Boston 2014 Training: Week 10 of 16

Week 10

This week was probably the highest quality and happiest training week of this cycle so far. This is 100% due to the weather shift of *somewhat* warm temps and sunshine on the lakefront. It’s so refreshing to wear one less layer of clothing and actually be able to feel your face at the end of a workout. It’s the little things, ya know? I think I’ve made some progress recently and I’ve been able to string together a few good weeks of training. The confidence boost of completing the first 20-miler of the cycle was nice too.

I ran 47 miles this week: 5 runs, 2 hrs yoga, and 1 x core routine. (Must focus more on core & strength in the coming weeks !)

The Miles:

Monday: 6 recovery, 8:06 pace + core routine

Shakeout on the TM after work. A full rest day yesterday felt great. Both calves a bit sore, assuming because of the hills on Saturday’s 20.

Tuesday: {1200 repeats} 10.27 miles, 7:00 pace

The sun was out and the path was clear and I ran fast and I was happy. Rave run, for sure.

Runners HighThis is what you call a runner’s high. #excusetheselfie

Ran 2 mi w/up, 3 x (2 x 1200 @ 5k pace) with 2 min RI and 4 min RI between sets, and 2 mi c/down. I’m really happy with how these went. The first set felt pretty tough, the middle set felt like I was crawling, and somehow I magically had more of a spring in my step on the third and final set.

Splits: 4:46, 4:44, 4:43, 4:39, 4:41, 4:44 (6:13-6:21 pace)

Wednesday: Cross-train- 1 hr yoga at home

Also, my funny relationship with Chicago’s NBC weatherman continues….

2014-03-05 08.53.50

(I started my day with approximately 1.7 paczkis from Glazed and Infused. Donuts are part of my training program at this point.)

Thursday: {3 x 2 mi at HMP} 10.98 miles, 7:02 average pace.

Another rave run! 30 degrees out and sunny and clear and beautiful and SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS (not really, but that’s what it felt like)! Ran 2 mi up, 3 x 2 miles at HMP-ish with 800m RI, 1.5 mi down. Had a tough time getting into a flow with the pace but pretty psyched about the workout. I think I ran this a bit too fast (because 6:40-6:45 pace is like “*dream* HMP” ha!) but it’s a good gauge before NYC.

Splits: 6:44, 6:38/ 6:40, 6:44/ 6:36, 6:42

I’ve pretty much decided that this shirt has magic powers. Anyone else think so too?

2014-03-07 15.35.57-2Pure magic.

Thursday night was bittersweet. Timayyyyyyy is moving to NYC so we stuffed our faces with pizza and beer (we’re good at it). It feels like less of a goodbye and more of a ‘see ya later’ because he’ll be there to cheer next weekend at the NYC Half! New York better be ready for his mad vuvuzela skillz.

Friday: Cross (1 hr yoga with Corey!) + Shakeout 5 miles, 7:40 pace

Yoga: Corey asked me to go to yoga with her this week because she had a free pass for a friend.

Run: 46 degrees, partly cloudy and light wind. Annnnnnd this was the first easy run of this cycle that I’ve actually been able to do around my neighborhood, instead of the lakefront or the treadmill. Ice has melted on the sidewalks so I jumped in all of the puddles.

Saturday: Complete REST & Recovery

Sunday: 15 miles with fast finish, 7:15 average pace.

This weekend was definitely atypical. Decided to push my long run to today after seeing tweets about the wind on Saturday morning (and a rest day sounded lovely, to be honest). Then, I had good intentions of running early this morning, but some quality time with the Man for brunch and tea won out. He’s on a shifted schedule, so I would have only been able to spend about an hour with him if I ran in the morning.

I didn’t even get to the lakefront until 2:30, but was really happy to run in warmish temps and light wind. I wore capris and jumped in some puddles. (The expected high was 50-something degrees, but it actually didn’t even get up to 40 degrees while I was running. Just perfect for capris. Shorts would have been ….cold.) The wind was pretty annoying heading south — a headwind with a swirly crosswind for 6.5 miles. But THEN, when I turned back north, it was smoooooth sailing. The legs had a lot of pep today.  The left calf is a bit tight so I stopped to stretch it twice just to loosen it up a bit. Not too worried about that one, especially with a PT appt on Monday morning.

I ran the last 3 miles at sub 7-pace and felt freaking *fantastic*: 6:58, 6:56, 6:44.

(Also, my Garmin clocked mile 12 at 5:18. Yeah, that’s impossible. So the overall pace might be slightly slower. Derp!)

Thoughts:

I’m really happy with this week’s training. I put in a lot of quality work and the legs weren’t exhausted during the long run (quite the opposite actually). It’s funny how 15 miles feels like a stepback week now.

I don’t have a concrete plan for the NYC Half yet, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about it for the last few days. 🙂 My half PR seems sadly slow now (1:33:51). I know that I’m capable of blowing that time away but the priority is on Boston. I know that I won’t race it all out because that’s just asking for trouble, but I think a PR is possible while still being conservative. We shall see!

I basically have one quality workout this week before the New York Half next Sunday! Ahhhhhh! And check out this forecast for the race!

Perfection! Please stay that way!

Perfection! Please stay that way!

I’ve been really good about foam rolling, stretching, and using the Roll Recovery lately. I’ve been going to a weekly PT appointment for Graston and ART, so I know that’s helping to keep injury at bay too. But it just so happened that my PT was on vacation this week so I didn’t go to my normal appointment. And I’m happy to report I didn’t break! Haha, in all seriousness, I think I can space these appointments out more. If anything, I’m being super cautious because I’m just nervous. But SIX MORE WEEKS remain between here and the Boston start line. It’s insane to think that we’re already that close. Just a few more weeks of really good work before taperrrrrr.

-J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 9 of 16

Week 9

A week of progress!

I ran 47 miles this week: 5 runs, 1 hour yoga, 1 x core, 1 x hip strength routine.

Progress! I was a bit worried about the dead leg situation last week, but (surprise, surprise) I think it led to somewhat of a breakthrough week. Solid speed workout, tempo, and first 20 of the cycle done!

Monday: 6 recovery, 8:05 pace + core

Felt pretty fresh and energetic today. Not a bad way to start the week! Lots of stretching and foam rolling and roll recovery’ing while watching TV in the evening felt great.

Tuesday: {speed: 2 x 1 mile, 2 x 800} 7.9 miles, 7:35 pace. 

Ahhhh, that’s more like it! I had a hectic day & ran on the treadmill after work, which meant that I had to wait in a LINE for a treadmill. So glad I don’t have to do that most days! I ran 2 mi w/up, 2 x 1 mile (3 min RI), 2 x 800 (2 min RI) and 2 mi c/down. Mile splits at 6:27 (power of the ‘mill) & 800s at 3:05. Pretty darn happy with how this one felt. Pushing the 800s after solid mile repeats was tough but I was surprised how the legs handled it.

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga at home

Namaste.

Thursday: {5 mile tempo} 8.5 miles, 7:24 pace + hip strength routine

Put the 5-mile tempo back on my schedule this week after last week’s failed attempt. I ran 2 mi up, 5 mile tempo, and 1.5 down. My tempos haven’t been strong this cycle so I started a bit conservatively at 6:58 and turned it into a mini progressive–last two miles 6:53, 6:49. I’ll take it!

Friday: Recovery 5, 8:05 pace.

Treadmill after work. Friday is normally a rest day but I had plans to go to a beer fest on Saturday night so I figured I wouldn’t feel like running on Sunday. 🙂

Saturday: Hilly 20-miler, 7:32 pace.

First 20 of the cycle DONE! Went out to Morton Arboretum with Tim R. and Corey early this morning. Corey brought some leftover bday cake for us to enjoy and she “made me” take a slice home. I wasn’t sure if I’d run 20 today, considering how heavy the legs felt last week but told myself I’d be happy with 17-18. Once I ran 12 miles, I decided the legs were ready for the full 20. Conditions were really good out there today, with only a few slick spots (snow covering the sheets of ice made them sneaky). I did 3 big loops and 2 small loops–mentally easy to get through the loops than an out and back would be, I think. Pretty happy with this considering I did ZERO hill training for Boston last year– arguably the toughest 20 miler I’ve ever logged (with over 2,000 ft elevation).

Water with Nuun after each Loop
Salted carmel Gu at 1 hr and 2 hr.

I got a kick out of what all of those loops look like on Garmin Connect 🙂

The rest of the day, I ate, napped hardcore, and drank a lot of beer. That’s proper recovery right?

2014-03-01 19.00.37-2

Brewhaha with Brad, Manny, and Corey 

Sunday: Complete rest

My legs weren’t dead on Sunday! But a full rest day with puppy cuddles on the couch was pretty darn nice.

I can’t believe that we’re less than 50 days away from Boston now and that I’ll be racing the NYC Half in less than two weeks. I’m really proud of the work that I put in this week. Feeling pretty strong and prepared for another strong week ahead!

– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 8 of 16

Week 8

This week, I ran 45 miles: 5 runs, Core x 3, Hip Strength x 3, ART x 1, and Massage x 1. 

Week 8?! Like, when did that happen? Also, 18 miles? How the heck did that happen?

This week didn’t really go as I had planned. It was a big of a “blergh” week. I was fighting off some sore of cough/cold/virus, which made sleep more restless. I returned to a regular strength workout routine this week (which has been lacking the past few weeks—I learned that lesson last fall, thankyaverymuch!). And in general, the legs just didn’t want to GO this week.

Overall, this cycle has been unlike any other but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing…yet. Just trying to take it day-by-day, week-by-week and see how things progress.

Monday: 6 miles, 8:10 pace + Hip Strength Routine

I watched the Olympics and listened to This American Life on the run. Made the miles go by pretty quickly. And then I did the entire Hip Strength routine that my PT and I made last fall. I’ve been neglecting that part of my training (in favor of things like spin or Bodypump) in the past few weeks and knew I should get back to it. I was a sweaty mess by the time I was done with it.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles, 7:46 pace + Core Routine

….which leads me tooooooooooo…..the fact that my quads/hips/glutes were SUPER sore on Tuesday. (Shoulda known.) I had 12 x 400 on the calendar for today, but I just knew that wasn’t going to happen—or it would be incredibly ugly if I attempted it. Resigned to 6 x 2 minute cruise intervals at 6:40 pace to replace the speed intervals. Felt like I slogged through this one a bit.

Wednesday: 1 hour easy easy spin + Hip Strength Routine

Corey and I both wanted to spin easy so we met up early — it felt good to get this done first thing in the morning so I didn’t have to think about it the rest of the day. It felt good just to spin the legs, light resistance and high cadence. The legs were definitely still feeling the burn after Monday’s hip strength routine so I figured I should hit those muscles again. Corey and I did a shortened version of the routine together.

Thursday: 8 miles, 7:48 pace + Core Routine

Another day that really didn’t go as planned. (But again, I’m not terribly worried about it.) I had originally planned to run a 5-mile tempo on the lakefront with a group of speedy people (Annabelle, Tim, and Lynton) but the weather got the best of us (hello torrential rain!!!) and it seemed the majority of us were dealing with little niggles. I had to shuffle my day a bit and went to the treadmill to attempt the tempo. I extended the warm-up to 3.5 miles (mostly because I was just delaying the pain of a workout–normally do 2 mi warm-up) before starting. I ended up running 2 miles of the tempo at 6:58/mile before calling it an easy day with a lonnngggg cooldown. The legs just wouldn’t get with the program — breathing was totally even. There will be a serious redemption tempo in the near future.

Friday: ART + Complete REST

I was so tired today. I finally realized that I should be taking meds for whatever cough/cold/virus I was fighting. I even napped for two hours after work, which never happens. So yeah, maybe this little virus thing just bombed my workouts this week and my legs aren’t to blame.

Saturday: 18 miles, 7:37/mile pace + 60 min Sports Massage

Today was just a day to get it done. Legs felt heavy from the get-go but didn’t really become heavier as the run went on (not even sure how that’s possible). I ran south for the first time in months (maybe since October?!). It was nice to have a different view–the north section of path can be so boring after awhile. Around mile 3, Ken W. and I had an epic side-5. I knew it was him because of the shades. I ran 7 miles south until the path was pretty much impassable with a huge puddle. See?!

2014-02-22 12.24.38

Felt like Forrest Gump when he just feels like going home. Wind wasn’t too bad but annoying at times. I was so happy to see Charlyn C. out there with CB! (You both looked so happy!) The sun peaked out a few times and it was 100% sunny the last few miles. This didn’t feel amazing but I’m happy I got it done.

Really missed these views!

2014-02-22 09.41.05

2014-02-22 10.22.05

2014-02-22 12.05.17Garmin shot! You’re welcome!

I had a 60 minute sports massage in the afternoon that made me so relaxed, I was practically delirious afterward. Last year, I was pretty diligent about getting a very simple, relaxing massage every 4 weeks. I definitely needed to ‘reset’ after this week. I woke up on Sunday feeling really good–think it was just what I needed.

Also, I cuddled with Corey’s monsters, Walter and Ernie that evening while we watched House of Cards. Walter, you’re so inappropriate.

2014-02-22 19.52.14

Lady killer!

Sunday: 5 recovery miles, 8:18 pace + Core Routine

Nice and easy on the treadmill. I watched the Olympics closing ceremony and listened to the Slate Culture Gabfest. I’ve been listening to podcasts lately on my recovery runs. (Throw out some suggestions if you have any that you’re obsessed with!)

Thoughts:

2014-02-23 11.53.05

I finally took the time to catch up on last month’s Running Times magazine. The entire issue was about recovery (which seemed super appropriate this week). The quote about spoke to me because I didn’t really feel that great this week. I might be toeing the line between feeling good and feeling good enough lately. I know what it’s like to feel bad and that’s not how I’m feeling right now. Hopefully all I needed this week was to reset, get some sleep, get some good bodywork and prepare for another week ahead.

20 Days to NYC Half and 56 days to Boston! 

Boston 2014 Training: Week 6 & 7 of 16

A belated training update!  Week 6 was a bit of a wash because of a silly foot issue that lingered from a tough 15-miler in the snow and Week 7 was spent getting back on track but being smart about monitoring my foot. I think I was able to get a decent amount of work in despite the challenges.

Note:  This is probably the longest post I’ve ever written. I started writing and this is what came out. If you read all the way to the end, I’m both confused and flattered by your interest. 🙂

Week 6: Recap

Week 6 RecapThis is somewhat depressing. But it had to happen. (I keep reminding myself we’re still early in the cycle!)

To be honest, I spent a majority of this week just holding my breathing and hoping that I didn’t have a stress fracture. {Cue classic runner dramatization of actual events} I’ve never a stress fracture and basically have no idea what one feels like but I knew that any kind of constant, localized pain in my foot was a bad sign. {I realize a lot of this stuff may sound super silly to anyone that has dealt with a stress fracture. It even sounds silly to me.}

Week 5’s training was fine, following that one snowy run. And I was even able to run 16 glorious, fast miles on Sunday Feb 2nd. My foot felt perfectly fine.  There was no sign during the run that it was struggling and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. It was a bit tender that night before I went to bed but seriously nothing to worry about.

Still, I was over-cautious alllllllllll week. [Corey and I have been talking about how we have “injury PTSD” because we’re really, really good at reading into every little ache and pain after minor injuries this past fall.]

Monday:

50 min recovery spin 

My legs felt pretty heavy and sore after the 16 miles the day before and my foot was still a bit cranky so I hopped on the spin bike.

Tuesday:

8 miles, 7:51 average [speed]

Took some sadness, frustration, and anger out on the treadmill today. It helped. (Don’t worry–I’m ok. Just dealing with an unexpected personal situation. And, as usual, running was my therapy.)

2 mi up, 2 x 1200 (400m RI), 4 x 800 (400m RI), 1 mi down
Splits: 4:44 for both 1200s, and consistent 3:06s for the 800 repeats

This felt surprisingly strong after heavy legs on Monday. My foot didn’t give me any problems until the cooldown, when I felt a small ache. (Noted: If I can get through 7 miles and several miles of speedwork, it’s a good sign.)

Wednesday:

1 hr recovery spin Hip Strength Routine 

I forced myself to not be stubborn or stupid or idiotic today. (Listening to my body and all that jazz.) I woke up to a cranky foot despite it feeling fine the day before. I put compression socks on and iced it after Tuesday’s speedwork, but resigned to the spin bike for my scheduled shakeout. At this point, I’m not losing fitness by recovering on the bike as opposed to on the treadmill (or so I keep telling myself!).

Thursday:

Complete rest day. I had a tough tempo scheduled today, full of goal marathon, half marathon, and 10k paced miles but again, trying to be smart about this foot thing. If it’s sore upon waking, a workout isn’t happening. Taking it day by day, but Thursday was this week’s low point for sure. I convinced myself that I MUST have a stress fracture (heh) and continued to putz around the house (+ sip a beer or two that night). In general, I was a crankypants.

Friday:

50 min spin class with steady climbs + Core Routine x 2  + ART! 

Ok, this is the day when things start to look up, I promise! :look it! progress!: I had a regular ART appointment scheduled with my PT and, once again, this guy proves that he’s some sort of magical healer. We talked through my foot issue and spent about 20 minutes manipulating specific parts of my foot. He’s 75% certain that I have a small ligament strain on the top of my foot. My pain pattern doesn’t seem to match a stress fracture and my foot felt noticeably better after an ‘adjustment’. (A good sign!) I agreed with him when he said that ‘something is just stuck’. That’s exactly what it feels like. His diagnosis made me relieved but I know that I have to take it with a grain of salt.

Anywho, I was pretty peppy after the appointment and went to spin for lunch. Which leads me to….

Question: What do you call a spin for lunch if a run over lunch is ‘runch’? After submitting this question to the Twitter world, I received some awesome answers:

  • spinch
  • spunch
  • sprunch

I think spunch works. What do you think?

Also, this happened….

2014-02-07 09.09.07Basically, you know you’ve made it when the local weatherman tweets ya.

Saturday:

Longish run at Morton Arboretum: 12 miles, 7:40 average.

Headed out to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana and Corey this morning. I was excited for my first run since Tuesday! I had 16-17 easy miles planned today but told myself to be happy with anything over 12 miles. Goal was just to run up until the foot became uncomfortable, if at all. I ran 10 with absolutely no problem and it started to feel sore around 10.5 so I called it quits once I finished the east loop. I’m definitely patting myself on the back for not being stupid & running the 16 miles as planned. I felt stronger on the hills this time than I did 4 weeks ago (I didn’t do any hill training for Boston 2013, so this bodes well!) Plus, as always, my motivation was ALL THE BACON at brunch with the girls post-run.

Sunday:

8 easy miles, 8:11 average. 

I woke up this morning and my foot felt noticeably better than it did all last week. Psyched to get to the gym for an easy shakeout. Watched the Olympics, the biathalon and cross-country skiing. 90% of those athletes collapse at the finish line because they’re so tired. Inspiration.

Totals, Week 6: 

3 runs, 28 miles; 1 x ART; 2 x Core Routine; 2 x Hip Strength Routine; 1 complete rest day; ~3 hrs spinning!

It’s hard not to look at this week and think, “what a waste”. I missed one workout and about 15 miles. Running isn’t fun when it’s painful (duh), so of course I’m glad that I rested. If it wasn’t for that ONE long run through the snow, this week would have been different! Three days off running seemed to help and I was able to let out a big sigh of relief on Sunday. I’m also pretty happy to replace running with spinning these days — it’s the closest you can come to a runner’s high while cross-training I think. As Chanthana pointed out, I was still able to run 20 miles in two days over the weekend. #brightside

Week 7: Recap

Week 7Woot! That’s more like it!

Because Week 7 was slated to be a recovery week, but that ended up happening early (ahem…Week 6!), this week included some good workouts. Still, the goal was to balance strong workouts with not being a big f***ing idiot and running through pain if it presented itself.

I wrote that at the top of my training log for this week in very bold writing: DON’T BE A F***ING IDIOT, JENNY! 

Monday:

5 recovery miles, 8:18 pace. + 1 hour Bodypump

Anther good sign- woke up to a happier foot than I did last week. Just ran easy on the treadmill before going to Bodypump. Again, my neglected, sad upper body was in a bit of shock after a full hour of strength work but I know it’s good for me. Plus, you pretty much feel like you can take on the world when you do an hour of strength training on MONDAY MORNING.

Tuesday:

9 miles (7 mile steady state at 7:13), 7:23 average pace.

First workout since last Tuesday and I have to say I’m pretty relieved about this foot  at this point. No discomfort to report (and I’ll take it as a great sign that I was able to run 4 days in a row). Ran 2 mi w/up and then settled into a steady state at 7:13 min/mile. I likely could have run this a bit faster but I started at 7:20 for steady states last cycle. Baby steps.

Wednesday:

Cross-training: 1 hour LIVE DJ SPIN Class (REST or Cross-Training Day)

Returned to my favorite spin instructor for a live DJ class at the gym tonight. Another puddle found under the bike tonight. Success! One of the last song’s of the class was Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Not.kidding.

Thursday:

8.16 miles {6 x 800s speedwork}, 7ish  min/mile average

Ok, these are the fastest 800s I’ve ever run in my life. And I have no idea where this came from. I’ve never consistently run 800s at 3 min or faster before. I think it’s all because I felt like I was finally freeeeeeeee. I ditched the treadmill today in favor of warmish temps & sunshine on the lakefront in the morning and I really couldn’t have asked for a better day to get this done (especially with a dry, clear lakefront). With a half mile left in my warm-up, I glanced at my watch and it read 7:20/mi. And that felt like I was trotting. Everything really does feel easier running outside versus the treadmill to me. I extended the recovery period after each 800 from 2:30 to 3 min, which was definitely necessary. Splits: 2:56, 2:58, 2:59, 3:00, 2:58, 3:03. I felt like I was going into survival mode on the last 2 and my foot started to hurt a bit (the pain seemed to dissipate during cooldown). I seriously doubt I’ll be able to hold this pace for 8 -10 x 800s later this cycle but I guess I have something to shoot for now!

Friday:

ART + Complete, beautiful rest day. 

Today’s highlight: punch!

2014-02-14 22.07.31

Saturday:

17.17 miles, 7:28 average pace long run. 

17 miles without a single twinge of silly foot pain! I drank approximately 3.7 too many punches at Punch House the night before and only slept 6ish hours so this one really could have gone down the drain fast. I’m pretty shocked I even dragged myself out of bed for this one, especially with some serious puppy cuddles happening. I kept telling myself to slow the effffffff down. 7:30/mi is feeling easy these days, but I know that I need to get some slow, steady long runs in the books in the next few weeks. I may or may not be doing myself any favors by running this a bit quicker than I normally do. Jury’s still out on that one! The HiGuy was out there riding his bike–normally don’t see him much in the winter.

I showered and headed over to Corey’s to watch the Millrose Games along with Chanthana and Tim. We ordered delivery twice, drank several beers, and put PJs on her dog. (Ahem…sorry for sticking around for over 7 hours, Corey!)

2014-02-15 17.38.24

Sunday:

5 easy peasey recovery TM miles, 8:20 average pace + core routine

Just an easy run while watching the Olympics at the gym.

Totals, Week 7: 

5 runs, 44 miles; Bodypump x 1, Spin x 1, ART x 1, and Core x 1 

Some general thoughts on Boston 2014 Training thus far:

:Insert tremendous relief that the foot pain dissipated by the end of the week:!  I was so happy to be able to run some pretty solid workouts this week. Now that we’re entering Week 8 of 16 (halfway!), I feel like I’ve really started to turn a corner. That said, I still have moments when I’m really worried that training will turn into a disaster because training is going so well (flashbacks to last fall).

Over dinner one night this week, I was talking with Man about my training and I told him that I’m basically scared that my body is going to breakdown like it did last fall; that just when I seem to turn a corner, my body will fail me. He had some really insightful things to say, but he said something that made everything ‘click’.

He said, “Jenny, you just need one good race.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it was. The last race that I can remember being completely satisfied was the Bastille Day 5k in July. And that was race mostly satisfying because it was an unplanned “redemption race” after the Chi Women’s 5k. I haven’t raced since then. I haven’t raced in 7 months…. (wut.) I sat out of a 10k when my left quad gave out and then Grand Rapids was out of the picture. 2013 was a rollercoaster year. Realizing that it’s been over 7 months since I’ve had a really great race experience (regardless of the outcome, PR or not), has made me even more motivated to work hard this year. I think I’ve made some smart changes to my training this time around and so far, so good.

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to write about my training this time around because I feel like I could jinx myself. One of the hardest aspects of the last training cycle was that it seemed to be going soooooo well. Until, it just wasn’t anymore. I’m trying to keep a level head and continue to be patient & smart, to work hard, and to see where that takes me. No one likes to share their training when it’s not going as ‘planned’, but for now I’ll continue to share–in hopes that there are some strong weeks ahead.

On the bright side, my PT was encouraged by how my foot is progressing when I saw him on Friday. And I know that it’s gradually getting better. He says we should realistically allow 4-6 weeks for a slight sprain like this to return to normal. It’s been 3 weeks since that run in the snow and I’m hoping that he’s right about the timeline. If so, the New York Half might just be that one good race that I’ve been working toward (and the mental reset for Boston that could come with that would be nice too!).

Do you like sharing your training logs? Would you call a spin at lunch a ‘spunch’? When was the last time you raced and felt like a badass? Do you visualize the course of your upcoming race during your training? ALL THE QUESTIONS!

– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 5 of 16

Boston Week 5 of 15

This week, I ran 44 miles.

5 runs (only ONE outside!)

ART x 1.

1 hour spin.

1.5 hr yoga.

(and somehow…no core?! Bad memory…)

Monday:

Active recovery: 1 hour solo spin, 1.5 hour vinyasa yoga class

I opted for spin recovery today and some yoga because the top of my right foot was tender after Sunday’s sloshy run in the snow. I was fighting for my footing for at least 9 miles of that 15.5 and my foot seemed angry at me. The last thing I wanted to do was get on the treadmill and a solo spin always feels good. I’m apparently REALLY good at misreading class schedules lately because I thought yoga was an hour long until I realized we were 75 minutes in and not stopping. 🙂 It seems I’m really good at spending almost 3 hours at the gym these days.

Tuesday:

{3 x 1 mi repeats} 7 miles, 7:54 average. Splits: 6:27, 6:31, 6:31.

Yet another treadmill run. If it wasn’t for Sunday’s long run, I think I’d have forgotten what running outside is like (ahem…glorious!). This workout went well, although the legs were heavy because of yesterday’s heavy cross-training (noted). Ran 2 up, 3 x 1 mile with 400 m RI (1 min walk, the rest recovery jog), and 1.25 down. Splits: 6:27, 6:31, 6:31. I need to look back in my training log and see what kind of recovery interval I normally do for mile repeats. (Right foot soreness 90% gone, will continue to monitor!)

2014-01-28 21.17.08-2

 

Lots of this lately, too.

Wednesday:

ART appointment + 7 recovery miles, 8:10 average.

Normally run 5-6 mi on recovery days but I felt good today so I went with it. I had another ART session this morning, which seemed to open some things up. Watched Ellen while on the treadmill and giggled a bit.

Thursday:

{2 x 2.5 tempo at 6:58} 9 miles, 7:36 average.

Another mid-afternoon run. This felt surprisingly good! ART yesterday and a good recovery run really made the legs fresh and ready for the workout today. Ran 15 min up, 2 x 2.5 mi tempo at 6:58 (4 min RI), and 15 min down. Nice to set it and forget it on the treadmill today (and I heard the wind on the lakefront was insane). No complaints really, beyond being the sweatiest person in the gym. 🙂 Right foot didn’t seem to bother me until the last mile.

Friday:

5 recovery miles, 8:11 average.

Nothing much to say about this one. Nice and easy after a full day of calls and meetings. Felt good to sweat and flush the legs a bit.

Cozied up to this bottle that night. Yummy!

2014-01-31 18.54.51-2

Saturday:

Complete rest day.

I had plans to head to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana, Tim, Pedro, and Kevin but I knew that snow was going to fall overnight and the footing might be tough. While I’ve been able to put in some good miles and workouts this week, the last thing I wanted to do was tweak my foot while running through the snow again. This whole resting thing takes a lot of self control — but I’m sure I’ll be happy I did it. Plenty of stretching and foam rolling to prepare the legs for the long run the next day.

Sunday:

16.0 miles, 7:28 average long run.

There was sun! In the sky! And it was glorious!

2014-02-02 15.13.06

Today was a bit ‘backwards’. Slept in late and went to brunch with The Man before my run, which meant that the run was either going to be amazing or horrendous. It ended up being amazing (thank goodness). I was strongly considering running on the treadmill today just so I wouldn’t be miles away from home with a sore foot but Chanthana and Declan pushed me out the door–thanks guys! I started around 2 pm while the SUN was still shining. Saw a lot of people sledding at Montrose, a few families cross-county skiing along the path, and 2 strangers asked me if I’m running Boston this year and wished me good luck. Gosh darn it, I love the running community! My foot didn’t bother me at all on the run but it’s still a bit tender after. Another rest day tomorrow and I should be good to go! Took at Salted Carmel Gu at miles 6 and 12. Didn’t really feel hungry but need to get back in the habit of regularly fueling, I think.

Thoughts:

This little foot thing was worrying me all week. I almost feel like I have injury PTSD because I can easily focus on every little ache and pain. But this week, I think I was realistic in recovering and I didn’t feel like I needed to skip workouts because it never really hurt on the run. I iced it literally every day (some days, at least twice) and elevated it just to be safe. If I learned anything this past fall, it’s that I should always listen to my body. That’s what this week was all about. If it continues to hurt through this week, I’ll know that I need to see someone about it. I think my legs are starting to get used to full turnover again–the speed workouts and tempos on the treadmill are tough. I can’t help but think about how enjoyable these will be once I’m running outside 100% again.

What I’ve Learned:

  • Read the darn class schedule!
  • Runners are never strangers to one another.
  • Running on days when you REALLY don’t want to will always make you stronger.

11 Weeks to Gooooooo!

– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 4 of 16

Boston 2014 Week 4 of 16

This week, I ran 43 miles.

Strength training x 1

Spin Class x 1

Core Routine x 3

5 Runs

1 Rest Day

The goal this week was to be realistic, put in the work, and be patient. (And know that the fitness will come!)

Monday:

6 recovery miles, 8:12 average. + Bodypump class

Planned on working a half-day on the holiday but spent a large portion of the morning at the gym (and it was surprisingly busy!) I ran 6 easy treadmill miles as recovery to get back into the week while watching the Today show. My legs seemed to have more pep today than they usually do on recovery days. Good sign!

And thennnnnn…I went to my first Bodypump class. Let me just say that I’m typically not into this kind of group fitness class. I’m not sure why but I’d rather get the work done on my own. But I’m glad I went! My upper body was in sufficient shock by the end and there were tons of squats and lunges to strengthen these grandma hips (although they’re feeling less and less creaky each week.) I’m thinking about going back to Bodypump through this cycle to work on overall strength.

Tuesday:

[4 mile tempo] 7 miles, 7:34 average.

Today, I decided to dominate the treadmill instead of letting it get the best of me like it did last week. It worked! 2 miles up, 4 mile tempo, and 1 down. Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 7:03, 6:58. I’m still working my way back into fighting shape and tempos are always the hardest part of that, it seems (especially on the treadmill). But for some reason, I was able to find my groove today. And despite some pretty tired post-Bodypump legs, they still had some kick. Happy happy joy joy!

Wednesday:

1 Hour impromptu DJ Spin Class + Core Routine x 2

BEST.SPIN.CLASS.EVER! Not kidding. I went to the gym looking forward to a solo, easy spin just to flush the legs and apparently I read the schedule wrong because I showed up just in time for a live DJ spin class. Yep, spin instructor AND live DJ. I was a bit skeptical at first but I’m definitely going back now. Awesome music and the instructor was the best I’ve had at my gym (and I’ve tried 4-5 by now). So much for an easy spin! Plenty of springs, progressive hills, and jumps. I haven’t sweat that much in one spin class…ever. I had a puddle underneath my bike by the end. 🙂

+ core routine x 2

Winter Hydration with Nuun

Thursday:

[5 x 1000m repeats] 8 miles, 7:55 average.

Booyah! This one felt good! For some reason I’ve been able to find my groove on the treadmill lately. I still don’t love it but you gotta do what you gotta do in the winter. I ran 2 mi w/up, 5 x 1k with 400m recovery, and 2 mi c/down. Splits: 3:50, 3:54, 3:54, 3:53, 3:50.

I was really happy with how this went. The goal was just to run smooth and controlled through all 5. Mission accomplished–now I have a baseline for future 1k repeats. Oh! And I received a few weird looks at the gym when I did a shoe switcharoo between warmup-workout-cooldown. Side note: I felt like I was flying in my racing flats. I’m happy to transition back into them for speed workouts after a long hiatus.

And then….I drank beer and cooked dinner with a recipe from the Craft Beer Cookbook. Because, I can drink my beer and cook with it too.

Craft Beer Cookbook

Friday:

Full rest day. Highlights include copious amounts of pizza and beer.

Saturday:

6 recovery miles, 8:15 average + Core Routine x 1

After a big brunch, a mid-afternoon nap sounded blissful but I knew I’d feel good after running easy. I was looking forward to a super early bed time to make up for it but that didn’t happen for some reason.

Sunday:

15.28 miles, 7:35 average pace.

I shifted my long run today to avoid yesterday’s 25-30 mph winds and I’m pretty glad I did. The wind today was strong at times, but not like last week (probably because it from the W). I started around 11 am after a full night’s sleep, some coffee, and a Picky bar–smooth caffeinator ftw! I wore my neck gaiter and sunglasses (which I almost never wear) to block the wind. The first half was a big slushy mess and my legs were pretty fatigued halfway through. I saw Chanthana around mile 4 when she was 9 miles in and was jealous that she’d be inside and warm sooner than I. 🙂 She helped me get out of the house this morning when she told me to put my Boston jacket on and get it done. By mile 8, I just wanted to be done with this one, but once I turned around to run back south, conditions improved. I really need to befriend the dude that drives that little John Deere plow on the lakefront –he made the second half of this one SO much more enjoyable than the second. Kind of shocked at my pace. Still aerobic and didn’t feel like I was running outside of a comfortable zone. Keeping an eye on my right foot, felt a bit sore by the end.

14 degrees, real feel 4 degrees
20 mph wind gusts, 4 mph constant

Total Miles: 43 miles, 5 runs

Thoughts:

Some nice progress this week, I think! The treadmill was nice to me and I was shocked at how smooth and comfortable the 1k repeats went on Thursday. And fighting through the mental battle of tempo-ing on the treadmill on Tuesday makes me think that training is going well. I decided to go to ART every 10 days again, so things started to feel a bit creaky by week’s end, so it will be nice to work some things out in a few days.

TWELVE WEEKS TO GO!

-J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 3 of 16

Jan 19 Boston

This week, I ran 37 miles.

ART x 1.

Hip Strength x 1.

Core x 1.

This week was a cutback recovery week and I took full advantage of it. The past few weeks, I did a considerable amount of cross-training on my running rest days. A little bit of yoga and spin here and there has been making my legs feel fresh when it comes to workouts lately. But this week, the couch and some movies sounded more appealing. 🙂

Monday:

6.85 miles, 7:29 average (Speed ladder 1200m to 400m)

It’s been a long time since I had to write a speed workout on my hand so I wouldn’t forget the target paces. (I sweat it off by halfway through the workout, anyway haha.) Loving these “warm” temps –with the sun out this afternoon, it felt like spring.  The wind made a few of the intervals difficult. The path was still full of ice but I chose a section that was mostly clear and ran all of my repeats on the same section of the lakefront path.

2.38 w/up
Speed ladder with 200m RI (1 min walk, 1 min jog)
1200 – target 4:39/ actual 4:34
1000- target 3:49/ actual 3:44
800- target 3:02/ actual 3:01
600 – target 2:15/ actual 2:12
400- target 1:29/ actual 1:30
1.25 c/down

This was definitely a challenge. Legs had a hard time working through the 800 m interval after pushing hard on the 1200 and 1000. On top of that, I started to feel the affects of acid reflux in the last few repeats. I ate lunch an hour and a half before I started my run, so probably should have waited a bit longer to digest.

Tuesday:

5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

+ Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack DVD –> RETURN OF JILLIAN MICHAELS! And yep, this DVD is just as hard as I remember it being last cycle. I actually consider this core and hip strength training because there are plenty of lunges and hip work. It’s amazing how strong you can feel after only 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels yelling at you through a tv screen.

Wednesday:

Complete rest day. I got my nails done and watched silly TV. Because, sometimes you just need a girly day. 🙂

Thursday:

7 miles, 7:34 average. (Progressive tempo-ish run)

+ Hip Strength Routine

Recovery week tempo-ish run. Ran 1 mi up, 5 mi progressive from 7:30-6:48, and 1 mi down. This actually didn’t feel as “easy” as I was expecting it to, probably because it was on the treadmill and the temptation to either slow down or stop is stronger. I haven’t locked into a strong tempo pace yet (still early in the cycle!) but I assumed working my way from 7:30 to 7:00 min/mile pace over 5 miles would feel easier. Really wish I had run this one outside instead of on the treadmill!

Friday:

5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

10 min rowing + 10 min Stairmaster + ART appointment

Who knew the gym was the place to be at 7 pm on a Friday night?! I couldn’t believe how busy it was–thought it was going to be empty. The true sign of a good recovery run? My legs felt so much better after this than they did beforehand. Went to PT for another ART appointment in the morning. Worked out some left hip soreness and did some Graston on my outer left quad.

For no reason whatsoever, I felt like using the rowing machine and the Stairmaster after my run, neither of which I’ve used in the past 3-4 years? I consider this super light cross-training of the week. Plus, the stairs have to be good for these runnin’ glutes, right?!

Saturday:

13 mile long run, 7:31 average.

Cut back week long run out on the lakefront this morning. Motivated to get out there before the snow hit this afternoon. Some of my long runs this cycle are going to include some faster miles and a few goal marathon paced miles. I’ve never really done that besides some fast finish runs and I’m curious to see how it affects my overall training. I decided to do 1-2 mi w/up, 9-10 mi 7:20-7:35, and 1-2 mi c/down. My legs did a fair job of ‘turning on’, but not until later in the run when my face almost froze off in the wind. I really regret not wearing my neck gaiter to cover my face when I really needed it (last ~4-5 miles). Always a rude awakening when you enjoy running north and forget about the wind running the opposite direction. Solid airplane side-5 with Chanthana (thank goodness we didn’t meet 2 minutes beforehand–she would have caught me mid-snot-rocket!) 🙂 The legs felt pretty tired by the end but I was more frustrated with the cold wind than anything else.

Followed by (you guessed it!) yet another brunch with Chanthana and Corey. We’re like…really really really really really ridiculously good at brunching.

Sunday:

Brunch and total rest!

Thoughts:

I think I put in another solid week of training. I impressed myself with the speed ladder on Monday, and even though the progressive didn’t go well on Thursday, I’m sure it would have been a different outcome on any other day or if I chose to run outside. Tempos are mentally tough no matter what, but the treadmill adds a little bit more of a challenge than I was feeling up to that day. I’m happy with the long run, especially because I seemed to lock into the target pace early on and hold it fairly easily.

Bring on another good week!

A Reflection on What Worked: 2013 Edition

A (belated) annual recap is in order. I really like looking back on years’ past and I think I deserve it to myself to recap 2013. This is more for me than for anyone reading so you really shouldn’t feel obligated to read 🙂 (Because, let’s be serious–enough annual recaps are floating around out there!) 

2011 was the year of firsts.

2012 was the year of: “Ok, I did all that last year. What can I possibly tackle in 2012?”.

2013 was more like a rollercoaster. A lot of good things happened and a lot of unexpectedly sad and frustrating things happened.

BUT, there are accomplishments to celebrate and setbacks to learn from so that 2014 is the best year of running and racing yet.

In 2013, I…

improved my 5k time by 33 seconds.

improved my half marathon time by 2 min, 30 seconds.

improved my marathon time by 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

ran 1,622 total miles (annual personal distance record).

ran a monthly mileage high of 202 miles in March.

ran an average of 31 miles per week and 135 miles per month.

successfully trained through a Chicago winter and raced my first Boston Marathon.

ran my first relay– Hood to Coast with Nuun!

2013 Races

raced 6 times, with PRs in the 5k, 10k, half, and full.

bonked…hard. Ya live and ya learn, ya know?

trained hard for a fall marathon that didn’t happen. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows.

was reminded that the ‘little things’ make a big difference (and that acupuncture and ART are my friends!).

and placed in my age group a few times! (it appears my fears of placing in this competitive age group were a bit dramatic):

  • Wacky 10k: 2nd place overall female, 1st age group
  • Chicago Women’s 5k: 2nd place age group
  • Bastille Day 5k: 2nd place age group

Jenny_Poore_s_2013_Training_Summary___dailymile

So, there ya have it. All in all, it was a year of accomplishment with a few setbacks. What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger. I’m looking forward to a fun year of racing and running in 2014!

– J

Boston Training Begins! + New Obsessions

Yes, I used the word TRAINING! I officially started training for Boston 2014 on Monday, December 16th.

It’s taken more time to get to this point than I thought it would, but now that I’m here, I’m surprised how easily the miles have come to me the past 4-5 weeks. When I realized that Grand Rapids wasn’t going to happen and that this silly leg was going to throw my plans askew, I (very) slowly worked up the courage to start thinking about giving training another go. And I’m happy to report that I’m back at it and feeling like my normal runnin’ self again. It only seemed appropriate to begin the next training cycle on a gorgeous (warmish) wintery day in Chicago on my birthday. The snow started to fall just as I started my run and it was frigid cold—something I’ll have to get used to again as I put in some hard work over the next 16 weeks.

This fall/winter has been more about courage than I thought it would be. 2013 was a rollercoaster year. Ups and downs and loopty-loops made me happy, sad, elated, and frustrated, but I know that there were more ups than downs. For a year that asked more questions than provided answers, I think I’m stronger now. I wore my Boston 2013 jacket for the first time on my first training run of this training cycle and thought to myself, ‘it’s time to move on’. And so, that’s what I’m doing. Clean slate, open mind, fresh training, and lots of miles ahead of me in 2014.

Image

All bundled up for Boston 2014 training run #1. My face is freezing and I can’t feel my nose. Standard.

In November, I started to think about what I wanted to change and what I want to accomplish in 2014. And as I usually do, I wrote down some big hairy, scary goals and tucked it away in a place that I’ll be sure to look at it everyday. I’m excited to start working toward a goal again.

So, this is what I’ve been up to. At the beginning of November, the focus was on a bit more rest and then a gradual increase in my weekly miles with all slow, easy miles. I started at 20 miles per week and worked up to 35 miles each week for 5 weeks. Literally all of my these miles were easy recovery pace from 7:45-8:40/mi. No fartlek action, no speed, just MILES. It was slow going in the beginning and it was incredibly difficult to be happy with 20 miles total for the week. But I had to start somewhere after lots of recovery so I focused on keeping up with cross-training. It made me feel good just to be running 4-5 x a week again. I wanted to be able to do that without feeling like my legs were going to fall off. Success!

After 5 weeks of easy base-building, I decided to test the legs a bit. I increased my mileage gradually to 40 miles and added two light “workouts” to the schedule. The first was supposed to be a progressive run of 8 miles (4 easy miles, then 4 miles up tempo — not tempo pace, but a bit of a challenge). That plan flew out the window when I started running and the legs didn’t want to stop. I actually ended up running an 8 miles steady-state at 7:20/mi pace. It was a bit unexpected and, at the time, I kept telling myself that one good run doesn’t mean that my legs are ready for full training mode yet. Then, the second “workout” planned for the week was 8 miles with the last 10 miles fast/moderate. I ran the first 6 comfortably at 7:50-8 min/mi and then the legs were ON. I ran the last 1.5 miles of that workout at 6:40 pace. 6! A 6 hasn’t flashed on my watch in ….3 months? I was giddy and surprised and happy to be able to run a quick pace again.

The week of 12/16 was an awesome step in the right direction. 40 miles, 5 runs, two “workouts”, and a note in my training log that said “MY LEGS ARE BAAAAACK!”. At the end of that week, I knew that I’d be able to start putting speedwork on the schedule on 12/30 (and that’s still the plan this week). I’m also really happy with my cross-training this week. I was really bad about adding cross-training into my schedule in August-September and  I know that it has to be more of a priority this cycle.

To recap: Week of 12/16

Monday: 8 miles, 7:26 average (“workout” #1:progression run turned steady state)

Tuesday: 5 miles, 8:15 average + hip strength routine

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga + ART (Rest Day)

Thursday: 8.8 miles, 7:39 average (+1 hr belated bday massage)

Friday: 1 hour spin 

Saturday: 12 miles, 7:47 average

Sunday: 6 miles, 8:30 average

TOTAL: 40 miles 

Annnnd that brings us to this week! All of that good stuff that happened the previous week? Yep, it just kept rollin’. I ran a total of 44 miles this week. FORTY-FOUR! I like that number. And I especially liked how the legs are feeling considering I haven’t been to PT for ART since Wed, 12/18. I’ve been going about every 5 days so this stretch of 12 days is a good test especially with strong mileage and a slow build to more difficult workouts.

Week of 12/23: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday: 8 miles, ~8 min pace. 4 miles easy , 3 at 7:20, and 1 mi cooldown.

Tuesday: 5.5 miles, 7:39 average.

Wednesday: REST + Christmas!

Thursday: 10 miles, 7:37 average. (including 8 x 1 min surges at 6:20-40 pace with 1 min recovery)

Friday: REST – family time

Saturday: 14 miles, 7:29 average pace! Really not sure where that pep in my step came from but this felt GREAT!

Sunday: 6 recovery miles, 8:30 pace.

TOTAL: 44 miles + 2 rest days

I wasn’t confident that my legs would come back so soon after a lot of recovery in September and October. I ran zero miles the week of November 3rd. Since then, I’ve run 21, 23, 30, 35, 29, 40, and 44 miles each consecutive week. 7 weeks of patience is paying off, I think.

Now, the hard work really begins!

New (Gifted) Obsessions:

Roll Recovery + Garmin Forerunner 220

#Runnerd Christmas presents: Roll Recovery & Garmin Forerunner 220.

My family was spot on with the Christmas presents this year. Two gifts that I will use literally almost everyday. The Roll Recovery is a torture/recovery tool that I’ve had my eye on since Hood to Coast when Robyn showed me her torturous ways and encouraged me to inflict pain on myself (all in the name of recovery of course!). It was especially handy in a relay scenario because having the time and space to foam roll is virtually impossible. I do my fair share of foam rolling and I really love the Stick but this thing is the real deal. I’ve been able to trigger point muscles that are pretty difficult to reach with a foam roller. Obsessed!

Garmin Forerunner 220Purtyyyyyyy.

Annnnnd the Forerunner 220. I’ve had the huge BRICK AKA Forerunner 305 on my wrist for 2.5 + years. Mind you, I have tiny wrists and this thing is massive compared to my frame. When I took the 220 out of the box, I couldn’t believe how light it was. I wore it almost the entire day and didn’t really notice it. I fits tighter and because it’s so light, it feels like wearing a normal watch (which would be impossible with the ancient 305). I took the watch out to time the satellite lock on Christmas afternoon and it locked onto a satellite in less than 35 seconds. Before my 14-miler yesterday afternoon, I turned the watch on and, I swear, it locked onto the satellite signal in less than 10 seconds. That’s impressive considering the signal lock seems to be much slower in the city than it is in the suburbs. Just knowing that I won’t have to wait 5-8 minutes for the satellite signal each and every time I run, makes me giddy. I’m sure I’ll have more positive things to say about the 220 the more I use it.

So with a new outlook on training, a newfound sense of courage after a crazy 2013, and some new training tools, I think 2014 is going to be a great year.

Did you get a lot of running specific gifts from friends and family members this year? What are your new obsessions?

Do you find it difficult to start a new training cycle? What are ya training for next?!

-J

Why I’m Not Racing This Fall

The past 3 weeks have been difficult, both physically and emotionally. It’s been 3.5 weeks since I felt like my body started to tell me “woah there buddy, stop at the red light!”. Up until my long run on September 14th, I hadn’t felt any aches or pains this cycle. I was deliberate in my strength training and stretched muscles that are notoriously tight when training peaks. I felt like I was doing everything right and getting stronger through the cycle.

After that 17-mile long run, I tried to do everything I could to refresh the legs. I didn’t really feel like anything “happened”. Nothing snapped, nothing was broken. My legs just weren’t working. (That’s the only way I can describe it.)  I resolved to take it easy for one week and, as difficult as it was to skip 2 key workouts and my first 20-miler, I knew it would be for the best. Missing out on one week of training wouldn’t make a difference come race day. I saw my chiropractor and had massage work done, along with gentle foam rolling and stretching at home each night. But things didn’t really turn around, as badly as I wanted to convince myself that they were. I had a few very short test runs that week and an elliptical workout that felt fine, but I just knew my left quad wasn’t going to let go.

The next week, a little better. I managed 25 easy miles and my 10-miler actually felt strong. I thought, “alright, we’re not out of the woods yet but we’re almost there!”. Still hoping and dreaming that all my hard work and recovery would pay off, even if it wasn’t the original plan.

2013-09-29 12.37.08-210 miles was a confidence boost, but somewhat of a “fluke”

And then? Last week. My heart wasn’t in it and the disappointment started to set in. On Monday, I did a very easy spin for 45 minutes and felt great. On Tuesday morning, I woke up early to do another test run of 6 easy miles. I didn’t feel comfortable by mile 3 and knew it was over.

Actually, I think my brain knew it was over but my heart wasn’t ready to let the dream die yet.

I sat on my butt and did absolutely nothing on Wednesday and Thursday evening, even though I had another easy run planned for Thursday morning. Thursday just….came & went. Almost every hour, I considered going out for a jog (I was “allowed” to run 7-8 miles that day). I felt like I was in a daze all last week because I didn’t know what to do with myself, but my heart and my body started to agree by Thursday afternoon.

I went to physical therapy and said these words out loud for the first time: “I don’t think I’m going to run a marathon this fall.”

I was surprised how comfortable I was when I said it. It just kind of came out.

There are many reasons why I think this is the right decision for me right now. 

This is a very minor injury. I “can” still run, but don’t want to risk major injury during or after a marathon this fall. Running through pain is a recipe for disaster and I’d rather choose to rest now than be forced to rest for a much longer period of time later on.

I have Boston 2014 to look forward to. I would be angry with myself  if I ran through pain this fall and struggled through the next training cycle. Too many years of racing ahead of me to risk anything right now.

My body is trying to tell me something and I have to listen to it. I ran twice last week. I haven’t run at all this week (self-imposed hiatus!). And honestly, I don’t miss it yet.  That’s a sign that I need to recover and regroup before going into training mode again.

Abby NYC published a post this week about why not racing isn’t the end of the world. It’s like she crawled into my brain and gave me the kick in the ass that I needed.

She’s right:  I’m still in awesome shape. Just because I’m not racing now doesn’t mean that won’t EVER race again. There’s still value in the training I did for the past 18+ weeks.

3 weeks ago, I was thinking: “I wasted months of my life for no reason, I feel like I’m a disappointment, what will people think?, what if I decide to run another race instead?, etc.”. Picture all of the negative aspects of the situation swirling around in my brain and that was my reality for about 10 days. A bit of a mental temper tantrum, if you will. One day, I would confess that the race was still going to happen and the next I’d wonder why I even said that.

I’m happy to say the temper tantrum has come to an end and I’m comfortable with my decision. After staying away from Bikram for over 2 years, I’ve started going to classes again. I have a clear idea of where my weaknesses are and it feels so good to work on them. I’m spinning and doing elliptical workouts just to keep up with cardio. And I’m SLEEPING like a pro (I’ve always been good about my sleep but it seems more restful now). I don’t feel the pressure to fit the workout into my day and, for now, that’s a good thing. I’m excited to rest through this week and work on a really strong base before I start training for Boston again in January.

The marathon isn’t happening for me this fall but that means I get to be a spectating fool for not one, but THREE different marathons within the next few weeks. First up, Chicago this weekend! Next, Grand Rapids (where The Man will run his first half and Hillary and Jeff will race for all the beers). And finally, the Indy Monumental Half and Full at the beginning of November. I bought extra vuvuzelas on Amazon a few weeks ago (I’m prepared, people) and I think I’ll be pretty skilled after spectating for three marathons.

Being on the other side of the race this fall seems refreshing to me now. Hey, 2014! You better watch out! I’m comin’ for ya.

2013-10-07 16.10.26I made a decision. And then this arrived in the mail. Boston 2014 will be an amazing experience.

-J