In the thick of it

9 degrees on my Thursday run.  Yes, that is a hat AND an ear warmer - I know it looks awesome, don't be jealous. :)  Two months until race day.  That's it.  It seems so far away and yet frighteningly close at the same time.  8 weeks left.  Two of those (well, sort of 3) are taper, so only 6 more weeks of tough work left.   Lately, as my mileage has been increasing, my runs have included a daily prayer to the effect of "Thank you, God, for this healthy body that is able to run these distances.  Please help me get to that starting line injury-free!"   So far, my prayers are being answered.   I've been doing the best I can to keep those pesky injuries at bay by trying to make sure I get sleep, good food, and stay near my trusty foam roller.

This past week (besides being hit with a sinus infection) has been a pretty solid one:  82 miles.  The most I've run post-injury.   The bulk of my anxiety this week was due to the tempo run I had on Monday.   The schedule called for a 10-mile run with 5 miles at tempo pace.  I've been aiming for somewhere around 6:40 - mostly because I really can't go much faster at this point!  The interesting (or sad?) thing is, my goal marathon pace isn't too far off of that.  I've always been that kind of runner whose paces are pretty close to one another (i.e. my 5K pace is close to my 10K which is just about my half marathon pace and then if you add a few seconds you'll have my marathon pace!).   It probably means that I'm not pacing appropriately, but it is what it is and I just roll with it.

So.  Tempo run on Monday went....well, not great, but it wasn't awful.  I actually felt fairly decent aerobically, but just could not get the legs to move any faster!  It may have been due to all the squats and lunges in Body Pump the day before, but for whatever reason, the legs didn't have a lot of "pop".  It was in the dark on my own at 5am and felt like I was picking it up as much as I could.  Ended up averaging around a 6:43 pace.   I was feeling pretty bummed about it but decided to look back at my log from last year to boost my spirits - surely I am faster this year than I was last year, right??   You can see where this is going.   Nope.  Unfortunately I ran that exact same tempo run (same place in my schedule, same distance) last year with a friend and averaged....6:43.  UGH!   How can I not be any faster?!   I was frustrated, but here's the thing:   This is ONE run, ONE tiny snapshot of where I am right now.  And I KNOW that I am a faster, stronger runner than I was last year.   So whether or not the Garmin tells me I am, I chose to believe it.   And I'll keep plugging away, working hard and being thankful for the opportunity to be out there and do so.   Hopefully that will translate to some good results in the end, but either way, I'm enjoying the journey.  This is the thick of marathon training - double days, super early long runs in the cold and rain, and tempos that I dread each time they appear on my schedule.   But I love it.  And I'll keep at it as long as I can.

Hope everyone is having a great week this week!  I'm running in a 15K this weekend and using it to get in 9.3 marathon-paced miles.  Anyone else racing soon?  Any tips for when you expect to nail a tempo run and then don't? :-)