St. George Half Marathon – Ironman Training Week 12

St. George Half Marathon - Ironman Training Week 12

This RECOVERY Week In Numbers
 9450 yards
65.8 miles
13.1 miles
Total Time:  9:45:11

What a refreshing week it has been!  After last weekend’s complete meltdown on the bike, Coach M actually took my white flag waving seriously and gave me a rest week 🙂  My body and soul needed this week and I relished every minute of it.  I still had some good swim sessions, but my bikes (even with HIT) were all recovery rides.  THEY FELT SOOOOOO GOOD!  The excitement came back this week.  I approached all my workouts with energy that I had been missing.  Sometimes you don’t realize how hard you are working until you get some time off.

With only 1 workout to complete each day this week, I felt like I had been given extra life to live.  I cleaned the house.  I caught up on laundry.  I even sat and colored with Jake (I happened to be missing a meeting at the time that I had totally forgotten about, but the coloring was much better anyway).   I did my hair.  I ACTUALLY WORE JEANS ALMOST EVERYDAY!  It doesn’t take much to please me 🙂  To top it all off, Sarah Jarvis came back into town for the weekend………Honestly, can a week get better than that?!?!?

After a great swim workout with all the HT Training athletes on Friday night, I was ready to race the St. George Half Marathon the next morning………… Drip……. Drop……. Drip……. Drip……. Drop…… Drop………….Saturday morning we woke up to rain.  RAIN!  I almost didn’t recognize what was happening outside.  I swear it has been months since anything but birds have fallen from the sky in Southern Utah.  We have been drier than ever and of course the weekend that everyone from the surrounding areas comes to sunny St. George for respite from the Winter blues……….IT RAINS!  🙁  But there is a silver-lining………I LOVE TO RUN IN THE RAIN!

Sara and I headed to the start line ready to brave the elements.  Going in to this race, I had low expectations.  This is an early season race and I haven’t been working speed AT ALL.  I had no idea what to expect.  Last year, at this same event, I set a PR, but really worked for it and felt pretty crappy the last few miles.  One year later, I have learned how to race a bit smarter and especially how to fuel better, as to not totally crap out in the last miles of a race.  I just planned to hit the pavement and see what my body wanted to give me.

After visiting with lots of old and new friends from all around the state the starting gun fired………..We were off!

The new St. George 1/2 Marathon course is very close to home for me…………literally, very close to home.  It loops through the neighborhoods and trails (and hills) that I train on all the time.  I knew this course well.  I just didn’t know if that was going to work for or against me.  Would it be mentally challenging to know every turn, hill and mile marker, or would it help me to stay focused knowing where as was and how much more I had to go?  Only time would tell.

View of the finish line from the sound booth!

I started out with my good friend, Shirley Leydsman, and visited and chugged along at a nice 7:30 pace for the first few miles.  The temperature was cool when you were standing around (just below 40 degrees), but PERFECT when you were running.  I had intended on going out at a bit more of a conservative pace, but the 7:30s just seemed to be flowing this morning.  Shirley dropped back after about 4 miles and I just plugged along up the rolling hills on the first half of the course.

I was feeling good.  Strong.  The hills were fine.  Didn’t seem to effect me much at all.  My pace was holding steady just below a 7:30.  I started fueling up and taking electrolytes about mile 4 and 5 to maintain my energy levels.  The course flattened out a bit about mile 6 before the last short climb.  Once at the top, it was pretty much smooth sailing with some steep, quick downhill sections and mostly flat-ish trail running.

The miles were flying by and my pace began to increase.  Soon I was running just over a 7:00 mile and feeling good.  I was making time on some of the ladies in front of me and just stayed in my own head and ran my own race.  I find that to be so important for me.  Even if I get passed or there is someone I’m trying to catch in front of me, I do better to settle into my pace, than to get worked up chasing people around.  This strategy worked beautifully for me today and anyone who had passed me, I ended up passing back.

Thumbs up on this one St. George Races!

The only little nuance to my pacing was when I realized at mile 9 that my shoe was untied…………AM I SIX YEARS OLD????  Seriously!  What runner doesn’t double knot their shoe?  I bent down and quickly remedied the problem and caught back up to those who had passed me while I was fiddling with my shoe laces.  I was a bit bugged at myself for this, but whatever…….I can’t run with my shoes untied 😉

Mile 9 to the finish were all on the trail system in the Virgin River bed of St. George.  The 1:35 pace group was just in front of me at Mile 9 and I began to reel them in over the next few miles until I passed them with about 1 mile to go to the finish.  The last few miles, I just let it go and ran.  I knew I was running hard, but I was managing it well.  I was passing people and feeling great about my effort.

My previous PR for a 1/2 marathon came last year at the same event (different, flatter course) with a 1:35:44.  After passing the 1:35 pace group, I knew that it was going to be another PR today!  I WAS EXCITED!

What an age division? What fast ladies I have for friends? LOVE IT!

The last mile, as always, was tough.  I had to dig a bit, but just kept hearing the words of Sarah Jarvis when she was racing the 70.3 World Championships…………”Make it hurt more!”  It kept me going.  I made it hurt a little bit more with my last two miles coming in at a 6:45 pace.  The finish was close and I was going to just run it in.  Done……… 1:34:14……   I was a happy-camper.

I felt awesome at the finish!  I wasn’t trashed.  I wasn’t anything.  I was good.  Both Mahogani and Heath were at the finish greeting the HT Training athletes.  We all had GREAT races with lots of PRs.  It was just a GREAT day all around.  I ended up placing 10th in my age division (too many fast 30-34 year old girls, I tell ya!) and 17th female overall.  I’ve never considered myself a “runner” and probably never will, but this was a pretty good day for me considering where my training has been lately (no speed, all endurance and base).  I had gone out with pretty low expectations and come away with a solid race under my belt.  It makes me excited for the upcoming season!

After a bit of mingling and too much shivering, Sarah and I headed back home to prepare ourselves for the rest of the day……….Yup!  I said, the rest of the day.  No.  We weren’t going to “rest” for the day……….we had more workouts to prepare for.  The whole purpose of this weekend was for Coach M to really get a gauge of our early-season fitness.  We were to run the 1/2 marathon and then do a loop of the Ironman bike course.  Unfortunately, the rain put a damper on any kind of outdoor activities, so we found ourselves inside on the trainers 🙁  10 of us along with Coach H hit the WCCC for an hour and a half bike ride and then a 40 minute swim.

It is just awesome to get to be with your coaches.  Heath checked everyone’s bike fit and then filmed everyone’s stroke in the pool!  AWESOME, I tell ya!  That kind of feedback is priceless and the reason why I feel like I’m continually making improvements in all three sports.

By 5:00pm I was DONE!  Roasted and toasted!  My body had actually felt really well up and until this time, but I was ready for DINNER!  My legs were actually pretty good on the bike and weren’t overly fatigued.  In the pool I realized just how tired my arms and core muscles were from running, but it was doable…..I could work with it.  It had been a long day.  So even though Mother Nature rained on our little parade, we made the most of it and had a GREAT training day.  I even got to meet some new triathlete friends………..the best kind of friends to have!

As I sit here I’m a bit stiff and a little sore, but nothing too bad.  I’m definitely ready for this next week………..TRAINING CAMP!  I may die and this may be the last time I write a blog post, but I will have a GREAT time doing it.  Camp is slated to begin on Thursday with workouts in every sport, every day through Saturday.  I’m sure the coaches have plenty of up their sleeves for us.  21 hours of workouts in 3 days…………it will be epic.  I’ve never spent this kind of time on my training and can’t wait for the experience (Yes, I need a psychological evaluation……I know!).

It is crazy to think that about 12 weeks from now, I will be beginning my taper for Ironman St. George………………..The future is never too far away……………I raise a glass to the next 12 weeks.  Bring it!

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