Log: January 23-29

In looking through my logs of the past few weeks, one can notice a general trend of “this was a good week.” Of course, there had to be a break to this pattern and I had a harder week this time around, but I expected it. I accept it. And because I expected and accept it (and even have a reason for it), I can say I had a good week all the same.

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January marks the first month of consistency since my broken toe interrupted my marathon training end of July ’16. There’s not much difference between this week and the last one except for the kinds of workouts I did and a little mile on Thursday to warm-up for strength work (usually, Thursday is a mostly-rest [I’ll still commute to work via bike] day).

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The week started off decently with a fast set of mile intervals.I did one less interval than would be ideal in marathon training (3 instead of 4), but I did them about 10 seconds faster than the pace needed to be at this point in the training, so that’s a plus. Tuesday’s miles were split with a mile for strength workout in the morning and then some evening miles.I did not want to be doing those miles in the gym at 8 PM before dinner, but they weren’t going to magically get run, so…!

Wednesday was a similar situation to Tuesday in that I had to run after a long day of work and school, but while my back-up plan was to just get the six miles done and go home, I did feel moderately okay to push up to tempo pace, so I did four miles in 31 miles and was pleased with myself. Again, 4 miles tempo are a bit short for marathon training, but looking back at my training for Marathon 4, I wasn’t doing much different this moment in time in the preparation, so I’ll stick to what I know works.

Thursday was the mile freebie and Friday was the “quick” run before the weekend long run. I did have a bit of a problem getting out the door- motivation has been an issue for me this entire week- but I knew that getting the run done would make me feel better, so I ran. And I did feel better! Except I wiped out after about two miles on frozen ground. I lay front down for a few seconds feeling sorry for myself before realizing that the ground was cold and I’d feel it if I stayed like that much longer, so I got up… assessed a banged up but not injured elbow and side thigh, and ran home (albeit a little more warily… that will teach me to run around curves in winter). Getting home, I saw that I’d lost a bit of skin on my ankle and had a huge bruise on the elbow, but it could have been worse and I’m grateful. Throughout the rest of the day and today, I noticed with interest how the physiological effects of a fall will continue to make themselves felt throughout the rest of the body with time.

This morning, I discovered where some of my fatigue and lack of motivation this past week came from: I’m coming down with a cold. Still, the symptoms today weren’t bad enough to forgo the run, and I got in a few beautiful miles running the tourist route: Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden, Dom, Red Town Hall, Alexanderplatz, and back. The sun was out and I had a sunrise and several views of iconic Berlin structures that were almost enough to wish I ran with a camera.

Then I proceeded to spend the rest of the day exploring the International “Green Week” Convention currently being hosted in Berlin.

All in all, yeah, I guess I can say another good week. I did run the 38 miles I was hoping for and will now proceed with a pleasant 25-30 mile week of easy runs.

Hope you have a good week!

-Dorothea

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Log: January 16-22

This, while a hectic week, was a good week. I got up earlier twice to go the gym before breakfast: Wednesday and Friday. Friday, I managed to get weights done as well, and this done fasted surprised me and reminded me that mind can work over muscle. Problem with those days and a general slight increase in mileage overall means that my appetite is lying to me all the time now. I may need to start logging my food again soon, to make sure I’m not overcompensating for my runger and stress.

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Slightly longer mileage for each day of running and higher speed overall. I figure my body is in the part of its “let’s go” cycle and that next week will be more full of easy runs.  I didn’t do intervals on Monday, so I never maxed out my speed, which may also explain my need for speed the rest of the week. Still, weights after a progression run with a 7:11 final mile did pull something out of me on Friday, but since I’m not injured, I figure it will only make me stronger.

Yesterday was my long run. I ended up losing the paperclip that allows me to toggle my display on my GPS watch after starting it, so I ran “blind”. I had set the watch for 13 miles, so I just turned around when the watch told me too and ran what felt good. Yesterday, fast felt good with 13.25 miles at 8:08 pace, and I managed to stay upright despite the slippery trails!

Pleased with this week and the 35 miles total. I’m looking to do one more week of building (maybe get to 37-8 miles) and then follow with a cut-back week to coincide with a trip to the Harz Mountains in Lower Saxony the first weekend of February.

Hope everyone had a good week of running and life. Enjoy a beautiful Sunday! Here, the sun is shining and I will take a walk after lunch, just to get out there and soak up some rays.

Running Log: January 9th-15th

Woot! Another week of running in the books. This was a good week in which I took Monday off, ran five days in a row, and figured out which shoes to wear and when. I may have a slight onslaught of plantar fasciitis, but I am confident that, since it didn’t hurt during or after yesterday’s long run, today’s rest day will leave me with a foot right as rain (or snow?) again.

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Didn’t run Monday, won’t run today. I had a nice un-timed interval session on Tuesday, and a fast few miles on Friday. Saturday’s long run was 13.2 miles at 8:18 pace. I had a nice fast mile in there at mile 6 and managed to stay upright through a bit of snow and a lot of slippery trails.

I ran 4/5 runs on the treadmill at the gym because the roads/trails were too icy this week and I’ve already paid my gym membership… while I’d have to go out and buy some yaktrak knockoffs to run outside. I’m not hugely opposed to treadmill runs as long as I’m not spending all my time indoors, especially since Netflix allows one to download shows, and Stranger Things is one of those shows (a good show!), and I can somehow deal with the scary moments better while running than from the safety of my tv chair. I still commuted 3/5 the five days to work on my bike and managed to wipe-out on only one commute. Thankfully a bruise, a scrape and some shin pain are all I have to show for it.

Next week, I hope to add three miles to the weekly mileage (this week was a solid mile increase) and remain healthy. I also have to start figuring out a new exercise routine, since my brother is coming to live with me in Berlin for a while!

Hope you enjoy a pleasant Sunday and have a good start to the week, -Dorothea

Log: January 2nd-8th

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This was a good week of running ; I got the mileage in that I wanted. I did sacrifice some time for friends and work, which I am a bit disappointed about, but I guess I justified it with the idea that it would help me get back to routine faster, which it did. It also helped mitigate the effects of jet lag.

On the other hand, not having a proper rest until more than 36 hours after the 5k and some wonky shoes meant I started having foot niggles by Wednesday. They threatened to cut my long run short yesterday, but I still manage 12+ miles, which I’m happy about. Next week, I’m going to try and do the same daily mileage with one extra mile on the long run and maybe an extra mile somewhere else.

Backwards and Forwards

Dear readers,

Happy new year. May it bring us all positive answers, a stronger sense of security, and some peace.

The days between the years were great. I went home to blue skies and lots of sunshine for Christmas and flew back to Germany on the 31st. Long flights leave room for thinking (if one doesn’t get too distracted by the onboard entertainment, this time including the pilot), and this time of year invites reflection in general. So I will reflect on a year of PRs, months riddled by injuries, and a much lower mileage than I had planned for.

First of all, if anything, I can appreciate my 10,000 lifetime recorded miles. Assuming I continue running, I can’t expect another 10,000 until 2023. But to run strong through 2023 is a good long-term goal! I’d love to not have any injuries until then, but to ensure that, I am going to need some assessments of my health that I hadn’t taken seriously enough, and age 25 is a pretty good time to start, especially if I want to continue to be a runner. I have a few doctor appointments planned.

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All things considered, I had a pretty good year running the majority of the time.

Not meeting my 1500 (bumped up in June to 1700) miles goal is not bad news to me. I accept that I was challenged by injuries (one major one not running related) and should have been smarter. I reached 1367 miles this year, which is a nice prime number if you ask me. As long as I’m logging more than a mile a day for a year, I’m in pretty good shape.

I guess not meeting a mileage goal (the first time I ever set one, actually) helped in the realization that I don’t have to take myself as seriously as a runner. I still have my lifetime goal of a sub-3hr marathon, but that’s not a priority, especially not now while I’m working on my doctorate. I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to focus on the training enough to dedicate mind and spirit, whole-heartedly, but for now I am grateful with consistency that will always leave a starting point better than square one, should I chose to reach that goal. Running is a part of my life and always has the potential to be more. Right now, that potential is enough, especially when I’m continuing to score age group (and super-occasionally overall) wins.

My training from 2015 paid off into 2016 with a PR in the half-marathon in January and an 18 minute PR in the marathon February. I didn’t race again until Fall 2016, but did fairly well (considering 6 weeks off due to broken toe) in a 10.7km, 8.6km, and a 20km in December. I never recapped that race, but I was 7th overall for the females and ran a 1:33:40. Not amazing, off my goal by about 3 minutes, but still a good race considering the injuries, etc.. It also probably prepared me to end the year on a positive note with a 5K race on New Year’s Eve.

In my race Saturday, I ran 21:32, placed 8th for the women, won my age-group and was off my 5k PR by only 18 seconds despite a hurting back, a freshly stubbed toe (race-morning wandering around the house in the dark, because I didn’t want to wake the whole household up) and not having trained specifically for a 5K nor training properly at all, due to a hurt tendon in the foot after the 20k.

My weeks (Dec. 5-Jan. 1st) since the last time I posted looked like this:

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One can see how I took a few days off after I hurt my foot (coinciding well with a scholarship application due on the 15th), and slowly ramped up the mileage the following week. I learned again not to do too much too soon following a race, and the graph shows I had a better month than I allow myself in my memory. In general, the stats always seem better than the reality in my head. I need to get out of my head more often.

One last running highlight of the year that I’d like to mention was volunteering at the Berlin marathon. I somehow missed signing up for the lottery for 2017, but may just volunteer again, anyway.

Looking forwards, I intend to keep logging my running and keep updates with my blog posts. I also am running at least one marathon that I’d like to PR at on April 23rd. I haven’t decided yet if I will do another one (I signed up for one on April 15th, but am not sure about messing up my chance to PR on the 23rd), but for now the plan is to just slowly start upping the mileage anyway. I will also continue strength training, since I noticed a huge shift in the effort in the fall after the work I put into increasing my core and upper body strength.

I plan to get to 50 miles a week by the middle of February and once I’m there, double-marathon specific training can still be decided. I can also use this time to address my nutrition without stressing about specific workouts, and in general focus on my academic life a little more. In February, it’s time to reassess and think about later in the year. But for now, I’m satisfied in my planning and excited about a lot of easy and long runs.

Wishing you all a great year of running- and otherwise.

-Dorothea