Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of 9/11

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Sunday: 20 miles at 11:19. 4:1 run/walk.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Strength.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: Rest. I set out to do 4 miles, but a quarter mile in I called it quits. My hamstrings were too tight/sore from overstretching on Tuesday. Normally, I’d just push through, but with the marathon right around the corner and Philly literally two days away, it didn’t seem worth the risk of injury.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 5K. 3.1 at 9:17. I had a great race and race progressively faster with each mile. More to come on the recap later!

***

Total weekly mileage: 23.1

Training

How Training for a Marathon Has Changed My Entire Body, Mind and Soul

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I officially started training for my first marathon — Chicago on Oct. 9 — three months ago.

I never expected jumping up into marathon training would be easy — I’d read enough and talked to enough runners that I knew that wasn’t true. Yet, I also never expected it would be so hard, either.

I almost gave up at week 3. WEEK THREE. And while I never reached that low again — propelled forward by great runs at 16 miles and 18 miles — I’ve doubted myself a million times since.

The 20-mile marker represented another turning point, and the end of the bulk of training. My mom met me at the end of that longest of long runs. I smiled, absolutely radiant. I’d done it.

At the outset of this marathon journey, I promised myself to be flexible. To not force myself to do any single run — especially the shorter ones — if it made more sense to rest or ease back on the mileage for any given day. Something my trainer said stuck in my mind: “You can’t run a marathon if you don’t make it to the start line.”

I also knew the long runs were the most important of this training cycle — you can move those around, you can adjust for heat and humidity, but you can’t cheat and skip them entirely.

And, I also told myself: one and done. That’s one 26.2 race and never again.

Sometime after my 3-week “what am I doing” freakout and the rebound several weeks later, that “never again” turned into well, maybe for Boston on a charity bib. Which turned into well, maybe for London … which turned into well, maybe for the world marathon major races. And somehow that turned into, well 18 miles wasn’t ridiculously hard, maybe I’ll do that length of run in the fall and spring when I feel like it and pick a corresponding marathon to go along with it.

Truth: I haven’t yet run 26.2 miles. And somehow there’s a part of me already contemplating what could be marathon No. 2.

When I get too far ahead of myself like that, I attempt reel myself back in. I remind myself of how much work it was to get to this point. Of how many Sundays I woke up at 5 or even earlier to run a ridiculous amount of miles in the heat and humidity that equals summer in D.C. Of how many days I ran 6-8 miles before work.

During my 20-mile long run, I struggled a little bit around the 12-15 mile mark. I told myself that my “it would be great to finish under 5 hours” in Chicago notion was ridiculous, and I should change that to 5 1/2 hours or 6 hours.

By the end of the run, I’d clocked an overall average pace of 11:19, faster than any long run I’d done in training using the 4:1 run/walk method. My final mile chimed in at 10:20. I took two one-minute walk breaks in that mile.

That’s insane.

When I find myself thinking of the next challenge after this marathon, I pull myself back quickly, to just focus on Chicago.

Yet, two half marathons a week apart no longer seems like a big deal. Marathon training seems to have taught my body that 12 miles is now a minimum long run. And doing a 5k before a half marathon — something I once worried about sapping too much energy from my legs — also no longer seems like anything.

I’ve signed up for 3 half marathons in the 5 weeks post-marathon, including one two weeks after Chicago. I’m honestly not sure I’ll go to the half two weeks after my first 26.2 — I want to listen to my body and ensure I don’t get injured.

At the same time, I can’t imagine not being able to finish that half, and the two others, so long as I take them easy.

In the past 15 weeks, I’ve given a lot. I’ve woken up insanely early, and gone to bed even earlier. I’ve dealt with that weird always-hungry feeling that seems to accompany marathon training, especially at first.

I’ve legitimately gained a few pounds, and my level of caring about that 3 pound difference on the scale is tiny compared to what it would have been a few years ago — or even earlier this year. I mostly ditched the scale for the bulk of marathon training, going up to 4 weeks without weighing myself.

I’ve picked back up strength training with a personal trainer and wondered why I ever left in the first place. I’ve kept up with yoga and wondered how, again, I ever did without it. I’ve largely nixed additional cross-training — cycle and swim — on my calendar and wondered how the hell I ever fit them in.

I’ve pushed my body to the limits, and found it can handle more than I thought.

There’s an often-quoted marathon quote: “I dare you to run a marathon and have it not change you.”

I haven’t yet run 26.2 miles, and so I say — I challenge you to train for a marathon and have it not change you.

So will I run another marathon after Chicago? Honestly, I don’t know.

This training cycle showed me just how time-consuming marathon training is. I’m not sure I want to deal with that again, and even if I decide it is worth it, I’m not sure it’s worth dealing with on a regular, annual basis — let alone multiple 26.2 races each year.

What I do know is I want to keep running. And I want to keep running toward something.

Whether that’s a new number of half marathons completed in a single year or running in all 50 states or a new PR at any given distance, I don’t know. Yet.

Training

20 Miles. Longest Run Ever. A Recap.

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I ran 20 miles this morning. A distance that once seemed completely and totally impossible. And it felt that way, in part, only today, at 5 a.m. when my alarm went off.

I was a little anxious off and on Saturday, but I slept well overnight — thank you, Advil PM.

My alarm went off at 5 a.m., and it was go time. I looked at my Weather app and was disappointed to see the temperatures hadn’t fallen as much as originally predicted, but I reminded myself that I was heat acclimated, that a few degrees doesn’t matter that much, and I’d largely be running with a breeze in my face, all while the dew point was dropping throughout the run.

I started out with a 76 degree temperature and 71 degree dew point.

I told myself I wasn’t running 20 miles, I was only running 12 miles. And I focused on 5 mile increments.

I knew the sun wasn’t rising until 6:45 a.m. now, but I’d forgotten how dark that would make a 6 a.m. start. I was running solo, and I wasn’t really comfortable the first couple miles, even after I got to the trail from my parents place about a 3/4 mile in.

The recent assaults on the W&OD and murders of runners elsewhere made me uneasy. I found myself thinking, especially until I got to the main trail, what I’d do if a car that was coming by stopped, or if someone tried to grab me as I passed by. I kept myself on high alert, and didn’t run with headphones. It was enough to tense up my legs and make the first 1.5 miles feel rougher than usual.

I felt a little better once the sun started rising around mile 2, and a lot better after I reached somewhere around the 4-mile mark. Enough folks were coming out to the trail now that I was seeing someone every tenth to quarter mile.

Finally, I could relax.

I began focusing on those 5-mile increments, where I’d take in my gummies. I wanted to make nutrition a huge focus of this run since I hadn’t taken as much as I should have during my 18-miler two weeks ago. I decided I didn’t care about pace and tried to take it as slow as possible. (In actuality, this ended up being my fastest overall pace during marathon training using the 4:1 run/walk.)

The first few miles — the first 2 in particular — were very muggy. When I reached the only turnaround point at mile 2, I immediately started feeling relief with a nice breeze on my face. I also knew the temperature would pretty much stay the same during my run, but with — thankfully — dropping dew points.

To make a sort of game out of my run and have a little fun, I decided to Snapchat as much as I could, focusing on water fountain stops to refill my bottles and gummy stops. I ended up not Snapchatting as much as I thought I would — it just seemed too time consuming when I was already eating up a lot of time refilling water bottles and eating gummies.

I’d asked my mom to meet me at the end of this run at a Starbucks in a Target at the Dulles 28 Center because I really didn’t want to deal with an out and back. I knew this way the wind would cool me off a bit, and I wouldn’t have to deal with the slow, long uphill on the way back, nor would I have to deal with any sun on my face or the (relative) lack of water fountains on the W&OD. And, I’d have something to look forward to. Plus, I figured I’d still be able to get my chocolate milk.

My legs started to feel a little tired around mile 7, and I thought, “well, that’s not good.” But there was a decent bit of downhill after that and I just focused on staying steady. A little after mile 9, I realized I would need a pit stop at a porta potty. I prayed the one I’d remembered from a couple years ago at Hunter Mill Road was still there, and luckily it was!

That was also my halfway marker. And I was entering uncharted territory on the W&OD. I’d never been out past Hunter Mill. I focused on the next water stop around mile 11.5, then onto mile 15, the next water stop and gummy station. In between, there was a slow and steady incline.

I took a brief break at the 15-mile water stop. I decided to change out my socks because I worried about blisters. At that point I had a little less than 5 miles to go. I was a little sore, and part of my mind was going: “Well, 26.2 is going to hurt,” but I focused on staying present and looking toward mile 18. I’d run that distance twice before, and I knew once I reached it again that the last 2 miles would fly by. I was starting to feel good.

img_9877At mile 18.4, I hit a walk break and saw a woman standing on the opposite side of the trail. I quickly realized that it was Dorothy! I couldn’t believe I’d run into her while, well, out running. We chatted for a while before parting ways. It was so great to catch up with her a bit and have a little bit of a mental break.

Only 1.6 to go. I knew it was in the bag. I stuck to the 4:1 run/walk plan, and yet my pace quickened — a lot. The last two miles were the fastest of my run, and by a lot.

I felt amazing ending the run strong, and then it was time to find my mom. I’d texted her I was going to be later than planned, and found her sitting on a bench outside Target. I’d left her a bag to bring to me with a change of clothing. I quickly switched out of my sweaty clothes in the restroom and realized I hadn’t stretched, so I tried to do a few here and there.

Refreshed, I left the restroom to hit up the Starbucks. Sadly, there was what ended up being a long line. Please, folks, can we separate out the folks who need like two quick things from the fancy drinks?

img_9880My mom mentioned a couple times — even before we entered the store — that we could maybe go elsewhere, but I knew I needed something stat. We got in line after my clothing change so no sense in going somewhere else that will take just as long or longer.

I got a chocolate milk, banana bread and water. I absolutely inhaled them as my mom drove back home.

Once back at my parents’ place, I got a heavenly shower, then it was coffee time. Thank God. Less than a half hour later I was starved, again. I ate an entire muffin — one of those big ones from the grocery store. I left a little after noon and went home for a nap.

But I didn’t nap well. I was too hyped from the run and the fact that it was 9/11 kept me tossing and turning. I’d thought about that cool, clear day 15 years earlier on and off again during the run, and it felt surreal. How did we get to 15 years from that date so quickly? How did we get to the point where so many entering the workforce, fresh out of college, barely or don’t remember that day so distinctly?

img_9875When I reached Dorothy, she remarked how weird of a day it was. She’d just run her mile 11 in 9:11. That stuck with me through the later half of the run, and allowed me to reflect on how much had changed in 15 years — not only focusing on American history, but also, just who I was at that time — a sophomore in high school — and where I am today.

So, what now?

Well, basically, marathon training is done. No more super long runs. It’s all downhill from here.

Next weekend is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half and 5K the day before, and I can’t wait.

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Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Sept. 4

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Sunday: 13.1 at 9:46 (Garmin pace). Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

Monday: Rest. No yoga class on Labor Day.

Tuesday: 7 at 10:18. The weather was quite pleasant for Tuesday and not so much for later in the week + my trainer was out of town meaning no strength workout, so I moved my runs this week to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, giving myself an extra rest day before Sunday’s long run.

Wednesday: 5 at 10:12. My legs were a little tired, it was warmer and more humid and I was running on a path with more hills than the 7-miler, yet somehow I hit this faster pace. Let’s hope this is a sign of good things to come in the fall.

Thursday: 5 at 10:00. Treadmill. 1 mile warmup, 2 x 1200 (9:41 pace, 9:31 pace), 1 x 1 mile (half at 9:23 pace, half at 9:14 pace), 1/2 mile cooldown. 1/2 mile recovery between reps. My legs were even more tired than Wednesday, and yet, this felt kind of easy. I picked up the pace and added an extra quarter mile on the last rep of what was supposed to be a 3 x 1200 interval workout.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.

***

Weekly mileage: 30.1

Reviews

Race Review & Recap: Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Half Marathon and Surviving Hermine

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Oh, Hermine.

You tried to ruin my race weekend in Virginia Beach, but you didn’t quite do it.

To be fair: I was disappointed that a great combination of beach weather and running weather  originally forecast for this past weekend — with sunny skies, low 70s for the start and low 60s dew points overall — didn’t pan out. That forecast would have given me some time to read on the beach and play in the ocean. I had a dream of finishing the half marathon and literally running into the sea. Alas, that was not on tap.

Instead, Tropical Storm Hermine — downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane — barreled up the East Coast, bringing insane winds and heavy rain.

***

FRIDAY

I woke up super early because I know how 95 can get on long holiday weekends. I got to my hotel around 9:15 and my room was already ready! Good thing, because I was beat and needed a nap.

After my nap, I felt unsettled. I decided to go for a run. I was supposed to do 6 miles on Thursday, but was too tired. So, I decided to run the boardwalk and maybe go to the expo right at the end.

The first mile flew by and felt super easy despite the pace my Garmin beeped at me. I reached the end of the boardwalk, turned around to head the other way and immediately knew why. I’d been running in a strong tailwind without even knowing it.

IMG_9810It was a struggle to run about 2.5 miles the other way to reach the other end of the boardwalk. There were a few stops to just rest and stare at the ocean. I realized a little more than halfway through 6 miles that I’d be way too sweaty and gross to run to the expo from the oceanfront, so I went up to my room to shower and change.

About halfway through the run, I also got the text that Saturday’s Mile on the Sand was canceled. Given the weather forecast and complicated logistics of trying to move the race to the boardwalk (which would still be blasted with wind and sand) or elsewhere, I wasn’t surprised.

Rock ‘n’ Roll knows how do to things right — and we would still get our medals and beach towel. They encouraged us to just do the mile virtually or run on the sand at another, more safe, time. They’d also been great about communication — sending out texts, emails and using social media to inform runners twice a day what the status of the races were. And it was a great call that they canceled the Mile on the Sand by 1 p.m. Friday, instead of potentially waiting until that evening.

The expo was a short 15-minute walk away, and I was basically in and out. I stopped only to talk to one of the CGI folks I know and to get some more Glukos gummies for my remaining super long run and the marathon itself. I also finally picked up my actual, physical TourPass, which I forgot to pick up at the other four Rock ‘n’ Roll races I’ve done this year.

I walked back to the hotel and got in my only time on the sand, dipping my ankles into the ocean, which was at the perfect warmth for going in deeper and playing in. But I wasn’t in my swimsuit and there were dangerous riptides anyway, so I didn’t go in any farther.

Then it was time to grab a snack and get ready for the happy hour Rock ‘n’ Roll put on at a nearby restaurant. I heard about it over the loudspeaker at the expo and it was at a place I had jotted down as having good dinner potential.

I ended up staying out until a bit before 11, enjoying some really great nachos with pulled pork and a few beers. Steff, her husband, and Gloria came by not too far into the happy hour and we had a great time catching up and chatting.

Walking back to the hotel, it was clear Hermine was coming. It was windier and I was a little cold. It was lightly raining, too. I got back at 11 and went right to sleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night to a roaring wind coming in through my air conditioner unit. I added interior air conditioning to my list of hotel perks to look for, put a pillow over my head — which I hate — and tried to get some decent sleep, but it was a toss-and-turn struggle.

***

SATURDAY

I woke up around 8 and peered outside. Hermine was almost at full force. I saw a person along the oceanfront and immediately thought, who is this crazy guy?! I Snapchatted that. Then a couple minutes later, I saw him still out there, but now he was gesturing. “Wait, is this a Weather Channel guy?!” I wondered, and Snapchatted. But where was his camera? Just on a balcony so it was out of the elements? I turned on my TV and found the Weather Channel. OMG! It is a Weather Channel meteorologist — Mike Seidel!

IMG_9828I spent the next half hour or so completely amused. Going back and forth between watching him on TV and watching him on the beach. At one point, two runners came down the boardwalk wearing their Mile on the Sand bibs — they were getting in that mile no matter what. Mike Seidel was able to get them live on TV, too.

After my amusement waned a little — but not much — I decided to do my Mile on the Sand as a Mile on the Treadmill While Looking at the Sand. I Snapchatted a couple more times while watching Seidel from my treadmill, and about a quarter mile into my walk, I noticed him leaving the beach.

I wondered if he was coming into my hotel, but after a minute figured maybe not. Then, he entered the hotel’s back entrance, which is right next to the workout room. I immediately knew I had to go talk to him and get a quote for USA TODAY. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

So I stopped my treadmill walk, stalked him a bit and found him at a table in the breakfast area. He was completely soaked and busy trying to tweet out a video of himself at the beach. He was having quite a time with it because the screen protector on his phone had captured some moisture and wasn’t letting him type accurately.

IMG_9833It was clear he was super busy, and I found out he’d been on the road for 10 straight days, too. I got a couple good quotes, and then he needed to dash back outside. I went to finish up my last .75 on the treadmill, then got breakfast and went around interviewing a few of the other hotel guests so I’d have a nice feed to send to USA TODAY. A lot of the hotel guests were there for the race, and the feed I sent in ended up being posted as a separate story online and in print!

I basically spent the rest of the day in my hotel room. I had ventured out front around 10 — at the height of the storm — and it was insane, even under a covered awning. I can’t imagine being on the beach. The trees were bending at all sorts of crazy angles and the rain was coming in sideways.

I’d never experienced a tropical storm full on before and it was amazing to see the force of the Hermine and incredible waves it brought in.

A Rock n Blog meetup was canceled because of the weather, and I had brought food for lunch so I didn’t need to venture out. I took a nap — even though the wind was still blowing loudly through the AC (it finally stopped at the end of my nap), then went down for a dip in the pool before getting a shower and getting some pizza takeout for dinner.

The pizza was really good, but contained so much cheese that I knew wouldn’t be good for my stomach. So I had to slough some of it off and not finish the whole thing. The rest of the night I spent reading in bed. I was tired from my poor night’s sleep the night before and it was lights out at 9:30 with a 5:30 alarm set for the race.

***

SUNDAY

I definitely slept better and could feel it. I got ready and headed out the door a little after 6. I walked straight into a race shuttle I hadn’t planned on using, and decided to go for it — it’d get me to the start line faster.

IMG_9854I purchased VIP for this race, and I’m glad I did. I was thinking more about the after-race party, but it came in handy pre-race. I needed the bathroom when I got to the start line, and then needed it twice more before the start — my stomach was acting up a little. And the VIP bathrooms were indoors and there were zero lines. My stomach had started being funky Saturday, but I figured it was because my period started and I had hoped it would be done by Sunday.

We had a Rock ‘n’ Blog / We Run Social meetup before the race start but two seconds into that I felt I needed to go to the bathroom again, so I headed back to the VIP before getting a photo with the group. Sorry, guys!

I didn’t get what I needed to get done in the bathroom, so I stepped outside again only to have to go back a few minutes later, just 10-15 minutes before the start. But I finally could tell I was done with needing the bathroom. Phew.

Steff, Gloria and I had met another runner at the happy hour and she found us Sunday morning! I had talked to Steff about wanting to do around a 2:10 for this race, potentially a little faster if I could, and the other girl was willing to give it a shot. (P.S. Steff is super fast, so 2:10 is her long run pace!)

IMG_9838I had been concerned about running this race in just shorts and a tank given the wind forecast — at one point up to 20-30 mph sustained winds with 40-50 mph gusts. But on race morning, the winds had died down a lot. Still, I felt a little chilled until I’d walked around the convention center and VIP area. That’s when I knew I didn’t need the extra pullover long sleeve I’d brought just in case. I checked my bag super quickly in between the bathroom stops.

We started in corral 4, and the first few miles really flew by. I kept expecting to feel the wind, and anticipated a nice tailwind down Atlantic Avenue when we turned, but it didn’t manifest. Certainly not a bad thing, since that would have meant a strong headwind elsewhere on the course.

The other running lady stayed with us until mile 5 or so, then pulled back. Steph and I kept going, clocking in miles between 9:30 and 9:45 per the Garmin. I felt really good through mile 7 or so, but by mile 8 my legs were starting to hurt. I’d done no speedwork in the past six weeks and it was still rather warm and humid as race days come. Plus, we were losing time at the waterstops, where I started needing more time to get two cups instead of one and was walking a bit slower because of my legs. After mile 8, we hit the stop with Glukos and I struggled — once again — to get the gummies to open. It added on a good minute or more to our time, and I was only trying to get three or so into my stomach! One fell in my water cup and one or two fell on the ground. Ugh.

IMG_9853Miles 9-12 were a little bit of a struggle. My legs were hurting, so I backed off the pace a little, knowing once I hit that last mile that I would pick it back up. I made sure to get extra water in if I felt I needed it, too. My body kept telling me to walk, but I was too close to the finish line to give in and knew I’d feel awful if I did. Plus, I had Steff keeping my company!

I started feeling good again on the (slight) downhill around mile 12 — a bridge we needed to cross twice during the race. We turned onto the boardwalk a short time later, and I was ready to go. I ended up leaving Steff and then realizing half way through the boardwalk stretch that I’d gone off a bit too soon. I eased back a little bit, then picked it back up once the finish line was closer.

I expected the headwind on the boardwalk to be awful, but it was actually better than it had been when I did my 6 on Friday. Go figure!

IMG_9846I crossed the finish line in 2:09:39. Just under goal pace!

This was my fifth Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon of the year, which meant I got to pick up my heavy medal on race day! With the remix medal, it ended up being 4 medals for one race weekend!

Overall, Hermine had a minimal impact on Sunday race day. The wind was nowhere near as bad as forecast. I didn’t even feel it but for a couple of times during the race, most notably crossing the bridge on the way back in and on the boardwalk.

The race needed to ditch the inflatables, tall mileage signage (there were still short post mile markers) and the start and finish line banners, but it really didn’t affect the race much. There were still plenty of bands and spectators on the course.

IMG_9848I spent a couple hours at the VIP restaurant afterward, and I got some hushpuppies. I became obsessed with making sure I got some this weekend and the VIP restaurant served them during normal business hours so I asked the bartender if there was any way I could order some. I ended up taking them as takeout because they were so busy making tots for the VIP spread that it took awhile to get my hushpuppies into the fryer. But the wait was oh so worth it.

It was sunny on my short walk back to the hotel, and I really didn’t want to leave. Finally, decent beach weather! But it was, sadly, time to get a shower and hit the road.

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***

IMG_9844To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my race. Even though 2:10 was my goal, I figured that wouldn’t feel too hard, and that if I pushed a little I could finish even faster.

I reminded myself I’d just run 18 a week before, and 6 on Friday, and it was hot and humid on race day. Perhaps if it was a nice fall race that I tapered for, then I could have run 2:05. Instead, I was pretty damn soaked in sweat by the end of this race and I’d  done zero speedwork to prepare.

If anything, this race gives me a great picture of where my fitness is right now, and the fact that it’s still summer. On the plus side, I expected to feel more stiff and achy later Sunday and into Monday, and I did not, so my body is still keeping on track with recovering well from workouts.

Next up: A 20-miler and Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly weekend with Steff!

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Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Aug. 28

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Sunday: 18 at 11:20. 4:1 run/walk.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Strength

Wednesday: 8 at 10:20. I went over to my parents house for this one to hit up the W&OD. The weather was quite pleasant — in the 60s with reasonable dew point levels.

Thursday: Rest. I didn’t feel well and was very tired — my cycle again. So I skipped my morning run.

Friday: 6 at 10:20 on Virginia Beach boardwalk. This was supposed to be a rest day but since I didn’t get in 6 on Thursday and was itchy for a run after my nap when I got to Virginia Beach, I hit the boardwalk and go my 6 miles in. The first mile was super fast thanks to a tailwind, then I had to run into a headwind for about 2.5 miles. There were lots of rest breaks to stop and stare at the ocean and catch my breath. Afterward, it was time for a shower, then hitting up the expo. Then I got my feet wet in the ocean, for probably the only time this trip sadly.

Saturday: Rest. The Mile on the Sand for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach was canceled because of Hermine, and I am not surprised. Given beach erosion and the fact that it will be occurring at the height of the storm — this seems like a very wise move. I will instead do a mile on the hotel treadmill while looking at the sand across the boardwalk.

***

Total weekly mileage: 32

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Aug. 21

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Sunday: 12 miles at 11:50. 4:1 run/walk. Once again, it was hot and humid. Certainly not as bad as the previous week, but I know when my shorts soak through entirely by mile 8 that it’s bad out. My running buddy D needed to do 16 on this run, and I almost did the full workout with her, but around mile 2, I decided better of it. My legs didn’t feel too tired or sore, but there were enough little minor aches to make me feel like it was best to wait another week to run longer than that. Plus it was just so humid. I ended the run feeling pretty good, despite the soaking. I got back home and my cat was in the exact same spot I left her at when I headed out the door a little after 5:20. I got a shower, watched the men’s Olympics marathon, then it was time for a two-hour nap!

Monday: Yoga. We did lots of hip openers — a ton more than usual.

Tuesday: Strength. My hips started feeling really sore in the afternoon, but I’d forgotten what I’d done in yoga and didn’t think much of it.

Wednesday: 5 miles at 10:26. My hips were a little sore when I woke up and I headed out the door telling myself I only needed to do 3. I felt a bit better by mile 2 and hung in there for the full run, but that was probably a mistake: my hips were sore again in the afternoon — enough that I knew I needed to take Thursday off. Ugh.

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: 2 at 10:54. Treadmill. Originally this run was a 5 miler, then it turned into a 4, and then a 3. I overslept out of lack of motivation and only had time to get in 2 on the treadmill before work. Literally stepped out of the shower at 8:17 (I checked) and was upstairs for an 8:30 meeting at exactly 8:26. Way to squeeze it in!

Saturday: Rest.

***

Weekly mileage: 19

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Aug. 14

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I had one more major dropback/rest week in my marathon training plan and after last week’s 50 mile total and considering the heat, what better week to tack it to than this one!

Sunday: Rest. I moved my long run to Saturday, which was my fourth day in a row of running and after 2 more on the treadmill after work, I hit 50 miles for the week. On top of that, I worked out all the other days last week, with my yoga class and strength training session. Yup, rest was definitely needed and deserved. My body didn’t feel too beat up, though, which is great!

Monday: Yoga.

Tuesday: Strength. My trainer threw in a lot of squats and I expected to feel super sore the next day, but luckily I did not!

Wednesday: 3 at 10:30. I originally set the alarm to wake up and get this run in outside before work. And then I decided to sleep in. I don’t do that often, but it’s rest week. I was able to get to the gym during work and hit the treadmill for 3 miles. My legs felt decent, but I could tell I was still a bit tired from last week.

Thursday: 3 at 10:30. I had a pre-work vet appointment, and waking up even extra early was not enticing, so I again tucked my run clothes into my bag and hoped for the best. I was able to get down to the gym in the afternoon — two work workout breaks back to back, say what? That hasn’t happened in a looong time. My legs were feeling more tired this run. It took a full 1.5 miles to warm up and feel good. So I decided to nix Friday’s planned 3-miler in favor of more rest. Rest week, folks!

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest

***

Weekly mileage: 6.

Rest week is sometimes the best week.

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Aug. 7, AKA That Time I Ran 50 Miles in 7 Days

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Sunday: 18 miles at 11:27 pace, using 4:1 run/walk. Longest. Run. Ever. And I mean that literally and not figuratively. The run actually went by really fast and it felt amazing. I loved every minute of it and was seriously tempted to add another 2 miles on at the end.

Monday: Yoga. Surprisingly, my legs really weren’t all that sore or tired from the 18-miler the day before. I am still really excited about that. I could easily have gone for a short run if I absolutely had to, but I stuck to the plan.

Tuesday: Strength + 15 minutes elliptical. I got to my strength training session early so I warmed up with the minimum resistance on the elliptical. I could tell my legs were still a little tired from the 18-miler but not bad at all.

Wednesday: 8 at 10:52. Plan called for 7, and it was ridiculously hot and humid (but thankfully cloudy). I had it in my mind to tack another mile on, and I did! If I thought that one 8-miler in July left me soaked, this left me even moreso. I made sure to drink enough water and took some Gatorade along, too. I even ate half a pack of gummies at mile 5 to help with the heat. My legs felt great and I kept it slow enough to finish feeling strong … in addition to absolutely soaking wet in sweat.

Thursday: 5 at 10:52. Same exact pace, this time on the treadmill. It was sunny when I woke up and I wasn’t dealing with the heat and humidity AND sun. Noppppe.

Friday: 5 at 10:33. Treadmill again. I wanted to go to my work gym so I could catch up with my trainer a little while I ran. I got up to the workout area and the TV signal was out … on all the TVs. I checked in with my trainer who told me they’d been that way since 6 a.m. That meant a TV-less treadmill run, just me and my headphones with Taylor Swift blarring, starring aimlessly ahead and trying not to stare at the time and miles ticking by so so slowly.

I honestly wasn’t sure I’d make it through this run, but I just focused on getting through 2 miles, then getting through each additional mile, one mile at a time. Truly running in the mile I was in. And telling myself I could have a bagel after if I did 5 instead of 3 miles. And pretending the TV could come back on at any second. And praying someone, anyone, would come over and talk to me for a half to full mile or more.

Saturday: 14 total. 12 at 11:36, using 4:1 run/walk. + 2 at 10:57 on treadmill. From longest run ever to hottest run ever. This is usually my rest day, partially because I work on Saturdays. But one running buddy was out of town and the other one wanted to run to run Saturday instead because she was heading out of town early Sunday.

IMG_9755Honestly, if zero running buddies had been available or wanted to run, I would have skipped my normal long run this weekend. It was just that hot. I would have tried to do 8 on the treadmill Sunday instead, by telling myself I only “needed” to do 5. That’s how I get through treadmill runs, folks.

So when I found out D definitely wanted to run and wanted to do it Saturday, I wasn’t totally like “yay!” Then I realized that 12 miles would technically put me at 48 for the week, and I got excited.

Then I realized that 2 more miles would mean a 50-mile week, and suddenly I really really wanted to check that off my bucket list even though it wasn’t technically on there to begin with.

After a 4:45 a.m. alarm, we hit the W&OD right before 6 a.m. for 12 miles. Starting temperature was 79 and dew point was 75. I never bothered to check the ending temperature. I started really feeling soaked around mile 7.5. Around that same time I realized I hadn’t taken any of the salt caps I’d brought. This week I tucked some in the little zipper pocket on my shorts, without putting them in a baggie first. Oops! They totally dissolved and I laughed as I dug out the remnants and tossed them.

Despite the heat, my legs and breathing felt fine. I ate half a pack of gummies at mile 5 and tried to finish the pack at mile 10 but I only got a few down before just not feeling like eating anymore. With just 2 miles to go and having taken in some Gatorade, I figured that was fine.

Sweat was running down my legs like mad. By time we got back my shorts and tank were totally soaked through, and so were my socks — but they’re Balegas so no blisters or issues!

I hopped in the shower, cursed my decision to pack jeans instead of yoga pants and off to work I went. My legs were definitely a bit tired, but nothing serious. So after working all day, I changed back into running clothes — fresh ones — and ran 2 more miles on the treadmill.

And now I can say I ran 50 miles in a single week. That feels awesome.

And now I am going to go rest … a lot.

Next week — major drop back!

***

Total weekly mileage: 50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Blog Training

18 Miles, Feeling Good

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I ran my longest distance ever this morning. And I felt amazing.

After not feeling great Thursday, Friday and the beginning of Saturday — nauseous, dizzy sometimes, and extremely tired, fueled by PMS/PMDD — I was a bit worried about Sunday’s long run. I texted a couple running buddies and talked to my mom and eventually worked things out in my head.

By late Saturday morning, I felt like I was getting more back to my normal self. I’ve never been so happy to get a period in my life. I took a couple Advil PMs and was in bed before 9:30. I slept amazingly well.

I was a bit groggy when I woke up to my 5:15 alarm, but my attitude completely changed overnight. It was go time. Let’s do this.

One of the running buddies I’d texted the previous day was one of the two I was running with — Deirdre. I originally planned to do 4 solo before meeting up with her for a quick 2, then meeting up with the second running buddy, Allison, for the remaining 12.

Deirdre gave me a great idea that helped break up the run even more. She told me to consider doing 3 miles before, then 1 after all of us ran together or 2 and 2. That gave me a stepping off point Saturday night and Sunday morning to tell myself — you just need to run 3 miles.

The weather was great and it was clear from the start I’d do the full 4 solo. This run proved just how much low humidity — dew point at 59 — and slightly lower temperatures — start temperature in low 70s —  help me. There was a slight breeze, too. Starting from Iwo Jima was also great — I love that view and I arrived just at sunrise.

I got my 4 in, focusing on staying slow. Then I quickly met up with Deirdre for a quick 2 miles out and back. I got back to the car and it was time for a quick bathroom break, eating some gummies and a few pretzels — Deirdre’s suggestion to bring something salty.

I’d brought some Gatorade along and had taken a few sips during the first 6 miles, so I retopped that and topped off the water I’d drank, too. I finally added the two extra bottles to my  Fitletic water belt this past week, and taken it on two test runs to make sure the extra weight didn’t bother me and work out an additional bouncing issues — I ended up needing to tighten the belt a bit to make sure it didn’t move.

Then it was time to go again. 12 more miles. I miscalculated how long it would take me to do the 4, meet up with Deirdre, do 2 more, then meet up with Allison, so it was 7:52 by the time we set off.

I wanted to run around the tidal basin since I hadn’t done that in awhile, so we headed that way, ran around the monument then back toward Lincoln before going through Georgetown and hitting up Fletcher’s for a water refuel. We headed a little bit farther down the C&O — just to that bridge, then turned around to go back.

IMG_9734My legs, mainly my hip flexors, were feeling a bit tight the last 3-4 miles, but that was it — nothing serious. I felt strong and great and amazing. I kind of wanted to add on another two miles to finish at 20 for the day!

My watch battery died a little after mile 15, sadly. It lasted a good 8-9 miles from the first low battery beep before dying on me. I am sad I don’t have a full map to share. And I didn’t think to just turn on my Strava app when my Garmin died!

We made our way up from the Georgetown waterfront to Key Bridge, stopping for another water refill since we knew we’d have a little bit of a walk back to the cars.

We finished with a quarter mile on the bridge. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I gave both my running buddies huge high fives and jumped a little in the air.

We hit up brunch after at Whitlow’s in Clarendon, then it was time for a glorious shower and a just as glorious nap.

What a great day.

If my 16-miler upped my confidence I can finish this marathon training, this run has amped that up even more. Up next (but not for a few weeks) is my next longest run ever — 20 miles — and the final one before the ultimate longest run ever for me: the Chicago Marathon.

 

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