This will be a quick one because I’m almost two weeks behind in these recaps and I want to stay as current as possible.
Monday- What Happened to my Foot?
This was what I was supposed to do: 2 mile WU- 6 x 800 m intervals at MP minus 20 seconds with a 400 m jog in between- 2 mile cool down (technically 3:16/800)
Instead I ran .4 and turned around from terrible pain at the top of my foot where my laces in my Nike’s cross. No Bueno, called the PT immediately to figure this out.
Tuesday- Rest Day and PT appointment
Emergency PT appointment, after looking up everything it could be, I went in and saw Kaylie. She told me, it’s the darn shoes! She thinks they may be too big. hmm, hard to say! I had sized up because my toes were too close, but now I’m worried. I’m going to try to work around it and see what happens. I put the Nike’s on hold and re-laced my Adidas so they wouldn’t irritate the sensitive spot and made plans to make it to the tempo on Wednesday.
Wednesday- Tempo Time
Nervous about my foot and nervous about this tempo. A 2 mile warm up, 6 miles at marathon goal pace, and a 2 mile cool down. Of course marathon goal pace is inching up as we continue to run hard each week. Luckily, my foot felt way better! Definitely was the laces that were the problem on Monday. Phew!! Now I’m sad I missed out on the mileage for something so insignificant but I think it’s okay, this week is supposed to be a down week in training anyway. It was great to push the effort on this run, I was definitely breathing heavy, and my legs wanted to give up during any incline that hit us, but I made up the gaps on the downhills and flats. Felt pretty good about this run.
Thursday- Easy 9…
Didn’t mean to do this many miles but we did keep it at 8:30 pace. I wanted to try something different and go off the lake, but that meant adding more miles than necessary. Whoops. Felt nice to go easy and shake out the tempo.
Going medium hard and working on that cross training to be well rounded. Great class, like usual.
Saturday- Easy Long Run
The magic of down weeks is that the long runs are so easy. We had a lovely 12 miler, chatting and making the time go so quickly. I think we were a pack of about 6 or 8, and it was really delightful to catch up and talk without getting out of breath (except up hills of course), and well, this route was very hilly, but that’s okay, hills make us stronger.
Naughty for skipping a strength workout 🙁 Just hard to fit in when family calls.
I’m so happy that the shoe thing ended up being a fluke, and I’m happy that I ended up taking this Sunday off to just let my ankle calm down a bit after that shoe had made it so angry. I worked on finding a way to retie the shoe so that I can still use them and will tie my VaporFly 4%s in the same way when it comes to the marathon. Super interested in seeing how much better they are to run in than the Fly Flyknits. Shoes are so weird to have such an effect!
Getting up to 40 miles in week 5 made it feel more serious than last year at this time when I was training for Boston. I didn’t get into the 40s until week 12! I’m feeling strong and while I’m still working on adding in more strength training, my body is in good shape due to seeing my PT every week. I’m not going to pretend that this training cycle is a cheap one. To stay healthy I have a weekly appointment where I work on strength and get adjusted. It’s great but it’s very pricey.
Monday- Getting on Track
Hill workout! 2-mile warm-up, 8x 3 mins of hard hill runs, 2 mile cool down. I was crushing this workout until I wasn’t. On the 6th interval, my hamstring gave me some negative feedback. I slowed down my 7th interval, but it was still angry so I took my 8th to the track and called it good. I’m being careful about cramping and taking Magnesium every day now. I’m hopeful that will help come marathon day. My left hamstring is the one that cramps, but my right one is the one that feels worse in PT.
Tuesday- Rest Day
I’m on the group plan for Tuesday rest days right now. Normally I like to keep the momentum of the week going and I was getting spin classes in on Tuesday, but since I like the spin class on Friday so much I think I’ll stick to that and take Tuesdays off like everyone else.
Wednesday- Solo Tempo
OH boy. This tempo had me worried. I had a full day of work I had to get through before I could run, and I had to do our first 6 mile tempo by myself. I decided to do it right after being in the studio, while Vince had Grant (so thankful that he picked him up from school and hung out with him so I could get this work in) I did a warm-up from the studio down to the Freemont Bridge and then I got to work around the lake. Music was blaring and while I knew I was breathing heavy, I wasn’t feeling too bad. I thought to myself, this pace has me flying close to the sun, but it’s worth it right now to experiment. I ended up averaging 7:03 min/mile on this. Pretty happy with that, it should pay off in a half marathon.
Thursday- Easy Run
So excited to be working out my easy run schedule with Eileen! After a bit of confusion, we found each other and got some very nice easy miles in around the lake. I could not be more grateful for my amazing training partner. I just hope I can keep slaying times right beside her as she continues to improve.
Friday- Spin class
My favorite form of cross training right now! I love this 5am class. I also went to PT on Friday, it’s always good to get some work done before a long run.
Saturday- Rise and Shine
All the lake laps. I needed to do early miles because I needed to get back home to get ready for a school tour. Luckily Eileen and Beth were willing to join me for those early miles and we did two lake laps and one extra mile to make it 7 before 7. Once we reached the regular group we had another lake lap to do with them since that’s how that route started this week. Oh well, it was flat and relatively easy, I can’t complain too much about that. What I could complain about was that the top of foot hurt a bit after the long run. I thought I had just tied my laces too tight and let it go as a fluke.
Sunday- Gym Time
I’ve been trying to get on board with more strength workouts! Sundays are the days I can usually fit them in so I rowed a bit and then lifted weights.
Overall this week of big mileage felt pretty great. Week 6 is planned to be a down week, which I think will be well appreciated.
January is such an exciting time to be running. Most people are starting their spring training, a lot of new runners are trying this thing out, and there are so many fun challenges that companies like Lululemon and Nike put on. I think this time last year I wasn’t feeling as confident and fast. Now I’m talking almost the whole time on long runs and enjoying the early mornings. It goes to show that every training cycle gives you something, no matter the result of the race at the end of each cycle. I modified from the plan for this week and didn’t feel guilty about it, it happens sometimes and I don’t feel a need to “make-up” the mileage lost.
Monday- Travel Day- Dec 31
I had considered XC skiing this day while Grant was at his ski lesson but I didn’t end up feeling like rushing to get it done and being sweaty all the way home. Instead, I had a pancake breakfast. When we got home I convinced the whole family to go for a 2 mile run, John and I took turns pushing the stroller.
Tuesday- Unexpected Miles- Jan 1
We didn’t know that Grant would be invited to sleep over his grandparent’s house on New Year’s Eve but when the offer was made we took it up and got a second run in together. SGLRG was having a first run of the year around Green Lake, I did a lap with John and Sarah and then a lap on my own giving me 5.8 for the run. I took it pretty easy knowing that a hard tempo would be coming the next day.
Wednesday- WuW for the Win- Jan 2
The workout was 2 mile warmup, 3×2 miles at marathon pace then 2 mile cool down. The warm-ups on Wednesdays can be deceiving, my legs felt really heavy in the first mile and my breathing was off, but I decided to buck up and go for it in the 3×2 portion and it went really well. The second interval felt like it was straight uphill. We just pushed and made it through. This one felt really solid, I wasn’t tired from Monday like the rest of my gang who had done a hill workout so I was fresh and feeling it. Had a lot of fun on this run.
Thursday- Gotta Love Those Rest Days- Jan 3
What’s training without rest? Dumb. That’s what. Keeping up my full recovery days where I do next to nothing.
Friday- Spin Class- Jan 4
I realized that I can show up for spin at 5 and join the FLUR group at 6 if I really want to in the future. I may be ready for that when I really need to get my mileage up towards the peak of my training. Right now I’m working on a balance of how hard I should go in these classes, it’s hard not to get too carried away. If I stay on the conservative side of his cues I’m in good shape.
Saturday-Oh Hill Yeah- Jan 5
This was a good test of fitness. Hills were pretty brutal for me on this one, but I stayed strong and the good news is I was recovering off of them pretty quickly. We averaged 8:02 pace over the course of the 14 miles. Last year at this time I ran a 14 miler at 8:20 pace with a little less elevation, so I think this is a good sign. I didn’t feel totally dead at the end. I drank Tailwind recovery directly after the run, and maybe it’s helping?
Sunday- Short Runs
A Lululemon Event to kick off their annual 40/80 Strava Challenge had me, John and Grant over to U-Village for a 3 miler. It was slow and easy going. I added on another half mile after going to a Jui-Jitsu demonstration and running home. Very casual Sunday.
I think it’s important to keep running in perspective, especially when you have a little kid. I see plenty of people continuing to hit the holiday miles hard, and I’m totally psyched for them to do that, I just know that for me, my running can become a hindrance on my family time and time away from my four-year-old during Christmas and his week off from school just isn’t worth it. So a little extra rest, in order to wake up with my kid on Christmas day and to spend the whole morning together, was what I decided this week.
I also worked to get all my CycleBar classes that I paid for into the schedule which required getting creative. I refuse to lose money! Especially when the classes ended up only be $10 a class if I attended all of them. So this week was light on miles but big on what matters.
Monday- Getting on Track
I can always rely on this run to be a kick off to a great week. The schedule had us in for an easy 8 and it was so enjoyable. I got to chat along the way and run with folks I don’t normally run with, perfect way to start the holiday week. Averaged 9:13/mile.
Normally I spin on Tuesdays, but there wasn’t anything open and I wanted to spend time with my 4 year old and have a relaxed day. I took a rest day and called it good.
When you read the workout incorrectly and go into it thinking it will be easier than it is. For some reason, I thought this was supposed to be a 4 mile tempo, but it was 6. When I mentioned it out loud everyone was like, uhhh, it’s 6. So I’m proud of myself for reshaping it quickly and saying okay! 4 + 2! Let’s do this. It was actually a very fun workout and great to do with Kathy, Bruce, and Beth. Beth pushed a bit but not too much and while we definitely went faster on some of the miles than we were supposed to, I felt in control. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a real long run in this week so I went for a couple extra cool down miles with Beth to get to 12.
Thursday Double Day
Started off the morning with an ok CycleBar class. The instructor was a sub and I don’t think he’s used to early mornings. His playlist was okay, his energy was meh. I’m happy that this is my second to last CycleBar class, I miss FlyWheel. This workout wasn’t too tough. So deciding to do a double wasn’t a bad decision.
We put Grant into daycare for Thursdays while he’s on school break so I had a little extra time on my hands in the afternoon. After walking Sol and seeing how sunny it was I decided I’d get my 35 min run in during the day versus having to get up early before PT and squeezing it in then. It was a great decision, I averaged 7:47s but they felt very easy. Maybe it’s because I was listening to a podcast while running. I was happy to get this in.
Just a PT day. Totally fine to do that work and get adjusted.
I had originally thought I’d get a couple miles in on the treadmill before going to my last CycleBar class, but then I wanted to sleep and call it good. I had also thought I’d get a chance to skate ski in the afternoon, but the rain in Snoqualmie was more than I was willing to deal with. CycleBar was better than usual, Erwin is my favorite instructor there. He seems to really have a plan on what he wants everyone to do and syncs up well with the music, his inspirational part is a little over the top, but it’s all well-intentioned.
Sunday- Alpine Ski Day
We got ski passes for the day and I got in a total of 6 runs on Summit West. After not skiing much last year, I felt a little rusty, but I think all the spinning has helped my quads get stronger so this wasn’t as hard as it has been in the past. It was also great to do it with friends. Thrilled that we made this last minute decision to go up to the mountain. I hope to get more skiing in this season!
I realized something earlier this week I should address. 21 weeks of training may seem like a lot. It is! I’m coming off of an injury and because I took some time in the summer completely off to mope and not do much beyond PT I have a steep hill to climb to get to where I want my running to be. 21 weeks, in that sense, is not too long. Every runner’s journey is different.
Monday- Track Workout a Tad too Fast
This week called for an 8×800 at marathon pace with 1.5 warm up and cool down. I had done my math the night before, and I was pretty sure that we should have been hitting 3:40ish for these, but then I ended up being convinced that was incorrect so I went with the flow. While we went too fast for a 3:15 marathon goal pace, both Eileen and I felt like we were holding back. We were talking through the majority of it, me a little bit more uncomfortable than Eileen, but we were still able to talk.
This was Alison Mitchell’s last class! She was my first spin instructor at FlyWheel and she welcomed me into her 5am class with such an open heart. She’s one of the reasons why I love FlyWheel so much so it’s pretty sad to see her go, but I 100% get it. When I used to coach CrossFit at 6am it was tough to bring that energy to the floor in the morning and that was before I had a kid, and I live steps from my old gym, I couldn’t imagine both having to drive and having to teach that early.
Anyway, I had originally told myself I’d go a bit easier than normal, but Alison’s energy just got me moving and it didn’t feel too hard! I think this running and spinning combo is really paying off on both sides. I got a pretty high power score and had a wonderful workout.
Wednesday: 8 miler at WuW
This was intended to be a no faster that +45 of marathon pace, so that would have taken me to 8:11. There were a fair amount of hills in this course and I struggled through parts of it. I also ended up flaring my ankle during the run and my hip after it. I’m pretty sure it was my shoes (On Cloud X) that are the culprit for this one since it’s the longest I’ve run in them for a while. So they’re retired until I feel 100%. We’ll see if my new Nike’s are any better or if I need to get a secondary pair of Adidas Bostons.
I had wanted to go to FLUR or get a spin class in but after I had issues with CycleBar’s signup process which didn’t allow me to register and I woke up really tired I decided to sleep in and call it an okay to miss day since my hip still wasn’t feeling great. I had a good PT session and will continue to go to PT basically until I burn through all of our money.
Saturday: Rise and Shine Miracle Snowball run (11.2 miles)
My intention here really worked out. I knew I wanted to do 10-12 and I was happy to start out quickly and ease my way back to the lake after half way. I did exactly that and had a wonderful run with a variety of people. It was one of those perfect early training runs where my speed felt good, and coming off the speed felt great. I need reminders that 9 min pace is not bad and is sometimes required. 8 min pace can feel comfortable sure, but 9 is even more so.
I had wanted to get to the gym to lift but just didn’t make it a priority. I know I need to get better about making lifting more important in my schedule. Maybe that will be my resolution or my 30-day goal. Lift at least twice a week! Just give me these last few days of December to slack off 😉
Oh hello Week 1. I again like the idea of documenting my training via blog, even though I also document it in a spreadsheet and on Strava. I think taking Sundays to write up a post about the week can be helpful as I look at the week ahead and work towards my goals. So here goes.
Deciding to take on a Spring Marathon
Just a quick explanation, I’ve been sidelined with tendonitis in my ankle and hip impingement in my right hip since July. Weekly PT and rest have gotten me back to about 85-90% recovered, and I’m still working to take it relatively easy when things ache. I’m coming to the conclusion that like my ITBS this tendonitis in my ankle might not ever feel 100% and I’ll be okay with that. So I’m taking a spring marathon training season and slowly growing my mileage in a way that makes sense for me and where I want to be.
The marathon I’m 80% sure I’m doing is Avenue of the Giants Marathon there’s a 20% chance that I’ll do Blooms to Brews because that is what my training partner is likely doing and it would be fun to work with her during a race again. She is also in much better shape than me and it would be super motivating to chase her when it starts getting hard in the race. We’ll see, I want to do Ave, because my long-time internet bud Karen at ariavie.blogspot.com has convinced me that this is a must-do marathon, it also happens to be near her home.
My goal for the marathon is 3:15, which would be a 6 minute PR. I know that’s nothing to sniff at, but I also know in my heart I was in that shape last April. I’m going to better prepare myself this year by adding a bit more mileage and keeping strength training in my schedule for longer.
Week 1-Day 1 It’s good to be back
Meeting up on the track at 5:30am never felt so good as when I saw a bunch of familiar smiling faces. The plan started off with an easy 8 that we took down to the lake. Two laps around Green Lake at 8:11 pace felt solid. I was tired but happy. I went home right away to help get Grant to school and John and I decided to take Solitude into the vet to get what we assume was another urinary tract infection inspected. The only reason I mention that was because I ended up sprinting my ass off in Puma slip on shoes after a fire alarm test went off and someone else’s dog took off sprinting down Broadway. It ran into Cal Anderson Park and I continued to chase it until I lost it at Pike and 13th. I was so upset that I didn’t catch it, it was definitely getting tired and I think had I not run the 8 in the morning I would have been fresh enough to have given chase at that pace for another 5-10 mins. I really hope they found the dog. 🙁
Week 1-Day 2 Spin
While I prefer FlyWheel to kick my butt, I like CycleBar for active recovery. They have a perfect class on Tuesdays and Thursdays called Connect that’s mainly about staying on the rhythm and ignoring the numbers. They’re normally a bit expensive, but I got 5 classes for $50 deal during Black Friday so this is working out for me for now. Spinning was just fine on Tuesday and I didn’t feel too beaten up for Wednesday.
Week 1 Day 3- WuW for the Win
This is one of my favorite/most dreaded runs of the week. It will turn into a tempo later in the season, but this week it was a 1.5 warm-up, then marathon pace for +50sec, +40sec. +30sec+ 20sec+10sec, then 1.5 cool down. I convinced myself that we had one more after the +10 so when we stopped at 7:40ish pace I was super happy. I enjoyed a coffee with friends after and didn’t rush home to help get Grant to school, but made it home in time to help anyway. Wednesdays are also my PT day, so it was good to get some body work (ACK cupping!!) and some strength work in. Drea said that I need to be doing a warm-up with bands at the beginning of every run from now on, and I’m committing to it. We timed it, only takes 3 mins.
Week 1 Day 4- REST
Literally did nothing, slept. Rest days are the best days, I slept for 9 hours.
Week 1 Day 5- Spin-Performance Class
The idea behind CycleBar’s performance class is that you are motivated by the Stats, the group challenges and rider competitions. So in a way, this would basically be any regular FlyWheel class. However, I did not dig this class. I worked hard and got good stats, better than my previous classes, but I didn’t like the format as much as I like FlyWheel. I’m going to stick to the easy stuff at CycleBar and leave it to FlyWheel to kick my butt.
Week 1- Day 6- Rise and Shine/ Rise and Grind up All the Hills
This one started off rough. I had read the plan incorrectly earlier in the week and thought I only had 8 miles to do, a relief! But then saw that if I wanted to run with my buds and do what I did last year (do all the hard Hanson Plus stuff and cut out most of the easy miles in lieu of rest and crosstraining) I’d be running 12. I was huffing and puffing from the start, the early hills didn’t make it easier. However, somehow at the end, I felt pretty darn good. A big improvement from the week before when I had to nap for a significant amount of time after that run. I napped for about 20 mins after this one and was able to do a lot more with the family.
Week 1- Day 7- Recovery and Lifting
10.5 hours of sleep. I have a four-year-old, I feel like superwoman with this type of sleep. I did have to give up a party I wanted to go to on Saturday night, so I was bummed about that, but I think the sleep made up for it. We played in the house all morning long and after a short trip to a rainy park, my husband and son dropped me off at my gym so I could get some lifting in. Here’s what I programmed for myself:
Row 1600m (I always forget to stop my watch!)
Stretch and PT warm-ups
Presses 1×10 @20 for warm-up, 2×10 @30
DL warm-up 1x 10 empty bar, 2x 10@ 93, 2×5 @113 (women’s bar!)
Stability ball leg crunches
2 x15 Dead bugs with ball
2x 1 min regular Plank
Super psyched that I found the women’s bar, that will make pressing much easier and I like it for deadlifts so I can hookgrip more easily (not that I realllly need to hookgrip 115lbs but it’s better to practice at lower weights for when you need it at heavier weight)
So this was week one. Overall it was pretty tough to start. But compared to last year, I’m starting off a little faster and with more mileage. I’m coming off of a significant rest period but I have been building mileage since the first week of September. I’m working on not jumping in too quickly. I was planning to do a FlyWheel spin class this morning and canceled it because that was the smart thing to do. I promise to do the paces as prescribed tomorrow (which will feel molasses slow) and on Wednesday. It’s all about patience and not going too fast too soon. Stick to the plan and the plan will work for you.
Til next Sunday. Hopefully, I’ll actually work on this during the week and have pictures in future posts!
Making a decision to step away from a marathon that you signed up for is never easy. As the beginning of October neared and my google sheets training plan had “HOUSTON 2019” labeled as my next tab, I looked over my previous weeks of running and saw averages below 10 miles per week. Hmm. Decision time.
I could start building and push the hard training stuff back. The race is January 20th. For a 16 week build-up I’d have to start October 1st. Could I build enough base in three weeks and then go for a 13 week build up? Could I do enough work in 13 weeks to get my 3:15? Is three weeks enough time to go from 8 miles a week to 30?
The answers were, no, definitely not. So then do I step away from the race? I couldn’t see myself spending the money to travel to this flat course, run a marathon with an unknown plan under shady amounts of miles just to walk away with the experience of running Houston. I’m sure it’s a fantastic marathon, but in my opinion there are certain courses out there that are “give your all” courses, Houston is one of them. I won’t be ready to run Houston until I am 100% healthy. And I know from many years of training that real racing shouldn’t happen unless you’re 100%.
At this point I’m monitoring my volume and building slowly. I’m not allowed to run back to back days yet and I still see my PT once a week. Building base is everything because it tells you where you are in your recovery after injury.
If done properly and slowly it will make you stronger in the long run. If it’s ignored and you jump into big mileage telling yourself that you’re relying on previous marathon cycles to carry you into the new cycle, you are likely going to get injured or stay injured. Consistency and patience is what I need right now, so I’m giving myself that by dropping out of Houston.
I’ve got a fire building, but for what, I’m not quite sure. I’m planning on running The Avenue of the Giants marathon in May, to get to proper mileage by the second week of January doesn’t seem like it’s going to be as big of a stretch. When I’m not running, I’m either in the weight room or spin class. (I’ll write about my tour of spin studios in my next post!)
My glutes and hammies are firing and while my breathing and heart rate is still taking time to come back, that’s to be expected. I am going to suffer so hard in the first tempos I take on. I look forward to it. Until then, I’ll be adding miles every other day until I can be back to the 35 miles per week average that I thrive from so that I can up it to 40-45 for the next training cycle.
My mileage base as well as my strength training will help me build, build, build, and we’ll see how tough I can get before training can start for Ave of the Giants. Here’s hoping for consistent gains and no set-backs.
Oh hey summer plans and summer days? Where did you go? I was all about those lofty goals last time I checked in on this blog. Sub 40 for a 10k and planning on getting in the mid 5s for the mile, but then INJURY.
My ankle had started to feel weird in May, by July it was painful to have a blanket over my foot at night. I knew something was up and that running would not be possible for a while. 8 weeks later, I’m back! What did I do with all my time off? Was I as motivated as part-time mermaid Colleen Quigly who is bouncing back from her injury and won a steeplechase race in Berlin in 9:10 this weekend? or maybe as on top of the bike as much as Jordan Hasay who will be defending her Chicago title in October? NOPE! While I am so inspired by the pros, I did nothing but PT three times a week. Oh, and I tried out spin class and have 3 classes left to do before October. The motivation to move beyond going through PT just was not there.
When it comes to injuries, I’ve realized I’m lazy AF. Part of me just likes to tell myself that I’m resting off the injury and making it better by staying off of it. But if I’m being honest with myself, if I’m not running, I’m not good at making myself work. I get the sads and would prefer to stay up late and sleep in. It’s a real bummer that this happened over the summer after a dark winter of training, but injuries happen.
The positive side of things is that I’m working towards getting stronger. My hamstrings and glutes have been fired up and I look forward to marathon training to reach a new PR in Houston. I’ll be plugging in the Hanson’s plan and moving forward in a couple of weeks and I’m pretty excited about that.
It’s been 4 weeks since the Boston Marathon! One of the main questions you can’t help but ask while coming down from marathon training and going through the inevitable post-marathon blues is “What’s next?” Eileen and I had already started discussing this during our taper and we had decided that we’d switch things up and make the Summer of 2018 the summer of speed (and for her, also a 50 miler, because well, she’s amazing). Our plan is to train hard for the 5k and 10k distances and also hit the all-comers meets that happen up in Shoreline to test ourselves on the track. But first, came recovery. I took it pretty darn seriously as you’ll see:
I hadn’t read about the tainted lettuce yet and the Friday after the marathon I specifically asked for romaine at a salad shop I normally love. Symptoms started showing up right on predicted time and lasted for a week. It was pretty horrible. I survived coaching Girls on the Run and my ECCF running group, but had to rest all day in order to make it out of the house for those events. I am so lucky that my kids is easily amused at home and that my job is pretty flexible. My mileage totals plummeted in this time and I was okay with that. I was plotting my return to running on May 7th and had started digging into my Jack Daniel’s Running Formula book to get ready to start upping my mileage slightly and getting back into the gym.
So this week was the first week back and damn, recovery, whatever the cause, is a great thing. I was so nervous about how out of shape I’d be. I mean I ran a total of 14 miles in three weeks and didn’t cross train or weightlift at all!! I hit the track on Monday with a small but dedicated morning group who showed up. Right now the group is in partial recovery mode and partial get going mode. Eileen and I had 2 sets of 8×200 on the schedule. For those who know the Jack Daniels methodology, my VDOT number is 51 and Eileen’s is 53 (using our half marathon races), so this had us hitting 41s basically. I couldn’t believe how my legs flowed. I also LOVE the track and love running fast on it, so this is my wheelhouse. The last couple felt tough but doable and I was happy that we also had John with us to help push the pack along.
I ended up doing a 8×200 with a walking recovery with my ECCF group on Tuesday and ran a bit faster on those intervals because one of my athletes is very fast and needs help pacing the first 100 before blasting into the second 100. It was fun, and I thought I’d really pay for it on my Wednesday workout, but I ended up doing okay. My legs were fatigued for sure, and the 1 min rest in between the miles was incredibly hard to deal with, but I made it through that workout faster than I thought. It shows that when I’m scared I won’t hit a pace I act on that fear with more speed.
Because it was Mother’s Day weekend, and we had plans to head to Victoria on Saturday, I ended up calling FLUR my long run for the week. Sure 6 isn’t much, but when you’re 5K training it will do. We ended up going at a pretty good clip of 7:44 pace. It wasn’t too fast, but it certaintly did not feel slow. I powered up the hill and huffed and puffed about it through out. That is where my fitness can improve.
Saturday was beautiful in Victoria, and I’m already looking up races to do there in the future. I really love Canada.
Today to cap off my first week back in training I hit the gym. OH EM GEE, it feels so so so good to be back. I had so many things I wanted to do! I ended up programming this for myself.
I’m excited to get back to these types of workouts and work on getting my lifts heavier again.
Overall this was a fantastic first week back. I know that this Jack Daniel’s program will give me some really tough workouts in the future, and I know that I will likely fail at a couple of them as this plan is ambitious. I also know that my goal of getting a solid 5K PR and 10K PR is right on the cusp of happening and I want to really challenge myself while also maintaining my marathon level mileage. It’s exciting to be back in the saddle and I’m keeping a close eye on any signs of burnout and injury.
I’ll attempt to blog through these next couple of months to track lifting and racing since I’ll be doing so much of it this season. It’s so nice to hit these short races, recover quickly and then move on the next! My first tune-up race is next Saturday, what’s basically a fun run called the Get Up and Go 5K , it benefits the Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’m not planning to go all out, looking to hit 21 or 22 mins. We’ll see how fast I can go without breaking myself!
Grit is a word I’ve heard repeatedly when it comes to marathons. You’ve got to have it to train for them, to line up for them, and definitely to finish them. The nature of the marathon is you train for many weeks doing your best to stay healthy and uninjured and hope for a flawless day. A day where everything clicks into place and you get to demonstrate your training. Boston 2018 was not flawless, far from it. It was a day that everyone who showed up demonstrated what type of people marathoners are, gritty AF.
Every single person out on that course ran in the rain that beat down from the sky in sheets and wind that blew so hard that you had to push your body against it to move half as far as you’d expect that stride on a normal day. If you could tuck behind someone maybe you’d be spared a bit, I tried a couple of times but still felt like it didn’t help much. Lake-like puddles lined the sides of the streets; if you pulled off to toss a layer that became heavy and useless you might find yourself ankle deep in water.
A week before this race, during our last 12-mile long run I turned to my training partner Eileen and joked that the terrible conditions of cold rain we were running through could be what we’d see in Boston. We finished that run with a 6:57 last mile partially because we were cold, partially because we were having fun on our fresh legs. I said, “no matter what, we’ll be prepared!” At the time the forecast was calling for clouds and 50 degrees. I was completely joking in thinking that we’d have monsoon weather but also know that Boston can be unpredictable. As the week revealed 100% chance of rain and then strong winds that would make the temperature feel like 25 degrees, I got a little nervous that I had asked for what we were about to run through.
Day of Race
The morning of the race I woke up with a headache on the left side of my head, slight period cramps and a bit of nausea. This is actually when I got worried. My friend Karen and I had been discussing the weather the night before and had come to the overall “it affects everyone, at least it’s not a personal struggle” idea… then I got handed a personal struggle. I had a hard time eating my oatmeal without throwing up but managed to get it down and was hopeful that Advil I had taken would help the headache and cramps.
By the time I reached the village my personal issues had pretty much dissipated, and now I was descending upon what to many is a field of dreams but on Monday was a field of sloppy, squishy, shivering cold mud. Thankful for the wise advice from my running group, I had my racing shoes and socks bagged up. My feet felt frozen but hand warmers gave some relief. Thanks to Bruce, I used a type of chafing oil to ward off blisters and huddled in close to my friends to stay warm. Once we were called to our corrals we slopped through the mud, made it to the sidewalk and changed into our fresh shoes and socks if we had them. At this point, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt as my base layer, my Seattle singlet, compression socks, long tights, a pullover, a waterproof jacket and a poncho. I had one pair of gloves stuck in my bra and one on my hands. I had four Huma gels stuck in various pockets in my tights and three hand warmers also in those pockets.
Eileen and I had planned on running this together, we made our last bathroom stop and then started jogging to our corral. The excitement really hit at that point. I was so happy for her to be tackling her first Boston. Weather be damned, we were doing this! We entered our corral, threw off our ponchos and I took off the heavy jacket but kept the pullover for warmth. Suddenly we were moving faster and the timing mats were at our feet and wow, we were at the start! It took me by surprise when we started running.
I wanted to go out slow and steady and I wasn’t sure how controlled we could be together. We actually did a pretty great job. I accepted going 10 to 15 seconds faster because it felt restrained and pretty easy. I was hoping we wouldn’t pay for it later. I feel like I was still shocked by the intensity of the weather and while excited a little bit scared which got my heart rate up. While I was working on calming down some more Eileen was reassuring me that we were racing and it’s not supposed to feel like a walk in the park and that we had this in us. I resolved and relaxed. My feet were still frozen and I couldn’t feel footfall which was a very odd sensation. We didn’t weave too much and kept an eye on moving steadily up the early hills.
This is a big chunk that went by quickly. Eileen had written out splits on her arm and we were ahead of our projected time just a bit at 5 miles and by over a minute at 10. I was still feeling pretty good so I was happy about that. I know you’re not supposed to bank time at Boston and this wasn’t intentional, it just was. It was also in this stretch of miles that we ran into Kat who joined our party. She was able to talk much more than I was, so while I really wanted to be friendly, I didn’t quite have it in me and this got me worried. I threw off my heavy pull-over somewhere within these miles, thinking that it was hurting more than it was helping. While I searched for my college friend Liz in mile 10 I lost close contact with Eileen and Kat, but was able to keep them in sight. I had taken a gel at mile 6 and was feeling the effects in a positive way.
Once I gave up looking for Liz in mile 11, I refocused and got close to Eileen and Kat again. Mile 12 saw a huge onslaught of driving rain that I wasn’t sure would ever stop pounding us. We made our way up to the Scream Tunnel. It really is an amazing boost of energy, especially in the conditions we were in. Soon after I lost Eileen. She was up on the left in front of me and I had started to lose steam. I wanted to back off to save something for the Newton hills. It was just before mile 15 that my hamstring started to cramp up. I had grabbed the Hylands cramp dissolving pills that were included in our race packet as a last-minute precaution because of what had happened last year with cramping. I was so happy I had that forethought. I had lost Kat at this time and figured it was best for her because I now didn’t know how my race would go on. It was near impossible to open the package and run at the same time so I stopped to take them. While trying to get the package open in a rush, I dropped two of the pills on the ground but managed to slide one under my tongue. I started running again slowly. I was telling myself that I needed to start thinking in survival mode and potentially give up a time goal. When I started to feel my hamstring loosening up I got focused on what else I would need to make this a better experience. This led to a series of dumb decisions.
I decided that it was time for music. On a normal day running fast and trying to put in headphones and turn on music via my watch may have been hard. On a day where my hands were frozen and soaking wet and I couldn’t grip anything, this was absurd. I turned the headphones on with my teeth after struggling with my fingers. I attempted to pair them to my watch, time after time I was getting an error message. I slowed to a walk to try to accomplish this. I wanted music to get me from miles 18-20. I finally gave up and tucked the headphones back into my pocket. Overall I probably lost about a minute and a half from futzing with it, but I know I should have given up sooner. I resolved to my reality, no musical support and started making my way closer to pace again. I knew I’d need to make up for whatever I might lose on the hills again.
I told myself I wasn’t allowed to walk. I was more afraid of walking and cramping up than anything. So I kept steady up the hills and tried to get myself to fly on the downhills. I was moderately successful.
When heartbreak finally came around, my legs definitely felt the strain but it wasn’t as bad as I remember from last year. At the top, a woman yelled “yeah Seattle! You made it up Heartbreak hill now get going!” and so I did.
6 miles to go and I was motivated but I wasn’t ready to do the math yet. I wanted to see how I continued to feel and just keep moving. Anytime I spotted a photographer and thought they might get a photo, I smiled. But I also smiled anytime anyone shouted, “Go Seattle!” I actually believe that’s what saved this race for me. Some of these cheers were so incredibly heartfelt and these people who were standing in the rain as it pounded down on all of us, it was just unbelievable. I saw kids out there my son’s age and saw them having fun! I thought, “wow, this is amazing. My son would be miserable but these kids are living this up, this city loves this marathon. Who am I not to give my best?” I found however that my best was harder than I would have liked. I started getting hungry. I had taken three of my Huma Gels already (mile 6, 12, 18) and didn’t expect to need my fourth. I should have taken it right at mile 21 but waited until after mile 23 to take it because I felt like I needed it so badly. So this was poor decision number 2. I think had I gotten the burst of energy that I needed sooner I wouldn’t have slowed down so much.
The last three miles were very tough. I remember trying really hard and smiling a lot but my legs were not moving the way they should have been. When I finished mile 24 at 3:01 (according to my watch), I said even if I run 10 min miles right now, I’ll still be in good shape at the end. I didn’t plan on doing that, but it was a buffer I gave myself. I never saw sub 8 again, I made my way to the finish line really struggling up Hereford to get to Bolyston. I heard Quynh on the left shout for me and I picked my head up and waved then made my way down the rest of Bolyston kind of laughing to myself that these long straightaway finish lines are always so much longer than you think they’re going to be.
I was so happy to be done, I was laugh-crying to myself and as I walked through the line to get my medal, poncho and snack bag when one of the announcers let us know that Desi Linden had won. I screamed out in joy, startling people around me. Of course, she won in this. Of course. To me, Desi is the definition of grit. Put in the work, ignore the distractions, enjoy the journey and give your all. Or as she said:
Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.