Monday, August 4, 2014

MCM Training Week 6

And this completes the first of the three mesocycles in my training plan!  That sure went fast!

I'm feeling pretty good about where things are.  I've been trying to train smart, not just hard and I've mostly been trying to remain positive.  I think the mind control is harder than the physical aspect of training sometimes.

This was the last cutback week before the really hard training starts.

Tuesday I ran 3 miles easy with 4 striders.  All in all a good run, but I felt like I really wussed out on the strides and didn't give them a full effort.  Then again, I reminded myself that this is a recovery week so I didn't need to be going all out anyway.

Wednesday 5 recovery paced miles on the trail.  It was nice and cool, but my legs were tight and tired.  Still a good run.

Thursday I ran a nice and easy 3 mile loop from the house to the stadiums and back and it was one of those "I needed that" type of runs.  You know the ones.... you've had a couple BLAH ones in a row and then you get one that just breaks you out of the funk.  This was that run.  :)

Friday was the Liberty Mile with the kids and we had a great time!

Saturday I was scheduled for 6 miles uptempo and I was honestly afraid of it.  But, this came easily and felt amazing!

Sunday This "long" run almost didn't happen.  During the previous evening, my leg was cramping up and I iced and wrapped it for a while.  When I woke up bright and early, it still ached a bit.  I also had a terrible night due to going through old things and packing for our move and ended up staying up way too late having an emotional breakdown.  I figured that if I was going to miss a long run, it was ok during a cutback week when it was only scheduled for 9 miles.  So I went back to bed for a few hours.

When I woke up, there was a crazy thunderstorm - lightning and all.  I felt pretty good though and was starting to kick myself for not running earlier.  By late afternoon the skies were mostly clear again and I was really feeling back to myself... no pain at all.  The kids wanted to go to a playground, so Nick and I planned to head up to North Park.  My plan was to run the lake loop.  If it sucked after the first loop, I'd stop and at least have 5 miles in.  Otherwise, I'd play it by ear.

My legs must have missed dear old North Park because they just wanted to fly around that lake!  That first loop was amazing - I was holding a consistent pace (again, rare!) and as I passed the playground the family was at I yelled "I got this - see you in another loop!" and headed out again.  The second loop was a bit tougher - the nice mist of rain went away and in its place came full on sun and heat, but I was still holding that SAME consistent pace and feeling pretty darn good!  I ran all 9 miles and then walked the last mile back around to meet Nick and the kids where I started from.

I'm so glad I let myself get some extra rest and I'm really thankful that seems to be just what I needed.  I still prefer early morning workouts, but hey, sometimes you do what you have to do.

I also got in all of my strength/core/flexibility supplemental workouts.  If I can be totally honest here, I'm getting bored with the strength and core ones.  I have added sets of biceps curls to the strength circuit and longer planks to the core, and that seems to help.  I know I said at the start of training that I was going to stick with these same workouts for the duration of marathon training, but I don't know.  I don't like getting to a point (like this morning) where I dread "doing this same workout AGAIN".  We'll see.

Mesocycle is one of them there fake words according to spell check.  However - at least Wikipedia is on my side.

A couple of things were achieved this week.  I hit 121 miles total for the month of July, which is the 3rd highest mileage month for me ever.  If all goes well, I should break my record here in August.  This week I also ran 6 days in a row, due to the Liberty Mile.  I have not ran 6 days in a row since before my stress fracture.  So, while I'm not able to put up any new PRs (yet - keeping my fingers crossed for next Sunday), I am making good progress and doing what I need to do.

The second Mesocycle focuses on not only building more endurance but improving on my lactate threshold.  Hopefully it goes as well as the first!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

GNC Live Well Liberty Mile 2014

What a fun night!  I really enjoy this event.  I think it's a great combination of simple family friendly fun and all out awesome athletics.  If you recall, I ran this with Victoria and Vincent last year and we knew that we'd make this a yearly thing.

Our goal this year was simple:  Both kids wanted to PR.  Last year we all ran together and Vincent sprinted ahead the last bit.  This year the plan was for Vince to just go off from the start and run his own race without all the dancing and split jumps and running from one side of the road to another like he did before. ha.  I was running with Victoria and using our pacing strategy from our practice runs.  We were going to go just fast enough for a PR time and then if she had anything left the last 200m to kick it into gear.  We were also NOT going to use run/walk intervals but just run steady.

We arrived downtown about an hour before start time and spent some time wandering around and watching everything get set up.

Parking garage goofs.

Garrett wanted in every pic, and that was ok by me. :)  He's a wonderful cheerer.  Next year he'll be running too!

Nick and Garrett left us near the starting area with about 20 minutes to go.  The kids thought it was really cool watching the start line get blown up.

We waited until we were able to get onto the street and then got into place.  Vincent really wanted to go "right on the line" but I said no because I knew there were faster runners and while I wanted to avoid most of the congestion, I also didn't want to get ran over by the ones going all out.  I do have to say that we did pretty well this year as far as being in a good position and not having to do a lot of weaving around people.

At the start!
Required starting line selfie.

We didn't have to wait too long and we were off!  After we crossed the start line Vincent was out of sight and Tori and I stayed together as planned.  We did start off a bit on the fast side, but I quickly slowed us down as per our plan.  I kept her updated on how far along we were and kept assuring her that she had this PR in the bag.

I can't say enough about how strong she was.  She was so determined.  Right after we turned onto Liberty, she started fading a bit.  We were still within a PR for her, so I let her settle down in pace just a tad.  I could tell around the .75 mile point that she was struggling, but I told her to look up and see that finish line!  She had promised herself that if she saw the finish line she wasn't backing down and she would start forging ahead.  So, she started chanting "suck it up, suck it up, suck it up" and when she saw the 100m to Go sign she found that last gear and really ran ahead.  I let her go ahead of me, in awe and totally proud of her before catching up right at the finish.  We finished in 10:35 - a 21 second PR for her!  She did it.  I knew she would if she put her mind to it! :)

Vincent was waiting for us just after the finishing chute.  He had a huge PR himself - a 1:08 PR!  He finished in 9:28!  Nick said he saw him stumble on something just before the finish and he kind of stood there for a second and then sprinted across the line.  I can only imagine it was one of our city's lovely cracks, gouges, or potholes that even I have had the experience of rolling my ankle on.  But, it's all good, he had fun and I am very proud of him as well.

After we met up with Nick and Garrett, we headed to Market Square and drank some water and the kids had some snacks.  We also perused the various tables and talked with some people.  Tori is interested in Girls on the Run, so we might have that in our future.  :)

Then we headed back to the race finish area and got a spot almost right at the line to watch the other races.  There are some absolutely incredible athletes out there that participated in this event.  Some people I recognized from local social media/DailyMile/etc.  And the Pro Milers?  Just freaking wow.  To be *that* fast!  Holy crap!  I tried to get a pic of the finishers, but they were too fast for my slow old iPhone! haha

I swear that's Jordan McNamara kicking it in for the big win!

I got a high five from Jordan McNamara after the race, so hopefully some good luck rubbed off on me.  I did have a great run this morning, so I can hope, right?

All in all, another great Liberty Mile.  This is probably one of my favorite Pittsburgh events and I will continue to come back with my kids year after year.  What a great way to kick off the month of August!