Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 14: Let the taper madness begin!

I'm spicing it up this week.............with pictures first!

Because that's what you're really here for, right?

Monday, I ran 21 miles.

Granted, I stopped 3 times (2 traffic lights and once to refill my fuel belt water bottles), but I was moving the rest of the time and this was a huge confidence booster for me.  I definitely was putting in way more effort than easy, but I felt like I could run 5.2 more miles in 49 minutes. *crosses fingers, knocks on wood*

Especially since it was hot (for November) outside. Like near 70 degrees,

Salty sweat don't lie:

I consumed lots and lots of liquid before, during, and after.

If I haven't blooped about it (and sorry if I have), I have to say that I am loving my new recovery routine.  A Muscle Milk Pro Series 40 drink (I swear this is contributing 50% of my faster recovery) followed by a short, hot shower to get clean and then getting into the ice bath for 15 minutes.

I used to eat a snack post long run like a piece of fruit and something with a little protein like cereal and milk or a sandwich--the Muscle Milk is much easier on the stomach.  Then I'd do the ice bath, sit around for 30 or so minutes afterwards and then take a shower.  I was probably mostly negating any good stuff from the ice bath.

New way > old way

After a few hours, Adam took me for my beloved post-long run meal of wings and beer.  He looks forward to long runs because now long runs = wings.

Tuesday night, I ran 2 miles.  Nothing much to report other than my legs felt okay enough after a hard 21 miles.

Wednesday, I practiced the new Oxford Dictionary word, selfie, as I knew I was headed to the hair salon.


Buh-bye split ends! After:

Thursday, I did mile repeats like a boss. I ran so hard that I had to stop and walk for 30 seconds after each one before I did the jogs. But holy moly, it felt exhilarating!

Friday was date night.

Saturday, I ran 2 miles after work because the snooze button won.  It was a great little run and I am pretty sure I danced the entire 17 minutes to my Pandora dance station.

Then I drank beer:

This morning, I was exited enough about my chilly long run to get myself out of bed to run at sunrise.

I wore my gloves the entire time and didn't push up my long sleeves.  It was still 29* when I finished. Good enough to hustle my legs along quickly:


So here is the sum of the parts:

Monday: Plan was 20 easy @9:10, Actual 21 @7:55, Splits: 7:59, 8:06, 8:11, 7:58, 7:58, 8:04, 7:53, 7:59, 8:00, 7:59, 7:57, 7:51, 7:52, 7:56, 7:39, 7:51, 7:55, 7:51, 7:53, 7:49, 7:52
Tuesday: Plan was 2 easy @9:09, Actual was 2 @8:34
Thursday: Plan was 3X1 @7:14, total 6 miles, Actual was 8:25 warm-up, 6:27, 6:29, 6:26, (800 jogs in between), 8:12 cool down
Saturday: Plan was 2 easy @9:09, Actual was 2 @8:34
Sunday: Plan was 12 easy @9:09, Actual was 13.1 @7:50, Splits: 8:14, 8:05, 8:01, 7:52, 7:54, 8:01, 7:54, 7:47, 7:40, 7:43, 7:52, 7:34, 7:19, last .1 at 7:17

Ooooooh you're right! I'm not finished. I owe you Boston Terrier pictures.

Good thing I have a few from this week.

The slackers have been slacking hard.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 13: Easy > Tempo

In week 12, I was a slave to the dreadmill.  But it kept me in line with my paces even though I wanted to go faster.  This week I headed outside.  Oops.

My slowest run was my actual scheduled tempo run--slowest probably because I ran on the dreadmill.

I moved my schedule around so that I am actually running my 20 miler tomorrow.  Which means that this week ended up looking pretty paltry mileage-wise if we are looking at the Monday-Sunday thing.  But next week I will top out at 40 miles even though I will technically begin my taper.  Not sure when I'll be able to squeeze my 12-miler in.  It might have to happen before I work on Sunday. Bleh!

The numbers:

Monday: Plan was 5 @9:10 easy, Actual was 5 in 7:39, 7:26, 7:20, 7:22, 7:10
Wednesday: Plan was 7 tempo with 5 @7:50, Actual was 1 warm-up mile at 9:30ish, 7:47, 7:41, 7:35, 7:30, 7:24, 1 mile cool down at 9:13
Friday: Plan was 5 @9:10 easy, Actual was 7 in 7:31, 7:24, 7:23, 7:19, 7:17, 7:18, 6:55

I tacked on 2 extra miles on Friday because in switching my days around, I might lose the recovery miles I was to run post-20 miles.  And because I was taking an extra day off...

Monday's run was very enjoyable.  I found myself thinking that during the summer I was beginning to think that I wasn't capable of having buttah runs any more.  Something always felt twingy and it was hot and it always felt so hard. Probably because I was still trying to run sub-8 miles in 90 degree weather.

But it was pleasantly coolish outside and I felt all yay-I-love-fall! The dogs loved that I decided to hang outside for a bit after I got home because it was so lovely out.

The tempo run was pretty good too.  It felt relatively easy.  I know I've made small steps downward in my speed over time and I reflected on my progress.  A 9 minute mile for an hour was my old norm. Now I'd feel comfortable running sub-8 with the same amount of effort.  Cool!

Friday's run was the best I'd had in a long, long time. I headed out when it looked like the rain had cleared out for awhile.  The forecast was wrong though and I spent the first half of my run in the rain.  I was wearing short sleeves and capris and it was pretty chilly in the mid 40s with pelting rain.  I had my Garmin turned backwards on my wrist partly to protect it and partly to not look at it.

I tested out my new BQ Attempt Playlist and smiled every time a new song played. And I tested out my not-so-scientific theory that smiling mid-run when the elation begins to fade is guaranteed to give a minimal 10 second boost.

I remember hearing during the last winter Olympics that Apolo Ohno yawns on purpose before he races in order to get more oxygen. I have no idea if there is any scientific merit behind this, but I do occasionally yawn mid-run on purpose.  Sometimes these little mental games have more power than we think!

When I finished my run and tapped the stop button on my Garmin, I did a double-take.  An actual, honest-to-goodness-look-at-my-watch-twice-quickly-in-succession double-take.  I couldn't believe how fast I had been going it and it felt fluid and good.  I knew I was putting in the effort towards the end, but I was shocked how fast my pace was in the beginning. Guess rain and cold makes this wuss run fast.

You can't tell how dreary it is from the blinding purple of my shirt in this picture, but it was yucky:

And in the layperson world (when I'm not a running superhero), I have been gathering new inspiration from a small number of Grandma's cookbook collection.  She is almost 91 and moved into a nursing home last month. I feel kind of sad that this part of her life she will never get to go back to, but I am happy to carry her torch:

Her love of cooking and baking definitely is in my blood. I made one of my favorite slow-cooker meals today--it simmered away while I was slaving away at work.

Five-spice pork wraps anyone?:

I am trying to think of ways I can smuggle my favorite beer to Rehoboth as it appears for only a few short weeks in the winter around here, but it's kind of hard when you are doing the carry-on thing.  Guess I'll just have to save one (boo!) for when I get back:

Oh you didn't see enough cute dog pictures in this post....?

I have happen to have a few extras lying around:


To the long run rest I go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 12: Dare I say this week was easy?

This was probably one of the weirdest weeks of marathon training that I've had in quite some time ever.

Because I have been slowly tacking on the miles and doing long runs, I was abruptly surprised at how lacking I felt this week.  Maybe because that long run gives me such a sense of pride or my speedwork gives me such an adrenaline rush.... or maybe because I am glutton for punishment.  Either way, this cutback week was well, easy.

I suppose that means that the training is working, right?

Marathon #2-#5 were approximately 10ish weeks of official training so this 16 week training plan is definitely different.  Plus, knock on wood, I have done every single work out that has been on my schedule.

The only bad part of this week was the all my runs were on the treadmill.  Partially because it is dark outside after work and partially because I was really busy with a lot of "life" things this week.  I know it isn't ideal, but at least I got the miles in.

So as unexciting as it is, here are the stats:

Monday: Plan was 7 easy @9:10, Actual was 7 easy @8:57
Wednesday: Plan was 7 easy @9:10, Actual was 8:57, 8:34, 8:34, 8:00, 8:00, 8:00, last mile was starting at a 7:03 pace and decreasing .1 mph every 1/10th of a mile to 8:00 pace
Friday: Plan was 7 easy @9:10, Actual was 8:34, 8:34, 8:00, 8:00, 8:00, 7:53, last mile was starting at 7:30 pace and increasing .1 mph every 1/10th of a mile to 6:40 pace
Sunday: Plan was 7 easy @9:10, Actual was 8:34, 8:34, 8:34, 8:23, 8:13, 8:06, 8:00

I rented Hood to Coast from Amazon Prime to watch while I ran--that kept me in high spirits while the hamster wheel droned on. That being said, I'll be happy to hit the Greenway this week since I won't be quite as busy. 

Hard to believe that the big day is less than a month away!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mid-week bloop for the math nerds

Okay math-y people.  Time to check out a few things.

First, let's look at marathon comparisons:

Clearly this is an internet calculator based on a bunch of random variables.  But marathon running is based on a lot of random variables.  So because this calculator makes it look like I got a BQ in the bag, I like it.  The Georgia marathon is super hilly. And I think the coldest year I was wearing this:

It drizzled lightly for half the race and I was still warm. No space blanket needed.

So I am kind of hoping that while it's not too cold ('cause I'm a wuss) that the chilly weather will make me a little faster.  And the fact that the elevation changes are about a billion times easier than Atlanta should help.

I pulled together my paper training logs today:

I mostly started using it to log mileage and some workout data, but there are some key facts missing from some of my runs.  But I was able to create a table with some usable data.

108:349:137:557:43 8:01
12 8:368:137:448:108:06
16 8:378:188:088:148:04
18  8:258:078:198:13
Fastest Mile Repeat 7:417:097:306:426:54
Fastest Tempo8:137:577:317:287:107:33
Race time4:01:093:59:083:50:363:52:013:43:18

The numbers in the left column are long runs 10-20 milers.  Everything else is pretty a runner anyway.  This isn't a perfect table because my overage mileage has increased--i.e. more mile repeats, longer tempos.  But the gist is there.

There are a couple of takeaways from this.

-I consistently run LSDs too fast. Who am I racing out there??

-I should have run a faster half last month based on this data, but then again, I do stop/start my watch for stoplights and when I refill my water bottles.

-I should have run a faster marathon in 2012. Guess I got complacent or something...Oh wait, that was I had lost my mojo and it was like, 80 degrees.

-Why have I not BQ'ed yet?

After this cutback week, I have one more 20 miler left on the schedule.  And then I taper down.  This past March I had a 2.5 week taper and I felt really good going into the race. Depending on my work schedule, I will try to aim to get that last 20 miler in around the same time.

Then it will be time for me to really start to obsess.  I am already obsessing about racing with my iPod--which I have never done before.  I always train with music, it makes me happy, and I think I might really want it when the spectators thin out in Rehoboth.  I just have to ensure that I have all my good songs loaded onto one play list so I am not losing time trying to skip songs. 

The other obsession is what to wear.  I hate being hot when I run, but I don't want to lose limbs because of my southern naivety.  I don't want to toss something keeping me warm if I need it later, but I don't want to run with stuff around my waist. Please, there is enough junk in the trunk...

Anyway, I'll obsess more when I am tapering.  And bother Loopville with all my questions.  You'd think after 5 marathons I'd know what I was doing. Lolololololol.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week 11: Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards

Oh look, it's another blog about me running my long runs too fast, drinking beer, making snacks, and subjecting you to pictures of my dogs.

Big surprise.

The numbers (my days are all switched around to the real schedule, but whatevs):

Tuesday: Plan was 7 tempo with 5 @7:51, Actual was 8:26, 7:13, 7:22, 7:16, 7:18, 7:12, 7:58
Wednesday: Plan was 6 easy @9:12, Actual was 6 @8:57
Friday: Plan was 16 LSD @9:12, Actual was 16.12 @8:04, splits: 8:13, 8:10, 8:17, 8:15, 8:01, 8:13, 8:07, 8:03, 8:08, 7:57, 8:12, 7:56, 8:02, 8:04, 7:42, 7:50, last .12 @6:57 pace

Tuesday I got new shoes (Saucony Mirage 3). And new gels (Hammer Tropical & Orange).

I tried on Newtons and while I love how soft they felt, I decided that this might be an annoying feature after a while.  I liked that the Mirage fit similarly to the Wave Elixir and went with that.

Totally didn't realize that they are much more minimal of a shoe that the Elixir.  And then I went on a too-fast-tempo in them. Oops.  Probably should have eased into them... hahahahah, like I ever ease into anything...

Tuesday night, I went over to a friend's house.  I brought chocolate with peanut butter cream cheese frosting ghost cupcakes:

Loopette HJAdams had sent me a baked good package as a thank you for the shoes I sent her.  And it really just fostered my need to make more things with cream cheese frosting.  Ah, bakespiration...

Anyway, I made chili too. 'Cause my friend was working all day and I was just putzing in the kitchen.

I hope I never get too old to enjoy scooping the guts out of a pumpkin. It's delightfully gross! My friend carved the one in the center.  I did the ones on each side.  I somehow have been suckered into carving Adam's pumpkin each year. Doh!

Thursday, of course, was Halloween.  Time for me to drink beer, hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters, and make my dogs dress up.


Friday morning, I did my day-off long-run routine.  Sleep in, eat some Cheerios, read the newspaper, get caffeinated, and prepare all my stuff.

I wore my Garmin, but I didn't look at it the entire run except when I had to stop/start at a stoplight and at the pit stop/turnaround point. I was pretty stoked when I saw the numbers.  I ran the first 10 at a 50% effort pace.  I knew I was much faster than the 9mm I was supposed to be running, but I felt like I was going closer to 8:20s.  The last 6 miles I was pushing it and the last 3 were definitely at tempo effort.

It was actually pretty warm outside and I was feeling the heat.  Probably mid-70s.  I was in a tank top and shorts.  I'm hoping cooler temperatures will help me feel a bit more comfortable.  I mean, it looks like fall...just doesn't feel quite like it yet.

Even though I'm training well, I'm training hard.  I'm not sure how much faster I can run while racing.  'Cause these are not 'easy' long runs.

I'm hoping that a combination of good temperatures, a relatively flat course, better and longer training, a Loopfest, and sheer willpower will carry me to my 3:34:59. 

But I every time I think about trying to run 8:12 for 26.2 miles, I admittedly have a lot of self-doubts. What's that all about?? I've come a long way in having confidence in myself, but like the great Alberto Salazar said once (and is one of my favorite quotes), "I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards."

Only 20 more training runs left!