So last week got away from me. I chose to use my blogging time for other things, so now we’ll play catch up.
Monday (4/15)–Rest day. Sport Psychology Strategy Session for our training team.
Tuesday (4/16)–KB Class/Warmup Mile. Awesome, awesome warmup mile–9:29 outside. And a kickass class too, lifted heavier than ever. Pressed light purple (around 40 lbs) 6x for multiple sets.
Wednesday (4/17)–7 miles easy. Team RWB run and extra with Abbie. Not feeling this but the promise of the S’mores Nitro at Southern Tier kept me going.
Thursday (4/18)–Marathon Pace Run. Had planned to do this with Lara in town, but it was 78 degrees and humid, so pace plan went out the window and we just focused on getting miles without dying. Was really nice to run in the heat, I’ve strangely missed it.
Friday (4/19)–KB class/warmup mile. Kept a nice easy pace for my warmup mile. Awesome class! Didn’t put the bell down during the 10-minute AMRAP, and pushed hella hard through all the circuits.
Saturday (4/20)–15 miles easy. Did the Pro Bike +Run training run with Abbie. Cut it a little short because I was struggle-bussing and was just DONE once we got back to the Waffle truck. Hungry and over it.
Sunday (4/21)–10 miles easy. Did 2 miles on trail and 3 miles on road at North Park with friends. Didn’t feel like doing the rest of the mileage, but this felt really good and I had a good time.
Monday (4/22)–Rest Day.
Tuesday (4/23)–KB Class/warmup mile. Cancelled class, I was exhausted from the previous days antics…
Wednesday (4/24)–5 miles easy. Went to the Pro Bike +Run happy hour run with my friends. Had a really great run and a great time catching up with my friends. REALLY have missed the super sweaty weather.
Thursday (4/25)–5 miles easy. Weather was crappy so I got treadmill miles in. Would rather have run outside, but the miles got done.
Friday (4/26)–KB Class/warmup mile. No class for me, left for my Ohio weekend straight from work.
Saturday (4/27)–10 miles easy. Got these done at my favorite park, though it was a very lackluster run. I love that park, but consistently find myself walking more than I *need* to when I’m there. I’ll be seeking out some other routes and places to run next time I’m home. Struggled with some phantom taper-pains. Got the miles done, though, and I’m never sorry that I did.
Sunday (4/28)—6 miles easy. Treadmill miles again in the evening since it was kind of crappy out. Didn’t want to do this run, but felt so much better once I started.
Race week this week! Looking forward to the Pittsburgh Marathon Steel Challenge. Hoping that I’ll pull off another marathon PR on Sunday, and looking forward to fun and beer on course. Have a good week, friends!
In last Friday’s post I vaguely alluded to changes taking place in my life. I’m still not ready to share too much, maybe I’ll never share the details, though I suspect that I’ll open up more as I progress through this particular journey. The truth is that I’ve decided to go back to counseling to tackle some long (long) held issues. I haven’t been in years. And in the past when I’ve gone I’ve been very good at dancing around the actual issues so I wouldn’t have to *deal* with anything. It’s to the point I can no longer handle the dissonance in my own brain and I need to figure it out and work through it instead of around it.
It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, making that first phone call and admitting my truth. My first appointment was this past Monday (which is what prompted last Friday’s post) and I felt like I was talking a mile a minute during the intake “interview” trying to lay it all out there before I lost my nerve. I’ve been keeping a running list of things to talk about in future appointments so I won’t get sidetracked by non-issues. I want to do the work, even though it terrifies me.
My next appointment isn’t for another week, she’s out of the office this week. I’m getting antsy for it. In starting to deal with it, I’m realizing just how pervasive it is in my life, how many different facets are affected by it. It’s kind of amazing what happens when you stop running from something and start facing it. I’m terrified, but excited to see what’s on the other side of this.
Sorry I’m still being kind of vague, but eventually I will open up more. It’s still new and raw and I’m not sure what to do with it. Please know that I’m basically fine though. No need for concern, though prayers and good vibes are always appreciated.
This was kind of a rougher training week, but still very solid. Let’s review:
Monday–rest day yoga. I’m really getting into this being a thing. Need to branch out some with the routine I’m doing, but I’m still not good at it, so it’s still working.
Tuesday–kettlebell class and warmup mile. Really awesome warmup mile. Sub-10 which I have not done in a long time. It felt good to push and it’s nice to know that I still can. Pushed heavy in class and questioned my life choices. I was completely gassed but felt strong AF.
Wednesday–lactate threshold run. I get in my head about these sometimes. Did this on the treadmill because, once again, I wasn’t sure that I could hit/hold my paces outside. It was fine, I got it done.
Thursday–6 miles easy. Ran at North Park with Lara. Great weather, if a little humid. We did our best to keep it easy and not push each other too much. Ran in shorts for the first time this year. No one died. It was a good run.
Friday–kettlebell class and warmup mile. My FB memories popped up an old Nike+ running post from 9 years ago, with an average pace of 14:15, so I wanted to see what I could do. I know I ran that on a treadmill, so I stayed indoors. I did the same distance (1.41). Average pace of 10:03. BOOM! Followed by an awesome class with Mindy–she always kicks my ass in the best way. Love the Friday burners that make me question my life choices (because is it even a workout if you’re not questioning your life choices?).
Saturday–20 miles easy. I did extra because I’m me. Ran 24 with my friends. Awesome weather, I’m loving the warm up and starting to roast in the sun. Struggled some on this run, but had a fantastic time with my people. Impromptu Jell-O shots helped with pain management near the end.
Sunday–12 miles easy. I did 5 easy on the treadmill. Today was a life day–I worked a weird shift, had a ton of stuff to do at home, and was exhausted from the week. But something is better than nothing, so I got something in. Working on being okay with that.
This week will be interesting. Busy as always, hoping the weather forecast holds so I can get some solid runs in outdoors. Starting to cut back some to taper for Pittsburgh since I still want to shoot for a PR there. Hope it’s good for you. Until next time…
There’s something about spring. About the sense of renewal and the fresh start. Not quite as refreshing as the turn of the calendar, but a time for new things nonetheless (just like fall and the start of a new school year, even when you’re not in school. Or maybe that’s just me…). The winds of change have rustled up some things in me and I’m ready to make some moves and let some things go.
Vague-blogging much? Yeah, I guess, kinda. Sorry for that. Eventually I’ll spill all (because I know myself), but for now I’m keeping it close. The road to your best life can be scary and full of challenges, and there are things that I’m finally ready to face head on and wade through to get to the other side. Seems to be going around, a lot of my circle is feeling some kind of restlessness with the status quo and trying to figure out how to get what they really want, so I’m in good company.
No need for anyone to worry. Things are good and going to get even better.
Still stressed at work. Volume is crazy and we’re understaffed. What else is new? Help is on the way and we’re managing. Job security. I still like it even when it’s rough going. Running is still great. Getting to peak week for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’m rejecting a full two-week taper, but am happy to have my last long-long run with friends this weekend. Frantically trying to finish my Continuing Education course before my rapidly approaching recertification deadline. I will get there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and soon I’ll be able to focus more on writing and other things during these early morning hours (and maybe I’ll even get to sleep in occasionally…hahaha).
Since I did a race recap and not a training recap last week, I’m going to back track a little…
Monday (3/25)–rest day, Yoga for Distance Runners. This is becoming a thing and I love it. Maybe some day I’ll get brave and branch out, but for now, I’m still working on this routine.
Tuesday (3/26)–KB Class and warmup mile. Solid warmup mile, and really great class. I pushed hard, and I’m proud of how I’m challenging myself with different weights.
Wednesday (3/27)–6 miles easy on the schedule. I did 5 miles at the Pro Bike + Run Brooks RunHappy hour with Abbie. It was pretty good, we skipped our additional mile(s) because we felt like being done, but it was nice to take the 5-mile loop for a change.
Thursday (3/28)–Marathon pace run. 1 mile easy, 4 miles at 10:50-11, 1 mile easy. I did this on the treadmill because, quite frankly, I chickend out. I wasn’t sure that I could hold the pace for 4 miles without help. I had a busy day, yes, but I *could have* found time to do this outside. But I did it, and it was a solid treadmill workout.
Friday (3/29)–rest, travel for the weekends races.
Saturday (3/30)–Marathon. You know how that went–almost a 5 minute PR. Boom.
Sunday (3/31)–Half Marathon. Took it easier. Love the first half of the course.
Monday (4/1)–Rest Day. And I completely rested. No recovery work. Sore AF. Seriously. Walking was a challenge.
Tuesday (4/2)–KB class and warmup mile. Cancelled class in lieu of yoga at home. Still sore and I had lots to catch up on from the weekend. Glad that I was smart and took the break for my body and my mind.
Wednesday (4/3)–4 miles easy. This run SUCKED. The first mile wasn’t bad, but I was pushing. After that I walked a lot. Legs were not interested in running today. But I got the miles done and my body needed to get out and move.
Thursday (4/4)–5 miles easy. STAIRS AT THE CATHEDRAL! I love doing the stairs. It’s one of my favorite awful things in life. 5 times up with a friend, which was awesome. So much nicer to have company for that endeavor, definitely makes it go faster.
Friday (4/5)–KB class and warmup mile. I was not interested in my warmup mile, but I did it, and I’m glad. Awesome workout with Mindy, it felt good to be back and having my ass handed to me. Worked up to the last minute.
Saturday (4/6)–10 miles easy. Ran with friends at North Park. Took it easy the first 4 miles. Then I pushed. Then I pushed some more, because I felt bad for wussing out on my marathon pace workout, and I needed to prove to myself that I could hold that pace for 4 miles, outside, on hills. And I did. Not only did I do it, but I negative split it! With more than one mile “warmup” in the tank. So I don’t get to question that now, I know I can do it.
Sunday (4/7)–8 miles easy. I did 10 with Adrian, though had I not been with her I probably would’ve cut it back to 8. I felt okay, and probably could have pushed it more, but I was a little sore after Friday & Saturday.
And that brings me to another rest day. Yoga on tap after work. More soon, friends. Have a good week!
I’d forgotten what it was like to race distance. I spent last year chasing speed and racing a lot, I was often sore, but it would fade pretty quickly. So far during this training cycle, my recovery has been quick. Not this week.
Normally I’m tired and sore by the end of my long runs on Saturdays, but I’m good to go on Sundays with very little residual soreness. Well I definitely raced on Saturday, because I felt it on Sunday morning. Still, I ran.
Monday morning–oof! Between racing Saturday’s marathon, running on Sunday, and 5+ hours of travel after Sunday’s event…I was way more sore than I expected to be. Walking was a challenge. I took the elevator at work because 4 flights of stairs was just not an option. Anytime I had to get up from my desk–ouch! It was the most satisfying thing–I knew that I had not just run, but actually pushed myself and raced.
I felt a lot better on Tuesday, but I skipped my kettlebell class for yoga at home because I was still a little sore, and had a lot I needed to catch up on from the weekend. Tried to run a few easy miles on Wednesday and that was extremely slow going. I didn’t force it, though. My body needs to move, but this week is a cutback and meant for recovery. Did the stairs at the Cathedral with a friend last night, and back on schedule for class tonight, and runs this weekend. We’ll see how they go.
It’s really interesting to me how training for ultra distances has impacted me. I struggled with cutback weeks last year. They literally made me crazy. But the high volume has eased that. I love it, and I feel good, but my body is happy for the break when I get it. I don’t feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. It’s become easier for me to ease up on my training, or substitute something more gentle (or at least different). I’m listening to my body more instead of constantly trying to push, and I feel like it’s paying off.
Got some coffee? Get some coffee. Or tea. Or whatever you like to drink. Settle in. It’s story time…
So ultra training means multiple 20+ mile runs. Coach told me early in the year that if I wanted to work in some races for my longer runs to make it more interesting, let her know. So, loving the bling as I do, I went in search of spring marathons–and found the Two Rivers Marathon Festival, which offers 4 distances (5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon) on both Saturday and Sunday. Medals offered for all distances. I can get a medal for my recovery run too? Sold. Signed up for the marathon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
In addition to offering all four distances on both days, the race has nice shirts, offers jackets for people who complete races (any combination of distances) both days, jackets for people who complete two marathons or two half marathons over the course of the weekend, there are special shirts for those who BQ on the course (lots of downhill to flat…high percentage of BQs). And the medals are huge! There is an animal “mascot”/logo each year and participants are polled for what animal they would like to see, and then the winner is incorporated into the medal and shirt/jacket logos for the year. Amazing swag. Really love it.
So I sign up, and then realizing I’m going away for the entire weekend, ask if anyone in my circle wants to come with and run a couple of races. Naomi took the bait (hahaha)–she was looking for a half marathon anyway, and hey she also needed recovery miles on Sunday. Half marathon and 10k it is. We started planning our trip–found a hotel that met our criteria (fridge/microwave in room and hot tub) about an hours drive from the race and booked it. The race director sent multiple emails over the month or so before the race to update on details–shirts and jackets are in! Medals are in! Weather for race weekend looks great!–it was neat to have that kind of genuine and excited communication from the RD. We packed up our stuff, and headed out on Friday for packet pickup. Little did we realize (though perhaps we should have) that we were headed for Deliverance.
Two Rivers takes place across the state, in a little town called Lackawaxen, PA. Upon arrival we learned there is no cell reception there (thank goodness the GPS lasted long enough to get us there, and we remembered enough to get out). We parked at a scary looking general store (complete with “Deplorables Welcome” and “cashier is armed” signs on the door) and walked across the street to the park to get our bibs and swag for the weekend. Packet pickup was unremarkable if slightly disorganized, but hey, it’s a small low-key race, there were two people there (one doing bibs, one handling the rest of the shirts/jackets) and it’s not like there was a mob of people picking up. We helped the guy find our jackets and moved on with our lives.
Got to the hotel, checked-in, unloaded and found food, which was easy–we were staying about an hour away from the race itself. While I didn’t love having an extra hour of driving on either side of the race, given the area the race was in, I’m glad we opted to stay further out. It was worth it to have the luxuries of civilization–multiple restaurants around the hotel which made eating easier, Walmart and Target for items you might have forgotten, gas nearby for refueling, cell phone reception, etc. The extra drive was well worth having needs easily met. We came back and prepared for the Saturday events.
So Saturday morning, we’re up and at ’em early. Chilly to start, but predicted to be in the 60s by the time I’m done, so I roll sleeveless (with arm warmers) and capris. We drive the hour to the finish, and get on a bus to the start. The first half of the course (well, the first 11 miles) is beautiful rolling hills through a wooded setting along the rivers. It was really pretty. Saturday’s event is larger, so there are pacers for the full marathon (and therefore for the first 11ish miles of the half). Aid stations every two miles–they only offer water and gatorade, but on Saturday they will put anything you want at any of the aid stations for you. I kept my nutrition with me so I could be sure to have it when I needed it. The course was pretty straightforward, but well marked with consistent reliable mile markers and the few turns were called out with signs and markings on the ground. The second half of the course is out and back along the river, but much more flat, which anyone who knows me knows I struggle with. It’s totally a mental thing–I love the challenge of hills, I’m a solid hill runner, and a good downhill runner. I know how to use them to my advantage. Flats feel endless to me. I really struggled with the back half of the course. It got a little lonely since it’s a small field, though the other runners and aid station volunteers were encouraging. I still felt great physically, but mentally I struggled on the flats and it was difficult to keep myself from walking too much. That said…I stayed ahead of the 5:30 pacer until around mile 20. And I managed to pull myself together to eek out an almost 5 minute PR for my marathon time. Official time was 5:38:59.
Due to having a significant amount of elevation loss and the flat finish this course is touted for having a high percentage of Boston Qualifiers. I wasn’t last, but I was towards the back of the pack. Everything was still up for me. Some aid stations were running out of cups, but race officials did everything they could to rectify that as quickly as possible once they learned of the issue. The finish line area didn’t have much in the way of refreshments, but had a food truck that runners could get a free item from. The other notable thing about the course is that it is not closed–you are out there with cars. Most were very respectful of the runners, so I didn’t have a huge issue with this. The series also touts generous time limits–none. They’ll wait for the last runner to come in. I was really impressed with this little race series. We didn’t stick around long after on Saturday, I was ready to go shower and get food, so we headed back to the hotel and did just that. Got pizza, and enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub for a bit. Then prepped for Sunday’s fun.
Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday, except we also had to be completely out of the hotel when we left in the AM. Scrambled a little getting out, but still got to the finish to catch my bus. Naomi’s race started near the finish on Sunday so I was flying solo. I could tell that I raced on Saturday–I was sore. Which actually really made me happy. I know I could’ve pushed harder on the flat stretch, but the ache told me that I did push and I could be satisfied with that. I got to run the “fun” part of the course again for day 2. Much, much smaller field than Saturday, but still good. It was cooler on Sunday, it rained most of the race (at least for me). Despite racing a marathon the day before, I was cruising on the hills again, but I let myself walk some when I needed it–this was my “recovery” run, after all. Aid stations same as Saturday, though there were not necessarily volunteers at each. There were cups and liquids though, which was all I needed. Mile markers and course markings same as Saturday. Talked to some people out on the course that I’d been leap-frogging with for most of the race. It was a really pleasant experience, and I came in with a respectable time–2:37:23.
When I finished on Saturday I said I wouldn’t come back to double. The flat stretch got to me too much, but that the flat stretch was the only thing I didn’t like. I’ve since come to decide that I just need to work on my mental game so I’m not psyched out by flats. Probably won’t go back next year, but I will most likely go back and get a double marathon at some point, because I really enjoyed this little race series in the middle of nowhere, PA. The RD is in contact frequently. There are free race photos that will be available later this week. He was personally at the race and hands on talking to people all weekend, and is really open to suggestions on how they can improve the experience for runners. I highly recommend this little race festival–beautiful scenic course, great swag, and they are really great to the runners.