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.

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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,
Dorothea

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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.

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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

 

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 11/2-11/8 in which I review a week of questionable training choices

There’s a reason chemists, physicists and other hard scientists rely so much on their charts and graphs. Sometimes a chart really does explain something better than is possible with a tick-tack of letters strung together from across the keyboard.

November 8th update

However, being the literary nerd that I am, I do both.

The weeks leading up through the beginning of October have been very consistent in terms of speed sessions, rest days, and long runs. However, since my 5K race and timid approach to cutting out the rest day before my long run, things have gotten kind of funky. Without a real running plan, I have no idea what to do these two weeks before my goal 5k. I can’t decide whether to do a cut-back week (as I normally would after three weeks of building) or another week with the same mileage and types of workouts before heading into a cut-back week right before the 5K… it’s all up in the air and I have no guidance, but a lot of hope riding on this race. I’ve written my goal time on my desk board, in my journals, and here: 21:14, which is a 6:50 mpm pace and totally doable; I’ve just never done it before.

So that’s that. Coupled with some pretty spontaneous personal plans and familial obligations, I’ve had to adjust my training a few times this week. This resulted in two shorter long runs rather than the usual one long run, as well as an active rest day in the middle of the week and some hill work when I don’t have a hill to train on and haven’t touched my incline on a treadmill (beyond going at the usual .5) in forever.

Monday, 11/2- check-in run for the PF and knee symptoms I was feeling after Saturday’s long run. Legs felt good after Sunday’s rest, so I did end up going for almost 6 miles at a pretty good clip: 8:05 mpm. I wasn’t pushing it, so I didn’t feel too guilty about nixing an easy run, but still had no solid verdict on the symptoms.
11/3- That’s where Tuesday’s run came in. I was on campus late again, waiting for my ride, so I left right away after my office hour and ran to the beach (I know, it’s nice to go to a university that is 5K from a warm beach- but I don’t make it there nearly often enough). I headed out and returned on a meandering trail right outside my university. The sun was strong, and my calves and knees had a few issues throughout the beginning miles, but then things settled down and I enjoyed it.
However, when I got back from the run, I found out I wouldn’t have the next afternoon to run, and since I have to be in class at 8 AM, I didn’t feel like an even earlier day than usual on Wednesday, so I added a few miles at the gym (before weights) to give myself some buffer for the next day. Hence, I have 10 miles for Tuesday.
11/4- turns out, I could have run Wednesday afternoon after all, since the plans that were made that cancelled my run were also cancelled, but I kept it an easy day anyway. Leisurely swim in the evening light (it’s experiences like these that remind me that I do like Florida weather… sometimes)
11/5- I didn’t do speed work on Tuesday, but didn’t feel like doing it Thursday either, so I compromised by doing 6 miles of hill intervals. These were fun and seemed to cause less problems with my knees than the usual speed work does. I did a warm-up, .25 at 4 incline, .25 at 5, .25 at 6.5, .25 at 7, .25 at 8, .5 at 8, .5 at 7, .75 at 5.5, .5 at 4 and then something else through the rest of the time (including 7.1 speed at max (15.0) incline) with .25 jog rests at 1.0 incline. All the hills were done at 7.1 or higher (maxing out at 8.3 at 7 incline, which was hard!) The rests were at 6.7 or more, which were only possible since the reduction in incline each time felt like a rest in itself. I didn’t get my heart rate totally high as often as I usually do with speedwork, but it seemed like a solid workout.
11/6- an easy short 2.35 miles with circuit training. I can do a hand walk across parallel bars for 25 meters now, which is exciting. :-) And four pull-ups! I’m happy with how my overall fitness is progressing. This was a reasonable run and felt really good considering I had just done interval training the day before.
11/7- Saturday 9.68 miles with the running group. Ran with a biker, and both of us were so intent on showing the other that we could keep up, that we did the first half in 8 mpm pace. I knew we had started off too fast… and I usually like to head slowly into my long run, speeding up along the way, but I also didn’t want to disappoint my new partner. However, after she checked her Strava halfway through (I haven’t been wearing my watch since it broke last weekend), she slowed down. I stayed with her through mile 8, but after she said she wanted to go 9 versus 10, I sped up to do a little extra so that I could get back to the store (where we all meet) around the same time she did. It was a good run, but so humid that I ended up dehydrated and out of it for nearly the rest of the day. Lame, since it was a shorter long run. Also, because I was at just under 35 miles for the week, and I like to have my mileage pretty consistent when I’m not building it, I got in half a mile picking my car up from the shop (nothing serious, just an oil change!).
11/8- active rest with a nice swim (this time a little more serious with freestyle and goggles).

So, my total for the week was 35.1 miles, and while I still haven’t decided what to do next week, I’m thinking of a medium one with difficult speed-work, and an easier one leading up the race. What do you all think? Hope you had/have a good week with a great weekend, and that the next week starts off smoothly (no more daylight savings jetlag symptoms ;) )

Running Update: 9/23-9/29

I’ve been posting fairly regularly, so I guess that means I’m in something of a running groove right now. Came just in time to start actually building a base for marathon training.

It could have something to do with the shoes because, since buying the Gel-Nimbus 17s, I haven’t been dealing with as many leg niggles. I still have a few, and they still made me think that a few rest sandwiches were in order, but even after not taking a rest day after my “long” run this week, I’m feeling okay.

The trick is to go slow and steady.

I do want to go faster again though. I think having two shoes to rotate will help with that, so I bought myself a pair of Nimbus 16s. I had these shoes last fall and they worked well for me.

asics-nimbus-16-womens-pink-main

I loved the mint green, neon pink combo of these, so decided to get them again.

My training, since the awesome 5K in the gym last Tuesday, resumed Wednesday with an easy 3 miler with some circuit training at the park. Then, I decided I needed an extra rest training 9-23day and would run Friday before the “long” run. I did run Friday, but decided sleeping in on Saturday to recover from the week and nip my oncoming cold in the bud was more important. So I did the 9 miles on Sunday. Yesterday the foolishness started, where I thought I could handle a run after a short “long” run. I probably can, but I had also done some strength work at the gym on my legs, which I don’t usually do. I ended up with a very easy pace and I also felt it today on my not-too-significantly-shorter run.

I have yet to see how the rest of the week plays out, but the plan is: run tomorrow and Thursday, rest-day Friday, 13-miler Saturday.

We’ll see how this goes.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Staking my Territory: Hamburg is mine

Today, I laid claim to the city of Hamburg. Every part of the city that runs along the Elbe from Blankensee to unfinished Elbphilharmonie that is.

The Elbphilharmonie… still about five years away from being finished. Also, another stolen picture. I need to figure out a way to bring a camera along on my runs.

Remember how I found a route that leads from my place to the Elbe River? Well, today I decided to run along that river for at least five miles. This took me from almost-suburbs of Hamburg all the way to the heart of its former trade halls and harbor.

I saw more of Hamburg than one of those silly bus tours would have shown me, and I covered the distance in good time too; not to mention, this was all free!

Hamburg long run

The highlights of this tour: Fisher Harbor, Patrician Houses of Altonauer Balkon (the architecture in general here is amazing), the Cruise Center Altona where a huge ship was docked, the famous Altona and St. Pauli Fishmarkets (which were in full swing, since it was Sunday morning after all… too bad I hadn’t brought any money for a fischbroetchen), the U-Boot museum, St. Pauli, part of the Elb-Park, the St. Michaelis Church (need to go in there sometime!), the Krameramtstuben (no idea what they are, but will visit soon), of course, the Elbphilharmie, and then the Landungsbrucken with the Alter Elbtunnel, ferry stop to get to Cuxhaven or Hegoland, and many tourist offices and signs.

2014-10-10 15.40.07

The weather yesterday was gorgeous. And that funny wavy looking building in the upper right with a crane hanging over it is supposed to be Hamburg’s greatest pride, the Elbphilharmonie (concert hall). It’s fighting with the Stuttgart train station and the Berlin airport for epic fail status.

2014-10-10 16.10.55

View from the Landungsbrueke. This morning I saw a few empty cargo ships, a sail boat, and many, many tourists.

The stretch along the Elbe that didn’t run directly through the city/tourist attractions was filled with runners. On my return trip back on this stretch I came across a lot of runners who were going in the same direction as I was and my competitive self wanted to beat them all, which I did. Miles 11 and 12 were about 7:30 pace, average pace for 12.8 miles was 8:12.

Good half-marathon training, but now I’m tired.

Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!

Classes start tomorrow (finally), so I need to see how my new running schedule will look like.

Running with a Different Kind of Fuel Through Berlin

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(From Sunday, August 3)

Today is my last day in Berlin; tomorrow, I fly home to the suburbs of south Florida. This likely means that my run this morning was the most interesting one for a while.
Usually while in Berlin, I opt for the trails right outside my door (well, .8 miles from it, but still) and run a standard path I know through the Gruenewald (a large forest literally framing the whole south west corner of the city) and all the derivatives from it. Since I don’t have trails this accessible to me in the States, I love every run I get to do on them while in Germany. Yesterday’s run was especially rewarding.

However, since today is my last day in the city and I knew I wasn’t going to run tomorrow (7:15 check-in time), I decided to do a serious Berlin run.

My family stays in Charlottenburg, so I start off pretty far west in the city. Still, it’s only four miles in a straight line to the Brandenburg Gate. I made the Gate my first destination after deciding to go for about 1.75 hours. The route there takes me on one of Berlin’s most busy streets, but on Sunday at 6:30 AM, the streets are fairly empty. For those familiar with Berlin, you’ll know that the square mile to the west of the gate is a large park, a huge, green space in the middle of Berlin with small lakes, tea houses, creeks, the Spree to one side, and lots and lots of rabbits. I saw a few runners here, but generally I had the park to myself. I followed some different paths than I usually do and accordingly saw new things, like the Luise Insel, but made my way back to the Strasse des 17. Junis because that’s the street leading up to the Gate.

A beautiful face on a beautiful morning; running through the Berlin Tiergarten, one can see the LuiseInsel, a secluded little spot with gates against the rabbit plague

A beautiful face on a beautiful morning; running through the Berlin Tiergarten, one can see the Koenigin Luise Denkmal in the LuiseInsel, a secluded little spot with gates against the rabbit plague

I passed the Soviet Memorial, which was imposing as always, and of course, once I got to the Gate, had to run through it. I feel empowered as I do so, because I know that for about 50 years, going through the Gate like that wasn’t possible.

The Brandeburg Gate and Pariser Platz are especially impressive without the "Menschenmassen." Looking through the gate towards the west, you can also see the Siegesaule.

The Brandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz are especially impressive without the “Menschenmassen.” Looking through the gate towards the west, you can also see the Siegesaule.

At any rate, to avoid being boring, I’ll try not to be too detailed in recounting this run.

I ran past embassy after embassy (taking a few minutes to risk the stares of guarding policemen as I looked at the British coat of arms [who knew there’s French written on it?]) and found myself in Berlin Mitte near the Holocaust Memorial and Hitler’s bunker (to me, the closeness of these two spaces provoke some thought). I made my way over to Potsdamer Platz and took a moment to run through the Sony Center. Then, I started to make my way over to the Kürfurstendamm where I wanted to run down so that I could see the Kaiser Wilhem Gedächniskirche again as well as run by a sea that’s near our place.

One of the last impressive things I saw on my run was this church along the (as Berliners like to call it) Ku’Damm.

We ended up swimming in that sea, so I was glad to have explored the route to our house. The last eventful things I saw were the huge convention centers (Messe Nord) and the Funk Turm (the Eiffel Tower of Berlin).

As you can probably tell, my family gets a lot of Berlin when we come here, and I’m glad I was able to take advantage of all the sights one last time.
I’m also glad I was able to take advantage of one free morning. I hate having to sit long hours in a plane with active legs, and I didn’t want to have to do a long run tomorrow, so I did it today. The thing is, while I used to do all my runs without bringing food or water, I had started doing so during my last year of marathon training. I find myself able to go faster on these long runs if I have something to eat before and during than if I don’t (go figure). However, I haven’t been running a lot these past few weeks (30 rather than 40+ miles per week) and I’ve been eating more, so I felt like I had enough in me to carry me at least two hours. Turns out I did, and the sights were my fuel to some extent, but I would likely have run better with some water at least. It was a humid, warm morning. The end of the run felt harder, but that’s also because I had negative splits. All told, I ran 11.45 miles (not really long) in 1:43:04. The first half of the run was in 9:08 mpm pace, so one can calculate what the second half was. My TomTomGPS Runner hasn’t been translating to Runkeeper that well lately, and so I can’t give accurate splits.

So all told, it was a good effort, especially considering what I did yesterday. I didn’t mind running without fuel because, like I said, the sights were amazing and I have a bit of vacation weight to lose. Another thing I noticed about running “fasted” (I ate dinner around 10 PM and ran at 6:30 AM, so I wasn’t really fasting) is that I don’t have a roaring appetite throughout the day… I usually make up for it the next day, but the day of the long run, I’m able to limit myself to just eating what I need to recover.