I miss race training. Recovery from surgery and PF continues slowly. Only able to run between 30-60 minutes, 3-4 times a week. I’m impatient with this but it is what it is.
In place of being able to post something substantive about running, here’s a little confession. Last week I failed at my first attempt to have a “qualified” St. Patrick’s Day. I have never celebrated or paid much attention to St. Paddy’s Day. I was raised African-American and have always identified as such. However, a recent DNA test reported that my two largest ethnic components are West African (expected because that’s where American slaves came from) and Irish (completely unexpected even though that is where several prominent slave owners came from). America = melting pot. Now that I’ve found out that I’m truly “Black Irish” I planned this year to drink green beer and sing songs from the old country. Sadly, I forgot which day was St. Paddy’s Day. So I wore no green, drank no beer and sang no songs. Oh well, next year I’ll be a better Irishman.
That was horrid. I felt rotten before I began. I felt miserable during it. I felt empty at the end.
It felt like there was nothing in my legs. For the first time in forever I almost called it quits before completing the distance.
In other news my car flagged up one hell of a light show on my dashboard yesterday. Never have so many warning lights been seen in one place! Traction control kicking in on the dual carriageway and cutting power is always an interesting experience. Hopefully it’s just a broken wheel speed/ABS sensor(s) on the rear axle but it’s going to be a trip to the garage regardless…
Current mood. I’m wearing my big headphones in an effort to have people not talk to me at the office. Management is overrated. This is also why I hated group assignments in school. I prefer to be responsible for my work and my work alone. Also probably why I am a solo runner, not like an awesome team sports person. I’m also feeling tired and cranky today which is not helping my work team spirit.
I am so tired of marathon training. I’m not just tired OF it, I’m obviously tired FROM it. I was walking up to meet a friend for dinner the other night and felt absurdly lightheaded just because it was an uphill walk.
This past weekend was my last LONG long run: I ended up running 17.8 miles in 162 minutes.
Looking at it now, I realize why I was so tired since I ran the first, oh ELEVEN MILES way too fast. I guess I didn’t pay that much attention during the run.
Three hours after completing that, I went to a wedding. I ended up totally leaving right at 10pm when people moved on to the after party because I was so tired just from that run. Plus, I had to be up early to run again on Sunday morning, even if it was just an easy recovery run.
Hansons doesn’t have a very long taper period so despite running my last long run, there are two more weeks of speed and strength workouts to do. Monday was 4 x 1.5 miles @ 4:40ish pace with quarter-mile recoveries:
I was surprised by how well this went considering the long run on Saturday and all the rest of it.
Rest day on Tuesday! I went to Barre class that evening and my poor legs just hate me but the stretching and movement felt good (it’s not like a fancy barre class. It’s a ballet barre class so it’s not too stressful).
Wednesday, the ten mile tempo run. God, these are hard. Really, nothing like a tempo run at marathon pace to make you feel like you are going to fail miserably at running the actual marathon.
I tried really hard to keep it right between 7:50-8:00 mile pace so I could avoid the numb quad problem I’ve been encountering at the end of my tempo runs but no such luck.
But here it is: one more week of hard runs ahead of me, one week of taper and then MARATHON! Usually at this point I can’t wait to have a margarita or whatever after the race but right now, I’m most looking forward to waking up and not feeling like I have to hit a certain time or mileage on my runs. That sounds lovely to me.
Those of you who have followed along for a while understand how far I’ve come in the four years I’ve been blogging here. What started as an experiment with the Hansons marathon method has turned me into a pretty successful distance runner, even now at age 41.
I ran 13 continuous miles today. 6 of those were about 6:00/mi pace in 1.5 mile chunks. I walked into the house and carried on the rest of my day like nothing happened. I don’t think I was even running a 5K at that pace back at the start.
My point is that you can make a lot of progress if you stick to it. It may not be continuous improvement. There may be plateaus or setbacks along the way. You may not even really feel any different day-to-day. But someday you’ll look back like I can now and see a huge distance covered in your fitness and ability.
If you told me in 2012 I’d run a sub 2:50 marathon in 2015, I would have laughed in your face. I was fighting to cut down from 3:20 to 3:10 and thought that was pretty darn good! Always challenging myself. Making small adjustments to be more efficient. Appreciating the successes and learning from the disappointments. And most of all having fun. If I didn’t find ways to enjoy it, I doubt I would have ended up here.
Base training finished today with a up-tempo run with the local running group. Half marathon training begins tomorrow morning. Of course, Outside Online posted this excellent video which I have already bookmarked for those early morning battles.
TWO DAYS. Well, really, in less than 48 hours I should (hopefully) be DONE with the Chicago Marathon. I know, I KNOW. It’s crazy pants. I’m so ready for that moment though!
Let’s talk goals:
A Goal: 3:30.
B Goal: 3:35 or below. My current PR is 3:33:18 but I would love to hit that or get a little below it.
C Goal: Finish without walking
D Goal: Finish
E stands for emergency room. Let’s not go down that road.
On paper, I can do this. I did the speedwork, I did the tempo runs, I did the easy runs, I did the long runs. I have run more miles and more consecutive days than ever before. There were some substitutions made because of a couple of races. There was the week I had to take off because of my tendinitis. But generally, I think I followed Hanson’s pretty well. ALL of my training was to meet my time goal. So if I can’t hit it or get in spitting distance then I don’t know what to do about that.
There are two big things that I can think of that may trip me up. First, it’s supposed to be a warm day. Luckily, the morning looks cool and if I can finish in time, then I’m hoping the heat won’t affect me much. The other thing is, well, biology. I’m due to start my period basically right now but it’s not super regular so it could be anytime in the next week. I’ve had some cramping and stomach issues the past couple of days which is normal but it doesn’t make me feel great.
My basic approach for this is to keep it simple: run with or close to the 3:30 pacer. Ditch the extras: I’m not wearing my hydration backpack this time because I drank too much during Marine Corps and then had to go to the bathroom. My gels and a small water bottle are on my belt, I’ll use the aid station for any other hydration. I’m bringing my iPod and will turn it on between mile 14-16, depending on how I’m feeling. At mile 16, it’s just another tempo run, right?
Oddly, the idea that I haven’t run more than 16 miles in training isn’t freaking me out. Okay, it might on Sunday morning when I hit 16 miles but right now? I’m cool with it.
I have run 948 miles between May 1 and today. Last year, I ran 659 miles from May 1 through the END of October (when I was training for and then ran Marine Corps). So if I’m not ready now, I don’t think I’ll ever be.
The final 16 miler is done!! I can’t decide if the thought that my race is three weeks from today excites or terrifies me.
Anyway this run! Started out great! I felt strong and was going along. The thought of all of the miles ahead worried me, but I was in good spirits. It was starting to get warmer than I was expecting. Around mile 5 there is a drinking fountain I usually refill my bottles at, but for some reason today I decided I didn’t need to. I would later regret that!
I ran to mile 8 and turned around. This is when I realized I should have filled my bottles. I had some left, but I wasn’t going to be adequate to get back to the fountains. I didn’t really have a choice though, so I kept heading back. Once I got to the fountains I was so thirsty and excited! I knew I was drinking too much water, but the thirst! I eventually got myself moving again and of course felt like I had an aquarium in my stomach. I only have 4 miles left at that point, so I just kept pushing forward. I still felt strong overall, although it was getting warmer and the sun was beating down on me. I did my best to relax though and imagining these hard miles as the last miles of the race. I tried to picture the finish line and how relieved I would feel! It definitely helped!
Overall I’m happy with this run! I had a good pace and felt strong. Had I been smarter about my hydrating I know I would have been more successful. I am slightly bummed this run didn’t go really great though. I just wanted it to be a real confidence booster. I need to not be negative about it though! The main factor of the day was the weather, which was out of my control, and I’m sure the weather will be cooler on race day. Also I had a comforting thought during this run which was that this is likely the hardest run of my training. It’s the highest weekly mileage and the final of the long runs. It’s not supposed to be easy! But it’s supposed to make me stronger! Which is in my control! I need to stay positive about this run. I did good! Aside from the heat and hydration issues, there were no other issues. Legs felt great and I felt strong. So this run was a success! The final long run! It’s over! The taper is so close I can taste it!
Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far haha you now know the thoughts that chaotically run through my head! I think I need to drink more water haha
I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! I’ve been eating and sitting the rest of today and I’m very content about it :)
Monday: 45 minutes on the elliptical Tuesday: 5.07 miles avg. pace: 7:21/strength training at night Wednesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical Thursday: 5 miles avg pace: 7:29 followed by 30 minutes HITT circuit training Friday: 3 miles w/ Grace avg. pace 7:35 followed by 30 minutes elliptical Saturday: 3 miles w/ Grace avg. pace 7:27 Sunday: 6 miles avg. pace 7:38 (probably doing legs/core at some point today)
Total mileage: 22 Beard status: pathetic
Honestly, I’m just really fucking happy to have running back in my life. I feel like I’m in some cheesy musical and when my alarm goes off in the morning I spring up out of bed with a big ol’ dorky smile on my face. But, uh, yeah. The Hansons marathon method that I’m following has two plans: beginners & advanced. I’m not a beginner, but I’m also not quite *~advanced~* yet. So, I put the beginners plan and the advance plan side-by-side and made my own plan. It’s basically just the average of the given day from the two plans. Eventually I’ll be transitioning into the advance plan in the next month or so. Hansons’ goes into depth on what paces you should be running for a given workout depending on what your marathon goal is. For a 2:55 marathon I should be doing these easy runs at a 7:37 pace. First couple of runs I got a lil ahead of myself (excitement, I suppose) but I’m really happy with how well this mornings 6 mile run went. Settled in at the given pace and went with it. As far as my legs are concerned, all good homie. No pain whatsoever while out running. The only thing that makes me “?” is that my right leg (leg that was operated on last year) was feeling a bit sore/tender last night. Whereas my left leg (3 months since surgery), feels perfectly alright. The surgeon who performed my first fasciotomy really screwed me up. Anddddd yeah. I’m excited. One week down//seventeen weeks to go. Portland, imma comin’ for ya!
Four days (I’m counting today. Technically it’s like three and a half. WHATEVER, I run, I don’t math)!
Okay, okay. I’m actually….feeling good? Ish? You know, about as well as can be expected. This morning’s run was the first one where afterwards my body was sort of like, is that IT? I don’t know about you all but sometimes I can feel energy sort of humming through my veins and that’s how I felt this morning. So the taper is working. Four more days to rest up and let that energy build.
Despite yesterday’s mini moment, I’m actually feeling prepared. I mean, as @94monkeys, pointed out: the hay is in the barn. Nothing I do between now and then (running wise) is going to help much but there’s plenty of damage that I could do with something stupid. Yes, I made some modifications to the training plan but I think I made smart swaps and didn’t compromise my training over all. On paper, I’m ready, and that’s definitely a comforting thought.
Right now I’m concentrating on sleeping which is actually going better than expected. I came to the novel realization that I can just…sleep in if I want. Working from home gives me the flexibility to sleep basically until 8:59am if I choose to and I can always run later in the day. So if I’m up until 1 or 2 am, nbd. Shockingly, this realization has totally calmed me and I’ve been sleeping well every night. Now that I’ve written about it, no doubt, I will now have insomnia until Sunday.
Runs have all been easy and slow. I also made two ART (Active Release Therapy) appointments this week. Today was my last one and my chiropractor was a saint and worked on both of my feet and calves. Usually my appointments are only 15 minutes but he worked on me for 25 and it was amazing. Coincidentally, this was also the last chiro appointment my insurance will cover for the year.
So yeah, that’s all I’ve got. I’ll probably post about goals and strategy later but I’m so close, I can almost taste it!
This morning was my last run in shorts outside for a while. It’s time to go back home.
While it was great to run on clear sidewalks and without wearing multiple layers, I didn’t hit my Hansons paces like I should have. I don’t think I’m getting the recovery I need.
Now that I should be riding the bike more anyway to get ready for IM Boulder, I’m going to trade out one of my run days for a bike day. I’m also going to make some other small changes and see if I can get myself moving a little faster.
I know that it’s not easy to keep speed as we get older. I’ve never been very fast and I’m 47 so I don’t expect to be setting any records, but I know I can run faster than I am at the moment.
Awwwww yesssss!! First 16 milers in the books and it was great!
The VP of my department at work is also running Chicago, so we have been chatting often about our training. He mentioned that theres a trail in a city about 30 miles away that was long and paved and really nice. After checking it out online, I was in! So I made my way over there this morning. It did not disappoint!
I started out not the greatest. I was just trying to find my groove and relax into the run. It took me about a quarter of the way through to really start to relax. I dunno what the deal was. But after about a third of the way through, the trail connects on some beautiful country roads! There were so many farms filled with pretty cows, horses (so many adorable baby horses!!), and goats! They all looked so happy today so being able to run past them really took my mind off things and pepped me up. I was feeling tired at the half way turn around, but pumped that I was half way done.
The second half of this run was muchhh better than the first! I just felt much better and the miles were ticking by fast. This trail was actually pretty hilly (for Indiana standards), and that took a bit out of me. On one of the last bigger hills, I was just about to reach the top and a woman on her bike passed me, and as she did she gave me a thumbs up. So nice of her and it really made me smile :)
The last few miles FLEW by and I was feeling amazing. I completely jammed out for the last mile and just felt so great! It was the perfect way to end that run. I felt so happy and accomplished :)
I made my way back to the park I had parked at and found and unsuspecting picnic table to prop my legs on. Felt soooo good to lay there in the sun and recover. The weather today was AMAZING! So amazing. I was even chilly during some parts!! The weather definitely helped me feel good today and I was so grateful for it!
Overall, a great 16 mile long run! Started out a little rough, but I found my groove eventually, and finished strong. Can’t ask for anything better :)
I think a summary of the “big” runs of the past week could just be, blargh.
I ran a race over the weekend, the Leesburg 20k. And okay, I went into it having spent two days at the beach with friends, getting very little sleep, and a little too much alcohol. It wasn’t the ideal prep for race day.
The race started bright and early at 7:30am but it was already HOT. I was so not prepared for that. Luckily, almost the entire course was on the W&OD trail which was nicely shaded! The course was also an out and back…with the out going up and the back coming gradually down.
The race was very quiet. That’s the only way I can think of how to describe it. Since it was all on a bike path and pretty early in the morning, the only spectators were the aid station volunteers. They, however, were totally awesome. A ton of aid stations (since they were there on the out and back) and so many people and so loud when I came through!
I did pretty well all things considered but I’m not going to lie, my effort felt so flat somehow. I think it was a combination of the previous few days and also just general exhaustion from training.
The other problem was that I am TERRIBLE at pacing myself. Seriously. I wanted to hit between 7:50-8:00 for my miles but everytime I looked at my watch I was too fast or too slow and then I would panic and try to compensate and I have no chill, basically.
I also totally miscalculated the distance I had left at the end. I tried kicking for the last .25 but it ended up being more like .45 and uphill and ohmygod my poor legs. My poor poor legs.
Official results: 1:37:25. 28th female. 6th in AG (the 5th place girl in my AG was at least four minutes ahead of me which actually makes me happy. If she had finished just a minute or 40 seconds ahead I would be thinking of all the ways I could have been faster overall).
Since I raced on Sunday, I made Monday a recovery day and ran an easy 6 miles. Nothing happened.
Tuesday was a rest day!
This morning (Wednesday) I was back on with an eight mile tempo run. It’s the first time I’ve had to do it in Gaithersburg (where my office is) and I was not thrilled about it because I had to get up even earlier than usual to get there and it’s all on sidewalks with road crossings, etc.
It sucked. I really failed the pacing thing again. First mistake:I realized I’m using my tempo runs as speed work. They aren’t supposed to be! They’re supposed to be race pace practice. This is why I can’t maintain pace.
Second mistake: general overcompensation every time I look at my watch. Too fast, too slow, I could not settle down at all. It was hard and I ended up feeling pretty cranky about the idea of running 26.2 miles at race pace. LUCKILY, Chicago has a pacer for the 3:30 and we are going to become BFFs.
Anyways, they can’t all be good but I’m hoping my aha moment about tempo runs=race practice will really help me improve over the next few weeks because race day approacheth!
Tonight, I had a blind running date with iwatchtheworldoutside - and it was awesome! We ran, we ate, and I have a new in real life friend!
So great to feel normal for once while on work travel. It’s hard being away and I’m so grateful for Jen for taking a chance and meeting up with me and for Corrine ( breatherunlive ) for making it happen!
Best part - we all get to hang in NYC for the marathon in a few months!
PS- I worried that I talked too much, so no, Jen, you did not talk too much.
Also, this captures W2:D4 - easy 3 miles. I did W2:D3 on the treadmill last night, but only had time for 2 before a work dinner. Couple that with a little extra today and the extra I will run on Friday morning with Jen and her running friends and I’ll likely be ahead of the game for the week.
First of the three 16 milers! This one went by well! I set out early (should have been earlier) to try to beat the heat. That only lasted until about half way through, but oh well!
The first three miles went by okay, the usual waiting for my body to relax into the run. I stopped at a water fountain right at mile 3 and chatted with a guy out running too. He was aiming for 20ish miles today and is training for the Wisconsin iron man. A nice exchange with a fellow endurance athlete :) I saw him again towards the end of my run. We both weakly waved at each other haha
I ended up taking a gel at mile 4 because I was feeling sluggish. That helped so much! I decided to take them every 4 miles instead of 5 like usual. I think that was a good choice I may continue to implement.
Once I reached the half way point I was feeling good still. My return home things got a little tougher. It was getting much hotter and the sun kept peaking out. I made sure to take frequent water stops though and just kept pushing forward. My legs were getting really tired too, but I knew this run would make them stronger. Once I got to the final two mile stretch I was still feeling strong. If it hadn’t been so hot I know I would have felt great. I pushed the last two miles and finished happy and strong (and very very sweaty) :)
Once I got inside I chugged so much water and turned into a puddle on the ground. I was wishing so hard for someone to make me food, but alas as I live alone that did not happen. I eventually picked myself up, showered, and devoured a wonderful self made brunch.
Overall a successful long run! I’m happy with how this went and with how I’m feeling. I hope the trend continues! :)
I hope you all had great weekends! I’m excited to read long run recaps!
I celebrated by taking a rest day and doing 40 minutes of recovery yoga. My body needs it after all this running! And then I made an appointment at a sport doc for Active Release Therapy on my plantar fascitis. It flared up this past week and I’m so over it. Does anyone else hobble around after they get out bed? No? Just me? There’s only so much I can do at home so I feel like I need to call in the big guns to get me through this intense training cycle.
When I say intense, I mean it. I copied out the Hanson’s beginner plan into my journal and realized how CRAZY it is. I read the book but it still didn’t hit me until I wrote it out: jump from 24 miles to 39 miles in one week? Long run goes from 10 to 15 miles in one week? Six days of running? Yeah, it qualifies as training madness. That’s why I’ve been trying to get into the habit of running six days a week already. I’m keeping my mileage fairly low at 4-6 miles per run and easy with paces between 8:30-9 minutes per mile until the training catches up with me around week 5 of the plan but I am totally intimidated.
ALSO EXCITED BECAUSE MARATHONS YAY!
My roommate caught me reading “Racing Weight” last night and totally judged me. She also heard me listening to the Runner Academy podcast while cleaning the other day. She definitely thinks I have a problem. Whatever. I like it.