The holiday season is upon us. For most, the holidays mean holiday parties, lots of over indulging and gaining an extra 5 lbs. For those of us training for a January race, it means excusing ourselves early from the holiday parties and not over indulging...after all, we have a long run the next day and we want to avoid putting on that 5 lbs!
Last year, I had a lofty weight loss goal for the months of November and December. Lighter = Faster, I thought. I actually did lose weight during the holidays! This year, my goal isn't quite as ambitious - I just want to maintain during the holidays. No weight gain! Of course, the ever increasing mileage is certainly helping with that.
This past week was a tough one. The hubby was out of town, which meant no 4 am morning runs. And since the treadmill is officially dead, that meant no runs after the kiddos were in bed. I did manage to get in 4 miles on Monday morning before the hubby left town. But the lunchtime runs I was hoping for never happened. Well, except for a mediocre 2-miler I squeezed in between meetings one day. I also did one day of P90X and one day with Ab Ripper X.
Fortunately, the hubby was back in time for me to run my long run on Saturday. 12-miles. My last 12-miler was a few weeks ago...the day after one of those holiday parties. For that run, I was really proud of myself - I managed a 10:23 pace for the distance, which is faster than my January 1/2 marathon "race" pace of 10:34. And, that pace felt fan-freaking-tastic. So maybe that speed work is actually working? Hmmmm, imagine that! This week, my pace hovered around10:20. I wanted a negative split, so at mile 7 I picked up the pace a tiny bit. My final pace was 10:16....however, I will say that the last two miles were rough. I felt great until I hit mile 10 - that's when my legs were done. Bonk. Toast. I even took a short walk break at mile 10. Miles 11 and 12 were done at 9:59 and 10:22 respectively...not terrible, but I can usually really pick up the pace in my final few miles. That was just not the case on this run.
I'm not sure what might have happened. Maybe a 10:20-something pace is all my legs can take right now. I hope not. Maybe I should have planned my nutrition better - I only had gel one at mile 6 and about 16 oz of Gatorade. The temps were perfect (high 30s), so that wasn't it. My nutrition all week had been right on target, so that wasn't it either. I didn't eat a real dinner the night before, but that's not unusual.
What I do know is that my quads were super sore for the rest of the day. What I know is that the 1st 9 miles of that run felt great. What I also know is that if the temps are nice and cool, the planets align, and the running gods are smiling down on me on race day....I might just have a nice little PR in January. What I do know is that I would love that! Maybe eventually I won't feel like such a slow runner...heck middle of the pack is better than back of the pack, so I'll take it.