I’ve had some major running moments this week!

The biggest is finally conquering the tempo run and running my fastest 5 miles ever.  The second is going out of my comfort zone and running 8 miles in the cold—I even saw a few light snow flakes!  I’ve talked so much this week on the blog about finding your “southern comfort.”  But there was something magical for me in going completely out of my comfort zone.  I don’t step out of my box very often, but when I do I find that it can be an amazing experience.

HERE is a link to my 10K training plan!

HERE is my summary of week 1.

HERE is my summary of week 2.

This is how last week’s training went–

MONDAY: Rest Day (I ran 7 miles the Sunday before and always take a rest day on runs longer than 6 miles.)

TUESDAY: 5 mile tempo run on schedule!

After 2 tempo run fails, I am determined to hit my goal paces.  The weather is an awesome, unseasonable 60 degrees and I’m thrilled to run outside.  My training schedule says I need to run 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 9:52 pace and 1 mile cool down.   It looks simple enough on paper and I put on my game face.

I run the first mile at a comfortable 10:12 pace.  At the first mile marker I carefully hit the lap button on my watch (last week I accidently turned off my watch at this point instead) and concentrate on keeping my legs moving quicker.  I try to feel the faster pace in my legs so I will be less reliant on my GPS watch telling me my speed.  My GPS watch beeps indicating I hit the 2 mile marker and gives me a 9:45 pace- yes!  I keep going, trying to keep my focus on my speed and clock a 9:40 and 9:49 mile.  I am so happy to get my times.  I run that last mile at what is supposed to be a cool down pace and see a surprising 9:57 on the clock when I’m done.  When I stop, I am thrilled to see my fastest 5 miles ever on my watch!  *mental note- sign up for an 8K*

5miler

Don’t you love running days like this!

WEDNESDAY: 45 minutes on elliptical, plus stretching and ab work.  I’m feeling uninspired but I get in a good workout.

THURSDAY: 4 miles speed work on schedule!

The weather is a disaster.  Cold, Windy and there is flooding from the night before.  The treadmill is my best option again.

This week I am supposed to do 4 speedy pickups at a 9:04 pace.  I figured out last week that my go-to speed work pace of 6.8 on the treadmill was actually a 8:50 miles.  I decide to stick with the faster pace since I’ve been hitting them.  I need to do 3 quarter mile pickups and 1 half mile pickup.

I am exhausted from a very hectic week at work and I’m not sure how I’m going to finish.  I concentrate on getting my speed work in.  The half mile at the fast pace is a real challenge.  I really feel like this is helping my legs learn how to run fast though, so I power through.

I get in my pickups and do a quarter mile cool down.  The treadmill says 3.1 miles and I’m completely spent. I decide to walk out the rest of the run.  I finished all my speed work, but cut the cool down short.   I feel lame for quitting early but it was the best I could do considering how tired I was.

FRIDAY: 20 minute yoga DVD and 30 minutes elliptical.  I am worn out from work but these short workouts keep my energy up.

SATURDAY: 7 or 8 miles on schedule.

When I made the schedule I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to an 8 mile run for a 10K training schedule.  I gave myself an option to run 7 or 8 depending on how everything was going.  My 7 mile run went so well and I felt lame for cutting my midweek 4 miler short so I decide to commit to 8 miles.

It’s cold outside (30’s) but I really don’t want to run 8 miles on the treadmill so I decide to give my cold weather running gear a solid test run.  I decide to aim for a 10:20 pace to start and run faster at the halfway mark if I can.  But my main goal is to finish feeling good.

I start running and clock a 10:26 mile.  My time is a little slow because I’m dodging flooded paths in the park.  At the second mile I realize half the park is closed due to flooding and I’m going to be stuck running around one small area unless I go out to a main road.  I decide to go out to the road but quickly regret that decision.  Even though I am very safe on a sidewalk there are so many cars rushing by that I feel uncomfortable.  I have to cross intersections and slow down.  At the same time the sun is barely peaking through the clouds and my running jacket gets way too hot.  It just doesn’t breathe at all and I feel overheated.  I clock a 10:20 and a 10:38 mile.  I even think about quitting early.

cloudy

I finally start feeling my stride a little more and decide to go back to the park and circle the un-flooded areas.  I am feeling a little weak so I eat the emergency “gu” I stashed in my jacket.  I feel more energy and run a 10:17 mile and 10:14 mile.

Around the 5 mile mark it starts turning cloudier and windy.  The wind is brutal and I notice the jacket is at least blocking the wind.  I run a 10:23 and a 10:19 mile and hit the 7 mile marker.  I consider quitting again.  I had given myself the option of only running 7 miles right?

But right when I think of calling it quits I start thinking about the blog and how I did not want to write about stopping another run early.  I wanted to share a story of overcoming adversity in a run!  I smile and decide to finish strong and just at that beautiful moment of clarity three small snow flakes fall from the cloudy skies.

That is a moment when I realize I am doing something I’d said I never do.  I never wanted to run in the snow.  But you know what?  It is sort of beautiful and magical.  And even though my feet never stop moving, it is like the world stops for just a minute.  I have a moment where I figure if I can do this, I can do anything.

It’s running moments like these that keep me lacing up my sneakers on days I’m tired or busy… because every once in awhile you experience something so beyond your comfort level that you feel like you have wings.

Ahhh… yes… the runners high.  Isn’t it nice.  I clock mile 8 at 10:00 pace.

8miler

Despite the problems in the middle of the run I end up with a solid 10:20 average for the whole run.  That is not as fast as I had hoped for, but it is so much faster than any running I had been doing during the marathon.   This will be one of those runs I’ll remember for a long time.

SUNDAY: Rest Day

Overall, Week 3 of training was certainly memorable!  I still need to master the art of dressing to run in the cold.  I either seem to hot or too cold.  This week I’m going to continue to work on keeping the speed up!  Just two more weeks until the race!

QUESTIONS:

Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and ended up doing something really cool?

What is your training highlight this week?

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