March 09, 2014

A test run

Pathetically, I was in bed by 8:00 last night. I was SO tired all day yesterday! I was thinking maybe it was from increasing my mileage by starting the Hansons Half Marathon training, but I don't remember feeling this tired from marathon training. I haven't been feeling very well the past couple of days, which I think is attributed to anxiety, so maybe it's causing me to be tired as well. Regardless... I was in bed super early!

This morning, I was really looking forward to doing a long run outside. Since I started Hansons' training, my long runs are back to being on Sunday mornings. Today, I had 8 miles on the schedule at long run pace. I definitely feel like my pace has slowed a lot over the winter, and I know I'm nowhere near as fast as I was last year at this time, when I ran a 1:52 half-marathon. Eventually, my goal will be a 1:49 half-marathon, but I'm not in any shape to even train for that right now! I think I would be lucky to even hit a 1:59 time.

Because I was so unsure of where my pace is at, after running on the treadmill all winter long and experimenting with different training plans, I decided to use today's run to get an idea of where I'm at. I wanted to run comfortably, but not TOO comfortably, and just see how it felt.

I dressed warmly and headed out, but it felt so much colder than I'd expected! I had checked the temp before leaving the house, and it wasn't bad, but once I got out there, I was surprised at how cold it felt. I almost decided to go back inside and run on the 'mill, but I was already dressed for the cold and knew I'd warm up. Besides, I was looking forward to running my trusty old out-and-back route, as well as seeing where my outdoor pace was at.

The first mile was a little difficult, because I did have to dodge ice quite a bit. When I saw my first split (9:22), I was a little disappointed. I'd hoped that I would look down and see that I was effortlessly running an 8:30 pace ;)  My legs felt so much heavier than they do on the treadmill, and it was hard to get used to at first.

After the second mile, I started to loosen up a bit, and the farther I ran, the more comfortable I felt. My third mile was faster than the first two, and then I kept having faster splits after that. Toward the end, I decided to try and negative split the whole thing (with the exception of that second mile). Sounds odd, but the last couple of miles felt a lot easier than the first couple.

I felt really great when I got home--like I had accomplished something huge. I'm not sure why I felt like that, because I just ran 10 miles on Friday, but today was more of a test of my effort.

So, based on today, it appears that my "easy pace" is about 9:10-9:15-ish. Translating to the paces in the book, I should be able to train for a 1:52:30 half-marathon. My PR is 1:52:07, and I was in much better shape then, so I don't know about training for 1:52! But I think I'll go ahead and try it. I don't have a goal race right now (I'm running the Heartbreak Hill Half, but that's in June (hot), and the day after running a 5K AND a 10K, so I'm not going to be running for speed for that race), but I like having some sort of goal to aim for while training.

Based on a 1:52 half time, my training paces would be as follows:
Easy runs- 9:39
Long runs- 9:18
HM pace runs- 8:35
Strength runs- 8:25
Speed work- 7:33

It's the half-marathon pace runs that make me question whether this is too ambitious. On Thursday, I guess I'll find out--5 miles at 8:35 pace. Worst that could happen is that I'll have to change my goal, so it's no big deal.

We're less than four weeks out from Ragnar SoCal, and Ragnar just changed the leg distances--for the second time! We'd assigned all of our runners to certain positions, based on preferences and pace and all that stuff; then a few months ago, Ragnar switched everything up. So we had to change everything, rearrange runners to different positions, and we were good to go.

Then, a couple of days ago, they did it again. And they were big changes! If someone is planning on (and training for) running, say, 4 miles, 3 miles, and 5 miles for their legs, it's ridiculous to change those legs to something like 8 miles, 5 miles, and 7 miles.

So John and I had to go through everything again, and make adjustments on runner positions. I am still Runner #2, but my legs are now: 7.2, 3, and 2.9, for a total of 13.1. Since I enjoy Ragnar Relays more for the company and fun than for the running, I chose one of the lower mileage positions ;) I also liked that particular one because the legs get progressively shorter, as I get more tired.

Poor Thomas (our fastest runner) has a LOT of miles--5.9, 11.9, and 7.8. But he is now Runner #1, which means he'll be done first, so he can relax a lot longer after his third leg. He complains, but I think he secretly enjoys taking on the "legs of death".

Something that I am thrilled about for this Ragnar is that we reserved a midway hotel to catch a few hours of sleep. For my van, Van #1, we'll start the race at 5:00 in the morning; then we'll have a break  in the afternoon while Van #2 does their legs, and then we'll run our evening legs. After that, we'll get to go to the hotel for about 4 hours! We can shower and nap before our third legs.

If you've ever done an overnight relay, then you know that a shower and a bed in the middle of the race are a total luxury!

This is where we rested between Miami and Key West--it was no hotel! ;)
Going through my photos from Key West brings back so many memories! It makes me ridiculously excited for San Diego. April can't get here fast enough :)


  1. I am running in the Ragnar Adirondacks this fall and can NOT wait! I am so excited to read about your experience too!

  2. Sometimes it´s just like you have to get into the rhythm, it happens to me now and then. :-)

  3. How do you figure out your training paces?

    1. The paces are in a chart in the Hansons Marathon Method book - based on your 5K, 10K and half marathon race times. I love it - the slowest pace works fine if you walk/jog. You can use the pace chart in the book with the Hansons half marathon training chart available online. There is a half marathon Hansons book coming out in April.

    2. Thank you, June! Yes, the training paces are in the Hansons' book.

  4. congrats, girl! I can't wait until I can do that mm I'm a new runner.

  5. It was way colder than I anticipated it would be this morning! I ran 7 miles{my longest distance so far!} and it took me until about noon to warm back up!

  6. Congrats!! You are really motivating me to start running! Once it gets warmer I think I will start. :)

    Please take a look at my new blog! :)

  7. A relay team sounds really fun. I wish I knew enough people to take on something like this. And I might be saying this because I've never experienced it before, but I would think napping on the grass in between legs adds that much more experience and fun? to your trip. I think it sounds hardcore.

    1. Yes, napping on the grass sounded so nice to me, too! It was fun when I wasn't actually trying to sleep; but the music was really loud, and the ground was hard and lumpy, so not great for sleeping ;) I look forward to resting at the exchanges, like in that picture, but it will be so nice to have a place to get actual sleep for a couple of hours!

  8. I still believe you are faster than you think! You can hit a sub 1:50 half, I know it! Also, I didn't realize your last two legs were so short. One of my legs is almost as long as all yours! :P I should just run an extra .5 miles in some parking lot so I hit 26.2. I think I'll feel a lot better about the legs of death Saturday around noon. :)

  9. Your blog is so inspirational! I've lost about 98 pounds in the past two years. I have another 70 to go to meet my goal. I'm getting back into running and am training for a half-marathon in the fall. On days when it seems like even my little 5k runs are too hard, I like to come here and browse through your posts to remind myself that it gets better with time and practice.

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your story and stories from others. It makes it easier to keep going on the tough days.

    1. Thank you, Jen! And a huge congrats to you for your weight loss, and training for half. That's exciting!

  10. I recently found your blog and love it! I usually run 5k's and am seriously thinking of a half marathon in the near future. Keep up the inspiration!


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