Monday, March 16, 2015

Marathon #2 - Training Week 11

Short and sweet:  It was a tough week.  Ok, I'll obviously elaborate on that, but if you want the quick version, there you go.  I will say, on a very positive note, the weather was freaking beautiful all week.  I have much less laundry to do because I was able to wear a single layer - and even shorts! - some days.  This is always appreciated.

This week I had a couple really tough workouts, including what I can call my worst run of this whole training cycle.  I attribute this to the fact that I've had a lot of personal life stress happen and it seeped into my running.  I am a mom, first and foremost, and when things are not right for my kids, they aren't right for me.  That's just the way it is.  My middle kid had some terrible things happen to him at school last week.  The kids that did it were foolish enough to record themselves doing it on an iPhone and then pass it around.  That video is now in the hands of the police.  It's just been a whirlwind of awful.  And that's all I'm really going to get into since this will become a legal matter and may end up on the news.

So, let's get to the running and other workouts of the week, ok?

Monday:  Strength & Core workouts.  I love these.  This was my only scheduled day of strength this week since I had a long week of running.  It may be the start of cutting down to 1 strength day per week from here out as well.  We will see.

Tuesday:  I got to run on the North Shore Trail, clear and ice free and gorgeous for the first time in ages!  I was so happy just to be out there this run sailed by.  7 mile recovery run with the last .75 mi being a progression of 30 sec strides.  Amazing!

Wednesday:  The tempo run.  I've read several accounts of people using this training plan who claim that this particular run is the hardest in the whole plan.  Harder than the long runs, harder than the intervals.  And you know, I will agree with that.  BUT... I don't think I needed to psych myself out as much as I did about it.  I got it done.  This was an 11 mile run made up of 2 miles of easy warmup, 7 miles tempo and 2 miles of cooldown.  Was it hard?  Absolutely.  Am I glad this is the last tempo run of the training cycle?  You better believe it.  But, I completely crushed this run, all tempo miles were paced well, I got to enjoy the North Shore Trail again, and the weather was perfect.  Aside from almost stepping on a huge dead rat, this was a great run.  Very hard... but successful.

I did some yoga later in the day.

Thursday:  REST DAY!  I really needed it too after Wednesday's hard effort.

Friday:  On the schedule was a 12 mile medium-long run.  My schedule was crazy, and included meetings with school officials, etc, so I wasn't able to get this run going until afternoon.  I was concerned about being under-fueled at this point, but you do what you have to do, right? I have to work the running around "real life".. So I made myself feel better by putting on my favorite running skirt and heading to the trail in nearly 60 degree temps.  The run went well, for the most part, but I did feel the effects of running later than usual even though my pace/heart rate didn't reflect it.
12 mile run in my favorite skirt (it's a Brooks Epiphany, fyi).  I joked on Instagram that you can see my iPod, my HRM, and my Spibelt through this post-run sweat soaked shirt.  haha!

Saturday:  5 mile recovery run.  Usually I enjoy these nice and easy runs.  Not this time.  After a decent start I just seemed to fall apart in every way.  I couldn't keep a decent cadence, everything felt "off", I started having random aches and pains - especially bad in one knee, I started breathing heavily and the last mile my heart rate just spiked and I had to slow way down to recover... during a recovery run.  It was frustrating, demoralizing, and totally threw me.  I questioned everything from my sanity and wellbeing to my ability to run the next day, ability to run the marathon, I wondered if I was injured, I reflected on all the crap laid on me this week... It wasn't good.  I came home, tried to relax, iced all the places I felt bad.  I really contemplated ditching my Sunday run.  I did some yoga and it felt ok.  I carb loaded as usual.

Sunday: I rolled out of bed and felt pretty good.  I didn't seem to have any issues as I walked around the house, did some drills in the kitchen (yes, I'm a weirdo), and tested things out.  So, I slowly got myself together physically and mentally and figured I'd give the run an honest effort.  I knew I'd kick myself in the ass if I didn't even try.  I wanted to do this run on my old MCM long run route (figuring I'd get 3 varied 20 milers this training cycle - 1 North Park, 1 personal favorite, and 1 city streets/marathon course run).  I started on the North Shore Trail in Millvale, and went from there.  I took it easy on myself the first couple of miles - kept the heart rate at the low end.  There were tons of other runners out, which was nice to see.   Right by PNC park, the river was flowing over the trail, so I had to turn around, go up the steps and then run up General Robinson.  That was actually cool to see.  Anyway, I made it up to Western Ave and then onto the West End bridge and then carried on as usual.. I love this route and was feeling great!  A couple of times I glanced at my average pace in disbelief but I kept my eye on my heart rate and ran accordingly.  I've detailed the route many times (including most recently on DailyMile), so I won't bore you with it, but it truly is my favorite.  I really only started getting a little tired during that last mile and I think that's because during mile 19 I started bawling like a baby because one of my favorite songs came on (Hole - Letter To God), coupled with the fact I was blowing off all the stress..  So there I was running and crying and laughing.  I can get delirious when I run long... haha. But when all was said and done I felt like I could have kept going, and at the end of a 20 - that's a GREAT thing.  The best part was not having a single pain or nag the whole time.  I didn't even have to stop and stretch (although I did a bit at a short stoplight by Hot Metal).

It was a little windy on Sunday so I wore my vest, but I had capris on the bottom!  The best thing about this vest is that it weighs absolutely nothing and has a million pockets to stash all my stuff (you know, like emergency toilet paper)!  Oh and you see we have the return of the RunnerMom Bondi Band!

Total Miles Ran: 55.06 - another weekly record!  This is actually my peak mileage week in my training plan.  The next couple of weeks will be around 52, but my workouts change, so the intensity is the same (or greater..).
Total Running Workouts: 5 - 1 recovery + strides, 1 recovery, 1 tempo, 1 medium-long, 1 long
Total Strength Workouts: 1, as planned.

Nutrition this week: I did much better this week.  I did "celebrate" Pi day in a major way with both pecan and very berry pies, but I did a lot of shopping and prep work at the beginning of the week to always have healthy meals on hand (or at least made quickly).
Breakfast example: Scrambled egg whites, strawberries, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with fruit spread, and Greek yogurt.  I don't usually "do" the single serve flavored yogurts because of all the added crap in them, but I wanted to try this new kind because it has no added sugar or artificial stuff in it.  It was pretty good.  Coffee there too, of course.  ;)

Dinner: Parmesan herb tilapia with a sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon and a salad (spring mixed greens, peppers, and awesome tomatoes).  I ate this same meal several times this week - including after my long run - it was so good!

Overall it was a good week, although tough and not without some personal issues.  I remain confident that things will end up the way they are supposed to, so I'm just going to keep my chin up and keep on truckin'.

This concludes Mesocycle #2 in my training plan and I am now in #3 - Race Preparation.  Gone are the progressively longer midweek runs and tempo runs and now I will move on to holding on to the strong endurance base I've acquired while adding interval speedwork.  We will see if I can add some more bursts of speed to this strength.  Of course my overall focus remains on running hard when I need to, running easy the rest of the time, and recovering well.  Oh, and having fun of course.. Keeping a sense of humor about things is key during this last month of work before taper!  I've got one last long run "race" (JASR 30K - automatic PR, baby!) as well as the last 20 miler to take care of during this phase.  Let's do this!


  1. I'm so sorry about your child. I don't have any kids yet so I have no idea how you must feel, but I'm glad that everything was caught on tape so that they will be punished accordingly. Some kids (and their parents) are just terrible! My mom works at Allegheny Elementary and has told me plenty of horror stories.

    On a bright now, great job in your runs! It's so good using running as a stress relief (much better than alcohol!). Most people I follow had a tough week, so maybe it's just at that point in the year when things just don't go well. Yay for an amazing 20 miler though! I'll have to check out that route..sounds awesome! Hope you have a great week and things go better at home for you!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I think many people are at that peak point in training (at least for Pittsburgh) where we're all tired, cranky, HUNGRY, and things are right about at the toughest they'll get. Give it a few more weeks and then everyone will have the taper crazies... It's always something! lol

  2. Wow, you crushed last week, an 11 mile tempo run is very impressive, and I agree they are the hardest. I do mine based on time not miles so it's usally on 5 miles at most, and that beats the shit out of me

    1. Thanks, Shaun. Yes, the tempos do seem to do a number on me as well. i'm far more spent after a tempo run than a long run. After Sunday's 20 I was up and pretty much normal the rest of the day but after that 11 tempo I just wanted to sleep.

  3. Why are kids so mean to other kids? I hope they get the punishment they deserve. I think you did really great considering you had to deal with all that. Getting the tough tempo run done so well and then recovering from a bad run to knock out a 20-miler is really awesome. I'm interested to hear what happens next in race preparation!

    1. I wish I knew why! My son has special needs and has had his share of being picked on due to his speech or his other issues, but this time really went above and beyond. These kids are 10! And maybe I'm old, but I can't even believe they have iPhones at school!

      Thanks for the encouragement! I was so glad to have a good long run. I guess I was due for a bad run in there - I just didn't expect it!

  4. I am so, so sorry that your family has to deal with this! :-( I hope that those kids get the full punishment, and that maybe they will understand how shitty is it to treat other people like that. I don't have human kids, so I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you, but the 7th & 8th grade years were really hard for me so I have a tiny idea of what your child is going through (I'm guessing my stories are nowhere near the level that you're at, but I still know it sucks).

    Anyway, GOOD FOR YOU for still getting all of your workouts in and kicking the shit out of that tempo run!! You are 100% hardcore!
    I've definitely been there with the running/crying combo and that's about the best therapy you can get short of a professional, lol!
    I hope this week is better for you and the fam!! <3

    1. Thank you so much - I know kids can be cruel, but I totally wish they weren't. It always breaks my heart when I hear or read about school bullying.

      I totally agree about the therapy. Sometimes after a run I'll even forget what I was on about, all I know is that I feel better and that's what counts!