Training for long races is tricky. I know, I know. 13.1 miles really isn't that long compared to how many other long races there are out there, but it is long enough that you have to actually train for it consistently. Yes, there are people who complete half marathons that don't train consistently, but most of those people can't run the entire race without walking. My goal is to finish the Minneapolis Half in under two hours. And gosh darn it, I am going to do it. But in order to accomplish my goal, I have to be diligent with my training. If I miss one long run, I risk not meeting my goal.
For those of you who know me, I am a pretty competitive person. I am competitive with others, yes. But most of all, I am competitive with myself. I make goals for myself all the time, and when I don't meet them, it bugs me for a very long time.
Running is no different. Last year, the pacer of my goal time passed me at mile 10. I was crushed. But there was no way I was going to let her finish before me. So, even though my legs felt like jello, I sped up and made sure she stayed behind me for the rest of the race. I knew that if she beat me, I wouldn't meet my goal. Not meeting my goal would have been hard to swallow. I have once again set a goal, and suffice it to say, I am going to be one disappointed woman if I don't meet my goal come August 21st.
That's where today comes into play. Normally, Thursdays are hard days. I only run about half the distance of a long run, but I am supposed to go all out. This Saturday I am supposed to run 7 miles. Well, I am going to be quite busy on Saturday. I didn't want to get so tired or overwhelmed and skip a long run, so I switched things up and ran my long run today. I just finished a 7.25 mile run outside, and I feel great. Unbelievably great. For two reasons. One, I am glad that I thought ahead. It is easy to let runs slip away. But I didn't. Two, my pace today was super successful. I have been struggling lately with running all over the place. I would plug my watch into the computer and realize that my mile by mile pace could vary by more than 40 seconds. Each mile would get slower and slower, and because I would go too hard in the beginning, I would basically die at the end. NOT GOOD. I was determined to not let that happen today.
I started out slow. I felt really slow, but it really wasn't that slow. But after a couple of miles, I felt great and was able to pick up my pace. My last two miles were my fastest and the most consistent. By the end, I still felt like I could keep running without too much fatigue. And best of all, my average overall pace was FASTER than what my goal pace for the half marathon race is. I really hope I can repeat this success with my future runs.
It really is true what they say. "Slow and steady wins the race." (Okay...not really wins the race. But it means my goal of finishing in under two hours is realistic again!)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
(Brandon said he wanted an "artsy" picture)
(Me and My Lobster Tail!)
(The waitress brought this out to us with a sparkler!)
Last night, Brandon and I celebrated eight years of marriage at the Melting Pot. We try and go here every year on our anniversary, and I LOVE IT! I also like that dinner takes a few hours, so we get in some fun, uninterrupted conversation. Here's to many more years!!!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
One month from tomorrow, Mr. Griffin will be five years old. I am beyond amazed at how quickly time flies. I cannot believe that my first-born is almost five and ready for Kindergarten. It seems like yesterday I was in the hospital holding him for the first time. But alas, almost five years have passed. I love you Griffin! Thank you for "almost five" years of motherhood!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I just finished my 6th week of Official Training for the Minneapolis Half Marathon. I cringe putting this picture up, but it shows the real me after a HARD run. I run four days a week, and Thursdays are designated HARD days. Today was no exception. I ran my very first ever four mile0 "tempo" run. I did a little research into how to get faster for race day, and many different athletes advocate for tempo runs. Basically I ran one mile at an easy pace, two miles at a fast pace, and then one mile at an easy pace again. Normally I alternate every two to three minutes on my hard days, but I think it is messing with my long runs. After purchasing a GPS watch, I noticed that I can't keep a pace for the life of me. I always knew pacing was my weakness, but I didn't really know how bad it was until I got my watch. So, today, I tried with all my might to keep a consistent slow pace and then a consistent fast pace. It was hard, and my legs feel like jello, but I did it! This picture was snapped right after :)
Today has been super fun for the Dunigan Family. At first I was a little disappointed because Grayson is fighting off a cold, so as a result, we took easy on Saturday and Sunday. However, today, on the actual 4th of July, we have had a wonderful day! I started out the day with an 8K race around the Lakes, and then Griffin joined me after for a Kids Fun Run. After we burned a few calories, we spent the day at the beach! This is the first time going for both boys, and the pictures clearly show they had a blast. Within minutes, Grayson was covered in wet sand, and he spent most the day like the picture above. My favorite part of the day was getting ice cream as a family. I can see this becoming a tradition!!! We ended the day with fireworks. Neither boy was really impressed. Oh well!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Today I ran an 8K race supporting a local shelter devoted to ending domestic violence. The race started about 8 minutes from my house, so it was nice to not worry about getting up super early to drive anywhere. Unfortunately, the race didn't start until 8:30am, so it was already super hot at the start of the race. Not a good sign when you are already sweating at the starting line:( Most summer races start at 8:00am or before, so I am not sure why this one started so late...
Believe it or not, my 44 minute time landed me in first place for my age group. Definitely indicative of my age group, not my performance :( I can't say I am proud of my time, but I at least finished in under 9 minute miles. I know the heat made a big difference too, but I am still disappointed in my run. Furthermore, today's race has officially made me nervous for my half marathon. My goal for that race is to finish in under two hours. Considering I barely kept that pace for a 5 mile race today, I am worried I won't make that goal. Here's to pushing my self harder in the next few weeks!!!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Because Griffin is involved in morning activities four days a week, Grayson and I are enjoying some time just the two of us. I love that this summer is allowing me the opportunity to be with each of my boys individually. I keep forgetting to take my camera to gymnastics, so look for some of those pictures next week!!!
Last weekend, Griffin and I started reading Mr. Popper's Penguins together. We finished it yesterday, so today we went on a date to see the movie. Although the film is different from the book, both were good. I especially enjoyed that there were moments when Griffin laughed out loud during the reading of the book and the watching of the movie. On the way home, we stopped at the bookstore to purchase the Boxcar Children. So thankful that during Grayson's nap time, Griffin and I are enjoying being silly, eating freezies, and reading books!!!