Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 4

I have to start by confessing that every single time I type the word “marathon,” I accidentally (?) type “marathong.” Every.single.time. This brain of mine. I tell ya.

ANYWAY.

I’ve been dialing up the intensity in week 4, and I’m having fun trying some challenging workouts and really dedicating myself to my training. This week went pretty well all around, but my speedwork day was flat out HARD. I’m really glad I have a coach because he was super helpful. I always want to know WHY and how to fix it, but sometimes, it’s just a bad workout. And really, if I look at it in perspective, just because I didn’t hit mile repeats at a sub-7 minute pace doesn’t mean I had a bad workout. Let’s get to it–

Get on with it, lady!

Get on with it, lady!

Monday
What was supposed to happen: 6 miles @8:37-8:59
What actually happened: 6 miles @8:40
Completely unremarkable recovery run on the treadmill.

Tuesday
What was supposed to happen: 
XT
What actually happened: 45 minutes of arc trainering plus 15 minutes of ab work
I’ve come to really enjoy my XT days. It’s a nice break, and I don’t feel any of the pressure to run a certain pace or distance, which is nice. I usually get close to 3 miles in 45 minutes. Then, I did an ab workout that I pinned a million years ago. It was a good one!
Also, I ordered myself this hoodie from Lululemon on Tuesday, and I am very happy with my purchase.
lululemon hoodieYou might not be able to see, but the zipper is silver AND gold, and I really love the detail. Sometimes retail therapy is necessary and makes me very happy.

Wednesday
What was supposed to happen:
 Groove repeats–7 miles with 4 x 1 mile @6:51-6:55 with 3:00 jog recovery
What actually happened: 7 miles total; 2 x 1 mile @6:53 with 3:00 recovery jogs; 1 mile @7:03 with 3:30 recovery; 2 x 0.5 mile @7:03 with 4:00 recovery
So. I really had to fight through this one. Physically and mentally, I felt ready–ready to work and ready for a tough, focused run. But. As soon as I began the first mile repeat, it felt TOUGH. Too fast for me. Almost like a dead out sprint. I got through 2 repeats at the targeted pace, but my lungs were on fire. I didn’t want to slow my pace, but I wanted to get through the workout somehow, so I slowed a little. The third mile still felt hard, but I got through it. I knew, though, that there was no way I was going to be able to do a full 4th mile. I went into that last “repeat” knowing that I was going to split it up. It worked out, but I think it was just an off day.
After, I emailed my coach, and he said that it’s ok to slow the pace a little, but that I should’ve gone ahead and slowed up for the first couple of repeats and tried to finish a bit stronger, which makes sense to me. Since I did well with last week’s tempo run, I know I don’t need to worry about it. Honestly, I was kind of bummed during and afterward, but I’m over it now. Hopefully it makes me stronger for race day, which is what really counts!

Drinks on drinks on drinks

Drinks on drinks on drinks

Thursday
What I was supposed to do: 5 miles recovery, no faster than 9:05
What actually happened: 5 miles recovery @9:03
Easy miles on the treadmill. My legs felt good, if not a little tight in the hip flexors. I think I may have also done some ab work, but I didn’t write it down, and Thursday just seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it?

Friday
What I was supposed to do: REST
What actually happened: REST!! I also had PT on Friday and did a bunch of hip/glute strengthening work. Plus, I had my hip flexors and TFLs dry needled. Necessary. He also suggested that I do my strengthening exercises after my long runs to help train my glutes to fire when they’re tired. Since they don’t like to fire when they’re fresh, I thought this was a good idea and tried it on Saturday. Not exactly what I wanted to do after 15 miles, but I know it will make me stronger.

Saturday
What I was supposed to do:
15 mile long run @8:25-8:30 pace with 2 x 3 miles in the middle @7:38
What actually happened: 15 mile long run @8:27ish pace with 2 x 3 miles @7:35 (for all 3 miles in the first set) and @7:38-@7:30-@7:30
This is (I hope) my last long run on the treadmill for this training cycle. I broke it up into 5 mile stretches so I could mentally tackle it a little easier. I did the first 3 mile repeats for miles 6-9 and felt good, but was more than ready for a gu at mile 9. I did one easy mile to recover, then finished the second 3 mile set feeling really strong–strong enough to push the pace.
Finished with post-run stretches, single leg star taps (3 sets of 5 on each leg), and 30 bounds on each leg.

Sunday
What was supposed to happen: 
5 miles easy recovery no faster than 9:05
What actually happened: 5.44 miles easy recovery OUTSIDE! (finally) @8:21
I really did try to go slower, but Roo and I were both excited to get outside for a run after so many freezing, windy, snowy days. Even though we lost that hour of sleep, the weather today made up for it.

Mileage for the week: 38 miles

vancouver marathon week 4

All in all, a good week. Otherwise, I’ve been working on getting plenty of protein, hydration, and lots of maintenance work. I’m trying to stretch before and after every run, foam roll, lacrosse ball my hip flexors (YOWSA that hurts), and do all of my strengthening exercises regularly. Sometimes, I want to do it, but I sit on the couch instead. I’m admitting that so that I can report back next week that I’ve followed through and actually done more of this. We shall see ;)

Don’t Get Too Excited.

Oh hey. Long time no talk! If you still follow me on twitter or Instagram, first of all, awwww, thanks :) And secondly, you may or may not know that I finally succeeded in running a marathon. Actually, I’ve run two in the last year and had some success with it, which comes as a slight shock. But, more on that (maybe?) later.

Anyway, I’ve decided to chase 26.2 again, this time in Vancouver on May 3. Rather than simply following the Smart Coach plans I have in the past, I’ve decided to hire a coach. I figure, if I’m able to run a 3:24:51 without any coaching, I’d love to see what I can do with professional guidance!

IMG_3535

I feel like this is kind of a noteworthy thing in my life, so I want to have a record of it, hence the “out of retirement” thing. Don’t get too excited.

Here’s the very condensed Reader’s Digest version of what’s been going on in my running life since we last talked. I’ll give you bullet points because we really do not have all day here.

  • I began seeing a physical therapist in the Fall of 2013 and had some success there. She helped get my back and glutes stronger, and by February 2014, I was pretty much pain free. Party.
  • In January 2014, I ran the Celebration Marathon with Paula and Michelle, and it was painful. I hadn’t trained and that damn Florida humidity tried to kill me. Also, my old knee pain came back around mile 9 and was fairly excruciating. So that was fun. I finished in around 1:45 or so and could barely walk.1533781_10151954777251902_766654416_n
  • Because that race went so well, I figured I’d go ahead and train for double that distance. #logic I ran the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in DC last March on 6 weeks of training and finished in 3:38:06. It was basically my most favoritest race ever, and I was stupid happy the whole time. Well, maybe not the last 4 miles which consisted of rolling hills and heard me yelling (literally) obscenities as I crested each one and saw a new one approaching. Still. Loved it.race1
  • Continued running a bit for the next few months and decided to register for Chicago 2014. As I worked on building my base for that, the old back/glute pain came back, so I started going to a new PT closer to my apartment (because of course I moved yet again). He’s done wonders for me. Maybe I’ll write about that at some point, too.
  • I trained for Chicago through the end of summer and early fall, and it was fantastic. I just felt great all the time, was fueling well, strength training, and generally in top shape. Had an amazing race. Again, stupid happy. Apparently, this is my default state when I race the marathon.10979702_1547137235537930_1846208414_n
  • And, finally, I can’t recap the last almost 2 years without mentioning that I got a blister during Chicago which then got infected which then caused me to go into septic shock and spend 6 days in the hospital. They stored me in the oncology ward since apparently infectious diseases doesn’t get its own area. After I was released, I realized there’s a 60% mortality rate for what I had. Close call.

I’m sure I’m glossing over lots, but I guess we’re all up to speed now!

Time to Take It Offline

Hi friends!

I write today with somewhat bittersweet news: this will be my last post.

I’ve loved blogging the last 2 1/2 years, but lately it’s lost its sparkle for me. I feel like I have so much less to say, so much less to share, and I think it’s due in large part to the fact that I’m in a place of acceptance, familiarity, and ease. When I started this blog, it was because I didn’t feel like I knew myself. I wasn’t sure of my likes, my passions, my interests. I was a truly unhappy person, and it makes me sad to think of how long I lived like that. Now, I’m comfortable with who I am. Even if other people don’t like that person, I’m ok with it because I do like her.

No, life isn’t perfect. I’m sure it never will be. And honestly, nothing really has changed. Regardless of where I live or how I earn my money or who happens to be in my life, I’m still the same me. The main difference is that I look for the good and the fun and the positives rather than being bogged down by negativity. I’m confident in my ability to handle whatever comes my way, and I know with absolute certainty that no matter what happens–how fast I run or how much I weigh or who I’m dating or who does or doesn’t want to be my friend–I’ll be ok. I know that I’ll never really finish working on myself and that I really don’t want to. There is always always room for improvement, and I’m sure I’ll never quit chasing ways to be better.

I’ve learned these things through running, writing, and the many online friendships I’ve made through my blog, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now it’s time to take my life offline and just live.

I’ll still be around on Twitter and Instagram, so I hope to keep in touch in some capacity.

Thank you thank you thank you for being such wonderful friends! XO

Supergirls!

I made you a workout video. Well, kinda.

{I am so embarrassing.}

OK, so here’s what’s behind this. I do all kinds of HIIT workouts all the time with weird moves that I can’t really describe. The Daily HIIT website is my go-to, but it’s not super easy to navigate or find a video of the exact move I want to share with you. So all the credit goes to them for the idea, but I made my own little video because a). I’m a total dork and b). I really want people to try this stuff, but I know it’s not always easy to figure out what’s going on on that site.

Moving on.

As mentioned in the video, I’m trying to strengthen my hips and back for running so I don’t get injured again. I realize that I’m not going to spot-strengthen anything, so strengthening everything is the name of the game. This move–the “supergirl”–is a single leg squat to single leg deadlift. Ish. It’s tough because it not only requires strength, but balance as well. The thing I’ve noticed, though, is that when you have to balance, it’s great for that overall strengthening piece. This move will work quads, hamstrings, hips, back, ankles, etc. It’s one stop shopping.

The other thing to note about this: it’s hard. You will wobble. You might fall. I am not an expert, so attempt at your own risk and please try not to hurt yourself. I’d start with no weight or even with light dumbbells until you get the hang of it. Let me know what you think!

Also: is this helpful? Do you like my barely amateur/non-existent video production skills? Should I quit embarrassing myself and never make a video again? Or should I quit my job and become the next Jane Fonda?

Currently.

1. Listening.

photo

I was just thinking a couple weeks ago that I hadn’t heard any great summer songs yet. Then this popped up on the radio almost immediately, and I can’t get enough. Happy making.

2. Wearing.

Mildly obsessed with these tinted lip balms. I have no idea why I waited so long to hop on this bandwagon, but I’m quite confident it will only be a matter of time before I own the entire collection. So much goodness. Sheer color so you’re fancier than old-fashioned Chapstick and feel like a real grown up. Yep.

3. Sporting.

photo

Yes, I shop at H&M and totes purchased and am sporting this fluorescent skirt ($12.95) and screen printed tiger tank ($5.95). My inner 13 year old loves it. Who am I kidding? My inner 33 year old does, too.

4. Drinking.

Still can’t get enough kombucha. Manfriend showed up with a case of it the other night (buy one, get one free at Whole Foods!). He gets me.

5. Eating.

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with curry. Israeli couscous. Pinenuts. Basil. Lemon. #vegan ;) Seriously could not stop eating this. I wound up eating the leftovers cold over a bed of spinach for added greenness. So yum.

6. Reading.

OK, so it’s not the book in the picture, but how cute is my dog?!? Anyway, it’s Fortune’s Rocks time! I’ve mentioned it before, but I read this book every year around the summer solstice (since that’s when it takes place). If you haven’t read this book, please do. It’s one of my very favorite, most beloved books ever. I want to hug it. For serious.

7. Sweating.

HIIT TabataMore Daily HIIT butt kicking! Loving lots of tabata/interval workouts the last couple of weeks. I’m still running, but far fewer miles. This workout leaves me dripping with sweat, challenged, and only takes 17 minutes! It’s good to feel like I’m getting some of my strength and muscle tone back, too.

Training to Run a Half Marathon PR

You guys.

You need to read this article about training to run a half marathon PR.

OK–maybe those of you who don’t run don’t want to read it.

But! The rest of you: READ IT.

I, for one, am completely smitten by it and immediately want to find another half to train for so I can implement these ideas because I’m a super nerdy runner like that.

So this all started because I came across this article and started rambling to Manfriend about it via gchat.

Manfriend is not a runner.

He’s plenty athletic (he plays all the sports), but my running rambles got stale for him pretty quickly. It was basically this scenario:

It’s Not About the Nail from Jason Headley on Vimeo.

So. I reverted to my usual first reaction: emailing this lady, obvi. But I wanted to talk about it MOAR. And here we are.

My favoritest parts of this read include, but are not limited to:

  1. Long Runs. I wonder if adding a 2 hour run every week would help build aerobic capacity long term? Or does this just work during training and require downtime (ie., non-training time) to be effective?
  2. Strides! Why am I not doing these? I don’t know why I never do strides, but I should, especially given that they take almost no time and very little effort. Same with incorporating fartleks. I used to do intervals fairly regularly, but almost never do now. At least not running intervals. HIIT is a different story.
  3. Hills. I know running uphill is great for training, but what about downhill? The part about running downhill and strengthening quads is so smart, especially for a course like the one I just ran, which is a very gradual downhill course.
  4. Lactate Thresholds.  Funny, I was just talking to my co-worker (who used to be a rower) about this. Apparently, you reach a point in your workout where you start producing lactic acid (you know, the part that really hurts), and you can’t push yourself any further. Your body literally starts to break down. (Yes, literally). I think it’s interesting that you can increase it, though. I want to do that!
  5. Last Miles = Fast Miles. I know you’re supposed to pick up the pace at the end of long runs, but I always go out too fast and then get tired. If I could pace myself better, I know this would help me.

Anyway, the article is written by Greg Strosaker who is a marathon runner, author, and online running coach. I was pretty impressed with the quick look I took around his site. Definitely worth a follow.

Suffering Through My Own Stupidity

Often occasionally, I’m not very smart. 

Example: I typically forget I have asthma until I’m wheezing and feeling like I’m drowning in the heat and humidity. This may or may not have happened at last weekend’s race.

Example 2: Sometimes I don’t exactly pay attention when my body is sending me signals that something’s not right. Case in point: a week or so before the race, I woke up seeing halos which I know is a symptom of a migraine. Basically, you see spots of light that follow your line of vision and only go away when you close your eyes. It’s a little disorienting, but not the end of the world. However, if you don’t know what’s happening, it’s freaky as hell. As luck would have it, it’s happened to me before, so I didn’t give it much thought. Plus, it went away after 30 minutes or so–not a big deal then, right? I had also gotten a pretty poor night’s sleep the night before, so I assumed that it might be related to that, took some ibuprofen for my lingering headache, and got on with my day. Read: I forgot about it, even thought halos + headache = migraine symptoms. Duh.

In my defense (of me to me?), I didn’t have any other symptoms the rest of the week. No headaches, no auras, no halos. So when I arrived in Morgantown on Friday night with a wicked headache, I assumed it was just because I needed to eat. When that didn’t work, I figured sleep would take care of it. If I had thought to pack ibuprofen, I probably would’ve taken that, but I didn’t, so I went to sleep.

Even when the intensity of the headache woke me up later that night, even when I spent an hour vomiting, even when I was feverish and miserable, it never once crossed my mind that I might have a migraine.

That morning, the headache was much better and the nausea had substantially subsided, so I thought it was just a fluke thing–maybe something I ate.

Finally, two and a half days later, I realized that it was a migraine (duh). Had I paid better attention, I could’ve just taken some precautions (Excedrin Migraine as soon as the symptoms start usually works for me) and avoided the whole thing.

Ugh. Life.