Thirty weeks until Ironman Lake Placid. Sounds like a long way off but it’s not. I’m realizing quite quickly that I need to get disciplined and start training in earnest now. Seems like I have many excuses for missing workouts lately, most of which are pretty lame. To date, I’ve only spent about 3 hrs a week on the bike, 35 miles of running (that’s okay), and 0 minutes of swimming. In fact, I haven’t been in the water since the beginning of September! Thankfully, today is an opportunity to start fresh and today I will swim before running with my friends. And, I’ll make myself fall in love with the pool…YUCK!
No more excuses; time to get serious!
March went out like a lamb for Rochesterians. The weather in this neck of the woods has been exceptionally warm, sunny, and downright summerlike. Definitely a welcomed change!
I am so grateful to be able to go outside and play in the sunshine. Admittedly, I love the sun and I love to sweat in the sun…while working out, that is. There is nothing quite like throwing on a pair of shorts and running shoes and hitting the pavement. Awwww…spring!
Last week I enjoyed a great week of training. One of the highlights of my week was a 45 mile ride with my two buddies, Kirsten and Karin. This ride was really special to me for many reason. First and foremost, I spent time with two women whom I admire and love. Their happy spirits and courageous personalities challenge me to do new things and to stretch myself a bit beyond my current ability. Another reason that this ride was special was that Kirsten taught me to clip into my pedals, something that I’ve avoided for the past year. At first I was petrified to even attempt clipping in, but Kirsten patiently explained how to stop, how and when to clip in, when to clip out. I’m so happy to say that I DID IT and I didn’t even fall!!! THANK YOU, KIRSTEN!
I enjoyed another fun ride this week. For this ride I left my fancy Cervelo P2C home, and instead, took my Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. I rode easy trails for the most part, except for one off-road path that was full of rocks, mud, and steep hills to climb. I became very frightened on this particular trail, hopped off my bike, and proceeded to swear! This behavior is not characteristic of me, not in the least. I guess I just need to get out and ride more trails to build up my confidence. Mountain biking is great for balance, though, and I do feel that I’ve worked my core when all is said and done. God bless my friend (who is an EXCELLENT cyclist) for staying right by my side and attempting to teach me the ins and outs of riding trails.
Here is my week of training:
Monday, March 29 – Swim 1800 yards. (40 minutes)
Tuesday, March 30 – Run. 8.5 miles of hill repeats. Swim. 1.5 hours of drills. (2 hours 45 min)
Wednesday, March 31 – Brick workout. Mountain Bike and immediately followed by a 5.25 mile run. (2 hours 45 minutes)
Thursday, April 1 – Run. 7.25 miles. First hot day in Rochester. Was supposed to do speed work but just felt too tired.
Friday, April 2 – Bike. 45 miles in about 3 hours including stops. Run for 30 minutes. (3 hours 30 minute).
Saturday, April 3 – Rest.
Sunday, April 4 (Easter) – Run. 6.2 easy miles. Have to push my long run to Monday, April 5 due to Church and Easter commitments. (53 minutes)
What a hot one! I started my 17 mile run at 6:00 this morning to avoid some of the heat. However, even at 6:00 a.m. it was 75°. How does that saying go…”That which doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”
Given the heat and my health issues, I started at an incredibly slow 9:30 to 9:40 pace. It felt so slow that it was nearly like a fast walk. But now I see the importance of running slowly during a long run: I conserved my energy for the final 4 miles. In fact, I ran the final 4 at an 8:35 pace and I had to keep telling myself to slow down.
Well, I’m proud of myself for going the distance – 17.2 miles in 2:36:35. Now, time to relax and read a book!
Well, tomorrow is decision day regarding my participation in the Columbus Marathon this Sunday. To those of you who’ve never experienced an injury prior to a marathon, be thankful, very thankful. The months of grueling track workouts, hill repeats, 21 mile runs with the last 7 at marathon goal pace, tempo runs in 88 degree weather are poof! seemingly up in smoke.
I am happy to report that I went for a 4.4 mile run this afternoon and had very little pain; just the first several steps of my run were very slightly painful. Really, the pain was insignificant. On the downside, my legs felt fat and heavy and my mind tired. Now, if I rest completely, and I mean not even a mile of running, I think I could finish Sunday’s marathon. However, my goal for the past several months has been to qualify for Boston. So, do I go to Columbus just to run and not focus on qualifying? Or do I wait a few weeks and run a November marathon?
If you would kindly voice your opinion, I would be ever so grateful. Also, if you have any helpful website you’d like to suggest, I’d welcome your suggestions with open arms.
Thank you to my friends Tom, Amy, Bella, Mary, Kathy, and JP for checking in on me, even if it’s only periodically. Some of you have sent me emails daily inquiring about my physical and mental health. You’ll never know just how very much your compassion and concern for me has meant. It’s great to know I have friends!
In case you’re wondering, my total miles run to date = 1513.65. I guess that’s something to be proud of, anyway.
Remember when you were a high school student bogged down with a couple of hours of homework each night? Remember how hard it was to make yourself get started but how great you felt when you were finished? I recall several occasions when I just didn’t want to do my work but I knew that I had to. I also remember how satisfied I felt when everything was done and I knew I was prepared for the next day of classes and quizzes.
It seems to me that speedwork sessions are much the same as homework. Inevitably, I always feel a bit of dread before I start my tempo or my 800 meter repeats. Will I be able to keep the speed I’m supposed to run? Will the recovery jog be long enough? Will I crumble in front of my new running group and look foolish? (Okay, I know that these questions are ridiculous, but, hey, they’re actually what I think!)
If you’ve been reading my blog you know that my coach gives me three quality workouts and asks me to run a specific number of miles each week. This week’s instructions were to complete 5 x 800m repeats in 3:40 with 400m recovery jogs, 4 x 1 mile in 7:50 to 7:55 tempo run with 1 minute recovery jog between each, and an 18 mile long run with the last 5 miles run at marathon goal pace. My total number of miles for the week should be 45 to 50.
1. 800m Repeats – Since I hadn’t had a break since Sunday’s race and long run of 15.2 (Monday I ran 7.2 at an easy 8:40 pace), I was a bit nervous about this workout. I’m happy to report that I did it! After a 2.7 mile warm-up I completed 5 x 800m repeats in 3:30, 3:37, 3:34, 3:39, 3:35, respectively. Including the 400m recovery jogs after each repeat and my 2.25 cool down, my total distance for this run was 8.1 miles.
2. Tempo run – By far, this is the most challenging workout for me. Whenever I read that I have to do a tempo run I always think that it sounds easy, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Tempo runs should feel “comfortably hard”, according to Coach Mark, anyway, and I trouble determining what comfortably hard means to my body. But…I did it and I think I understand the comfortably hard concept…FINALLY! After a 1.9 mile warm up I ran 4 x 1 mile tempos in 7:55, 7:42, 7:44, and 7:43, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, I had 1 minute of recovery jogging between each mile. Including the recovery jogs and the 1.6 mile cool down, my mileage for this workout was 8.0. Importantly, it felt easier for me to maintain a consistent pace during this run!
3. 18 Mile Long Run – Coming Sunday with a leg of the Rochester Marathon thrown in for good measure! (I’m on a Greater Rochester Track Club Women’s Masters team.)
Speedwork really is hard work but it really does make me feel stronger and better focused. Like anything else that’s worthwhile, speedwork requires dedication and persistence. In fact, when I think of the commitment one makes to speedwork I’m reminded of “Ulysses”: “To strive, to seek, to find…and not to yield!”
“Dead tired. Dog tired. Sore as hell.” –from Laura Mykytok’s training diary.
Laura, I know exactly how you feel. Those three short sentences speak to how I felt when I struggled to open my eyes at 6:00 this morning. Having slept very poorly all night (could it have been the three enormous bowls of Cap’n Crunch I wolfed down at 10:30 last night?), combined with the Tuesday’s tough speedwork, I woke up tired and sore. I couldn’t even consider running until 8:00 and then I still waited around.
Wednesday’s are designated as “easy” days of semi-long distances run at a comfortable pace. As soon as I began this easy run, I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy. I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling: tight quads, tight calves, certain you weigh at least 300 lbs. Quickly, I decided that today’s semi-long run would only be 7.2 and that motivated me to run a little faster. When I reached the 3.6 mark, I looked at my GPS (I know, I should’ve left it home!) and saw that I was running an average pace of 8:48. “Oh no!” screamed my brain. “That’s just pathetic! You’d better start moving those legs of yours!”
So, that’s just what I did to the tune of an average pace of 7:50. Stupid, stupid stupid!!! Easy days should be, well, EASY!!! I don’t believe that anyone benefits from to challenging days in a row. When you run consecutive days hard, you set yourself up for injury. Plus, I probably zapped a lot of energy that I will most definitely need for my 6 miles of tempo running tomorrow.
So, what did I learn? LEAVE THE WATCH HOME ON EASY DAYS AND LET YOUR BODY SET THE TEMPO!!
Tonight’s speed session with Coach Mark was so good for me for so many reasons. Instead of writing long paragraphs, I think I’ll just make a list (hey, I’m tired!).
- Focus, Focus, Focus!!! Knowing that I must reach a goal time with each 800 forces me to focus my energy on my form, leg turnover, etc.
- Pace, Pace, Pace!!! I’m beginning to understand what a 7:30, 8:00, etc. pace feels like to my body. This is critical to my goal of qualifying for Boston. In my previous marathon trainings, I only concentrated on mileage. At the actual races, I almost always ran the first half too quickly (not knowing how to judge pace), and quite literally fell apart during the last 10k.
- Socializing Socializing, Socializing!!! Until recently, and for the past couple of years, I’ve only trained alone. Yes, I’ve asked others to run but haven’t found anyone who really wanted to run with me. Tonight, a few of the men and two ladies told me that they were happy to see me back for a second week! I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.
- Facing My Fears, Fears, Fears!!! What fears, you ask? Well, the fear of running poorly in front of some really fine runners. The fear of talking to these same awesome runners. The fear looking like an idiot in front of so many people. Facing these fears head-on is really helping me to build a healthy self-confidence, something that was frowned on in my strict Irish-Catholic home.
- I Did It, I Did It, I Did It!!! After warming up for 2 miles, I began my 800m repeats. I ran my first 800 in 3:30 (too fast!), my second in 3:43 (ahh! just right), my third in 3:44 (nice and steady), and my last in 3:45 (phew! glad that’s done). Finished off the workout chatting and running with my new friends, Kathy and Jen, for another 1.80 miles.
All I can say is I’m looking forward to next Tuesday!
My summer schedule usually looks something like this: wake up, throw on running clothes, gulp down a cup of coffee, and head out for my morning run. I don’t stop to think about where running will fit in my day or if I want to run, I just do it. Yesterday, however, was a different story.
When I woke up at 5:30 I was still tired, my hips and feet hurt, my quads were tight and I actually thought, “Oh God! I just don’t want to run!”. As I sat sipping my coffee, I tried like hell to rationalize not running or postponing my run until the evening. I nearly had my mind convinced that I could run at 7:00 that night on my treadmill, when my 18 year old son, Brendan, came bounding down the stairs. “Mom, let’s go. I’m running with you today.” And just like that, my whole attitude changed and off we went.
What a blast we had! B chatted the whole time about his friends, his excitement about entering his freshman year of college, work, running, crewing, anything that came to mind. I said little and liked it that way.
We ran 5.2 miles around our little town of Fairport in about 4o minutes. But time wasn’t important for this run, bonding was. For the first time in a long time; my watch, ipod, and GPS did not accompany me. Instead, it was my sweet boy who shared each step with me. I hope we do this again!
What a beautiful day we enjoyed in Rochester, a perfect day for a run! I’m so thankful that I was able to run today, even if I ran slowly. It’s amazing how much I appreciate running, and it’s equally amazing what it does for my spirit. Like nothing else, running helps me to focus on all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life. And that’s just what I did on my easy 10 miler today: I counted each of the people and things in my life for which I am deeply grateful.
I won’t bore you with my list (this would be a terrifically long post if I did), but I will share with you my training for this week.
Monday, July 23 – 8.2 miles in 1:09:18, 8.27 pace. Semi-long run at an easy pace.
Tuesday, July 24 – Morning = 5.3 in 44:49, 8.27 pace. Evening – 3.25 in 24:40, 7:50 pace. Double session day.
Wednesday, July 25 – 5.4 miles in 46:40, 8:38 pace. Easy day.
Thursday, July 26 – Rest due to illness.
Friday, July 27 – Rest due to illness.
Saturday, July 28 – Rest due to illness.
Sunday, July 29 – 10.25 miles in 1:27:55, 8:34 pace. Long run.
Total miles run this week: 32.15
Total miles run this year: 1,026.20
Isn’t it amazing how the smallest of life’s necessities can bring you so much joy? I’m talking the really small stuff like a good cup of coffee enjoyed with a dear friend, a delicious salad, a great read. Well, in this post I’m really referring to my new pair of running shoes.
Sunday I went to my favorite running store and purchased new shoes. For years now I’ve run in Brook Adreneline and they’ve been great for me. However, my store was out of the Adrenelines in my size. So, what was I to do, especially when my feet were screaming for new shoes? Well, the answer turned out to be simple: buy the Brooks Trance, of course.
These shoes are advertised as the ultimate in cushion and stability control, and I will tell you, they definitely do feel cushiony. I tested them out yesterday on my 8 mile run. On the negative side, the toe box is quite narrow. So, if your foot is wide you may need to go up 1/2 a size as they’re a much snugger fit than the Adrenelines.
It’s 7:50 am in Rochester and I’m just about to lace up my new shoes for their second run on my feet. I’ll let you know how it goes!