Sugarloaf marathon training: week 10

Well, the Boston marathon is 1 week away and things are buzzing! I absolutely love living in such a mecca for runners and the atmosphere around the marathon is super special. This year, my goal is to let it feed and inspire my running, instead of letting myself fall prey to the jealousy monster. If all goes well, next year I’ll get to be a true part of the madness!

This week was another mileage test for me–I ran 52.9 miles total and truly didn’t feel any sluggishness at all! My major lesson learned in terms of adding mileage is to skew the additional miles towards easy/recovery runs. I’m really thriving with some harder workouts on Tuesdays/Thursdays, long runs on Saturdays, and keeping the rest nice and easy pace-wise.

I did hit the track this week–and of course, it was in the high 40s and pouring rain for our workout. Thank goodness for my girls and their gosh darn positivity for holding me accountable! It’s never ideal, but there is something about running in the rain that makes you feel like a real badass. Plus, you never know what kind of weather race day will bring–gotta be prepared for anything!

Another major highlight this week was really nailing my fueling during my first 20 miler of this training cycle! I got 3 gels down with no GI distress and felt perfectly hydrated throughout (thanks in no small part to adding Enduropacks to my water). I also ran the last 10 miles of this one solo, which was a good mental exercise for me since I’ve been doing most long runs with friends. On Sunday Alexa and I went to a really lovely workshop called “Be Race Ready” with one of my favorite yoga teachers/runners. We did some gentle yoga and meditation using mantras and other calming techniques. It really helped me to focus on trusting my training–I’m working so hard and it’s SO important to keep my mind in the game along with my legs!

So what’s on tap for my marathon weekend? First off, lots of runs in shorts this week–it’s going to be lovely out! I’m also planning to head to the expo with Alexa on Friday, Saturday I’m running a fun BAA 5k with my friend Megan who is visiting for the weekend, and then I’ll be volunteering at the mile 21 water stop yelling myself silly on marathon Monday. Can’t wait–best of luck to everyone who is running! You are all AMAZING!!! Also, happy Passover if you celebrate–go carb load with some matzoh balls 🙂

 

Week 10: 52.9 miles total

  • Monday: 7 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: Rainy track day! 7 miles total, speedwork at 6:56 (details here)
  • Wednesday: 5.1 recovery miles, banded strength circuit
  • Thursday: 1 up, 6 at MGP, 1 down–8 miles at 8:00 min pace
  • Friday: 5 easy with J
  • Saturday: 20 miles!
  • Sunday: “Be Race Ready” yoga/mental prep workshop with Cara

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!

Sugarloaf training: week 9 (my first 50 mile week!)

Guess what you guys? It FINALLY feels like spring here in Boston!! Also, (brag alert) guess who has two thumbs and ran her first 50 mile week ever… this gal! I was super duper jazzed to finally get past this mileage hurdle feeling strong. Rewinding to Monday, this week started out with a nice rainy easy run, during which I ran into my mom and her gal pals powerwalking around Jamaica Pond. #squadgoals.

Tuesday I had the first of two hard workouts–during which I finally managed (sort of) to program my Garmin for interval training. I was running 4 2k (1.25 mile) intervals at a 10k pace. The wind was kind of crazy during the back half of this one and I couldn’t figure out how to see my pace during the workout, but I managed to run pretty even splits at goal pace just by feel! It’s cool to trust my body to know what I want it to do… sometimes. Wednesday I did another easy run over to my book club meeting–nothing like a run that ends with guac and red wine! Thursday was the second hard workout–5 minutes easy running alternating with 2 minutes hard for 7 miles. I actually had trouble with this one. For some reason I kept feeling jolted in and out of the intervals and didn’t find my rhythm–but I got through it and the back-and-forth made 7 miles fly by! Friday was a few early miles before…

We got hit by another noreaster. With snow. In April. UGH! I took this one in stride because it didn’t actually accumulate, but it was pretty nasty while it was happening. J and I had a really nice Saturday of yoga, errands, and celebrating my Dad’s birthday before heading to an all gluten free dinner party!! This was a pretty big deal for me–usually dinner parties are minefields of breadcrumb hell, so it was super cool to be able to eat everything. Because carbloading? Yup! One of every dessert pls.

Denise is boxing, I am laughing.

Sunday morning things were looking up! The roads were almost completely clear, and my friend Denise (who lives on my block and is also running Sugarloaf) and I hit the roads for an 18 miler. We ran an out and back on the marathon course, with the first 12 miles easy and the last 6 at MGP. This run felt really, really strong, which I totally needed after last week’s crampy mess. Denise is a great, steady pacer and she’s super fast, so it’s fun to challenge myself to keep up 🙂 After the run we scooted out to support Alexa at her marathon fundraiser–which was a really intense boxing class. The boxing was actually super fun but it was laughable how little I was able to do after 18 miles.

Also, a TV crew came to film some of my coworkers pretending to be cheering during the marathon. I barely make it on camera, but my ponytail did. The little teaser video came out really well (ponytail is famous around 7-8 seconds in).

Onwards and upwards–7 more weeks til race day!

Week 9: 50.2 miles total

  • Monday: Easy 7 + strides
  • Tuesday: 1 up, 4 x 2k at 10k pace (7:35, 7:16, 7:06, 7:10), 1 down for 8 total
  • Wednesday: 5.6 “watchless” easy miles
  • Thursday: 7.3 mile fartlek (5 min easy/2 min hard)
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: 90 minute yoga class
  • Sunday: 18 miles! First 12 easy, last 6 at MGP (7:56, 7:58, 7:50, 7:50, 7:50, 7:29)

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!

Sugarloaf marathon training: week 8

Oh what a week–lots of ups and downs in training! I started things off really easy on Monday after my half–just a short yoga class and an extra rest day. Tuesday I got my legs back under me and felt a little bit sluggish but not too bad. Wednesday I didn’t have time to fit in my usual yoga class, since we were celebrating my parents’ anniversary at Brassica (which was fantastic!!) Instead, I did a very easy run totally by feel. I did wear my watch but I set it up so that I didn’t get any pace information–all I could see was the total elapsed time. It felt really nice to run so intuitively! I have trouble taking my easy runs really easy, so I hope to incorporate more of this into my training.

Friday morning I had hills on the books and didn’t feel like getting up early to go to November Project with J, so I decided I’d run after work. As soon as I got into my running clothes, one of my friends from school texted about heading over to a happy hour for my MBA classmates–and I decided to go. It’s rare I can carve out the time to spend with people from school outside of class or study groups, and it was a blast–I even found out one of my classmates is an avid runner, so hopefully we’ll be able to get together to run at some point soon! Even more momentously, this was the first time this training cycle that I gave myself full permission to skip a run because life just got in the way–and I don’t regret it one bit. Life happens–it’s ok to give yourself the occasional break!

After drinks I went to see an amazing musical version of  The Parable of the Sower, which we read in my book club. It was fascinating, but it ran fairly late, and it took me a little bit to wind down and get to bed–not ideal before my long run. Saturday I tagged along with Alexa for the “longest long run” before Boston. It was SO fun! We took a bus out to the start line in Hopkinton with literally thousands of other runners, and then we ran the course in towards the city. It felt like a party! People were in costumes, there were cops directing traffic, and there were tons of water stops set up by various groups and charities. This video gives a good sense of what it was like. I had a pretty good run physically, but my tummy was totally out of whack–I think I didn’t hydrate nearly enough the day before/morning of the run, and that combined with lack of sleep threw me off. Either way I got 18 done and Alexa crushed her 22 miler. I can’t wait to see her run Boston! The rest of the day was pretty lazy–mostly doing homework and then watching Moana, which I adored 🙂

I wrapped up the week with another easy “watchless” run yesterday–my stomach was still really crampy and off, but I’m hoping it’s a passing thing. I did get to meet my friend’s new puppy, Toby, which pretty much made for the best day ever.

Week 8: 40.6 total miles

  • Monday: Easy 60 minute yoga class
  • Tuesday: 5.7 miles + strides
  • Wednesday: 5.1 very easy “watchless miles,”
  • Thursday: 6 miles
  • Friday: Nothing (oops!)
  • Saturday: 18.3 miles
  • Sunday: 5.2 recovery miles

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!

Race Recap: Super Sunday 5 Miler

img_1499Hello from Boston, where everyone is freaking out about the Patriots. I’m not much of a football fan but it’s fun to be a part of the triumphant atmosphere around the city. Plus, this year I got to spend the morning racing–way more up my alley! I found out about the Super Sunday 5 Miler from friends and thought it would be a good opportunity to lay it all out there and get a read on where my fitness is at after base building for most of December and January. I had an easy 10 miler on Saturday, which I worked super hard to keep slow (not easy) in order to save my legs for Sunday morning.

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Crowds on crowds on crowds

J and I drove over to the race and Alexa had grabbed us our bibs, so she and I went out for a 2 mile warm-up jog while J stashed our bags. It was COLD–in the mid 20s and feeling even colder with the gusty winds, so the warm-up was key just in terms of keeping the feeling in our fingers and toes. Afterwards we gingerly ditched our outer layers and did some dynamic drills before heading to the start. We all crammed into the starting area and true to form for these shorter races, the start was a mess–we loaded in the corrals and then had to turn around completely, so the speedsters were in the back and the more causal runners were in the front. Ooops! I ended up jammed in with some November Project folks who kept the mood light and positive with a little customary bounce.

Given the line-up snafu, the first mile of the race was a little bit disheartening with runners passing me left and right. I meant to hold back during this mile, but I ended up at 6:46–a little fast. img_1500The cold, wind, and slight hills definitely slowed me down, but I was able to keep pace with one of the guys I had started with (nice job Malcolm!!) and stay in the 6:40s-6:50s for the next few miles. By mile 5 I was feeling pretty cooked–my goal was to leave it all out on the course and I knew I had. I pushed the pace a bit and tried to pick off runners as I could, but the 5k course had rejoined at that point and it was tough to choose who pace with. My customary final kick didn’t materialize, but I did pick up a 6:29 final mile for a 34:24 finish–average pace of 6:45/mile. While that wasn’t a PR, I think for the conditions it was a strong performance. (The last 5 miler I did was actually on a notoriously short course, so according to Strava my average pace for that one was 6:57/mile–so sort of a PR??)img_1501

As some of you saw on Instagram, I’m officially back in marathon training mode! At 31 miles, this was my longest training week since November and it felt AWESOME. With the help of a coach, I’m headed for the Sugarloaf Marathon on May 21st. Can’t wait to tell you more on all of this in an upcoming post!!

Happy day to all of the Pats fans (and to the Falcons fans and basically everyone else–sorry?) I’ll be back soon to dive into my marathon plans and goals for #bqorbust round two!

Linking up with Tuesdays on the run 🙂

NYE and 2017 running goals (part 1)

img_1251Happy 2017!! I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday. I started the day off with a killer workout with Alexa, who is already kicking major butt with her Boston Marathon training (she’s running for an amazing org working to end sexual violence–more here!) We did 11 miles total–3 to warm up, 4 interval miles with 3 minutes at 7:20ish pace and 2 minutes at 8:20ish pace, and 4 to cool down…. all of this on the infamous Newton hills. More details and splits are here, but suffice it to say that we earned our champagne!

J and I spent the evening with lots of friends (and FOUR adorable dogs) and partied way past our bedtimes. It was a great night/weekend/end to the holiday season. Leaving the larger world for just a sec, I can’t wait for 2017. It will be the year I turn 30, finish my MBA, and of course, marry my best friend. img_1275I’ve also been thinking a lot about my running goals for the year. Laura over at This Runner’s Recipes (highly recommend her blog) wrote a great post about goal setting, which inspired me to think about the year in chunks rather than as one long slog. I’m a really different runner than I was 6 months ago, so it really resonates with me to set goals more often than every 12 months.

One big piece of this year’s goal-setting is thinking about whether/when I want to run a full marathon. I am going to leave this one up in the air for now, although there is a real possibility I will not be running a full marathon this year. While the master plan is still to 1. get my BQ, 2. run Boston, 3. maybe retire from marathoning, I know this year is going to be really busy so we’ll see what form this takes.

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New year. Same swishy ponytail.

In the meantime, I will most definitely be running and chasing some BIG goals–here are my goals for the first four-ish months of 2017!

  1. PR the half: My 1:36:55 finish at the Cambridge Half Marathon this fall really cemented something I already knew–I LOVE the half distance and have real capacity to improve at it. I am running the New Bedford Half in March and I would love to set a new PR at that race with an A goal of breaking 1:35.
  2. Break 20 minutes in the 5K: This goal is a little bit murkier for me, but I do think that I have capacity to improve at shorter distances now that I have a stronger base of speedwork under my belt. Tentatively, I am looking at the BAA 5k which takes place during Boston Marathon weekend in April. I have absolutely no idea what a 5k training plan even looks like, though, which is why my next goal is to…
  3. Hire a coach: One thing I hear time and time again is that the best way to make real leaps is to hire a coach. My tentative thought is to use a service like Runner’s Connect, although I’ve thought about hiring an individual coach to map out a plan for me. I don’t think I’m ready to commit just yet to a full-on coaching program (like this one or this one) but any advice is very, very welcome!!

Also, somewhat related–I just joined Classpass for the next few months to have additional indoor workout options. Let me know if you have any particular recommendations for places to check out!

Happy 2017 and HAPPY RUNNING! Linking up with Tuesdays on the run!

Winter Classic 5k Race Recap (new PR!)

img_1070-1Hey hey! After being sidelined from the blog by travel, holidays, schoolwork, and a nasty head cold, I’m thrilled to be back with my final race recap of 2016. This race is part of a series of seasonal 5ks in Cambridge that are all on the same flat, fast course. I set my previous PR here back in April when I ran the Spring Classic–I was pleased with the time I set then but it was one of my most poorly executed races to date (see old post subtitled ‘How not to run a 5k’–facepalm!) A crew of the track folks were signed up for this race, so I swallowed my annoyance about paying $35 to run 3 miles and signed up.race_3273_photo_49634230

After taking it easy Saturday night and an early wakeup/oatmeal breakfast, I layered up to head over for the 9:30am race start. The morning was very brisk–in the mid 30s with a strong headwind–so I ran a couple of warm-up miles to the start. I think my one mistake was actually getting there a little bit too early–the packet pickup was a breeze and I had almost a full half hour to kill in the cold waiting for the race to start. One of the runners I follow on Instagram had referenced a 5k race mantra of “if a 5k doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right” and I kept this firmly in my mind as we ducked into the starting corral. I still had some lingering congestion from being sick all week, but I really wanted to break 21 minutes and had a feeling it was doable if I pushed myself.

You can totally tell we're spelling out PR--right??
You can totally tell we’re spelling out PR–right??

The start was a little bit hectic (probably should have pushed ahead a little bit in the start corral) so I scooted around a bunch of folks before settling into a comfortable place in the pack. The first mile was really, really cold–standing around in the cold before the race plus the wind meant my feet and fingers were basically numb. My breathing definitely wasn’t top-notch–again, lingering cold symptoms plus the temps lead to some icky congestion. I focused on breathing in and out through my mouth and was happy to see a 6:46 first mile. As my body warmed up I pushed the pace a little bit more and hit the 2 mile split at 6:39 and the third mile at 6:26. Rounding the corner into the finish I gave it my all and ran the last .1 at a 6:14. Overall, I just broke 21 minutes and managed a new PR of 20:59–which is a 6:45 average place and put me in as the 22nd female finisher out of 1225 racers! I am really proud, although I do think I could have pushed a little bit more if I was at 100% health-wise.

While I only cut 46 seconds off of my total time, this was a very “smart” race and I think the side-by-side pace comparisons really show that. On the right is the Spring Classic and the Winter Classic is on the left. I clearly went from positive splitting the race to strong negative splits, which allowed me to cut 16 seconds per mile off of my average pace.

winter-classic spring-classic

All, in all, it was an awesome experience and I definitely think working down to a sub-20 is the books for me! J and I spent the rest of the day with family and finally getting the decorations up on our Christmukkah tree 😉 I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Linking up with Tuesdays on the run!

TOL: Post-marathon fall fun

speedrun_10_25_16__mg_3427It’s officially my favorite season–cool temps, #foliageonfleek, pumpkin everything–how can you not just LOVE fall?? I’m also really enjoying have a bit more flexibility in my workouts instead of following a strict training plan. I’m definitely very type A so I’m sure this will change soon, but I’m going with it for now. I definitely thought I would miss having a training plan more than I have so far!

Basically, the past few weeks I’ve been sticking with doing something active 6 days a week (some habits are good ones to keep around), but more of those days have been things other than running (i.e. lots of yoga). In case you’re curious, I have a yearly unlimited membership to Yogaworks Back Bay. I did the math and figured out that if I go an average of twice a week, it’s much cheaper than buying class packs or waiting for sales. I have a whole post on saving money on yoga classes–check it out here if you’re interested!img_0719

I think in terms of marathon recovery, I probably could have taken more time off than I did, but I was itching to get back out there so I went with it. You live, you learn! I am still feeling some residual tightness in my hip flexors, but the yoga is helping loosen them up. I do have a half marathon in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to get in a couple of longer runs (8-10 miles) in addition to track workouts, and then see how things go from there. It is lovely to be able to vary my workouts based on what I’m in the mood for–or even skip them altogether if that’s how I’m feeling. We also got a hike in last weekend up Mount Monadnock, which is just lovely–under 2 hours from Boston and a pretty quick hike (2.5-ish hours total if you’re moving briskly). Not the easiest but the views are worth it.

img_0780In non-running news, J and I are finally making some progress with wedding planning! I have my dress and we officially booked our first vendor. I’m finding this process to be pretty annoying, so it’s nice to see a couple of things fall into place. My running/wedding related question is–is this worth $140?? I think it’s adorable and we’re gonna do some wedding weekend runs for sure, but it’s a fair amount of money! Thoughts??

Also, because old habits die hard, here’s a workout recap from post-marathon until now. I think it’s really interesting to see how other people transition from recovery back into a new routine, so I hope this is helpful!

Weekly Workouts:

  • 10/12-10/13: OFFimg_0734
  • 10/14: 60 minute yoga (ouch)
  • 10/15: 3.8 easy fall miles
  • 10/16: 90 minute yoga
  • 10/17: 3.9 miles at 8:09 pace
  • 10/18: Back to TRACK! 24×200
  • 10/19: First November Project stadium workout! 19 sections (again, ouch)
  • 10/20: OFF
  • 10/21: 90 minute hip hop yoga
  • 10/22: First “long” run–5.7 miles at 8:15 pace
  • 10/23: Mount Monadnock hike!
  • 10/24: 5.1 easy miles
  • 10/25: Track attack! 5.9 miles total, speedwork at 6:54 (details here)
  • 10/26: 60 minute yoga

Linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking out Loud Thursday!

Chicago marathon: what I would do differently and what’s next

speedrun_10_18_16__mg_0771Now that I’m a couple weeks out from the Chicago marathon, it’s high time to share a little bit about what did and didn’t go well and what’s next for me. I wrote a post after the NYC marathon last year about what I wanted to differently for this marathon training cycle, so I’m going to kick things off by revisiting those goals to see how I did. With grades. Because #gradschool.

  • More hills and speed: A! Yes! Not so much hills, because Chicago is flat, but incorporating speedwork was probably the biggest key to my success.
  • More strength training and core work: I’m going to give myself a B- here–I did do core on my own but not so much specific strength training beyond yoga.
  • A personal training plan: B on this one as well. I did use a training plan from Coach Dan but it wasn’t personalized to me or my race goals.
  • Not running a big city race: F for fail. Chicago is as big as it gets other than NYC.
  • Not running for charity: A! This was a big load off and truly allowed me to focus on training.
  • Train with a group again: A!21c0bcc9-41da-4907-aad3-97866a44ef51

Overall, I’m incredibly proud of what I was able to do over the course of this training cycle. It’s a very big deal to cut a race time down by 29 minutes in less than a year, and I think a lot of my success was due to training more strategically (more running days per week, slightly higher mileage, speedwork, tempo runs, etc.) That said, I did fall short of my stretch goal to qualify for Boston, and I know it’s absolutely within reach for me. Here’s what I think will get me to a sub-3:35.

  • Run a small race: Big city races, especially those you have to travel for, add a ton of uncertainty to the race prep process. It’s much harder to control pre-race conditions (sleep and nutrition) and the logistics can be costly and complicated. In addition, in most big races you actually end up running farther than 26.2 miles because you have to do so much bobbing and weaving. It’s also much harder to run the tangents. For me, though, the biggest hurdle in Chicago and NYC was handling the feeling of being so packed in with other runners. I find the crowds to be overwhelming and distracting. Yes, big races offer incredible atmosphere and crowd support, but I feel like it makes it hard for me to run my own race, at least while pace is my top priority. Also, my best half marathon experiences (including my PR race) have been at smaller races, so this is definitely where I thrive as a runner.
  • Focus on race strategy and nutrition: I spent very little time thinking about either of these important factors before Chicago. My race strategy was to run 8 minute miles for the whole time. I think I would have done better to start a hair slower–maybe with a 3:35 pace group–and then pick it up after the half. Instead, we started out running 8s or a little bit faster, and I had nothing left in the tank later in the race. Similarly with nutrition, I didn’t do any experimentation during training and stuck with the chews I’ve always used, even if I didn’t always feel fantastic. I think something more natural/easier to digest might have warded off the cramping that hit around mile 16.
  • Consider investing in coaching: I did have access to a team coach for this training cycle, but I think if I really want to go all-in for a BQ it would be worth it to hire someone to craft a tailored plan for me that fits both my goals and what I know about myself as a runner. I’m considering working with Runner’s Connect or RUN4PRs, but if anyone has any suggestions for coaches to look into I am all ears!!
  • Raise the mileage, not just the number of running days: The plan I followed this cycle had me running 6 days a week, so by default I ran more miles that I did last year. That said, 40-ish miles a week is actually pretty low for a 3:30 goal. On a super basic level, the goal of marathon training is to learn to run on tired legs–I think getting closer to 50 mile weeks would get me to the next level.
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First non-running adventure: tackling the Harvard stadium!

So… what’s next for me? First off, not marathon training for a while! I am considering taking close to a year off of training for a full marathon. I am wrapping up my MBA and getting married within the next year, and I’d like to get past those two milestones before diving into a training plan again. However, I will absolutely still be doing tons of running in the near future! Here’s what I’ve got on tap:

  • Running the Cambridge Half Marathon on 11/13
  • Exploring new opportunities with Oiselle’s Volée! I love the Oiselle brand and am super pumped I jumped on the chance to join their “global community made up of women with diverse running backgrounds and competitive goals.” I’ve been seeing volée posts and events for years and can’t wait to see what this group has to offer.
  • Even if a marathon isn’t on tap in the immediate future, I have a lot of space to grow in terms of speed. I’d love to run a sub-1:40 half, and also think a sub-20 minute 5k would be pretty killer.
  • I’m also really jazzed about getting some non-running related fitness back into my life! Probably at the top of the list is reinvesting in my yoga practice, but I’m also hoping to get back into some hiking and skiing (let’s cross our fingers for some snow this winter…)

Again, thank you so much for being a part of this crazy adventure! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

 

 

 

Chicago marathon training: week 16

img_0535Greetings from the end of an incredible first weekend of fall–my absolute favorite season! I know it’s cliche, but I’ve always loved the cooler weather, yummy treats, and gorgeous New England foliage. I’m a shoulder season gal through and through, but I’ll take fall over spring any day. The weather this weekend could not have been more perfect for a couple of outdoor adventures: our first time doing “real” rock climbing (which we LOVED–longer post later!) and my annual apple picking outing with my high school gals. More over on the insta, as always.

Oh yeah, and the official Chicago Marathon countdown = 12 days!img_0508

This was actually one of my best weeks of training so far, despite the accumulated exhaustion that I am definitely feeling. I hit a total of 39.9 miles (HA) and ran my fastest long run to date, aside from races. Track on Tuesday was a challenging set of 12-16 x 400 at 5k pace with a couple of mile paces thrown in, and I knew I was pooped after 12. So I pushed myself to do one more and then headed home. I definitely am trying to be extra tuned into what my body is telling me to ward off any potential last minute tweaks or injuries. I also squeezed in a 90 minute hot yoga class on Friday, which my hips desperately needed.

I hit the road solo on Sunday morning after an much-needed 9 hours of sleep and had planned to run 2 warm up miles, 10 at my marathon goal pace or MGP of 8:00/mile, and then 2 slower miles to cool down. I actually ended up feeling really strong and running most of my miles in the 7:40-7:50 range–despite the fact that heartbreak hill falls smack in the middle of my running route! More than anything, I think at this point this run just showed my that I AM fit enough and trained enough to hit my 3:30 goal. Mental training is just as important as physical training, if not more so.

img_0504I also just want to throw it out there for anyone who is curious–I am following a specific training plan very closely, so even though this may seem like a lot of miles this close to the race, it’s all done completely intentionally. I think a lot of us fall into the trap of picking and choosing our favorite pieces from different training plans and piecing them together (more on this topic in this week’s Run to the Top podcast, which I adore). This cycle, I have been really strict about following my coach’s plan to the letter, with the only deviations being dependent on how my body is feeling. If you have a good coach who knows their stuff, listen to them!

Full recap of the week below 🙂

Week 16:

  • Monday: 4.4 miles @ 8:11 average pace
  • Tuesday: Track! 400 x 13, 6 total miles (speedwork at 6:33)
  • Wednesday: 5 easy miles
  • Thursday: 4 sweaty evening miles at 8:04 average
  • Friday: 6 easy miles plus 6 x strides, 90 minute yoga
  • Saturday: Rock climbing/OFF
  • Sunday: 14 miles at MGP (plus a little bit), 7:51 average

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 15

fullsizerender-6Ladies and gents, THE LAST LONG RUN IS DONE. Which mean–IT’S TAPER TIME!!! Ok, sorry for shouting, but I am SO excited to be heading into the last stage of training with just 19 days to go until the race. I’m definitely feeling a zillion times more prepared than I did last year at this point, so it’s extra gratifying to be dialing things down a little bit.

To back up, I started this week out pretty exhausted. I ran both the day before and the day after my half marathon, powered through a 13 hour workday on Monday, did a hard track workout Tuesday, and then absolutely crashed Tuesday afternoon. img_0314I think it was a combination of physical and mental exhaustion, but either way, I ended up leaving work early and taking a nap before reviving myself for class.

I have a fair amount on my plate right now (school, work, running, and wedding planning, to name a few) and this was a good reminder to give my body what it’s asking for. Which meant taking Wednesday off from running and hitting up a solid 90 minute yoga class.

Thursday morning I got my legs moving again to bump my mileage back up. I got a new GPS watch for my birthday and was definitely on the struggle bus trying to get it to work during this run–I apparently had it set to kilometers instead of miles. img_0339Oops! Now all is well and I can’t wait to play around with all of the features, the most important of which is that I don’t have to wait around for my old school Garmin Forerunner 10 to spend 5 minutes searching for satellites every morning. Huzzah.

Friday I got up far earlier than I am comfortable with (UGH) to do my marathon practice long run. Basically, I tried to mirror marathon day as much as possible in terms of what I ate, wore, carried, etc. I had my gluten-free plain bagel with peanut butter and banana and then packed up my gels and hand-held water bottle before meeting the girls for our 20 miler.

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Warning: do not try to pose cute “no miler” pics at mile 18 😉

We had a fun, chatty run with some solid splits, and even managed a little surge at the end (last 4 miles were at 7:46, 7:50, 7:38, and 7:40). I definitely was hurting by the end of this run which is a little bit scary, since on race day I’ll still have 6.2 miles to go, but I know the atmosphere and the fact that I’ll be fully rested/tapered will make a huge difference. My tummy felt settled, I managed to stay pretty hydrated, and I didn’t have any major chafing/blister issues, so all systems are ready to roll!

After the run I quickly jetted to the office (zomg guys working after a long run is rough) and then to a fun family dinner before J and I hit the road on Saturday to head up to Burlington, VT for a music festival which turned out to be SUCH a blast! We saw Guster (my all-time favorite band), Grace Potter, Old Crow Medicine Show, and so many other awesome performances. Plus, I got to run and do yoga on Lake Champlain and also eat all of the amazing things. Burlington is a super fun town for a weekend away, although prepare yourself for 3.5 hours in the car each way. Compression socks FTW. Also, I highly recommend this podcast series on the Manson murders if you have a long car ride coming up–it’s fascinating.

Week 15:

  • Tuesday: Track! Lotsa 200’s at mile pace–speedwork at 5:45 average
  • Wednesday: 90 minute yoga and a much needed extra rest day
  • Thursday: 5.5 miles
  • Friday: Final 20 miler, 8:00 average pace
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: 3.3 mile shakeout, 60 minute yoga
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    One more gratuitous sunrise photo!

    Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!