Ventura Marathon Training Week 8: I Hit Big Numbers and I Cannot Lie!

Weekly Summary 8/10/15 to 8/16/15

52, 22, 12:47, 104, and 48.

This week started with some trepidation since the prior week had me sitting out several days due to a calf strain and some lingering hammy tightness. As has been the case, my old body continues to surprise me and rebounded well, completing a daunting week of high miles and high temps.

52: The total mileage for the week. Hey now! This is the most mileage I’ve ever run in one week, and I finally crossed the 50-mile threshold. Eleven months ago, I was coming off my second IT band injury and my running journal says that I struggled through a whopping 7.5 miles that week. For the next few months, every run felt like I was holding my breath waiting for that stabbing pain, and now, now my knees got me through 52 miles this past week! Really fucking awesome.

22, 12:48, and 104: My FMC added a second 20-plus miler into this training cycle, and even though this wasn’t my fastest 22-miler, it ended up being the most satisfying, which was a surprise because it certainly didn’t start that way. I woke up super early because temps were supposed to hit 104 degrees in the Valley, and I knew the only chance I had to get this run done was to be out there by 4:45, when it was only seventy-five degrees. Ugh, kill me now. My first mile reflected this dread, and it was a lethargic shuffle of 12:48. At this point — yes, thirteen minutes into my long run — I had thoughts of “Well, just go as long as you can. You already got one of these 22-milers in.” The first seven miles stayed in that 12 minute plus trudge, and things were not looking good for your girl, but then something weird happened: As the degrees went up, my pace went down. What kind of bizarro world was this?! My miles started clicking off at faster paces. Miles 8 and 9 got into the 11-plus minute mile zone, and then 11 of the last 12 miles were done at the 10-plus minute mile zone. I sprinted the last 100 meters and finished mile 22 at a marathon pace of 9:45! Best of all, I felt like I was getting stronger as the run progressed. Just insanity.

This was the temp at the end of my run.
This was the temp at the end of my long run.

I am not a strong hot weather runner, which made this long run especially gratifying and encouraging. I needed it since my 10-mile tempo run earlier in the week, done in similar toasty temps, was not as successful. The goal this training cycle was to hit 9:12 pace (down from 9:20-9:30), and this week’s run was done squarely in the 9:30 zone. My paces accurately reflected the rising temps and the eight miles were done at 9:03, 9:15, 9:10, 9:15, 9:21, 9:26, 9:31, and 10:44 (ouch). Yeah, the last mile, I just bailed. However, even though the tempo run wasn’t done at the pace I’d hoped for, I still felt pretty pleased with it. Mid-way through the run, I could tell it was not happening. Even though my legs felt fine, it was just not my day, but rather than berate myself and get into negative mode, I pulled over to regroup and just asked myself “What would it take for you to feel good about this run?” The answer was to know that I put up a consistent effort and that I enjoyed myself. The pressure lifted, and even though the numbers were less than impressive, I had a good run. Another reason was…

48: Your protagonist turned 48 last Thursday! It’s true. What better way to start your birthday than a ten-mile run?

48 is great!
48 is great!

Another motivation for finishing that 22-miler on Saturday was so that I could eat my birthday high tea at the Hotel Bel-Air guilt-free.

All of the desserts. Mine!
All of the desserts…Mine!

So it’s pretty cool running 52 miles the week you turn 48. My body feels strong, my mind feels clear, and my soul is joyful. Both my training and my life feel like it’s hitting its stride, and I’m super grateful to this imperfect but sturdy hobbit body for getting me through both.

Just four more weeks until the Ventura Marathon. Two more weeks of sharpening, and then it’s taper. Wow, that went by fast.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 52
Long run: 22 miles (0 MP – are you kidding?! Did you want me to die out there?)
Cross-training: You saw what happened last week when I tried to cross-train. I made it to the gym once.

4 thoughts on “Ventura Marathon Training Week 8: I Hit Big Numbers and I Cannot Lie!

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