Happy Easter runners!! This weekend was the first weekend in a while that ran blissfully smooth. No long run. No race. No evil pox-like sickness that strikes in the middle of the night. I’m a marathoner in taper and I’ll admit it- it feels good!
Last weekend a sudden stomach bug forced me to miss my 20 mile training run on the Boston course, so Owen and I scrambled to get me on the course this weekend. I flip-flopped workout days and we slightly adjusted travel plans so that I could finally attack Heartbreak Hill on Saturday morning! Owen and Lillian dropped me off in West Natick (mile 8) and picked me up just passed Boston College (mile 21 or so). My earlier runs in the week consisted of a couple of lower mileage, easy paced runs to aid in recovery; Saturday was set to be my my toughest workout of the week at a 90 minute run with 5 x 1 mile repeats at 5 seconds below marathon goal pace (with 60 seconds in between).
When Owen dropped me off in West Natick I ‘ll admit it, I was shaking. I wasn’t so much worried about completing the workout, rather I was intimidated about being on the course. The course itself feels like sacred ground that has the power to make or break you. I’m two weeks out from running the Boston Marathon!! THE BOSTON MARATHON!!! Let’s just say that it’s starting to feel real- REALLY real!! Nerves and all, I laced up and headed off to BC!
Saturday was a chilly day, so I grabbed a thin pair of liners…. but could only find right hand gloves (so I just flipped one over and wore it on my left hand, naturally). Where are all my left handed gloves?? Please tell me this happens to other people!?
With nerves in my belly I booked it the 13.5 miles BC with an average pace of 7:24 min/mi.!! The easy days earlier in the week made my legs feel phenomenally fresh and the miles effortlessly ticked away. The overall workout went very well! The mile splits were: 6:58, 6:57, 7:14, 7:12, and 7:16 (the first two were too fast!). Two huge components to successfully racing are (1) the awareness of and (2) ability to control your pace during the race. Even though I can run one mile at a 6:58 pace, I sure as day cannot run 26.2 miles at that pace! It’s not a sprint Kass, it’s a marathon ;). Today’s workout was about dialing into to my breath and body and finding out exactly what 7:15s and 7:20s feel like on the road.
I also realized something kind of cool on this run; somewhere between October and April a 7:15 min/mi pace became doable. Instead of feeling like I am gasping for breath at this pace it feels like I’m simply “adding a little pressure ” to my standard pace. I don’t want to go so far as to say that the pace is easy for me, but it doesn’t scare me anymore and that my friends is what you call progress. It may have taken 6 months, well actually 2 years, but still progress is progress.
The day’s route culminated with my assault of Heartbreak hill, which is really a set of three hills. These hills are nasty, my friends. The first is long and gradual, the second hill is short and steep and the final hill is a mixture of the other two (steep and mid-length). The only upside to the hills is that there is plentiful downhill and opportunity for recovery between each hill. Even though I was supposed to take it easy after my 5×1 workout was completed, it’s tough to go easy on those hills; their sheer presence taunts you to give your all- so I did and it felt good!
I needed this run! After last weekend’s sudden sickness, I needed to get on the course and simply shake the nerves of the intimidating course away from my mind. I finally feel at peace with this course. I feel ready. I am ready. Bring it on Boston!!!
Post-run Owen, Lillian and I headed up to celebrate Easter at my in-laws alpaca farm in Contoocook, New Hampshire. That’s right, my father-in-law retired from the corporate world to breed, raise and sheer alpacas. All I know is that he keeps trying to give one to Lillian at every random holiday- yep, not going to happen, Tom. 😉
Saturday afternoon was incredibly relaxing. We spent most of the afternoon playing various board games, like Candyland! That’s right, Lillian (3.5 yrs) has just started to play board games!! Ahhhh, she’s getting so big!
We also visited a local bison farm in Warner, NH and picked up our first package of Buffalo sausage. I can’t wait to give this a try!
Sunday morning was spent hunting for eggs bright and early!
Afterwards I headed out on an incredibly windy four mile recovery run. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: New Hampshire and recovery don’t go well together. Rolling hills everywhere!
After the incredibly relaxing run we played more board games, got dressed up and enjoyed a delicious meal of grilled lobster and veggies prepared by my wonderful husband and mother-in-law! If there’s one things the Berry’s know, it’s lobster! Love this family <3
This weekend made me slow down a little bit and I loved every minute of it. Great runs, good food, and family time. Perfection!
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend too!
Kass/The Lone Runner