Respect the 5!

Finally writing after a long and fabulous day!

This morning was the “shortest long run” of my training cycle – just 5 miles. We’ll continue to build mileage and decrease, but this is the shortest number of miles I’ll run on a Saturday until…after the marathon, I guess! It’s funny because all day yesterday I kept laughing off the 5 – I nearly did 5 on my regular Tuesday run, for pete’s sake – but every time I got overconfident I kept thinking that it was going to be harder than I’d planned. I didn’t even sleep well last night because I kept thinking about it – so strange, right!? Last weekend I did 7 and felt awesome; you’d think I’d be fine with 5! And apparently I wasn’t the only one to feel that way – when I met up with my group it was a little chilly and really breezy, but we all kept saying “eh, it’s only 5” – like, who cares if conditions aren’t perfect, we won’t be out there long!

And of course it was the LONGEST 5 MILES EVER! Oh my lord! I just kept wondering when it was going to end! I guess part of the problem was that we ran a twisty/turny course to evade some strong winds, so it’s not like it was a simple out and back that I could keep track of. And the pace just felt a little faster than what I’m comfortable with, which was not a good feeling. Before we headed out, one of the women in my group was talking about defaulting to the 12-minute pace group; she said she was able to keep up with our 11:30 group but it was a struggle, and one of the other women said something like “well your long runs should be comfortable, because you’ll be running faster the day of the marathon – your race pace will be faster.” And for whatever reason that stuck in my head and I kept thinking that I should be in the slower group too. But there are two reasons I don’t want to default: one is that I feel like if I work hard enough, I should be fine with 11:30; it’s more a pride thing than anything. And the other is that the other group is running at a 4:2 ratio, so four mins running and two walking – I just did my 1/2 marathon at a 6:1 and my current marathon group goes at a 5:1; I feel like going all the way down to a 4:2 would be a step in the wrong direction.

Next week is 9 miles and I think I’ll gain some more clarity. For one thing, my current pace leader is going to offer a run/walk at 11-minute miles, which is too fast for me – I’ll miss running with her (I really liked her low-key personality), but I figure if she leads a faster group and a few of my current pace-mates default to the slower group, the ones sticking around will make a concerted effort to stay exactly at the 11:30 pace (right now we frequently run just a bit faster than needed; I think slowing down just a tiny bit will help me a lot). My new pace leader will be a woman who joined us for the first time today (she had prior commitments the past two weekends) – she has a strong personality but that might be exactly what I need to keep up.

So I guess either way I’m in a good spot – I can push myself to stay where I’m at or I can duck down to the slower level. That’s what the practice runs are all about, right? Figuring out the details so that once the real thing rolls around you’ve experimented plenty and you know what works for you.

Anyway, the rest of my day was just lovely – the weather was gorgeous and I took a little road trip to some outlets in Indiana. Not just any outlets though – outlets that are equidistant between Chicago and Kalamazoo, Michigan, where one of my absolute dearest friends lives with her husband and two kids. We meet up at these outlets every now and then for lunch and shopping, and today was just as great a visit as usual! Afterwards I went grocery shopping and cooked this yummy shrimp/tomato/feta situation for dinner and now I am appropriately exhausted after a long but fantastic day!

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