Weeks 11-14 of Ave of the Giants Trainings

Adjustments and flexibility was the name of the game through weeks 11-14.

Week 11

It can be difficult to plan out a good time to run when you’re on vacation and need to pack up and move every two days. I ran into that twice in week 11. I took the first day as a rest day and enjoyed sleeping in, sleep = recovery and I was feeling a need for it. After scouting Napier when we first arrived I knew that it would be easy to fit mile repeats in along the water. IMG_1254.jpg

What I didn’t know was that I would encounter a smell so horrific that I couldn’t breathe because I couldn’t stop retching. Of course, this happened in the 3rd mile of my repeats, so I had to turn around. Luckily the wind was working in my favor to keep the smell away from me. I finished with decent times but quite a horrific memory of that putrid stench.
We moved on to Wellington from Napier, and I really wish we could have spent more time in Wellington. It was a great city to run in, the first where I saw multiple people out running early, some in groups, a lot solo. I just felt very at home on this waterfront. While it was extremely windy, I gave a good effort through a 6 mile tempo workout. I went faster than marathon pace through the majority of it, and I felt tough. A train ride to Auckland meant I had a rest day following the tempo, then treadmill miles because navigating Auckland seemed like a nightmare. I looked up a local running group to get my long run in and was so lucky that there was one woman (Katrin) who was willing to run my pace and was a long time member of the group and knew exactly where to go. I ended up with 46 miles this week with two zero days.

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Week 12

I had one last run to do in New Zealand and it was my least favorite. Running through Auckland was just not my jam. I started off poorly with trying to get into the gym in my hotel before they opened it, so I was annoyed that I woke up early to have to wait. I wanted to get some miles on the treadmill while I waited for the sun to rise a bit more so I could navigate better. Then the run near the water in downtown Auckland was just kind of blah. There’s a lot of construction and just busy areas. I was excited to get back into the swing of things, even in cold Seattle! I made it to Wake Up Wednesday for an 8-mile tempo with friends the day after I returned. Not working on much sleep I was able to hit 7:02-7:08 pace and it felt tough after 6 miles, but not too terrible. The rest of the week I caught up on sleep and got some easy miles in. Overall it was a nice welcome back with 43 miles total.

Week 13

We started this week off fast. Hitting 6:30s and 6:40s for the two-mile repeats was fun. Back to spin class on Tuesday and a rest day on Wednesday, which was rare for me. It was also not a great decision because we ended up running in the last snowfall of the season in Seattle, where the snow only fell during the duration of our run. This was the run that told me the Nike Flyknits and the VaporFly’s by association would be horrible in slippery conditions.IMG_1591.jpg

One botched workout didn’t matter though so we moved on to the rest of the work for the week, some easy miles and a long run. I ran 50 miles this week, and my first 20 of the season. The 20 felt so smooth, easy, and fun it was a really good sign of more good work to come.

Week 14

This week started off with a fast and hard workout with some solid hills. I walked away confident from Monday, and into the Starbucks Half tempo on Wednesday. This is a notorious part of the training that is both exciting and challenging. It’s a mile and a half warm–up then 10 miles at marathon pace, which we’ve probably never done at actual marathon pace. In week 14 I averaged 7:04 through the tempo miles, 10 seconds faster than my actual MP. It was a confidence booster. The rest of the week was fun stuff. Spin class, a birthday celebration run for Sarah and other easy miles. I ran 48 miles this week.

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Weeks 15-18 in the next post, where I somehow continue to get faster?!

Weeks 7-10 of Ave of Giants Training

Let’s go about this in 4-week increments so that the post doesn’t get too long.

Week 7:

This was a fun week. We started off with hill repeats up 50th Ave, a long steep hill that leads up to the zoo in Green Lake. I had a great time practicing some fast downhill strategy even though my marathon doesn’t have that much climb. Wednesday’s tempo (8 miles, averaging around 7:05) was probably one of two that I struggled on during this training cycle. I remember losing distance on Alison and Eileen in Fremont and just not having the next gear to stay with them. It was a good struggle and still felt early enough to not worry too much about. I had a goal of reaching up to 38 miles this week and ended up with 44, not a bad problem to have. I ran an early 16 Rise and Shine with a bunch of sweet friends who were willing to get it done early and we were rewarded with this view. This was one of my favorite long runs on the cycle as well, we were all just chitchatting and having a fun run.IMG_0448.jpg

Week 8:

The most notable thing about week 8 was that I raced the Tunnel to Viaduct 8k. Leading up to the race I stayed on schedule so my legs weren’t fresh going into it. I also was on the fence about racing since I had my New Zealand half on the schedule for the following week, so I kept telling myself I’d run this hard but not all out. I struggled with realizing that I was going all out and it wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be place-wise. I ended up as the 27th female, 8th in my age group (I wanted to be in the top 20). Running an average of 6:39s felt rewarding, it would have been interesting to see if I could have held onto that through a 10k, I think I could have. 48 miles total for the week.viaduct-race-2019.jpg

Week 9:

Seattle snowpocalypse hit in Week 9 of my training, and I was incredibly lucky to have booked our travel for the end of this week. Since the Coatesville Half Marathon was on Sunday, I made it into town just in time to make it work for our travel schedule. The snow actually ended up being kind of fortuitous in this way since I got a mini taper. I had an incredibly frustrating “track” workout on the treadmill on Monday and because we lost a day to travel there was not much I could do about running this week. The race itself was great. The difference in weather was a bit shocking. The course was hard. I should run Mercer Island again to see how it compares to the hills of this particular race. Things that stood out: overlooking farmland from one of the many hills and seeing Auckland in the distance, getting passed almost immediately at the halfway point where the smart women had saved themselves for the run back up the hill we had just come down, the cicadas were deafening at different times through this race, I didn’t expect that to bother me as much as it did. The overall elevation was 955 ft! Most importantly I made a friend in New Zealand from this race! Naomi was so kind to give me a ride from downtown Auckland to the race. We hung out after to find out if we’d win a “spot prize” (kind of like a raffle) and just enjoyed the sun and being done with the race. The atmosphere was really fantastic surrounding the whole event, I’d 100% recommend this race. Total mileage: 28. Bringing my average down, but whatevs.

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Week 10:

While my poor buds at home suffered through the snow, I got to run in the summer of NZ. I did not take that for granted. My biggest issue with running while traveling is how tired some of the runs would make me and how to figure out routes on my own. Most places we were staying had something scenic and easy to find/ not get lost in navigating out and backs, so I took advantage of that. I wish I had more confidence and had run two days in Rotorua, the trails there were really beautiful and I got to run in some redwoods, perfect early preparation for my marathon! The lake in Hamilton was perfect, even if I got a little lost getting there, and my tempo on the very flat beach road near Mount Maunganui was tough mentally but easy on my body, I ended up running sub 7s for most of this tempo. My long run was lonely, but again, I was running next to a beach with a rising sunset, boohoo for me. Total miles 49, back on track and feeling proud of that post half marathon.

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Traveling, momming and running can happen only if you have a partner who is willing to sleep in and do the morning routine with the kiddo. I was lucky that I would usually come back and they’d still be asleep. Timing is everything. Another week of New Zealand training and then back home to the cold in the next blog post.

When you think you’ll blog…

And then you totally give up at week 6! Geez. Did not make it that far this year. I guess with Strava, Instagram and my own spreadsheet I feel like I have both put enough out there and tracked everything I need for myself. When you blog only for yourself it’s kind of not necessary to keep talking and thinking the training through to a blog-worthy discussion with yourself.

I’ve had some things I’ve wanted to write about regarding running like gear, IAAF and the Olympics, new Boston rules, and roundups of where to find the best content in running these days. There’s a lot to write about! But I do also kind of want to give more details about my training in a week by week format. So I’ll return to this space later this weekend to breakdown the weeks that have gone by and maybe I’ll dedicate myself to writing up the last 4 weeks leading up to Ave of the Giants.

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