Paris Marathon Training – Week 6

Ahhhhh, the return of the federal holiday and the four-day work week. This week was set up to be great on both ends. It began with a long weekend and ended with a dear friend’s wedding. And all the training in between!

Week 6: 1/18-1/24

Monday: 

  • Plan: 3 miles easy + rehab exercises + optional strength training
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:25/mile + rehab exercises + strength training + chiro
john lewis quote

This quote from Rep. John Lewis is painted on a wall just down the block from my apartment. I love being in an environment where I’m reminded of the work we have before us to reach the true ideals of our country’s founding – for everyone, not just land-owning white males 🙂

I have a real fondness for MLK Day for a couple of reasons: I live in Dr. King’s old neighborhood, and about 90% of my running routes go past the MLK Historic Site. I love seeing all the tourists and catching snippets of the history they’re getting on their tours of the site. I guess you could say that being in the neighborhood keeps the importance of the civil rights movement on my mind. Also, I extra-love MLK Day because I never got MLK Day off during my time working in public accounting, because busy season. Practicing CPAs, all my love to you these days. Stay strong and treat your body as well as you can. If you have to cry, I’ll be with you in spirit in the last bathroom stall.

My street was closed off for the MLK Day March. I couldn’t drive to my normal flat route, so I took a hilly route out my front door instead. It was an okay run, but afterwards I knew my ITB still wasn’t ready for the hills. The discomfort wasn’t intense, but it felt like I’d regressed in my recovery by a couple of weeks.

My chiro did some much-needed work on my right hip and knee, and unfortunately there were some new nasty spots in desperate need of release.

I tried to take it a little easy with strength training that evening since I’ve been struggling with DOMS into Wednesdays each of the last couple of weeks. The workout was heavy on back/arms/core, and it included LONG negative push-ups (20 seconds! It took me until the third set to get the timing right), alternating one-arm kettlebell swings, leg raises against a resistance band (love), and my very favorite new exercise – I’m actually considering writing a post to commemorate my love for this one – half Turkish get-ups with a press.

Tuesday:

  • Plan: 4 miles easy + 4 strides + core
  • Actual: 4 miles easy @ 10:06/mile + strides + core

Cold, windy, dark, unremarkable run. Except that I rocked this awesome navy-on-navy outfit under my reflective vest. With Monday’s gym workout being somewhat core-heavy,  I streamlined the core work to focus on the types of movements that weren’t a part of Monday’s workout.

cold weather running outfit

You’re welcome for the running fashion advice. #notafashionblogger

Wednesday:

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 2 x mile @ tempo (90 sec jog recovery) + rehab exercises + yoga or strength
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 2 x mile @ tempo (8:36/8:30) + rehab exercises + strength training

We got some cold, rainy weather in Atlanta so I decided to take this workout to the treadmill. I so appreciate how this training plan is easing me into the longer tempo runs that I know are coming. This was a pretty fun, satisfying workout that didn’t leave me beat.

I felt like I recovered from Monday’s strength workout better than expected. Maybe my body is adapting to regular strength training. This workout was pretty tough: 5×5 deadlifts (I’m adding weight cautiously, so after the warm-up I did 2 sets of 105 and 3 sets of 115), man-makers, jumping split squats, and Tabata kettlebell swings (a surprisingly tough workout for just 4 minutes!)

Thursday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: Rest day + PT

All the needling yet again. He hit all the usual spots (right hip, glutes, quad) and got into my left hamstring and calf (OWWW calf needling). I’ve had a gnarly spot in my right outer quad close to my knee that almost made me jump when it released. I’m hoping that’s a sign of good things to come!

Friday:

  • Plan: 3 miles + 4 strides + Myrtl routine
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:20/mile + travel to Dallas

I squeezed in 3 miles on a really iffy hotel gym treadmill in between landing in Dallas and my friend Laura’s rehearsal dinner. We got stuck in a nasty security line situation in Atlanta and didn’t have time to grab lunch to take on the plane, so I had a JD’s Chippery cookie before my run. No warm-up, no Myrtl routine, no strides.

Saturday:

  • Plan: 14 miles + core
  • Actual 14 miles @ 10:14/mile + nap

I had a nice run around White Rock Lake in the cold and sunshine. The only downside was there were more hills on the east side of the lake than I remembered, and I definitely felt that dull ache in my ITB come and go throughout the run.

white rock lake running dallas

I skipped the core work for a nap, ate a lot of Mexican food, then spent the evening celebrating the Bruders!

dallas wedding

the happy couple + adorable flower girls

college pals

college pals

dallas arboretum wedding

pretty bride

It was such a fun wedding – we danced most of the night to a fun band (even though they didn’t play any TSwift…I will forgive them.) Laura had college friends come in from all 4 time zones and more than one continent! She is that kind of person and friend – it’s not at all surprising that many friends would make long journeys to celebrate her. I loved every second of hanging out with this fantastic group of women, and as my friend Carly said, I wish we could do this every weekend!

The groom’s cake was Mexican Chocolate cake – yum! – and in addition to wedding cake there were also donuts. Who doesn’t love donuts? Between the dancing and the 14 mile run, I hit a new high for steps on my Fitbit – 37k steps. *pats self on back*

Sunday:

  • Plan: Optional cross-training + yoga
  • Actual: Travel home

I was really exhausted form the weekend and took not one but two naps. I did make some  food to kick off the week (with lots of veggies!), so I wasn’t entirely worthless (just mostly worthless).

Week 6: 30 miles

Not the best week for my resolutions to run healthy in 2016:

  • Rehab/core work – B minus: I got in all the rehab exercises, but I skipped core work after my long run in Dallas.
  • Sleep – B: I didn’t meet my 8 hour/night goal (I was around 7.5 hours on average), and I woke up in the middle of the night nearly every night.
  • Nutrition – C: I lost track mid-week of how I was doing against my fruit/veggies goal. I know I had some good days, but C seems like a fair grade given that I don’t know for sure how I did.
  • “Body maintenance” – B plus: I skipped yoga for the second week in a row (oops) and didn’t foam roll on my weekend away, but I did well with stretching/foam rolling during the week, and I had my chiro + PT appointments.

When you go out of town over a weekend, do you typically get your long run in beforehand or do you fit it into your trip? 

Do you try to have decently coordinated running outfits, or do you just grab what’s comfortable and weather-appropriate?

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Paris Marathon Training – Week 4

If the work week is an endurance event, then the holidays really zapped me of my work-stamina. Wednesday felt like it should have been Friday, and that’s my week in a nutshell.

Week 4: 1/4-1/10

Monday: 

  • Plan: 30-60 min cross-training + rehab exercises + optional strength training
  • Actual: chiro + 40 min strength training

Last week, when I posted about how not planning enough time got in the way of my doing all the “little things” to keep myself injury-free, this was the day I was thinking about. I didn’t plan my day well and didn’t get the work done that I needed to do. The strength workout was a lot of shoulders/chest/triceps/back/core.

For the third chiro visit in a row, I got a resounding vote of confidence from Dr. Eng to keep up the good work and run all the miles. I’m starting to really notice how much better my hips, glutes, and quads feel with the work he’s been doing and my rehab exercises. He introduced the idea of getting on more of a “maintenance” schedule where I come in once a month. I think I could get on board with that idea next month, but right now I see the biweekly appointments as a security blanket – I know he’ll take care of whatever’s bugging me at least every two weeks.

Tuesday:

  • Plan: 4 miles easy + 4 strides + core
  • Actual: 4 miles easy @ 10:06/mile + strides + core

Just a nice easy, sunny, chilly run at lunchtime. I love winter lunchtime runs. I felt the slightest tinge of ITB pain after my run, so I spent some extra time foam rolling and in pigeon pose.

Wednesday:

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ last 3 progression to tempo + rehab exercises + yoga or strength
  • Actual: Rest day

My core was pretty sore from the last two days’ workouts, and when some unexpected appointments took up a part of my day I hadn’t planned for, I decided to switch my Wednesday and Thursday workouts.

I noticed that when I take the train to run errands (like grocery shopping), I get quite a few extra steps in my day. My Fitbit registered over 13k steps – which, with my desk job, is pretty good for a rest day.

Thursday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ last 3 progression to tempo (9:12/8:50/8:23) + rehab exercises + PT

Another chilly lunchtime run, gray and a little foggy but really nice weather, and the workout went off without a hitch. I remembered to stay relaxed during the workout – sometimes I get anxious about workouts (I realize that is crazy, but it’s true).

Piedmont Park oval atlanta

As usual, I went to the PT with a lot of tightness through my right hip and outer quad, this week so much that my right leg pulled to the side when I fully relaxed it. He needled my right quad, piriformis, TFL, glute med (where I’d been feeling some soreness), and both my right and left psoas – those little boogers have been knotted up for over a year. I REALLY felt it in my right glute med for the rest of the day.

Friday:

I didn’t want to move my long run to Sunday, so I added in a rest day to help myself recover from Thursday’s workout. And I do love Friday rest days.

The end of the week finally came, and we celebrated by staying in with homemade veggie pizza and a movie.

Saturday:

  • Plan: 12 miles + core
  • Actual: 12 miles @ 10:45/mile + core

WOOF. This run was awful. It started out feeling funny and just never got better. I’m of the superstitious belief that if all your training runs are magical, your race will probably suck…at least that’s what I tell myself after days like this. I’m glad I got it done and I was extremely glad when it was over.

silver comet mableton ga

I bought two Powerball tickets with the spare change in my car, and managed 8 minutes of core work before throwing in the towel. Later, we had a busy night celebrating one of my favorite people’s 30th birthdays (happy birthday Sarah!!) and seeing off one of Jeff’s grad school classmates, who got a job with a construction software company in Silicon Valley. It was a much later night than I am accustomed to.

Sunday:

  • Plan: optional cross-training + yoga
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:09/mile + 15 min yoga

I slept in and was lazy most of the day after the exhausting Saturday. I made further strides toward perfecting the breakfast pizza – one egg on the crust and another broken over the toppings. I barely made it out the door before dark for the run, but I managed to get it done just before the sun went down.

breakfast pizza

Breakfast Pizza v2.0: mozzarella, egg, thinly sliced potato, caramelized onion, mushrooms, fresh tomato slices, sautéed spinach, Italian sausage, and more egg/mozz.

Week 4: 25 miles

I have mixed feelings about this week of workouts – it was just an okay week. I also had mixed results with respect to my 2016 resolutions:

  • Rehab/core work – C: I was 1 for 2 on rehab exercises, and 1.5 for 2 on core work (I cut Saturday’s short). But I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t gone through the exercise of breaking it all down and coming up with these resolutions, there’s no way I would have done any core work on Saturday.
  • Sleep – B: I made my average of 8 hours/night, but that included one 10+ hour night and a couple of nights when I came up more than 30 minutes short. I’d like to be more consistent.
  • Nutrition – C-minus: I only got my servings of veggies 3/7 days, and fruits just one day. I’m really glad I started tracking this, because it’s an area that I can definitely improve. (Is it just me, or is it harder in the winter?) I did eat just 5 meals out during the week, which was better than I hoped to do.
  • “Body maintenance” – A-minus: I could have done more yoga, but overall I was consistent with seeing the chiro/PT, foam rolling, and doing what I can to stay loose and limber.

How was your week of training/workouts? If you set any resolutions or goals, how are they coming along?

First Miles of the New Year

I decided to begin 5k specific training 4 weeks post-marathon without considering that week 4 was a holiday week. Oops. It’s tricky to start structured training during an unstructured holiday week! I did most of the training as prescribed, but I also had fun and adjusted the plan when I felt like it.

I’m probably overstating the “structure” involved in the 5k training. As much as I’m motivated to keep running more and faster, I’m backing off of what I think I’m capable of doing training-wise this winter and spring. One of my goals this year is balance – both for an overall happy life and to avoid burnout with running.

Monday: 4 miles @ 9:44/mile; strides

My training plan suggested running weekday easy/distance runs at a pace between 9:15 and 10:15/mile. I thought this was nuts when I saw it; during marathon training these runs were typically 10:45/mile or higher (I was running purely by feel and trying to take it very “easy”). It makes sense to me, however, that having improved my PRs over the past year and decreasing my weekly mileage, I can/should be running a bit faster. This run felt harder than a regular weekday distance run, but not uncomfortably so.

Tuesday: 6 mile fartlek // 8 x 1 min @ 7:50-8:00, 2 min recovery

I thought this would be totally easy. Throw a post-recovery marathoner a 6 mile fartlek workout with 5k pace repeats and they might get arrogant.

A couple of repeats in:

And at the end of the workout:

Once I checked with Sir Garmin, I realized I ran the 5k pace repeats too fast, so there’s that. (The repeats were at per-mile paces of  8:20, 7:16, 7:49, 7:42, 7:42, 7:49, 7:42, 7:49. Barf-worthy pacing at the beginning.) Give an actual sort-of speedy workout to someone who hasn’t run faster than 10k pace in months…it burns.

Wednesday: New Year’s Eve! Rest day.

I took the rest day super seriously. We stayed in and Jeff made many delicious foods. I photographed none of them, so just take my word for it.

Thursday: New Year’s Day! Rest day.

I felt like sleeping in, eating a hearty breakfast, and drinking beer/watching football, so I took an extra rest day.

New year's morn

So that’s just what I did.

We went over to our friends’ house and watched football, including Baylor’s Cotton Bowl collapse loss. I’m sad about the outcome, of course, but I do appreciate the tragic coincidence that we got beaten the same way we beat TCU. It’s uncanny, really.

Friday: 4 miles @ 9:51/mile; kickboxing

I think North Avenue might be the best street in Atlanta for a hill workout if you can time the stoplights – it is constantly going up or down. I wasn’t technically supposed to do any sort of workout, just a regular distance run, but I had a lot of pent up energy from not running two days in a row.

hills

I still felt energetic after my run, so I decided to go to my first kickboxing class since marathon training began. Maybe that was a bad choice. Parts of my body hurt for days afterward, but it was so nice to get back to hitting the crap out of the bag. Kicks are a little rusty at this point.

boxing gloves

May we never be parted again.

Saturday: Sorely needed rest day. 

Watched the UFC fights with some friends, which weren’t all that exciting. Drank more beer than was necessary.

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10:44/mile

I meant to run 10 miles around town to reacquaint myself with parts of the Publix half marathon course. I didn’t feel great to begin with, then I had a near brush with death. Here’s what happened.

I was running along the sidewalk by a busy shopping/dining area (by the Vortex on Moreland), and there was a car waiting to turn onto the street. I made eye contact with the driver and didn’t start to cross the driveway until she acknowledged me. As I was crossing, I heard a honk. The lady who had just acknowledged me hit the gas and nearly flattened me. Rage ensued.

In what felt like an out-of-body experience, I did my best Slim Shady impression (put one finger on each hand up) and let loose a string of four-letter words that was passionate if not all that impressive. I’m not creative with profanity.

Later, I realized anyone in the parking lot had plenty of time to photograph me as Sweaty-Slim-Shady and make me an internet meme. I’ve been monitoring Reddit for days. Please notify me if you see me meme’d. (Tag #sweatyslimshady would be appropriate.)

What made me so mad wasn’t just narrowly escaping death-by-car. I don’t normally explode with rage when a car almost hits me; sadly, I’m kind of used to it. I’ve come to expect every car to hit me unless I know they’ve seen me. In this situation, I was (still am) angry because that jerk made eye contact with me. She knew I was there and hit the gas anyway. It’s sickening.

Lessons, in no particular order:

  1. Do not run on Moreland.
  2. Motorists should not be trusted.
  3. Don’t be a shitty driver. Be considerate of pedestrians and cyclists. Saving 15 seconds isn’t worth hitting a defenseless person with your car.

After all that, the rest of the run wasn’t great, and I cut it short to 9 miles.

Total Miles for the Week: 23

I felt like I barely ran at all this week. I plan to do some more cross-training in the weeks to come.

What is your worst experience with a motorist? If you were appointed dictator of the rules of the road, what would you change?

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 2 Weeks to Go

Last week of training before Turkey Taper 2k14!

Total miles: 47 (!)
Total recommitments to good habits: 2
Status of said recommitments: improving and needing further improvement

Monday: unplanned rest day

I felt run down from all the traveling I’d been doing, plus Saturday’s rough long run left a bad taste in my mouth. Decided to begin my last real training week on a little extra rest.

Tuesday: 6 miles easy @ 11:06/mile; strides; hips

The plan was to do 7, but I had to squeeze in this run during my lunch break and get back for a conference call. Recommitting to “easy days easy” went really well on this run. And I did hip strengthening work! Pats self on back.

Piedmont park

Wednesday: 10 miles // 4-5 @ tempo pace; 6 x 1:00 @ 10k pace w/ 2:00 recovery; core

Another long treadmill run fueled by a long string of Fresh Air downloads. I felt really strong during this run, so I did the tempo portion at an 8:41/mile pace and the 10k portions at an 8:29/mile pace. It was a little bit faster than normal, but just by one treadmill increment. Also, Jeff showed up on the treadmill next to me. We seldom run or work out together, so it was fun having him there.

My right leg/hip was still bothering me, but has improved a good bit. On this run, I noticed that the discomfort went away as I ran faster. I’m not going to read too much into this for now, but it might be meaningful if it persists.

Thursday: 7 miles // 4-7 @ goal marathon pace

The plan called for steady-state pace, but I was pretty fatigued from the 10 mile Wednesday workout, and I skipped the normal rest day between the long workout and the steady-state run to get back on schedule.

It was another treadmill run, and I knew it was going to be rough when my normal super-slow-starting-pace, 5.5 mph on the treadmill, felt kind of hard. I felt really out of shape working so hard to run 9:41 marathon-pace-miles, but I’m sure the last 4 miles of the race will be even harder.

Friday: 4 miles easy @ 11:36/mile; strides; hips

EASY DAYS EASY!!!! I got this, y’all. I really needed a super easy run to recover from the week, and this did the trick.

Leaves

Saturday: 20 mile long run @ 10:09/mile

I finally made it to the hallowed 20 mile training run, and it was better than I expected it to be. After a slow start, I started feeling super strong, and that feeling never went away.  Even though my pace was quicker than normal, I felt like I was running quite conservatively until the last 3 or 4 miles. Other than the feeling of “I’ve been running for nearly 3.5 hours and walking is awkward,” I felt amazing after the run. I had gas left in the tank, and I had the time to reflect on how far I’ve come with my training (I even got a little emotional about it).

20 miler splits

After the run, Jeff made us beef and cabbage soup, and I ate three bowls 🙂 Then I woke up hungry in the middle of the night and ate a Larabar.

Is this normal? Do you guys get outlandishly hungry after a 20 miler?

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 3 Weeks to Go

I didn’t spend a single day at home during Marathon Minus Three Weeks. I missed this furry little buddy.

furry buddy

Thankfully I get #littlebuddy updates while I’m out of town. Photo courtesy of Jeff, aka Stedman.

I was in Boston for work this week. (again!! I love Boston.) Boston in November is a bit of a weather-gamble, but we got lucky to be in town during a week that was about 10 degrees warmer than average.

Boston

This photo pretty much sums up the week of gorgeous weather.

Total Miles: 42

Monday: 7 miles easy @ 10:20/mi; hip strengthening work

My easy pace was quicker than normal from a combination of a) being amped from my half marathon on Saturday, b) being amped because I love Boston and love running in Boston, c) running late for work, and d) running perhaps a bit faster than I should have.

My leg pain flared up again a bit and I spent some quality time with the foam roller. Huge shout out to the Financial District Hilton for having a full assortment of foam rollers in the gym. This seemed to help.

Tuesday: 9.5 miles // miles 4-5 @ tempo pace; 6 x 1:00 @ 10k pace w/ 2:00 jog recovery; core work

My plan was to run 10 miles, but I was running late for work again and had to cut the run short. The theme of running too fast continued on this run. During both the tempo pace and 10k pace portions of the run, I looked down at my Garmin and found myself running about 0:30/mile too fast. My splits don’t clearly show it because the too-fast segments were offset by stoplights and hills. I attribute this poor pacing to the causes listed above.

Tuesday Workout

9.5 miles // 4-5 tempo; 6×1 10K

After this run, I started feeling the mystery leg pain in my right leg – not severely, but enough to make me aware of it. Fan-f-ing-tastic. More foam rolling and core work are clearly needed.

Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: 8 miles // miles 4-7 @ steady state

This run was supposed to be 7 miles, but I got lost by Boston University campus and it became an 8 mile run. In other noteworthy occurrences, I nearly got run over crossing Massachusetts Avenue when I finally found a recognizable landmark (the bridge to the Charles River Esplanade) after getting lost by BU.

Charles River

Dear Boston: You are pretty and fun to run in. Except in the winter. XOXO, Sarah

Continuing the week’s theme, I ran too fast. In addition to the causes listed above, it was the same temperature as the rest of the week, but with a nasty wind chill that I didn’t dress for. Faster running = warmer body. Getting lost definitely slowed me down and moderated my split times to about the pace I was supposed to run (9:00-9:20/mi). I actually cut through a BU building (did not run; brisk walk) at one point because I was so lost.

11.xx ss splits

Friday: unplanned rest day; hip strengthening work; travel to New Orleans

I had a 4 mile easy run on the schedule, but I started feeling symptoms of a cold, and it was nearly freezing and rainy outside, so I just decided to rest up for my 19 miler on the schedule for Saturday.

I went straight to New Orleans from Boston (via LaGuardia, which by the way, has a super nice Delta terminal). We had dinner at Mr. B’s for our friend Randy’s birthday, and it did not disappoint.

cajun BBQ shrimp

BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B’s, highly recommended.

bib

This is what happens when you order BBQ shrimp

birthday bread pudding

This is what happens when you have a birthday: bread pudding!

I booked a room at the Roosevelt Hotel for the weekend with points. I got an upgrade to a suite, a points rebate, two free cocktails, and the room was so nice. I’m now a huge fan of this hotel.

Saturday:
Plan: 19 mile long run
Actual: 17.5 mile long run @ 11:14/mile

File this one away under “it’s not always your day” long runs. I had every intention of just going slow and steady, since I still felt a little cold-y, but I was super excited because Jeff found me an awesome route to run. Around mile 5, the pain that crept into my right leg earlier this week (was originally left leg, but that seems to have gone away) really came in with a vengeance. The streets and sidewalks in New Orleans are pretty rough, and I got to the point where I didn’t want to land on my right foot anytime I stepped off a curb/pothole/etc because I really felt the hip/upper thigh pain with every downward step. Running on the dirt on the streetcar route along St. Charles for part of the run was probably really helpful.

Audubon Park

Audubon Park

The run was fine and I enjoyed taking in the scenery until mile 15. This was basically the only hill in the entire run, an overpass over I-10. I was almost to the bottom of the overpass when I tripped and fell and got some pretty nasty New Orleans street grime in my scraped-up hands.

Sidebar: There was once a time in college when I went to happy hour before quarterbacking a flag football game. I got tackled by an overzealous Zeta and hit the ground pretty hard, no doubt a result of slow response time. I started crying in the most unattractive way possible. My friend Haley came over to see if I was ok, and upon realizing I was totally fine, she started laughing hysterically at my ridiculous sobbing. I realized how absurd I looked, and my sobs turned to heaving laughter.

I basically relived that moment lying face down on the side of the road on my long run, minus having Haley physically there to laugh at me (her cheer was there in spirit, and it was infectious). Once I recognized that I was basically in the same position with the same unattractive-crying as in that football game, I mustered a little laugh, got up, and kept running. I stopped at a gas station to wash my hands, drank a Gatorade, and resumed the run.

street view

Google street view of the place where I fell.

The run was going slow but OK until I arrived in a residential neighborhood and felt a call from nature. I slowed my stride a bit and hoped to find a business to patronize/use facilities. Before too long, I couldn’t even jog without feeling like I was going to involuntarily answer the call of nature. I’d walk, try to jog, have to stop immediately.

long run

Loooooong run.

By this time, I’d been running for 3 hours, I was a mile and a half from being done, and the prospect of walk/jogging the final 1.5 miles seemed ridiculous, especially with my hands in need of some serious antibiotic ointment. I called a cab and that was that. Best $11 I’ve ever spent.

I took the best shower of my life (the shower had not two but THREE shower heads), and Jeff brought me a muffuletta from Central Grocery. Post long run food is the way to my heart.

Muffuletta

Not just any muffuletta. The ORIGINAL muffuletta.

After a much-needed muffuletta coma, we went out, watched football, and spent the evening bar-hopping the French Quarter and eating po’ boys.

po boy

Grilled shrimp po’ boy from Erin Rose.

I think we stayed out until 1 or so – I did flame out earlier than the rest of the bunch, but it was still a respectable showing.

Sunday: Rest day; travel to Atlanta

I woke up at 10:45 and missed breakfast, so we had a delicious lunch at Mother’s. Jeff and I split the combination platter (jambalaya, etoufee, red beans & rice, collards, and potato salad) and the house special po’ boy, the “Famous Ferdi Special.” This isn’t something I would have ordered without direction from Jeff – it’s a ham and roast beef po’ boy sitting in roast beef gravy. It was PHENOMENAL. I ate it mostly with a fork and knife. I can’t even put into words what made it so good, because I don’t even like ham, but please please do yourself a favor and get this sandwich if you go to New Orleans. The combination platter was excellent as well, especially the jambalaya, but given a choice I’d have to rate the Famous Ferdi as #1.

Famous Ferdi Mother's New Orleans

The Famous Ferdi Special, so good it will take away your ability to take acceptable photographs.

For “dessert” we went to the French Quarter and had Frozen Irish Coffee from Erin Rose, also excellent. We spent the afternoon walking around the Quarter, popping in bookstores and art galleries and bars, witnessed an attempted robbery, then headed to the airport to go back home.

Frozen Irish Coffee

Erin Rose’s Frozen Irish Coffee

I love New Orleans. I haven’t eaten so well in YEARS. It’s easy to bounce back from an awful long run when there are so many wonderful things to do and eat with wonderful people.

I’m not certain of it, but I suspect that running at faster paces than normal in Boston contributed to my awful long run. It’s so tempting to give in to adrenaline and run as fast as you want, but I’m coming down off the adrenaline rush and am rededicating myself to “easy days easy, hard days hard.” Last week I rededicated myself to core and hip strengthening work, and I managed a total of 3 days doing hips/core this week, which is meh better than normal. I wonder what next week will bring on the rededication front?

(This is a no-brainer by the way. I will rededicate myself to not eating like a trash compactor. Other possibilities: updating my blog timely.)

All right guys, help me feel better about all my bad habits. Let me know about all those good habits you keep having to recommit to.

PS – I’m thankful that Thanksgiving Day is a day that allows for the suspension of all self-control or good-habit-forming. Live it up with your friends & family, and smother everything in gravy! I know I will!

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 5 Weeks to Go

Here’s the first in a three-part series of training and travels I have not yet blogged about. I’m starting with three weeks ago, which was Marathon Minus Five Weeks.

Total miles: 45

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 7 miles easy @ 11:06/mile; strides
Wednesday: 10 miles // 1-3 easy; 4-8 tempo; 9-10 cool down

There is a slightly-longer-than-half-mile gravel track in a nearby park that I’ve been using for tempo runs. I did a boring record 10 laps around this oval during this run. It’s actually quite a pretty spot for a run, but I was decidedly unaware of the scenery while pounding out tempo-pace-miles.

piedmont park

Piedmont Park Active Oval // photo courtesy of Delta Sky Magazine

Once I got to the tempo-pace miles, the first one felt amazingly easy, like I could run a half marathon at that pace (spoiler: I did). The second mile was unremarkable, but the third felt like holy hell. Thankfully I’ve read enough articles in Runner’s World that I’ve heard of this nifty trick called visualization, and I imagined myself giving it my all in the last three miles of my upcoming half marathon. I’ve never been into visualization (it strikes me as something this weird guy from my grad school class would have liked) but in that moment it was very effective. I may be a visualization-convert.

tempo run

10 miles / 4-8 at tempo pace

Thursday: Rest day
Friday: 7 miles // 1-3 easy; 4-7 steady state

This run was tough because I woke up at 5 to get the run in before going to the office and taking a conference call, then I had to go to the airport and catch a noon flight. Of course it was dark and chilly, but I also felt soooo sleepy. In the first mile at steady state pace, I felt like I was dragging and was 0:20/mile off the pace I was aiming for. Once my legs woke up, the rest of the run was good; I was aided by a slight downhill in mile 6, and ended mile 7 on the 10th Street Hill of Death before jogging home.

steady state run

7 mile run // 4-7 steady state

By 1:00 in the afternoon, I was in my old homes in Texas (Dallas then Waco), reuniting with wonderful friends, eating Mexican food, and visiting our old campus haunts. Besides being Baylor homecoming weekend, this was a special weekend because it was our friend Switz’s last weekend in Texas before making the big move from Dallas to Lusaka, Zambia. Check out her story here and here and prepare to be impressed by this woman.

Baylor

Waco reunion essentials: Tex-Mex and cheesy Judge Baylor photo

We were so fortunate to be able to stay right by campus in an apartment with a couple of college girls. Jess and Anna were the hostesses with the mostest, and I wish I’d been half as cool as these cats when I was their age.

Saturday: 18 mile long run @ 10:32/mile

On Saturday, I ran in the morning before the 3:30 football game. The conditions for running couldn’t have been more perfect – low 50s, sunny, and most of all, FLAT Texas terrain.

Waco Lasalle

Mile 1 of my run; aka Asphalt Pancake

For those of you who are familiar with Waco, I ran from campus to Cameron Park (about 5 miles on the route I took), along the River Trail for about three miles, headed back downtown and wound around the downtown streets for a while before heading back to campus and doing a couple loops of the Bear Trail. It was all flat and paved except for the  River Trail, which got a bit tricky several times.

Waco is known more for cults than natural beauty, but Cameron Park has unexpectedly pretty scenery.

Cameron Park

Cameron Park River Trail

Brazos River

Brazos River from Cameron Park

Because it was game day, I went with a green and gold themed outfit, because I can’t help but be cheesy like that.

Runootd

Team spirit #runootd

When I got back to the Bear Trail, my old campus stomping ground, I knew it was prime time for a fast finish and cut the pace down to 9:50/mile by the time mile 18 rolled around.

Baylor bear trail

The Bear Trail. Homecoming.

Long run splits

Long run, Waco edition. (KD Cannon is a speedy Baylor wide receiver)

Saturday ended up being a gorgeous day for football, and our team won in a blowout. The real highlight for many of us was seeing the gorgeous new football stadium in its inaugural season.

Some young whippersnappers or people who don’t follow college football wouldn’t know this, but Baylor’s football team was miserable when we went there. I remember going to games that ended in out opponent scoring more than 70 points (although I probably didn’t stick around for the fourth quarter). The team’s play on the field was matched by an equally unimpressive stadium off campus.

Attending this game made me think, I didn’t go to school here. I’m glad for all the young kids who will look back on their college years and remember a shiny new stadium and a team that put together a damn good resume for the College Football Playoff (no matter what the committee decides or how they want to justify it). But I’m also glad to have seen the really low years, because I think it is that much sweeter to witness a complete transformation. I returned to my alma mater and didn’t recognize it because it was more amazing than when I left. I’ll take that kind of homecoming any day.

McLane Stadium

McLane Stadium

We also had an unplanned pledge class reunion. Yes, I was in a sorority. It’s silly, yes, but I bought made some great girlfriends that I might have never met otherwise.

reunion

Spent at least a quarter of the game catching up with these ladies.

I made it a personal mission to eat as much Texas BBQ as I could during the weekend. Getting to go to one of my all-time favorite spots, Vitek’s, was a huge treat.

Vitek’s is a former grocery-store-turned-BBQ-restaurant in Waco known for its signature menu item, the aptly named “Gut Pack.” This delicious combination of brisket, homemade sausage, pinto beans, cheese, BBQ sauce, corn chips, pickles, onions, and pickled jalapenos is worth the acid reflux, if you get that kind of thing. The Gut Pack is kind of a big deal: it won the Cooking Channel’s Best College Eats competition.

Vitek's Waco

The Gut Pack. Photo courtesy of the Cooking Channel.

the best

Friends & Vitek’s = the best.

Sunday: 3 miles easy @ 10:32/mile

I ran the Bear Trail again on Sunday. I loved every second of being back at Baylor and felt super strong just a day after my 18 miler. This week of training was that aha moment when I realized I really will be ready for the marathon.

This was the best week/weekend I could have imagined. Our Texas reunion for Switz was so wonderful, and I managed a solid week of training around it.

Football fans: how’s your team doing this year? Love or hate the new College Football Playoff?
Is there anything better than a long run around your old stomping grounds or a delicious greasy treat from your younger days?

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 6 Weeks to Go

And so another week of training has passed.

This past week was almost exactly what I hoped it would be – back in the flow of training. Not every run went perfectly, but that’s training on tired legs.

Total miles: 41

Monday – Rest day

Tuesday – 6 miles easy @ 11:01/mile

Unremarkable easy run. One week later, I don’t remember it at all.

Wednesday – 9 miles / workout: miles 4-7 @ tempo pace

Workouts like this one, among other things, are why I love running. It was perfect running weather, and I was so happy, I found myself smiling for no reason. Don’t get me wrong, the workout was tough, and there were some weird people sitting in the park as I ran around my flat-workout-loop. But I felt so in the zone – my first three tempo miles were within 0:01 of each other (how crazy is that?) and I felt like a total champion. I was totally ready to be done, but could have pounded out another mile if the plan called for it (spoiler: the plan calls for it this week).

10.22 splits

Technically I ran 8.88 miles, ok? I round some down, some up, and I’m sure it all evens out in the end. I binge-listened to Serial as I ran, and I think it may be one of the best running podcasts out there right now. More on this later.

Thursday – Rest day

I was going to skip the rest day to get back on a Saturday long run schedule, but work got in the way. Jeff says to respect the rest day. I should really seek his sage advice more often. Continue reading

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 8 Weeks to Go

It’s been a couple of weeks and a vacation since the last training update. The last two weeks’ training began normally. Then I vacationed to Central America (Copan Ruinas and Utila, Honduras – check out Jeff’s trip report on Lonely Planet if you’re interested). I’m hoping to write a recap of my own once I get vacation photos all sorted out.

I’d been worried about decompression sickness from diving and training, but I should have realized that pulling off marathon training in the tropics was going to be the greater challenge. The last few days have been an exercise in bouncing back, and I hope next week’s update reflects that!

Two weeks ago, I was coming off of a successful 38-mile week of training and was on cloud nine about my training. Here’s how training has gone since that period of marathon-training-euphoria:

Monday, 9/29: poor time management, let the day get away from me, no time to run but had an amazing 12 course Korean dinner.

Korean Food

Korean Feast: (from top left): cucumber stuffed w/ jellyfish & hot mustard sauce; asparagus with mushrooms, one stuffed with avocado, Korean-style shrimp tempura, short rib, clam with minced hard boiled egg and cucumber, and ALL THE SIDE DISHES!!! and that was just half of our meal.

Tuesday, 9/30: 6 miles easy @ 11:02 pace (I am really starting to get this “easy run” thing down!)
Wednesday, 10/1: 8 miles / miles 4-6 @ tempo pace – I have issues reading my training plan and again screwed it up, running 5-7 at tempo pace instead. Splits:

tempo run

Feeling pretty good about this one.

I might have let myself run too hard at the end of mile 7 to compensate for feeling fatigued. I actually thought I was slowing down when I was speeding up. But all my splits were within my tempo pace range (8:45-9:00) so I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
Thursday, 10/2: left for vacation! Had a flight delay, arrived at 2 am Friday.
Friday, 10/3: vacation/rest. No good leads on a place to run in Copan Ruinas, with its unreliable sidewalks, cobblestones, and steep hills.

Copan Ruinas Street

Cobblestone streets in Copan Ruinas. Not advised for running.

Saturday, 10/4: I found a place to run! Between the town of Copan Ruinas and the ruins site itself is a reasonably flat 1/2 mile stretch that I ran back and forth. It was horribly hot, and I got just under 4.5 miles in. It was the hardest 4.5 miles I’ve run in a long time. Continue reading

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 10 weeks out

Training this week, in summary:
Monday: rest from Sunday long run; feeling no good from a head cold
Tuesday: 6 miles easy (10:53/mi)
Wednesday: 8 miles/workout: miles 4&5 @ tempo pace (~8:45/mi)
Thursday: 6 miles easy (10:52/mi); strides
Friday: 3 miles easy (10:54/mi); strides
Saturday: 15 miles (10:19/mi)
Total: 38 miles

I started the week with a cold, a holdover from the end of my week in Milwaukee. I shifted around the running schedule by a day to try to promote recovery/avoid running hard while feeling bad. The long run last Sunday ended up being just a get-in-the-miles run because I was definitely less than 100%. I took it easy and only looked at my watch at mile splits, which looked like this:

13 mile splits

Long run with a cold. Taking it reeeeaal easy.

I’m really just glad I got it done.

When I got back to running on Tuesday, I felt the cold hangover for the first three miles of my run (per mile paces ranging from 11:00 to 11:18), but I started feeling better at the end of mile 3 and my mile splits reflected it. I began running closer to my normal paces at an easy effort.

My workout this week was an 8 mile run with 3 miles at tempo pace, but I misread the plan and only ran 2 miles at tempo pace. I felt almost 100% for the workout. The paved trail I’ve been using for workouts is slightly uphill going south and slightly downhill going north, so I split the difference for the two tempo pace miles and did the first downhill and second uphill, as you can tell from the difference in paces. Continue reading

Milwaukee: beer, cheese, and running

Milwaukee-Baxter-anchorman

Baxter, is that you? Bark twice if you’re in Milwaukee!

I spent last week in Milwaukee, a charming city and a lovely place to visit in September.

Restaurant highlights included Millioke (Native American name for Milwaukee), which has great food with a focus on charcuterie and heavier meat dishes, but I thought my salad was phenomenal. A coworker got a root vegetable pot pie that I was eyeing throughout the meal. Awesome beer selection, too. Port of Call was another good spot – loved the gnocchi with creamy sauce.

Milwaukee eating and drinking

My check from Millioke // fried cheese curds, which are like fried mozzarella // Spotted Cow, a fave Wisconsin easy-drinking brew

From downtown Milwaukee, there were a couple of cool spots to run. Along the shore of Lake Michigan had to be #1 on my list because there were few intersections and water is pretty, obviously.

Continue reading