Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pushing myself again

Since my ITB injury induced break, my running pace has really suffered. I've babied my legs, and I just couldn't really pound and push them anymore. You could tell in my average paces: 11:01, 9:34, 11:36, 8:59, 9:13, 8:19, 9:53... 3 miles or 14 miles, my fastest splits were still in the 8s, and I was no longer dipping into the 7s regularly.

I was trying to take it easy and just enjoy running again, and its really helped. Maybe its the beautiful weather, or heading out in the mornings again, but running has been really fun lately. My cross training habits are just flourishing, I'm spending a lot of time on the bike, at least an hour a week in the pool, and trying to get strength training in twice a week.  I feel really solid and strong at the moment. I'm so proud of the way my body is responding to two-a-days and longer workouts.

Last weekend, I went out for a 20 mile run, and I felt fantastic. I was getting regular splits in the 8:20s, right where I was for my MCM long runs. I ended with a 8:15 mile, and I was really fighting to finish my run strong. I was far from home still, with the National Mall stretching in front of me, and I decided to run to the Capitol. For the first time since coming back, I just flew! I went into the 6:50s, steadied out in the low 7s and (mostly due to having to stop and start again do to traffic lights), topped off my 20-miler with a quick 7:24!!! I stopped my watch, looked down to my legs and accused them of holding out on me, where did that come from?!?

Just two miles earlier I was struggling to finish and then I push out my fastest mile in months?!

After a 1.5 mile walk home over a bottle of Gatorade and a bagel, a grocery store trip, a walk to Eastern Market, and a walk to my friend's party later that evening, I'm pretty positive that I covered 26 miles Sunday, and yes I'm still feeling it today!

I stayed at my friend's last night and once again faced the Rock Creek Park route that killed my ITB. I took it really easy, and covered over 1000 feet of elevation and descent in 5.66 miles.  I'm still pretty sore, so I canceled my cycling workout and got home to rest.  I decided on a 16 mile run this weekend and, gulp, the full marathon March 20th. I'm quite positive that I'll do well. I won't PR, but I hope to qualify for Boston again in 3:40.

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