Monday, October 3, 2011

The "calm" before the storm... September 25-October 1

Sunday, September 25: 4miles, fly to and spend one day in Barcelona
Monday, September 26: flight to Granada from Barcelona, sight-seeing (5000000 stairs), tempo
Tuesday, September 27: 9miles semi-unplanned
Wednesday, September 28: 4.5miles easy, 9hours of flying
Thursday, September 29: 3miles at Marathon Pace
Friday, September 30: 7miles easy
Saturday, October 1: 5miles + strides with LifeTime Run Club

Well. I kept the secret long enough.

Coach Cari and I had talked a little after the Batavia 1/2 marathon (Aug 28) about how my fitness levels really indicated that I was ready and could go run a 2:48 no problem the next weekend, so we thought if the conditions were perfect (i.e., low temps, little wind), the sub-2:46 was definitely attainable.

So we emailed the race director at Milwaukee (Lakefront Marathon) and she was incredibly accommodating and excited that I was hoping to qualify at her race. Another local runner, Amber Druien, was planning to make her OQT attempt there as well.

Every day that we had Internet in Spain, I was looking at the weather. The weather was the deciding factor in if I would run Milwaukee or Chicago. For those of you that don't know, in the past four years (2007-current), the Chicago Marathon has been HOT every year except 2009, which, go figure, is when I set my prior PR. In fact, in 2007, they shut the race down and a participant even passed away. I tend to bleed through my shoes from blisters when it's too hot, so I try to stay away from those kind of races!

Anyway, back to the training.....

Sunday was a bit rough. Ryan and his USA teammates (we were in Spain for the Duathlon World Championships) all went out for some vino y tapas and got back late as that's apparently how people do it in Spain. They did a really good job of trying to be quiet, but the darn apartment we were in was creaking like crazy and I just kept waking up. I only got about 4 hours of combined sleep at best...which resulted in a cold for the rest of the week. Thankfully, it was gone by Saturday.

Sunday we flew into Barcelona, spent 23 hours there just exploring (I HIGHLY recommend going here if you have a choice of where to go in Spain...more touristy, but lots to see--we totally ran out of time), and hopped on a plane again Monday morning to head to Granada. My aunt is a HUGE art nut, so when we heard about Antoni Gaudi's work in the area, we just had to explore it. Unfortunately, this meant climbing literally hundreds of stairs. My calves were PRETTY fired up, so I rocked the Zensah calf sleeves for most of Granada.

MONDAY: we arrived in Granada around 12noon, dropped our bags off at our hotel (which was right by the University of Granada--super cool!) and headed out to explore. The main tourist attraction here is the Alhambra. It is HIGHLY recommended to purchase tickets in advance as they sell 7,800 total each day and of that 7,800, only 1,000 are available for purchase the day of. Well, we didn't purchase ours in advance so we checked on Monday to see what time we needed to arrive--7:00am would ensure we'd receive tickets even though the ticket office doesn't open until 8am.

So, we had walked ALL the way up the SUPER steep incline that takes you to the Alhambra and had also been told to see the Mirador de San Nicolas as it's pretty much across from the Alhambra, has an awesome view of the city and has fun bars to just hang out and eat tapas at. After what seemed like an hour of climbing cobblestone streets, we reached our destination. Worth it at the time, but looking back it was probably pretty stupid of me to walk that whole time in flip flops knowing I'd be running a marathon soon. Oh well, life's all about learning from mistakes, right?:)

Since the area of Barcelona that we woke up in on Monday morning didn't seem too safe, Ryan and I opted to do my 20minute Tempo run in Granada on Monday night. You know, after walking around all day being a tourist. Surprisingly, the workout went even better than it was supposed to go, but WOW did my calves burn the next day.

TUESDAY: after our tempo at 9pm, we spent a little time looking for this cute bar that was recommended by a friend, just to find out it was closed on Mondays. Bummer. So, we got to sleep around 12:30am and had to wake up at 6:30am to run to the Alhambra (2miles away) to stand in line for tickets. Ryan nicely stood in line while I went to finish the rest of my run:) Other tourists definitely thought we were crazy, but hey, we got tickets to visit the Alhambra, so what do we care! We spent the rest of Tuesday exploring the Alhambra and then taking a 5hour train to Madrid so we could catch our 11:30am flights in the morning.

WEDNESDAY: Ryan and I woke up and dragged ourselves out of bed to manage a 4.5mile run just to get something in before 9 hours of traveling. We tried to stay awake the entire flight so we'd be on the normal time schedule. Thankfully, it worked and we both felt good in the morning. We even went out to dinner with my parents upon our return home:)

THURSDAY: last workout-- 3miles at Marathon Pace. Ryan and I woke up at 6:30am to do this without any problems...kind of crazy since our bodies should have still been 7 hours ahead! The workout went well and I was constantly holding myself back, surprising considering our crazy travel yesterday!

FRIDAY: 7miles nice and easy to relax the legs. Ironically, I worked in Milwaukee today.

SATURDAY: nice, easy 5miles with the LifeTime Run Club and 3 strides after. I'm READY.

And the race recap begins....

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