Well, as I mentioned in my last entry, on Sunday morning (1/25), I looked at several half-marathon training plans and decided that the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Training Program looked like a good fit for me. It is a 12 week program, but there are only 9 weeks before my half marathon, so I'm simply skipping the first 3 weeks of the program. I sort-of followed Hal Higdon's beginner marathon program when I was training for the marathon that I completed in October. However, I skipped and/or skimped on quite a few of the program runs. I finished the marathon feeling good, but I know I could have done it faster (i.e. less walking) if I had actually stuck to the program and ran more. So... My goal now is to either (a) run the ING half marathon by my sister's side, or (b) complete the ING half marathon in less than 2:28:04 (last year's best half marathon time). And to accomplish this, I'm going to stick to the training program better than I have in the past. I don't want to say 100%, because inevitably there will be a day that I just can't do it on that day for some reason (illness, crazy work/personal schedule, etc.). So, in discussing this with Kyra the other day, she suggested 85%, because she said that would still be an "A" (in school grades). But now that I'm typing this, I thought 85% was a "B" in school? Oh well, my ideal goal will be 90% since if I remember correctly, that was still an "A" in college. Of course, I will not hate myself if I score a "B", but a "C" or lower is simply unacceptable!
So... here is how my week has progressed:
Monday: Plan called for stretch and strength. I held Kyra and did three sets of 20 squats and boy were my quads sore afterwards! I wanted to do push-ups and crunches, but I started having an upset stomach mid-afternoon and by evening, when I had planned to do strength training with Kyra, my stomach was much worse. After the squats, I spent the next few hours running back and forth to the bathroom. Oh well, I did do some strength training and I have an illness excuse for getting out of the rest.
Tuesday: Plan called for 3.5 mile run. I woke up this morning wondering if the upset stomach was over. I couldn't possibly have anything left in my system. I felt week and still not the greatest so I didn't run on the treadmill. I told myself that if I felt better later, I would run when I arrived in Wilmington, NC. So, I showered and put on my running clothes. After getting Kyra to school and the dogs to Funnybones, I went to the office and picked up the government vehicle. I was off to a later start than I had hoped. After lunch I started feeling a little better. But because I left so late, I knew it would be dark when I arrived in Wilmington. So, I remembered that Sesquicentennial State Park is not far off the highway in Columbia, SC. I went running there years ago and enjoyed running on the dirt roads. So, I stopped there and headed out for my 3.5 mile run. I couldn't remember how long the loop trail was, so I thought I would simply turn around at 1.75 miles. This turned out to be my only choice. At about a 1.5 miles, there was a sign that said the road was closed for the season. So, I made a left turn into the scout camping area, followed the trail to the lake, jogged along the lake a minute or two and then turned around. It was so peaceful running through the woods along the dirt road! By the time I got back to the starting point, I had gone 3.61 miles. I consider this an "A+".
Wednesday: Plan called for a 35 minute tempo run. I had planned to run on the beach or at Wrightsville Beach loop, but a major storm came with pounding rain and 40 mph gusts of wind. So I went to plan B; hotel treadmill. I warmed up for 10 minutes, ran 20 minutes at 6 mph, then cooled down jog for 5 minutes (total 35); then added a 5 minutes walk. The running portion was 3.2 miles. Grade: 100 or A
Thursday: Plan called for a 3 mile run. I had wanted to get up early and run on the beach, but it was still raining. So I went back to sleep for another hour and then left the hotel wearing my running clothes for my drive back to Atlanta. I thought about stopping at a State Park, but wasn't sure how traffic would be so I didn't risk it. I got back in time to do a 3.00 mile run at Lilburn nature path before picking up Kyra from day care. Grade: 100 or A
Friday: Plan called for Rest, so that's exactly what I did. Absolutely no running.
Saturday: Plan called for 3 mile run. It was 27 degrees when I got up this morning. The forecast predicted 52 by 3 p.m. so I chose to wait until the afternoon to run. I don't like these tights with a zipper at the ankle. It rubbed uncomfortably. I did an easy 3-mile run from my house and made a point to jog up each hill rather than walking up most like I usually do. Afterwards, I took the pups for a 1-mile walk around the block. Grade: 105 or A+ (extra credit for the dog walk :).
Sunday: Plan called for 7 mile run. For the last 2 days I've wondered where I should do this run. I couldn't think of any great options. I like Silver Comet Trail, but was it worth it to drive so far for only a 7 mile run? Another options was simply run from my house down to the park and then some, but that didn't sound appealing either. I wasn't up to the hills of Stone Mountain either. So, Sunday afternoon I looked in my old log book to figure out where I ran 7 miles before. The Suwanee Greenway Trail! I liked that trail! So, that was the answer... I had a late lunch of soup, changed into running clothes, packed a bag of dry t-shirt and sweatshirt for afterwards, grabbed a snack and headed to the Greenway. I had a gel pack in my bag and meant to pin it to my shorts before I started my run, but guess what? I forgot! I carried an aluminum bottle of water on the run. When I realized 2 miles into it that I had forgotten the gel, I thought that since I had had a snack on the drive, maybe I wouldn't need it. Wrong! At about 5 miles I was really starting to slow down. I wasn't bonking, but I think if I had had a sugary snack or drink, I would have had sufficient energy to push harder to the end. Oh well... I did make the 7.03 miles, walking some, and going slow. I guess that's why they call them LSD "long slow distance" training runs. And now that I've run it recently, there a lots of hills on this trail too. But having some of be on dirt trails through the woods is much more appealing than the pavement/concrete of Stone Mountain. Afterwards, I treated myself to my favorite mexican restaurant. Although I changed tops in the car, I started shivering mid-meal. The frozen margarita was refreshing to my soul, but it probably wasn't the best choice while wearing sweat soaked clothes. At home, I took a hot shower, but it just wasn't hot enough. Now I'm in pj's and a sweatshirt and am ready for bed.
Days run this week: 5
Miles run this week: 19.88
Goal for next week: Run 5 days in accordance with Week 5 of Half-marathon training plan