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?

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 12-13

After having a couple of months of a training slump, in week 11 I began cautiously using an approximation of the 10% rule to get my training (specifically my weekly mileage) back where I planned for it to be. Here’s a quick snapshot from my super-cool Excel training log showing how my weekly mileage looked up to this point:

average weekly mileage

In my last post, I mentioned these three guidelines I’m using to tweak my plan until I get caught up:

  1. Cut mileage from recovery runs first, then easy medium-distance runs
  2. Run at a ridiculously easy pace for all runs except fast workouts
  3. Be hyper-sensitive to listening to my body and be willing to cut back at the first sign of anything wonky

And here’s how it went:

Week 12: 35 miles

Monday, 10/5

You know the drill, rest on Mondays. I also woke up at a time suitable only for vampires so I could fly to Houston for work. Very sleepy. All day.

Tuesday, 10/6

  • Plan: 8 miles; 3-5 @ tempo + 6 x 1:00 @ 10k pace (2:00 recovery); core; strength training
  • Actual: 4 miles easy

I switched my Wednesday recovery run with my Tuesday workout because I was pretty tired from the travel, and I’m trying to be really cautious as I increase mileage. We had a really busy work week, so I got up way before the sun and ran with a coworker. I did three sets pushups after my run/before work – I’m trying to get better at them – but not a full blown strength session.

Wednesday, 10/7

  • Plan: 4 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 8 miles; 3-5 @ tempo (9:03, 8:34, 8:38) + 6 x 1:00 @ 8:40/mile average

My Garmin acted up a little on this run; I think the first mile in the tempo run and some of the 10k pace repeats registered a little slow, but maybe it was the humidity. Either way, it felt like a good workout. After that workout and a long day at the office, I was pretty beat.

Thursday, 10/8

  • Plan: 7 miles + 4 strides; hips/glutes; strength training
  • Actual: 6 miles easy; quick strength circuit

I ran with my coworker again and didn’t adhere to my running-super-easy plan. I also totally forgot to do the strides. My team worked hard this week and finished our work early, so we left the office early enough for me to squeeze in a 25 minute strength session at the hotel gym – I did three sets of dumbbell squats, bench dips, Romanian deadlifts, pushups, and planks.

Friday, 10/9

REST DAY. I HAVE MISSED YOU, MY LOVER. Sadly, my flight was delayed.

Saturday, 10/10

  • Plan: 14 miles
  • Actual: 14 miles

I joined my pal Amanda for 14 miles of her 18 mile training run – in the rain, again. It happened to be her “worst long run” of this training cycle, so we had some walk breaks sprinkled in the run. Amanda wouldn’t have minded if I’d run on without her, but since I’ve had such a bad training cycle, I wanted to stick around and tough it out with her. She was really strong and never gave up. Having the experience of gutting out a tough run is, in my view, an underrated component of the mental aspect of training. She did great, and I know she’ll be tough in the late miles of Richmond.

Because of the walk breaks, I approximated that this run counted as about 12 miles of running toward my weekly total. It’s a rough guess, and probably a conservative one.

Sunday, 10/11

  • Plan: 5 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 5 mile recovery run

I didn’t feel nearly as fatigued as I normally do after a long run, so I set out for my recovery run on the flattest route that’s close to my house. A mile into my run, I ran into my old neighbor Kat, who is a part of our annual Savannah half marathon group. We started running together and catching up – did I mention that she is pretty fast? – so I did a couple miles in the high 8:00s, which is decidedly NOT a recovery pace for me. Still, worth it.

Week 13: 37 miles

Monday, 10/12

Rest day. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Tuesday, 10/13

  • Plan: 9 miles: 3-5 @ tempo; 6 x 1:00 @ 5k pace (2:00 recovery); core; strength training
  • Actual: 9 miles: 3-5 @ tempo (8:41, 8:55, 8:36); 6 x 1:00 @ 8:17/mile average; strength training

Holy hard workout. It finally stopped raining in Atlanta, but it was about 100% humidity. The half-mile gravel loop I chose for the workout had a couple of giant mud puddles for extra fun! (Sarcasm intended.) The workout itself went fine – I ran by feel and came pretty close to hitting the paces I wanted to, but the two hilly miles home for the cool-down were so hard. I ended up walking up the steeper uphills because otherwise there was nothing cool-down-ish about it.

Crosswalks at 10th & Piedmont, rainbow striped for Pride weekend

This was my first day deadlifting since I had the SI joint issue a couple of months ago (although deadlifting wasn’t the cause of the issue, it is a similar movement to many of the things that were aggravating my SI joint). I stuck to a relatively easy 105 lbs for 5 sets of 5 and really focused on form, specifically keeping my core strong throughout the movement.

Wednesday, 10/14

  • Plan: 4 miles recovery
  • Actual: 3 miles recovery

I just barely got three miles in. I ate an ill-advised pre-run snack and my stomach was having none of it.

Thursday, 10/15

  • Plan: 7 miles + 4 strides; glutes/hips; strength training
  • Actual: 7 miles + 4 strides; strength training

I returned to basking in the calm gloriousness of easy running, then had a really good time at the gym that evening. It was one of my favorite workouts in a while.

  • Squats: 3 sets of 10 @ 110 lbs
  • Circuit 1: 12 minutes of clean, squat, lunge (ladder up 1/3/5) – I used two 26 lb kettlebells – it was pretty challenging.
  • Circuit 2: 10 minutes of 10 TRX rows, 12 kettlebell rows, 1.5 Turkish get-ups (the half get-up is just getting your hips off the floor then going back down)

Friday, 10/16

REST SWEET REST DAY.

Saturday, 10/17

  • Plan: 15 miles
  • Actual: 3 mile recovery run

I planned to move my long run to Sunday because Jeff threw a party for his grad school classmates Friday night. A really big group came out, representing 10 or so countries. A few of them said they’d never been to an American party. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday morning, I went to Tom Foreman’s book signing at the Georgia Tech bookstore. (If you haven’t read my interview with Tom, or my review of his book My Year of Running Dangerously, check them out!) Tom and his wife Linda are wonderful people. After chatting with them at the signing, I felt like I’d known them for years. Tom is really funny, interesting, and easy to talk to; and I could have talked to Linda for hours. If you have the opportunity to meet Tom at an event, DO IT! Follow him on Twitter and/or Facebook to see if he’ll be in your area.

  
One of my favorite parts of meeting the Foremans (besides Tom’s stories from his time in ABC’s Moscow bureau), was when Tom and Linda found out that my friend Amy is running the Marine Corps Marathon, they found out exactly what she’d be wearing so they could look out for her and cheer. This gesture perfectly represented the running community at its best: supporting each other, no matter how famous, fast or slow, old or young. I love it!

I was planning for 4 miles, but by the time I got out for my run, I had friends coming over in less than an hour, so 3 it was. Oops.

Sunday, 10/18

  • Plan: 5 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 15 miles @ 10:15/mile

I went back to the Silver Comet Trail, where I did most of my long runs last year training for the St. Jude Marathon. This run was less challenging and a bit faster than most of my long runs from the last cycle, so I think(hope?) this is a sign of progress.

What’s your favorite strength or cross-training exercise? Can you work it in while traveling, or do you cut yourself some slack?

Have you read My Year of Running Dangerously yet? If so, let me know what you thought of it!

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Week 11

My travel season has (mostly) come to a close, so I suppose it’s a good time to update the blog with recent training.

In my last training post, I mentioned that I completely skipped a tempo run – on purpose, not because I didn’t have time or was injured. I was sick of dreading them, sick of struggling with them: I needed a break. Doing this let me focus on the fun of training (I was in Boston, my absolute favorite city for running) and put the struggle out of mind for a bit.

In hindsight, I wish I’d done this sooner, because it had a really positive impact on my mindset.

Another issue I needed to tackle was reconciling where I actually was with my training vs. where my plan had me. While I’d been adhering to the plan with regard to long run mileage, and I was mostly on track with midweek workout mileage (which is my second-longest run of the week), I hadn’t been getting in the total weekly mileage that my plan called for.

 weekly mileage

With my training being ALL OVER THE PLACE, partially due to my recent habit of moving long runs, I did some averaging to figure out what the “big picture” looked like. My two- and four-week rolling average mileage was 29 and 28 miles, respectively. I think that gave me a good idea of the weekly mileage on which to anchor the coming weeks.

average weekly mileage

My plan for week 11 called for 38 miles – probably not a smart jump in mileage for me, since it’s been nearly a year since I ran that kind of weekly mileage. Looking at my plan, I realized that with approximate 10% increases in weekly mileage, I could get back on track in about 4 weeks.

Because there’s nothing magical about the 10% rule, I still wanted to exercise caution. We all know that being undertrained and healthy is so much better than getting injured trying to hit an arbitrary mileage goal. So in a nutshell, here’s how I planned to approach these weeks:

  1. Cut mileage from recovery runs first, then easy medium-distance runs
  2. Run at a ridiculously easy pace for all runs except fast workouts
  3. Be hyper-sensitive to listening to my body and be willing to cut back at the first sign of anything wonky

Without further ado, here’s how week 11 went:

Week 11: 32 miles

Monday, 9/28

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Tuesday, 9/29

  • Plan: 8 miles; 3-5 @ tempo + 6 x 1:00 @ 10k pace (2:00 recovery); core; strength training
  • Actual: 8 miles; 3.5 miles tempo (8:49, 8:41, 8:36, 0.5 @8:31/mile) + 5 x 1:00 @ 8:20/mile average; strength training

I started the tempo slow because I’ve been starting tempos too hard and derailing the whole workout. This time – go figure – it felt too easy, so I tacked on another half mile at tempo pace for a little confidence boost. The strength session focused on chest and triceps. I skipped my quick core routine…again [insert blushing face emoji).

Wednesday, 9/30

  • Plan: 4 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 45 minutes easy spinning

I replaced this recovery run with an easy spin session to reduce my overall weekly mileage while keeping the “quality” sessions unchanged. WHY DO I HATE THE $%@&ing SPIN BIKE SO MUCH? I love competitive spin classes, but easy spinning is my personal hell. Le sigh.

Thursday, 10/1

  • Plan: 7 miles + 4 strides; hips/glutes; strength training
  • Actual: 6 miles SOOO EASY + 4 strides; strength training

Not to get all hippie on you guys, but I missed the near-meditative state I get into when I run really really really easy. Why is it so hard to run easy? It’s the best! I skipped the hip/glute stuff (stuff like bridges, banded clams/leg raises/lateral walk) because I am lazy and didn’t feel like it.

Friday, 10/2

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

It’s so easy not to work out on a Friday. I really love the Monday/Friday rest day plan. I’m going to keep it. Jeff and I left for a quick trip to Chicago to celebrate my 30th birthday. We a great trip – Chicago is such a fun city.

The most unique thing we did on our trip was the architecture boat tour on the Chicago River. This was a really interesting tour, especially hearing Jeff’s perspective as an architect himself.

View from the mouth of the Chicago River

Saturday, 10/3

  • Plan: 14 miles
  • Actual: 4 miles easy

I wanted to run along Lake Michigan, but it was raining and I hadn’t packed any running gear for cold rain. When we got back to Atlanta that evening, Jeff and I went to a friends’ house for a cookout. It was already kind of late (7ish), so I decided the best way to both run and hang out was to run to their house. I was a little damp from sweat and rain, but I was glad I got to both run and grill out with friends.

Sunday, 10/4

  • Plan: 5 miles recovery
  • Actual: 14 miles @ 10:27/mile

I ran the first 6 miles with my friend Amanda, who is training for the Richmond Marathon and was running 6 as a recovery day. It was raining and gross – the run wasn’t exceptionally great, but it wasn’t bad either. Considering how this cycle has gone, I’ll happily take a not-bad run.

Have you ever fallen off the wagon and had to alter a training plan?

What do you think of the 10% rule? Abide by it or ignore it?

What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 8-10

Week 10 is done. Thus we mark the halfway point from the beginning of training to the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, and six weeks until Savannah.

This training cycle has sucked. It’s not that I don’t love running or training, it’s that I’m struggling to get out of my body and mind what I feel like it should be able to give me. I’ve never had so many miserable long runs. I haven’t managed to pull off a proper tempo run since Week 5. I’ve half-assed at least one hard running workout that I can think of, and I’ve missed other runs entirely.

I’ve also eaten like shit, drank more than I should, traveled more than I cared to (none of it for pleasure), and slept too little. I don’t respond well when I beat myself up for these behaviors, so I’ll just think of prospective lifestyle changes as “room for improvement.”

Adding strength training has altered my training/recovery dynamic, and learning this new balance has derailed my training more than once. I’m proud that I’ve stuck with it, continued to experiment, and learned a lot about listening to my body and knowing when I can push harder and when I need to back off. That lesson alone is so much more important than the outcome of one training cycle.

The same goes for injuries. I’ve had a few warning signs of potential looming injuries, and I somehow figured out what I think was the root cause, aggressively addressed it, and backed off of training enough to keep the issue from becoming a full-blown injury. The SI joint pain made me skip a couple of runs, but it also may have made me a stronger runner. When I was running through it, it forced me to keep my pelvis neutral which helps so much with getting my glutes to fire.

The reality is that I haven’t gotten in all the miles that I hoped to in preparation for these half marathons, so I’m still unsure about any race goals. My guess is that I’ll make St. Jude my goal race – I think I have enough time left to get in some good training and set up a possible PR.

Anyway, here’s the three weeks of recap, in a condensed format.

Week 8: 27 miles

  • Monday, 9/7: Rest
  • Tuesday, 9/8: 4 miles
  • Wednesday, 9/9: 7 miles (plan 3-6 @ tempo); mobility class
    • I was too aggressive at the beginning of this tempo run – the first two tempo miles were 8:36 & 8:34. I hit an uphill stretch in the third mile, and got really frustrated and took a jogging recovery after a little over half a mile uphill (at an 8:56/mile pace). After recovering for a third of a mile, I ran another mile in 8:49. Overall average pace for the tempo portion was 8:52/mile.
  • Thursday, 9/10: 6 easy miles; strides; strength training
  • Friday, 9/11: Rest
  • Saturday, 9/12: Rest
  • Sunday, 9/13: 11 miles @ 10:40/mile

Week 9: 20 miles

  • Monday, 9/14: Rest
  • Tuesday, 9/15: 8 miles (plan: 3-7 tempo); strength training; tabata core workout
    • I didn’t do myself any favors by trying this run on an even hillier route and in the lunchtime heat. I ran the first two tempo miles in the 8:40s before I just quit. I was way too concerned with hitting the number on my watch to acknowledge that I was working too hard in the first two miles. I ran a moderate-to-comfortably-hard effort for the remaining 3 faster miles without looking at my watch, those miles were all around the 9:10-9:30 range. I wonder how I would have done with a consistent effort for all 5 miles. Lesson learned. (Or was it, when the same damn thing happened last week?)
  • Wednesday, 9/16: 3 recovery miles; Power yoga+pilates; mobility class
    • This was too hard for a recovery day; I shouldn’t have gone to the power yoga+pilates class. I wish I enjoyed pilates. [le sigh]

      There’s a historic cemetery not far from my apartment, and I love the calm of it for recovery runs.

  • Thursday, 9/17: 6 miles; strides; strength training
    • Squat day! I loved the strength workout, which in addition to 5×5 sets of squats, also included pull-ups, split squats with kettlebells, side lunges with a kettlebell, some core work (really tough after yesterday’s yoga/pilates), and so many one-arm kettlebell swings I lost count. I really felt the fatigue from the rest of the week’s workouts.
  • Friday, 9/18: REST SWEET REST; restorative yoga
    • I was really sore, unsurprisingly. We walked to Turner Field for the Braves game (about a mile from my apartment), which I hoped would be some good “active recovery.” But that and restorative yoga were all about all I had to give physically. OMGEXHAUSTED.
  • Saturday, 9/19: 3 mile recovery run
    • I was even more sore than Friday, and my muscles were so stiff – I woke up and couldn’t really walk without altering my gait. Not a good situation for a long run. I spent some time foam rolling and trying to show some love to my sore muscles, and finally felt up to a 3 mile recovery run.
  • Sunday, 9/20: Rest
    • I could have done the long run, but I was about to leave town for the week, and I decided that spending a little time with Jeff was more important. He’s a full-time grad student, a teaching assistant, and a full-time architect, so time together is more valuable than ever! I didn’t mind putting off my run was so happy to put off my run, lest my training continue to disappoint.

Week 10: 39 miles

This looks like a huge jump in mileage based on measuring the week from Monday-Sunday, but a Tuesday-Monday week would have resulted in 32 miles for week 9 and 27 miles for week 10.

  • Monday, 9/21: 12 miles @ 9:47/mile
    • FINALLY! A long run that felt good. I benefited some from cooler temperatures and a flatter route along the Charles River in Boston, but it was still good! I celebrated with a lobster roll, fries, and a Milly’s Oatmeal Stout.

      Sunset overlooking Cambridge on the Charles River

  • Tuesday, 9/22: Rest
  • Wednesday, 9/23: 4 miles
  • Thursday, 9/24: 6.5 miles; strides; Red Sox game

    First visit to Fenway!

  • Friday, 9/25: Rest and the best damn lobster roll (I’ve talked about this place before, but it never disappoints)
  • Saturday, 9/26: 12.5 miles @11:03/mile
    • I ran with my friend Amy, who was running 16 miles with some marathon pace miles thrown in. Even though it was raining, we had a really nice time and a good run.
  • Sunday, 9/27: 4 mile recovery run

After several poor attempts at tempo runs, I just skipped my planned tempo this week. For several weeks, I’d felt a sense of dread of the tempo. The dread grew stronger each week, and I finally decided I’d had enough. I put it behind me and I actually feel better about my training without my weekly dose of dread and disappointment.

This post is feeling a bit negative, so here’s a photo of my cat for grins.

I’m not going to belabor all the things I’ve done wrong or failed to do over the past few weeks – I know I need to do core and hip work more consistently, get some time in lifting heavy things while on the road, and eat better while I’m traveling.

Have you ever had a really crappy training cycle? Any advice you have for pulling out of this rut would be greatly appreciated!

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training – Week 6

At the end of week 5, I was putting off my long run because I felt like I was coming down with something. Between fighting back a cold and issues with my SI joint, I had a few inconsistent weeks of training. Unfortunately, this trend continued with week 6.

Week 6: 32 miles

Although the week’s total mileage was sort of impressive for me this year, it was more of a function of cut-off trickery (I’ve been counting the weeks as beginning on Monday and ending on Sunday). If I measured the week from Sunday to Saturday, the total would be 26 miles (still pretty good by my recent standards).

Monday, 8/24

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: 10 miles @ 10:17/mile

I had missed Week 4’s long run due to SI joint pain, AND I pushed back Week 5’s long run a couple of days because I felt like I was coming down with something. So when I woke up Monday morning without that scratchy throat I’d had in the days prior, I decided to get the 10 miles done.

The run was really not great. I didn’t feel like doing a long run, but I tried to stay close to 10:00/mile pace. I was close for most of the run, but the hills in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood kicked my butt – I ran a couple miles at 10:40-10:50 pace. I finished up at a good pace, and I was just glad to have the run done.

A few hours later, I was in a state of regret. I felt lethargic, warm, cold, sniffly, coughy – I hadn’t bucked the cold bug after all, and I’m sure I made it worse by running 10 miles. This rough streak is getting on my nerves.

Still, I managed to roast a chicken for the first time. I followed the linked instructions and it turned out really well. It has very little hands-on time, so it’s not a bad cooking project for feeling ill.

I didn’t get a great photo, but I was so happy with the nice golden color! It was easy and tasted great.

I’ve been trying to learn how to do more with cooking meat. I listened to a podcast recently describing the inhumane treatment of animals at commercial pork farms, so I’d like to transition to only eating meat that is raised humanely. The easiest way to do that, I think, is to cook humanely-raised meat at home and to eat a mostly vegetarian diet away from home. (Tips? Please let me know in the comments!)

Tuesday, 8/25

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace, core, strength training
  • Actual: Rest

I felt awful all day, but I managed to throw together a bone broth from the bones of the chicken I roasted the previous day. That evening, I received news of a death in the family.

Crockpots are wonderful.

Wednesday, 8/26

  • Plan: 3 recovery miles
  • Actual: Rest and travel

Still sick. My brother and I road tripped to Memphis for the funeral. I drank my body weight in juices and green smoothies.

Thursday, 8/27

  • Plan: 6 miles; strides; strength training
  • Actual: 2.25 miles @ 10:09/mile

I was feeling like a slug, so I decided to go out for a short run and see how good or bad it felt. It wasn’t that bad at all.

Friday, 8/28

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: 7 miles w/ 3-5.25 @ tempo pace (9:20/mile overall)

I set out on my run secretly hoping to get in as much of the week’s tempo run as I could.

I figured I’d give it a couple of miles and cut it short and easy if I felt bad, and try the tempo if I felt good.

Once I made the decision to attempt the tempo run, I ran those miles by feel. The actual paces I ran were around the slower end of the tempo range (8:30-8:45) 8:45, 8:49, 8:44, and the last quarter mile at an 8:49/mile pace. That last quarter mile started getting out of “comfortably hard” territory, so I decided to back off and take the rest of the run easy. I figured that putting my body under a lot of stress while trying to recover from an unusually bad cold was a bad idea.

It was a long day with the visitation, funeral, and time spent with friends and family. It’s exhausting to be around all these people because I’m an introvert. It’s also comforting because people come to these things NOT because they are fun, but because they care.

I spent the evening with old friends from Memphis, and we went to Overton Square. There are so many new spots in that area since the last time I visited, and I’d definitely recommend checking it out to anyone visiting the city.


Saturday, 8/29

  • Plan: 10 miles; core
  • Actual: 3 recovery miles @ 10:46/mile; core

I waited until noon to run, and it was HOT!

Sunday, 8/30

  • Plan: 3 recovery miles
  • Actual: 10 miles @ 10:23/mile

I ran at sunrise to get the run in before a 10:30 am flight. My legs felt like they were stuck in molasses the whole time, but I focused on keeping a moderate-easy effort and getting it done. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go back home to Atlanta because I had work in New York. There are worse destinations for a work trip, so I can’t complain!

Takeaways from the week:

Of course, I’m frustrated with the continued irritating obstacles to my training, but I’m not making any more of it than it is.

Running is a hobby that I enjoy, and it’s important to me because it’s made me a better person in many ways. So my aim is for running to occupy that good-important place in my life, where it adds to my happiness and well-being; and for it not to occupy the bad-important place, where setbacks to my running can take away more happiness than running gives me.

Being around friends and family while experiencing the loss of a loved one probably helped me keep this in perspective. 

That said, I am really hoping this rut is almost over.

Have you ever had setback after setback while training for a race? Any advice to break the cycle, or just be patient until it ends?

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 3-5

Consistency hasn’t been the forte of my last few weeks. I’ve battled SI joint pain of varying intensity, tough work weeks, and illness. I’m doing my best to adapt to the situation and hoping things will return to normal soon.

This recap includes three weeks, because I’ll be honest, blogging is the first thing to go when life gets a little crazier than normal.

Week 3: 22 miles

Monday, 8/3

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Tuesday, 8/4

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 9:46/mile; 2 sets of 20 kettlebell swings; Myrtl routine

I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I decided to put off the harder workout and push forward an easier day. Since I was also skipping my planned strength training, I got in a couple sets of kettlebell swings after my run. I felt a little unstable doing swings in my Hoka Cliftons (I typically wear a more minimal shoe for this kind of activity). In the evening, a pain I’d been having in my lower back really seized up. To the touch, I had a knot the size of a lima bean. I curse myself for swinging in max-cushion shoes.

Wednesday, 8/5

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: rest and corrective massage

All day, my back just felt like owwwwwww, even just walking or sitting. I got a last minute massage appointment, with fingers crossed that the therapist could unlock whatever had seized up in my low back.

I learned from the therapist that my SI joint was the source of this pain. The issues with my SI joint had further underlying causes, including tight spots in my adductors and obliques. The massage helped release these spots and took the edge off the pain coming from my SI joint. The therapist also gave me some homework: glute activation exercises (proving I’m still a work in process), and spots to self-massage.

Thursday, 8/6

  • Plan: 5 miles; strength training
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; strength training

I finally got the workout in! It started out pretty easy and ended up tough but doable. Pacing was pretty consistent among the one-minute repeats, between 8:20-8:30 pace. I’m pleased with it, since pacing shorter workouts hasn’t been easy for me in the past.

In the gym that evening, I was nervous to re-aggravate my SI joint so I didn’t go a full 100% effort. It was a good day: squats, pistols, TRX rows, assisted pull-ups, weighted lunges, hanging leg raises, and one arm kettlebell swings.

Friday, 8/7

  • Plan: rest
  • Actual: 3 mile recovery run

Had I done the fartlek workout Tuesday, I would have done this recovery run on Wednesday, so I decided to plug it in on my Friday rest day for a little active recovery.

Saturday, 8/8

  • Plan: 9 miles; core
  • Actual: 9 miles @ 9:15/mile; core

I met up with Jessica for a group run with MARC. I enjoyed the group atmosphere, met a lot of nice people, and had a good run. I kept trying to slow myself down to a 9:30+ pace in accordance with the training plan, but I ran faster than prescribed while still feeling comfortable on the run. I’m not going to read into it; I think it was just a day when I felt really good. I’ll take it.

Sunday, 8/9

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Travel, dinner, and rest

I packed up for another week in Boston. My flight was delayed 30 minutes at the time of departure, made up the delay time in the air, then we were delayed nearly an hour on the ground in Boston waiting for a gate.

My view for an extended length of time.

I’d planned to do my 3 mile recovery run before dinner, but with the delay, my hunger, and my unquenched desire for Neptune Oyster House, I opted to go straight for dinner. It’s gotten so hard to get in Neptune that I specifically planned to go on Sunday night when I’d be dining alone without coworkers. I had some delicious oysters, several (too many) delicious glasses of wine, and their lobster roll makes little angels sing inside my head. This is a meal that is worth skipping a recovery run for.

the BEST.

Week 4: 15 miles

Monday, 8/10

  • Plan: Make up Sunday’s 3 mile recovery run? Or rest.
  • Actual: Rest

I’m just going to be real here, I was a little hung over first thing in the morning.

I drank a bunch of water, slept another hour, and was a champion for the first day of what proved to be a tough work week.

Tuesday, 8/11

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:29/mile; 4 strides

I slept horribly on Monday night, so yet again, I pushed up an easier running day on my harder workout day.

I didn’t do my evening strength training as planned because we had a team dinner. We went to Bricco, which may be my new favorite Italian spot in the North End. A couple of coworkers and I went family style with a bunch of dishes, and everything was great. Two thumbs up.

The meatballs are awesome.

Wednesday, 8/12

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 4 miles with friends, untimed; core/hip strength

Miles with friends on the Charles River Esplanade are the best. I followed up the run with a core circuit and some hip strength work.

The day just kept getting better from there. For lunch, we went to Sam LaGrassa’s deli (the corned beef and pastrami sandwich is great but HUGE!), and we picnicked in Boston Common on a gorgeous day.

After work, a colleague and I booked it to Harpoon Brewery. If you like beer/the brewery scene, I’ve got to recommend this to anyone visiting Boston. The atmosphere was great, I liked the beer, and the pretzel with IPA cheese made me extremely happy.

Thursday, 8/13

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: Rest

I really regretted not going ahead with this workout on Tuesday. I also regretted not resting enough over the week…WHO AM I KIDDING, it was a great time. But with a big day of work ahead of me, I decided to put my focus there and run in the evening or the next day.

When the work day was over, all I wanted to do was take a nap and go for a late run. So naturally, when my friend/coworker Heather suggested we have a glass of champagne to celebrate getting through the week…YES PLEASE. A glass of champagne turned into another delicious dinner at Bricco and a cannoli from Modern Pastry. So much for those plans.

Friday, 8/14

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest

I got the workout in eventually. It was beautiful and the run went great. Other than one repeat that I ran a tad too fast (8:12/mi pace), the rest were all in the 8:20-8:30 range.

I always pack a carry-on for work trips. This particular day, I didn’t feel like dragging it through security, so I pulled a rare move and checked my small bag.

When I got to the Atlanta airport, I saw my bag on a crowded carousel, stacked above a couple of other bags. I reached awkwardly to grab it, and felt almost a cranking sensation in my SI joint.

It hurt to walk, sit, even shift positions while lying down. Normally a tosser/turner, I had to lie completely still while sleeping because the slightest adjustment of my hips sent my SI joint pain into fury.

Saturday, 8/15

  • Plan: Rest or 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Rest

I woke up feeling as miserable as when I went to sleep. I couldn’t do anything bending at the waist – I could barely touch my knees. I found a chiropractor whose office was open on Saturday, and it was good to get out of the house with a glimmer of hope, but I didn’t notice any improvement in the pain. I spent most of the day standing and hanging out on our friends’ front porch, because sitting was more painful than standing.

Sunday, 8/16

  • Plan: 9 miles
  • Actual: Rest

The SI joint pain was somewhat less than the day before, but I wasn’t about to risk running 9 miles feeling that way. I toyed with the idea of a short easy run, but decided that would be horrible judgment given the level of pain I was experiencing.

Week 5: 22 miles

Monday, 8/17

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: 3 miles easy @ 9:56/mile

My SI joint pain was steadily improving, but I was getting a little grumpy from not getting any exercise. I tried to think of what I could do to get a good sweat that wouldn’t irritate the SI joint, and realized that running made the most sense – no bending at the waist necessary.

I had a really excellent run. The hills were no big deal. It was odd, except now I’m wondering if something I did to avoid aggravating the SI joint is actually better running form and allows the glutes to activate better. My theory is that it’s keeping my pelvis neutral, so I’m going to try being more conscious of this going forward.

The other great thing about this run was that my SI joint pain was decreased compared to the pain pre-run, and I was a lot more mobile than before (I could actually touch my toes after the run).

Tuesday, 8/18

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:54; strides; strength training

Even feeling a lot better, I wasn’t sure about jumping straight into a tempo run, so the streak of putting off Tuesday workouts continued.

Strength training went pretty well. The trainer modified a couple of exercises to avoid aggravating anything, but I was able to do almost everything according to plan.

Wednesday, 8/19

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:37/mile; corrective massage; mobility class

Thursday, 8/20

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace; strength training

I didn’t wake up early, so I had to do this one on the treadmill. 2 miles @ 10:21/mile, 4 miles @ 8:41/mile, 1 mile @ 10:21/mile. The workout felt exactly as it should: comfortably hard until the last quarter mile or so, when it was pretty stinkin’ hard.

We had squat day at the gym, and I decided to attempt pull-ups with a band for the first time. It was a success and I felt like a badass. That is all.

Friday, 8/21

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Saturday, 8/22

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: Rest

My throat felt really scratchy and I felt more fatigued than normal, so I hoped that putting off the long run would keep the sick bugs at bay.

Sunday, 8/23

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 10:21/mile; core/hips

I still felt kind of sick and decided to play it safe.

Overall, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been training as consistently as I planned, but sometimes life happens. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping all the obstacles to my training came at once. 🙂

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training – Weeks 1&2

I recently started “real training” for fall half marathons.

The long break from structured training following my knee injury was not all that bad, and perhaps even a bit rejuvenating. I kept a long-ish run of 7-8 miles most (but not all!) weeks, and tried to do a faster running workout once every week or two. I added strength training 2-3 times per week.

Ultimately, I like structure. I also don’t like second-guessing if I’m doing the right things with my training. My marathon training last year got off to a horrible start when I selected a plan that wasn’t right for me. I salvaged the experience by getting a custom training plan from Jason, which helped me turn the corner and have a great time training for my first marathon. I thought about designing my own training plan, but after last year’s experience, getting another plan from Jason was the option that made me feel most comfortable.

Week 1: 26 miles

Monday: 4 miles easy @ 10:42/mile; hip/glute strength

I ran 4 miles in the morning before getting my plan in the afternoon. The plan called for a rest day. It wasn’t a terribly challenging run, so I didn’t sweat it.

Tuesday: 6 miles w/ 3-5 @ tempo pace (9:28/mile overall); core; strength training (PM)

Tuesday morning tempo runs are back. The plan said to do miles 3-5 at tempo pace. While I felt fine during the first tempo mile, the second was brutal. In the heat and humidity, I could feel that my heart rate and level of exertion were higher than they should be for a tempo run, so I turned the third tempo mile into a fartlek (each 1:00 of hard running followed by 1:00 of recovery jogging). In retrospect, I probably pushed myself too hard at the beginning given the heat and humidity. Although I didn’t adhere 100% to the plan, I did what I could to salvage the workout. Splits for miles 3-5: 8:33, 8:40, 9:30.

Post-tempo-run core work cat photobomb

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:50/mile; 4 strides; strength training (PM)

Cute run sighting: Paris-inspired locks on the Cherokee Ave bridge

One of the main things I’m working on in strength training is my glute strength, so this was deadlift day with lots of squats and some upper body and core mixed in. I deadlifted 125 lbs. for the first time, but the trainer noticed that I’m still favoring my right side (stronger glute) during squats. Much work still to do.

Friday: 45 min. indoor cycling @ Torq Cycle

Saturday: 8 miles @ 10:46/mile

This was the worst run I’ve had in a while. I didn’t get out for my run early enough, and I paid for it with the heat and humidity. The first 5 miles averaged a 10:00/mile pace, which is on the slower end of what my plan calls for on long runs and about what I was planning for. Then the wheels fell off. I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly, my heart was racing, and my whole body was drenched in sweat. I walked hills and got the run done.

Sunday: 3 miles @ 10:55/mile; core

Bahston bound.

How I pack a work trip carry-on: half suits, half sweat.

Week 2: 26 miles

Monday: 4 miles @ 11:00/mile

This was supposed to be a rest day, but I was in Boston for work, and I couldn’t say no when one of my coworkers wanted to go for a run! We had a nice easy run and great conversation along the Charles River.

After dinner, I walked with a few coworkers to the North End to get a cannoli from Modern Pastry. Delizioso.

The best.

Tuesday: 6.5 miles w/ 3-5 @ tempo pace (9:06/mile overall); core; strength training (PM)

An oh-so-lovely tempo run along the Charles River. With the flat terrain and cooler temperatures, I actually dipped below the 8:30-8:45 pace I was aiming for while still feeling great. Splits for miles 3-5: 8:38, 8:29, 8:19.

Sweaty selfies aren’t my forte. That’s Faneuil Hall in the background.

My gym membership includes custom workout design for members who are traveling, using whatever equipment is available. My first workout was a deck of cards workout. I used the RipDeck app to get cards (if you want face cards, you have to select “intermediate”), and it was an uncomplicated, fun workout to do away from home.

Travel workout.

We had dinner at Strega, one of the North End’s many yummy Italian restaurants AND a good place for large groups. It’s a bit loud, but the food makes up for the ambiance. Strega also has a number of TV screens that are always playing classic movies like The Godfather. Some people love this or hate it. (I think it’s funny.)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:32/mile; 4 strides; strength training (PM)

The first half of my run didn’t feel great, but it’s impossible to complain about running in Boston.

Charles River Esplanade

Travel workout: descending ladder sets (10, 9, 8,…1) of kettlebell deadlifts, floor press, bent row, and jumping split squats.

Friday: Rest

My glutes and hips were so sore from deadlifts and jumping split squats. A much needed day of rest and travel home.

Kane’s Donuts: worth visiting in the Boston Financial District. #recoverymeal

Also, sparkling rosé and gnocchi at Ristorante Fiore.

Saturday: 3 recovery miles (untimed and SLOW!)

The plan was to do an 8 mile long run here, but I was still really sore from my Thursday workout. Decided to switch up Sunday’s recovery run and Saturday’s long run.

Sunday: 8 miles @ 9:24/mile; core; yoga

Atlanta got a momentary respite from the heat and humidity, and my run definitely showed it/took advantage. It wasn’t quite 70 degrees by the time I started at 7 am, and less than 70% humidity. Despite being mostly uphill, I ran the last mile in 9:01.

Running in my hood.

I also got in a much-needed yoga class on Sunday, after my travel schedule interfered with my Sunday yoga routine the week before.

After a couple of rough runs the first week, I was so glad to have a beautiful week of running in Boston.

How about you: do you pack light for a business trip or take all the stuff?

Do you enjoy summer training or just endure it until the temperatures drop?

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 – 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