Sunday, January 27, 2013

Training Camp & Breaking Marathon Pace

When I got to Phoenix last week for the PF Chang's Half Marathon, what seemed like a good idea a month ago was suddenly not seeming so good.  My training coming off of the marathon in December had not gone very well.  My longest workout had been 5 miles and to kill my confidence a little more, I found myself struggling to hit the my marathon pace that was coming so effortlessly 5 weeks before.

When the race started, I stayed between 6:00 to 6:05 pace for the first 5 miles.  Based on my training, I thought I would be lucky to hit marathon pace for this race.  After I got through 5, I felt surprisingly comfortable.  I thought I would try to grind down the pace a little bit and see how it felt.  I began to increase my effort and each mile that went by I was thinking, "Surely this mile is faster than 6:00."  6:05, 6:01, 6:03...5 miles later I was thinking, "You've got to be kidding me!"  My legs were not going to budge from marathon pace.  By mile 10 I was pretty frustrated and had had about enough of that.  I hit a slight downhill in the race and was able to use it as an opportunity to finally break out of marathon pace.  I averaged 5:51 for the last 3 miles and crossed the finish line with a 35 second PR of 1:18:45.  So thankful!

American Distance Project spent another week beyond that in Arizona for Training Camp.  Immediately after PF Chang's we headed up to Flagstaff for 3 days.  I had never been there before, but it was really beautiful...and much colder than Phoenix!  As a group we had been basking in 75 degree weather in Phoenix where Flagstaff was right around 10-15 degrees in the morning.  We had some beautiful runs out at Coconino National Park and were able to meet up with some of the McMillan athletes for an easy run.  I highly recommend Beaver Street Brewery and Macy's CafĂ©! 

After a few days in Flagstaff we headed back down to Phoenix for a track workout at Arizona State University.  I sat out of that one, but it was inspiring to see everyone working out under the lights of the track and reassuring to see the paces that they were able to hit at the lower elevation. 

Back to Colorado Springs tomorrow, and excited to get into some heavier training.  Next up is Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL.  Big thank you to American Distance Project and Sharkees for a great trip!

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