Category Archives: Training Recaps

Training Recaps

That Time I Almost Walked Off Course Halfway Through a Race: 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon Recap

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So that happened.

The headline is no exaggeration. I almost walked off course a little more than halfway through the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon. How do I put into words how I felt? Over it.

Over running the race, over the you’re (a little) more than halfway there, over running each mile, one mile at a time. Totally, utterly, completely over it.

I started wondering about the location of the nearest Metro, and dreamed about how I could just go home and sleep the rest of the day away. Screw the finish line, the medal, brunch.

I risked a glance at my watch, hoping those thoughts distracted me enough that I’d magically find myself farther along the course. I’d gone a whopping tenth of a mile.

This is gonna be a long race.

As I further contemplated the thought of walking away, I felt myself choke up. Just enough to feel that pre-tear sting in the eyes and for my throat to slightly close up. I needed to walk to regain my breath.

How’d I get here?

About 10 days out from the race, I wrote about my running rut, where even 3 miles felt like forever. I’d run into training burnout and denied it. To make matters worse, my training for the half wasn’t on where it needed to be, due to a combination of sickness, injury and skipping too many short runs for no valid reason.

I funneled my mental pre-race plan into helping my friend finish her first half marathon. She happily ran such an amazing race. The pace left me going out too fast, and we parted ways 1.5 miles in. I watched her disappear into the crowds ahead of me.

The thought of 11 solo miles hit me, but I focused on little milestones — the next water stop, the next mile marker, the big hill at mile 6.

I stuck with my plan to take walk breaks at water stops. I looked forward to the hill, because that’d always been a planned, long walk break.

A bit more than a half mile after that hill, I’d had it. I’d been struggling from the start, and I wanted to throw in the towel at the thought of running 6+ more miles. My pace slowed considerably after the first few fast miles, and my legs already ached.

When I choked up, I took a walk break to get my breathing back to normal and regain my mental composure. I scanned my body. Am I hurting so much that I shouldn’t finish the race? Am I risking injury? Am I too cold? (Temperatures were in the 20s with wind chills in the teens, which isn’t terrible but I hadn’t run in anything lower than 30 degrees all winter due to abnormal warmth, particularly in February.)

The answer to all those questions — a resounding no. My over-it feeling was entirely mental.

And with that I knew I couldn’t stop — I’d never forgive myself and I’d struggle in all my races to come, worrying I’d give up again.

Instead, I plowed ahead. I let myself take walk breaks on any hills, and later in the race whenever my legs required a break. When I hit miles 9 and 10, I knew I’d gotten over the worst of the hump. The knowledge only 3-4 miles remained eased my mental anxiety considerably.

Still, my legs screamed by the end — it felt like I was in the final miles of a marathon instead of a half marathon.

I didn’t experience that ecstatic feeling of crossing the finish line — I was simply happy to be done. By far, this was one of my slowest half marathons ever. My official time: 2:36:15.

While I was proud I didn’t give up, I still struggled post-race with my result. A year ago I’d run the same race in 2:00:48 — a PR that bested my first half and former PR on the same course in 2014. Five short weeks later after that shiny new PR, I ran another — this time a sub-2.

The comparison game is never good, especially when you compare yourself to yourself. It breaks your mind and heart down into little bits and spits them back out into millions of shattered pieces. It’s a lesson I continue to learn over and over again.

Training Recaps

Weekly Recap: Feb. 19-25

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This week was just busy at the front end, and my allergies kicked in big time at the tail-end. I am feeling rundown and tired, which means it’s time for a total overhaul of my running plan for the spring. More on that to come in a separate post.

Sunday: 5 at 11:09 for my 31st birthday! I ran with my friend, Mary, and got to see her adorable 7-month-old girl.

Monday: Rest. Too much to do.

Tuesday: 15 mins elliptical + Strength.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 at 10:58.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest

***

Weekly mileage: 9

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Feb. 12

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Back in the double digits!

Not gonna lie, my 10-mile long run felt hard. I am just not where I was fitness-wise a year ago or even in the fall, when 12 miles was my normal “short” long run. And that’s frustrating and disappointing. But I refuse to waver and know my persistence will eventually pay off.

I have been trying to figure out why my pace is so much slower than late October/early November and even right before I took my 3-week break from running starting around Christmas.

I am retiring my main pair of running shoes since September as they’ve finally worn down, but I don’t think that’s it. I wonder if it is more a response to cutting calories. I’m losing about a pound a week by cutting 500 calories on average a day. I don’t feel starved and I’ve been checking my nutrient levels to make sure I’m still eating enough protein/carbs/fat.

I don’t like things that don’t make sense!

Sunday: 10 miles at 11:15. I almost cut this run short because it started raining pretty heavily early on. Luckily, it cleared up and I was able to finish my route. My legs were definitely tired by the end. It’s been a long time since I’ve run double digits for a training run.

Monday: 4 miles at 11:06. Treadmill. + Yoga + 20 mins Swim. I didn’t feel like dealing with the 50 mph winds outside and I quite frankly wasn’t sure how many miles my legs would be up for, so I stayed indoors. I watched Tiny House Hunters and marveled at the people who are like we have a $50,000 budget and these tiny houses you have found for us are too tiny — the largest was 400 sq feet. What did you think you were going to get?!

I mentioned last week I wanted to get back to my Monday Cycle/Core class. Instead, I decided it was just a bit too much for me to try to do all those things and I wanted a more relaxing weekend (I work Tuesday-Saturday).

Tuesday: Strength + 15 min elliptical warmup. My back began hurting a lot after this. What started as a dull ache the day after my long run — which happens occasionally — must not have responded well to my workouts Monday or I hurt it some other way. I went home and spent the night with my legs up on the couch, back propped against a bunch of pillows.

Wednesday: Rest. I worked from home — from my couch for the first time ever — so I could keep sitting propped up on the couch, which felt much better than sitting in an office chair.

Thursday: Rest. I decided to take another rest day because of the back issue, even though it felt better.

Friday: Rest. I was off work, so I slept in. I probably could have gone for a run, but I decided to be extra cautious since I have a half coming in 3 weeks.

Saturday: 3 miles at 10:43. First run since the back hurt. My calf was super tight for the first 3/4 of a mile for some reason. My back didn’t hurt but I could feel where it got hurt — if that makes sense — in the first half mile. A few hours after the run, I could feel a little ache in my back again. Not cool.

***

Weekly mileage: 17

Got in: Swim, Yoga, Strength

Missed: Cycle, 2nd Strength

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap is back!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a weekly training recap. I took three weeks off running from late December to early January, and quite frankly it was hard picking it back up again.

Plus, I’m looking to loose the 10+ pounds I gained over the holidays and during my low-exercise period.

But I love writing these recaps to look at what I’ve accomplished for the week, and I love reading other runners’ recaps too. So here’s this week and a catch-up on the previous weeks!

This past week I got back in action after being under the weather the previous week. I skipped my cycle/core class on Monday because I was so far behind from spending Sunday with my parents.

Week of Feb. 5

This past week I got back in action after being under the weather the previous week. I skipped my cycle/core class on Monday because I was so far behind, on things like laundry and food prep for the week, from spending Sunday with my parents.

Goals for next week: Get back to the cycle/core class and complete at least three All in 18 workouts.

Sunday: 8 miles at 11:16. The pace of this run really surprised me. I didn’t look at my watch until halfway through and immediately saw I was going much slower than I thought. It was hard, but I reminded myself I am still getting back into the swing of things and I just came off being sick, so a slow run means nothing. Getting out there means everything.

Monday: 4 miles at 10:57 + Yoga. I slept over at my parents for Super Bowl Sunday, which meant I had an easy route to run in the morning. I love the W&OD trail and can’t wait to move closer to it. My legs were definitely tired, but nothing too serious. I hit up my usual yoga class in the afternoon. I skipped my cycle/core class because I was so far behind on things and felt guilty. But I tried to allow myself a little grace and remind myself of all the other things I’d done.

Tuesday: Strength training w/ 15 min elliptical warmup.

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:32 + Swim. I set my alarm for 6:30, planning to get in 5 miles and my All in 18 DVD. I tossed and turned and didn’t want to get up. Finally a little after 7, I said to myself — it’s amazing out. It’s 55 degrees RIGHT NOW. In February. Get out there or you’ll regret it. By that time I only had time for 3 miles. Bonus: It was so nice out, I talked my friend and colleague into two laps around the work pond.

Thursday: 4 miles at 11:00. Waking up before the sun rises has just been so hard lately — I’m pretty sure it’s just because it’s dark out and that doesn’t go over well. I was able to take a break at work and hit up the gym, though, so it worked out.

Friday: 5 miles at 10:41. 4 x 800 w/ 1-mile warm-up and 1/2-mile cooldown. In the first few minutes of hitting the treadmill I thought, “Uh oh.” My legs were sore. I reminded myself of all the other runs — including speed sessions — I’d done on legs like that felt the same way or worse and stuck with it. I haven’t done any speed in a long time, and I’ll admit it was a bit disheartening that my 800 paces were 10:20, 10:10, 10:00, 9:50. A year ago I was nearing my sub-2 half marathon.

Saturday: Rest.

Weekly mileage: 24

***

Week of Jan. 29

Sunday: Rest. I worked past 11 on Saturday and was exhausted.

Monday: 6 miles at 10:57 + Yoga + All in 18

Tuesday: Rest. I felt sick, slept until 1:30 p.m. and took the day off work. I started to think that sleeping until 3:30 p.m. Sunday was more than just being a little tired.

Wednesday: 5 miles at 10:38. I took the day off work but rallied before an afternoon doctor’s appointment and felt like going for a run. I’d been stuck inside for 36 hours and was having none of it. I set out for a few easy miles and ended up doing 5. Later that day my doctor said I had an acute viral infection with low-grade fever and should take it easy. Oops.

Thursday: 4 miles at 11:03 (treadmill). I struggled to get through this treadmill run after my first day back at work because I felt hot. I wasn’t able to secure the treadmill next to the sole fan in the cardio area, but I made it through the run.

Friday: Rest. My plan called for 3 miles but I could tell I was too tired and worn-out.

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 15 miles

***

Week of Jan. 22

Sunday: 5 miles at 10:59 + All in 18

Monday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill) + Yoga + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 40 minutes elliptical + 23 minutes swim

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:44

Thursday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill) + All in 18

Friday: 3 miles at 10:36 + All in 18

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 17

***

Week of Jan. 15 — first week back running

Sunday: 3 miles at 10:36 + 30 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Monday: 60 minutes elliptical + Yoga + 20 minutes swim + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 15 minutes elliptical + Strength Training + Yoga

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3 miles at 11:04

Friday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill)

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 9

***

Week of Jan. 8 — slowly picking it back up after a full week of no exercise

Sunday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Monday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18 + Yoga + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 15 minutes elliptical + Strength + Yoga + 20 minutes swim

Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Thursday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Friday: Rest. I’d planned to exercise at the end of the day, but the Florida airport shooting kept me in the office until past 9 p.m.

Saturday: Rest

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Dec. 18

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I decided I wanted to knock out the remaining miles I needed to reach 1,000 for the year by Christmas Eve. My legs were very tired by Tuesday, but I pushed through and even surprised myself on my last run of the year — my legs didn’t feel as heavy as I thought they would and I enjoyed speeding down the last stretch to finish up the run.

Sunday: 4 miles at 10:36

Monday: 3.1 miles at 10:05

Tuesday: 5 miles at 11:03

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 7 miles. 4 miles in the morning at 11:05 then 3 miles in the evening at 10:12 to get to a total of 1,000 miles for the year!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

***

Total weekly mileage: 19.1

 

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Dec. 4

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Sunday: 13.1 miles at 11:18. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.4 miles at 11:25 for the second of the Winter Runningland 5K Virtual Series. My legs were still hurting from the race.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3 miles at 11:05

Saturday: Rest

***

Weekly mileage: 19.1

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Nov. 20

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Sunday: Rest.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Strength Training + 15 mins elliptical. Back to work and back to exercise. My cold finally abated enough, and I felt strong on my first return to the weights since before the Chicago Marathon.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 3.1 miles at 10:36. Knocked out the Winter Runningland 5K Virtual Run through Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.

***

Weekly mileage: 3.1

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Nov. 13

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Sunday: Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

Monday: Rest. Got my legs moving by checking out the aquarium at the adjacent hotel in Vegas, then took an afternoon flight home.

Tuesday: Rest. I took another day off work and slept in … until noon. Needed it.

Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical. My legs were still way tired, but traffic was horrible, so I hit the elliptical machine at the work gym. Late that night I felt a sore throat — a sure sign a cold was coming on.

Thursday: Rest. I called it a week after I got that cold. No more exercising or return to running for me.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.

***

Weekly mileage: 13.1