I keep breaking blogging "rules" right and left. It feels really good. Don't wanna post for a few weekdays? Not gonna do it. Decide to post on Sundays instead? Sure! That sounds cool. I'm resigned to the fact that being a successful blogger is not really in the cards for me, and that instead, this space will always be exactly what I want it to be, how I want it to be, when I want it to be. It feels freeing to make these kinds of decisions, and to just go with the flow.
What made me want to post today is the fact that today is 4 weeks from the Lincoln Half Marathon. How the heck are we here already??? It feels like Alyx and I were JUST talking about signing up for this, JUST registering, JUST discussing our training strategies, and suddenly we've both completed 8 mile weekend runs and are about to turn a serious bend in our training. The next two weeks my training volume increases pretty substantially... all of my weekday runs increase by 5-6 minutes each, and I have the 9 and 10 mile long runs to look forward to. This week was a recovery week for me, and it was much needed. Yes, I scaled back quite a bit the previous week, but I still ran 4 days and got in physical activity every day. This week, I took 2 legitimate rest days, only had 3 scheduled runs, and my long run was a 10k. That's a pretty big break for me at this point, which feels weird considering I know that most people would consider it a fairly reasonable training load. I guess it really is a matter of perspective.
This week's long run was just as awesome as my 8 mile run the week before, which really surprised me. Awesome for completely different reasons. My 8 mile run was incredible because I paced it out right, I didn't have tummy trouble, nothing hurt, I didn't feel like I was going to die, and I didn't need a 3 hour nap afterward. My run yesterday was incredible for the following reasons:
1) The 10k is actually my favorite running distance. It's long enough to not hurt like a 5k, but you don't have to start so slow that you feel like you're never going to get to the finish line. You can take a snack with you if you want, but it isn't as if you're going to die without that extra sugar-boost. And it's long enough that you don't feel too guilty about splurging later on at dinner just a little.
2) My hair. It's finally just long enough that I can put it into pigtails on my runs, instead of just pulling it back with a headband. I was so excited that I had to take a picture.
Gunner likes to be in all of the pictures. Also of note, I had to completely change my running outfit, because it felt cold outside. It wasn't as cold as I thought, and I ended up wishing I was in my original outfit. Oops.
3) I ran someplace new. This has been really important to me this time around, varying my routes as much as possible. Ammon was headed to his gym for a yoga class, so I caught a ride with him and ran along a really popular walking/bicycling trail that I'd never tried before. It helped me stay entertained and present in my run, instead of zoning out. I've been throwing my phone at the bottom of my Camelback for my long runs, so there's no pictures from my run, and it wasn't even really that pretty of a run... it was just nice to try something new.
4) It was FAST. I started out much faster than I had anticipated, and was worried that it was going to bite me in the butt. However, I decided to go with it, and see how long I could maintain my pace. I was averaging 10:40-ish minute miles for the first 4 miles, and my last 2 were only a little slower. This is only a few seconds slower than my 5k pace was a few weeks ago, and I definitely felt stronger yesterday than I did at the 5k. Not only was it fast though; it was a new PR for me!
That's right, I managed to finish that 10k in 1:07:56... a whole 2 minutes faster than my previous fastest 10k. Unlike last week, I did feel like I was going to die a little bit when it was over, but that was alright. About mile 5, I realized I had a shot at a PR, and I decided to go for it. It hurts to push it like that sometimes. However, so worth it when you get to the end and you've done something that makes you feel strong and empowered.
5) I tried out some new compression socks.
EVERY running blogger on the planet seems to be on the ProCompression train. I had a 40% off coupon code, so I decided to give them a try. The truth? They're so-so for me. I definitely prefer my Nabee compression socks over the PC's, but I'm glad I gave them a shot, and they will continue to be worn in the future... If you guys want a more detailed review of both compression socks, let me know and I'll break it down in better detail sometime.
And it didn't hurt that I got to eat all of the popcorn at the drive-in last night after my run, either. That was straight up delicious.