Log: March 6-19 (weeks four and not so five)

First of all, this is a late post and that’s a bit lame. In retrospect, I probably was reluctant to post about my first “failed” week, since I’m so used to writing when things are going well. But they’re not going well right now- I’m injured (even if still a bit in denial about it) and have a hectic personal and family life at the moment, but I figured I should update all the same.

Secondly, thank you to everyone who gave me tips for my heel pain. I tried all of them (not quite at the same time, of course) and none were bad advice. Thank you!

The problem is, no amount of  magic is better than the magic of pure rest. After completing the first three runs of last week alright, I still felt the condition of my right foot deteriorating, and I decided to do what I probably should have done as soon as I noticed a bigger problem- take a break.

I finally pulled the brakes two Fridays ago, because I realized the pain in my foot may not even be PF, and I was feeling discomfort in other parts of my foot as though I’m compensating, which is a bad sign. I didn’t think quickly enough to get an appointment before an unscheduled trip home, but I booked an appointment with a foot doctor (who is a runner herself) for as soon as I’m back in Berlin (in about a week). I’m not running until my foot has been checked out. I figure that whatever I have needs some rest anyway, and if what I have is more serious, I can get a head-start on the healing time the doctor predicts for me.

In the meantime, I also took a good, long look at myself and decided I this forced break is probably what I needed, and I need to be easier on myself.

As most of us do, I find being easy on myself very difficult. I’m a Type A personality, and even when I’m doing well in school, work, running, and in my relationships (or so I’m told), I never believe that to be the case. I always think there’s something I need to do better… and there probably is! No one is perfect! But that perfectionism mentality is pretty perfect in making one think one can be perfect- and that’s the curse of it.

There are personal struggles all of us go through, whether they be body image, relationships, work environment- basically figuring out what we want for our future and how we want to get there. I’ve had my fair share of these struggles,  but while I’m still young, I’ve lived long enough to know there are no quick and easy solutions and that I need to figure out what goals I think are worth taking the long route for.

However, I still look for the easy way out though in my work and in my eating habits… and I developed a few unhealthy patterns because of the resulting mentality. These past weeks of unscheduled rest days were daily reminders that I can and should have enough respect and love for my body to go easy on it for as long as needed, and I shouldn’t worry about the miles not run and the calories not burned, and I definitely don’t need to worry about the time not run…because there’s always a way to use time well.

So, until I’m cleared to run again, I’m not going to drive myself crazy with marathon training. Maybe I won’t even run any marathons until the fall, or this year. If so, the only person who really cares is me, and if I say I’m okay with not running, I’m sure I’ll find ways to be happy without it.

Of course, that being said, I know being active is a part of my lifestyle, and I am happy when I’m doing something even if it’s not running. But it doesn’t have to be intense or at the level of marathon training. I tried that last summer after breaking my toe, and ended up injured again anyway.

So, for now, things like swimming, biking, and weight training to keep some fitness and get some energy out is all I need. In the meantime, I also need to straighten out a weird relationship with food and exercise I’ve developed since last year, so it’s probably good to start at square “A” in training and fueling.

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These runs include: 8 x 800s at 3:30 or less with 400m recoveries, I had a 3:25 average and felt strong and controlled throughout. The heel was complaining afterward, but not as much as after long-run Saturday; an easy 7 miler with a fast finish; a 3 mile tempo run at sub- 8 mpm; and what was supposed to be an easy 3 miler that became reduced to 1, in order to preserve myself for my schedule 13 miles at half marathon pace. That didn’t happen, so I ended up with a tad above 22 miles for week four. Week five started off with a two one-mile test runs… and then a few strides at the park that weren’t so great either.

In short, yep, marathon training weeks four and five aren’t ideal. But I’m pushing myself out of the denial and depression and into some more positive thinking, because that’s just how I roll.

Hope daylight savings didn’t kick you in the butt too much and that training is going well for all you April marathon folks!- Dorothea

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Log: Feb 27th- March 5th (week three)

Well, this post almost didn’t happen. Next week’s might not.  I’m  in awe of people who have full-time jobs, kids, marathon training and still have time to blog about it. My daisy-chain linked hat is tipped in your direction (and maybe the direction of your sig. other who helps you get it all done ;) ).

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This was a satisfactory week. I’m a bit hesitant to praise it in light of a bout of PF pain that decided to rear its ugly head after yesterday’s long run, but there’s a bottle of water in the freezer and some supportive socks being worn and we’ll see what a nice day of rest can do. Plus, I had PF pain last week after the long run too, and it went away by Monday’s interval run. Magic?

This week marks the the highest weekly and daily mileage I’ve done since Marathon Four over a year ago. I like to think that I slowly worked up to this, but I do feel kind of stressed going from 14 to 18 miles in four weeks. I guess it’s normal? It just seems a bit quick. Maybe my PF agrees with me. Who knows. I think my feet are just complaining about a bad shoe/treadmill combo that I should have been more careful about.

47.5 miles and an 18-mile long run could summarize this week, but I want to give a shout-out to the individual runs:

  • Intervals on Monday were fun, but tough: 6 x 1000 meters in 4:15 or less. 5/6 intervals were done in 4:01 to 4:07. My fourth one was 4:31. Recoveries were 3 minutes.
  • Tuesday’s easy run was supposed to be 10 miles, but I cut it short at 9.2. I didn’t want to run it at all, but once I was out there, I felt decent. Unfortunately, I procrastinated enough on the run that I then had to cut it short after all. The problems of balance.
  • Wednesday was an alternating workout. I alternated 9 and 8 minute miles and did this fairly successfully since it was on the treadmill. At the beginning of the run, I didn’t think I could keep it up (still tired from Mon), but I loosened up by the last miles.
  • Thursday was a rest day, but I commuted to work. I actually commuted via bike 4/5 days this week. Wheel power.
  • On the schedule for Friday were fartleks: 5 miles. I just went out and randomly picked intervals to go faster or slower. Overall 44 minutes including one mile warm-up, so not shabby. Got some 17 km per hour strides in there, too, so got some speed.
  • Saturday: went out for 18 miles in the kind of mood that it’s good to have an 18 mile run to work off some steam with. I was basically annoyed with the world until mile 6, but then on the trails, in beautiful spring sunlight and in the embrace of the green trees, I felt better. I saw a family of warthogs, got some fuel about halfway through, and generally finished the run feeling surprisingly good. I accidentally went .7 miles over, which made up for Tuesday’s missed mileage. Today, all systems are go except for the right foot.

On deck for tomorrow is an 8 x 800m in 3:30 which isn’t really scaring me, but I hope my foot is ready for. I’m debating checking the track or at least postponing the interval.We’ll see how good I am at smart decision making by the end of the week.

See you then! (hopefully). In the meantime, anyone had PF issues and wants to tell the tale? I know about icing and rolling the foot over tubes and balls, but I wonder if there’s other kinds of magic tricks I haven’t heard of yet.

 

Log: February 20-26th (week two)

Good news: I had a good second week of marathon training

Bad news: I’m not racing a marathon on April 23rd

Bad news: that’s two races I signed up for in April that I’m not running

Good news: I can transfer the entry of one of the races to a race in June

Bad news: It’s an evening race. I’m not a great evening racer. It usually involves staying on my feet too much beforehand, being tired, and having a weak bladder

Good news: It’s in June. I have enough time to prepare and get my sh** together.

So, that’s my thought process on running these past few days. Cancelling my attendance of the race boils down to saving 300 Euro. Saving 300 and being able to go home for three weeks versus paying +300 or not coming home at all and participating in 40 Euro race that gets held every year? To a runner, it may not sound as ridiculous as it first sounds that it was NOT an easy choice to make, but now that it’s made I’m happy.

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Running itself went well enough. As one can see from the graph above, I only had three kinds of runs this past week. Sure, those easier days had some faster paced strides and a few fast miles, but overall, I ran easy three days, had a longer mid-week run (11 miles), and had two intense workouts.

Workouts of this week : 4 x 1 mile with 400m (0r 2:30) recoveries and a “halvesie” long run with first half easy, second half marathon pace.

Turns out, my easy pace is about 20 seconds faster than the plan calls for (had to trick myself into running slowly by singing out loud on the run, no shame- it happens when you run solo) and my marathon pace (8 mpm) is too easy for an 8-mile stretch. My long run yesterday averaged at 8:10. Not meaning to brag, it just happened that I felt good yesterday and held an 8:40 average for the first 8 miles and 7:40 average for the second half. My paces miles 8-16 were 8:02, 7:48, 7:38, 7:40,  7:39, 7:21, 7:59 and then one at 7:01. Somehow, my body at mile 15 was like “hey, it’s a tempo run, might as well push it for the last mile and pretend like it’s mile 26 of a marathon and forget that fact that 7 minute miles were hard enough on interval day last Monday.” There was no “what are you even thinking?” in my interior monologue. Of course, I regretted it a bit after the run and the rest of the say, stretching out a lot of soreness today, but I was running off my first mid-run fuel this training cycle and generally feeling good after a week of mostly easy runs.

Can’t forget those intervals on Monday, though. After looking at the plan Sunday night, I kind of freaked out. It’s not that I haven’t done mile intervals in a while (I did them Jan 23rd) and they were three at 6:50 or less, but I had .5 recoveries. This time, I had to do 4 intervals with one lap recoveries. Geez. The first interval I actually recovered with 2:30 minutes and ended up running 0.15, so I didn’t even need a whole lap. Of course, the pace went down for the next interval and I recovered with 0.22 and 3 minutes. My paces were 6:58, 7:03. 6:55, 7:03. I needed a full 0.25 recovery after each interval following the first two. 2:30 was just not enough and my HR was at 185 by the last one. But, I got it done!

Confession: 3/5 runs this week were on the treadmill, including the interval session and 11 mile mid-week longish run. I felt it in my legs and back by the end of the week, which is why I’m glad the weather was good yesterday, because there was no way I was doing the 16 on the ‘mill. Monday’s use was the result of a kind of fear of getting the intervals done well outside. I wanted to be able to control as many factors as possible, and the track is still closed. My runs in the gym are always at 1.0 incline, though I cheated a bit for the last interval and did it at 0.5, dropping to 0.0 half-way through. Wednesday’s mid-week run was the result of procrastinating on it so much in the morning that I had to do it in the evening after work, and it was cold, dark, and rainy outside- the perfect trifecta of reasons not to run outside. Friday’s treadmill run was out of convenience, since I decided to do weight work at the gym. Note to self: don’t do a full-body workout the day before a long run, especially if it was the first time all week.

This week, I hope to do as many runs as possible outside, get my strength work done not on the day before the long run, and get through the 47 miles and 18-mile long run (I haven’t done that distance in more than a year) kicking. However, given the fact that I’ve had three weeks of building and I have an extra 40 days in the plan, I may make this a cutback week. We’ll see by Wednesday.

Hope you had/have a great week! -Dorothea

Fun fact: I saw two deer at mile 13 of my long run. They just bounded across my path and disappeared into the woods. There was something special about that moment and in me.

 

Log: February 13th-19th (week one)

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This marked the first week of official marathon training, and I have to say, I’m very happy with how it went.

I’m following the Asics Target 26.2 Sub-3:30 training plan that used to be online but now isn’t, as far as I can tell (good thing I printed it out for future reference!). It’s a 16 week plan with 5 days of running each week starting at 27 miles and maxing at 49. Each week consists of an interval workout, and easy run, a tempo workout, a rest day, a “Parkrun” cross country race or hill workout, and a long run with a following rest day. There are fartleks, alternate paces (i.e. alternating paces every mile), steady-states, and halvsies (my label; first half of long run at easy pace, second half at marathon pace).

I used the last five weeks of this plan for my plan last marathon, so I am familiar with it. I meant to break 3:30 at the Fort Lauderdale marathon last February, but I knew ahead of time that lack of consistent pacing was my Achilles heal. However, I still BQ’ed and PR’ed by 18 minutes, so I know this plan is good. Also, the plan is set up to run Monday through Sunday, but I run Sunday through Saturday, so I actually end up maxing at about 53 miles (funny how that works, but it’s usually the case when one considers rolling versus calendar weeks).

At any rate, other than not having a cross country race to run on Fridays, I find it pretty easy to follow this plan. The two rest days definitely are a bonus and make dedicating the other five days to hard workouts more successful. However, as one may have noticed, I tend to commute by bike anyway during the week and sometimes end up doing weights on one of the days I don’t run, so I really have one pure rest-day a week- but it’s at least something! and this day is strictly observed. Also, having 2 rest days on the schedule means I don’t feel guilty when I decide not to take my bike or go to the gym on those days.

This training season, I skipped the first 4 weeks of the plan, started with week five and am skipping to week seven next week to accommodate the fact that my planned race is on April 23rd. Since I was at 35 miles a week average for the past month and had already built up to a solid 14 mile long run, skipping weeks 1-4 was not an issue. I even did a few workouts scattered throughout that time, so I actually felt strong for my first official workouts this week. In fact, I was able to go faster than the advised paces, but this may change as the mileage gets heavier and I incorporate more commutes again (I skipped riding my bike home from work 2/3 times this week because it was too cold in the evening).

Workouts on the schedule this past week: 12 x 400 at 95-100 minutes with 200m recoveries,  4 miles tempo at 7:30mpm, a 35 min. fartlek and 16 miles easy at 9mpm.

What I did:

9  x 400 at 95-97 seconds, one 400 at 90 seconds and one at 102 seconds. I accidentally only did 11 intervals. Somehow, I thought 12 x 400m + 11 x 200 m would be 4 miles, but it’s actually about 4.4 miles. Woops;

4 miles tempo at 7:28 mpm. I’m very proud of this one because I was running up and down some hard hills and still managed faster second than first part: 7:43, 7:18, 7:39 and 7:12. While it looks like it was not a steady pace, it was a steady effort with me pushing to keep the 7:30 pace for the end;

I forgot I was supposed to do a fartlek Friday and ended up doing a progression from 10 mpm to 5:45 mpm. Still, I think the effort equals about the same and gets the job done (though what do I know, I just kind of hope and pray these things- great training strategy, I know… may invest in a coach at some point in my life).

The long run yesterday made me feel like a badass- running through a heavy drizzle through the streets of Berlin will do that to you. ;) I didn’t got for 16 because I was a little tight on time and didn’t want to get too much more than 40 miles this week. Happy about the 15.42 and the 8:20 overall pace.

In summary, I ran 41.1 miles this week at good paces. I think at this point in the last marathon training season, I was not in the good shape I am now, so I’m confident about where I am during this point of this season. I’m not totally happy with my nutrition and I am developing some niggle at the bottom of my left hamstring that spoke up during a few of the runs since my intervals Monday, so I need to be careful. I’m stretching and foam rolling a bit more, as well as working harder to get 20% of my daily nutrients from protein, so hopefully I can speak differently next weekend.

In other news, I’m planning to go home in the spring and my family is talking about dates that are awfully close to the 23rd, so I really hope I am able to run my race! But right now, I might as well just keep training and hope for the best.

Hope you all had a good week, and have a good one next week.- Dorothea

Log: February 6th-12th

Urgh. What a week. I had a lot of fun last weekend, but lack of normal routine, different eating, no running (though enough other activity!) and time to get things done made returning to normal life in Berlin on Monday a bit of a drag. I got in a quick run and went off to work. You know you’re a runner when running is a higher priority than unpacking when you return from a trip.

Anyway, Monday was a rushed run, Tuesday was a rushed run, Wednesday was a rushed run, Thursday was a rushed run… and by the time it got to Friday, I was like “f***  it.” I didn’t want to spend another morning squeezing in the run, shower, breakfast, and getting ready to go before another long day of school/work.I skipped Friday’s run and after a few niggles this morning during my long run, I’m glad I had that day off.

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I did have mostly good runs all week, and surprised myself with a new route and unexpected extra mile on Wednesday because I couldn’t use the trails, because they were basically single-line ice-skating rinks.

I can’t explain progression runs Monday or Tuesday except that I didn’t feel like doing intervals and it felt right to just keep upping the pace. Average paces for all runs were in the 8:30s,except for today which I finished in an 8:55 pace. I don’t know. I wasn’t totally feeling it. But things will probably be better next week with normal routine and no uni appointments. Barely  managed 36 miles this week: I’m looking for the 40 next week.

Marathon training is in effect as of this week, and next week I have a 16 miler planned. We’ll see how it goes!

As a final announcement: I am taking off the first marathon I had planned in April. I made plans to go home for Easter, so I’ll just have the one for this spring. I’m actually more comfortable for it and look forward to good ole-fashioned training. Though, after that, I’m cutting down on running for a while. My running discipline is stronger than my writing discipline for a while now, and something needs to change.

 

Running Log: Jan 30th- Feb 5th

As I predicted last week, I came down with a cold. What better time than when I’m down for an easy week anyway? I figure that it was the 4 weeks of training before taking a break that caused my immune system to be a bit weak, and from now on, I will follow the 3 week-“on” 1 week-“off” training schedule. Sunday was terrible, but I felt better Monday morning in time to make it to work. I did decide to be responsible (a rare moment) and take Monday off. No running, no commuting by bike. I bought “cold tea” and it was a mixture of a bunch of herbs and flowers. I can’t tell if it worked, but it tasted nasty and I felt better Tuesday and managed an easy run in the gym before work. Same thing on Wednesday, day off Thursday (but I did bike-commute to work) and another easy run Friday and Saturday.

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I didn’t go to do strength work at all last week, and I really took it easy. I watched my heart rate and kept it below 145 the entire times I ran (with maybe a few strides to keep things interesting). I really didn’t feel like pushing it Tuesday anyway, and while the runs felt better as the week went on, I noticed my mind and body needed the break… especially taking the liberty of an extra rest day and not worrying about it messing up my training. See! I can learn things.

So, last week was easy and culminated in two days of So.Much.Snow. Adventure!

I added a lot of new verbs having to do with snow to my active vocabulary. My brother and I made up for 20 years of being in south Florida this weekend by sledding down a hill 20 times, building a legit snowman, and learning to ski! That was cross-training for sure. I had no idea how one rolls a snow ball, how heavy it can be, and how much butt strength skiing takes. We had a lot of fun and I’m a bit sad to return to a regularly scheduled programming this week.

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It’s not the most handsome snowman, but it’s ours! 

 

I did manage to squeeze in a fast 4 miles after arriving back in Berlin, before rushing off to work, and I’ll try to get 40 miles this week as marathon training needs to start happening soon.

I didn’t watch the Superbowl, but I also didn’t really miss it…

I will finally post to my actual blog again, soon! Just need to get a bunch of thesis work done and get back into routine.

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

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.