Boston Marathon Training Week 3

With the kids in the school this week – all week – I had was able to slip back into the routine of running. I also added some weight training this week in the form of a Bowflex and body weight exercises. The cold weather gave us all a break, warming up to a sultry 55 degrees and melting all the snow. While the lack of snow was exciting, it meant lots of dense fog, a day of rather intense rain, and all that water freezing again over night.

I got a lot of running in this week, just over 55 miles, which I haven’t done since September. But with the time and the weather I felt compelled to log those miles!

Monday: My first Long Run with Marathon Pace running, was difficult due to the hills, the continued frigid weather, and a nagging Achilles tendon. Still, I pulled off 6 easy miles followed by 4 at goal marathon pace, with 2.5 more easy miles as a cool down, 12.5 in all.

Tuesday: An easy recovery run through the neighborhood to follow the previous day’s effort and some quality time with the Bowflex machine.

Wednesday: The weather was considerably warmer – delightfully warmer – and I went in search of some flatter ground to do my repeats on. I parked at the library and ran some back roads near the center of town. There were some inclines that required effort, but they felt like speed bumps compared to the roads around my house. My 3×10 minute at threshold pace workout felt like cake. I was close to hitting a mile and a half on each set and hit my paces perfectly!

Thursday: 7.5 miles of easy running to recover from the day before with another session with the Bowflex. Felt good & strong, however the dense fog that settled between the hills made running on the road very dangerous. I was happy for my florescent green jacket.

Friday: Rest day. The rain fell so heavy that at times you couldn’t see more than 50 feet ahead. It would not have been safe to run outdoors anyway.

Saturday: A very short & sweet tempo run to get the blood flowing. I called this “Tempo Lite” because the idea was hardish – really, I didn’t even want to go marathon pace. 2 miles easy, 3 miles up tempo, another mile easy to cool down.

Sunday: I moved Monday’s long run to today because the kids have tomorrow off for MLK day and I am NOT getting up early enough to run before Hubs goes to work. I’m just not. So, today I put in 16 miles, the first of my truly long runs. Because I was running a rather hilly course, I opted not to bother with pacing & focus on just staying relaxed & comfortable. I stayed mostly in the 8:00 mile range, but there were a few larger hills that took me by surprise & sobered me up a bit. I’m not ashamed to say it, either. I walked between driveways on one incredibly tough hill. Whatever keeps you moving forward!

And that’s my week! I hope your training is going well, you are staying safe & staying warm.

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Boston Training Week 2

My second week of marathon training came with a lot of bad weather.  The New Year swept in with a blast of frigid temperatures in the single digits with the wind chill bringing it below zero.  Bundling up in layers made movement a bit less than ideal, and condensation and sweat freezing to clothing was rather uncomfortable.  Then, as if a “real feel” of -4 wasn’t enough, we were smacked with what the meteorologists referred to as a Bomb Cyclone, followed by a Polar Vortex which brought actual negative degrees.  Yup, it was a bit on the miserable side, but, I made it out alive and without frostbite!

My main workouts this week were, of course my first long run of training (11 miles at a constant easy pace), 2 mile repeats (a slippery experiment on the bridal trail that I won’t attempt again until Spring), and a strong up tempo with lots of hills.  The kids were only in school Tuesday and Wednesday due to New Year’s Day and then weather, so I wasn’t able to double up on runs, and I was forced to take three days off.  Not ideal, but I still got in some quality sessions, was able to hold a decent pace despite the cold and ice, and wrapped up the week with just over 34 miles.  Thankfully next week’s forecast is predicting a break from these bone chilling temps and I’m looking forward to it.

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Boston Training Week 1

After completely messing up my Base Training segment (December was a terrible month!!), I decided to switch direction back to my tried & trusted Garmin training plan (Level III).  While I have every confidence in the BAA marathon program, I already know my Garmin plan.  And, honestly, I was a bit intimidated by what the BAA prescribed! It was more miles and faster paces than what I’ve been used to.  Coupled with the fact that I’m still trying to get over a head-turned-chest-cold & the insane weather we’ve been having, I figured that I’d play it safe.  So, I’ll be sticking with what I’m used to, but kicking it up a notch by incorporating some elements from the BAA plan.

So, Marathon Training started the day after Christmas.  The week was fairly laid back with some easy miles, one interval workout of five by five minutes at threshold pace, a frightening tempo run in the dark, and an attempt at a fartlek.  Because the Boston Marathon takes place on a Monday, all of my long runs are scheduled for Mondays.  I eased through the first week of marathon training with 24 miles.  But don’t worry – I’ll be working up the mileage in the next two weeks.

New England is in a deep freeze with single digit temperatures and “real feel” in the negatives. Needless to say, it’s not been a lot of fun.  I’m sure saner people are utilizing treadmills, but as long as I’m not in the dark, I will suck it up and run in the cold.  This does mean that sometimes my neck gaiter freezes to me. Or my gloves frost over.  Or the snot freezes to my face.  But I’ve found that layering keeps me toasty: layering socks, leggings, shirts.  I even layer my moisturizer.  A couple of years ago I got a little bit of frostbite (frostnip?) on my cheeks from running in sub 0 temperatures.  Since then I’ve been a bit smarter about taking care of my skin.  Whatever skin is exposed (around the eyes, nose, cheek bones) I slather in a heavy moisturizer (I used Clarins Overnight Mask) and then layer Vaseline over the top.  I also spread Vaseline on my chin, lips, and hands before I put on my face mask & gloves.

Since the move I am without a Long Run Buddy, so I’m on the lookout for local groups & runners to meet up with.  I may have to get through the training cycle alone, but I’m hoping there’s someone out there to run with.  I’m also researching which shoes will be next in my rotation & playing with the idea of racing flats.  I’m also hoping to get over to the bookstore & find some inspiration since Santa didn’t bring any books this year.  It’s time to get serious and focused & I’m excited to run my first Boston Marathon!

One week down, 15 to go!

House Limbo

We are still in the limbo phase of trying to move & “frustrating” isn’t even the half of it.  The lender is coming up with one silly (and seemingly unethical) issue after another.  Last week they were demanding an explanation of deposits in Hubs’ mother’s bank account.  Nope, she’s not a co-signer.  Nope, they don’t even have the same last name.  Nope, there is no reason for them to even care about what’s in her account.  This week they are claiming that the hard water in the house is inadequate (despite the water tests coming back & specifically stating that the water is perfectly fine for human consumption) and the sellers need to install a specific water softener before they will clear the loan.  Our broker keeps telling us ‘one more week!’, and that was five weeks ago!

I’ve got the kids’ new school hounding the old school for records and the old school hounding me for a release date.  Someone from somewhere called their school today trying to find out where they were…which led to a series of phone calls to verify that they really should be in the classrooms that they are currently in.

Half of our belongings (including all of the books and winter coats!) are in storage and I’m surrounded by stacks of boxes.  We had agreed to take a friend’s dog because his work had him traveling constantly & wouldn’t be able to care for him any longer.  We all assumed we’d be moved in time for his Vegas trip, but sadly, are still stuck in our apartment with a no-dogs-allowed lease.  Thankfully he’s a quiet dog, however the landlord is on his way over to pick up the rent check! Yikes, here’s hoping we don’t get busted.

I’m feeling a bit lost & overwhelmed myself.  We are scraping together as much money as possible for the down payment, the rental truck, and whatever repairs & cleaning fees we may encounter when the move finally does happen.  This means we’ve been eating super cheap (read: not very healthy), avoiding spending of all kinds (nope, not getting those new running shoes just yet), and trying to stay close to home (not registering or committing to any races for the time being).  And, I just don’t really know what to do with myself.  I’d love to go get a part time job since everyone is looking to hire holiday help, but I don’t know if I may close in the next week & move to the other side of the state.  Or I could end up staying here another 2 or 3 months twiddling my thumbs.  I’m recovered from my marathon, but don’t have anything to train for & I’m bored with base mileage already.  I’ve pretty much run out of “non-essentials” to pack, and can’t risk shopping for gifts just yet.  Home ownership is tough & we still don’t even own anything!

I’m hoping to throw in a few 5Ks & 10Ks next month, and of course, hopefully that means we’ll be settled into our new digs, but, like always, I need to be prepared to change the plan.  Things don’t always go the way you want them to, and sometimes there’s no forcing a situation.  You have to just ride it out (or run it out), recover, and get ready for the next one.  While the situation is stressful, we are trying to make the best of it and are super grateful for the people around us that are making it easier, like our landlord that is letting us go month to month & week to week, my parents who have counselled us through the process, & the fire department that pushed my husband’s paperwork ahead & voted on his acceptance early.  We know we will get to our dream home, the journey just might take a little longer than planned.  I know we’ll be moved & settled at some point, I know I won’t be living out of boxes forever, but it’s hard to stay optimistic when there is such little progress.

Pre Race Jitters

Well, this is it; the final week before my next big race. I’ve run out of time to get faster, to get stronger. There is no more training to do. I’m tapering, resting, hydrating. I’ve made all the lists and maps I could possibly make, so now I have nothing left to distract me from the nerves.  You’d think that I’d be over this. I’ve run so many races, logged so many miles, yet I still get incredibly nervous.

I’m excited, but I’m also a little bummed that the training is over. This has been one of my best training cycles and I’ve loved nearly every step of the way preparing for this race. I don’t really want the fun to be over, but I am still looking forward to the big finish.

I have everything prepped: I know what I’m going to eat for the rest of the week, the night before, the morning of. I know just how much coconut water I’ll drink each day leading up to the start time. I’ve already pre-portioned out my sweet potatoes and maple syrup to fuel me through the race. I’m ready. I’m set. Let’s go.

What am I nervous about? I’m afraid I still don’t know enough about the marathon despite this being my fourth. I’m afraid I’m over confident about my training. I fear for my lack of strength training. I’m underestimating my ability to hold a pace. I’m not confident I’ve actually put in enough miles to prepare. And then there are the silly worries; what if my hair drives me nuts and I have to keep retying it? What if my watch acts up or doesn’t connect to the GPS? What if I make a mistake and follow the half marathon course instead? What if I don’t sleep? What if I don’t get a chance to poop before the gun?

I know I will be fine. I keep trying to replay my last marathon (which was a great success) in my mind to reassure myself, but I’m not so sure it’s working. The weather is promising 50 degrees and bright sunshine. It should be ideal. I just need to take a deep breath & trust in my training. I know this. I got this. Still…my stomach is going to flip flop all week.

Back to Work!

Well, the holidays are over, the kids are back in school, and it is time to get back to work. Work on running a faster marathon that is! I have been excited to get started on another training block since Thanksgiving. I knew I had to take a break (and I did!), but I was really, really looking forward to working hard again. I’ve run here and there, but felt so lost without any planned workouts or goals. Running aimlessly and “for fun” just wasn’t any fun!

January 16 was circled on my calendar as Day 1 Week 1 of training for my next big race. Yay. However, Day 1 Week 1 was met with agony, fatigue, and multiple trips to the bathroom. Over the weekend the norovirus hit our house and it hit us hard. All five of us were wiped out in a matter of hours. Hubs & I took turns begging each other to kill the other. The children wept. We sipped a lot of broth and watched a lot of movies. We went through a lot of towels. I ended up losing five pounds.

So, training has not started with the enthusiastic bang I had been hoping for. I’ve been on my feet since Tuesday, but running a little reserved until I am completely healed. I am taking this week to get serious though. I’m recommitting to water intake. I am terrible at making sure I drink enough H2O, so my goal is to drink my body weight in ounces. It’s noon now and I’ve only managed to get down 16, so….we’ll see how it goes. I’ve also ordered a cookbook with recipes for runners. After eating nothing but chicken soup and plain toast for four days, I’m feeling rather uninspired to cook and eat. Hopefully this will shake things up and offer me some healthy and tasty options.

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I’ve also gone over my training plan with a fine toothed comb. I have 16 weeks of color coded goodness! I am using the plan available through the Garmin Connect site, like I have for the past two races, however, this go ’round I’m using the Marathon Level 3. I’ve had to tweak the training a little since it is (slightly) more challenging than what I’m capable of. This plan calls for double sessions 2-3 times per week, and while I’m a tough cookie, I’m not an elite athlete by any means. I’ve adjusted the workouts in the first several weeks so that I am running one double session per week with longer recovery/cool downs to the other workouts. I’m more or less attempting to meet somewhere in the middle in terms of the mileage asked of me and the mileage I’ll actually perform. Once I get 6 weeks in I’ll assess myself and possibly add a second double session to the week.

Ah! While my tummy my still be a wee bit grumbly, it does feel awfully good to be working toward a goal again!

Rape Culture Forgiveness & Stolen Faces

Well shit, I don’t even know where to start…I’m just so mad.  Catcalling. It happens to runners everywhere. It’s a very sad and frustrating fact about being a runner, especially a female. Women are told to vary their routes, run in groups, carry pepper spray. Protect yourself, carry a phone, have a way out. Sadly, in the last few months we’ve seen a surge in sexual harassment toward women. It has become such a fact of life that we simply roll our eyes, sigh deeply, and do our best to carry on with our every day lives. “Locker room talk” is shrugged off so easily, too easily.

Sometimes finding a group of runners can make you feel safe when out on the trail (or sidewalks). Generally the harassment isn’t hurled to a pack, especially if the pack includes a male or two. I’m a bit of a loner, so when I found a running “society” in my home state I was very excited to join. With this large group I could meet up with folks at races, learn about upcoming events, swap running stories & advice, and maybe make a friend or two. I joined the group on Facebook almost three years ago, and while I haven’t been overly active in the group, I have felt that I had a safe “home” for all things running.

I felt safe until a few days ago. My Facebook newsfeed started filling up with angry comments. A member was quickly outed for some seriously inappropriate behavior. He posted a half apology and he lied his way through it.wp-1480348767664.png It turns out a member of our little “society” had been friending people within the group, then trolling their albums to take photos, cropping the heads/faces, and photoshopping them into porn. The lewd pictures were then distributed to other members in the group and who knows where else! In The Apology he claims to have only shown the folks he did it to, but it turns out that that wasn’t true at all, nor did he tell anyone what he was doing until after the fact. Some members had to stumble on the news themselves! He asked for forgiveness because he had kids that he wouldn’t want that happening to them…..

I was disgusted by these revelations. I knew this man. I had high-fived him at races, taken pictures with him, cheered him on. He was a FRIEND. And he had grossly violated that friendship. In a social group where everyone from all backgrounds and abilities come together for a shared passion, the women should feel safe; should never have to second guess a fellow runner, a friend.

But equally disturbing to his behavior was how easily others were to shrug it off or look the other way. Some ‘liked’ and ‘loved’ his attempt at apology. Some felt that because it didn’t happen to them it was okay. Some were quick to tell other women that they needed to keep the “drama” offline and only between themselves.  Some even came to his defense with some inner demons nonsense. Because so many didn’t take it seriously, I simply can’t feel safe in the group. This is why I’m a loner.

This is rape culture being swept under a rug. This is sexual harassment being ignored. This is abuse being given a different name. This man has been blocked by some, removed from the online group, pushed out of the little circle. But his deeds are not gone nor are the others who found it “hilarious” or who may be distributing more photos. The behavior hasn’t been checked, let alone stopped. A few men in the group made public noise about being disgusted (so we can rest assured it isn’t “all men”!) and there’s been talk about a meeting, though a time and place has yet to be established. I know it will be forgotten in a week. Everyone will move on because, hey, he apologized and no one was really hurt, right?!

I’m saddened, angered, and hurt that I have to spend every run carrying protection and being on gaurd with every person I pass simply to learn that the runners closest to me will dehumanize and violate me more than a stranger on the street.

Well, I don’t accept his apology! The fact that a few buddies and his wife found it funny is NOT justification for me. The fact that he claimed to be sorry is NOT enough for me. He stole faces off the images of friends and pasted them onto naked bodies having sex in order to get off. It wasn’t harmless, it was humiliating, dehumanizing, and filthy. Perhaps I fall into the group of being “too dramatic”, “too sensitive”, or “too easily offended”, but I just cannot agree with giving this kind of behavior a pass. Personally, I won’t feel okay with any of it until everyone denounces it!