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.

graph

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

 

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training week six update

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

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

squadrunner

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

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

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

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

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

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

graph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. Now I’m really done.

Training Week Five update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy running and resting,
Dorothea

Let’s get this started.

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

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

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

Three weeks so far

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

Wish me luck!

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

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

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

Untitled

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

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

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

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

Happy running,
Dorothea

Running October 23-November 25

My whatever works plan is still going strong.

graph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers, Dorothea

 

Running Log: October 16-22, in which I run a race

This was a good week as far as running goes.

Remember how I mentioned that the races I signed up for got cancelled? Well, only one of them did. The other race was re-imagined by the Berliner running club who were putting it on and I decided to do it, despite it not being at all what I had signed up for. Rather than setting up the course in the forest as they originally were going to, they set up on a track. A dirt track. And rather than having hills and roots to watch out for, they set up mini-hurdles.

I considered the boredom of running in a loop, as well as the small participation, a challenge. There were about 35 people doing the 30-minute and the 60-minute together, but only 12 of us were doing the full hour. But they did have music and the timer on the track meant I’d get to know how fast I was running each lap.

It was an hour long race, the first of its kind I’ve ever done. I’ve had my own hour-long attempts- trying to see how much I can get done in the hour I had allotted, for example, but never a race where the time was measured and it was up to me to see how much I could get done in that time.

Turns out, it’s a tad above 13 kilometers: 97 meters more. This comes out to a 7:21 mpm average pace. At least, that’s my ability with my current fitness.

I went in with a goal of 8 miles, which is a 7:30 pace and I felt it was doable, since I’ve been running pretty consistently at 8:15 to 8:30 as an easy pace and the 800s in 3:20, so 7:30 was modest. This meant I was actually hoping (and going for) over 8 miles.

I managed to be a newbie and start off too fast: 1:36 for the first lap. But I settled down a bit and got 3:22 for the first 800 and 22:15 for the first 5k. But I also made the mistake of paying attention to the pace my GPS watch was showing and not the actual time, and of course the pace was based on distance and my GPS overcalculated distance (as it is wont to do on a track), so I thought I was going 7 minute pace the whole time, when really it was the 7:20 I ended up with.

When I first saw my splits (seeing each 0.25 mile is a novelty!) I was proud of the consistency with which I ran. Other than the first lap where I went too fast and the 17th lap where I took a fueling break, I was really consistent. But maybe it just looks that way since I did laps and not miles. Calculating the 5 second spread in miles, it’s a 20 second difference in pace, so perhaps my paces were a bit more spread out than I think now. I’ll find out on Monday. (edited to add: according to my TomTom, my paces per mile were  6:51, 6:55, 6:56, 6:57, 7:20, 7:02, 7:05, and 7:02- so, consistent enough!)

My longest lap was lap 17 where I took a fueling break to down some water and eat a third of a banana. It was 30 seconds off my average, and in retrospect, not having it would have allowed me to be first woman- but did the fuel help? Probably. I won’t blame it on that.

Which brings me to the fact that I also could have gotten 1st woman if I had a stronger mental game. Around lap 28, a girl came up from behind me, and while I was sure there was only one other guy in front of me, I couldn’t figure out the logic of racing on a track (despite having done 5 years of track and cross country but hey, it’s been a while!) and thought the girl had lapped me (I call her a girl, she is a 23-year old woman). I still tried to stick with her, for sports sake, but as she pulled away, I figured she had 0.25+ on me anyway, so catching up wouldn’t mean much. After the race, however, I realized she was on the same lap as me and only finished about 100 meters in front of me. Darn! Add in the doubt about the 30 seconds of fueling and I manage to sour what was otherwise a positive racing experience; kudos to the SC Tegeler-Forst running team for organizing a great event!

But that’s peanuts. I finished healthy (I think- going to evaluate after post-run fatigue is gone tomorrow) and had a good time. I also have an hour-race PR, so there’s that.

As for the week, one can see I took it easier. Part of that was to prep for the race, but I was also  sticking to what I wrote last week! I did want to take it easy. Got a bit of biking in too, so my activity points for the week are earned. Now, as for personal, academics? If only they were so easy as running in circles, sometimes.

 

Running Log: August 16-27

August 16-27

Ha ha. I thought I’d get around to collecting my thoughts about the summer in Germany and blog about it, but look, it’s already time for another recap on running.

I’m consistently getting closer to regular 6 miles. I haven’t done more than an eight mile run in over five months, but I’m getting closer to the point where I’ll try an 8-10 miler (maybe even next weekend?!). These past three weeks I’ve averaged around 20 miles as well and run more days in a row.

I obviously didn’t run on the day I flew back to the US, but I ran the four days after that and kept the runs shorter and comfortable (I was woefully reminded of what running in sub-tropic climates in the summer feels like). I managed to get a cold (probably from sitting around too long in air-conditioning in sweaty clothes). Still, I felt ready for an interval session on Friday, so after rearing myself in after a fast warm-up mile, went for 3 x 800s with .2 mile recoveries. The humidity of South Florida is not to be underestimated, though. I found the 3 were enough and couldn’t get under 3:16. But it’s a good baseline for September running in Florida and training in these conditions will prepare me for the cooler, drier fall in Berlin when I head back.

Hope everyone is running/recovering well and that Harvey doesn’t leave too large a trail of destruction. Stay safe!

 

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.

graph

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

Log: January 2nd-8th

graph

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

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

Backwards and Forwards

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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