Peak Weeks

So I’ve been slacking on the blog writing the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with work, training and socializing and honestly just not felt like putting all my thoughts into words on the screen. I have a really awesome post with some fun gear I received but it’s just not ready yet, hopefully tomorrow night I’ll get that one up.

After running the monster dash I definitely wasn’t feeling great but it was time to get back out there and start running 20+ miles in a week. My long run was set for 12 miles. I knew this was going to be the big one for me. It was the also the last training session with Team Challenge that I was going to be able to make before the race. The group was meeting at Stone Mountain to run the 5 miles around the base. Honestly that run SUCKS, it’s super hilly and I just wasn’t ready to face hills for 12 miles. Luckily there is a flat trail that starts at Stone Mountain heading east back to Atlanta. My trusty running partner Carmen was all about running on a flat trail so she agreed to go that route with me. She was only doing 8 miles, so we ran 4 miles out and then back. Carmen and I run a similar pace and usually fall into a groove while running. Our coach Max went along with us on his bike, keeping us company and cheering us on. The 8 miles with Carmen went well, when we said bye at mile 8 and I turned around for two out and two back I knew this is when it was going to get tough. Around mile 10 I hit a wall, pretty hard. I was running low on fluids, it had gotten pretty hot. I stripped off the arm warmers I was wearing and instantly started to feel better. I put my head down and just kept pushing through. The worst part about the trail I was running on was I had to stop a couple times for red lights to cross streets. I’m fine if I can keep running but the whole stopping thing really throws me off. I was toast by the time I hit 12 miles, it took me around 2:35 with the stopping at the red lights.

The next week of training was supposed to be a recovery week, so the runs were a little bit shorter this time, my long run was only 8 miles. I had plans to head to South Carolina for homecoming weekend to watch a lil Gamecock football and hang out with my best friends. This meant the long run had to happen on Friday, I took the day off from work and just had to go in for a lunch so I did got up and headed to my favorite trail along the Chattahoochie river. Brought a new Gu to try out that had 2x the caffeine (I usually use the caffeine free Gu) since I was running in the morning and wanted to see if the caffeine would have any effect on my running. The first 4 miles went well, I took the Gu at my turnaround point and wow did I feel the caffeine. I just kind of took off. I ran around 11:20, 10:40, 10:20 and 10:04 for the last four miles. Now this is FAST for me, like really fast. I usually do long runs around 12 min miles sometimes 11:45 if I’m having a good day. I felt really great this entire time and pushed myself at the end. I know I’m not the fastest runner but times like that just make me so happy. I really like the 8 mile distance I think it’s actually my favorite. After this run was complete I was ready to enjoy my weekend and you can see the highlights below…

Brittaney, Austin and I at Flying Saucer

KT and I before the Gamecock vs. Arkansas game

My favorite place in the Fall – Williams Brice Stadium

The USC Smokestack – Head towards that to find the beautiful Horseshoe

After my fun weekend was over it was time to get back on the running grind. It was my peak week of training and 23 miles were on the schedule. My 6 mile tempo run went great I felt good and ran faster on the treadmill than I ever had before. My 5 mile easy run did not go so well. I decided it would be a good decision to eat a big piece of cake around 3 pm and then run around 6. Needless to say I almost vomited and had to take this run at a slow pace.

For my last long run of training for this half marathon I wanted to simulate race day as much as I could. Since my half marathon starts at 4:30 I wanted to see how I would feel with a set meal that I could have when I’m in Vegas. I stayed out a little late on Friday night but didn’t drink. I still woke up with a headache even after sleeping in til 8:30. I was just not feeling good most of this day, but I didn’t want to put off the run because if I have a headache on race day I won’t have a choice but to struggle through it. I picked a new trail for this run after hearing good things about the Silver Comet Trail that is over 30 miles that stretches from a Suburb of Atlanta to Alabama. I started a little after 4 and was planning on 6 miles out and 6 miles back. One thing I didn’t factor in was how effing dark it would get and that there were no lights on the trail. I made it 9.5 miles before it was pitch black. The run was going great, my legs felt awesome and the Gu’s I had taken were making a difference. The temperature was just right. Really no complaints, but as it got darker and darker, my fear of getting killed like an episode of Criminal Minds was becoming more and more real. I took my headphones out and decided I needed to be on the phone with someone the rest of the my run. No one knew where I was and I was alone in an area I didn’t know. I called my mom and made sure she knew exactly where I was and made her stay on the phone with me as I ran 2.5 miles to my car. This entire run I was going pretty fast. I kept every mile under 12 min, and I think was under 11:45 min miles most of the time. The last few miles I started flying. Fear is a great motivator and I pushed it. Fortunately my mom is a saint and kept me entertained as I ran the last few miles. I made it 12 miles in 2:19:26, cutting 15 min off my time 2 weeks prior. I’ll take it!

I know what you’re thinking, wow Amy you’re a total idiot for running in the dark, alone on a trail I didn’t know. Honestly I’m thinking that too. That was a terrible call on my part and I will never do that again. I just assumed there would be lights on the trail and I just went for it. Scary enough I was talking to a friend about it the next day and she told me she heard there has been a woman who was raped and killed on the trail a year or so ago so I’m glad I made it out safely and will stick to the trail in the day light hours only.

Overall the last 3 weeks of training have been great. There have been some ups and downs but I’m feeling ready for the half marathon. I’m also only $217.63 away from my fundraising goal for Team Challenge. If you would like to help me reach my goal please donate here.

The next two weeks leading up to the half will be like a recovery week. I’m turkey trotting with my mom on Thursday and I’m hoping to blow my 5k PR of 32:07 out of the water, at least by 2 minutes. Here’s to a great week with my family before I head out to Vegas to take down the Rock N Roll Half Marathon!

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3 thoughts on “Peak Weeks

  1. Great post on running! I’m looking forward to reading about the Rock N’ Roll Half. I still have to decide on what half marathon to do next year (it will be my first) and the Vegas one looks like it will be neat.

  2. Great post on running! I’m looking forward to reading about your run in the Rock N’ Roll half in Vegas. I still have to choose which half I’ll do next year (it will be my first) and that one looks pretty neat. (Sorry if this post shows up twice, but I think my first post got eatten by the internet)

    • Pick a fun one! It’s more motivating for me because this race is big, at night and in a city I love! Plus a lot of my friends will be running it.

      And make sure to give yourself enough time to train. I gave myself 11 months (but I couldn’t run 30 sec straight then) and I feel so ready for this half.

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