Sunday, April 16, 2017

Marathon Training Week 14: You may saaaaay it's a taper

But when I'm still running 45 miles a week it's kind of hard to see how. Welcome to the recap!

Monday
Today was novel in two regards. First, I'm not sure my calves have ever been this tight. So tight I stopped to stretch them about 3 times in the first 1-2 miles, and even to massage them once. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish my 8 miles. Finally around the end of mile 2, when I stopped at a light for a bit and stretched again, finally they released. Just, wow, though. I think I was trying so hard not to slip on Saturday that I must have changed my gait or something. Who knows!

The second thing: there was a discarded red apple on the sidewalk in front of the middle school. What better place! It made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday
Tuesday morning it was raining, so I stayed in bed and put the run off until Wednesday.

Wednesday
I got to go fast. I love to go fast. As I was running fast--and smiling--I thought, today will be the day my co-workers drive past me and wonder why I'm grinning like an idiot while running. I just...I love to go fast.
 
Thursday
Seven easy miles. I did a loop down through the next town over and home. On my way back I saw a small purse left behind on a park bench, near a school. I hesitated. What should I do? Should I take it into the school, in case it's a student's? In case they could check it for ID and try to find the person? I went back and picked it up and opened it. If it had a wallet or phone, I decided, I would take it to the school. It didn't. Just some lip gloss and a few similar items. I hoped it hadn't been picked over already. I hoped no one loved the particular bag a lot.

Friday
I got lost going to Shannon's house, a full 36 hours after telling her we could run near her because I was sure I could finally find her house. Someday, someday I hope to say reliable things to that woman while planning our runs. 2017 is not, apparently, that year. Thankfully my phone had come back the day before so while it had deleted her contact information at least I did have GPS.

We ran through horse farms. Beautiful, rolling hill, green pasture, mansion-laden, horse farms. The sun was streaming through some clouds. The horses were pasturing while wearing blankets, which I hadn't seen in so long (maybe ever?) I'd forgotten it was a thing they sometimes do. Beautiful morning with a wonderful friend.

Saturday
I realized I've nearly completed this race season and haven't brunched after a Saturday long run even one time. Unacceptable! So I texted Laurie and Shannon Friday night to see who was game. To my great joy, Laurie said she could run a few miles with me. SO HAPPY TO HAVE HER BACK!! So Saturday morning I went to our agreed-upon trail head to run the first 9 solo. In perfect timing, just as I was walking off the trail back into the parking lot, Laurie pulled in. It was so good to see her again. We ran my last 6 together, then headed to brunch.

Laurie & me
Both Shannon and my friend Rosie met us for brunch. I loved the place we ate at. Everything looked so good, it was hard to choose. They served the best breakfast sausage I've maybe ever had. What a win.
The dream team of strong-willed women
Total Miles: 45
Favorite Run: I loved going fast. I loved the horse farms with Shannon. Laurie was back. This week, I can't call a favorite. There was just too much good.

Next week I taper in earnest, cutting back more dramatically on miles and effort. I'm ready.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Marathon Training Week 13: Rain and snow and ice, oh my!

Monday
Six easy miles. I told myself to relax, that this is the weekly reset button on running. I did finally relax into it, it just took a little bit.

Tuesday
I'm using my iPad for most things since I currently don't have a phone. I forget that when I sleepily hit the iPad when my alarm goes off, the way I have the settings it just turns it off. And so, I turned off my alarm and slept an extra roughly 45 minutes.

It was hard to make myself get up. I was over-tired the night before and had slept ok, but not great.I told myself it was probably still raining (it wasn't). I told myself my stomach hurt and I should go back to bed (it did, but this is pretty normal when I first get up when it's super early, and not at all an excuse to go back to bed). I told myself I could switch my rest day (tomorrow) to today and push this back (I shouldn't--it was a tough workout). I fought back against the inner voice and won. I made it to the back door, to my shoes, and outside.

Two mile warm-up: easy, slow, steady. No big deal.

8 x 800 Yassos.
Yes. This day has finally arrived.
(Yassos: you run 8 800s in the minute:second pace of your hour:minute target race pace. So, if you wanted to run a 4:00 marathon, you'd do Yasso 800s at 4:00 per 800)

In all sincerity, I have been looking forward to this for weeks. I ran 6x800 a few weeks ago, but on a treadmill, which might make it a little easier to pace. Would I be able to do them at pace outside? For 8 of them?

Yes. My slowest 800 was still a few seconds faster than my goal pace. Success!

The run did feel substantially harder than my treadmill version had. In part, this was due to wind. In part, I ran the intervals faster. And once, I had to dodge a car. All told, definitely pleased with this one.

(And those cool-down miles, sooooo slow)

Wednesday
Rest day. Like a mother.

Thursday 
This is an actual Facebook Messenger conversation with details obscured to protect the innocent.  




I ran through an honest-to-God thunderstorm. Thunder. Lightening. In the dark. At one point I thought, "I'm not sure it's possible to rain any harder." There was a puddle so big it covered three-quarters of the road; I got lucky though and got to it when there were no cars, so I could walk around it. It was so bad at one moment I fantasized Shannon would just materialize with pastry (because she does that) and a dry, warm car (which I knew I was not out at the right time to really hope for). Of my 7 miles, it was raining for about 5. 

I was so wet when I got home that I put my shirt in the bathroom sink. Fact. 

Friday

Cleveland: We had a mild winter
Me: Ok, but can it be done now?
Later in the day I had occasion to drive through rolling hills and lots of trees. It was gorgeous. Like, the kind of day where people stop and get out of their cars to capture the perfect picture of snow-laden trees hanging over the road. Beautiful. And I did finally get the easy run done. I've lived here long enough to know the roads will be clear by mid-afternoon, so I waited until then.

Saturday
Plan A: meet a group running a point to point that would end with breakfast. Make new friends! Run new places!
I got up at 4:30 to get dressed and drive to the meet-up. Because I don't have a phone, I looked up all the directions for the whole round trip. And then realized, I didn't have time. It was 30 minutes from the end back to the cars, and then ~45 minutes back home. And with a group running a variety of paces, I was not going to get home with enough time to shower, eat, and get the rest of the way ready for my younger son's 5th birthday party*, which was at the house. 

(*Sidebar: if you're a parent wondering where the hell your kid's invitation was, we tried. He was determined to invite just a few kids from his daycare. How about more kids from your class? No. How about kids from the street? No thanks.)

So I reluctantly texted my soon-to-be running buddy to cancel. So disappointed. 

Plan B: Run alone near home. I went back to bed for a while, then got up and ran. I quickly realized the path I usually run on days like this still had too much snow and ice on it and was not passable. I redirected, no big deal. As I do, I circled back to my house at the halfway point to refill water and grab more Gu. I left again and headed north. 

My path north goes through a one-block stretch of road that's currently closed for maintenance, and thus isn't being treated for snow/ice. I walked over the snow and ran where it was clear. Then my feet flew out from under me. It wasn't clear. It just looked clear. A sheet of ice. The good news: my internal monologue reacted well--I knew what to do. Mid-air I was bracing for impact. The bad news: I landed pretty f-ing hard. I groaned. 

A guy heard me. He came running to see if I was ok. 

He fell exactly the same way on the sheet of ice. 

We were both fine. He at least had on a thick hat that probably protected his head, which was my chief concern for me. I noticed shortly after that both hands were bleeding, just a little. I didn't know until I got my shower later that I also got an impressive bruise on my left elbow. Then there were muscle-related responses. 

At mile 20 my left shin clenched hard into a ball. I actually had to walk a few times, and that night it hurt so much I could barely walk. By Sunday morning, and after a good bit of massage, it relaxed. My abs hurt on the left side into Monday. But all told, the incident was more funny than painful. 

I finished my 22 miler slower than most long runs, and feeling successful. 

It feels weird to say when I'm still running 45 miles next week, but the taper has officially started! It's all downhill to race day. It's hard to believe I've arrived at the taper already!

Total miles: 50
Favorite run: The Yassos, easily.  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Marathon Training Week 12: Sideways

Monday
I did not even make it off the starting block this week before having to rearrange. My younger son didn't eat much Sunday, tossed and turned a lot Sunday night, and didn't eat breakfast Monday, earning him a day at home. And my husband was out of town. So I had no way to run.

I have a 1-mile time trial later this week. I'll ditch that, move everything back a day, and take today as a rest day. So I'll only miss 1 mile. That's a small price to pay for a maybe vaguely sick kid.

Also, my phone got stuck in a perpetual reboot cycle, earning it a trip home to ATT to be fixed. I'll be lean on pictures until it's back. Sad face.

Tuesday
What a morning. My intention of getting both kids dropped off the minute their schools opened did not happen. I was over-tired and slept a bit past my alarm. And then kids. When you're trying to rush to get out of the house. Glacial. I had them both dropped off and I was back home by about 9:15. I checked work email and took care of a few things, then headed out.

I was dressed for rain, which meant I was hot for the first half, until the turn-around. It started to very lightly rain at about 5.5, which was fine, because:
Image result for there's no such thing as bad weather for running just bad clothing 

Wednesday
Stilllll sideways. I came home early from work so I could run before picking up the kids. I had 9 miles planned with some fast miles. I got through the 2 mile warm-up and knew I didn't have it today. I suspect running at 4:15 was largely to blame, but who knows. I remembered that I had 6 easy miles sometime later in the week, so I did that instead and called it a day. 

Thursday
It rained all day. ALL DAY. As in, thunder and lightening and heavy rain. So no. That 9 miles I pushed back? Not happening.
Friday
Still raining. A lot.
Saturday
Some hours after my weather app said we'd moved to a 0% chance of rain--zero percent--it was still raining. But by mid-morning it stopped. I spent the morning cleaning the house, and headed out about 2pm for my long run. 
I was scheduled for 13 miles but was feeling guilty about missing 18 miles earlier in the week. Good news: I can run 13 miles pretty casually. Less good news: I have to think about 16 miles a little bit. I stopped by the house at 11.5 to get water and whatnot, and after that I was entombed in lactic acid that would not go away. I finished 16 miles at a just fine average pace, but I felt it. 

Total miles planned: 44
Total miles ran: 29
Favorite run: I mean, I guess Tuesday, although to be honest it wasn't very memorable. The week just didn't really happen. 

There isn't anything I can do about it, and there wasn't much I could do about it as it was happening. I have to just move on. Next week is another 50-mile week, and with it, my last shot at a really long run before the race. I'm eager to get this coming week right.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Marathon Training Week 11: 50 Miles

For, I believe, the third time in my life, I hit 50 miles in a week. Welcome to week 11!

Monday
My weather app did that thing again where it couldn't decide if I was in the clear or would be running in rain and snow. Gun shy after Saturday's hypothermic debacle, I went back to bed, packed a gym bag, and hit up the treadmill later for this easy run.

Tuesday
When I stepped outside, it felt like spring. The fog held a chill: damp, quiet, calm. The air smelled of wet leaves. It was dark. My feet crunched on pavement, its occasional gravel under my weight.

Wednesday
Rest day. Brought clothes to do office yoga but ran out of time, so I did it at home in the evening. I used a new workout from doyogawithme. The workout wasn't as fulfilling as others I've used, but I enjoyed trying a new one and getting the benefit of a workout. It's amazing how much even a little yoga can heal things that hurt from running.

Thursday
18 degrees when I stepped outside. I was cold at first, but knew I'd warm up after a mile or two. And oh, these are the mornings I live for. I was most of the way finished before the sun really rose. Before that, I could see hints of light on the horizon, all in shades of blue, leading up to the inky, dark sky and a sliver of a moon over the lake.

The run felt easier than I expected, all but a small uphill part. I was home before anyone was awake, which let me get breakfast started and clean dishes put away.
Mmmmmmm
Friday
Shannon and I met for this easy 5 miler. Well, easy for me. She was pushing a jogging stroller containing 3 and 5 year old girls. Not so easy. But a beautiful cool morning.
There wasn't a memo. We just showed up like this.
Saturday
I must have checked the weather 40 times between Friday afternoon and Saturday. Rain or no rain? Rain or no rain? I finally decided that while it might rain, it looked unlikely to rain until at least 10am. If I started early enough, I could get this 22 miler finished before the rain came.

But just to be sure, because, lake effect, I told Shannon I'd text her before 6am if plans changed.

The plan only changed because I was a few minutes late getting out of my house. I ran the same 2.7 miles as last week to meet her. We ran 6 miles together. Without incident. I so appreciated having the company for part of this very, very long run.

Shortly after parting ways I saw a skunk. I stopped where I was, about 30 feet from it, and let it waddle itself across the road and well into the other side of the street before I proceeded. Without question, and with more thanks than I know how to express here, this was the most disruptive, concerning part of this run.

I finished out 11.5 miles to end up back at my house. I left a note for my still-sleeping husband, listened to the kids playing quietly, refilled my water, grabbed more Gu, and was back out the door. Down to the lake, a lap around, a lap through Cleveland Heights, another lap of the lake, and back toward the house. I got tired toward the end. Mile 21 was a 9:55 pace. I know enough to harness this as an opportunity to train my brain to deal with fatigue, and that's exactly what I did.

Total miles: 50. FIFTY!
Favorite run: I loved them all. Ok, not Monday, but all the others. Gorgeous sunrise one day. The smell of spring another. Running with Shannon. A successful 22 miles. It's too hard to pick this week.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Marathon Training Week 10: The Week I Learned What Lake Effect Actually Means

Monday
It's spring break at my university, which gave me the luxury of running this 4 miles mid-day. Nice.

Tuesday
As the east coast braced for soul-crushing snow, and as my older son's school was canceled, I kept watching the forecast and saying, guys, it says only 1-3" overnight. And guess what? We got about 4" of snow overnight. NBD. But it kept snowing through Tuesday, and the roads weren't great until mid-afternoon, at which point my window for getting 'er done had closed, as I was entertaining the kids. The worst part of the day was that my university also closed, so I didn't have access to the gym to do this run indoors.

Wednesday
With institutions re-opened, I headed to the gym to get my speed work done for the week. Could I have done it outside? Probably. But, SO COLD. Today was the second time this winter the cold has bothered me, and mostly at this point its because I went ahead and put the Easter wreath on my front door.

My training schedule sends me to the track only twice in this 16 weeks, and today was the first, for 800m repeats. I dutifully set my treadmill to 0.5%-1% grade (I varied it through the run) to simulate running outdoors. It might still be because I was on a treadmill, but these 800s felt pretty easy. This one was a win.

Thursday
I don't watch a ton of tv, but lately when I have, I've been all over the commercials for fried chicken sandwiches. Hell, for almost any food. Today while I was getting my 10 miles of pace running done, my husband picked up lunch. So bad. So good. If there had been two, I would have eaten two.

My once per year fast food
Friday
The only rest Friday on my entire schedule. And thank goodness, because this body is tired.

Saturday
The following are copied and pasted from an actual text conversation:

Friday 11am: "I'm showing rain and snow all day tomorrow but clear/foggy Sunday. Unless things change, I will likely do my run Sunday instead."

Friday 10:55pm: "Now it's saying maybe clear. I'm going to bed now and getting up early to check weather and will decide then."
 
Shannon, Saturday, 6:29am: "Mine is saying rain snow mix for 60-70%."

Saturday, 8:36am: "My phone can't decide. I checked twice in the last 5 minutes and it said two different things. It says it's going to rain but the radar looks clear until about 1."

Saturday, 9:21am: "I think the weather is going to hold" 

So we went. I ran almost 3 miles to a train station where I met Shannon and her bike. She biked and I ran about 3 miles east, where I wish we had aerial video of us going opposite directions around a cul-de-sac, and back. About the time we got back it started to rain/snow/ice pellet. We stopped to take a video and decide what to do.



A post shared by Shannon (@clerunningmom) on

So things weren't good at that point. We hoped the storm was just blowing through, that we were just getting the edge of something nearby, because, THE PREDICTIVE RADAR HAD BEEN CLEAR. I'd checked 487 times. The hourly forecast had been inconsistent but looked like it would be clear. I'D CHECKED.

So we kept running. The plan was to stop by my house 3 miles later anyway, so worst case, we could bail then if necessary.

Things did not get better. Things got worse. Much worse. People driving by started staring openly at us, shaking their heads. And, to make matters infinitely worse, neither of us was wearing a jacket. I hadn't had a hat until we went past her car. I was wearing regular, non-thermal, non-water resistant tights. I was wearing my lightest, thinnest gloves. Her feet were wet. I had no money on me.

We finally arrived at my house and went inside. We plainly couldn't do the other 8 miles. We went upstairs to get dry clothes. After I changed, I found her in my kids' bathroom with her feet in the tub, running the hottest water it would give her. Her toes looked like death. Fully changed, I could not stop shivering. This lasted an hour. Neither of us could have been coerced to change into real clothes or leave again for a while after that. So at some point we gave up on the day and started baking and drinking beer. I missed an event in my neighborhood in the midst of all this and I feel terrible about it. I also missed my husband's first tae kwon do belt test, and I'm sorry for that too. And I'm bitterly disappointed to have not completed a long run. But the day ended many hours later, smiles all around, after our families had a left-overs dinner at our house. The day ended like this. Yes, most of what she's wearing is mine. Especially those slippers.
What I learned:
"Lake effect" does not just mean "lots of snow." My whole life, I thought that's what it meant. Lake effect means a storm is moving off the lake and it could end up anywhere, violently, quickly, and the meteorologists really cannot tell you where it will land. That my weather app kept changing its mind reflected this. That we got caught in ice pellets blasting at our faces was the result.

Total Miles Scheduled:
43
Total Miles Ran:
35
Favorite Run:
No, the long run was not my favorite, but certainly one I won't forget. Ever. And it was an amazing day at the end of the day.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Marathon Training Week 9: Breaking 40

Monday
I don't want to I don't want to I don't want to I don't want to I don't want to I don't want to

Oh, I'm finished.

Pretty much how 3 easy miles in the dark feel at this point.

Tuesday
My first speed work of the training cycle! I ran 8 miles with the middle 3 miles at an 8 minute pace.

Even though she wasn't there, Shannon helped me out on this one. A few weeks back she mentioned that one of the nearby paved trails happens to be almost exactly a mile loop. I couldn't have asked for a better way to do this run.

I ran this one mid-morning when I spotted what looked like one clear hour on the radar. At that point, by the time I got dressed and out, I figured I could get 6 of my 8 miles in before the next storm came. Like clockwork, at 5.98, the sky started to open up. I ran the last two in a steady rain, which was fine. I wore a hat to keep it out of my eyes. 

The fast miles felt pretty good, and 8 minutes was actually faster than my training plan called for. This one was a win.
Also: new shoes.

Wednesday
Rest. Which, thank goodness, because we had a wind advisory that was not messing around.  

Thursday
Alarm goes off at 4:45. I get up and out a few minutes faster than usual and drive to the meet-up spot, arriving early. Shannon pulls in. We quickly discussed the game plan and set out: one warm-up mile, 7 miles at race pace, then a mile cool-down for me. She'd leave me after mile 6 or 7, depending on time. Promptly, we set out not at all like we were running a warm-up mile. Then, we ran the whole thing faster than race pace. Because we're us.
It took some doing to get this picture to look this reasonable

We talked about all kinds of things. How my son eating salad with his hands had been the last straw for me on the previous day. How our parents and in-laws not only prefer, but rather insist, their coffee be made. Things mean girls say. Daycare costs. The sunrise. The sunrise is beautiful! No it's not--we're on a hill! Yes it is. All kinds of things--and that's why we run. 

Friday
Another easy 3. Short and sweet.

Saturday
When I was getting dressed my phone said it was 18 and felt like 3 degrees. I think the "feel like" temp for the day maxed out at 10. So I dressed for the arctic for my long run. 
Thermal tights and ski socks
Ear warmer and a hat. Also, that jacket is the warmest running jacket I own. Brooks=Run Happy.
For the first mile I thought I was overdressed and took stock of how much I could strip off and carry. Those thoughts ended quickly as the cold set in, then stayed. For the record: I really don't mind the cold, and I didn't mind it today. With the right gear, feels like 3 is no big deal. However, your body does have to work a little harder because of it, and today I really, really felt that. 

At 6 miles I took stock. Feeling ok. Feeling the miles a little. At the half way point I felt about the same. At 14 miles I was ready for it to be over, and it wasn't. And like the runner I am, I took the opportunity to train my brain to deal with difficulty, because in a marathon it isn't IF tough moments come, it's WHEN. So what if I hurt? So what if I didn't want to finish? There's only one way home, and that's to run. Here's hoping the hard miles don't come so early on race day. 

Now, about 7 hours later, this run is hurting more than most. Yes, I probably ran it too fast. Yes, I have a hard time slowing down. Yes, I was probably under-fueled. I'm not convinced any of that should make me this tight and sore, so maybe we just call this one character-building.

Weekly miles: 41
Favorite run: Easily the pace run 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Marathon Training Week 8: Multicultural Cleveland, Heartbreak

Monday
Up and at 'em! The first mile was sloooow and stiff, but I got going. After the turn-around I saw a woman I know from work. I was surprised to see her because she didn't appear to be exercising or dog walking. I stopped and said good morning and she shared what she was doing.

I learned that the Jewish month starts with the new moon. She coordinates a group to get together each new moon to mark the occasion, I think always outdoors. I'm not clear what's involved in the get-together or why it's outdoors, but I enjoyed learning about that activity in her life.

Tuesday
This one will enter the history books, my friends.

I slept badly, worried I would miss my 5:45 alarm. I wanted to get up and out so my 8 miles wouldn't make me late to work. I got up, dressed, happily a few minutes faster than usual. But then, then: no keys. Not anywhere. Not on the kitchen counter. Or the key dish. Or my purse. No keys. I found the spare key to my husband's car and piled into that. Started the engine. Gas light was on, and I'm not driving even near a gas station. So, shit. Back inside for keys. And then I remembered: Brendan drove us home last night.

[Sidebar: My husband and I had a very rare date night last night. We went out to fancy dinner and a movie. There were two women and a man sitting directly behind us. One of the women in particular talked all the way through the previews, rebuffing an angry old man who yelled at her to "shut up!" I had hoped she would stop when the movie began, but she didn't. I calmly asked if she intended to talk through the whole movie. She angrily got up and moved herself and her two friends across the theater, which was fine with me. After the movie as we were leaving she starts again, "Now I can talk! People acting like you can't talk in a movie theater!" They had four PSAs before the movie about it. We had a good laugh about it, once I was sure she wasn't going to try to beat me up.]

If Brendan drove us home my keys were likely in whatever pants or jacket he wore. I checked the jacket--no dice. The pants? I headed upstairs, back to our bedroom, and there they were. I was finally on my way. 

I improved on last week's hill workout, making it to the bottom twice, with a small loop added to the first out and back that added a bit more elevation gain and loss. I got 434 feet in gain and again in loss. It felt good. What I did not improve on was mastering the parking situation. I parked in a small lot then saw the signs prohibiting parking before 8am, so I had to move. Between that and the key situation, I wrapped up this run about 20 minutes later than I really should have. 

As I got back in my car and was reaching for my seat belt, a black SUV pulled to the shoulder where I was parked, facing me, which I thought was odd. Then I realized it was my friend Shannon. Figuring she was there to run and just happened to see me, I got out to say hi. AND SHE HAD PASTRIES. FOR ME. Paczki, specifically, which is a Polish donut-esque pastry enjoyed on Mardi Gras. 

How magically unicorn-jumping awesome is this?!? You finish an 8 mile hill workout and your BRF appears out of nowhere with pastry?? It was magic. And they were delicious. I took them home and my family gobbled them up. Gluttonous. Happy. 

Wednesday
Rest. 

Thursday
At a 10am meeting:
Me: I had a mile time trail on my training schedule today.
Colleague: You can do that while sick?
Me: Apparently not. 

My mile time trial was a full 40 seconds slower than I expected. I can only blame about 5 of those seconds on patches of ice. I'm hoping I can blame the rest on sinus pressure, noisy coughing, and a runny nose. 

Upside: office yoga. So good.

Friday
Today I learned what the term "snow squall" means. 

Just no.  

So, this: 
Friday night Laurie and I were texting, making plans for our Saturday long run. She was doing 18 or 20 to my 14 for my drop-back week. We were planning when and how she'd get her extra miles and when I would meet her. Somewhere in the middle of that planning, she figured out what her recent pain was: a femoral stress fracture. And with that, her marathon training ended. Our long runs together ended--at least for several months.

My instinct was to hope she was wrong. But if there's one thing I know about Laurie, when she says she's injured, she's injured. She is strong--strong-willed, strong-minded, strong-bodied. And so I knew there was no hoping she was wrong. And, I'm heartbroken. For her, and for our runs together. 


Saturday
Left to my own devices, as I've long said I would, I did not get up early to run. I slept. Then I played with my kids. And mid-afternoon, only then did I lace up and head out. Just 14 miles ("just 14 miles"?? Who says that?!). I didn't really mean to take it fast, but I was enjoying the cold day and felt good. So I ran an average moving pace of 8:48. The best part--heading down a paved trail and hearing birds singing all around me. Spring is on the way.

Weekly miles: 32
Favorite run: Clearly my hill workout. I won't forget that morning any time soon.

With this week finished, I'm half way through training for this marathon, and prepared to switch from building endurance to building speed. No more hill workouts. Lots of pace runs, tempo runs, and a little actual speed work in the coming weeks. The next 6 weeks are the hardest of this 16 week training cycle. I think I'm ready.