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.