The Race That Wasn’t

As you may not know, since I apparently haven’t blogged much about running on my running blog, I had a race on the schedule for this weekend1.  A five miler that I originally hoped could be a PR race. I say “originally hoped” because I have not done one iota of training that would make me any faster.  I even hesitate to use the term “training” at all. I’ve been running, but it’s been sporadic and disordered. No purpose or structure to any of my runs. I HAVE run the distance, so I have that going for me, but that’s about it.

I haven’t been running outside. While I’m a firm believer that you can train for even a hilly race on a treadmill, I’ve been leaving the incline at zero, which leaves me with no question that hills would be an issue. (Not that I even bothered to figure out if this is a hilly course). I also question whether I am physically prepared for running in current temperatures. When I signed up, I envisioned March 18th being a nice spring day. I’ve lived in the same climate my whole life, so who knows where that silly idea came from.

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Training run

So, this week I’ve been going into the race with thoughts like, “Hmm..March 18th, already, huh?” and “Gee..looks like it’ll be a cold one?”, and as of Thursday afternoon I hadn’t even figured out the time or start location yet. Then I got a text that the race was cancelled. And then the official email. I’m left feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. A little bummed because races are always fun, but I don’t really feel like I have any skin in the game.  (My entry fee was paid through work, even). I DO feel quite bad for all the runners who have made this their goal race (there is also a half), particularly because it’s not the time of year where it’ll be easy to find a “replacement” race.

The interesting part about the whole thing, to me at least, is that in lieu of a refund or even an entry for next year, they are deferring everyone’s entries to a race in October. A race that is a half marathon, without a 5 mile option. I emailed the race director to ask if that deferral included the 5 mile racers, and was confirmed that it does.  SO, GUESS I’M SIGNED UP FOR A HALF!

I’ve got quite a while before that race rolls around, so it’s not really on my radar right now, but in terms of what’s next, I’m thinking I’ll find a training plan (not sure what distance) and start following it. I think I could use a little structure, even if there’s not a race at the end.  Also, I’m signed up for a virtual 10K through the Hogwarts Running Club that I’ll be doing in the next week or two. My training for that has been, “Well, If I can run 5 miles, I’m sure I can run 6.2”. I should probably be a coach.

80-20 Schedule

I used to make crazy schedules like this.

I think I can safely say that I’ve gotten back into running. Now, it’s time to step up my game a little.

1 Technically I’m scheduled to run a race this morning since this post will go up Saturday even though I’m writing it on Friday — Does this bother anyone else? I hate the thought that my posts are inexact when I write “today”, “tomorrow”, or “yesterday”. How do you handle it when writing in advance? Do you just ignore it or do you correct it so it sounds like it was written the day it was posted?

Do other people do 19 mile long runs?

Since today was long run day, I hit the road for a 19 mile run. It seems like an odd distance to me, you hear a lot about “the 20 mile long run” and even the 18, but rarely (if ever) have I seen someone talk about the 19 they ran. Also, I’ve seen a lot of training plans that jump directly from 18 miles to 20 miles. What’s up with that? Are other people not running 19. I’ve basically made up the long run mileages of my training plan, so I’m curious what other people do.

Anyways, my run went pretty well. My legs seemed to be on board with the whole thing pretty much right from the start, and I continue to be elated with the mild temperatures this summer. My glutes (or something nearby) and hamstrings have been feeling pretty tired all week, and that’s how they felt this morning, too. Aside from that all was well. It’s pretty exciting to think how good my legs are going to feel for the first part of the marathon when they’ve been nicely tapered. (That sounds weird. Like I’m getting my legs surgically modified to fit perfectly in tapered jeans.)

I spent the first 6(ish) miles getting into a groove. I was searching for some stragglers on my scavenger hunt list and listening to an audiobook (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn), so I was pretty well entertained. I reached the top of my steepest hill right before 6 miles and the downhill that follows is where I tend to really start feeling good. The next 7 miles flew by, bringing me to 13.1 miles at around 2 hr 25 min.

2014-08-30 09.03.22

I really like this part of my run. The view helps me ignore the hills, at least.

After I reach 13 miles, my brain tends to get a little fuzzy. I have an extraordinarily difficult time keeping track of how many miles I have left to run, and simple subtraction (19 – 13 = 6) can easily get messed up. Today I missed a turn that I take on a regular basis. And not just any turn, this street I forgot to turn down is one of my favorite parts of the run. I ran a quarter mile passed (past? which is it?) it before I realized…oops! My thoughts were something like “Wow…I’m feeling really good for 13.5 miles, and I’m still pretty sharp, I can even do math – I have 5.5 miles left….wait a second…..I’m not supposed to be here…”

I turned around so I could run down Pickman & Neptune Streets (my two favorites), and by the time I was back to some louder, more difficult streets I’d reached 15 miles. The point where things start to hurt a little. Like a switch turns on.

“What, your legs are starting to hurt? Let’s run up this really hilly street. It’ll be fun!”

The next 4 miles were pretty much just a countdown. I still felt pretty good for a while, but it was getting hot, and I was excited to finish up. While my legs were still hanging on at 16 miles, my brain had completely checked out.

My inner dialogue:

  • 15.85 miles: “Sweet! Almost at 16, and then only 2 short miles to hit 19…no, 3 short miles.”
  • 16 miles: “Woo! only 2 miles until 19! No, 3 miles, 3 miles…”
  • 16.2 miles: “2 miles, 2 miles….Seriously, brain?! It’s 3, come on.  Just stop looking at the watch.”

At that point, I started focusing on the ground so I wouldn’t hit any uneven spots and trip, and that task kept me sufficiently occupied until well past the 17 mile mark.

I had purposefully sent myself out on a run that I knew would end with me crossing the bridge to Salem, and pretty much immediately turning around to cross back over. Even though I knew it was coming it was still a very, very sad thing to actually have to do that. The timing ended up working out so that I got a walk break immediately upon reaching the top of the bridge. The walk break then ended as soon as I had finished the downhill portion. No fair! It was difficult having to start running again only to turn around after a tenth of a mile and climb back over, but I know (hope?) it’ll be good training for late hills in the marathon.

18 miles plus bridge = 😦

Despite my pitiful face in the picture above, it was really a great run. I can’t believe that with step back weeks and tapering, I only have 3 more long runs before the race. I mean, it isn’t until October 26th for goodness sake!

Next week is a step back week, so I’ll probably go for 10 miles. I’m going to try to keep my pace in check because these last two long runs have really done a number on my legs. I suspect I’m running them too fast (11:14/mile average pace, around 9:50ish on the running portions), but it’s not easy to slow down when I’m having such a good time.

Have you or do you plan to run a 19 miler? Anyone else have huge brain farts towards the end of long runs? And what are your tricks for keeping the “S” in LSD? (LSD being Long Slow Distance)

 

Week in Review [8/4 – 8/10]

This past week was tough. I think my legs were tired from the long run and 10k the week before (BTW, still working on the race recap for that), and I was a little lacking in the motivation department. I still got out there, but it wasn’t quite as exciting and my legs were really dragging by the time I got my long run in on Saturday. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean this week wasn’t exciting…

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I SIGNED UP FOR A MARATHON!!!  Yes! I finally made a decision and signed up! I’m running the Cape Cod Marathon on October 26th! It’ll be my first time to Cape Cod (after living in the area for 8 years, it’s about time), and I can’t wait. It was a really difficult choice, but the route is supposed to be really beautiful. Let’s hope the scenery can carry me through the hills that start at mile 15. 

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Here I come!

 2.) I saw some weird and interesting things on my long run on Saturday. I didn’t get a picture of any of them because they all happened after mile 14. At mile 14, I walked for a 1/2 mile because I was so exhausted. Once I’d started up again, I didn’t have the energy to stop, take a photo, and restart…so no photos of these amazing sights.

* First, I saw a children’s triathlon. The part I saw was the boys ages 4 to 6 running from the beach to the bike transition. They were all so small…and running so much faster than me. I’m glad they weren’t all passing me on their running segment.

* Next, I saw a man dressed as a pirate (outfit and hat but no peg leg or eye patch) riding a bicycle. He gave me a nod, which to me said, “Yeah, I’m a pirate.”

* Lastly, I saw a man running backwards. He was dressed like a normal runner, wearing headphones, but he was going backwards. Up a bridge. We were going in the same direction, so we were face to face for quite a while, but no head nods or explanations came my way. I think this was stranger than the bicycle pirate. You know, it was pretty hot out there….could I have been hallucinating?

Pirates? Backwards runners? What was in my pre-run smoothie?

3.) The last highlight from the week is not running related. I took my second actuary exam on Friday, and I PASSED!!! Woohoo! 

And the numbers:

  • Monday:  Cross Training/Rest Day ::: Went for a walk.
  • Tuesday:  “Fartlek” (8x 3 min fast, 2 min recovery) ::: 4.65 miles ::: 9:57/mile 
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes easy – Scavenger Hunt! ::: 3.57 miles ::: 12:30/mile
  • Thursday:  30 minutes easy ::: 2.37 miles ::: 12:49/mile
  • Friday: Test Day/Rest Day
  • Saturday: Long Run ::: 16.96 miles ::: 11:46/mile
  • Sunday: Rest Day ::: Binge watching TV on Amazon Prime

This coming week I’ll be taking a step back week, and I’m so ready for it. 

 How was your week last week? What’s weirder: bicycle pirate or backwards runner? 

 

Week in Review [7/27 – 8/3]

Another fun week of running… 

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I ran my easy run on Wednesday at a pace that actually felt easy! My easy runs do not have specific pace criteria, instead, I aim to: feel like I could run forever, be able to speak in full sentences without gasping for breath, and stop and take pictures of fun things I see.

2014-07-28 09.49.33

Monday it rained. I did not run. I’m not hard core or beast mode or whatever we’re calling it these days.

 2.) I did speed work on my birthday, and as a present to me, Jeff ran with me! It was tough – turns out 1200m repeats are hard. After the second one, we walked the recovery intervals, and that helped us stick with it for all 6 intervals. Later, I noticed that the second interval was our fastest…no wonder that one felt particularly difficult. 

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Which one of these is intervals? Just Kidding, intervals don’t come all wrapped up!

3.) My definition of cross training: any physical activity or combination of activities that is not running and lasts for at least 30 minutes. I’m getting better at it! I kayaked, and continued on with Kinetic Revolution. I also added some Wii Fit in there. No, it’s not terribly intense, but it’s also not nothing…score! 

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We walked by the Hale House on Saturday. It’s really old (16??). Rev. Hale apparently was responsible for putting a stop to the witch hunting in Beverly. And that’s why all the crazies go to the next town over on Halloween. (Salem)

4.) I ran a 10k on Sunday. Recap – coming soon to a blog near you!

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Ready to race!

 

And the numbers:

  • Monday:  Cross Training ::: Day 2 Kinetic Revolution, and Wii fit
  • Tuesday:  1200m intervals, 3 min recovery ::: 6 miles ::: 10:30/mile (~9/mile on intervals) ::: Day 3 Kinetic Revolution
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes easy – Scavenger Hunt! ::: 3.7 miles ::: 11:25/mile
  • Thursday:  Rest Day
  • Friday: Long Run ::: 15.5 miles ::: 11:12/mile
  • Saturday: Cross Training ::: Long Walk 
  • Sunday: Bridge & Back 10k

 How was your week last week? 

 

Week in Review

During half training, I started a little training log by recapping my weeks here. I haven’t done that since the race, but I’m going to start again because I want somewhere to keep track of what I’ve  been up to. (note: I’ve tried an actual paper running log, and it was not my cup of tea.)

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I ran all of my weekday runs in the morning. This is unheard of in Amy land. While I enjoyed getting it done early and in cooler temps, it was tough. I definitely notice a difference in morning and evening in terms of alertness and the amount of time it takes to wake up my brain and get my legs warmed up.

2014-07-23 06.20.34

While waiting for my watch, I was fascinated by my shadow.

2.) My marathon goal pace is most likely too fast. But it doesn’t really matter because: a) I’m not signed up for a race, and b) I don’t have any attachment to running that particular pace if I do. I’ll still use this pace for training, unless it becomes overly difficult, but I don’t have any illusions that I’ll magically be able to PR by over 40 minutes. (again, if I end up racing)

3.) My favorite boat has been missing for months and months, but I noticed a snazzy new boat that I like quite a lot.

2014-07-23 06.32.03

No one can replace the Amy Elizabeth, but that red one in the middle there is pretty snazzy. I’ll have to get a close up some time.

4.) I need to run slower on easy days. I ended up with almost the same pace in my Tuesday easy run as I did on Monday for my Goal Pace work out, and as a result my legs felt like concrete during Wednesday’s run. I tried harder to be slow on Thursday and it worked out. I’m more proud of my 11+ miles on Thursday than of those 10 min miles on Tuesday.

5.) With temp and humidity swinging wildly from day to day, I have no idea what paces I should be running. I try to run by feel most days, but then when I look at the pace afterwards, it’s really hard for me to tell if that was good or bad.

6.) OMG I did cross training!  I started (completed day 1 of)  the Kinetic Revolution 30 Day Challenge a few weeks ago. But then I stopped after only 1 day, because I have trouble sticking with things like that. This week I started again..repeating day 1 on Friday morning! I had good intentions of doing day 2 on either Saturday or Sunday, but that didn’t actually happen. I have high hopes for this week, though.

7.) I stuck to my long run pacing plan, really well. I ran very easy for the first 7 miles, I ran medium hard for the next 5 miles, and then I ran the last 2 miles reasonably hard (not all out). As always, I wish my average pace was faster, but effort wise this system felt great.

2014-07-26 09.53.48

Errrm….my tan lines are getting pretty bad.

And the numbers:

(probably more interesting to future Amy than to anyone reading this right now):

  • Monday:  (4x) 1 mile GP, 3:30 jog ::: 5.75 miles ::: 10:03/mile 
  • Tuesday:  35 minutes easy w/ (6) 20 second strides ::: 3.53 miles ::: 10:05/mile
  • Wednesday: 55 minutes – 25 brisk, 5 easy, 25 brisk ::: 6.2 miles ::: 10:16/mile
  • Thursday:  40 minutes easy ::: 3.62 miles ::: 11:02/mile
  • Friday: Day 1 of Kinetic Revolution Challenge (Basic Mobility Stretches + Balance Drills)
  • Saturday: Long Run – 14 miles ::: 11:28/mile 
  • Sunday: Rest Day

 How was your week last week? Anyone else have some awesome tan lines?

 

Hot and Fast

Another week of “I might be running a marathon” training has concluded, and I’m still not signed up for a race. But I do think that I’m closer to a decision now! I’m leaning towards racing this fall (!), and I’m ready to change up some of my non-long runs to reflect that.

So, two things happened this weekend that have me leaning towards signing up.

First, I hung out with my husband’s family on Saturday and talked to his sisters about all doing a race together. We’ve been going back and forth on this together for a couple weeks, and on Saturday I realized that his one sister is about 90% there. That made the whole thing seem more real and I got excited about the possibility of racing.

2014-01-04 08.13.09

Us three in the back would be marathoning together! Two in the front seat would (hopefully agree to) be part of our support crew.

The second thing that happened was that I realized that my alternate plan is stupid.

My main reason for not wanting to run this fall is that I want to build speed before my next marathon, and I am doubtful that I can do that in this training cycle. As an alternate to running a marathon, I’ve been thinking that I would run about 10 to 12 mile long runs all summer and somehow magically get faster at that distance without having to do speed work during the hot and humid summer.

Yesterday, I realized that that is insane. Sure, I will build a good base with that, but I will not get significantly faster. If I want to get faster I will have to do speed work. For some reason, this realization is encouraging me to run a marathon. Probably because my favorite part of the alternate plan was that there was no summer speed work.

So, I’m adding speed work to my “I might be running a marathon” training plan. And marathon or not, I’m going to push as hard as I can to get faster this summer.


I started with a tempo run yesterday morning.

I had been somewhat following a Leading Edge training plan during May and June, and have decided to pick that back up after a few weeks of only easy runs. My current plan is to follow this training schedule for midweek runs, while continuing to up my mileage according to the long run schedule I made up a few weeks ago. This is a bit of a mish mash, but strictly following the Leading Edge plan would require me to jump into a level that is too advanced for me (speed work wise) at this point.

training plan

Speed work is less scary when it’s on a plan that looks like this. (At least I hope that’s true)

Yesterday’s tempo run was the key speed workout in level six. It was oppressively humid, but I want to get faster, so I had to just get over that.

The run was: 10 min easy, 25 minutes A.T., 10 min easy.  The plan describes A.T. (anaerobic threshold) as significantly faster than goal pace and pushing the edges of my comfort zone. I used an online pace calculator with my spring half marathon time to decide my goal pace. The pace calculator thinks I can run a 4:10 marathon (current PR of 4:51), which is totally insane, but puts my goal pace at 9:32ish. So I shot for faster than that. I ended up averaging 8:52/mile in that 25 minutes. Is that “significantly faster” than goal pace? I don’t know, but I’m pleased with my pace and I certainly wasn’t comfortable, so I’m judging this a success.

Whatever I decide about the race, I’m happy with my decision on the speed work.

 

 

 

Week in Review {5/5/14 – 5/11/14}

During half training, I enjoyed wrapping up a week of training with a blog post, so why stop when my race is over? I started my new training plan this week, which was pretty fun. (What am I training for your ask? Beats me!) Technically I’m allowed to start on Level 8 (because I can run a half marathon, and have done speed workouts before), but my legs are still recovering from the half, so I started on Level 1. I also seem to have a compulsion about starting on Level 1, and skipping the first seven levels wasn’t going to fly. 

  • Monday:  2 miles easy (9:48/mile), foam rolling, stretching. First run back from the half marathon and my hamstring didn’t feel very good. This inspired me to start stretching and doing strength exercises. 
  • Tuesday:  25 minutes Easy w/ (4) 20 sec strides. It was the first time I’d ever run strides, and I liked it. It was a pretty fun workout. I’ve never run strides before; it was a nice way to mix up an easy run. My legs still weren’t feeling super, but I had a good time. The weather was perfect for running. (2.32 miles, 10:46/mile) Hamstring felt okay. Also stretching, strength exercises, foam rolling, and icing my hamstring.
  • Wednesday: Short ladder workout. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes at a face pace with 2-3min rest in between. Another type of workout I’ve never really done before. It was tough at first, but once I had been running faster for a little while, it felt pretty good.  (3.61 miles, 9:24/mile). Hamstring felt fine for most of the run. Stretching, foam rolling, and icing. 
2014-05-07 16.00.37-1

About to take out the new kicks!

  • Thursday:  Easy run – 25 minutes. Ran with Jeff – he had to listen to me debate which fall marathon to run, but no decision made by the end of the run. (2.47 miles, 10:08/mile) Hamstring feeling so so on this run. Stretching, foam rolling, icing, and strength exercises. 
  • Friday: Rest day! Stretching, foam rolling, icing. 
  • Saturday: Long Run – 6 miles. In the rain. It was nice. I felt pretty good for most of the run. Hamstring felt solid until the last half mile or so. My overall pace was a bit slow; my legs are still tired from the race, I think. I over dressed because it was pouring rain when I left the house. So I wasted some time when I took off my long sleeve shirt and tied it around my waste. Sounds easy, but this required me to remove my garmin which was conveniently (not!) strapped over my long sleeves. (6 miles, 10:15/mile) 
  • Sunday: Rest Day

 Next week (well, this week because it’s Tuesday), I’m leveling up! On to Level 2.