hanson's method

Thankful

Monday’s PSA blood screen was (< .01).  That’s as good as it gets.  All signs continue to suggest that I am free of prostate cancer.  Today, my MD extended my next test date from 3 months to 6 months.

I can make a case that running saved my life.

Backstory. I’m a doctor’s son and several of my childhood friends became doctors. Consequently, I have a decent, if general, idea of what western medicine knows for certain and how much of it is playing the odds.  Perhaps that is why I have disdained regular medical checkups, ignored general medical advice and, for decades did not have a primary care physician. 

I would have continued along that path but for beginning endurance training three years ago.  Being 59 at that time, I grudgingly agreed to annual checkups to make sure I wasn’t in danger of stroking out during a long run or speed interval.  My prostate cancer first showed up during my third annual checkup last July in the form of an elevated PSA score. I had no other symptoms and absolutely no idea I had cancer. 

But for running I wouldn’t have had PSA screens.  But for the screens I wouldn’t have discovered the cancer when I did.  But for discovering it when I did, things might have been much more problematic.  Indeed, the post-surgery prostate examination showed that one of the tumors was with 1mm of breaking through the prostate which would have been a very bad situation.  

So, I say thanks to my guardian angel/spirit guide/all knowing ancestor/fickle finger of fate/kismet and whatever else that told me to start running three years ago. I owe you. Also, my deepest thanks to all here who have wished me well, publicly or silently. You made a difference.

Finally, I ran 10 x 400M at 7:30-ish/mile pace this morning.  I’m coming back!  See you next week.

April Check In

Look at those trees budding! Spring is here in the Midwest!

April mileage: 279.6 (I may sneak in 6 more before tonight ends)

Races: 2

Road 10K: 7th overall, 1st AG; 39:15 

Road 10K: 3rd overall, 1st AG: 39:43

Group long runs: 2

2017 Goals Status:

1) Average 50 miles/week for 2017: currently on track with 57.7 miles/week for the year so far.

2)  Run a race at sub-marathon distance that converts to ~3:02:32 or faster on the McMillan Calculator for the marathon: not yet. 

3)  Do not race a marathon until #2 is achieved: check.

4)  Race more frequently, with a target of 10 races in 2017: on track! 7 races completed for the year so far.

5)  Do at least one long run per month with the local crew: on track (2 long runs this month).

Interval updates:

This was my highest mileage month of the past three years, which is crazy to me as I thought I missed too many runs. I’ve also been able to log 200+ miles for six out of the last seven months. 

Overall, I’m very happy with how this training cycle is progressing. The next month will be spent sharpening up for the June half marathon and gently getting down to something near my racing weight. I don’t have any races planned until the half and doubt I will jump into one last minute. Instead, I am viewing this month as my opportunity to largely adhere to my training plan and appropriately taper for a hard effort in a few weeks. Our training group is pressuring me to sign up for a fall marathon with them…we’ll see how the summer goes (goal #2) but I do think it would be a great experience. 

Despite the higher miles I have experienced zero aches or pains. For this I am extremely grateful and entirely credit the Lydiard-inspired base I built during the winter. This will undoubtedly be an annual part of my training year in upcoming years. 

6

GUYS. SECOND DAY OF RUNNING DOWN.
I had a rough start to my day. Didn’t eat anything before work at the gym so when I got home I had-
Cereal
Goldfish
Popcorn
Peanut butter m&ms
Skittles
Popsicle

That was my lunch. Luckily my dinner was a little more balanced with grilled chicken, zucchini noodles, and smashed potatoes. I’ve hydrated SO WELL today. Like seriously 120+ oz. I got my first of many 3 mile runs in tonight at the gym. I have just been too hot today to run outside. But I killed it! 10:35 first mile. 12:12 second mile. 12:09 third mile. And I feel amazing!!

PS tonight’s run sponsored by Lady Gaga. Thanks girl.

2/96

mortemer that i worked forever on!

Weekly Check-In

Hi folks.  Running is improving. Recovery from prostate surgery continues and will likely do so for quite a while longer. That’s not unexpected but it is periodically challenging. Overall, my health is good and I am grateful.

Lat week concluded my first post surgery and post marathon, 4 week training cycle. That cycle focused on aerobic rebuilding and injury prevention.  It involved lots of core and feet strengthening, movement re-patterning, some weightlifting, three days of aerobic base building, one day of VO2 max training, and eliminating starch and higher glycemic carbs from my diet. 

I’m calling that cycle a success because: (a) easy runs became easier and faster for the same heart rate range; (b) moving posture became more upright and “gathered” through the torso; © plantar fasciitis pain is greatly reduced; and (d) I’ve begun to “lean out” and loose the pounds I put on after the surgery.

I took this Monday through Wednesday off before starting the next training cycle today. That was really hard to do. I have an irrational belief that all fitness gains instantly evaporate upon missing just one day of training. Imagine my panic during these three off days.  Of course, that thinking couldn’t be more wrong, or so I told myself many times each day.

I started the new cycle today with 3 x 10 minutes @ anaerobic threshold  pace (around 8:25/mile) with 3 minute recoveries and an easy warm up and cool down. This was fun, but humbling. This pace is about 30 seconds/mile slower than last year’s 10K PR pace and there was NO WAY I could have held this pace today for 6.2 miles. In four weeks I hope to run this pace for an unbroken 30 minutes.  We shall see.

Marathon Training Week 11/18

First of all, I want to note that I still have like SEVEN weeks of training to go and I’m hitting that crucial I’m So Over This point in the cycle. It’s not fun. I wish I were running Chicago just to get this whole thing over with!

The picture is an accurate feeling about my life right now. Work sucks this week. It just does. If something isn’t going wrong, then I’m doing something wrong. I’m also working from home today and I feel that literally every. Single. Room. Is a mess. I hate that feeling. So after I’m done with work today, I am cleaning up and wrenching back a little control from this chaos.

Good news is: it’s Dogfish Dash weekend aka one of my very favorite times of the year! So after work on Friday I’m driving out to Rehoboth for a quick 48 hour mental health/race weekend. 

Of course, it’s still marathon training season so on Saturday I’ll be running 16ish miles around Rehoboth which isn’t really a great way to prep my legs for an 8k race on Sunday but marathon training wins out over Dash glory. Last year I somehow scraped out a 7:08 average pace for the Dash but I’m not feeling so peppy this year.

PROBABLY because I ran a tempo run this morning and my legs are tired.

This week I also ran speedy repeats OFF the track instead of on the track. Plan called for 5 x 1 miles at 10 seconds faster than race pace (so 7:50 instead of 8) with ¼ mile jogs in between. I ran this on my tempo run route since it’s a reliably long, flat paved trail:

So I’ve been doing this thing in my tempo runs that translated into this run which is running WAY TOO FAST. I did it on purpose too which makes it worse. I kinda wanted to see if I could hit around a 7:30-7:40 and look at that, of course I can. Except this does me no good whatsoever for marathon training.

And then I did something similar on my tempo run this morning.

Those closer to race pace miles at the end? That was just because I was so dang tired from going out way too fast. It’s stupid. I don’t know why I thought I could do this. At one point I though, hmm, this isn’t so bad, maybe I’ll try for the 3:25 pace group at the marathon…. PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL, tumblrinos.

Look, basically, I’m a mess in all aspects this week apparently. But you know what, fall is tomorrow and the weather is getting cooler and I’m going to the Dogfish Dash so I’m going to say it’s still a win. 

Track day! This beautiful track is just a warmup mile from my house and I feel lucky to be able to run here. There is a high school boy’s team that uses the turf and occasionally the track while I’m there, and they are so fun to watch.

I don’t know if 20 or 30 years ago a middle aged woman like me could have gone to a high school, dressed like I was, doing what I was doing, by myself, and have had such a positive experience. No one made fun of me, gave me any looks, or made me feel uncomfortable. Makes me happy.

I did Hansons 6 x 800 with 400 recoveries and then cooled down on the way home. Next week, 1Ks!

5

Chicago W11D7 - LONG 16

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 hope you all had great weekends!!!! :)

Me, Again

I followed the plan and completed the first week of this four week mesocycle.  Finally got the weekly miles above 20 and almost hit 4 hours total running (total exercise time was closer to 12 hours including core, weights and rehabilitative work).  I’ve come a long way since the surgery but its beginning to feel paltry compared to the lead into the MCM last year.  Damned internal critical voice.

Very grateful that the plantar fasciitis continues to improve.  Patience and slow progression have been important factors.  All runs are still on the bouncy treadmill rather than the hard concrete of the beachfront esplanade or the almost as hard packed dirt of the mountain fire trails.  I need to get outside real soon.  Perhaps in another couple of weeks.

On the cancer front, I have my second PSA blood screen next week and am expecting good results.  I do not worry about it because there’s neither reason nor purpose to do so.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Can’t wait to send you running pictures of the California ocean and the mountains.  Until then, here’s another blurry bathroom selfie.  Sorry.

Marathon training: week one.

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!

2

Twin Cities Marathon - Week 11 Day 3: 6 x 1 Mile Strength intervals

Target Pace: 10:40

Actual Pace:

  1. 10:49
  2. 10:40
  3. 10:40
  4. 10:40
  5. 10:41
  6. 10:39

I may not have aced speed intervals, but holy shit is this my jam.

When I started this marathon adventure I told everyone around me that if I was going to do it… I wanted to give it 100%. I wanted to do it right.

All roads led to the Hanson’s plan. I bought the book and put off reading it for months because that shit is intimidating.

My jaw hit the floor the first time I realized I’d be running 200 miles a month. TWICE IN A ROW.

It’s still mind boggling. Still terrifying.

But, you know what? Here I am. 

Just beastin’ my way through The Hanson’s Marathon Method.

The fuckers who train Olympic athletes put this shit together and here I am just absolutely crushing it.

That was awesome. I am awesome.

Now hand over that chocolate milk.

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.

Still Just Checking In

No runs last week. I’ve never done this except when forced by injury.  But, isn’t this one of the benefits of having a true “off season”?  No need to run when you’ve lost the desire to do so. I took that as a sign that I should “rest”.  I’ll be back at it tomorrow.

During the time off I began formulating a training plan. I need structure, particularly because I don’t have scheduled races on the horizon. The plan is built around four pillars. They are, in order of priority:  aerobic base building; injury prevention; anti-aging; fat loss. In broad strokes, the physical activity component works like this.

Monday:              core, foot/ankle strength

Tuesday:             easy mid-length run, core, lower body strength

Wednesday:       upper body strength , core, stretch/roll

Thursday:            speed intervals, lower body strength

Friday:                 core, foot/ankle strength, stretch/roll

Saturday:             easy short run, core, upper body strength

Sunday:                long run, stretch/roll

There is a lot of core work because it addresses two pillars; aerobic base building  and injury prevention.  There is between 3 and 4 hours of running because…running.  The strength work targets injury prevention and anti-aging.  Foot work, stretching and rolling are injury prevention.

There is a lot here, perhaps too much.  As runs get longer I might need more “rest” type days.  If so, I will expand this to a nine day cycle.

There are also dietary and mental components to the plan but this post is already too long.

Signing off with my usual blurry bathroom selfie.

See you next week.

Up next, the LA Marathon on 3.18.18.

Going to train according to the Daniels’ 2Q program in place of Hansons Marathon Method. 

I think Hansons is a great program but I need something different to get me through all those training days. 

The biggest differences I see between the programs are: (1) Daniels has two weekly Quality/SOS workouts instead of Hansons’ three (making it easier to run 5 days a week instead of 6, and creating space for strength/core/stability work); and (2) Daniels’ Long runs usually contain a mixture of paces - Easy, Marathon, Tempo (Lactate Threshold) and VO2 max.  I’ve done a couple of these runs and they are way more fun than running at the same pace mile after mile.  I would describe them as extended interval runs. They are more physically challenging because I have to hold or exceed goal race pace late into a longer run and after some faster paced miles. When I’m done I feel like I’ve really accomplished something, not just checked off miles.  Best.

3

Detroit W15D7 - LONG 16

Target pace: 10:29
Actual pace: 9:58

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 :)

2

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.

2

Let’s post about something positive, yes?

I’ve thought a lot about running goals and there is on main one I really want: I want to get faster. I want to push myself even more than I have. I know I have it in me, I’m just afraid. I’m afraid if I try I’ll fail. But I know I have to try.

So to help me reach that goal, I have something exciting planned for May: I signed up for the Indy Mini! My mom and I are both going to run it :) I want to step back from the full marathon distance and really work on my speed. And I think this will be a really great race for that. My ultimate 2016 goals are to work on speed in shorter races for the spring, then translate that work to another full in the fall.

My goal for this half marathon is: sub 2:00. I’m using the Hansons Half Marathon Method to help me reach that goal.

This feels like a lofty goal for me, but I believe I have it in me. I’m stronger than I think. Moving forward into this year, I want that to be a theme: I’m stronger than I think.

SO, with all of that said, today officially marks W1D4 (hansons why must you not start on a Monday?!). Today’s run was an easy 3

Target pace: 10:15-11:00
Actual pace: 10:36

These miles felt good! It was unseasonably warm today with highs in the 40s, so I was excited to get out after work. My mom got me a headlight for Christmas, so I wanted to try it out tonight. I could definitely tell drivers saw me easier! And I could see easier once it got darker. I’m very happy I have a light now :)

Okay, I think that’s enough blabbing for this post. Thanks if you read all of it :)

PS Winston says hi! :)