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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beach Bliss and Long Run Negative Splits

Last week we were in Bethany Beach, DE with all four of my sisters and their families and my mom for our annual family beach vacation.  There are ten grandchildren ranging in age from 14 years to 6 months.  When we are ALL together, which basically happens once a year, it is complete chaos mixed with lots of love and laughter and always at least one or two episodes of drama.  We survive though, and come away from the trip with wonderful sun-kissed memories and look forward to doing it again the next year.
I'm grateful for my family.
Bethany Beach is the place where all of my very best childhood memories were created.  It is where I spent each and every summer from the time I was a baby until I was in my early twenties.  We had a little townhouse there, about a mile from the ocean.  My mom was a teacher and when school got out she would pile my three sisters and I into the car and drive us there.  We would stay the whole summer until it was time to head back to school.  My love for this place goes deep.  About 12 years ago my parents sold our townhouse so now we go one week a summer all together.  I love sharing this special place with my children and going back there as an adult is a truly wonderful experience for me.

I ran every day on my vacation, logging 42 miles in 6 days.  I got to run alone, with my sister Jodi who is also training for MCM, and with my sister Alissa who is just getting back into her running routine (we ran the Chicago Marathon together in 2004!).  It was awesome.  Every mile was run with a goofy grin on my face, I'm sure.  My heart was just flooded with happy memories and so much gratitude.  For my family and for my life.  There are too many blessings to count.
Me & Lissa...reunited!
The first run I went on was a 14 miler last Saturday.  My coach instructed us to run the first 8 slow and easy and then increase our pace for the last 6 miles - so we would be at marathon pace or faster by the run's end.  It was excellent.  I ran Mile 1 in 9:44 and Mile 14 in 7:45, and I felt like I could just keep going.  My average pace for that run was a 9:02 which is pretty consistent with how I've been running long lately.  The rest of my runs during the week were great, too - alternating easy days with some speed work (Monday was a modified tempo, Wednesday was 6x800s).  All in all, it was an excellent vacation and such a treat to run in a place I love so very much with two of my favorite people on the planet.
Me & Jojo on the Bethany boardwalk  

We got home on Friday night and yesterday I had an 18 mile run with my training group.  I wasn't feeling settled in at home at all and when I woke so early yesterday morning I felt a little out of sorts.  My sister Jodi is out of town for another week at the beach (this time with her husband's family in the Outer Banks, lucky duck!) so I really missed our early morning routine together.  It worked out though and I wound up having another amazing long run.  I ran the first 10 miles with Terri, a woman from the group who I have seen at the track a bunch.  We had great conversation and the miles passed quickly and steadily as a result.  I run a bit faster than Terri and she planned to do 16 miles instead of 18 so after the first 10 miles and we said goodbye and wished each other well.  My next 8 miles were increasingly faster and I finished really strong.  My average pace was a 9:05.  Here are the splits:

Mile 1: 9:59
Mile 2: 9:28
Mile 3: 9:39
Mile 4: 9:25
Mile 5: 9:27
Mile 6: 9:37
Mile 7: 10:03
Mile 8: 9:29
Mile 9: 9:46
Mile 10: 9:37
Mile 11: 8:30
Mile 12: 8:50
Mile 13: 8:43
Mile 14: 8:28
Mile 15: 8:22
Mile 16: 8:14
Mile 17: 8:08
Mile 18: 7:56

This is not how my coach instructed us to do the 18 miles.  She said to do it at one slow steady pace.  I get that, yet I broke the rules anyway and while I'm happy with my splits I'm also starting to think I need to adjust what "slow and steady" means for me these days because I am obviously getting faster and stronger (yay!) and I don't want to mess that up by being stupid about my long runs.  I seem to be making a habit out of the negative split thing with my long runs.  In general, I think this is a really good thing because I'm feeling really GREAT during my run, at the end of my run, and the day after my run. Please tell me what you think, though...I would really love to hear your thoughts about how you determine your long run pace especially as your fitness improves and what you think about negative splits on long runs (sometimes vs. always), etc. 

Thanks and it's good to be back!!

3 comments:

Your long run looks great to me!!!!

So I have a pretty amazing coach. You can google him (Joe Burgasser). Never met the guy, as he lives in FL and I am in AZ, so we do everything via e-mail. Love Joe. He keeps it simple (and his numbers speak for themselves... the guy knows what he's doing). The only thing he has told me for my long runs is that the second half should be a harder effort than the first. Going by that advice, you're rocking it! Keep on keepin' on. I can't wait to see how your half goes in a couple of weeks.

GREAT JOB!!!! My training plans actually have me run slow and steady for the first chunk of the long run and then kick it up to my marathon pace for the last 4-6 miles to practice running at race pace on tired legs. So I think as long as you feel good go for it! Great job! :)

thanks so much you guys, that makes me feel a lot better about my long runs. i am so thankful for your comments and encouragement!!

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