I received this good news by email yesterday. I honestly don’t know if the news has sunk in quite yet. Last year, my only goal was to finish my first marathon. I surprised myself in a big way when I crossed that finish line in 3:32:53. I cried, I laughed, I tried to BREATHE just thinking about all the hard work I’d put into my training. We all sacrifice time, sleep, and social lives (at times) to run our butts off. Us runners are a hardcore crazy bunch! Wouldn’t have been able to accomplish a BQ or celebrate properly without the “running friends” (the best friends a girl could possibly have!) that are always there to encourage and support. Now I have my 3rd marathon on the calendar!
Reflecting on each week of training can be really fun sometimes–especially if I’ve had a good week of workouts and my legs are feeling good. But the whole game changes once the marathon is just a matter of DAYS away! As of today, 13 days remain between me and the start line at Twin Cities. This is when the jitters start and the amount of time I dedicate to thinking about race day increases dramatically leading up to the race.
I feel confident in my running this past week. My body seems to be recovering from tough workouts a lot faster than it did last year. I remember feeling “creaky” and achy when walking to the train to work each morning at this point in my training last year. Now, I feel like I get up, get moving, and don’t really think about which muscles ache or why that one little nagging pain won’t go away. I’d like to think that I’m just taking better care of myself but I think my body is just stronger and is able to deal with the stress more easily.
Here’s how this week progressed:
Monday: REST (ahhhhhh rest :)) I spent the night on the couch watching silly TV instead of beating myself up about not running easy.
Tuesday: Shakeout –after a lazy Monday, these legs needed to MOVE. I felt so smooth and the miles ticked by quickly.
Wednesday: 10 x 800 Yassos — A big benchmark workout this morning. My goal was 3:18 for each 800 repeat. Splits: 3:17, 3:13, 3:13, 3:13, 3:10, 3:14, 3:12, 3:13, 3:12, 3:10. The last two were difficult but I had the energy to really push it on the last one.
I looked up my splits from this workout exactly a year ago before the Chicago Marathon and couldn’t believe how much faster I’m running these splits now. I was consistently running 3:35 or faster last year and now 3:15 seems comfortable. I’m so glad I’m meticulous about tracking the data sometimes because it really makes you feel like your hard work pays off in the end. No matter what happens on race day, I know that I’ve improved and that my body is capable of much more than I originally thought.
Thursday: REST! (ahhhh rest!) To be honest, I really didn’t want to rest today. Blergh.
Friday: 2 x 5k Tempo: I ran 1.5 w/up, 2 x 5k at 22:00 (with 1 mile recovery between 5ks), and 1 mi c/d. For some reason, I totally miscalculated and ran slower splits than I should have, but they weren’t too far off: 22:08, 22:21. I felt really good and each 5k didn’t feel too challenging—duh! because I should have been running them faster! It was Friday, ok? 🙂
Saturday: Shakeout — I spent the day running errands. When I was done, I realized my legs felt ‘locked up’ after standing and walking. I headed out for a really late shakeout around 8 pm. The air was crisp and cool. I wore my Saucony ViziPro jacket so the cars could see me in the dark. And I just let my body go until I was 3 miles away from home and had to turn around. 🙂 I didn’t intend on running 6 miles, but my body apparently wanted to.
Sunday: Tough 15-miler at 7:35 min/mile pace. This didn’t go as well it should have but mostly because I was dealing with a horrible headache for a few hours in the morning and my stomach was being weird. I tried my best to ‘recreate marathon morning’ but it didn’t quite go as planned. This was the first run in a long time that I just had to tell myself to put my head down, focus on the pavement, and keep my legs moving. I’m shocked that I met my goal pace for the entire 15 miles despite the headache and stomachache. In a weird way, I’m glad I struggled through it just to prove to myself that I can perform even when I don’t feel well.
So, within 12 hours I ran 21 miles. Today, my legs feel great. I refueled yesterday with pizza from Little Caesar’s (ha, yep!) and a few beers on the rooftop. I was finally able to spend some time alone and relaxing this weekend. Work, running, and LIFE in general has been insane lately and I’ve been struggling to keep everything in the air. Last week, I let the stress get to me and I decided to give up on things that should have been my main focus. A lot of little things derailed me from accomplishing those things that were big goals of the week. I need to learn how to focus on the moment, control what I can, and shove everything else to the side. I’m no Wonder Woman and I don’t aim to be.
I ran 50 miles in one week for the first time in my entire life. It’s not a huge weekly mileage PR but it’s a milestone nonetheless. 🙂
Another week, another funky schedule. But, as I always do, I did what I had to just to get the miles in. This week, I was able to sustain and push to the end of my runs. I’ve let my self-doubt get to me in prior weeks and I think it hurt my mental fortitude more than it did my physical training. I knew that this week was going to be different. I woke up on Monday morning ready to tackle my first workout, 400m repeats. I ran a badass 15 miles the previous Sunday, but my legs were ready to jump into the week (with a little more than a “pep in my step”).
Monday: 10 x 400s [Would have preferred a lazy, rest day but it’s another funky week with work & personal commitments so I decided to get my speedwork done today]. My legs are just a wee bit sore from yesterday’s 15, but felt totally fresh on the lakefront tonight. Ran 2 miles w/up, 10 x 400 at 1:35 (with 1:35 rest), and 2 miles c/d. Looks like I had a pep in my step!: 1:32, 1:30, 1:30 1:27, 1:28, 1:30, 1:31, 1:33, 1:32, 1:29.
Tuesday: Just an easy shakeout and some strength training
Wednesday: 8 mile tempo; Redemption is mine! After last week’s botched tempo, I was determined to keep those legs movin’. Ran 1 mile w/up, 8 miles at 7:15, and 1 mi c/d. Splits: 7:12, 7:04, 7:07, 7:08, 7:09, 7:03, 7:08, 7:02. (Cooler temps are my friend)
I can’t believe that this tempo went so well. My legs didn’t want to settle on 7:15, but kept pushing harder and harder toward a 7:00 min/mile pace. The weather was definitely my friend that morning, but so did the constant “I can do it” running through my head.
Thursday: Wednesday evening, I started to feel some tenderness in my calf/achilles in my right leg so I decided to “baby” it. I stretched (which I rarely do), foam rolled, and iced it with the Moji One while I watched TV. It felt similar to what I felt when I was dealing with peroneal tendinitis last year and I knew that I should back off and take a rest day.
Friday: Third (and final) 20-miler! Seriously—Fridays are the norm for my long runs this cycle. I’m lucky enough to have a flexible schedule and an open morning to fit the run in before a really hectic weekend (Is anyone else catching up on sleep during the week, as opposed to the weekend these days??)
“Feeling really, really good. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that we have this kind of weather on race day. Absolutely perfect! Ran to the lakefront as the sun came up–great way to start the day. Focused on keeping the pace conservative and jumping into a race-paced mile every now and then.” —> After my first and second 20-milers, I thought for sure the luck would run out and it wouldn’t go so well this time, but I surprised myself. Twenty glorious miles along the quiet lakefront on a Friday morning? —Sounds like perfection to me!
Last year, I was really good at visualizing the start line and the finish line. I walked (well…ran!) myself through the entire marathon like my life depended on it. I knew that my body was ready and that my mind would be there to keep my legs moving even when they didn’t want to. I’ve never been the kind of person to choose a “mantra” for those tough races and runs. Instead, it was as simple as choosing random motivational phrases that would push me when I needed it. I would think about how much time I dedicated to running, the sacrifices I had made along the way, and remind myself that it wasn’t all going to be for “nothing”. I wanted to prove that I could do it so badly. I would get so excited just thinking about what that finish line feeling would be like. With just a few short weeks to go until Twin Cities, I need to remember to give myself the mental boost I need and to think about that glorious finish line. Twenty-six-point-two miles of hard work—to get to the line and know that my discipline and hard work helped me to accomplish the big dreams I have for myself. My body is definitely ready. And my brain will be there to back me up, come race day.
P.S. I registered for the 2013 Boston Marathon this morning! (3 minutes after they opened registration again). It’s crazy what can happen in a year. Last January when I started training for my first marathon, I never ever thought that Boston would be within my reach. And here I am! Registering for Boston! Good luck to everyone registering!
I had one of those “is this day ever going to end?!” Fridays last week. I was at Reagan National waiting for my flight back to Chi for a solid 6 hours. My client meeting ended early and there were at least 20 listed stand-by for all the earlier flight options. All I wanted to do was to go home. After a much needed brew with a coworker, I boarded the plane and 2 hours later I was home…. At 12:30 AM. On a FRIDAY! Needless to say, I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to crawl into bed.
The first thing I saw when I arrived home was a box shipped from Saucony. It was packed full of goodies and one very special pair of shoes. I’m a huge fan (maybe that’s understating it) of Saucony Kinvaras and their latest version didn’t WOW me. Thankfully, the brand took notice and tracked down a pair of the K2s for me anyway. It’s a special pair for me because it’s the exact same color and version I bought when I started to seriously dedicate my time to running last year. I even remember wearing them for one of my first treadmill tempos in February when it was probably 10 degrees outside. Looking forward to logging some miles on these bad boys in the next month, with just a few short weeks until Twin Cities!
One week closer to the big day. This past week presented its own kind of challenges. Luckily, I was determined to make it work and accomplished all of my runs despite two business trips during a 4-day week. (Next time someone asks me how I have time to train for a marathon, I really need to tell them that I don’t. But that I make the time!). This training cycle has been interesting because I’ve been forced to run at least 3 of my long runs on Fridays as opposed to Saturday or Sunday. I am lucky to have a job that provides a flexible schedule because I honestly don’t know how I’d get it all done working a standard 9-5 (if a “standard” work schedule even exists!). I ran my 2nd 20-miler at the end of Week 6 on a Friday and didn’t get around to running again until the following Tuesday.
Tuesday: 5 shakeout miles (left for San Fran)
Wednesday: 7.95 predawn miles/ In San Fran for a 4 hr meeting today and was so happy to see a trail right in front of the hotel on the bay when I arrived the previous. I started my running around 5:30 AM (with a little help from the 2-hour time change!) It was so dark I could barely see my feet and, to be honest, I was scared I’d roll an ankle. Some portions of the Public Shore Trail that goes around the bay near the airport are unfinished and the pavement turns into somewhat long sections of gravel. [I’m so glad I looked up a map of the trail and realized it wasn’t finished—that would have been an interesting surprise!] I spent the entire run bouncing between the inland sidewalk and the shore trail. It was cool to see the planes land and take off during my cooldown. (returned for San Fran late that night)
1k (4:10) 1k (4:16–couldn’t see anything, ha!), 2k (8:34), 1k (4:04), 1k (4:02)
Thursday: “Bombed Tempo”/ I let the “I can’t do it” and the heat and humidity get to me today. 75 degrees and 80% humidity when I started. Beyond that, I’ve had to stack workouts for the 2nd week in a row. Ran 1 mile warm-up, target 6 miles at 6:55, and 1 mile cool-down. Don’t be fooled by the splits. I felt like I was doing mile repeats instead of a tempo because of how many times I stopped to regroup. Definitely the worst run I’ve had in awhile. I tried not to think too much about it the rest of the day. A little pep talk from Coach helped, too. I realize that there are factors that I can’t control and this past Thursday, the heat and humidity were out to get me. I need to stop being so tough on myself, apparently. Thursday was a rough day!
Splits: 6:54, 6:45, 6:52, 6:52, 6:52, 6:53.
Friday: REST [Side note: another business trip! This time, a one-day trip to DC. I was at O’Hare by 5:30 AM. After my meeting ended early, I was excited to head to the airport and see if I could get an earlier flight out. No such luck….and THEN, my actual flight was delayed two hours. I arrived home at 12:30 AM. Twenty-hour days are not my friend! I salute you airplane warriors that tackle this kind of schedule each and every week!]
Saturday: Anticipation Run 4.5 miles. I felt sluggish but it was nice to get out there before relaxing for the rest of the evening and shake the legs out before the long run the next morning.
Sunday: 15 miles alternating every mile between 7:40 and 7:20. I’ll just consider this a super confidence boost. When Coach sent the plan on Monday, I was like “huhhhhhh?”. But I’ve learned not to question the master plan and just went with it. I slept through both alarms that morning and went out at 8:30 AM, a good two hours later than I usually run my long runs. The weather was on my side, though, and it was only 64 degrees by the time I finished. And when I arrived home, I realized that I had likely run a PR for that distance. My half marathon PR is 1:36:08 and I saw 1:37 flash on my Garmin when I hit the 13-mile mark. Nothing but good things from this run! I was sleepy while watching the Bears game afterward, but I woke up on Monday with more energy than I usually do the day following a long run.
This week was incredibly challenging but I’m glad I was able to end it on a good note. I was able to balance work, personal, and running commitments without going out of my mind (cha ching!). Last week, I was obsessed with the quality vs. quantity debate. I keep telling Coach that I think my mileage is too low. Thank goodness, he doesn’t listen to me because my training is going so well.
There’s an argument to be made for running only 3-4 times a week, as opposed to 6-7. Some food for thought:
This week was tough. It was probably the longest week I’ve had in over a year, even though it was only 4 days. Business travel to San Fran and DC occupied most of my time. I managed to fit in my key workouts and despite being too tough on myself after Thursday’s tempo, I felt pretty good. This weekend’s plan is to rest, recharge, and relax. I haven’t had a day to do nothing in months. So I’ll start my day with some yummy pumpkin spice coffee (to match these awesome, cooler temps!) and head over to the Renegade Craft Fair on Division and buy myself something nice. Long run tomorrow morning!
I had a super short business trip to San Fran this week and was super happy to find that the Public Shore Bay Trail ran right in front of my hotel. I was dreading getting my speed session in on the treadmill, but headed out to the trail at 5:30 AM this morning instead. It’s amazing how good a tough workout can feel when it’s 52 degrees out!
In the excitement of last week’s half marathon in Batavia, I totally forgot to write a Week 7 Recap so this week you get to read about TWO weeks’ worth, rather than one!
Week 7 was essentially a mini taper to prepare for Batavia.
Monday: 1 hour Yoga –this hasn’t been part of my routine this year, but I think it should be! After the previous Sunday’s 20-miler it felt really good to loosen up muscles that I didn’t know I’d been using.
Tuesday: 9.8 miles, 1200 m repeats! Ran 3 sets of 2 x 1200 with 2 min rest after each interval and an extra 2 min between sets. Started to really hurt on the 4th 1200 and had to keep it together for the remaining 2. Target: 4:45/ Actual splits: 4:48, 4:46, 4:46, 4:50, 4:43, 4:47.
Wednesday: 4 easy miles + core workout for 40 minutes
Friday: 5 miles with 6 x 200 meter pick-ups to loosen up before Batavia on Sunday
Saturday: CARBO LOAD!
Sunday: Batavia Half! (See Race Recap Here!) 1:36:21 and 2nd place in my age group 😀
This was a very different week for me. I realized early in the week that I’d need to stack workouts and run my 20-miler on Friday before leaving town to spend the weekend with family. I knew that I’d have a hard time fitting in a 20-miler and would run it on country roads that I wasn’t familiar with so I ran it Friday morning instead.
Tuesday: Yasso 800s: Hot, sticky morning for a challenging workout. Started before 7, but had to stop at plenty of water fountains to beat the 86% humidity along the lake. Ran 2 mile warm-up, 8 x 800 Yassos with 3:00 recovery, followed by 2 mile cooldown. I reached my limit today, I think. Started to hurt after the 5th repeat, but shocked at the splits for the last few: 3:12, 3:13, 3:12, 3:13, 3:11, 3:13, 3:15, 3:06. I was really happy to be done with these!
Wednesday: Steady State Run:
Plan: 1 mile warm-up, 9 miles at 7:20, and 1 mile cooldown
Actual: 1 mile warm-up, 8 miles ~7:20: 7:21, 7:15, 7:10, 7:14, 7:11, 7:14, 7:16, 7:12, and 2 mile cooldown
I was pretty happy with this run considering the heat and the fact that it was a very ambitious tempo-ish pace. When I saw “9 miles at 7:20” on my plan, I thought it was a typo but decided not to question it and head out to the lakefront that morning. I didn’t think I could stick it out for 1 more mile but decided to be happy with pushing 8 at that pace. Phew!
Thursday: REST–headed to Fleet Feet to stock up on Gus for the next day’s 20-miler. I bought a new pair of Zoot compression socks and lounged around in running clothing all day. I foam rolled in front of the TV for at least 45 minutes that night just to make sure my legs were fresh for the next morning. I’m sure non-runners would think we all look so silly when we’re rolling around on our foam roller. You have to achieve some seriously awkward positions in order to reach the right muscles haha!
Friday: 2nd 20-miler of the cycle! I ran a 3:00 min pick-up every third mile around 7:20-7:30 and focused on maintaining an 8:10 pace the rest of the time. This was harder than the first 20-miler two weeks ago, but that’s probably attributed to the heat considering it only reached 70 degrees at the end of the first 20. It was 81 degrees on the lakefront when I finished at 9:15.
Overall, the past two weeks have been really good. I’m proud of myself for a strong race in Batavia and getting the 20 done before the weekend began. I’m experiencing more fatigue lately than earlier in the cycle but compared to how I felt post-long-run last year, I’ve come a long way. My 20-miler was strong even despite the hot temperatures in the last 6-7 miles. I’m really looking forward to this weekend because we only have a high of 72 or 73 on both Saturday and Sunday. Bring on the cooler temps!
I’m struggling to be confident in my training because I feel like I should be running higher mileage at this point, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s quality over quantity and that all of my runs have been strong & consistent—nothing to complain about!
I hit a monthly mileage PR in August by a long shot. It’s amazing how my 3-4 runs a week are still allowing me to run many more miles than this time last year. I peaked at 144 miles in September 2011 before running Chicago. Here’s to one more month of miles (and likely another PR) before hammering out my 2nd marathon in Twin Cities!
The big race is only a matter of weeks away at this point. I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak…out!