Tag Archives: In Training

Chicago Marathon Training: Weeks 8 & 9

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I’m really behind again – but for a good reason! I’ve been having a lot of fun and enjoying my last few weeks of summer vacation. This post will recap both week 8 and 9. I’m also nearly through week 10. Oops! Week 8 was a glorious cutback week and week 9 was spent in beautiful, amazing Oregon visiting family. So much to catch up on, including two races! Here are all the details.

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The black is what I had planned, the purple is what I actually did.

WEEK 8

  • Monday: Yoga. I have really been enjoying doing yoga on my rest days. I just do it at home, and I’ve been liking this Youtube channel called Yoga with Adriene. She has a Yoga for Runner’s playlist, but I especially like this 30 minute practice that hits all my tight spots!
  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 4.3 miles @ 8:48. Tuesdays are usually a speedwork day for me, but since this was a cutback week and I had a 10 mile race on Sunday I had to just do easy runs all week. However, I still met up with the Moms Run This Town ladies for Track Tuesday. Once we said hello and chatted for a bit I headed out to a nearby neighborhood to get my miles in. Everyone in the group dedicated their miles to one of our member’s sister, who passed away and would have been turning 43. I ran 4.3 miles for her ❤

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run – 6 miles @ 8:19. So much for keeping all my runs easy this week! My “easy” 6 mile run turned into a hard, hot, humid, hilly, too fast run with my friend Steve who as always, slowed way down for me. If I didn’t have him pushing me and keeping my mind off the weather I would have probably cut it short and slowed way down. Running buddies are the best!!! But really… is it fall yet?

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  • Thursday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 8:59 + Upper Fix. On this day I did a quick early morning run before my mommy duties resumed. I don’t love back-to-back runs (legs felt soooo heavy) but my youngest was with his dad overnight and the oldest is at the beach. I have to make the most of the time I have to myself, even if that means two runs less than 12 hours apart. It does make me want to do a Ragnar race though. Good thing one is already in the works for 2017! Later on in the day I did upper fix while the baby was napping.

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:37 + Lower Fix. I think my waffles had something magical in them this morning because I felt really good on this run! Kyler and I ran our favorite loop which is mostly by the water. It’s weird how different it feels to push a single stroller and without 35 pounds of threenager! I was only planning to run 3 miles but he fell asleep and I felt good so I went 1 more then walked some. 4 miles at an average pace of 8:37 and each mile was faster than the last. Later on I did Lower Fix for strength training.

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  • Saturday: Rest. I normally run on both weekend days, but I took a rest day because I had a 10 mile race on Sunday. Later on in the day I realized any chance of a PR was going to be non-existent, so taking a rest day wasn’t really necessary, but oh well! The forecast showed that it was going to be very hot when it started at 7:15 (80s-90s) so I changed my race plan. Rather than kill myself in the brutal heat and humidity I decided to take it easier and stick with my friends.
  • Sunday: Hartwood 10 Miler @ 10:13. A full recap of this race is coming, but it was SO HOT! I loaded up on sunscreen and body glide, put on my shorts and sports bra and bared my mommy body and runners tan to the world. This was super out of my comfort zone but luckily I had an awesome group of friends who joined the Sports Bra Squad with me and we decided to all run together and just have fun. We ran, we walked, we stuck together, we sweat buckets, and we had so much fun! This was definitely not the day to “race” for me, but I’m glad I made the best of it and made some awesome memories instead. I ran the entire race with 2 friends and we finished at an average pace of around 10:13/mile. And then we celebrated! My 4th Hartwood 10 Miler is in the books.

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Week 8 Totals

  • Run: 27.3 (4 miles w/ double stroller)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Yoga

WEEK 9

  • Monday: Easy Run – 5 miles @ 11:39. A few hours after running the Hartwood 10 Miler on Sunday I hopped on a plane to Bend, Oregon. I went to visit my sister who recently moved out here, along with other family members. I absolutely LOVE Oregon. It’s my favorite place to run because it’s beautiful with cooler temperatures and low humidity. It just makes me so happy! After arriving late on Sunday night I let myself sleep in a bit on Monday. Once I finally got up my sister and I did a 5 mile walk/run. We had a little trail, a little road and gorgeous scenery. While we were out we even ran into Lauren Fleshman who lives here! She is a recently retired elite runner, creator of Picky Bars and my beloved Believe training journal! She slowed down to say hi as she passed us, and my sister and I totally geeked out. We love her!

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  • Tuesday: Speedwork – 2 mile WU, 1 minute on/1 minute off (2 miles), 2 mile CD (6 total @ 8:21 average). On Tuesday morning I started the day with a 6 mile run right after sunrise (at 6:47 AM, Garmin was still on east coast time). The track in Bend was closed for repairs so I did modified “speedwork” instead. After warming up for 2 miles I did 1 minute hard/1 minute easy for two miles, then cooled down for two more. Elevation of 4000 feet and hills made it feel harder than it should have been, but the scenery and the cool weather helped a ton! My “fast” minutes were run at around 6:35-6:45 pace, so I was happy with that!  A little later my sister and I went on a hike around a beautiful lake with a gorgeous view of some mountains.

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:27 + 2 hours of standup paddle boarding. I wanted to show how much humidity plays a part in summer running in Virginia. It was 75° in Oregon when I ran without a single cloud in the sky, but no humidity. As you can see in the picture, my clothes were totally dry after 4 miles and I only broke a little sweat. It’s so strange! In Virginia where it’s been 75-100% humidity everyday lately my clothes are soaked within a mile! Breathing felt a bit easier on this day, but I did feel tired more quickly since we were at higher altitude. At the end of my run I saw two ospreys in a big nest by my aunt’s house! Later that afternoon I went out for two hours of standup paddle boarding with my sister. It was my first time, and it was so much fun! I felt unstable and shaky for the first 30 minutes or so (I have really bad balance thanks to years of ear infections growing up), but started feeling more comfortable after that. We went against the current first which was hard but an awesome challenge. Before we turned around to head back we hopped off to swim. Such an amazing experience with my sister. I definitely felt the effects of that workout later. So many beautiful sights and fun things to do in Oregon! I love it.

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  • Thursday: Twilight 5K – 3.1 miles @ 7:15 + 2 WU miles @ 8:35 + Yoga. I went into this race with no expectations and didn’t take it very seriously. I even drank a beer before! But I ended up doing better than I thought I would, and won 2nd place in my age group. Not a PR but I’ll take it! Maybe I should drink before all of my races? I always do better when I have no expectations. This felt hard because it was in the evening and 85 degrees. The air up here is so dry that it hurt my throat when I was breathing heavily. But I somehow pulled out tempo pace which is what I wanted. Woo hoo!! I was happy! Earlier in the day I did my favorite 30 minute yoga video that I linked above.

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 9:03. Just a nice little morning run on a new-to-me trail by my aunt’s house. It was interrupted at the halfway point by a FaceTime call from my boys, which made me super happy!

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  • Saturday: Long Run – 18 miles @ 8:35. I was nervous for this long run. 18 miles is a long way to go in an environment that my body wasn’t entirely used to yet. But it ended up being amazing and I couldn’t believe how comfortable it felt. My pace stayed steady at around 8:30-8:35/mile and I didn’t need to make any stops. I felt strong both physically and mentally for the entire run, and I also just felt so happy and lucky to be able to run like this. I love it so much!

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  • Sunday: Rest. I had a full day of travel starting with leaving for the airport at 4:45 AM and arrived back at home at 7:30 PM. Needless to say, I knew this would be a rest day, especially because the next day I went back to work full-time. Ahh!!

Week 9 Totals

  • Run: 41.1 miles, all in beautiful Oregon!
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Yoga, Paddleboarding, Hiking

My successes during these weeks were getting all my runs in, both in the heat and terrible humidity in Virginia during week 8 and while on vacation during week 9. The last few weeks have been amazing for my confidence and I’m enjoying riding that high right now! My challenges during these weeks were just acclimating my body to all the different types of weather/environmental changes that were happening and trying to run through it all. This challenge has actually been harder to manage right now during week 10, but I’ll talk about that more in that training update post.

My thought of the week is one that I love not only for running but for life. I have a lot of fear in all areas of my life that tries to creep up on me and take over. I’m working on pushing that away and trying to focus on the positive. Not easy when there is a lot of unknown ahead of me, but this quote really helps me stay hopeful and optimistic for whatever lies ahead in my future! Maybe even a BQ 🙂

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Previous Chicago Marathon Training updates

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

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Chicago Marathon Training: Week 7

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OH how I needed this week! Week 7 of Chicago Marathon Training was amazing, confidence boosting, and just overall awesome. Here are all the details!

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  • Monday: Rest. I had hoped to get in some yoga but it didn’t happen. Instead I met my friend at an amazing park right by the water and we let our kids play, then went for a 1.5 mile walk on the trails! It was a beautiful morning!

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  • Tuesday: Speedwork – Ladder Intervals: 400 (1:35), 800 (3:17), 1200 (5:05), 800 (3:21), 400 (1:37) + 2.5 miles @ 8:40 (7 total). What a day! I had to go into work for a few hours, so I sent the kids to daycare and did a quick track workout first. I got there way later than I wanted to because the threenager was acting crazy. Once I started I realized that I was too under fueled to do my full workout, since I had eaten early thinking I’d start earlier. Plus I ran out of time and had to shower and head to work for a meeting. I still did ladder intervals, but I only went up to 1200m rather than 1600m, and then went back down. I was able to hit my first three splits within my goal ranges but faded fast after that due to the lack of fuel and the bright sun coming out. I was disappointed that I couldn’t complete the full workout, so after work I headed out for 2.5 more to make up the mileage. 7 total for the day. You can see in my face how I felt about the constant 90 degree, 100% humidity summer weather we’ve been having here in Virginia. So over it! I went home and had a beer after that 🙂

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 9:01 + Yoga. The boys stayed overnight with their dad the night before, which meant I could get out for a run before sunrise! Yes! It felt especially good after a solid night of sleep too. I also managed to get my yoga in that I missed on Monday later on while the boys were napping.

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  • Thursday: Long Run – 17 miles @ 8:35. When life gives you lemons… use them to fuel you! I didn’t expect to have to do my long run on a random Thursday morning, but I made it happen due to some issues that came up at the last minute. No excuses necessary, and I’m proud to say I KILLED IT. This pace felt easy, even on hills.  My last two miles were my fastest at 8:04 and 8:07! It was also a beautifully cooler morning with less humidity than there has been lately. I was so proud after this run!

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 2 miles @ 9:29 + Upper Fix. On this day I just did a quick and easy two mile treadmill run after the boys went to bed, followed by Upper Fix (super exciting Friday night!). I’m so happy I’ve been able to strength train consistently twice a week for 7 weeks now, and I’m really feeling and seeing the benefits of that!

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  • Saturday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 9:30 (with double stroller) + Lower Fix. I headed out on Saturday morning with the boys in the stroller hoping to run into my friends who were out doing their 14 mile long run. I ended up catching them at the end and chasing them down a big hill. I love that I can go out for a run and see friendly faces. It makes me so happy! Afterwards I played with the boys at the playground, then did Lower Fix when they napped. Whew! Sweaty day!

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  • Sunday: Tempo Run – 1 easy, 5 @ 7:24 average pace, 1 easy. Because of the scheduling issues with my long run my plan got all messed up this week. I ended up needing to do my tempo run on Sunday morning, and I am so thankful to my friend Dina for babysitting for me so that I could get it done. Those who know me know that I’m stubborn and have a hard time asking for and accepting help. The last 8 months have taught me that it is so necessary and important. This tempo run was amazing. I felt super strong AND got progressively faster with each mile. It felt exactly like it should – about a 6/7 on a scale of 1-10. Perfectly challenging. Running is pretty much the only aspect of my life that I feel confident about right now and I’m so thankful that I have it, along with my Moms Run This Town friends. The group is about so much more than running. It’s about friendship and support and helping each other through life. I truly love being a part of it!

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Week 7 Totals

  • Run: 39 miles (3 miles w/ double stroller)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, yoga, walking, stretching, foam rolling

My successes this week were definitely my long run and my tempo run.  This has been a great week for my marathon confidence. It took a while for me to realize because of the brutal heat and humidity, but I think this tough summer training is definitely paying off! My body and overall tightness are also feeling a lot better thanks to lots of stretching, rolling, and TLC. Just need to stay on top of it now!

My challenges this week were just all of the scheduling issues. Between switching the kids back and forth and plans that the kids’ dad had, I had to be flexible and creative with how I fit things in this week. Lots of switching around, asking for help from daycare and friends, and working out while the kids slept. I’m proud that I made my full week of training happen without any excuses!

My thought of the week is actually a video. During some of my runs this week I really tried to focus on some of the tips I learned from Run, Selfie, Repeat‘s interview with a sports psychologist. I worked on trying to stay present in the moment and keep my focus positive and on feeling strong, choosing not to “suffer” through it. I tried my best to relax and get out of my own way mentally. It really is amazing what kind of impact the mental side of running has on our physical abilities.

Week 8 is going to be a cutback week, which I am very ready and excited for. It is going to end with one of my favorite local races – the Hartwood 10 Miler. This is the 4th year in a row that I’m running. Last year I ran without a watch since I was 3 months postpartum, but this year I’m hoping to break the PR I set there in 2014. We will see!

Previous Chicago Marathon Training updates

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 6

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Week 6 of training, check! It was another difficult week thanks to more crazy summer weather, but I made it through with some modifications. Here are all the details!

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The black is what I had planned, the purple is what I actually did.

  • Monday: Rest. I had hoped to get in some yoga but it just didn’t happen.
  • Tuesday: Speedwork – 3 x 800 (3:17, 3:18, 3:19) + 2 x 400 (1:34, 1:37) + Yoga. After last week’s awesome track workout, this one was a little disappointing. This heat wave just won’t quit! But after a LONG day full of threenager drama I wasn’t going to let high temps keep me from Track Tuesday. I knew that I’d most likely have to adjust what was on my training plan since the temperature felt like triple digits, but I wanted to give it a shot. Originally I had 6 x 800 @ 3:17 planned. I warmed up for 1.5 miles and was soaked with sweat immediately. I decided I’d do as many 800s as I could then switch to 400s. I managed three of those @ 3:17, 3:18 & 3:19, but after the second one I started needing to take a break to rest along with my 400 meter recovery lap. After that I did two more 400s @ 1:34 and 1:37 and decided I was done with the fast intervals after that. I felt like I was suffocating in my shirt and like my face was going to explode. I took off my shirt halfway through and it helped a TON. I am not someone who ever runs in just a sports bra thanks to what I call my “mommy body,” especially not in front of a big crowd of people. But it was necessary, and I decided to embrace and and become part of Run, Selfie, Repeat‘s Sports Bra Squad! I finished my run with another 1.5 easy miles. The time on my Garmin doesn’t include the multiple breaks I took throughout the run, but I’m proud of myself for my efforts. I also squeezed in the yoga that I missed on Monday, and it felt awesome!

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:55 + Upper Fix + 2 mile walk. I LOVE when I literally “run” into friends! My friend Heather was exactly who I needed to see after running up a huge hill in my neighborhood. It put a huge smile on my face that was very much needed! The beautiful sunset and sky did too. I was thankful to be able to get in a night run (which I really love!) since the boys were with their dad overnight. 4 easy miles + Upper Fix for strength + 2 mile walk with the boys in the morning, done!

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  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 1 easy, 4 @ 7:42 average pace, 2 easy. I’m going to go ahead and call this run a win because I managed to pull out one more tempo mile than last week in tough conditions, and on tired legs from my late run the night before. I ended up running 1 mile easy, 4 within my tempo pace range, and finished with 2 more easy miles. Originally I was going for 5 tempo miles, but I was okay with modifying this one because of the heat and ridiculous humidity (see sweat dripping in photo below). 7 miles total and got to see the sunrise! So happy I finally got to run in the 5 AM hour again on a weekday.  I missed it so much!

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 2 miles @ 9:30 + Lower Fix. I needed a little recovery run after yesterday’s tempo so I hopped on the treadmill in the morning while the little boy napped and the big boy played. Then I probably negated the benefits of the “recovery” run by doing Lower Fix. Ouch!

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  • Saturday: Long Run – 16 miles @ 8:46. What a great morning! I ran 10 early morning miles with two friends and then 6 more solo. These amazing women have already earned their BQs and I loved running with them, hearing their stories and sharing training advice. Plus, my friend Melissa (who I’m going to Chicago with!) has pretty amazing running photography skills! This was one of those runs where I felt great and like I could have kept going, even despite the hills (almost 800 feet of elevation gain!), heat and humidity.

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  • Sunday: Recovery Run – 3 miles @ 9:05. The boys were with their dad for the weekend, so I was able to enjoy a solid night of sleep and wake up without an alarm. Winning! Once I got myself up I headed out for 3 easy recovery miles.

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Week 6 Totals

  • Run: 38 miles (0 miles w/ double stroller – had the kids less this week because of the custody schedule)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, yoga, walking, stretching, foam rolling

My successes this week were doing the best I possibly could given the weather conditions, and listening to my body. I haven’t always been the best at that. I used to stick to whatever my plan said no matter what, even if it meant pushing too hard or hurting myself. Lots of experience has taught me how to modify and adapt when needed without feeling bad about it.

My challenges this week were my tight legs again. I’m really trying my best to stay on top of it by stretching, foam rolling, etc. It is definitely happening more in my right leg than my left. I may need to get it looked into further soon if it starts impacting my running. My goals for the upcoming week are to once again, give myself some grace when it comes to the weather and scheduling (since this will be my “on” week with the kids). I also plan to continue with my meal planning, strength and flexibility routines that I’ve been trying to be consistent with since the beginning of my training. Very proud of that!

My thought of the week. This is the truth! I love my tribe of supportive, positive and inspirational people.

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Week 7 looks like another hot one, so will see how it goes. I just need to trust the process and believe that running in these conditions will only make me stronger for my fall races!

Previous Chicago Marathon Training updates

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 5

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Week 5 of training is in the books. There was some good, some great, some bad, and some ugly! A well-rounded week of training 🙂 Here are all the details!

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The black is what I had planned, the purple is what I actually did.

  • Monday: Rest + Yoga. Gotta love Mondays!
  • Tuesday: Speedwork – 3 x 1600 (6:44, 6:42, 6:44)  I was on top of the world after this amazing track workout. This was my happy (and very sweaty) face after running my fastest 3 x 1 mile workout ever! I was pretty tight and sore to start even despite my rest day and yoga the previous day, so I extended my warmup a bit and ran 1.5 miles rather than just 1. This really helped loosen me up and I felt much better afterwards. I ran mile splits of 6:44, 6:42, 6:44 with half mile recovery between each plus a half mile cooldown at the end. Excuse my language but WTF, I have no idea how I’m pulling these paces out lately but it’s happening! My fastest mile splits to date, and even at 6:00 PM during the brutal heat and humidity of summertime. As always, I was so thankful for the ladies in my Moms Run This Town group, for their endless cheers and encouragement on our Track Tuesdays!

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 3 miles @ 9:04 + Upper Fix. The stroller brigade took over the town today! I love running with these strong ladies, seeing them all push so much weight and having fun with their kiddos! I ran 3 easy miles with my friend who I haven’t been able to run with in a while. We were both pregnant at the same time so it was fun to get our little ones together to play again too. I am loving my Wednesday morning stroller runs with these ladies.

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  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 1 easy, 3 @ 7:35, 2 easy. On this day I had a tempo run on the schedule. I was hoping to repeat the workout I did a few weeks ago: 1 mile easy, 5 @ tempo, 1 easy. I was feeling motivated and ready to take on the challenge. However, my body had other plans. By the time I dropped the kids off at daycare and got outside it was a little past 8 AM. The temperatures and humidity were supposedly lower than earlier that week, but it didn’t feel like it to me and I struggled. I chose a flat route over shade and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. I hung on to my tempo pace for 3 miles and then made the decision to stop there rather than go for 5 tempo miles. My heart rate was just getting too high, I was overheating, and it felt like too much stress on my body. I finished by running 2 easy miles, and I couldn’t help feeling a little angry. Most of my days lately are okay, some are even good. But I still have times where I fall back into anger. I kept thinking about this time last year, when I had the freedom to go out before sunrise to knock out my hard workouts. It was so much easier and I felt a lot stronger when I was able to get my runs done early in the morning. This year I don’t have that as a single mom and it bothers me, because it feels like yet another sacrifice I am making when running is the only thing I do for myself. After letting myself be angry for a few minutes I decided I needed to get over it and be proud of the 3 tempo miles I did run. I saw a turtle on the side of the road which made me happy (LOL) then I finished by walking down to the river to sit and relax. Pity party over. I know I’ll get it next time.

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 2 miles (with double stroller) @ 9:25 + Lower Fix. On Friday I went to a local park with my boys to do some exploring and a little run. We walked (and little Kevin helped push the stroller) 1.5 miles around a little trail on an island, looking at the plants and the animals and the water. Afterwards I finally convinced Kevin to get back in the stroller so that I could run 2 easy miles. We went home after a few threenager meltdowns and one epic wrestling match to get him into the carseat (is this stage over yet?!) and it was a fight to get him to take a nap. Once both boys were asleep I did Lower Fix for some strength training, showered, and took a nap too! Whew! It was quite a day.

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  • Saturday: Easy Run – 3 miles (with double stroller) @ 9:32. Both boys were up before 6:00 AM. I knew it was going to be a hot day with a heat advisory, so after breakfast we went outside for a run and some playground time before the heat got to be too much. I did 3 easy miles with the stroller on a local running path, and was able to read motivational messages that our Moms Run This Town chapter leader wrote along the way for those of us who were running today. She wrote 10 miles worth of messages, which I thought was so amazing! Little Kev was begging to get out and run so I let him out for the last half mile before we walked over to the playground. We also ran into some friends who were finishing their 11 miles. I was glad we got out when we did because the rest of the day had a heat index of over 100 degrees!

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  • Sunday: Long Run – 15 miles @ 9:00. Ouch! This one hurt a bit for a few reasons! I met some friends for my long run at 6 AM. It was humid and warm from the start and we were dripping with sweat within a few minutes. My friend Andria and I ran the length of the Fredericksburg Battlefield (9 miles) and then went down to another nearby trail for a few more. Right before mile 11 I got stung by something that felt like it hit me at 100 mph. I finished the run with my left side very tingly and swollen. I took a picture of it right after (as you can see below) but it continued to swell and got MUCH bigger than that later on. My hand did too, and I had to move my watch to the other arm. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant because I haven’t been stung by anything in like 20 years. I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance (hello, 10 marathons and two drug-free births!) but this stupid sting hurt like hell! I couldn’t believe it! I took some Benadryl when I went home and eventually the swelling went down, but I think there might be part of a stinger left in there still because even today (Monday) it’s turned into a huge welt and really itchy. On a positive note, I ran all 15 miles with only Tailwind for the first time and I loved it! I used a raspberry caffeinated sample that I got from a friend and felt entirely fueled and hydrated the entire time. I did bring my chews with me but didn’t need them at all. I just ordered the sample pack of the other flavors to try (including non-caffeinated) before I buy a bigger bag of one of them. My time for this run did include some walking breaks, but I stopped my watch a couple times to deal with the sting/swelling. I am proud of myself for getting my miles in however I could despite the tough conditions! At the end I looked like I had been swimming in a pool. As you can see in the bottom left picture, I was soaked. Yuck. A shower and cold post-run smoothie never felt so good!

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Week 5 Totals

  • Run: 35 miles (8 miles w/ double stroller)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Yoga, lots of stretching and foam rolling. Woo hoo!

My successes this week were that I really got my nutrition in check. For a while I didn’t have the energy or motivation to eat much at all, let alone eat well. I would just pick off the kids plates and eat what they didn’t finish, or just eat something quick and easy. This week I got back to my meal planning/prep and it felt so good. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the delicious food I made, but I will be writing a separate food post soon with all the yummy recipes!

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My challenges this week were definitely the weather. The heat and humidity were so unbelievable at times. Summer running is tricky because it can be hard to see yourself progressing under such difficult conditions. I just have to trust and believe that this summer training is doing it’s job to make me stronger and that it will all pay off this fall! My goals for the upcoming week are to continue to do the best I can despite this crazy heat wave that is hitting most of the country.

My thought of the week. This could not be more true. I’m so thankful for running and how it helps to balance all the other things happening in my life. It definitely helps me remember what it feels like to be”me” in a time when everything else is unknown and changing.

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Ready for week 6! This is going by so fast!

Previous Chicago Marathon Training updates

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 4

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I promised myself I would keep up with my marathon training posts so here I am! I’m very proud 🙂 Week 4 of training was a good one because it was a glorious cutback week! After going hard for three weeks it was very needed and I took full advantage of it. All of my runs were “easy” with no speedwork/harder efforts, I got to run with friends three times, and my long run was only 8 miles. Here are all the details!

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The black is what I planned, the purple is what I actually did.

  • Monday: Rest + Yoga. Mondays have become my rest days once again and I love it. I want to also make it a yoga day, since I’ve been doing my long runs on Sundays lately. On this day I had a blast at the pool with my littlest boy (bigger boy was at the beach for the week with his grandparents), baked a ton of chocolate chip zucchini bread, worked on some training plans, and did a 30 minute yoga for runners practice that left me feeling relaxed and loose. It was the perfect Monday!

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  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 9:11.  I was very thankful that it was a cutback week for me on this day, because I didn’t feel well at all and couldn’t have handled a real track workout. I had been out in the sun for two days straight and I guess I didn’t realize how dehydrated I was. I ran a few miles and met up with the ladies for Track Tuesday but my head was pounding so I went home to hydrate and rest up. I think some of it was also related to allergies, since they’ve been really bad this week too. But I definitely learned my lesson! I LOVED the huge turnout we had at the track though. Such a motivating and inspiring group of ladies!

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run (with single stroller) – 3 miles @ 8:59. I woke up feeling much better, so I met up with my Moms Run This Town friends for an easy run plus some playground time. Since my oldest was out of town I was able to run with my old friend, the single BOB stroller! Loved getting to spend one on one time with my littlest and push less weight 🙂 It did feel a little strange pushing it though since the handlebar isn’t as wide and I kept stepping on the wheels for some reason!

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  • Thursday: Easy Run – 5 miles @ 8:58 + Upper Fix. Not an ideal day to get a late start on running, but that’s what happens when I stay out too late wine tasting with friends! I managed to squeeze this run in before the heat advisory started at noon but it was still tough because it felt like 90+ degrees. My time doesn’t include the breaks I took after mile 3 and 4 to rest in the shade and let my body cool down some. I don’t mess around with heat like this… I will take breaks when I need to! Later on I did Upper Fix for some strength training.

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  • Friday: Rest + Chiropractor Visit. I took today as a rest day because I was spending the day at the pool and going to the chiropractor. I have been feeling some tightness/pulling on my right side again just like last time I was marathon training. The chiropractor confirmed that my right SI joint was out of alignment again and fixed it up for me. I think this is going to be something persistent I just have to deal with and stay on top of proactively. I felt much better afterwards!

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  • Saturday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:45 + Lower Fix. Who gets up early to run followed by a big party complete with all of our favorite indulgences? A big group of BAMRs (bad ass mother runners), that’s who! 🙂 This morning my local MRTT group held a “Pick Your Poison” fun run. We all got together to run whatever distance we needed to and brought something yummy to share. We had everything from donuts to mimosas to chips and salsa to deviled eggs to muffins… basically everyone brought their ‘poison,’ something they love to treat themselves to after a run. It was awesome and so much fun. I was doing my long run the following day and got in late the night before after going out with friends (again… so much fun friend time lately and I LOVE IT!), so I kept my run short and sweet at 4 miles. Later on in the day I did Lower Fix for some strength training. Days like this one really make me smile and feel thankful for the people in my life that I have met through this crazy hobby and passion of mine!

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  • Sunday: Long Run – 8 miles @ 8:26. I took my time getting out to run this morning! Since it was a cutback week and my kids were with their dad, I let myself wake up without an alarm this morning. The kids usually get me up around 5 AM so it felt really good! I ran 8 miles on one of my favorite paths and was surprised at how comfortable the pace felt. I am definitely feeling stronger these days. I’m also not someone who ever listens to music anymore when I run, but something about this new Katy Perry song just speaks to me and motivates me so much! I played it at the end of my run for a little extra boost and I loved it. If you haven’t seen the Summer Olympics video that goes along with it, you have to check it out! So inspiring!

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Week 4 Totals

  • Run: 24 miles (only 3 with stroller since this is my “off” week with the kids where I have them less often).
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Yoga, lots of stretching and foam rolling. Yeah! Proud of myself for that!

My successes this week were fully allowing myself to take it easy and enjoy my cutback week. In training, I design my plans to push hard for 2-3 weeks and then cutback hard for a week. This works for me and gives me a chance to recover from hard training both mentally and physically. I am also very proud that I was able to get in 2 days of strength, 1 day of yoga, and foam rolling almost every day. In addition to that I made sure to get enough sleep (even napped a few days!), and stuck to my meal plans/nutrition. My challenges were the tightness in my leg that made me nervous, but I’m glad I was able to see the chiropractor and have a plan to stay on top of it.

My thought of the week: I keep going back to Katy Perry’s new song and the Summer Olympics video that goes along with it. Wow. It is so motivating and inspirational. I got a little emotional watching it too. I think this is going to be my marathon training anthem from now on. I cannot wait for the games to begin in Rio!

I am ready to get back into training – week 5, here I come!

Previous Chicago Marathon Training updates

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

Chicago Marathon Training: Weeks 1-3

Hello out there! I am sooooo behind in blogging! I have lots to say and share, and believe it or not, most of it is actually good. Things have really improved in my life over the last month or so. There is a lot to update on regarding life, the kids, my separation, etc. but I want this post to be focused on something that is very exciting and bringing me a lot of happiness right now. I started training for the Chicago Marathon!!! I am actually just starting week 4 of training. Oops! Told you I am behind!

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Ever since I started this blog over 5 years ago, I have documented my marathon training week by week. I actually look back at those posts often. I love seeing the progression and improvement over the course of the training cycle and the years. I want to make sure to do the same for this marathon training journey, especially since I have big goals for myself this time around. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon this fall. That would mean dropping my time from 3:43 (Myrtle Beach in March) to sub 3:35. That’s a pretty big jump, but I’m ready and willing to take on the challenge. I have tons of motivation, I’m feeling strong, and I have an extremely supportive circle of friends and family behind me.

Going into this training cycle, I did write myself a plan but I’ve been shifting days around as I need to and adapting some as I go depending on how my body feels and scheduling. Since this is going to be marathon #11 I feel more confident when it comes to knowing what I need to do and what works for me. My plan includes two harder runs per week (speedwork and tempo run), one long run, a bunch of easy runs, two days of strength training, one day of yoga, one rest day. Every 4th week or so is a cutback week. Before my “official” training started I made sure to ease myself into doing harder workouts by starting to hit the track once a week about a month beforehand. I also started adding to my long runs, making sure to hit 10 miles a few times, and slowly increased my weekly mileage from what I was doing during my off-cycle. I really feel this helped prepare me to hit the ground running (literally!) once my training plan started, feeling strong and ready to take on the more challenging workouts.

In addition, this is the first time I have trained for a marathon as a single mom. That in itself has been a huge challenge. I definitely don’t have the freedom and flexibility that I had before when it comes to running. I miss running in the morning and many times need to run in the middle of the day or evenings, which is tough during the summer. I have to run more with the stroller. I have to ask people for help more often, which I’m not used to having to do. However, I’m making it work so far and I’m proud of that. Best of all, I am feeling great and more like “me” every day.

Since I have 3 weeks to catch up on this post is going to be a long one. I promise to do better at keeping up with it weekly from now on! Here are all the details!

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The black is what I had planned, the purple is what I actually did

Week 1

  • Monday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 4 miles @ 8:19 pace. Mondays have usually been a rest day for me, but during the first two weeks of training I was also finishing the Runner’s World Summer Run Streak (at least a mile a day from Memorial Day to the 4th of July). Because of that I was doing easy runs rather than taking a rest day. On this day I met up with my friends from my Moms Run This Town group. I stayed with two friends for the run, one who was also pushing a double, and we talked the whole time. I barely looked at my watch until I realized toward the end that we were averaging around a 8:20 pace… With the strollers! What?! I couldn’t believe how comfortable it felt, especially because it was pretty warm at that point and I was pushing 55 pounds of kids plus the stroller itself! My splits were 8:27, 8:22, 8:20, 8:09. Felt amazing! The kids had a ton of fun playing together afterwards too. 

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  • Tuesday: Tempo Run – 2 easy, 2 @ 7:25, 2 easy.  My first tempo run since February! The workout was 2 miles easy, 2 miles @ tempo pace, 2 miles easy. I was hoping this baby tempo run would help ease me back into this type of harder run but it still kicked my butt! My goal was to do the two middle miles between 7:20-7:30 pace. I met the MRTT ladies at the track and did my first 2 easy miles with them before heading out to the road for my tempo miles. I managed to hit my goal with splits of 7:26 and 7:24, but it was tough. It didn’t help that it was raining, humid, hot, NOT flat like the track, and 6:00 PM (I really miss my morning runs!)… Lots of factors at play, but I did it. I did need to take a little breather before my cool down miles, but I knew next time would be better.

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 2 miles @ 9:12 + Upper Fix. I headed out with my boys in the double stroller for two easy miles followed by some playground time. Kevin was not satisfied with my pace and kept telling me to go faster, haha! I tried to keep it easy to save my legs for the next day’s speedwork. Later on while the boys were napping I did Upper Fix. I’m going to be trying very hard to fit in 2 days of strength during this training cycle like I did for Myrtle Beach.

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  • Thursday: Speedwork – 3 x 1600 (6:58, 6:53, 6:53). I was a little disappointed to wake up to thunder, lightning and heavy rain this morning since I had a date with the track. The kids went to daycare for a bit (they are going to go once a week since I’m paying for it anyway and I could use a day of sanity!) I tried to wait out the storm but it wasn’t letting up and I had to be somewhere at 11:00. So I dragged myself to the treadmill to do my mile repeats. 6 miles later my treadmill and myself were both covered in sweat, as you can see in the picture 😅 I did a 1 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile (6:58, 6:53, 6:53) with half mile recovery between each then a mile cooldown. GOT IT DONE, and it actually didn’t feel terrible! The Pitbull Pandora Station helped 🙂

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  • Friday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 1 mile @ 9:14 + Lower Fix. I love incorporating running into our summer days! Today was simple. We ran to the library, went to story time, picked out some books, walked back and stopped at the playground on the way. Afterwards when the kids took their (very short) naps, I squeezed in Lower Fix for some strength training.

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  • Saturday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 3 miles @ 9:09. On this morning I met up with some MRTT ladies to do a little send-off run with our friend Liz who is moving. I had the boys in the stroller, so I just did a loop on one of our favorite paths in Fredericksburg with the ladies, then we had some playground time.

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  • Sunday: Long Run – 13.1 miles @ 8:25. This morning Kevin offered to stay with the kids so I could run, so I got up super early to do my long run with my friend Steve. He is super fast and has already qualified for Boston (meaning he ran under 3:10!!!!). Needless to say, when we run together he slows WAY down for me. He’s training for a marathon that is a few weeks after mine, so he wanted to run 11 miles, I wanted to run 12, then we overshot our distance and ended up with 13.1! Oops! I was super happy with this run. It was a big loop and not flat at all, yet the pace felt good and I was able to talk the entire time comfortably.

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Week 1 Totals

  • Run: 35.1 miles (10 with stroller – more than I’d like but since I have the kids every other weekend some weeks have to be heavier stroller weeks than others).
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix & Lower Fix

Week 2

  • Monday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 2 miles @ 8:55 pace. Started the week with a couple easy stroller miles with one cute baby and one cranky threenager! Haha!

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  • Tuesday: Speedwork – 4 x 800 (3:15, 3:16, 3:15, 3:17). Conditions were tough at Track Tuesday, but the company was amazing! It was VERY hot and humid, but we all got great workouts in. I had 4 x 800 on my plan with a goal to run them in 3:17 (6:34 pace). After feeling the heat and humidity during my warm-up mile I knew it was going to be tough, but I wanted to give it all that I had. I ended up hitting all my splits, with times of 3:15, 3:16, 3:15, and 3:17! I needed an extra recovery lap between interval #3 and #4 and also took a mini-break before my cool-down mile, but overall I finished feeling very strong and proud. The best part of this weekly meet-up is the support and encouragement we all provide each other, even when we are doing our own things. It feels awesome to have a squad cheering for you every lap. I love these ladies!

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  • Wednesday: Easy Run (with double stroller) – 3 miles @ 9:00 + Upper Fix. Great morning run with the stroller brigade! The cooler temperature and breeze felt awesome and was a nice change from what the weather has been like recently. Afterwards we had some playground time. So sweet to see all the kids playing together (and the little boys practicing their “going potty in the wild” skills!)

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  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 1 easy, 5 @ 7:34, 1 easy. Beautiful and peaceful solo tempo run through the Fredericksburg Battlefield, thanks to the kids being at daycare. I did 1 mile easy, 5 tempo, 1 easy. What a difference it made running earlier in the morning. I got progressively faster with each tempo mile (7:42, 7:41, 7:36, 7:30, 7:25) and ended with an average pace of 7:34 for my middle 5. Originally I planned to go for 7:45 to 8:00 pace for my middle miles, but I felt great so I went with it. I have really missed my AM runs and I am so thankful for this one today! It really made me feel like ME!

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  • Friday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 8:50 + Lower Fix. I was headed home to Pennsylvania solo for the long holiday weekend on this day, and before I left I squeezed in the Lower Fix workout. Then on my drive north I pulled over to get a run in too. I went to a park that I used to run in all the time when I lived in this town a few years ago. The views are pretty and it was a nice change of scenery!

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  • Saturday: Long Run – 10 miles @ 8:56. Since I was home in Pennsylvania without my kids I had more time/freedom than usual, so I decided to do my long run on Kelly Drive and run into Philadelphia. I ran down the Schuykill River Trail to the Art Museum and back. It brought back amazing memories of my first half and full marathons here, which are the two that got me hooked back in 2007 and 2008. My tattoo on my ankle is even from the Philadelphia Marathon logo design. I sure have come a long way since then! I did 10 nice and easy miles- not the 14 I wanted due to having WAY too much fun and a late night out with friends, but that’s okay. It was totally worth it.

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  • Sunday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:55 + Yoga. I called this run “Tour de OCNJ.” I went to Ocean City, New Jersey with my family for the day and couldn’t resist going for a run while we were there. I got to see a little of everything, including the bench we bought for my mom (she passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2004 and this was her favorite place), the new pedestrian walkway on the bridge, the boardwalk and finished on the beach. So many amazing memories of this place growing up. It felt special coming back and running there! I also did yoga that evening once we got home and it felt so good.

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Week 2 Totals

  • Run: 34 miles (5 with the stroller)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Yoga

Week 3

  • Monday: Firecracker 5K – 3.1 miles @ 6:51 pace + 2 mile warm-up @ 8:55. I started week 3 by celebrating the 4th of July with a 5K in my hometown! I still have to write a full recap of this race and once I do I’ll link it here, but spoiler alert – I broke my old PR from two years ago by 40 seconds. I tried hard to pace myself to not start too fast and be patient, and ended up running a smart race with each mile faster than the last. Those fast finish workouts are paying off! I finished in 21:14 officially, which is an average pace of 6:51. WHAT!!!! I was so excited! I loved running in my hometown, and really loved the Philadelphia post-race refreshments of soft pretzels and water ice. My dad even surprised me by coming out to cheer for me.

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  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 3 miles @ 9:23. Quick, rainy and humid recovery run before I got my boys back from their dad. I missed them so much! I officially finished the Runner’s World Summer Run Streak the day before (Memorial Day to the 4th of July), but I wanted to squeeze another morning run in while I could.

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  • Wednesday: Rest Day. Finally a rest day! And it felt amazing! My sister came to visit the boys before she moves across the country to Oregon. We did about 3+ miles of walking but that’s it.
  • Thursday: Easy Run – 4 miles @ 8:45. OMG. So hot. It felt like 96 degrees here at 8 AM. I was dripping when I finished this run! But I’m very thankful for my sister who offered to stay with the boys before she left to go back home. It would have felt 100x worse with the stroller, and it helped me get through the rest of the day which was a tough one with the kids.

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  • Friday: Speedwork – 1600, 1200, 800, 400 (6:54, 5:03, 3:20, 1:36). Since I raced on Monday, I counted that as my ‘tempo’ run and gave myself a few days of easy running/rest afterwards. I knew I was doing my long run on Sunday, so I decided to do my speedwork on Friday to make sure I spaced the harder efforts out enough. The kids went to daycare, so I went to the track and did a mile cutdown workout. It was pretty hot so I just tried to make each interval faster as they got shorter rather than go for specific paces, but then they almost all ended up within my goal ranges anyway. Woo hoo! I did a 1 mile warmup, then 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m with a short rest break then 400m slow running between each one. Finished with a .75 mile cooldown. I even did the second half of the workout in my sports bra which is a first for me! Usually I only do that on the treadmill. Also, please note the map and the detour I had to take to the porta potty. Mommy bladder can’t hang (especially during speedwork)! Just keeping it real 🙂 Later that evening I actually did Upper Fix as well, which was a little much in addition to the speedwork, but I had to get it in since I hadn’t done any strength training yet this week.

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  • Saturday: Recovery Run – 3 miles @ 9:17 + Lower Fix. After a really great couple of weeks, I started feeling kinda down for a few days due to the current events in the country, hormones (so much worse after two babies), sleep deprivation, some family stuff and a bad summer cold/allergies… Just a really terrible combination! On this day, Kyler got me up this morning before 5 AM and I wanted to cry. Instead, I put on some bright neon clothes, pounded some coffee and got busy. I got in Lower Fix, with the help of Kyler who was biting my shirt since he woke up from his nap halfway through (as you can see in the picture). Then my boys went to see their grandparents who are in town, and I went for a nice shady run on one of my favorite paths. Someone went out and wrote inspirational messages of peace and love along the entire 3 mile loop. It was amazing! I felt so much better now and ready to tackle whatever life throws at me. A three hour nap helped too!

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  • Sunday: Long Run – 14 miles @ 8:38. My kids were still visiting family, so I was able to run 14 morning miles at one of my favorite places here in Virginia. It’s where I go when I want a quiet place to just run and think. It was one of those runs where you start with a ton on your mind, feeling heavy and stressed, and then as the miles tick by it all gets released. Thoughts get sorted through, problems get solved, worries lifted. Those are the best kinds of runs. I finished feeling happy and free and light, and my pace the last 3 miles reflected that. I was able to finish with my fastest miles – 8:25, 7:56 and 7:32. It was a beautiful, quiet, peaceful morning and I felt very strong. Now I am SO ready for my cutback week!

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Week 3 Totals

  • Run: 34.1 miles (0 with the stroller! That’s a miracle, haha!)
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: Upper Fix & Lower Fix. I missed yoga this week, but did it the following day to kick off week 4).

My successes this week were getting my runs in with a smile on my face (mostly). Seriously, looking at these three weeks of training and all the photos makes me so happy. How lucky am I?! I was able to do what I love (run) with so many people that I love, in places that I love, feeling strong and great. What an awesome way to kick off my training. My challenges over these last few weeks were sleep and nutrition – two factors that are so, SO important and that I need to make more of a priority. These are definitely my goals for the weeks to come because I know I won’t get very far without them.

My thought of the week is a lesson I am still learning even with 10 marathons under my belt. The body truly does achieve what the mind believes, and I continue to surprise myself every day with what I can accomplish!

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And that sums up my training so far! I’m so excited to see where the next 13 weeks take me. But first, a glorious cutback week. Ahhh, love it!

PS. I try to post daily updates on my runs on my blog’s Facebook page, so follow me there if you want updates in “real” time 🙂

MB Marathon 2016 Training: Week 12

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.38.59 PMWell if you look at my week of training at a glance this looks like a big fat fail. In a way it was. I only ran twice this week. TWO FREAKING TIMES. During what what supposed to be my peak week of training. I did nothing on the other days. This is so unlike me, and I don’t want to make excuses, but I do have some reasons for it being this way. I’m definitely ready for life to settle down a little bit (or a lot). However, on the positive side, I had an amazing, confidence building, perfect 22 mile run. Isn’t that what’s most important anyway? That’s what I’m telling myself at least.

Here’s what I had planned vs. what I actually did for week 12. Ugh. It’s embarrassing. Bad running coach, I know.

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Here is the detailed rundown (a.k.a. all my excuses).

Monday: Rest Day. I always take Monday as a rest day, so this one was planned. I was very thankful for that too, because Kyler was literally awake from 11:30 PM until I had to get up at 5:15 AM. It was ROUGH. I couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. I was exhausted the entire day at work.

Tuesday: Rest Day. Another rough night with my boy. I finally figured out what was going on. Turns out he has a tooth breaking through. It’s next to his bottom teeth where I didn’t even think to look, since usually the top teeth come next. I had my fingers crossed that he would finally have some relief, but needless to say, I wasn’t up for a run on this day. Especially since I also had class after work and didn’t get home until after 8:00, with a bad headache. So I went to bed 😦

Wednesday: Rest Day. I finally got a better night sleep and allowed myself to sleep in a bit to get rid of my headache. I planned to get my speedwork in that evening, and I was actually feeling motivated to do it. And then I went to pick up my kids from daycare and walked in to see something that really upset me. I don’t want to get into the details, but I immediately had to pull the kids from there and spent the rest of the night researching new places to send them. Talk about stressful.

Thursday: Easy Run – 4 miles / 37:40. I stayed home from work to figure out the daycare situation, and during Kevin’s nap time the baby allowed me to squeeze in a 4 mile treadmill run. I loved being able to look at his sweet smile the whole time. He put a smile on my face while I was feeling super stressed. Plus he just learned to clap and wave so he did that while he watched me. He’s my biggest fan! I thought about doing my speedwork, but I realized my long run this weekend was going to be tricky. I decided kind of last minute to go home to Pennsylvania to visit my family over the weekend, where it was going to be dangerously cold (temperatures in the single digits with negative wind chills). My dad gave me his treadmill so I didn’t have that option either. Plus, the thought of running 22 miles on a treadmill made me want to vomit. So I decided I would do it Friday morning before heading into work and before it got too cold. That’s why I kept Thursday’s run nice and easy.

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Friday: Long Run – 22 miles / 3:11:46. I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself while attempting to do my longest training run ever during a time that I’m constantly feeling super drained. But I did it!!  In all the years that I have been running I have never had a long run this amazing. Physically and mentally I felt so good. I can’t explain how much I needed this run to remind me that I am strong and can do hard things. I executed this long run exactly how I want to race. I started off a bit slower, picked up the pace around mile 13, then picked up the pace even more for the last 3 miles. My splits were [9:05, 8:50, 8:49, 8:44, 8:46, 8:51, 8:48, 8:51, 8:57, 8:47, 8:50, 8:36, 8:35, 8:34, 8:44, 8:37, 8:38, 8:37, 8:23, 8:32, 8:28]. The first 10 miles seemed to drag a bit and I kept finding myself thinking about how much I had left, but once I hit double digits I started feeling a lot better and the miles flew by. I started just focusing on running the mile I was in, rather than how much I had left to go. I also practiced a lot of visualization while I was running. I know the Myrtle Beach Marathon course really well, so I tried imagining myself out on the course at different points during the run. I picked a flatter route (like my race will be) with some multiple loops that had me looking at the same thing for a while, which is also how Myrtle Beach is when you run for 9 miles along the same road, so that was helpful. Finally, I practiced and nailed down a solid nutrition plan for the race, which includes eating a half pack of Honey Stingers at the hour mark and then every 40 minutes after that. It was the perfect amount of fuel and the perfect timing. I finished this run on cloud 9, I was so ecstatic!

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Saturday: Rest Day. I headed home to Pennsylvania after work on Friday with Kyler (the Kevins both stayed in Virginia) and got there late in the evening. I was hoping to squeeze in a run on Saturday at some point, but it was so cold in the morning and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it later in the day since we had company coming over. So instead I took yet another rest day. Sigh…

Sunday: Rest Day. Again, I was hoping to get a quick run in and leave Kyler with my dad or sister, but it felt like negative temperatures almost all day. Plus, Kyler seems to have developed some intense separation anxiety. All weekend, if I even walked across the room away from him or gave him to someone he would start to hysterically cry. I felt really bad leaving to run when he was that upset. Finally, the icing on the cake was that I ended up having to leave a day early to go back to Virginia, due to predicted snow and ice in the forecast. I thought about hitting the treadmill once I got home on Sunday night, but by then it was 10:00 PM and yeah… not happening!  I was sad to have to cut my trip short, but glad that I did when I woke up the next morning and saw this!

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Week 12 Totals:

  • Run: 26 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: NONE. 😦

My successes this week were obviously my 22 miler. I have never done a training run that long after training for 9 marathons, and I think I really needed to have this experience not really for the physical benefits, but the mental side. Even with all of my marathon training and experience, I still struggle mentally the last 6 miles of the race. I now feel 100x more confident for Myrtle Beach. I KNOW I can finish the race this time, and hopefully finish feeling strong like I did after this long run. My big challenge was being able to fit my runs in this week with all the craziness of the weather, daycare, traveling, no sleep, etc., and all on top of the stress that I mentioned last week. My goal for the upcoming week is to just do better than this week. Haha, shouldn’t be too hard!

The thought of the week is very fitting.

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Let the taper begin!

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