Week 14 Training (April 2-8): rests, birthday run, and a half marathon

There were a few highlights this week, but overshadowing the whole thing was generally feeling crummy. Didn’t I say I probably wouldn’t run until Thursday? Should have stuck to that… But who knows? Maybe a half marathon race was what I needed to reset and get back into gear for these last two weeks before the marathon.

graph

If you recall, I’ve been struggling through runs since the 22-miler. Really, I think it started when I ran a 1:41 half and then eight miles the next day (stupid, stupid!). But I took it really easy in week 13, and this week was a continuation. Despite having some decent runs every other day, none of them were the kind of effortless, fast runs I’ve had through week 11 of the cycle. Either I’m feeling marathon fatigue, feeling the taper, or warding off an injury. It’s probably the latter, but I keep telling myself it’s the former.

Still, all things considered, this was a good week! Or so I keep telling myself. This close to the marathon, positive self-talk is the best weapon I have against a breakdown in body and spirit. :-)

I traveled from Florida to Berlin on Tuesday and purposefully pushed the pace a little on Monday, knowing I would take a day off. I landed on Wednesday (trips from US to DE are usually overnight) and after unpacking and a nap, headed out for 8 miles. They were tired miles, but still felt decent. 9 mpm are normal after an international  flight, right?! On the other hand, I probably should have just used the extra day off, because Thursday, which was supposed to be a glorious birthday run celebrating 27 years of life, I couldn’t wait for the run to be done. I ran paths I hadn’t run before, though, and felt okay about it afterwards, but it was the slowest run I’ve done in a while.

Still, sushi and quiet celebrations seemed perfect afterwards.

Then came the shocker (though I anticipated it):  The Berlin Half-Marathon was happening on the 8th of April, and my brother wanted me to run in his stead.

So Friday and Saturday were standard pre-race fare: day off and 2 mile pre-run with strides.

See, my brother had expressed an early (October) interest in running the Berlin Half-Marathon, since colleagues were running it as well. Since he is not normally the active instigator of running or races, I held myself back and followed his cues on registering and training. Well, the registering never happened in time. By the time he got around to wanting to do it, the tickets were sold out (December?). So plan B: look on E-bay. I had switched my entry to the Munich Marathon in 2016, so I knew there were always people looking to buy or sell entries online. However, the annoying thing about the Berlin Half-Marathon (and I imagine the full that happens in Sept.) is that the entries are non-transferable, which means that what we were doing was kind of illegal. Apparently, the costs of having someone manage all the changes are too high for the SCC race-organizers. Psh. Whatever. It’s lame, because people can’t run for legitimate reasons and the race in also non-deferable, so if people can’t run, they are forced to either lose the money or, well, have someone run for them. The organizers even have a no-tolerance policy for packet pickup: the person registered MUST be the one picking up the bib. This means that a certain amount of coordination is needed as well. At least the SCC Event organizers got rid of the color-coded race bibs. The non-gender specific bibs would make it easier to find someone to race for (it also helps to find someone who has a name that is given to both boys and girls).

At any rate, since I was also interested in maybe running, I put out the call for me and my brother, got a few replies, and then decided I actually wasn’t keen on paying 60 Euro for a race two weeks before my “A” race. So I found a nice young lady who couldn’t run because of a confirmation happening in North-Rhine Westfalia, got everything organized for my brother to exchange starting packet and money on April 6th, and then watched my brother plan to train, fail to train, and wind down to race week with a pitiful look on his face. He really figured until last weekend he could maybe wing-it. But it’s 13 miles, I kept reminding him, The longest he’s done in the past two years was 5 miles. So he took my offer to run it for him after all. I’d pay half. So I ran the Berlin Half for 31 Euro.

map of Berlin half marathon

The course really is as advertised. If you recall, I’ve actually done the route from the TV at Alexander Platz through the Tiergarten to the Golden Else many a time, and I live in Berlin now, so some of the sites the race boasted for internationals were pretty standard for me. Still, it’s not everyday I get to run on the streets themselves! With other runners! And the weather was gorgeous!

It wasn’t all sun and awesome sites/people though. Since the girl I was was running for my brother for hadn’t done a half before, she/he/I ended up in block F, which was the last group to run. So while my net time was 1:51:26 (more on that in a few lines), my total time was 2:30:51!!! Seriously, I spent over 40 minutes standing around/slowly walking forward. My tracker had me at 17 miles for the day, and a lot of that was the small steps forward. But I could live with a delayed start. I could also live with the human obstacle course. I forgot that ending up further back meant ending up with runners with slower paces. I added 400 meters to the race by doing diagonals across the course, looking for gaps. I haven’t done a run like that in a while- and honestly, I don’t have to do that again anytime soon. I like being able to catch my stride and keep it, early on. Also, I was annoyed that the race took 6 hours out of my day… but I shouldn’t complain about that too much. Volunteers spent 5-6 hours on the course (I should know, I almost volunteered). It was a good last harder effort before my marathon.

The race itself was okay. I ran about an 8:10 pace with one restroom break and, as I mentioned, did a lot of lateral running, which I felt today in the legs. I can’t explain why I feel worse today than I did after the 20 and 22 mile runs, but I’m chalking it up to probably coming down with a cold and the post-jet lag and the continuing battle with sore butt and hamstrings. I used kinesio tape for the first time on my back and right leg, and got some weird looks because it’s not really a thing in Germany. I still haven’t decided if it actually works or if it is a placebo, but it worked as a placebo for me!

And the race atmosphere was on point yesterday. The people were happy, the sun was shining, and no attacks happened… though, ****. It’s a pretty dark world if one of the thoughts during the pre-race jitters in a crowd of happy, life celebrating people on a glorious sunning day is “what if something were to happen?” Thank goodness nothing happened yesterday. Though it’s not that it didn’t run through my head- and I had prepared for it. Five years ago, especially before Boston, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the dangers of running in someone else’s name. Yesterday though, one of my concerns was being able to be identified should anything happen. There was a space on the back of the bib for personal information and emergency contact info- you can bet my name and bro’s contact info were there is clear, bold letters. Okay, okay. I think it’s enough with the negativity, already.

If the Berlin Half-Marathon had been my goal race, the energy yesterday would have carried me to a PR, probably.It was incredible! But since I was using effort to not go fast and not injure myself, I was more mellow than anything. Had a few great moments, though! I am a little concerned about the effort it took to hold even a 8:10, if I’m aiming for 8 mpm for the marathon, but I won’t worry about that now. Now, it’s two weeks to the marathon, serious taper time and I’m going to try and get these niggles taken care of and out of the way by then. No stupid business!

Medal and Daffodils

I wonder, if marathons had been a thing in the 18/19th century, if Wordsworth would have run.

Cheers, and happy running,
Dorothea

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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,
Dorothea

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.

year-2016

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:

graph-runs-4-12-through-1-1

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

Running Log Oct 24-30 in which I race 10,7k

Gosh darnit all to heck. I finally get on my computer to be productive today, and get sucked into Google’s Halloween game for, well, it was an embarrassing while to spend on a Google game.

But I’m gonna do this blog thing now and then get to actual desk work like grading and all that fun stuff.

This week, the highlight was a race I signed up for not too long ago and wasn’t all that amped up about, or so I thought.

I went to bed thinking “eh, this race is a 45 minutes public transportation trip, do I even really want to go? Am I really ready? I feel like I had too much pesto to race tomorrow.” I thought I would get a pass on the nervous night’s sleep before the race, since I was so uncommitted. I didn’t get a pass- slept awfully. But I did wake up in time (thank you Daylight Savings ending in Germany already!) and had a good breakfast before my first warm-up run of the day- catching the bus. My second warm-up was maybe twenty minutes too early, but I didn’t know what else to do after arriving at the venue at 8:30 and not running until 10:30. It was a small-ish race… put on by a local Verein (team) and a part of a series of Berlin races called “The Berliner Cup.” Most people were participating in the cup and thus only were going to run 3,6km (which was one round of the course). I was one of 47 running the 10,7km (3 rounds). The lack of any huge hub-hub, and absolutely no amenities (hence only a 9Euro starting fee) made me feel like races from long ago- my high school cross country races. At least this was electronically timed.

The race itself went well. Obviously wasn’t going to be perfect, since it was the first race I’d run since the marathon in February and I hadn’t trained for it at all. But I guess the cross training and the progressions runs, as well as hill work (both live, on the bike, and on the treadmill)! have been doing the trick. Pleased with this time and place, even if it was a small race and even if I know I can do better. I just know, I’m healthy! Ended the run healthy! Everything else is just icing.

Like the fact that I won third overall?! Granted, it was out of 14 women, but still! I won my first ever prize that wasn’t a plaque or medal! Like, a money equivalent kind of prize!

img_1929

Still, I ran 5k in 22:47 and 10k in 47:26; 10,7k in 50:07, so a definite positive split… not so great. I completely went out too fast with the 3,6km runners and didn’t hold back enough, which nipped me in the bud the last round.
And those hills. So many hills.

I did beat girl #4 by 1 minute–I passed her right after we started the second round and knowing she was behind me kept me going in the toughest bits (like the hills). I made sure to thank her after the race. On the other hand, I was beat by girl #2 by more than 6 minutes. If it had been a bigger race, there’s no way I would have placed, so there’s definite room for improvement!

But am pretty darn pleased with this “training” run.

The week must have worked well in the way I did it, I guess.

running-oct-23-30

Started off the week with a 5k warm-up before strength training. Followed up with an easy 10k on Tuesday. Seriously, this week, all my runs were either easy or tests or races. All the pep and “let’s go faster” of last week had disappeared. I was okay with that. I even decided after Wednesday’s 5k that even if I was getting faster in my miles (I try to do a test mile once a week, to see how I’m improving since injury), I was tired. So I decided to take Thursday and Friday off. Life still threw me a few short runs, and my 2 mile on Saturday turned into something a little longer, but over all, I was well-rested for today.

All told, I ran 26.9 miles this week. [Honestly people, I don’t care about round numbers. I’m not going to run around the block.] This was more than I was planning. I actually wanted to scale back this week… but I did skip a few bike commutes and a strength day, so the week was easier overall, I guess. And tomorrow is a rest-day!  And while I unwittingly signed up for back-to-back weekend races, I guess it’s good practice for that kind of marathon set-up in April ;). I’m going to try and take it easy this week and just see how I do at a slightly shorter distance next week.

Hope all the racers today (Jim, Chelsea, MCM people, etc.!) have a glorious run and that the sun is shining like it was for us today.

 

Running Log Oct. 17-23: Full Circle

So, it’s been a while, but I’ve decided I can finally be cautiously optimistic.

This is the first week where I’ve managed five days of running, and I had my first three-day block this week as well.

I’ve been a little more patient and a little more careful, and so far, I’m being rewarded with a slowly, but surely increasing mileage and fast speeds. Mind you, I’m not doing workouts yet. I’m just running fast when I feel ready to go fast. I’m not forcing my legs or feet to do anything they don’t feel 100% ready to do yet.

A little more than a month ago, I ran a 7 mile tempo run that was the straw to break the camel’s back, or rather, run to cause a stress reaction in the left foot. That run included an easy warm-up and the worst cool down hobble ever. It was an 8:23 overall with a 7:24 second mile.

Fast forward five weeks later, and I ran my first 7 miler of this new start. I started slowly like I have for all my runs since returning from injury, and slowly built up to a 7:12 for the last mile. Overall pace was 8:06 and while I’m a bit more tired today than these past weeks, things are feeling good. Even this little piggy *wiggles pinky toe* went all the way home.

sept-oct-2016

5.6  miles per week to 13.7 to 17.4 to 24.1

So far, so good.

Now, I have a few races on the horizon.

I know, I know; I wrote that I wouldn’t give myself the pressure of a race this side of 2017, but I couldn’t help it. I miss having a running club and the social aspect of races. I also miss the motivation of having a race to prepare for.

Still, I know it can be dangerous to have goals too soon, so I chose races that have new distances (not hard to do when everything is measured in kilometers rather than miles). I’ve got a 10,6k next Sunday on the 30th, an 8,6k on November 6th, and a 20k on December 11th. I was a bit worried that a 20k is too long of a race, but I have more than a month to build up to that distance. If anything, I just run it as a training run. That’s the plan for all these races, and honestly, I am not ambitious about these races at all. I have nothing I need to prove, these are automatic PRs, and I’m just going to do the best I can on those days.

Sound good? Thanks for following! On to a comfortably fun end-stretch for 2016.

 

More struggles, but also some silver linings

I realize that whining is not a great character trait, and that it’s also not much fun to read or respond to… since one ‘d be called insensitive for telling the whiner to shut-up and deal with it, and the obligatory “hang in there, keep the chin up” is annoying to write and doesn’t really mean much to the whiner, either.

So you don’t have to write those comments and I won’t whine. I just want to write another post about the harder parts of training to accompany all the posts where training is going well, because once marathon time comes around, I know this period will provide me with more mental strength than anything else.

This past week was another week of trying to keep the training up-diligently. Training for any race requires determination and diligence. The consistency, after all, is what makes us better- not the individual efforts. Still, there’s a difference training for the event with the sports one chooses above all others versus with the sports one does to replace that one sport.

I’ve chosen to use spinning and bicycling to replace running, since my bike and a spinner at the gym are the two most accessible tools for me at the moment. It helps that bike can get me all around the city and country side, and I can train with destinations to help the time on the seat go by faster. Still, it nags at the back of my mind that I’m not working on my endurance on my feet. A four and a half hour ride on the bike means I can carry myself pretty well on an iron horse, but I have no idea how my feet will hold up 20+ miles.

However, it helps that the hardest part of marathon training is getting the aerobic fitness up. Sprinters are able to transition to longer distances, as far as muscles go, in a few weeks. It’s the ability to get the air pumping long and fast enough that takes more time. So, I keep that in mind as well, and that gets me to push myself harder on the bike, even when I feel it’s pointless.

I’ll admit, I may be pushing myself too hard. I read recently that one shouldn’t try to get one’s heart rate into the max zone too long, too often. With several interval, hill sessions in a row, I noticed myself struggling on a fartlek ride on Thursday, and took it easier on Friday again. I’m tallying up 150+ miles for the week, which is fun for me to see. Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me won’t consider that a solid week of training, but changing my mentality is something I’m working on, even while writing this.

I’ve been buddy-taping toe, and it’s been easier to walk on. I can even walk on sand now, which was nearly impossible because of the pain a week ago, and short spurts, across the street when the light is about to turn red, cause no pain at all, which is a good sign. However, it’s only been three weeks and once the tape comes off, the toe is aching, so I’ll wait a bit longer. I’m in the tricky part of an injury where the pain is bearable and one wants to test one’s limits. I just don’t want to test and regress in the healing. I’m too close to the marathon for that.

One thing for sure, this too will pass, and I’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of running again, soon. I’ve taken off too much time (four weeks on Tuesday) to jump right back in, but I’ll balance running and cross training for a week or so before replacing bike/spinner workouts with the runs again. I hope to be able to taper according to plan. But this injury has also trained my patience muscle a bit more, so I’m willing to see what happens.

I recently switched gyms and started TRX training, which offers a new set of challenges, and I like to think I’m strengthening my body- making it stronger for the marathon than following my training plan would have done.

So, as one can see, I have enough to write about, even if I’m not currently running. I’m also doing what I can to keep the München Marathon a reality. No one can say I’ve given up, and I’ll just have to keep that in mind over these last days/maybe week(s) as the injury finishes healing.

I also have to stop being marathon training obsessed! But as anyone who trains knows, it’s pretty life consuming. Still, I’ve been having interesting times outside of that, so I will probably post something there again soon. I need all the distractions I can get!

Happy Sunday,

Dorothea

Update on Feb 15-April 2nd: That time I tried a streak and failed

Hello readers!

It’s been a long time… and while I thought it was necessary to take this break from blogging, it didn’t actually make me more productive and interesting in “real life.” Frankly, I can’t think of a single moment where I did something where I said “wow, this would be cool to blog about.”Maybe that just goes to show that our lives are worth living whether we blog about them or not- or something. Still, I did find it a relief for the first few weeks after the marathon to not be accountable for blogging about my running life. Now though, I miss it again (and the interaction with you!) and feel it is time to return.

What do I have to report? Besides a few notes about my stupidity, not much.

 

run update feb through april

The marathon, as we saw, was a good one/run. I’m still tickled pink by the great improvement on my previous PR and being able to see what level I’m at. I know I want to be faster, eventually, but for now I haven’t felt the urge to better that run. I don’t feel like I have to prove something or avenge a bad run. It was an awesome race.

I still had the post-race blues though, through which I got with some heart-to-hearts with my family, an Epsom salt bath, foam rolling, and some new things to read. Then, once the post-race soreness was gone, I decided to go for a few easy runs. Those felt good, and for some reason, I thought I was ready to attempt a new run streak. My previous one in fall of 2014 (which left me with plantar fasciitis) was 61 (or 62, can’t remember, though I could probably look it up, but that seems like more effort than typing these few words) days. I felt that the last months of the semester before going abroad for vacation and more school was a good time to try it again. It started off well, and I felt good. A lot of doubles (two-a-days), and I was feeling motivated about strapping my shoes on and just lurching out the door. I ran watchless and musicless for four weeks, and it all felt so natural and free.

Then, I got over confident about my abilities, forgot to think about long-term fatigue and lack of rest days, and went out for back-to-back mid-distance runs, or went too hard two days in a row.

My mind was telling me that I couldn’t hold it up the way that I was going, that I should take a rest day and prevent an overuse injury, but my heart was saying “I’m strong, just as strong as many of those out there who do extreme ultra running (think Appalachian Trail runs). If they can do that, why can’t I handle running every day 1-10 miles?”

It came to the point that I was listening more to my ambition about the number on my “streak” log than the pain on the outside of my knee or heels of my feet. My runs got slower and slower, and I woke up with pain every morning that I manically tried to roll out with the foam roller and ease out with stretches 30-40 minutes a day. But what finally made me realize I was being stupid is when the runs stopped being enjoyable. I was running to keep the streak alive, not myself. That was foolish and so one Thursday, I just ignored my inner-voice telling me to go out, and the streak was broken.

Since then, I’ve eased off running for a bit again. I took a longer break than I did post-marathon and am slowly making it back into the 25+ mpweek range. My runs have felt better again, and I’m enjoying it again. I do run occasionally with my watch to see where my fitness is at, but I’m not afraid to run without it if I know the route I’m taking.

I have decided that I maybe didn’t take enough time off after the marathon, feeling pressured by some of my awesome running friends who run within 24 hours of their marathons. I thought taking three days off was already being a wimp, when really, I could easily have taken a week off, at least.

I have also decided that I don’t work well without a plan. The streak was fun because I didn’t have to think about whether or not I would run. I just ran what I felt like and pulled off some pretty great mileage because of it. But going from marathon week to 12 to 35 to 47 miles was stupid, for me. Also, I like planning out my hard and easy efforts during the week, and allowing myself the time to rest so that my hard efforts can be kick-ass. With my streak and without a plan, I was too easily drawn into the myth that I could handle two hard efforts in a row, take day easy, and then do it again. There’s a reason most running plans cycle easy, hard, and long runs, and I should have tried my streak with that in mind, or not at all.

So, lesson well learned. If I ever do attempt a streak again, I will do it with a plan in mind of following what has become my natural push and rest cycle. The light-tempo, interval or tempo, easy, rest or easy, easy, long run, rest cycle of runs works for me, so I should just stick to it.

Because of how the last two weeks went, I decided not to sign-up for the 10K that was supposed to happen today in my area, but I did do a pretty sweet 10-mile run at 7:35 overall pace yesterday, which felt darn good. I know I could have gone faster, so I’m motivated to keep working on my running in a smart way to be prepared for some summer races.

I like having my running, because sometimes it’s the only thing I feel like I’m marginally good at, and it helps distract me from failures I experience in academia or life. I turn 25 on Tuesday (quarter-life crises, I hear, are a thing). I’m figuring out what I’m going to do next year, how I’ll finance it and support myself, and whether I can rise up to the expectations I have for myself, and it’s good to have running to get my mind and body in the space to think these things through and remain positive. A running life really is a good life, so I’m glad I stopped the streak when I did to avoid a long-term injury (even if plantar fasciitis symptoms can be pesky).

Hope things are good on your end! I’ve been following blogs as well as I can this semester, so I know there are a few awesome races coming up that I can’t wait to read about!

Running Log: February 1-13; just in time

Hello from sunny south Florida (yes, it’s a nice 70 degrees here, though don’t worry, we do our suffering in the summer).

I’ve taken a little while to post since my last log, because for some reason, I thought I’d jinx myself if I posted before today. Call this a last-minute reflection on training post too, if you want.

Basically the last two weeks look like a taper. Obviously.

training first of Feb.

Sort of anticlimactic compared to what I did the three weeks prior:

last four weeks

But that’s marathon training for you (unless you’re doing Hansom’s method. Then this just looks like a walk in the park).

I won’t go through a totally in-depth review of my running, because commenting on it two weeks later gave me the perspective to just summarize what’s important. Basically, no surprises here, but I felt like crap the first week of February. I had pushed myself a bit hard on the 15 miler and getting in all the other runs afterwards was difficult. Thanks to Paula at Never a Dull Bling for her advice about zinc though, I think that saved me from a cold these last two weeks). I finally had a chance to use the track for my intervals (10 x 400s), but did them the whole time with glasses in hand, because I forgot my contacts. I ended the week with a reluctant 10 miles that I kept easy, and then proceeded to take two rest days. I didn’t have to, but it did make me feel better. It also helped take care of the “click” I was feeling in my right knee… likely a taper pain, but I was much less nervous once it was gone.

On Tuesday, I did some last intervals around my campus, because the track team was hogging the track (good for them, but it’s a shame they won’t share it with us “lesser” folk). These felt good, and I got some anxiousness out.

But then I ended up taking an unplanned rest day, and after an easy run on Thursday, took another one. That’s three days of running in the past seven days… and I haven’t decided yet how I feel about that. We’ll see after tomorrow if that was a good thing or not.

Today featured an easy 1.5 mile run with some strides. Overall pace slightly more than 8:50 mpm, so I made sure it was easy. I could have gone for two miles, but the house-work this morning (it’s my curse to be the only runner in my family [my bro runs, but more recreationally once a week  when he’s reminded that it’s good for him]).

So, that’s the log! I’m going to type out a “night before the race” post soon.

In the meantime, I’m curious: what do your tapers look like?

 

 

Running Log: January 25-31 (how convenient that the week still ends in January)

I don’t know how to describe this week other than “hard.” Looking back, I had more problems with fatigue, motivation, and legs pains than I’ve had at any other point during the season, and I suppose the answer to that should be obvious: high (for me) mileage, a half marathon followed by another high mileage week and a twenty miler, and then still a relatively heavy week at the start of this one. As one can see, it took some motivation to get me out yesterday. But I did! And I had a great run! And from here on out until the marathon, the hardest part will be ignoring the taper pains. I’m not going to miss running so much during this taper, because I can really use the time and energy for other things. It does feel good to know that I’ve put in all the hard work and now only need to be patient to put it all out there in two weeks. I should probably start to plan what I’ll be doing after the (hopefully successful) marathon, but for now, I am just letting you all know how the week went.

trainingn last January

Monday 1/25-ran four miles on the beach. It took me 40 minutes, which goes to show how hard it is to run on soft sand (sort of like soft snow?). I sank at least 6 inches for some of my treads. Thus, what was supposed to be an easy, relaxing run post 21-miler turned into a strength workout. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  Redeemed myself in the afternoon with 1.5 miles at 8 mpm; they felt good, though I may have been too fast for my own good. Started feeling soreness in my shins that proved to be troublesome through the week.
Tuesday 1/26– I planned to do intervals at the university track, and then my brother, who was supposed to join me, forgot his shoes, so we both drove home together and ran to the park. 5 miles of 800 intervals with 90 second jog recoveries. Average pace 6:48 mpm… 3:24 per 800 meters… not too shabby for me!. :-) Still, I’m not counting on this to predict my marathon time by any stretch.
I ran with two watches (stop watch for the splits and GPS watch for the mileage) and no music. No music almost made me quit the run, which would have been stupid. I forgot my MP3 player… but stuck it through, and then the whole run seemed surprisingly shorter without it.
Wednesday 1/27– Would have loved a rest day, but had 8 miles on the schedule. Then, to add insult to injury, it was raining. To avoid chafing, I drove to the gym and lost the time I otherwise would have had to run (about 20 minutes total). This meant I had to get my “easy” 8 miles in 1 hour, and of course couldn’t do that. Managed to keep the pace low for the first two miles, and then started bumping up to get 7.1 miles in. These hurt, and I count them to my “stupid miles” as far as my mistakes in running go.
Thursday 1/28– rest day, because as I mentioned last week, I’m trying to get a run in before the long-run to emulate the mileage build-up in the marathon. This means the run Thursday and the rest-day on Friday have been switching.
Friday 1/29-got in the easy run I needed, 5 miles for 45 minutes. Shins, feet, and knees did some complaining, but they just need to suck it up.
Saturday 1/30-the dreaded run. It wasn’t even that I was afraid of running 15 miles. I just didn’t feel like leaving the house. Still, a successful run. Felt good from the start, (surprisingly, given the whining I was doing). Negative split with 8:44 slowest (mile two) and 7:13 fastest (mile 8). In between were a lot of 8 minute, 8:30, 7:45 and a few 7:30s. 7:55 mpm overall.
This run makes me feel confident about a 7:59 marathon pace; I just don’t know at all about the consistency of my pace and will try to nail that down in the next two weeks.
Sunday 1/31- rest, as per usual. Physics and world literature, what a winning combination.

Total: 42.1 miles for the week; 197.6 for January. I considered going out for 2.4 miles today, just to get to 200 miles for the month (which is an accomplishment for me, since I haven’t done it in over a year), but then I was just like “nah. Ain’t nobody got time for that.” And I really don’t. Plus, 197 is such a cool number. I like it better than 200, anyway.

notes to self: This training cycle, part of the success in making it healthy this far has been that I’ve kept my runs after a tempo or interval workout super easy, never pushing the pace beyond what I felt like. Wednesday, I pushed the pace and paid for it for the rest of the week. I’m hoping that tomorrow all the lingering issues are gone.

Running Log: Jan 18-24

Habits are a wonderful thing. Unlike negative ruts that one wants to shake-up to get out of them, habits are usually productive for the person in question. They are usually repetitions of practice that keep one sane even in light of the scary and/or unexpected. Luckily, I’m not facing either of those situations right now, but I can appreciate a good habit when I have one, especially when it’s what keeps me consistently getting out the door to reach my running goals and it keeps me blogging (though that’s a habit that’s becoming less and less certain as the weeks go by. I’m unfortunately limited to reading and writing only on the weekends).

But anyway, enough about me  (or rather, more about me that you may be interested in),

Running this week had a common theme: if I ran well, it was surprising because I’d just had my half-marathon PR; if I didn’t run well, it was because I’d just had a tough race (and my quads seriously hurt, c’mon!). All in all, I’m pleased because I got in all scheduled runs (except for the second harder workout of the week).

last week's training

Monday 1/18: Talked about this already in my last log, so I won’t bore you.
Tuesday 1/19: Legs considerably less sore today, though had some nagging pain in the upper right quad. Didn’t bother me too much, though, so I did something resembling a tempo run: 1.5 miles warm-up (didn’t feel like pushing it any meter before that), 3.5 miles at 7:35 pace, and then 3 miles to get to 8 for the day.
Wednesday 1/20: Tuesday’s run must have gotten the rest of the soreness out, so it was a comfortable 6.1 miles.
Thursday 1/21: I couldn’t decide until Thursday morning whether I would run Thursday or Friday, and since I didn’t have time Thursday, it was decided for me. Thursday was a rest-day other than a nice walk.
Friday 1/22: Not running Thursday was fine, since I did want to have a few training runs before my long-runs, and just couldn’t get myself to do it much this training cycle. But I managed it Friday after getting up at 4:30 and doing 7.7 miles. Between Friday and Saturday, I would then have more than 26 miles on my feet, and hopefully those are good for something. This run was also very comfortable, especially at the start, but eased closer to tempo pace by the end.
Saturday 1/23: another early wake-up call, this time at 4 AM. Did the second 20-miler of this cycle (actually ran 21.1), 100% more than I’ve ever accomplished previously in a marathon training cycle. It was a good run, slower than last time , but more consistently at marathon pace: started off slow 9:03 mile, but then slowly sped up to an 8:40 constant until around mile 12 where I picked it up to 8:12, and then 7:45, 7:25 (fastest mile), 7:50, 7:48, a few 8:20-8:30, 7:47 and 7:51 last two miles after going for “fast finish. A 2:57 total (8:23 mpm), so not shabby at all for my goal on Feb. 14th.
Took the opportunity during the day (when I wasn’t doing physics, *sigh*) to look at my Hamburg marathon splits and realized I ran much slower than I remember. I can definitely start faster than I did at that race, and hold a faster race throughout. Adjusted my training plan for the last three weeks before the marathon to properly taper for a 3:30 goal race.
Sunday 1/24: rest day! More homework, reading, and other fun non-running stuff. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to make my hobby my job? Sometimes I think it would be nice to be irresponsible and only read what I wanted, and go for hour-long runs every day- but then my practical side takes over and reminds me that I’d be bored (and have no job prospects)if I did that for too long. Going for a walk after lunch, to be fresh for the Yasso 800s awaiting me on Tuesday.

Total for this week: 50.49 miles. I’d be lying if I said that I ran the extra mile for fun yesterday, I was aiming to break 50 miles this week, since I won’t be doing it again for another month and a half.

Here in south Florida, it’s a gorgeous, cloudless 55 degrees. Yes, my intention is to make you jealous, did it work? Happy Sunday to you, and wishing you a good week!