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.