You guys, I’m not going to even talk about the weather this week. I’m not going to tell you how we reached a record high 93 degrees on Friday. I’m not going to mention that it was 70 degrees and 85% humidity at 5am when we started our long run on Saturday. I’m not going to . . . oh wait. Sigh. The weather, the weather, the weather. I’m starting to feel like a broken record and I’m sure I’m not the only one. When I read other people’s blogs lamenting the weather, it at least makes me feel better knowing it’s not just a lack of mental toughness that has made my running feel more like a slog this summer; that it really just has been that bad. I feel terrible for the people running marathons this weekend, many looking to get their BQ in time for 2017 Boston Marathon registration, only to be hit by 80 degree weather at the start with equally high humidity.
With this week of training in the books and 5 weeks to go until my race, I’m optimistically choosing to believe that at least one of those long runs will take place in glorious, fall like weather. And that this unrelenting heat and humidity is replaced by a clear, crisp, 50 degree day come October 16th. Fingers, toes, and legs crossed.
After last week’s lackluster long run, I started the week feeling really unmotivated to put much effort in. The arrival of my new shoes – which are identical to my last 2 pairs – was pretty much the only thing that made me want to lace up and run. My mom was visiting and hanging out with her, and taking advantage of readily available babysitting!, was much more appealing that gutting out a tough run. I skipped one of my easy days, subbed an easy run for speed work, and with the exception of my tempo run, kept all my runs to easy effort. It was a much needed mental and physical break. Lo and behold, by the time my long run came around on Saturday, it didn’t feel nearly as bad as my long run the week before. In fact, it gave me confidence that taper would help ease the fatigue my legs have been feeling and I ended up running the recovery miles on Sunday that I had skipped earlier in the week.
Week 11 Recap: September 5-11
Monday: Plan: Easy 8 – Actual: off See above mentioned lack of motivation
Tuesday: Plan: 1000 in 4:09, 2000 in 8:37, 1000 in 4:09, 1000 in 4:09 (400 RI) – Actual: 5.5M @9:02 – This one took me a good long time to even decide to run. Most of the morning I spent trying to come up with a way I could justify skipping two runs during what should be my peak week of marathon training. I couldn’t, so this was my “fine, if you’re going to make me run this is all I’m going to do run”. And yes, I do know that no one is making me run. My inner, petulant teenager side was out in full effect for this run.
Wednesday: Plan: off – Actual: 8.2M Easy – There’s nothing that makes my mom happier than spending time with her grandkids so I took advantage and scooted out for an easy run while she and my youngest happily played. Hanna, at The Millennial Next Door, had commented that lack of mid-distance runs during the week could be playing into the fatigue I’ve been feeling during long runs. I agree and this was my attempt to stretch out those easy, mid-week runs into longer, endurance building runs. Still not quite what I’d consider mid-distance, but getting there and it was much easier to attempt this distance outside rather than on the treadmill!
Thursday: Plan: 1M E, 5M @8:07, 1M E – 1M @8:56, 5M@8:04, 1M @9:30 – Oh hey! Look at that, a run that actually matched up to my training plan. Other than some slight boredom at doing this on the treadmill, I actually felt good on this run. I also got really excited when I remembered that I had downloaded an audiobook, Girl on the Train, at the suggestion of one of my running group friends. I loooove books like this that are suspenseful and full of twists and it really helps the time pass quickly while running.
Friday: Plan: Recovery 5 – Actual: elliptical 25 minutes + form drills – As I mentioned last week, I had been toying with the idea of going back to 4 days/week of running, and decided to go ahead and skip the planned recover miles ahead of my 20 miler the following day. After 25 minutes on the elliptical – which I really only did because I saw on the gym TVs that Anderson Cooper was co-hosting Live! with Kelly – I spent a lot of time on MYRTLs, stretching, foam rolling, core work, and form drills. The group class studio was empty so I went in there to follow Meb Keflezighi’s form drills. There are mirrors in the room, as there usually are for group fitness classes, so I had the chance to see what I looked like doing these drills. 😂😂 Not quite like Meb.
Saturday: Plan: 20 miles – Actual: 20 miles – The group I run with was planning 17 miles so I met them with the plan to run the last 3 on my own. We gathered at 5:15 in an attempt to beat some of the heat and to get home in time for parental duties. My daughter had her first soccer game that morning and my husband is the coach so I needed to be back in time for them to be at the field at 9am. They needed to wait for me since my husband wouldn’t be able to coach and keep track of our youngest at the same time. I figured it would take me a little over 3 hours and the 5:15am start would give me plenty of time. <—This is foreshadowing. We set off a little after 5:15 and the beauty of starting in the dark is that other than the small spot in front of you lit by a headlamp, you can’t see much of the surrounding scenery. Scenery that I’ve passed dozens and dozens and dozens of times. Between the dark and chatting away with the other 6-8ish runners (some people joined or dropped along the way) the miles were going quickly. As we ran past a golf course we were rewarded with the brightest, most beautiful sunrise and I had to stop for a quick picture.
My fueling went better this week – I’d started the morning with half of a bagel topped with peanut butter and brought 2 fig newtons as my first fuel of the run. Having some real food in my stomach seemed to help as a buffer for taking GUs later in the run. Since it was so warm and humid we had planned extra water stops, including a spot where the husband of one of the runners had dropped cold water bottles for us, a gas station that knows our group by now, and at the house of one of the runners where she had stashed a cooler with ice cold PowerAde and water. It really pays to run with other people! While I didn’t stop my watch at water fountains or at the first water bottle drop zone, I did stop it when we were at the gas station and the runner’s house. With 6+ people these little stops added up and as we were finishing our 17 I realized I was running low on time. Compounding the problem was that my original plan had been to run straight home (thus saving about 10 minutes) and come back later for my car was out the window since I had forgotten about an event happening in the town center later that morning. If I left my car there, I’d risk it being towed before I made it back. This began the tempo portion of my run! I managed to run 8:15, 8:15, 7:52 for my last three miles, jumped in the car, and arrived home – where my husband and girls were waiting in the front yard – at 8:49. My husband and oldest went off while I went into the house for a quick shower – my 2 year old safely entertained on the bathroom floor thanks to the pbs kids app – and we were out the door 15 minutes later to catch the soccer game. Not the best way to recover from a 20 miler, but I did make it out for a nutrient packed smoothie later . . . and the White Coffee ice cream in a waffle cone that I had been thinking about for those final 3 miles.
Splits: 1) 9:03 2) 8:27 3) 9:53 4) 9:18 5) 12:52 6) 9:09 7) 9:17 8) 10:18 9) 13:13 10) 8:41 11) 8:54 12) 9:36 13) 8:43 14) 8:53 15) 8:56 16) 8:48 17) 8:50 18) 8:15 19) 8:15 20) 7:52 = 20M @9:22 —-> while this does include the water stops where I didn’t stop my watch, it doesn’t include the gas station/house stop which would add an extra 8 minutes of time. I really go back and forth on how to think of my pace on these runs – moving time is 9:02 pace, average pace is 9:22, total elapsed time pace is 9:47. I feel like those are all really big differences and wonder what impact that will have on race day.
Sunday: Plan: off – Actual: 5.3M Recovery @9:38
– Knowing that I made it through my long run, and finishing it with some faster miles, helped give me the boost of motivation missing from the beginning of the week. This week was supposed to be my peak mileage week and if I skipped these miles I’d end up falling short. With high humidity again and tired legs, it was easy to keep this run at a real recovery pace. 5.3 miles and I hit my highest mileage week of the training cycle and ever!
Weekly Total: 46 miles