Monumental Marathon: Training Week 2 of 12

Week2

 

Look at that! Week 1 wasn’t a fluke after all! Just as with most injuries, I think it’s hard not to hold your breath when you get back to running. You keep waiting for something to hurt because you were in a decent amount of pain just a few short weeks ago. But nope! I think it’s safe to say I’m in the clear and now it’s just time to get down to business. Week 2 was definitely tough, especially because breathing the soupy air that made its way to Chicago made running somewhat miserable. Perfect week to get back to workouts, huh?

Monday: Full REST

I was still in Michigan for a long weekend and I ran 13 miles the day before, so resting was necessary. I spent the day working in a coffee shop (that ironically used beans roasted in Chicago), having lunch with Man, and thrifting for decorations and new furniture to fill the new apartment.

Tuesday: [Fartlek 8.03 miles, 7:37 avg]

I call this one the ‘hairdryer fartlek’. It was so hot and muggy and gross that I felt like someone was blowing a hairdryer into my face the entire time. I ran 2 to lake, 4 lakefront miles with 30 sec @ 5k pace every 3 minutes, and 2 home. The legs had a decent amount of pep today after yesterday’s rest so that’s good! 

Wednesday: [Easy 7, 7:56 avg]

Easy 7 around the neighborhood this morning. I ran such a random route that I don’t think I could have even explained to someone familiar with the area. It was hot and humid out again this morning so I was happy to run on some shady streets. I stopped in a park halfway for a sip of water & it was glorious. 

I’ve been thinking about routine lately – welp, basically my lack of routine. I used to be really good about getting up around 5 or 5:30 AM to run before work each day. It’s likely because I have a flexible schedule these days, but I just haven’t been able to find the motivation to do that again. I normally wake up around 6:30 AM and then it takes me a while to get going before I even think about running (especially if it’s a workout). The weather has been motivating me to get it done early-ish, but I’m hoping to get back to the routine of starting my run by 7 AM on mornings when I don’t have meetings.

Thursday: [3 x 1 mi tempo/ 8.59 mi, 7:24 avg]

Annnnd speaking of a morning running routine, the rain thwarted my plans of getting this done by 7:30 AM. I sat around in my running clothes basically from 6:30 AM until I left just after 9 AM when the rain cleared. Woof. Humidity x 1000000 out there today. (temp 76, with 88% humidity = swimming). I didn’t really know what kind of tempo I would run today until I started. I settled for 3 x 1 mi at tempo pace. Considering I did 6 x 3 min tempo surges last week and I haven’t run a tempo in … I don’t know how long … this was a solid effort. Splits: 6:46, 6:52, 6:37 (with 1-2 min walk break between) It felt more difficult that I expected it to but I likely should have adjusted for the conditions. On to the next!

Friday: [Easy 5, 8:10 avg]

Woof. Humidity is here to stay, huh? Went out around 9 after doing some work early this morning. Knew it would be sticky out, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My glasses fogged up when I stopped at a stoplight. EVERYONE IS DOING THE SWAMPY SHUFFLE these days!

Saturday: [Long 15 mi, 7:45 avg]

I was dreading this one the moment I saw the forecast on Friday night – 71 degrees and 96% humidity expected.

2014-08-22 21.45.48

The lakefront was definitely cooler than inland and the fog/cloud cover kept the sun from peeking out too much. This is the best run I’ve had in a while — I actually felt like myself again! I ran 2 to the lake with The Man and then settled in to 7:30-7:40 really easily. My legs felt like they could have run 7:45s all day. I normally don’t run so well in the heat and humidity, but it didn’t bother me that much. I stopped at plenty of water fountains to douse my head and neck with water and I think that helped a lot. Gu at miles 6 and 11 (gotta love that salted watermelon!) I’m really happy this went well. I was shocked that out of the hundreds of people out on the lakefront that I only saw TWO people I know! 

We had plans to have people over on our rooftop in the afternoon, but the weather ruined those plans! So we went to “brunch” at 1 pm and bar-hopped afterward. I mean, if you’re not brunching at 1 pm and hanging out with the same crowd at 9 pm the same day, you’re doing it wrong.

2014-08-23 20.15.02

We absolutely love our rooftop and wanted to have people over to enjoy it one last time – before MOVING! We found a nice place nearby with more space so this next week is absolute INSANITY between preparing for a big work event (involving travel next week), packing up the apartment, moving, and trying to fit training (and sleeping) in there somewhere. I know it will be worth it, but it’s definitely going to be a crazy couple of weeks.

Sunday: REST

Lazy Sunday morning with puppy cuddles and a day full of worrying about packing…and then actually packing. 

2014-08-24 20.50.26

Look what I found! A training plan that I apparently printed in 2011 – when my ‘projected’ marathon finish time was 4:01. I must have printed it that spring before training ramped up and I’m 75% sure it was based on a recent 5k time. Just when you begin to think that you won’t have enough time to get fit for the next 26.2, the universe shows you just how far you’ve come. 

Anyone have some superwoman powers I can borrow this week…and the next?

-J 

Monumental Marathon: Training Week 1 of 12

Annnnnd we’re back to weekly updates! I know, I know…you all missed them so much. I mean, I know I missed the miles!

Last Monday was my first day back to running after 3 full weeks off. And I’m happy to report that the return was glorious and happy, albeit sluggish and awkward. This was totally expected and I had to remind myself that getting back into shape isn’t going to be easy and it certainly isn’t ideal leading into such a short cycle for 26.2. I’m going to keep plugging along and putting in the miles and will see what happens.

In Week 1, I scheduled some light speed and tempo surges to ease back into training. Neither one felt great but I’m happy to report that the only thing that really hurt were my lungs, not my knee or my atrophied muscles. :)

This is what 3 weeks off looks like. I LIKE SEEING THOSE BLUE BARS!

3weeksoff

Monday: [5 easy, 7:37 avg] 

I missed the lakefront so much and this run was so relieving. Despite not being in pain following the cortisone shot (and not in too much pain even before the injection), I still didn’t know how this would go. I was so happy to be able to say “I RAN TODAY!”. I’m sure I looked like an uncoordinated baby giraffe out there on the lakefront path but damn, this felt good. And despite the cloud cover, it was anything but gloomy.

2014-08-11 13.27.04-1

Tuesday: [8.19 easy with 8 x 30 sec surges, 7:53 avg] 

Second run – and again, absolutely no pain or discomfort! I think letting the bursitis do its thing worked. Back at it. Manuel A C. and I ran to the lakefront after work. The waves were huge today! (almost wish I brought my phone to snap a pic) I helped pace Manny through 2 mi of his tempo (which were comfortable for him and not so comfortable for me!) and then ran a few miles solo. I ran 8 x 30 sec surges in the last two miles just by feel with 1 min easy jog between. I started around 6:25 pace and was surprised to see a 6:07 pace for the last one once I finished.

It appears that I also lost the necessary callouses on my feet because I did not enjoy running in the Ride 7′s tonight. I even stopped to tie the laces to skip a loop so that I had more room in the forefoot. It helped a bit but I likely won’t wear the Rides for anything over 5-6 miles…or at least until my callouses return. :)

Wednesday: OFF 

As much as I wanted to run today, I knew I’d just be STOOPID for running 3 days in a row after taking 3 freaking weeks off.

Thursday: [9.5 mi with 6 x 3 min tempo surges, 7:44 avg]

Woof. Getting back into shape is painful. If there were ever a day to bring my phone to snap a pic/video, it was today. The Blue Angels were soaring over the lake to practice for the Air & Water Show this weekend. Really cool to watch & it kept me somewhat distracted from my pace through the workout.

I was clearly not ready for solid tempos yet (Week 1! ha!) so I decided to do 6 x 3 min tempo segments with 3 min jog recovery. First 2 felt like crap, next 2 felt tough but smoother, and last two felt like “weeeeeeeeeeeee!”.

0.43/6:54
0.44/6:51
0.44/6:48
0.45/6:41
0.45/6:40
0.47/6:28

Friday: OFF

Enjoyed my Friday night with a beer on the rooftop after work and a few beers with Manny that night. It appears that Friday nights without a Saturday long run can go pretty late.

Saturday: [Easy 6.1 mi, 8:05 avg] 

I ran off a mild hangover slightly after 9 am. After running and a few glasses of Nuun, I felt like a normal human being. I hopped in the car that afternoon for an impromptu trip to Holland, MI with The Man. The drive was nice, especially because Barklee wanted to cuddle.

2014-08-16 14.05.21

Sunday: [13 mi, 8:13 avg]

Long run in Holland. I originally planned on running anywhere between 12-14 miles. Considering how good the legs handled training earlier in the week, I figured 13 miles was perfect.  I ran the first 7 miles really easy with Manny to the beach between 8:40-8:50 and the last 6 between 7:40-7:55. My legs were happy to run in a faster gear at the end and I felt like myself again. It was 67 degrees with 91% humidity so the first few miles felt surprisingly sluggish. I took a (salted watermleon!) Gu at mile 7 and water at miles 4, 7, and 10. I didn’t feel wiped out after that and I wasn’t sore on Sunday. All good signs that easing into the long run and training was the smart thing to do!

2014-08-17 12.58.45-1

Guys. This stuff exists. Go buy it now.

Week 1:

5 runs

0 core (ha)

0 tragic pothole falls (haHA)

42 miles

BACK AT IT!

- J

The Beginning of a New Cycle – Monumental 2014

I’ve debated a bit about whether or not I want to post training updates this time around. This seems to be a normal part of a new cycle for me – do I want to share how my workouts are going, even (and especially) on the days when they’re not going well? Am I posting for myself? I’ve certainly had different answers to these questions in the past. And just as before, I’m a bit conflicted. For now, I’ll update when I feel like it. I like being able to look back on past training cycles. It helps put things in perspective, especially when you consider the training-LIFE balance that anyone training for a marathon has to deal with. I’m toying with the idea of posting monthly updates – surely, few people (if anyone) would read them but at least I’d be able to process what the heck is happening running-wise.

Thoughts? Do you read training updates or do you scroll them? What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of sharing?

So, the weekly update!

Last week was a transition week into my training for Monumental. I’ve been ramping up my mileage a bit in the past 6-7 weeks and I am happy that I was mentally ready to start a new cycle.

Monday: REST + taking care of those sniffles

Day 1 of training (although 16 weeks out was officially Monday, July 14) and I woke up feeling like absolute crap. I fought a cold/cough/sore throat over the holiday weekend but thought it had run its course. Turns out Monday was the worst of it and I spent half the day working in bed. I spent the rest of the day being lazy. But hey! I spent 30 full minutes foam rolling and using the roll recovery that night!

Tuesday: [8 easy with 8 x 20 sec surges (7:44 avg) - paced between 5:50-6:10 min/mile] 

After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling human! I took plenty of meds and hydrated on Monday so I’m sure that helped a lot as well. The only time I had to run was during lunch so I ran 8 easy in a nearby park and ran straight to Potbelly for lunch. I took the long way there :). The surges felt great (turnover seems strong lately) and it was a good ‘light speed’ workout, considering the lingering congestion I was dealing with.

Wednesday: [10 miles easy (7:40 avg)]

Easy 10 on the lakefront this morning. It was a “cool” 72 degrees out, so it was pretty enjoyable. Seen on my run: Mr. Bean’s doppelgänger. I’m curious to see how these longer mid-week runs impact my training. Still a bit of lingering congestion, but much better than Monday!

Thursday: [Bastille Day 5k! 20:32 + 1.67 mi warm-up]

One word describes this race experience: woof. I jumped into a 5k just to see where my fitness is at before officially beginning the training cycle. I thought I could get to low 20s without blowing up. I’ve PR’d at this race the past two years and have liked racing it. This year, the congestion was terrible. The 8k starts 15 minutes before the 5k and they finish together on an out-and-back course. I was on target through 2-3k & felt pretty good – just starting to hurt but knew I could push for another 2k. After the 3k mark though, staying on pace was pretty much impossible. They didn’t put a race official at the turnaround to even let people know that a race was happening. There was plenty of traffic on the lakefront because it was such a beautiful evening. (The course is never blocked off but it’s never been a big problem in the past. In fact, I don’t even really remember any congestion last year.) This time around, there were cyclists on both sides and down the middle of the path – I was basically surrounded by bikes on both sides. And then, you run into the 8k runners that were running a much slower pace by the time the 5k runners were at the turnaround. There were more people running in the grass during a 5k than I’ve ever seen before and you could tell some people were frustrated. At that point, I literally had to stop and walk for a few seconds because it was so bad. Total of two stops probably totaled 15-20 seconds.

Soooooo yeah, it didn’t go well. But I guess it was a decent workout. I haven’t done any structured speedwork since before Boston so at least I know I have a little bit of pep in my legs these days. I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze in another 5k in the next few months, but damn I really want that sub 20 goal knocked down this year. I know I can run a sub-20. I ran 20:05 at the same race last year. It’s gotta happen!

The highlight was definitely hearing some familiar voices with 200 meters to go. Corey, Chanthana, and Manny were definitely the loudest spectators at the finish. We grabbed some burgers and beer after the race. NOMS!

2014-07-10 19.15.00-2

 

Pre-race optimism 

Splits: 3:52, 4:03, 4:07, 4:18 (darn traffic), 4:09
9th female
4/113 age group
32/861 overall

Friday: [5 easy + 5 x 8 sec hill sprints, (8:11 avg)]

My legs weren’t sore or tired from the 5k at all. Derp. It felt good to move at the end of the work day.

Saturday: [Long Run - 14 mi (7:52 avg)]

What a backwards Saturday. I woke up to a crazy downpour (think monsoon) at 6:30 AM and the rain didn’t stop until 11 AM. At that point, I was already preparing a late breakfast and debating delaying ’til tomorrow. After the rain cleared, Man and I headed out for our long run at 1 PM. Annnnnd it was sticky. And hotter than expected. If there wasn’t an annoying crosswind the entire time, I’m sure it would have felt much hotter. Ran easy 2 to the lake with Man and then ran 7:40-7:50 for the remaining 12. Stopped at plenty of water fountains and just took it mile by mile. Didn’t have much energy today despite 9-10 hrs sleep. Just happy to get it done and relax the rest of the weekend!

Sunday: [3 recovery (8:10 avg)]

Just a quick jaunt around the neighborhood in the evening. We drove down to 3 Floyd’s in the afternoon to pick up some friends that had biked the 35 miles there. We had a few beers and ate lunch – annnnd watched the World Cup on my iPhone. It turns out 3 Floyd’s has a policy against playing sports on their TVs (they always play movies?).

Totals: 

6 runs, 45 miles

Core x 2

1 “race”

& 1 cough/cold that went away! 

- J

Fall Training & Racing Plans

Fall racing plans are finally coming together. After a disappointing Boston race, I knew I wanted redemption in the fall (despite my best attempts at telling myself I would “only” train for a half marathon). I’m still chasing that sub-3:10 goal that I set for the year and I have a feeling I’ve found the perfect place to do it.

Today is Day 1 of training for…. the Monumental Marathon in Indy!

MonumentalMarathon

There are a lot of reasons why I think Indy is going to be a good race for me. I grew up in the Indy area and there’s a certain hometown advantage that I’m banking on. Having family members on the course will mean a lot and I am familiar with the streets (especially after pacing my friend through the first half last year). Plus, the perks of sleeping in a familiar bed and enjoying a home-cooked meal by my mom are pretty irresistible. Also, the weather tends to cooperate. It’s several weeks after the Chicago Marathon during the first weekend of November. I’m hoping for race conditions just like last year – cool and calm from start to finish. I like cool temps. :) Annnnnd, the course is flat. Helloooooo pancake-flat course! I think we’ll get along well.

I’m planning on racing a 5k and 10k as part of my training for Monumental. I hope I can make both races hurt and PR, but I’ll be happy with a solid effort. The focus is on the marathon. As of right now, I don’t think I’ll race a half marathon this cycle. I normally like to race a half as part of my training but I don’t want to squeeze too much racing into a 16-week cycle. The half can be a confidence boost especially when I really feel like I’m in shape, but I’m going to try to be patient and enjoy the process of training again.

So, 16 weeks to race day and today is the day that I woke up with a horrible summer cold. (cue: whining) A sore throat and a stuffy nose aren’t exactly ideal when your motivation to run is high. I think I’ll spend a few days blowing my nose and consuming Nyquil before doing any tough workouts. (I can only imagine how much snot would flow out of my nose if I attempted to do speedwork today.) Let’s hope this cold goes away soon!

… The excitement doesn’t stop there, folks!

Honolulu_Marathon

I’m helping my sister to train for her first maraton this fall with Saucony 26 Strong. Our original plan was to run the California International Marathon in December. We were really excited about it! And then!… Saucony asked each team if they were interested in switching their goal race to the…. Honolulu Marathon. (I feel like I’m kidding, but I’m not.)

We considered Honolulu a few months ago, but thought we’d go with a race that typically has cooler weather. I wanted to find ideal racing conditions, especially for her first. Welp! It didn’t take much convincing to switch to Honolulu considering several other teams will be there with us and we’ll have some fun pre- and post-race activities. My sister has been building up her base for almost 2 months now and her training will officially begin the first week of August. I think we’re both still in denial that her first marathon is going to be in Honolulu.

Between the two of us (and the Man running his first 26.2 at Chicago!), we have a lot of miles to run this summer! I think the rest of 2014 is going to be pretty fabulous. I think today may be the one and only time I register for two marathons within ten minutes — but don’t quote me on that.

2014-07-07 11.16.23

-J

Boston Marathon 2014: Race Recap

No one likes to write a race report about a race that didn’t go well. I questioned putting these thoughts out there, but I know that I’ll be glad I did eventually. It will be good to look back on it in the future–hopefully when a race goes “right”.

On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, I didn’t really feel like reliving each mile of 26.2. And then I thought, “well, this year should be much easier to write than last year.” (biggest understatement ever made by anyone ever.) It’s clear that this recap may be easier to write for different reasons.

Like many, I found 4.15.2014 to be an emotional day. To be honest, I didn’t even fully realize it was 4.15 until that Tuesday  morning. I was so focused on being days out from reaching that start and finish line again that it hit me like a ton of bricks. I know I wasn’t alone (just like I wasn’t alone on 4.15.2013). Last year, I ran Boston in a 3+ minute PR of 3:14:37. It was a great day and then, suddenly, it was a terrible day. I surprised myself then. With practically zero hill training and a very short training cycle (just 14 weeks), I ran strong and hit almost every pace I planned in my race strategy. It was a day to remember. Yet a day I wanted to forget for so many days, weeks, months afterward.

This year, I wanted to repeat the race experience at Boston 2013 and enjoy being part of the kickass running community that clearly can’t be stopped.

I didn’t run the race I’m capable of on Monday. I ran 3:21:16, over 11 minutes off of my ‘B’ goal. I know I should be proud of this time. If you had told me 2 or 3 years ago that I would run this at Boston, I would be *over the moon*. I wouldn’t think of this as a failure or a disappointment. It’s perfectly ironic to me that my 2013 Boston experience was wonderful in terms of the race and so devastating in terms of its events — and that my 2014 Boston experience was absolutely wonderful in terms of the people I shared it with and disappointing in terms of my race.

But then, you think about last year. Facing each day was much harder the few days after last year’s Boston Marathon. I don’t want Boston 2014 to be about coming short of my goal. And I definitely don’t want to take the experience for granted. A few days ago, I gradually started to find a sense of humor about the whole experience. For example, how ridiculous is it that so many Midwestern runners (and elsewhere!) trained through one of the WORST winters in history and then ran 26.2 in 60+ degrees. (Luck of the draw with most spring marathons) Blaming the heat feels like an excuse for failing, but there were factors that I could control and others that I could not. That’s the way the marathon goes.

Even though miles 16-26.2 felt more like a slow march, I want to recap the miles of Boston 2014:

My goal was 7:10-7:15/mile or 3:08-3:10 for 26.2.

The last 8-9 weeks of my cycle went really, really well and I felt confident in this goal time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt ready.

I woke up on Marathon Monday rested and calm. I slept surprisingly well and got up right away when my alarm sounded at 4:30 AM. Chanthana and I seemed to have a similar morning—we felt like we had plenty of time to get ready and we weren’t rushing around. We even had a few quiet moments to sit and have breakfast together. We left the hotel with Lauren with enough time to meet Corey and Molly near the buses at Boston Common. We all climbed on a bus together and chatted the entire ride. (I remember the bus ride being much longer last year–probably because I was super nervous then.)

2014-04-21 06.31.36-1Lauren, Corey, Molly, CT, and I about to check our bags and board the buses to Hopkinton 

Aren’t we super attractive, ladiezzzz?!

Quick shout-out to that $5 Walgreens blanket! I didn’t realize it was a Christmas tree until I opened it up on Sunday night! Almost didn’t want to ditch it in the Village. :) Also, as I was leaving the hotel on Monday morning, I showed Manny my awesome hobo outfit and he immediately said, “you’re so lucky I love you.” I mean, how could you not with that kind of outfit?!

After spending the morning in Athlete Village laying down, chatting with friends, and waiting in the bathroom line (75% of my time was spent  there, I swear), I was in a bit of a rush to get to my corral. Never fails. You wait and wait and wait and then you’re suddenly in a rush to apply BodyGlide, count your Gus, double-check your watch is working, & get to corral before the start. I nervously walked up to my corral, walking a bit and jogging a bit when space allowed. By the time I got there, I had 5 minutes before the start of Wave 2. I saw Leticia and Michele (didn’t know they’d be at the start!) and told them I was nervous and a bit worried about the temp. With two minutes before the start, I heard the announcer say ‘alright runners, it’s 58 degrees right now. how about we hold it right there?’. And I thought, hell yeah man it’s already warm! I had throwaway arm-warmers on (because you come prepared for cold weather when you train in -10 to 40 degree temps!) and immediately threw them to the side. I most definitely wouldn’t need them.

2014-04-21 10.17.24

Miles 1-5:

My goal for these miles was just to let the downhill do the work. I wanted to stay relaxed and find a flow, without putting the ‘breaks’ on (that would just kill the quads even more). My pace for these miles should have been 6:55-7:05 per mile. I didn’t feel like I was getting caught up in the excitement of the race. I felt really smooth and focused on keeping my heart rate low.
Miles 1-5

Looking back on it, I probably could have cooled it down a tad. Running 6:50 compared to 7:05 doesn’t seem like a big difference but I know better.

Miles 6-14:

The course here is gently rolling with no major hills. It’s a good time to settle into goal pace range and just focus on fueling properly. The goal here was 7:107:15, to stay consistent. Even thought there are no major hills, it’s still a challenge –something I remember being surprised by last year.

Miles 6-14

This section felt pretty good. The rolling hills felt like the hills I had trained on at Morton Arborteum. My legs had more pep on the hills this year than they did last (which, again, makes sense because I did zero hill training in 2013). Miles 6 and 7 felt just as strong as Miles 1-5. Right after the Mile 7 marker, I felt like I need to make a pit stop and got lucky when I found an empty one. False alarm (insert profanity here). TMI: I thought I needed to go #2. Didn’t happen, but I did pee. And I only managed a few drops. I knew this was bad. At this point in the race, I should be plenty hydrated. When you realize that you may be flirting with dehydration at Mile 8 of a marathon, it’s a really bad sign. I tried not to think too much about it and kept running. I took water at every other water stop in the first 13 miles. Once I reached Mile 14, I knew I need to be taking in much more than that. I also started to pour water over my head and my back by mile 8. (And another bad sign– it felt so cold on my skin that it took my breath away for a second). I took a Gu about every 5 miles and washed it down with water.

Right after Mile 14, Jess and I exchanged a few words. She looked so strong and I have to say, I was 177% jealous of the water bottle she chose to carry during the race. She asked me how I felt and I said “I’m hot.” It was nice to see a familiar face when it all started to go downhill (errrr…uphill) (and she most definitely had some words of wisdom to share with me at gear check after the race). Thanks Jess!

Boston2014-6My face says it all: “Damn, it’s getting hot.”

The first time I looked at my splits after I finished (this wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon–didn’t have the nerve yet), I was actually shocked to look at these miles–the splits weren’t as bad as they were in my head! Miles 13-14 felt pretty tough, miles 8 and 11 were slow due to bathroom/water stops, but the remaining miles were pretty much in goal range. Still, the fact that they’re a bit erratic (even with the rolling course) isn’t a good sign.

Miles 15-21:

The hills. Yeah, this is where it gets real.

Miles 15-21

Mile 15 not good.

Mile 16 “Mayyyyyyybe I can get back into it.”

Mile 17. Nope.

Mile 18 Yeah, this isn’t going well.

By mile 18, I was playing mental games with myself. I spent so much mental energy just calculating and recalculating my projected finishing time. Each time I passed a mile marker, I weighed whether or not I could hold a pace closer to 7:00 and what the finish time would be. And then I gradually resigned to “ok, what if I just hold 8 min/mile? I mean, that’s 30 sec slower than your long run pace, Jenny!”. It wasn’t pretty and I stopped to walk at least 10 times. I’ve never walked in a marathon before (except to drink water or recover from choking on my water, heh…). My legs felt like lead and I was ashamed to even look ahead or to the side at the thousands of spectators lining the course. If there’s ever a time that I wished there were zero spectators at a race, it was then. [Spectators--you are amazing and in hindsight I'm happy you were there! I mean, I probably would have just sat on the curb if you hadn't been screaming your f***ing heads off!]

2014-04-21 13.29.28Hyedi snapped this pic near Mile 19. I told her I was shocked she saw me when I wasn’t walking! Heh.

Miles 22-26.2:

Miles 22-finish

Just trying to hold it together. After the hills in previous section, my legs didn’t even want to run downhill. I wanted to love those downhills, but my legs definitely didn’t. They were boycotting and I felt like there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. I walked in this section a few more times, yelled at myself (internally) a bit (ex: “you only have 2,3,4 miles to go– do you really need a walk break?”), and generally just felt sorry for myself. The goal for this section was to just hold it together and just get back into goal pace after the hills. This clearly didn’t happen. (I remember thinking that my slowest mile of Boston 2013 was 7:59 around mile 22-23. After seeing a few 8′s on my watch, this made me disappointed.)I had a bit of a mental boost seeing the huge Chicago crew (seemingly led by Lynton) and getting a side-5 from Jeff around Mile 22. Seeing some familiar faces kind of snapped me out of my own head for a second–that was MUCH appreciated!  Around Mile 25, Mary said hello as she passed and did her best to keep me going, but I just didn’t have anything left.

Making the right on Hereford and the left on Boylston was emotional. The crowds were unbelievably loud yet I felt like I couldn’t quite hear them. Manny, my mom, my sister, and some friends told me they would be cheering on Boylston (closer to Hereford than the finish). I remember looking to my left several times to try to spot them. And once I turned my attention on that beautiful finish line and put my hands over my heart, the tears started to flow.

I cried because I felt lucky to be back again after last year. I cried because I didn’t run the race I wanted to. I cried because of the crowd support (despite wishing them away when the going got tough). I cried because my legs hurt. And I cried because there’s only one place I was thinking about throughout this cycle–the Boston Marathon Finish Line. It’s so beautiful.

Not every marathon can be beautiful but that finish line surely was.

Boston2014-5

Marathon #4 was the toughest marathon I’ve ever run. It was also the most meaningful after a difficult 2013. I know that a 3:08-3:10 is in these legs of mine. It’s probably just a matter of time before that happens. And I can’t wait until it does.

The stats: 

My goal in the future is to never, ever, EVER run such a huge positive split in a marathon again. :)

Boston Marathon 2014 Jenny Poore Results

 Things I’ve Learned:

  • Don’t be a silly goose. Readjust your expectations up until the minute the race starts according to the weather.
  • Just when you think you’ve had enough water to drink, drink way more (this goes for the day of and especially the day before). I’m normally good at hydrating before a race (and maybe my body just didn’t have enough time to acclimate), but I think I should have had more water on Sunday. Rookie status.
  • Just because I didn’t run the race I wanted to, does not mean that I’m not strong. (And one bad race usually means a great one is just around the corner.)
  • When a race is going poorly, try to at least make the mental switch to just enjoy yourself. –> I clearly didn’t do this. It’s obviously much easier said than done, but I wish I would have just let go and had fun with the crowds.
  • I had so much more fun training for this year’s Boston than I did last year’s. It’s no coincidence that it’s because I spent the majority of every Saturday with Chanthana and Corey. Those two helped me through long runs in ice, snow, and wind—and they’re both ridiculously good at brunching. (#alltheBACON!)
  • Returning to Boston with *almost* the same crew as last year (we missed you so much Kris!) was very special. I recommend stalking these people: Kevin, Scott, Chanthana, Lauren (shout-out to Timayyyy! Because, duh, he’s gonna be running Boston *very very soon*).

2014-04-22 07.18.51We did it!

 

2014-04-23 20.10.14-1

End of one chapter and the beginning of another, am I right?

Onward and upward!

-J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 15 of 16

Week15

Belated training update! Now that the taper tantrums have really set in, it’s only appropriate that I recap taper week #1, right?

The goal this week was: “DON’T BE A HERO SLASH STUPID-HEAD!” (it’s a theme lately)

I ran 35 miles, 5 runs 1 hour spin , 1 hour massage, and 1x (?) core.

Monday: 1 hour easy spin at the gym + core x 1 

I was happy to get on the bike today. It was a nice day if I remember correctly but I was looking forward to a dark spin room all to myself for some reason. And the ‘entertainment’ didn’t disappoint. My gym has a one-way mirror from the spin room looking to the weights section. And you can certainly tell who has and who has not been to a spin class just by how they react to the mirrors on the other side. I swear, one of these days I’m going to create a Tumblr of people checking themselves out in that thing. (It’s the weirdest thing when you think they’re actually looking through the mirror at you …staring at them…but they’re actually just staring at themselves. :))

Tuesday: [5 x 1k workout] 7.8 miles, 7:09 average

I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning for this workout before work. I’m actually glad that I waited because I went out at 2 pm to sunshine and clear skies. I couldn’t have asked for better running weather! I ran 2.5ish warm-up (the underpass that I usually take to the lakefront has been flooded for a few days so I took an alternate route), 5 x 1k with 400m recovery jog, and 1 mi down. I felt GOOD today. Although, I’m quite impressed with my consistent positive splits on this one haha — went out too fast on the first 3 (tailwind!) and the last two are right where all 5 should have been. (All of them should have been around 5k pace, so 6:15-6:20— they spanned 5:58-6:18. whooopsieeeees!) I am pretty sure the 800 speed was still in my legs from the previous week and they didn’t realize they were allowed to run a slower pace. ;)

Splits: 3:42, 3:47, 3:51, 3:52, 3:55 (see consistent positive splits! LOLZ)

Wednesday: Recovery 4.17 miles, 7:28 average

It was a morning! My legs felt GREAT today and I almost timed all of the stoplights perfectly. 4 miles seems so short. #taperproblems

Thursday: [3 x 2 mi at GMP] 8.7 miles, 7:06 average

The only bad thing about this run was the hairy buttcrack on the dude I saw passing me on a bike. Like, get it together, dude. (For those of you that asked if he was on a Divvy, I’m 78.789% sure he was.)

I was supposed to do 2 x 3 mi at GMP but I ran it a weeeeee bit too fast. 2 mi warm-up, then 2 x 3 mi with 5 min jog between. My legs were pretty heavy today. Par for the course during taper so I’m not overthinking this one at all. Beautiful night for a run along the lake (and in shorts!)

6:58, 6:59, 7:04
7:03, 6:56, 6:51

Friday: Recovery 4 miles, 7:36 average.

Quick one around the neighborhood. I didn’t really feel like running today but tomorrow is a rest day. (Something about taper makes these shorties feel pointless, but I know they aren’t.) Looking forward to some bodywork tomorrow morning!

2014-04-11 22.13.09-2

That night, Man and I treated ourselves to some fresh airrrrrrr and a few drinks with some friends. It was the most perfect spring evening–60 degrees and a slight breeze. Just comfortable enough in a light sweater sitting by the warm fire. Remind me to do this more often!

Saturday: REST + Sports Massage

Saturday was another perfect spring day. Although, I think 75 degrees is more like summer. You could tell everyone in the city of Chicago was loving life on Saturday. I woke up early (for a Saturday without a long run) and went to a massage appointment. It was just what I needed and I’m glad that I rescheduled it for the weekend — I originally had it scheduled for Tuesday 4/15, but thought that might be too close to race day. The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown, grabbing a drink with some friends, and lounging at home.

Sunday: 10 mile “long run”, 7:45 average

What a weird run! Man and I ran to the lakefront together. On the way there, we were sweating and commenting that it was the first really warm run of the season. He ran north and I ran south and after only a mile in, you could feel the weather start to change. A fog rolled in at Ohio Street beach and a really cool breeze came in off of the lake. Running south with a tailwind was smooth but running back north was FRIGID. I could barely see 100 yards ahead and all the runners appeared through the fog out of nowhere. It was 60 degrees when we started the run and only 41 degrees when we finished. I knew the temp was going to drop today, but had no idea it was going to drop that quickly—within an hour!

2014-04-13 12.39.40

Left: fog starting to roll in around mile 3. Right: lake is nonexistent and it’s freakin’ frigid!

2014-04-13 11.22.01

The entire skyline disappeared!

Last longish run before Boston! I felt strong today, even in the wind, and my legs are feeling pretty relaxed after yesterday’s massage. Followed by a Mad Men marathon and puppy cuddles on the couch :)

Thoughts:

I felt a bit “blah” and “meh” about running this week. My legs were heavy at times and super peppy at others. Again, this is all part of taper so I know to take that with a grain of salt. Later in the week, I remember thinking that I better savor each sip of coffee or beer because I’m calling it quits on both for the final week before race day. Keepin’ the eye on the prize, guys!

I’m really not sure if I’ll post before Boston. I think it’s going to be hard to put into words no matter what and I’m looking forward to spending time with my running family. I’ve been feeling the love lately and despite a few sad days as we remember 4.15.2013, I think it’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to a weekend full of smiles, happiness, gratitude, and warmth.

If you’re interested in tracking my progress throughout the race, text my bib number (9615) to 345-678 to receive text updates!

-J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 14 of 16

Week 14

Major WORK this week! Last week was a mileage peak, while this week was a training peak in terms of key workouts. I did an 8-mile steady state on Tuesday and a 10 x 800 speed workout on Thursday.

This week I ran 49 miles: 5 runs, light hip strength, core x 2. 

This is how this it went:

Monday: Full REST Day 

My left calf was bothering me after Saturday’s hilly 20-miler and I knew one more rest day (after spectating the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday) would do the trick. It did!

Tuesday: 10.84 miles, 7:02 average [8-mile steady state]

I went back & forth on the decision to run outside vs. the treadmill today a million times. It was super windy all morning and I really wasn’t feeling up to battling it for a steady state workout. (The workout can be hard enough without the wind factor.) Ultimately, though, I’m really happy I decided to suck it up and run outside. There was an annoying crosswind from the west, which is easier to contend with than a headwind/tailwind situation. I ran 2 miles warm-up to the lakefront, 8 mile steady state, and 5 min cooldown. (I originally planned a 10-mile steady state as a benchmark but I figured 8 was enough of a challenge with the wind.)

Splits: (Headwind) 7:02, 7:01, 6:54, 6:55, (Tailwind) 6:49, 6:54, 6:57, 6:50.

I’m happy with how this felt (thought I’d settle into 7:05-7:10 but just went with it). 6:50-7:00 felt strong!

Wednesday: Recovery 6 on TM, 8:08 average 

Easy on the treadmill in the morning. Legs still had some pep and left calf didn’t bother me. I did a shortened version of my hip strength routine – the full routine is probably too much with Thursday’s 800s on the schedule.

Thursday: 11 miles, 7:30 average [10 x 800 with 2:45-3:00 recovery at the track]

BIG WORKOUT!

10 x 800 Yassos are always a sign that race day is near. I woke up to thunderstorms and wind howling outside and thought “maybeeeee I should do this workout on Friday instead”. I was super nervous. I usually get a bit nervous before tough workouts but usually that’s just good energy to use on the run. This time, though, I think my nervous energy could have made the workout go either way. I had a huge pit in my stomach just thinking about it. I’m so happy Corey was there with me — she did the same workout the week before and we chatted in the car on the way to the track. Luckily, the rain and wind held off (well..kind of) for the majority of the workout — the headwind picked up on the east straightaway for the last 3-4 800s.

After running 2 miles easy, switching into our flats, and procrastinating a bit (AKA doing a bajillion leg swings just for the heck of it), it was time to begin.

2 mi up
10 x 800: 3.00, 3:05, 2:56, 2:59, 2:59, 2:58, 2:59, 2:58, 2:57, 2:56

(with 2:45-3:00 rest)
1 mi down

I thought I was fit, but not THAT FIT! I honestly didn’t have much of a goal going into the workout, but I thought that consistent 3:05s would be great. Anything faster would just be a bonus. After I finished the third 800, I thought “well, let’s just go with it”. It turns out my own expectations were completely off (as usual)— I locked into that pace and there was no way I was going to slow down. When I finished the final repeat, I literally screamed and felt like pulling a Brandi Chastain…but it was 30 degrees, the wind picked up, and the rain started again 10 minutes after we hopped back into the car.

Yessssssssssss!

I know I can’t place too much of an emphasis on one workout (and I’m not sure I believe the whole “Yassos predict your marathon time” thing), but this made me feel so confident in my training and preparation for Boston. I came away from this thinking, “Ok, I am READY FOR YOU, BOSTON!”. A really great feeling heading into taper! The hard work is done now! :)

2014-04-03 15.42.05

Thanks, Corey, for snapping some pics! 

Friday: Recovery 6 on TM, 8:10 average

My legs were tired on Friday but surprisingly peppy for this recovery run. They weren’t sore at all from the track workout and the recovery felt really good. Happy to get some easy miles in before a total rest day on Saturday.

Saturday: Full REST Day 

Sunday:  15.5 easy miles, 7:32 average

I woke up early (for me, at least — winter cycles typically mean a 9 or 10 am start time) to meet up with Efo on the lakefront. I’ve followed Efo’s blog for about a year and a half now and she just happened to be in town visiting a friend. I’m so happy she asked me to run with her! We met on the lakefront so we both got a few miles in before running ~9 miles together. I felt somewhat creaky in the first few miles but the 9 miles with her went by so quickly (chatterboxes!) and I ran a few GMP miles after leaving her at her hotel.

2014-04-06 09.51.36The next time we see each other will be in Boston! 

It was so nice out there today! It apparently ‘felt like’ 29 degrees when we started but the sun made it feel much warmer than that. I also didn’t realize the Chi Town Half was today and some of the front runners flew past us near North Ave.

Followed by, of course, BRUNCH with Corey, Chanthana, and Manny. (Because our lives revolve around running and bloody marys and bacon….duh.)

Thoughts:

2014-04-06 14.30.29 [ I'm not sure what this means, but it made me mentally prepared to run fast. :) ]

I am absolutely THRILLED with how this week felt. Nobody could wipe that goofy smile off my face after Thursday’s 800s. I was shocked and relieved and elated that I ran the fastest set of 800s I’ve ever run in my life, in less than perfect conditions. This cycle has been a bit of a mixed bag, considering I wasn’t 100% in January. The first 8 weeks of the cycle felt like a bit of a slog, while the last 5 weeks or so have felt strong and consistent. I haven’t been to physical therapy for my left hip or quad since the Tuesday after the NYC Half and I actually doubt I’ll be going before Boston. I feel strong again — like I did last year leading into Boston. It’s crazy to think how much has happened in a year, but I’m still surprised that I’m here again, just a few weeks out from an amazing experience.

LET THE TAPER BEGIN!

- J