern States 20, and week 12 wrap up.

Since The Eastern States 20 was the most interesting run of the week, I shall begin there.

This was my 3rd time participating in this race, and I continue feel that it is an excellent Boston lead up.

Despite some truly ominous weather predictions (sleet! freezing rain! 8-10 inches of snow!!) the day dawned clear and as mild as they get this year.

Not bad

Eric ran the 13.1, so we had to make the trip to New Hampshire early. We both boarded busses, mine taking me to Kittery and Eric's heading to Rye.

This was actually an ideal pre-Boston situation. Get up early to catch a bus, to a place where you wait around for hours, and then begin your run at 11:00! Sounds familiar.

Really fancy throwaway sweater from 2004
I must say, getting to the start early means NO potty line. After last years pee-behind-a-shed situation, this was rather nice.
Holy shit. No line for the shitters. 
The weather at the start was 35 and sunny, totally decent (and as good as it was going to get.)
(by the time I got to Mass, it was completely overcast and 29. Still not terrible but pretty chilly.)

Not bad

Oh did I mention that I had caught a cold? I was very much hoping that I would wake up on Sunday to find it gone (even though it had just shown up...) As luck would have it, Sunday was the worst day. I felt moderately junky, but since I had no fever and no cough I concluded that I simply must suck it up.

Heading to the start, the transition from warm air to cold caused my nose to SLAM the doors shut on air intake. This was not ideal. The first 3 miles of the race were just awful, I made the call to drop at the first aid station (mile 4) if things did not get better.

Things got better. So on I ran, once more able to breathe.

I took a nice picture. The weather was really nice for a while. Not too cold, not windy, nice and sunny. *so unusual for winter 2017*

It's actually only an ok picture... I was running. 

I stopped to pee at mile 7 because I have a tiny bladder.

Other than the first few horrible miles, nothing exciting happened at all. I did get some peanut M&M's from the mile 15 aid station, since peanut m&m's are delicious. That was pretty exciting.

I told Eric that my goal pace was 8:45, and my pace ended up being 8:38 which is CLOSE ENOUGH. I ran a negative split which makes me happy. My last mile was a 7:59 because I am an elite athlete (actually, it was because the weather had become much colder and I wanted to be done.)

As you can see, the weather went downhill...
Despite my slightly ill condition, I could have continued for 6 more miles at that pace (8:38's NOT 7:59's!)
My legs and stomach and everything felt just fine post race, and I was not even one bit sore because it is FLAT AS A PANCAKE there.
I was happy with the outcome, but more happy to get on a warm bus, and into a warmer ballroom and to have some warm soup!

Done, and happy!
Clearly, I did not run this race at the speedy clip that I did last year.

There are three reasons for my epic decline:
1: I am not as fit.
2: If I had seen numbers in the low 8's, I was going to rein it in. (I did not expect that to happen though.)
3: Sick, not feeling that super.

Mostly, reason 1 is the reason. And I give zero fucks. I'm actually in great shape and couldn't care less. I feel good about where I'm at, and not all races need to be PR races.

AND I had an amazing post race beer. Unfortunately, I have NO recollection of the exact name of this beer. But I had it at the Sebago Brewery in Scarborough, and it is a limited edition stout.

Backing up now, to the early part of the week.

It was cold and WINDY AF, and I ran bitch hills (my best bitch hill run of the cycle.)


I ran 3x2 mile repeats and it was COLD AND WINDY AF.
SO damn cold. STOP. 
I got awesome mail!!! My runners passport AND sweet crow singlet arrived!!

Overall, it was another very good week of training. The weather was, at times, jarringly cold and windy, as has been the theme lately.
Onward now, to the final week of big mileage.

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 51.5
Longest run: 20
Other: THREE core/strength workouts. That should do the trick ;-)
Wildlife sightings: Seagulls, ducks, 1 cow, squirrels acting insane, 1 billion turkeys
Low/High temps: 11/45 (apparently there was one warm day. who knows when)
How am I feeling? I was feeling really solid, and then *boom* caught a cold
Beer of the week: The mystery stout from Sebago

Friday, March 24, 2017

A big training recap! And questions for my readers too...

I think I have been promising my readers a training overview for about three years. Maybe 4. Who's counting.
Since I KNOW all three of you are just dying to know how it's done, here it is: My amazing workout routine. Or: How I continue to lock down my middle of the pack success!

Believe it or not, at this point I am close to being done with this training cycle. I only have about 10 more days of hard training before tapering begins!
(I just had to check my calendar to see if that is really true. It is.)

This cycle has felt fast, and it has felt good! After the arduous torture that came with Summer training last year for Hartford, most of my workouts to this point have had a much better feeling.
*except for the first 2 weeks, when a 9:30 pace felt like a flat out sprint, WOOF*

Yes, this time around has been a little different. I started off in the worst running shape I have been in, in years. (this was due to a SERIOUS case of the blahs after Hartford, and then the November Disney races. I was done. Over it. FRIED.)

So, I did what any normal person would have done this past winter. I took time off. I ran about 15 miles a week (on good weeks) became even more lazy because I was on a break, my legs were miserable because they actually like to run, and I certainly felt more gross post break than I had before. GROSS. UGH. Lazy does not suit me.

Due to the hot mess outlined above, I reached the conclusion that I needed to make my marathon training fun enough so that I never again quit all forms of movement post race.

I also gave myself 15 weeks to train, so that I could slowly increase my mileage and avoid breaking both my legs, my feet and possibly my rapidly aging hips. Gotta stay healthy, yo.

So what has been different this time?
(well, for starters cold weather training is just better for me than heat training. the end.)
-We have had plenty of cold weather.
-I will only complete 2 weeks at or above 50 miles during this cycle.
-I will only run one 20 miler....
-I decided, that if any run made me feel as crappy as MANY of my pre Hartford runs did, that I would STOP the workout. Thus far, no issues have caused me to pull the plug.
-I have been lucky to have a wonderful variety of long runs- different scenery, using races as training runs, having Eric along for some miles. All these things have kept the burnout at bay.
-Oh! I took a cutback week at a good time (a few weeks ago) A wise move that has kept me from counting down the days until taper. Until today when I had to count, for this blog.

What do my actual training runs consist of?
(if you don't run, this is about to GET SO BORING!! FLEE!)

MY SLOWWWWW DAY: The NUMBER ONE thing that people ask me in utter disbelief about, is my recovery run pace. Yes, I shoot for a 10 minute mile pace when I am recovering. I usually come pretty close to this, and I am not at all worried if I accidentally run some miles even slower.
ELITE level runners, on recovery days, run up to THREE minutes slower than their goal race pace.
And it it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. (about to get preachy for a hot minute) Sorry kids, not to be an armchair QB, but if your race pace is an 8:00 then your recovery pace is most CERTAINLY not an 8:02.

I WIN at recovery runs.

My FASTTTTTTTT DAY!!!!!: Over the years I have structured up my speed work. Believe it or not, I really enjoy a good workout. The additional pressure that having specific goal paces can be unnerving, but it is god motivation!
Th one thing I have noticed over this training cycle, is a clear improvement in the return of some semblance of speed. (thank the lord)
I am not a gazelle. But I can chug along.

My go-to workouts, once my fitness is no longer at lumbering-along-dying levels, are mile repeats and 2 mile repeats. I shoot for juuuuust under marathon pace (which, in my head is always 8:00. Aren't I little miss optimistic!!!) Last year, I was running mile repeats soooo fast at like a 7:10 pace, and I LITERALLY felt like the fastest person ever. (I'm not that fast now.)
Anyway. I take about a quarter mile or less recovery between each repeat, at a snails pace (but at a moving pace.)
Prior to Hartford I did a workout of 3x3 mile reps- and while I am sure it contributed to my marathon success, I decided that it wasn't critical to complete this time.
Why? Because, to run a 3:40 marathon you just don't need that kind of whoop ass in your life.

A pretty standard 3x2 mile repeat day, at a standard pace

My LONG and HARD day, heh heh: My long runs are pretty boring on paper.
I run at least a minute slower than my MP goal (I'm perfectly fine with anything from upper 8:50's to 9:15's- faster means I am super fit, or stupid, and slower means it was HOT, early in a cycle, or there was trouble of some sort.) My number one goal is to get through the hours without some sort of GI disaster.... Thus far, things on that front have been fairly quiet WHICH IS AMAZING.

Last week's long run. Decent hills, decent pace.

BITCH HILL: My hill work is, well, hilly. I like hill day, even though it is tough, because I always notice the benefits once the work has been put in.
Prior to Boston I make sure to run like a TOTAL MANIAC on the downhills, coat flapping in the breeze, complete chaos, to make sure my quads are so super strong for race day.
Inside info: THEY WILL NOT BEEEEEEEEEEEE. (I swear, nothing I have ever done prior to Boston has kept me from feeling like a bit of an asshole around mile 20. All gimpy like I've never run a hill, or anything in my life. WHAT.)

Bitch Hill 

That other day that nobody cares about because boring: That's about it. I toss in one other run that is usually a bit of this and that, and there you have it. I skip about and play a little Pokemon (or, I do a little speed play, or cruise around town and snoop on the neighbors, the usual.)

The other question that I get a lot, and that I find hard to accurately answer is: how do I decide what my race pace will be on Marathon day?
To which I reply, with hysteria: WHO CAN EVER KNOW!!!!!

But really. Multi part answer.

For my fall marathon I am always looking to Boston Qualify, by at least 5 minutes faster than I need to for a nice buffer. I base my training paces around an 8:10 pace or so. Then I pray to the sweet baby Geezes and know that it might be out of my hands anyway, if the weather is suddenly 89.

For my Spring marathon (which is always Boston, evidently) I try to nail down how fit I am sometime between Hampton (Early March) and Eastern States (late March.) I use Eastern states as a final long run, with some tempo thrown in if I am fit enough.
I think I ran the damn thing at an 8:10 pace last year, or something truly ridiculous. That's when I knew I was in shape to crush the every loving crap out of Boston. (then it was 900 degrees and I adjusted, accordingly.)
So, we shall see how it goes at ES this Sunday, I am in the process of catching a cold so that will be a terrific excuse if things don't go all that well! As of right now, unless the weather on Marathon Monday is one bazillion degrees I feel fit enough to run a 3:40. (I feel like I have become fairly good at guessing, so this is probably pretty accurate!) (If it is 80 then, nope.)
Eric predicts a 3:42 finish, and he says this is "weather related" and because "Boston is HARD." (it is.)
(FYI by best Boston was, I believe 3:31 and my worst was 3:54 because I ran like a douche canoe.)

So, if anyone AT ALL has made it this far, I have questions for you!
-Have you ever run Boston and do you think it is HARD (IT IS SHUT UP!)
-What is your go-to workout, that you think helps you more than ANY other?
-How do you go about predicting your race finish times? Logic and reason? Magic 8 ball?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 11: Higher mileage, lower temps.....

Basically, at the beginning of last week this is what we were all looking forward to.

The forecast was correct. We really got a good thrashing on Tuesday afternoon and night. A solid 20 inches of snow, and wind wind WIND.

It was, by far, the worst storm of the year. It wasn't all bad though, the power stayed on and the high winds and heavy snow certainly were exciting. Gotta make the best of it.

Remarkably, by Wednesday evening the roads were good enough to tackle the bitch hill. It was somewhat more snowy this week... And gloomy and freezing, and windy too! I threw in an extra lap of the bitch hill this week and it was cold af, but good training I AM SURE.

During the week the waves and corrals were announced for Boston. I feel like they released this info early this year, as it came as a nice surprise!
I ended up in wave 3 for the second year in a row, but I moved ups bit to corral 1.
I have never been in corral 1 before and I fear that the rest of the wave is going to plow me down....
I was 7 seconds off being placed in wave 2, a fact that was irksome until I concluded that a corral 1 start was pretty cool.
Fun fact: My best wave/corral placing came in 2013, with my slowest qualification time to date. A sign of the times I suppose, and the immense popularity of the Boston Marathon!

After the fun of getting some race details, it was back to work. (so that maybe wave 3, corrals 2-infinity do NOT blow past me before the first water stop!)

Clouds, and cold and wind 
The weather never really sorted out during the work week. Lots of high temps in the low 20's, ominous clouds and bone chilling winds. I headed out for 8 on Thursday, and despite it not being a "hill" day, it was still quite hilly.

Thursday views from the top of another common hill that I take pics of. Ominous. 
Somehow, I was able to get outdoors for every workout once again this week.
Yeah, the weather has not been great for me to enjoy my hobby in.
I'm getting it done, and it isn't that bad (other than the constant windburn.) I grouse about the weather (because I work outside, perhaps) but hey, I have a job to go to (outdoors...) a roof over my head, a great family, a hobby that truly is a luxury AND my health. So not really complaining.
....well, maybe a little..... ;-)

Long run day in some much better weather.
Also, my husband is hot. Hello. 
Saturday was a totally decent day. Possibly the best weather we have seen in 10-14 days. It was sunny, light breeze and 35, which felt like a miracle wrapped in an electric blanket.
This was ideal since it was long run day.
Eric joined me for the first 5 or so, and then I ran 13 more, solo.
It was a delightfully unremarkable run. Things went well, I only got chased by one dog, and I did NOT have to stop and poop on snowbanks (a huge win!)

I have been slacking BIG TIME on any kind of strength and cross training for the past few weeks and yes, I can feel it. My back and hips have not been as happy as they can be, and it is my job to take care of them. I shall be making a very focused effort to NOT suck at core strength work from here on out.

Sunday views from Thursday's hill. Much better 
Sunday's easy recovery run was done in more pleasant conditions. You know it's been a nasty time when 36 feels like summer. It was amazing.

I saw the ducks! Can you see them? Maybe not. 
I just love these ducks, they quack with unbridled glee when they see me (which is odd, I never give them anything....) But they are so cute. They can't wait to come to Duck Camp (which is an activity that only two readers will understand... :-))

Turkeys. Less cute.
There are also a crap ton of turkeys strutting around.
Right before I took this pic, 400 other turkeys *gracefully* took to the sky, and then tried to land on tree branches in the manner of hummingbirds.
ALL I could hear were the sounds of branches splintering, turkeys tumbling and exclaiming in horror.
They are not the most graceful of birds.

I also go chased twice by a dog named (wait for it) Vader.
You know, when you name a dog that, it's not going to end well.

And, of course, beer of the week
Foundation's Bedrock is a great beer, and a great choice if you want a really robust and slightly smokey porter. I am NOT always in the mood for anything with even a HINT of smoke, but on the day I drank this, I was. It hit the spot.
I'm still really enjoying my stash of Trillium's though, and am exploring the feasibility of picking up a few more during marathon weekend. Fingers crossed!

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 50.3
Longest run: 18
Other: No other workouts at all... Unless shoveling snow counts. 
Wildlife sightings: 400 turkeys and a dozen ducks
Low/High temps: 11/37 Not a very warm week. Many days had a high in the low 20's 
How am I feeling? Still pretty hungry, happy that my stomach has been behaving, and sore because I read need to work on my core fitness. 
Beer of the week: Foundation Bedrock, a real winter beer since it really is still winter

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 10: Time to woman the f**k up

The winter of 2017 has not been the easiest for training.
The weather has been wildly inconsistent. I spent more consecutive days on the treadmill than I ever have before. Two of my most recent long runs have been on very flat courses. Some runs in 68 degree temps. Some runs in 18 degree temps. Slushy roads. Dry roads. WIND. No wind (that is a LIE)

I am not sure how any of these things might affect me on race day (this is because I STILL can not see into the future.. gosh.) I feel like the dramatic changes of temp, conditions and the mental conditioning that treadmill running brings might help? Maybe? O
The other option is that all the craziness will actually not help at all. As you can see, I enjoy playing both sides of the coin.

But the bottom line is this. Boston is not flat. NOT flat. And my hill work has been pathetic.
Even after training the hell out of hills last year, I still felt pretty darn sore for the final 10k of the race. (which is absurd, I was by FAR the best trained that I have ever been!!!) (so yeah, I have a little bit of fear that I might be limping along for much longer this year. crap!!)

I decided that the past week of training would be spent running routes that aren't cushy, easy, or even fun. Time to woman up. Time for training to feel inconvenient.

I had a few easy miles planned for Monday, and then shit got real.

I ran 3x2 mile repeats on Tuesday. It was 33, raining, and generally gross out. I concluded that the conditions were perfect for building character so out I went.

I was quite apprehensive of this workout, as I am not feeling as sharp or fit as I (think) I should at this point. Honestly, I was insecure about my ability to even complete the repeats.
My worry was unfounded, as I did well (running each rep at better than MP)
I did take a nasty tumble in the slush in the middle of my final repeat. I went to make the turnaround, hit ice, my legs flew out from under me and I smashed down into a giant puddle. Slush in my shoes, in my coat, and all over my pants.... Of course, there was traffic and the local people saw me eat shit.

I am much more soggy than I appear to be. 
Thursday was a run more or less at base pace, hitting some rolling hills.
It was reasonably comfortable, and hillier than a treadmill....

Mud AND snow. Winter is bi-polar.
Friday morning was Beach to Beacon registration. As a general rule, I avoid B2B. It is hard to register for, it is a pain in the butt to get to and to park at, it is crowded, and it is always hot and humid. For whatever reason, I decided that I MUST RUN this year, so Eric and I were on our computers at 6:59 waiting to register. The process seemed pretty glitchy, with a lot of waiting but in the end it worked out and both of us got in.
Right now, I am excited.
In August, I might not be (kidding, I actually will be!)

Friday was also my long run....
I wasn't psyched about the timing, as my previous long had only been 5 days earlier.
There wasn't much of a damn choice though....

Normal long run day not looking so good
I wasn't originally planning to run an extremely challenging route. Plans changed a bit when I reached the top of the first hill and realized that it was most definitely snowing over in the direction I had planned to go in. Small route change: much less snow but over 1,000 feet of climbing.
This lady is not really in shape for such things....
I was quite tired after this excursion. It was pretty successful though, with only a minute of stopped time (gotta use the great outdoor bathroom....) It was NOT an easy route, and was a significant uptick from all of my long runs this year.

Hills, anyone?
When Saturday rolled around and was actually the most miserable day of the winter I was thankful that my long run was done. I just can't manage running in such dreadful conditions....

So, as planned, Saturday was a rest day and we celebrated Eric (and Andy's) birthday! We had a wonderful family and friends get together, and it was nice to celebrate with many of my favorite people.
(It was also 0 degrees with -39 windchill.... fml)

All the best peeps!
Sunday brought about a nice little run over the bitch hill.

Kind of snow drifty up in here 
Any by "nice little run" I mean "freezing DEATH march" in 17 degrees and 20 MPH wind. WHY?
Ugh. I honestly considered calling Eric to pick me up at mile 1.2 because I had frozen solid and was waiting for death to come and stop the pain.
At that point, the wind eased up a bit and I did my best to staunch my flow of tears and woman the f**k up.
(which I am now sick of. I have womaned up enough. girlfriend needs some 40 degree temps.)

But looking to next week... I see more bogus weather. JEEZES.
I may never run outdoors again...

Oh good. Super. A fuck ton of snow.

Whatever. I'll just sit inside and drink beer. When all else fails.... Beer.

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 45.5
Longest run: 17 over mountains. 
Other: One strength workout. More would be better. 
Wildlife sightings: Turkeys and one Robin, who is clearly on drugs
Low/High temps: -3 with -39 windchill. My brain froze and I have no idea what the high temp was. 
How am I feeling? Hungry. The hungriest definitely made an appearance this week. 
Beer of the week: Sebago Barleywine- I think it makes an appearance on the blog every year


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boston Marathon Training Week 9: A cutback week

Last week was a cutback week before the final push towards Marathon Day.

Hopefully, this week was well timed and enables me to work hard and not crumple into a little ball of hate during the next few weeks.

During Hartford's training cycle last Summer, I botched it and my lazy week fell on week 3 of training. This was HORRIBLE! I should have just said "screw it" and taken another low mileage week later in training, but I did not, because I am an idiot. It is unfortunate that I did not adequately blog about my Hartford training.... The last several weeks were such a delightful dumpster fire, and my words now can do them no justice. (I kept on rolling but man, did I ever feel like junk.)

Live and learn, yo... And this is a whole new training cycle THANK THE LAWD.

I hope to have a good, solid run in Boston. "No kidding" cries the internet! Clearly, I am not hoping to train all winter and have a horrific outcome.
That being said, as I enter the "big" training weeks I'm planning to be more mindful of how I'm feeling than I was last fall. I am pleased that I met my goals in Hartford last year, but I don't wish to feel that crappy again. I had a lot (A LOT) of GI issues in the weeks leading to the race (says the woman who can have GI issues by looking at milk the wrong way...) Post race recovery time was not too bad for my legs, but all my other systems were exhausted. I'm not an elite runner, and while I honestly love a tough training cycle it is not worth making health sacrifices for.
So onward and upward.

Last week. Little workouts, but meaningful ones.

The week started off nice and warm. I ran a few tempo miles, and 1200's on the treadmill (which were rather uninspired, if we are being honest. I ran them after two consecutive rest days and my legs were hesitant to get with the program.)

Then.... It got fucking stupid cold out.

I did not approve
I made a journey over the bitch hill, and it was cold.
But the snowbanks were wayyyyy smaller.

I can easily see over the snowbank!!

The week wrapped up with some silly little indoor easy run.
And then a decent MP run (if MP is 8:15's which is yet to be decided) in Hampton.

35 miles for the week, and hopefully I now continue on with fresh legs, a happy belly and a well balanced and zen like mind. HAH.
If none of those things happen, at least I have good beer....

This is one great DIPA

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 35
Longest run: 15! In 0 degree windchill! In bogus bone flat Hampton!!
Other: ONE strength workout, which is one more than zero, thanks.
Wildlife sightings: Literally nothing. Maybe one squirrel.
Low/High temps: 6/50. Yes, it is insane. 
How am I feeling? Great right now, an easy week will do that :-)
Beer of the week: Trillium Mettle. One of the best. 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Half At The Hamptons: Where the wind carries me away, forever....

If I was a good blogger/writer, I would weave a web of words for you right now to describe my experience today.

Like this:

"Gazing out upon the frozen landscape endless blue carpet of ocean, our heroine felt the fucking hurricane wind gently ruffle her hair. As she ran, like a strugglebus, effortlessly, she felt the gentle heat of the warm spring sun... (She may have been confused, as she was rapidly getting a raging case of windburn, but for the moment we will imagine lovely spring sunshine...) Effortlessly leaping over the lovely dry ground (or, the frozen ice patches left from the discarded water of runners before her) she steadily surged onward. She could barely feel the effort of running because she was so fucking cold impeccably well trained. As the miles wore on, and the wind hammered her repeatedly in the face gentle spring winds blew, she knew she was on her way to a glorious, and empowering finish.

Yeah. Eff that noise. Let's be honest, with fewer scribbled out sentences.
Yes, today was pretty. Pretty stupid.

It was a freezing cold, howling wind kind of day in Hampton today, and we are all bat shit crazy.

It was also 6 in Hampton. BLAHHHHHHHH.

Honestly, until about 7:45 this morning I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to run. The weather this weekend was extremely unpleasant. Saturday's high temp was 8, and once you took into account the 30+ MPH wind, it was no spring day.
Not only does running in the negative numbers NOT tempt me, but leaving my job when the weather is atrocious is out of the question. So wait I did, and at 7:45 this morning I scooted off, quick as can be.

I arrived with moments to spare. I did manage to snag my number.

Hello 420. Yes, I did laugh.
My time crunch, of course, brought about this years editions of "Sara misses the start."

It was bound to happen at some point.

Bye guys, buh bye.
I wasn't too terribly bothered, as I was only about 90 seconds late.

Going into this race, my goal was a good workout. I was hoping that I could manage a Marathon Pace average (8:10-8:15) (but why am I calling this MP when I don't yet know what my marathon goal pace IS??) (Because this seems reasonable? Maybe even optimistic, considering the winter we have had.) (also, parenthetical excess.) If nothing else, I concluded that this would be/could be a good fitness test, and give me direction for the next several weeks.

Anyway. From Mile 0-3 it seemed as though it would be a truly pleasant day of running. There was plentiful sunshine, and very little wind. My legs, after a cut back week, felt chipper. My hands felt cold, because it was 18 degrees, but that's to be expected.
I could seriously HEAR the wind, but where was it??

Right on cue, at the mile 3 marker the cross wind came roaring in with vengeance. The turn at mile 5 was a turning point to complete suckdom, as the wind became a brutal headwind and didn't quit.

Running into the wind is exhausting. I know I am not as fit as I was this time last year, but I may have worked just as hard during this 13.1 even though I was 10 minutes faster last year. (Maybe I worked just as hard because I am so flabby? or maybe it was the FUCKING BITCH WIND?)

There wasn't really ever a point after mile 5 where life got easy, but it never got so hard that I stopped and wept openly for my Mother. Close, but not quite.
There is a point in every race when running becomes "meh" for me, and that point was mile 6.5 to 7.5.
But then....

At mile 7.5 there was a water stop, where a lovely volunteer offered me a Gu, and when I declined backed up his offer with some cigarettes. I LITERALLY STOPPED and laughed SO hard. The offer of butts was both unexpected and, on the part of the volunteer, seamlessly well played. Well done, my friend. This event helped to shake off my blahs, and I was able to run the remainder of the race with a minimum of bad attitude

I finished. In 1:48:24, which is both exactly to plan, and grossly slow based on my effort. (ok, ok, it wasn't that bad. Fighting the wind is jus #sohard and such a #struggle and blah blah... I want an easy ride, damnit!!!)

I ran inside for soup.

This was really amazing soup

And beer.

It was actually too damn cold for beer. Who am I??

And then I scampered outdoors to take an ocean selfie, as one does because #basic

I also put on 450 more layers of clothing
So. What is my take away from this run?
I am not as fit as last year, but I am more fit than I was several weeks ago.
I certainly need to make hill work a major priority for the remainder of training. The one very small hill on this course felt inconvenient.
This was a great MP race run on a tough day. It's almost impossible for me to run 13.1 miles in training, a pace, on my own, so the race atmosphere was key.

Hopefully, we get some consistently temperate weather. The constant fluctuations between 60 and 0 are not conducive to good training and I am feeling the effects of that to some degree. If I can manage to get in some consistent long runs and hill work outdoors, I will begin to feel more confident.

Week 9 recap to come in the next few days (it will go like this: It was 50! Then 0! and it sucked!)