Week 11 Training (March 12-18): In which I fly

No, that’s not meant metaphorically. I flew home to Florida on Thursday of Week 11 and still manged to follow the plan. It helped that I didn’t have to get creative this past week for SquadRunner missions, and I can say I had a good week.


I only ran four days, making up for the 6 I ran the week before last, and they were all easy. I had just run a half-marathon “race” after all. The legs needed some rest, and after failing to stretch and foam roll properly on Tuesday, I almost thought I wouldn’t get through the rest of this training. But I remedied that mistake on Wednesday and Thursday had a fun 23 hours on the road, landing in my bed about 4 AM German time after getting up at 3 the morning before. But it’s all good. I made it safely to the US and through the week, using Friday to get used to warmer and more humid running weather and Saturday getting through 2 hours of running in the dark before finally being rewarded with a glorious sunrise over the east coast the later miles.

Saturday was the first 20 miler of the season (totally uneventful except for all the public restrooms being closed and a weird pain in the foot miles 16-17 that disappeared again), and I’ll probably do at least one more, if not another one this coming weekend, before heading into taper. Taper! I have a few miles to go before that starts, but it will be a light at the end of the tunnel these next two weeks.

Happy running,


Week 10 Training (March 5-11): in which I make choices

This week I’m just going to show you how my crazy brain works. I call it runner brain, where anything seems sensible if it benefits the training and means getting the runs and miles in.

My runner brain went into synapses-firing mode Saturday morning  when I finished packing for the trek that the commute to the BAFF race location, running a 13.1 race, shower and refuel after the race, and commute back home would entail. I was standing there, ready to go, when I checked the Berlin public transportation app one more time. Oops. One of the S-Bahns wasn’t working according to plan. I wouldn’t get to the one stop I needed to get to on time in order to board the bus that would take me to the final destination, and therefore wouldn’t make it to Marienwerder, which is about 30 miles north of Berlin*. So, no race for me.  I was a little relieved, since I was already rethinking the plan when I discovered on Thursday that I wouldn’t be home until quarter of 6 PM, since the buses only run once every two hours. I’d packed some work, but this change did mean I could actually shower and get some work, like taxes, done at home.

So now what?

I had a few possibilities… none really satisfying, but one has to do the best with the circumstances one has. My priority was to take advantage of my mini-taper and pre-race fueling, and to get the serious effort out today. Also, I really wanted all the mission points that SquadRunner offered-which meant I had to plan something that would enable me to run 13 km the next day, so no über long run. Planning around mission points has  probably the crux of some of my difficulties in running planning lately, but in the end, I have nothing to blame but my own competitiveness. In theory, I could have run 45 minutes yesterday to complete one mission, then do a long run today to cover the 13 km for the mission, but really, I just didn’t want to lose too much of my Sunday. Saturday’s are for the hard work. “Still, looking at the weather report, Sunday is the nicer day…”** “okay, stop it, Dorothea. Don’t let a little bit of rain stop you.” “And I could just postpone the race effort, maybe find another race somewhere else…” “Dorothea! Stop! It’s week ten. The plan says week ten. Let’s just do this.” My melon committee had a field-day yesterday.

I decided I had two options, given my two preferences:

  1. I could run on the treadmill in the gym, which wouldn’t get me a proper race effort time… but at least I’d be motivated to stay on pace and have a supported run…plus, I found this treadmill pace chart that, while showing insane speeds for a 7:26 real effort (I’d have to hold 13.5 km/hour), could help me feel better about pushing myself to the pace that I’m looking for. This is, after all, a test run. It’s to see where I’m at in my fitness. Also, it would keep me out of the annoying drizzle that also decided to pop up today.
  2. I could suck it up that it’s drizzling and I won’t have competition, quickly set up a loop near me, bring my own fuel, and dig deep to get the motivation I need to hit the paces I need. I was looking for a sub- 1:37 race, but would have be happy with anything under 1:40.

While working through my options, however, it dawned on me that I don’t have to kill myself for this. A good compromise could be a 10 mile race effort (again, aiming for sub 1:15) and then the easy 8 miles tomorrow.

3. I could do a repeat of the 10-mile trial run a few weeks ago.

So I set out for 10 miles with only a pack of Powerwhatever fuel and my music, three layers and warming up with a mile. The warm-up felt stiff, but I felt good. And then I started. And then I decided, around mile 2, that I felt so good that I should just continue for 6.5 miles before turning around and get a half-marathon effort after all.

race effort

It wasn’t a supported run, of course, and I had to rely on my own gumption to get through those last miles (which also happened to be uphill). But I have to say, self-talk works really well. I kept telling myself that if I couldn’t do it now, how could I expect to pull it off during the race in April? And I also figured that I needed the 13.1 effort in my training, which caused me to dig slightly deeper than the 10 mile would have, so that’s why I decided to do it anyway. And the best part? No injury!

So long story short, it all worked out in the end. It wasn’t my best or worst half-marathon, still in the top half of results! But for my next marathon, I think I’m hiring a coach. Figuring out all these things for myself takes a lot of time. I think I’m ready to just do what someone tells me to do.

And that was only one day of this week, but the rest of the week seems mild in comparison. Though, admittedly, it was the highest mileage I’ve done in a over 3 years.


Monday: 5 miles in the AM, 5 in the PM with 2 1 mile intervals. They were decent at 6:32 and 6:40. I’d have liked to be faster, but I was also keeping it easy to be prepped for the race on Saturday.

Tuesday: 11 miles easy. This was partially on the plan and partially a compromise to be able to stick to the plan for the rest of the week and still get 30 km overall between Tuesday and Friday (mission points were at stake!)

Wednesday: super easy and tired 5 miles. Just needed to get them done.

Thursday and Friday: Rest!! and an easy 3 mile before weights. Really wanted to keep these days restful and easy in order to ensure good running chances for Saturday.

Saturday: already said enough about this. Just one more thing to add: looking at the results and given my total time yesterday, I could have placed 1st overall for the women. coulda woulda shoula. Also, who knows if I would have paced myself the same way. It’s all good.

Sunday: a super easy 13 km in sunlight and t-shirt and shorts and just ah. So nice. Also still kept a 9 mpm without meaning to-guess I am getting a little faster. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is a rest day…

Hope you had a great week, too!

*in retrospect, my brother pointed out to me that I’d misunderstood the app… the S-Bahn wasn’t running through, but a bus transport system had been temporarily set up. If I’d left 10 minutes earlier, I would have been fine. Major woops. Thank goodness the race only cost 10 €, otherwise I’d have been really mad at myself.

** today really was a beautiful day. The first shorts and t-shirt running day of the year!!

Training Week Nine (Feb. 26- March 4): In which I run 7 days in a row

Well, I actually ran Feb. 24th and 25th and then 5 more days in a row, but you get the idea.

After the 10 mile time trial, I was tired, had moderate soreness, but was generally pleased with the condition I seem to be in. Furthermore, I had adjusted my plan to run on Sunday, which is usually a rest day. Then, Week Nine began and knowing I’d be taking 2-3 days off the following weekend, I decided to just keep it going through the week and run every day.

Exhibit A:

look Ma’, no gaps!

However, although the running progressed well, I was in not the best state by Wednesday.

First of all, Monday was a hard hill interval sandwiched by 2 three miles runs. While I only had 10 x 2 minute hills on the plan, I was keen on getting more miles in, to make up for the missing long run this weekend. Unlike last time, I also did the run outside. In fact, the chance to run outside in the sun despite sub-zero temps was one of the ways I could motivate myself to get out the door.

It turned out to be quite great, with just the right amount of tiredness without feeling dead afterwards. However, I was noticing the soreness in my butt a lot more, and it was starting to become more clear that it was coming from my lower back, so one can say I was pushing it from the niggle into the injury department. However, I had called and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday, so I know it couldn’t be too long before I’d have a clear diagnosis and plan for treatment.

Tuesday found me more sore than ever and not motivated at all to go further than 3 miles, so of course I did 6 ;-). I’d been foam rolling for 20+ minutes after each run since Saturday, and Tuesday was no exception, but it barely made me feel better.

Then came Wednesday and two shots and woah… immediate relief on the lower body. My doctor teased me about looking my symptoms up online and let me know that while I noticed the pain below my back, it originated in my back and radiated down. I’ve been diagnosed with a wonky back on the right side anyway, so it was actually no surprise. Plus, she reminded me to get back to doing the core/back work that I’ve been neglecting since marathon training started getting into the double-digits of hours spent, and to keep my back warm. That last bit was a lightbulb moment, since well duh, I’ve been tensing my back a lot lately because it’s been so freaking cold in Berlin and of course aggravated all the muscles there. Since the back takes a lot of the force of running, it makes sense that the double stress of cold and running would end up in pain after a while. I’m due to visit again in April, a 10 days before the marathon, so we’ll see if I get another “booster” shot then.

Still, while I felt immediate relief Wednesday morning, I had a full day at the Uni to get through after two back-to-back appointments (got to have my ears checked as well, yay me!) and was just tired when getting to the run. I didn’t feel like another cold run outside, so I loaded It onto my IPad, went to the gym, and let the natural adrenaline and the ability to take my earbuds out when the music got too scary regulate my normal “oh my ******* ***, what the ****. ******************” reaction. I’m a huuuuuge pansy when it comes to scary movies. But I’d heard so many good things about the new It and was a sucker for Stand By Me, so I’d looked forward to the movie and it helped me get through 6 miles. Plus, I realized that the way I felt afterwards (barely able to get through the subsequent stretching and foam-rolling routine) was precisely how I should be feeling in the middle of a week of marathon training. And wouldn’t you know, I was rewarded Thursday with an epic, nearly painless 10 miles. My back didn’t hurt, there was only a residual soreness in the butt and after three nights of near 8 hours of sleep and I was feeling good. So while I actually meant to only test the legs and get in the minimum of 30 minutes for my SquadRunning team, I took advantage of some relative flexibility in my morning and just kept going.

Of course, this meant Friday I ran super easy 40 minutes, but that was what the plan called for anyway. I was glad to have the chance to clear out some lactic acid from 6 days of straight running (usual for many, unknown for me since, um… Feb. 2016?) before my 9 hour travels to Den Haag in the Netherlands. I managed to be stupid about my running watch and log about 7 minutes of extra “treadmill time” because of the break I took to foam roll and stretch, which ruins my speed average in two of three of my running logs (sigh. So lame), but overall I’m just impressed at my own ability to get up at 3:45 to go for a run that I didn’t have to do for anyone but me. (And maybe the SquadRunner team ;-)) A secret to my “success” is that I can wake up at any time if I know that I have an hour before I actually have to leave the house. True, Friday I was already out 30 minutes later, but the point is, I have managed to do a lot of my training in the morning this training cycle because I can get myself up an hour before my run. A lot of my motivation is a chance to drink some coffee and listen to some music and figure out the plan for the day. And in more non-running-related news, it was interesting to see how many Berliners are up and commuting (even by bike in -14 degrees Celsius!!) before 5 AM in the morning. And once again I am grateful for my schedule and flexibility most days.

The rolling 7-day total was 52 miles, which is a peak week for me, and while I didn’t do any long runs, I had three 9+ mile runs. I’m sure that counts for something in my VO2 measurement or whatever.

Now after almost three days of traveling, good times, and more than 50,000 steps, I’m ready to get back to the training, which starts with 9 miles of intervals tomorrow and ends with a half-marathon practice race on Saturday. I’ll see how I’m feeling Sunday, if I’ll go for the 13km that SquadRunner is offering 130 mission points for (spoiler alert: if I do them, they’re going to be slow, easy km- and then I’m def. taking Monday off). We’ll see how it goes! At least it’s supposed to stay dry and be warmer this week.

Happy Running!

Update on training, week 8 (Feb 19-25)

^ this right here is why I could never be the layout person for a magazine. I just can’t make up my mind about how I want to format my posts. But you get the general idea: update on training, another week, and in case you’re confused about which week, I spell it out.

But this week is special! It marks the official halfway point to marathon training, and you know you’re seriously “in it” when you start using any opportunity to bring the topic of marathon into conversation with anyone you meet, even strangers. Week eight, woo hoo!

Officially a “fall-back” week in the training, I think it went pretty well. I didn’t have any long runs and the bulk was easy running. I did, however, have a pretty intense 10 mile time trial that I can’t wait to tell you about.

But first:


gasp! Only one rest day?! And a run after an almost race? What?

What? is right. I also have no clue how the runs next week will look like and how I will feel. This week actually marks a diversion from the Runner’s World training plan that will go on through next week, since I have to adjust for a short trip I’m taking next weekend. And my SquadRunner team will know that I adjusted the second half of this week for the mission points. :-) I did get an extra 190 points from the adjustment, and I think I did it intelligently enough? Basically, the plan called for 5 tempo miles on Wednesday, a rest on Thursday, and 3 easy on Friday. Instead, I did 1 easy mile and 1 tempo km (to see just how fast I can run) on Wednesday, and 8 miles on Thursday with a 24 min. 5k thrown in. Then Friday was a rest day. There will be a time when I don’t need a mid-week break. This week is not that week. I wanted to have some chance to recover before Saturday, and honestly I just really like having one day of work each week where I can just go to work in a relaxed way without having to worry about getting the run in first.

And then Saturday…

but wait. Actually, I want to preface this by saying that I have a weird soreness deep in my gluteus maximus that Dr. Google diagnosed as piriformus syndrome. Sound familiar to any of you? This is the same hamstring thing I mentioned two weeks ago, but now I’m not sure it’s my hamstring. I really felt it during the 200 meter intervals on Monday (which were a lot of fun! It’s nice to just kick it out really fast once in a while), and then more so yesterday during the 10 miles. The weird thing is, it doesn’t really hurt. It just feels tight and I feel like I can’t get my full range of motion. I guess it’s good it doesn’t hurt yet, but I also want to figure out what it is and treat it before it gets any worse. In the meantime, apparently what I may have can come from sitting too much, and while I don’t think that’s my problem (if anything, I can’t sit for a single moment gosh-darnit Dorothea sit down and stop wiggling!), I’m going to be a little more proactive about it and see if I can figure out some of these weird yoga moves Dr. Google is recommending to prevent this thing from becoming a major pain in the you-know-what. Oh, and of course I’m calling my doctor tomorrow to schedule an appointment for ASAP. I’ll ask her about the weird foot bump then, too. (edited to add: I really did make an appointment and will find out on Wednesday what the deal is).

Okay, now about Saturday. I don’t know. It’s not that I went to an actual race and it doesn’t count as an official PR, but since it is my first consciously timed 10 miler and I met my goal within 5 seconds, I’m calling the PR. I was aiming for a sub 75 minutes, and I think that if I had been officially racing and known my times while running (I only ever knew my approximate pace), I could have done it. And even if I didn’t, I’m pleased with the way I motivated myself to keep pushing through the last miles and execute a run on my own this way. I can use this as a mental boost for the half-marathon in two weeks and while I didn’t feel amazing, I got it done and met my own expectations. Plus, it was an outdoor run and the sun was shining, which was actually also true of today’s run as well, so today I went out for a bonus 5k that turned into a little more because it was just so gosh-darned gorgeous (did you notice my southern roots, yet?). The mission points also had something to do with the unusual Sunday run. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and then determine whether that was a good idea. I may take the rest day tomorrow, instead.

Other than the butt issue and continued niggles here and there, mostly in the feet, a few in the knee–all that I’m prodigiously fighting against with stretching, foam rolling and avoiding every single crack in the side-walk–running is going very well.

Next week is another week of an absent long run. I can’t decide if that’s a no-go in marathon training, but I also figure if Hanson’s plan runners get away with a lot of mid-distance runs, then so can I! I’m planning on doing  regular amount of running (6-10 miles) that will tire me a little out, but not injure me. On March 5th it’s back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Hope you had a good week! Happy running,


update on the seventh week of traaaaaining (Feb 12-17)

First of all, can I just say that I’m glad I don’t always have to wake up at 5 AM to do a long run on a Saturday morning? That was a bit rough. But it did mean that I was done with my running before 10 AM, so of course it’s not all bad.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do my training posts. There’s a fine line between too little information and too much, and I’ve been walking it like I’ve had a bit too much to drink, so… yeah.


As my chart shows, this week it was all about building mileage. Rather than a tempo run on Wednesday, the plan called for 7-miles easy. Compared to Tuesday, it was of course not that much. Following Tuesday, however, it felt like a never ending slog. I struggled through the last miles and was glad when I could rest on Thursday. This week, there were no urges on Thursday to go for a run. If anything, I was dreading having to go out for 19 on Saturday. But I did it! And maybe taking the band-aid off while still half asleep made it that much easier to put the long run I was dreading behind me. It was pretty difficult and I was ready to stop after mile 10. But I also guess that if I didn’t feel that way at the end of a 3 week build cycle, I wouldn’t be doing the training properly!

All told, I pulled off 46 miles this week without injury, even if I’ve got some niggles and may have overstretched my left hamstring a tiny bit. Hopefully today’s rest and stretching/foam-rolling routine will put that right.

And for some bonus details (not sure if these are interesting for you or not), here were my intervals on Monday:

Distance Duration Pace Notes
1 0.25 mi 1:35 6:20
2 0.25 mi 1:30 6:00 at 1 incline
3 0.25 mi 1:33 6:12 at 1 incline
4 0.25 mi 1:32 6:08
5 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
6 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
7 0.25 mi 1:30 6:00
8 0.25 mi 1:32 6:08 at 1 incline
9 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
10 0.25 mi 1:28 5:52 last “official” interval with the 1:30 jog recoveries
11 0.25 mi 1:22 5:28 after a quarter- mile jog

Granted, these were on the treadmill, but I’m happy with the way the interval session went. Part of the reason I went for one extra mile on Tuesday was riding off the success of the intervals. The other reasons I went the extra mile on Tuesday were that the plan had originally called for 10 (I had changed the plan to 9 in a moment of weakness), and I was boosted by my teammates in SquadRunner. It was probably good I stuck to the Runner’s World plan, because the idea is that I do challenge myself. I’m trying to listen to my body though, to make sure I’m challenging myself within reason. The last thing I want is to get injured again.

Looking ahead, I have a “fast” 15-miler to complete on the 24th, but this week is also a drop-down in distance, so I hope I’ll see some benefits of training so far! I also got new shoes (Brooks gel-Glycerin), so I’m looking forward to the “new shoe” feeling and reporting.

That’s it as far as I’m concerned. But I hope your winter (or summer, if you’re down under) running is also going well!

Cheers, Dorothea


training week six update

This week was a week of reviews. I reviewed the benefits of consistency, the blessings and curses of trail running, and the fact that runger that can become all-consuming (or should that be “become all-consuming”?) if one doesn’t keep a close eye on one’s nutrition.

But first of all, in major news, I’m part of a virtual running team!


Last Sunday, I was invited by Paula at Never a Dull Bling to the SquadRunner team her husband, James at 50 in 50 Marathon Quest,  captains. A week later, I’m fully involved in the aspects of SquadRunning- daily quizzes, missions, boosts, and generally being part of a team that supports each other’s individual goals, but also seeks to kick other teams’ butts. ;-)

I have’t been part of a team since the one semester I tried cross country at my university (Fall 2013-before my blogging years). I guess one could say I’ve been a lone-wolf since high school sports, but there’s always been some running community I attached myself to- none the least WordPress’s community of runners (in which Falyn, another new teammate, also participates)- and now it’s team Runnin Down a Dream.

And because the team name is based on the song, you now get a link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1D3a5eDJIs. Tom Petty, RIP.

So yes, that’s news! I’m super excited by the idea of missions. It makes the running seem more valuable than it is for just me and my training. However, I have to be careful about the slight pressure I feel to accept the missions and then do them. Because of Friday’s mission, I extended my easy run to cover 45 minutes. I don’t know if it was ideal that I did an extra 1.5 miles, but the fact that I didn’t want to do too much more than the 4 miles of my plan did make me keep them really slow- so I guess that’s a plus! And it got the team 65 extra points. And it didn’t affect my long run yesterday, so so far, so good.

But as for the reviews: training is going very well. My body seems to be adapting to the schedule of intervals, easy middle-long run, tempo run, rest day, easy, and long. Albeit it’s only been 6 weeks. We’ll see how it goes next week where the steady increase of mileage caps at 45 miles before an easier week of 36.

Basically, as many plans go, the plan cycles easier weeks every four weeks. I build every week for three weeks, and then have an easier week. Next week marks the last “build-week” and then, the week after, I get a bit of a break that ends in a 15 mile tempo run.


But I’m getting too far ahead of myself! This week is the topic of discussion, and I should report that the hill intervals (done on the treadmill because it was Monday and cold and I was a wimp and didn’t feel like scoping out an appropriate hill) went well, and I enjoyed my run under the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.

Then, Wednesday came around and I didn’t feel human. I’d guess I was operating on a calorie deficit caused by the long run Tuesday and not having the time or nerves (I had an important presentation on Tuesday) to refuel properly. I paid the price Wednesday with low blood-sugar that I finally appeased with a chicken wing and breast from the local market. I actually follow a mostly vegetarian diet and avoid meat, but I just felt like I needed this. Turns out, it helped… but I still haven’t gotten over the ethical ramifications of that satisfaction. I recalculated my daily metabolism and saw that it is definitely higher now. I learned an important lesson on Wednesday that I really need to make sure I eat enough now that I’m fully in marathon training.

But this leads back to the first review: the consistency of training is working. On Wednesday, I also found the tempo run doable. I did cut off a mile (three instead of four) to not wear myself down too much, but I found holding a 7:30 mpm quite pleasant. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t welcome the rest day on Thursday, but I did feel as if I could have run if I wanted to, which is a good indication of my fitness. I am strictly adhering to rest-days this training cycle, though, because I know my body needs them and I’d rather feel too good to have a rest day than feel like I absolutely need it.

I already talked about Friday- one of the easiest runs in a while- and Saturday, well Saturday was good. But I was very lucky!

See, trail running is great. The soft running surface provided by trails are a boon for the legs when impacting them over 10 or more miles. There’s also enough happening on the trails that one always has something to see, do, or watch out for. It makes the miles go by so much more quickly. However, that same needed focus is also a curse, because the moment one takes one’s eyes off the trail, gets distracted by adjusting running belt straps or whatever, one takes a wrong step and goes KABLAM all over the trail. That was me yesterday. However, I was very lucky that the extent of my injuries were a slightly sore ankle, a nice big bruise below my knee, and dirty gloves. The fall happened within the first 2 miles of the long run, and I questioned my own sanity when I was seriously considering testing the legs on 16 more miles after that fall. Yet the initial assessment was mostly positive, and since I could run without pain (maybe a dull one from the bruise), I figured what the hell.

Of course, given my multiple tests of luck so far this training cycle, I do wonder when it will run out… but I’ve also tried to be smarter than in previous years (a much better pre- and post-running stretching/foam-rolling routine).  These are just some more small lessons in being careful.

Speaking of careful: I bought myself a new pair of shoes to be able to cycle some fresher kicks as the miles continue building on the other two.

Aaaaand, I think that’s it! I think I covered all the major points I wanted to cover with this recap of the week. If there’s ever a question of what I’m doing, or what the hell I’m doing, I’d love to see it in the comments!

See you next week. In the meantime, happy running! -Dorothea

p.s. a sub-note for niggles I want to keep an eye on: there’s a soreness in my right hamstring that I mostly feel when climbing hills that could develop into something if I’m not careful-should start looking into some massage therapy here in the area. Also, weird bump developed on top of foot that I’ve asked my podiatrist about before- and she said, if it doesn’t hurt, don’t worry about it. But it is starting to feel uncomfortable, so I’ll ask her about it next time.

Okay. Now I’m really done.

Training Week Five update

This post brought to you by song of the day: “Runaway” by Bon Jovi. And yes, it is a song used in the Stranger Things soundtrack album; and yes, I got the soundtrack because that was one of the awesome parts about that show. “Runaway” is a good song to have come on at mile 9 of a long run.

Moving on, the running gods must have decided to finally take some pity on me, because not only did the foot issue turn out to just be a sign that I need to replace my shoe inserts, but I also got in a good week of running. Actually, this was the best week I’ve done in almost a year. graph

Those pretty colors mean that I got in all the workouts my schedule called for, and I managed to keep my easy runs easy and the long run “slow.” Nutrition was also an “A” and generally, I’m grateful to be healthy at week five, and surprisingly not too tired this afternoon.

As I mentioned last week, I was worried about my foot going into Monday’s fartlek. So, I started off very conservatively. I felt some twinges through the first two miles, and it flared a little at mile 2, which was right by an U-Bahn station. I stretched it out and decided that I would try to run one more block, and if it was an issue, I’d get on that subway. The next block came and went, the next station came and went, I reached 3.5 miles and still nothing. So I just completed the fartlek (for someone who has such a hard time with staying on pace, you’d think I’d love fartleks… I don’t) and was happy to head back up the stairs to my apartment without complaints and having done the full run.

[side note: don’t you love it when the computer tries to mark “fartlek” as incorrectly spelled? And I used the word “fartlek” as often as I possibly could]

I then proceeded to replace my orthotic shoe inserts, which thankfully were ready for pick-up Monday. I guess I could have realized sooner that while my shoes weren’t too high in mileage (300 on each), the inserts most definitely were! That was probably my problem. After the new inserts, things just kept feeling better. The rest of the week went smoothly with my only worries being the standard concern of having the time to get the runs in around my schedule.

Everything is looking good this week around, so I won’t waste too many words. I do want to note that my sleep has been pretty messed up since Wednesday. It could just be stress from an upcoming presentation I need to prepare, but I’m going to keep an eye on it, since, as is said, sleep troubles are a sign of over-training.

But yes, good news mostly and hope to come back here same time next week with similar news. It’s supposed to snow more next week. Since I got 4 of 5 runs outdoors this week, I hope I can continue the trend of outdoor running. There’s also my first hill-workout of the cycle on tap for Monday and another 41 miles planned. I’ll be back to report!

Happy running and resting,

Training Week Four update

when you’ve got eight significantly more important things to do, and all you want to do is write about running…

Yep. It’s marathon season, and I’m already in the vortex of planning my day around running, etc. At least the training plan provides some stability, eh? And I do have to say that going for months on a “whatever works” plan has made me a little more relaxed about the training. I do still want to follow the plan and meet the paces, but I also no longer think training should be my top priority and if I end up having an off-day or getting injured, I do believe I can just accept it and move on with my life.

That being said, old habits die hard and I’m going to have to have a more solid plan for when I start to feel a potential injury, because I will probably try to run through it. Yesterday before and after the 10k time trial (strangely, not during), my left foot started doing some weird plantar issue stuff, but it’s not something I’ve felt before. I’m hoping it’s just a fluke from switching up my shoe inserts and that my fartlek run tomorrow goes as planned. However, if I feel pain tomorrow during the run, I have to tell myself to hop on the next underground home! I’ll then take off through Wednesday, and see what the foot feels like.

In the meantime, I want to reflect on the last week.


The week started off really well at 6 AM on Monday cranking out 6 x 800s. I had a 12 hour day at the uni planned, so if I didn’t run in the morning, it wasn’t going to happen. Sunday night at 11 PM, I had no idea if I could actually get up in time, but coming off a mostly restful weekend, I was animated to get out the door and felt proud of myself for averaging about 3:10 with 400m recoveries before 8 AM. I liked the feeling, but I don’t know if I like it enough to repeat it unless absolutely necessary.

Tuesday was a similar schedule, but an hour later (so 7 instead of 6), and I did my 8 miles easy. These felt good and may have been too fast, but I told myself it would be fine. I should try harder to go easier when the plan tells me to be slow. This is a goal for the coming week.

Wednesday was a 3 mile tempo run, and while I woke up thinking there was no way in heck I could pull off 3 miles in 23 minutes, my body surprised me. It was also delightfully “warm” (10 degrees Celsius), so I enjoyed running without gloves and a hat again.

Thursday and Friday were uneventful, just following the plan, and Saturday was “race day”.

Really, it was just a time-trial, since I don’t have the time or money to race right now, but I promised myself doing it at the gym on a treadmill was just as good. To compensate for the lack of outdoor factors, I put the treadmill at 1.0 for every alternating mile. Of course I had my drinks and a fan, and didn’t have to worry about the elements, but I don’t think it ended up being as much as an advantage as I was telling myself on the way to the gym. In the end, I think I could have done better outside.

I was so convinced that this was going to be an easy 10k. I even thought I could break 44 minutes and I was so smug with myself about being able to pick my own time to run and not rely on a starting gun and doing things at my own pace…

Turns out, I kind of crashed and burned. I ended up running 6.24 miles in 46:31. 3.24 miles were at 1.0 incline and the other miles were at 0.0 incline. I took 8 or 9 (I forget) walking breaks and just generally, … just ew. If it weren’t for my 10k run New Year’s Eve, I would despair right now.

On top of that, my the bottom of my foot started hurting during the warm-up. The pain went away as the speed increased, but then I had to pause at the first mile of the trial to stretch the foot out. During the rest of the trial, the foot felt fine. I struggled in everything else, but the foot felt fine. Then, during the cool-down, near the last quarter mile, my foot really started to hurt. I stopped and did my stretching and foam rolling. I noticed my calves and fascia were extremely tight, but I’ve had PF before, and this felt different. Oh geez. When I got home, I rolled my foot a few time over the massage ball. I don’t know if that helped or hurt, since the foot continued to feel sore, though decreasingly so, throughout the evening. This morning, I can’t even be sure if my foot ever hurt. I’m just going to take it easy today on walking and stretch the foot out again and bit and see what happens tomorrow. Again, if I feel pain, I am committed now to the plan as above!

Putting the time-trial into perspective, I guess I did fine; I’d had a tough week mentally and physically. Three long days at the Uni, some intense speed sessions, not averaging enough of sleep, and then, yeah, my period coming early should have all been considered before the 10k to expect less results than I got. I also didn’t make the smartest choices about recovery, which is another thing I’m going to work on for this week.

I can take this time-trial as a test not just of my fitness, but my training altogether. Fitness wise I know, based off the intervals Monday and my slowly dropping resting heart rate, that I’m where I want to be. But training-wise, there is so much room for improvement. I need to work on keeping my easy runs easy, fixing my daily schedule to ensure I get at least 7 hours of sleep (8 hours is, of course, the goal), and not drink Friday nights or within 24 hours of a hard workout. [Truth time: being on “whatever works” was kind of nice, because I didn’t have to stress about the alcohol I drink. Now that I’ve seen first hand that I’m struggling with the speed, I think I’m going to have to commit to giving up drinking sooner rather than later. Sigh.]

On top of aaaall of that, I seriously need to start working on pacing. My paces, even on a treadmill (smh), are all over the place. The Runner’s World plan has some steady-state runs in it and I need to use these and my long runs to figure out how to set a pace and keep it. My 10k reminded me of my biggest flaw during my BQ marathon. I’m still doing this weird thing where I start off conservatively, because that’s what everyone warns about, but then I’m so anxious to make up the difference about midway through, and I feel so good, that I just spurt ahead. Not the greatest technique, since I end up burning out before the last mile(s) and starting off slow doesn’t do anything for me in the end anyway. So, yeah. Add this to the things I want to improve on this training cycle.

Well, yep, that’s an update! Hope your training or off-season is going well. :-)

Happy running! -Dorothea


Let’s get this started.

Active.com and several running sites have announced that this week marks the beginning of spring marathon training season.

Um, excuse me, I’ve been kicking trails and asphalt (and a bit of treadmill) since Jan 1, thank you very much.

Obviously the start of the season depends on what marathon one is training for and how long one wants to train for it. Me? My race is April 22nd and my training plan, after two years of shaky training success, is a more safe 16 week plan designed by Runner’s World for those looking to break 3:30. It has two rest days a week with speedwork, tempo runs, long runs and two test races throughout. I met the basic requirements of having run 25-30 mile weeks and being able to run 1:30 without stopping and decided it was worth a try.

Three weeks so far

I record one of my intervals each week as a race, in order to be able to use the PR algorithm and see how my speeds increase for those distances. Don’t pay the red too much mind.

Wish me luck!

I don’t think I was imprudent in signing up. I thought carefully about how the marathon and, more importantly, the training would fit into my work- and family- life. The semester ends in mid-February, which is where the first 20-miler happens, and I’m relieved of most meeting obligations after that, so I will have enough opportunity to recover during the most intense part of the training.

I do have an international trip planned, which of course messes up training a bit, but I’ll just have to rework the plan those weeks to accommodate the travel time and jet-lag.

I also spit in the face of fate and even rented a car (that I can still cancel the day before- I’m not that much of a risk taker! ;-) ) that I can use for that weekend. So, yes, once could say I’ve committed.


Isn’t FL running great?! At least in winter, it is pretty awesome that it’s warmer here than most other places in the US .

My goal of sub-3:30 is not major, considering that my last marathon was 3:33. However, that marathon was 2 years ago, so I am going to have to consider my base of running from the 45-minute 10k on New Year’s Eve and see how I do at my next 10k test next weekend to determine if 8 mpm for 26 miles is within reach and if I have to work harder in my speed-work sessions. On the other hand, my nutrition is much more on point than two years ago, and I’m starting my training at an ideal training weight, so I don’t have to worry about reaching racing weight. I just have to cut out alcohol again in a few weeks. ;-) It would be great to BQ again. I have another goal for this race, but I’m keeping that private for now.

Most of all, I felt like it was time. I’ve spent enough time now taking it easy and putting running on the side-burner, and now I feel the desire again to go outside my comfort zone. I also spent enough time exploring other aspects of my identity, and I just keeping coming back to running as one thing in my life that consistently makes me proud and gives me positive feedback. While I am grateful to say that it’s not the only thing in my life that I feel pride in, it is unique in the way that I can push my limits and feel confident about my strength and my body. So heck yes, let’s do this!

Finally, I’m coming back to blogging about running, since this has, for the past five years, been the space where I reflect more on the process of training and running than I do in my actual log. These posts are what I scanned through for my last (successful) marathon and I’d like to share my process again. Your comments and advice are what I looked for when I was positive or negative, so I hope you want to follow me in this process, and I look forward to the interaction!

Happy running,

Running October 23-November 25

My whatever works plan is still going strong.


Unfortunately, a side effect is that I am less motivated to post my meager running online. But I figure it’s good to check-in and evaluate where I’m at.

Basically, I am running 4-5 times a week with easy runs, intervals, and long runs as the fancy strikes me. The long runs are obviously limited to the weekend, but otherwise it’s a matter of whether I get up in time in the morning to get a run in.

11/20/2017 – 11/26/2017: 13.4 mi
11/13/2017 – 11/19/2017: 27.5 mi
11/6/2017 – 11/12/2017: 23.4 mi
10/30/2017 – 11/5/2017: 24.1 mi
10/23/2017 – 10/29/2017:  22.8 mi

I’m still sub-30 per week, but given my schedule, I don’t think I could do more. I can’t even remember how I managed 50 mile weeks. I guess I was spending more time running than I even realized. I also commute 35 minutes to Uni 2-3 times a week, so some cardio, and therefore conditioning, is being done on bike.

I do think longer running is in my future (perhaps even a half-marathon/marathon combo in April). But for now,  I’m satisfied with this.

If only I wouldn’t have been so stupid to try and carry my bike up and down stairs after a tempo run on Tuesday. I’ve been feeling some kind of runner’s knee since then, and the combination of knee-cap pain and rain means I’m not doing a long run today as originally planned. I had actually even signed-up for a meet-up (a kind of social network for organizing meetings for people with like interests- in my case: running) that I’ve done once before and took me on new paths in a forest I’ve been running in for years. But there will be more meetups in the future and I do want to take a few days off now, versus having a longer layoff. Even if I’m not running a lot, the runs I do are super helpful for relieving stress and anxiety and so I have to be careful with how I dose my medicine!

Hope your running is going well— and if not, optimistically think that life is long and the days/weeks/months spent not running are still a short time in the long-run.

Cheers, Dorothea