Monday, January 17, 2011

New PR and WS100 Training Week 6

Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon
Yesterday was the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon in Phoenix, AZ and my 47th marathon state! It is also the home of my new PR time of 3:21:05!!! I'm happy to report that despite the sore legs from WS training, I had my most consistent race ever, running 7:40 - miles through the whole race from start to finish. 
Race Day
When we got to the start it was definitely chilly but we knew how hot it could get in AZ and how hot it got Saturday during the day. Prior to the race we found as many marathon maniacs as possible to get together for a picture with a sign for Greg to let him know that we were thinking about him and missed him. It was a lot of fun meeting up with so many marathon maniacs and half fanatics! As with most rocknroll marathons there is a LOT of excitement around the MANY corrals. In this one, however, the half and full started at separate times about a block away. They also finished at about a block from our finish, so we never really saw them. 

When I run, I have various mental check points where I check my pace, take a mental checklist my legs, lungs, and general fatigue, then I change my plan depending on the results. Most people remember things around them at marathons (people, sites, turns, etc), I remember paces and mental inventories. This is what was going on at the various points....

Mile 1! (yes, mile 1 is a check point)
By the time we toed the start line it was warming up already. I was very concerned about the sun and dry heat and planned on getting as many solid miles in as possible before the heat got too much and I hit the wall! Having started with the front runners I focused on NOT getting caught up in their pace and finding my own, not allowing myself to drop below a 7:30 pace in the first mile. I hit the first around a 7:35 and felt good about it, but focused on slowing down to a  7:40. 

Mile 6!
Knowing I have 20 to go feels so much better than 26 so I always check here. At 6 I felt like the miles were flying by. I had my pace staying right between 7:39 and 7:41. Good! It was really starting to warm up, but luckily the sun was coming up at our backs. I got warm, but wasn't TOO warm quite yet. I felt good and knew I could go faster, but I didn't want to push it too soon then hit a wall in the last 6. Only 4 miles to go until 10!

Mile 10!
I start feeling very comfortable in marathons once I hit this point. 16 miles is nothing compared to 26 and absolutely doable. I was still doing my 7:40's and we actually hit a tinnnny downhills, which compared to the graded uphill, felt like a relief to the legs. I started picking it up out of sheer thrill of changing up muscles, but I pulled myself back yet again. I wanted to stay steady for at least another 3 and if I needed to slow down I could do it at the half. 

Mile 13!
I felt great at this point. This is the first marathon where I didn't say "ok I have to do THAT all over again" (with "that" being the first 13 miles). I felt good and could go faster, but I had a hunch I should just maintain my 7:40's and wait for the wall to hit as it inevitably would. I only had another 5 until the the graded uphill was finished so I looked forward to that. 

Miles 18/19
This is around the point that the slightly graded uphill starts leveling out and it's also when we hit the single digits remaining. People around me were slowing down like crazy and I found myself pumping harder, but only to maintain pace. I was getting a little tired but the thrill of passing so many people and running such a consistent race helped me to keep the pace up.

At this point I had solidified my mantra to be ... "Relaxed, controlled, at tempo"

Mile 22
With 4 to go, I had a young buck trying to race me. It was kind of cute but he had no shot. The college kid was huffing and puffing with 4 miles to go. Just for fun I would slow down and speed up to see just how tightly he was holding on. We hit a small hill somewhere soon after this and I raced up it to try and keep my pace at 7:40. That's when I lost him. I waited at the finish to find him, but after about 5 minutes I gave up. Poor kiddo.

Mile 24
I love having only 2 more miles to go and I was especially thrilled because I had kept a 7:40 through the whole race and knew I had a very good shot at making NYC qualifying time if I could run 2- miles at an 8 min/mile pace. In the last mile I passed 2 GE-runners that were on my team as well as a woman I was chasing down at Foot Hills Flat marathon back over the summer... posted here. At that race, I was in no mood to run, and followed after her just to have a goal. She was well beyond my pace, but I thought it would be fun. She killed me then, now... I was beating her! 

I came around the corner and hadn't realized just HOW close I was to the finish. I had been focused on passing and keeping up my pace. When the finish line came in sight, I picked it up and sprinted in to try and get in as fast as possible. If I was getting a PR, I was going to milk it for every second possible. I turned to find the woman from foothills and asked her if it was really her. She said yes and goes "well you smoked me today." I found one of my GE teammates but not the other before they made us keep moving. 

WS100 Training ~ Week 6!
I've finally started to get into mileage I'm not used to for WS Training. I now see the point of the 3 weeks up, then 1 drop down week. The first week feels good at first then you start to tire. By the end of the 2nd week you're sore, the 3rd week is a PUSH to get through the mileage (and that's where you start building) then you have a drop down week to recover. Since we're on the end of the 2nd week, I was feeling a little tired by marathon eve, as I wrote about in the last post. This is where it's going to become tough to keep up training, and trying to have fast marathons. I know as I get further along I'm going to have t slow myself down because I'll be tired on the weekend, and because I'll have another long run the next day. 

As you can see, the schedule shows Tues-Mon instead of Mon-Sun. Since I have a series of Sunday marathons I'm went ahead and pushed my training out 1 day and I'll do my 2nd long runs on Mondays until I pull the schedule back in for Saturday races. For this week, my total long runs was supposed to be about 30 miles. I ran the full marathon yesterday and only had a 4 mile run this morning.
H-Hills  WT-Weight Train  SP- SpeedWork  E-Endurance  HR-Hill Repeats
Notes/Thoughts: It felt good to get a PR on a week that I kept my training up. I haven't quite gotten to the point where I have to trade up speed for mileage, so this is the best time to do it. Excited/nervous to see what this upcoming week is going to feel like, having pushed it on my long run. 

I hope everybody had great races/long runs this weekend!!!!

Happy Running!
"Run to Win" - Meb
Worried about getting injured? Need a boost in speed to hit a PR? Ask yourself... "Have I done my strength training today?!?"


  1. Wow, I am so impressed!! that is super fast. I am debating whether to run a marathon in March prior to my May marathon, and seeing you rock out multiples and get a PR is inspiring, well done!

  2. WOW, you are SPEEDY!! Congrats on the new PR!! Guess you just showed that just because you are ultra training doesn't mean you get slower ;) (I hear that a lot).

  3. Great race, Steph! I'm actually out here in Phoenix too but I only ran the half :). Keep up the good work and good luck in future races!

  4. What a fantastic time! But even better is the even pacing. One of my main goals this year is to learn to not go out too fast & bonk late in the race. I do that EVERY time. Thanks for the fantastic post - I'll probably come back to re-read it over the coming months as a reminder of the pay-off for keeping a cool head and staying the pace. Very smart race!

  5. Congrats on your PR! You are so fast.

  6. you are SUCH an inspiration!! congrats on the PR, and keep at it with the WS training!!

  7. awesome job on the PR...and I LOVE how U toyed with that young

  8. Congrats on your new PR! You are soooo speedy!! :)

  9. Amazing PR!! And love the recap with the college boy and the runner from the Foot Hills Marathon. Congratulations!!

  10. Hi! stopping by from tall mom club as part of the weekly challenge. Great job on getting a PR! Great race recap too :) I'm now following your blog.

  11. Congrats on your PR! You continue to impress me!

  12. Awesome race and amazing time!!! I'm very interested to continue following your WS100 mile training!! WOW!

  13. congrats on the pr! i had my pr at the same race too. flat and fast, cant beat that.

  14. Holy crap, girl! You are on fy-ah!!! MASSIVE congrats. I am so proud of my little firecracker friend!!

    ALSO I keep forgetting to tell you I got the headbands. LOVE them! And thanks for the Xmas card too. :)