Boston Marathon Training Week 7: Going Up!

This week I took a little step back on the mileage, but it was a good, quality week nonetheless. And I swear it was the week of hills. I had rest days on both Monday and Thursday as well as easy recovery miles on Wednesday and Saturday. Marathon pacing began this week, which was rather exciting.

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Hill Repeats! 8X400 meter hills up at 10k effort with 30 second rest, down at half marathon effort, 60 second rest with two miles warm up and cool down.
Wednesday: 6 recovery miles.
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Speed Session! 3 miles at half marathon pace, 3 minutes recovery. 2 miles at half marathon pace, 2 minutes recovery. 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 minute recovery. 2 miles warm up and cool down.
Saturday: 6 recovery miles.
Sunday: Long Run! 8 miles easy, 6 miles at marathon pace, 4 miles easy – 18 total.

I was puppy sitting this week and was a little afraid to leave the little girl alone for too long, so I was fairly happy my plan called for two rest days this week. And I was able to keep most of my workouts fairly close to home so I could check in on her. And I managed to get her out on a couple of warm up & cool down runs with me, though she needs a lot more leash training before she goes on anything longer!

I also gathered a lot of hills this week. Everywhere is a hill! I even went off to another town in search of a flatter road and still managed to be going up hill.  According to my Garmin data I accumulated 3,515 feet of elevation gain over the last week. Hill repeats aside, that’s a lot of UP!

I am getting confident on the hills, which is all I can really ask for at this point.  I’ve gotten better at holding a solid pace on the ups and being less afraid & letting myself go on the downs. I am thinking that the hills of Boston will not be a problem.

The weather all week was fairly decent. Mother Nature cooperated and only rained/snowed on my off days, which was truly appreciated. However, my long run was a bit damp. If I had had a treadmill I would have been temped to stay indoors. It was miserable – raw, cold, drenching rain. Connecticut saw record rain fall on Sunday and I had to run through it. The fog was dense, the wind was gusty, and the water was freezing. But, I am honestly glad that I pushed through it. I was tempted several times to cut the run short, but I decided to hold on. What if it rains on race day? I need to be prepared for all conditions. Sometimes that means sucking it up and running through the rain. No it wasn’t fun, but I got it done and I like to think I’m better for it.20180212_092418416481432.jpg

All in all I had a fairly good week. My hill repeat workout wasn’t the best, but I nailed my pace work in both the speed session and on my long run. I ended the training week with 48.5 miles and am feeling pretty good about it. Wow – only 9 weeks left!


Boston Marathon Training Week 6: More Miles

This past week was all about adding more miles — as many of them as I could squeeze in. This ended up being a little difficult since I had doctor’s appointments, eye appointments, and school delays all week. Besides, I also had to clean, grocery shop, care for the animals, and get some work in. Instead of running as soon as the school bus rolled away, I had to wait, run in the afternoon, or opt for a rest day.

I wasn’t too hung up on pace, for the most part, as I just wanted to cover ground. However, I did have one of my most difficult workouts yet that ended up being a real confidence booster. 3 by 3 mile repeats at half marathon pace. The day I was supposed to do them my calves were painful little rocks, screaming at me to take a rest day. Just thinking about the workout caused cramps. But I knew it was important I get out there and try. I found a flat(ish) section of road (still involved a 767 feet of elevation gain) and took off.  I used half mile recoveries at walk/jog pace because four and a half to five minutes seemed adequate, but going by time vs distance would through off my watch…

Strava Data

The first set came easy. I sailed through the first 3 miles at 20:57, right on pace. But no wonder; looking at the Strava data later I realized most of it was on a gradual down hill. I recovered and psyched myself up for the second. The next one was not so easy. This involved a significant uphill climb. I blame something that blew into my eye, but there were tears on this one. However, I was able to muscle through and hit the watch at 20:58! I knew the last one would be tough. I would have to get back up the hill I had come down on the first one (out and back course) and I was already quite tired. The final set began on the flat portion and I quickly clicked into my 7 minute pace. Then the up hill gradually started. I kept pushing. ‘Round a bend and a steeper hill looked me square in the face. I faltered a bit. I watched my pace slip to 7:22, 7:35, 7:50. There was still considerable hill in front of me, but I was mad at myself. My glutes burned. My hip flexors cried. My quads were very not happy with me. But I had less than a mile left. I roared, shifted into high gear, and blasted up the rest of the hill. I went as hard as I could go. Once I hit flat road again, my watch flipped from 6:05 to 5:55. I wrapped up the last set in an exuberant 20:23. 15K averaging under 7 minute per mile pace. BOOM! I did a little happy dance in the middle of the road, let out a whoop, and patted myself on the back, then rolled right into my cool down. And the best part about it was that my calves were no longer tight!

Hills got me half way through the 2nd set & end of 3rd set, but I beat them in the end!

Besides some fantastic speed work I also got in a nice social run with Sharon. It was her first run back in 3 months since she had a shoulder injury, and I finished my longest long run so far. I got Steve, my dog, to come out and run a little bit more consistently, and I’ve thoroughly broken in my new training shoes.

Monday: Long live the rest day!
Tuesday: (Late start due to school delay and picking up my son’s new glasses.) 7 mile Progression Run around the Village. Surprisingly hilly!
Wednesday: (Late start due to my eye appointment.) 7.5 mile recovery. Easy, super sore.
Thursday: (Late start due to my other son’s doctor appt.) 3 x 3mile repeats, half mile recovery. Lots of warm up & cool down before & after. Pretty impressed with myself.
Friday: Rest day. Would have liked a short recovery run but I ran out of time. 3:30 always comes too early!
Saturday: Easy 4 miles with Sharon, plus another 3.5 solo at a slightly faster pace.
Sunday: *The All Mighty Long Run* A steady 18 miles with 8 min miles as my target. A fairly intense hill slowed me down for a minute, otherwise nailed it!

This week accumulated 58.88 miles. Not too shabby. And, despite being near 60 miles, I am not feeling fatigue or soreness thanks to proper warm ups & cool downs. It certainly was a great week and now I’m hyper focused. There’s only 10 weeks left until race day! I’ll have another week of working on strength, then I’ll start focusing in on marathon race pace. I am excited!

Boston Training Week 5: Building back up

With Week 4 being completely off, I ditched the training plan for Week 5 of my Boston Marathon Training to simply focus on getting back into running comfortably. I took a 3 days on, 1 day off schedule, ran slowly, and gradually added miles back. I made sure that I did a proper warm up and all of my drills before every workout, I did the necessary stretching, physical therapy exercises, and a lot of work in the weight room.

I was afraid I’d get too antsy and lose fitness by stepping back so drastically, but, I honestly welcomed the mini break. It felt good to not worry about splits and pacing for a bit & I’m heading back into my training refreshed, happy, and strong.


To get myself pumped to run again, I got some new running stuff. I ordered some new shoes this week. I’m still training in the New Balance Vazee Pace, but we’ve switched up the color (I’m so excited!) and I’ve decided that this marathon deserves some racers. I bought a pair of New Balance 1400s and am super excited to try them out! I got Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow, to read through some new recipe ideas. I also bought a pair of Skins compression tights and that has really seemed to help out my hamstring.


I put in a 40 mile week of easy runs and even felt well enough to tackle a 15 mile long run on the weekend. And, I’m happy to say that I am still pain free!

Monday: A mere 2.5 miles at a warm up pace, drills, PT, stretching, etc. Moving felt good!
Tuesday: Easy miles on the soft bridal trail. Minimal hills, minimal impact.
Wednesday: Hit the road to throw in a couple of hills, but took extra care to keep the pace  S L O W.
Thursday: Off – spent the day at my daughter’s school.
Friday: Bit the bullet and increased pace for a slight up-tempo run.
Saturday: Easy 6, slightly faster than warm up pace, to check out trail conditions.
Sunday: Went ahead and did the scheduled 15 mile long run in the rain & mud. Felt awesome.


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.

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.


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.