Jemez 50K Training, Week 7: Cowtown Half Marathon
After last week’s running boredom, I looked forward to taking three full days off before running the Cowtown Half Marathon on Sunday. Taking three days off before a race has always worked well for me, and I arrive feeling rested and excited to race at the start line. I was also looking forward to a short weekend away from home and running on a new course. Part of my running boredom is nothing more than always running the same routes, over and over, or the same few trails, and I was really looking forward to running in a different location. I was hoping that running a half marathon would also reset all my buttons and break up some of the tedium of training — and that’s exactly what happened. There’s nothing better than running a good race.
MON: Yoga – 40:00 – I was feeling pretty sore from our short trail run yesterday, especially in the calf muscles and left groin area (which has been flaring up off and on recently, probably because of the hill work). Concentrated on forward bends and opening the hips, and felt great afterwards.
TUE: Hill Run – 6 mi – Since we’re officially tapering before Saturday’s half marathon, Liz and I ran the hilly path rather than the more challenging hill route we run on Wednesdays. It was another gorgeous, early spring morning, with blue skies and temps in the mid 40’s. Though I am sad to see our Texas winter slowly fade away, I can’t complain about these perfect mornings for running. I loved that the hilly path seemed easy, and I especially loved feeling so strong on the hills.
WED: Easy Run – 4.2 mi – It was thundering and hailing when I got up to run with Liz, so we pushed the run back to this afternoon. It was a true winter day, with cloudy skies and a blustery wind from the north. I think we would have run 6 miles if the wind hadn’t been so bitterly cold, so we cut it short and kept a relatively easy pace. I’m really looking forward to three days off from running, some longer yoga sets, and then the Cowtown Half Marathon on Sunday.
THU: Yoga – 40:00 – Enjoyed my first day of taper before the half marathon on Sunday. Did twists and back bends, then took the dogs for a long walk in the evening. After a brief rain storm this morning, it turned out to be a gorgeous, warm day. I’m really looking forward to getting away for the weekend and running a half. My last half was in Eugene almost a year ago and I loved the course. For me, half marathons are truly a fun distance to run. I can push the pace, enjoy the course, and not feel as beat up afterwards as I always do after a marathon. Liz and I are going to try and run a sub 2:00 hour. We’ve both been running really well lately, so I think it’s possible. It’s predicted to be “breezy,” and wind is not my friend during a race, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t materialize. If it does, though, we’ll still have a fun race.
FRI: REST DAY – A total rest day (except for packing for the race)!
SAT: Rest Day – Liz and I took the train over to Ft Worth and met up with Heather at the hotel, which was a very short walk from the train station. I was glad I decided to stay with them overnight in Ft Worth rather than drive over from Dallas before the race. We took the free trolley to Uno’s pizzeria for dinner and met Hari, his family, Amy, and Aaron. The restaurant was packed, but it was worth the wait because the pizza was amazing. Liz, Heather, and I went back to the room and got everything ready for the race, then it was lights out at 9pm. As always, I tossed and turned all night, nervous about the race. Some things never change, no matter the distance.
SUN: COWTOWN HALF MARATHON, Ft Worth – Sometimes everything comes together on race day and you have an amazing run. Today was one of those days for me. The weather was perfect (cold and wind-free), the course was hilly enough to add some variety, and overall I just felt very, very good. I decided not to wear my Garmin — a first for me — and tried to run according to how I felt. When I got to the top of the long hill around mile 9 (where I silently thanked all those hills I’ve been running lately) I felt great, and pushed the pace with a smile on my face. I went from a 9:10 average at mile 3 to an 8:50 finish in my second fastest half marathon ever (1:55:48), and the fastest finish I’ve had since 2010. It feels good to pull that off but, like I said, sometimes it all just comes together. The most important thing is that I truly enjoyed every minute!
Stats for WEEK 7: Run – 23.4 miles, Yoga – 1:20:00
It was a great day!
Congratulations on a well-run stampede! Good performance too. It’s good to read the way your week looked before the Half, with the taper, weather and benefits of recovery. Great post.
Thanks, Mike. Sometimes we over-think things and wonder why we have a bad race. Other times we hardly plan and have a great race anyway. I like to be somewhere in the middle!
Angela – You must be flying high. What an amazing week and race. You blew 2:00 out of the water! Congrats. After that performance, you’re going to earn a nickname like “The Hill Slayer.”
By the way, I absolutely love the photo you took of the start/finish line. How did you manage to pull off such a beautiful photo? Was there a hill or something you climbed up?
Thanks! I love The Hill Slayer nickname. I might have to make that my new hill mantra.
My husband took the start/finish photo from the top of a parking garage. It is actually eight separate photos that he stitched together into a panorama.
I love how when you just allow things somehow it all comes together. So glad you had a great race and what an amazing (almost) PB! Nice to hear this was a solid, enjoyable race as part of your training.
To me, the best races are the ones that just seem to happen on their own. I guess I’m kind of zen that way, but I like to see how I feel the first few miles and let that determine how much I will push the pace. Yesterday I felt good the entire race, but felt incredible at the top of the hill at mile 9 and decided to keep the momentum going to the finish. It was really fun!
That sounds great. The zen way is the best way!
Great picture of you and Liz! I’m addicted to my garmin – but I bet it was freeing to just run what you felt like running. Happy you, Liz and Heather had a great time.
It really was freeing to run without a watch. The first few miles were frustrating because it was so crowded and the streets were narrow, but once it thinned out I loved running without worrying about my pace. It was such a fun experience.
Well done on the half mara. Great time and you look like you are having so much fun in the photo 🙂
Thank you. I was having a blast!
But the girl behind you wasn’t.
Congrats! Love when the race just comes together. I love the cold ones too – as long as they are just cold, no wind, no rain, no snow. Just cold. Yum. Savor your victory!
We fixate on the weather so much before a race, it really is nice when the conditions are perfect. They so rarely are here in Texas.
Great job on your second fastest 1/2m time Angela. You must be delighted.
On 25 Feb 2013, at 22:59, RUN NATURE wrote
Thank you, I am happy with the time. I had a blast! All my friends who ran that day had fast finishes as well, so it was a good day all around.
Glad to hear about your break from monotony. You’ve written about several topics lately that I’ve been thinking about during runs and while looking at my blog page. Sometimes it’s just easier to read someone else’s words than to create my own. Thanks for the blog posts!
Sorry for psychically stealing your blog ideas! 🙂 Actually, the same thing has been happening to me. I keep coming across posts with topics I’ve already started writing about and then abandon because they’ve stated it better than I could put into words.
I do always look forward to your posts. Even if it’s the same topic, everyone has their own unique perspective.