Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NYC: checking in half-way there

Oh hello!  It seems as if I've done a poor job of keeping up with my weekly recaps...or anything remotely related to blogging the past few months.  I got my recap of week 1 up, started my recap of week 2....that turned into a recap of weeks 2 and 3.....and here I am checking in 7 weeks later.

I am still running NYC (booked my flights last week!) and have been training.  One thing I realized is that I've never really trained hard during the summer.  I've obviously run when it was hot outside, but not week after week of long runs, speed work, tempo runs, and daily runs in the heat and humidity.  I ran Chicago last year, but we were in northern Michigan for July and most of August where the temps were cooler and the humidity was low.  Then I had to take some time off due to a hip injury when we got back to Arkansas and didn't start running again until it had cooled off here.  The year before that, we got the boys and I wasn't training for anything specific or doing speed work or long runs.  And beyond that, my training intensity was pretty low.

So what does all of that mean?  It means that this training cycle has been tough and it is probably the hardest training cycle I have had since I increased the intensity of my training (but maybe once you do that, every training cycle feels like the hardest one yet?).  We were at the Jersey shore for July and most of August where it was great beach weather, but there were some hot and humid runs...and some of the earliest runs I've ever done outside.  Then we got back to Arkansas and, well, it's Arkansas....I'm sure fall weather is on its way, but it hasn't gotten here yet and it's HOT.   It hasn't been the most confidence-boosting training cycle and I've had times when I feared that I lost speed and when I had to work harder to find the motivation to complete the harder workouts.  But I continuously remind myself that it's the effect of the heat and humidity and that pushing through it will help me push through things when it gets tough on race day....and that the weather will (hopefully) be much better on race day.  And if that didn't work, I would just snuggle with my favorite little people.

I'm really happy to have moved on from speed work to the marathon specific phase where I'm doing a lot of work at my marathon goal pace.  I normally enjoy speed work, but it simply was not enjoyable for me this time around and the fact that I normally enjoy it and see success in it made it more frustrating.   My goal pace runs go take more effort than it should at times, but I remind myself that I'm doing it on tired legs and in the heat - neither of which will be present on race day.  When I look back over the last 12 months, it's by far the most consistent I've ever been.

There are a few other good things occurring in this training cycle.  I just finished my second consecutive week of 50+ miles and am slated to peak at a higher weekly mileage than I hit in my last cycle.  I ran my first 20 miler this past weekend after running 8 miles with 6 at goal pace the day before and felt surprisingly good for an easy 5 miles the following day.   Working with Kristy has also been really good for me.  There have definitely been times when I would've moved things around or justified skipping a run, but being accountable to someone else has kept me honest :)  It has also been really valuable to have an outsider's insight.

8 weeks down, 8 weeks to go!

Who else is training for a fall race and how has your training been affected by the weather?

Would you rather train through a hot summer or a cold winter? (I'd take a cold winter!) 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NYC: week 1

It's here...training for NYC has officially started.  I still have chills about running this and am so excited to start training again.  We were in Michigan for the first half of the summer and had unseasonably cool weather.  While that wasn't ideal for the beach, it was great for running.  We are in New Jersey now and have the opposite....ideal beach weather, but not-so-ideal running weather.   I have been catching up to get acclimated as quickly as possible.

This was also the first week of my officially being coached by Kristy and I could already see a difference.  It was more difficult to fit my runs in this week and the weather made two of the workouts more challenging.  Being accountable to someone else helped me stay honest and kept me from justifying changes that I may have snuck in otherwise :)

Monday: 3 miles easy (9:41 avg pace) and strides

Kick-off to marathon training with a low and slow 3 miler!

Brian had a doctor's appointment that afternoon and I went with him.  My godparents were visiting, so they were on babysitting duty with my parents....and I think they all loved every minute of it :)

Tuesday: 4 miles easy (9:45 avg pace)

I got up to do this one before the boys woke up and then we went out to a late breakfast with my parents and godparents that morning.  We took the boys to the beach that afternoon and when we got back, my brother had arrived.  So we had my godparents, parents, and one of my brothers all together - that hasn't happened since Brian and I got married (6 years ago!).

Wednesday: warm-up, 10 x 400 @ 7:15 pace/1:48 (8 miles total)

Well this one was a doozy.  I got up early to do this before the boys woke up, but it was already really soupy out.  It was also my first time doing speed work since before Bayshore....and I was mentally distracted by what the day had in store.  So who knows the reason, but I didn't come close to hitting a 7:15 pace.  My splits looked like this: 7:34, 7:34, 7:43, 8:00, 7:38, 7:53, 8:23, no data (I didn't hit the lap button), 7:49, 8:04.  

Brian had knee surgery that afternoon.  We were on a run together the previous Monday and something happened - he came to a sudden stop and we walked the rest of the way.  That happened two days before we left Michigan and he was in significant pain.   We got him set up for an MRI when right after we landed in Philly and he saw an orthopedist my parents know the next day.   It looked like he had torn his meniscus and we decided to stay here and have the surgery.  The surgery went great and was a huge success!  Turns out, there was only a small tear, but the major issue was a build-up of plica that was rubbing on the knee and had to be removed (ironically, the same thing I had knee surgery for in 2011).  It was a long day, but he showed incredible strength and made me proud.  

Thursday: off

Friday was my scheduled off day, but I swapped it for Thursday.  When we're away over the summers, Brian and I take turns watching the boys while one of us runs, but we had to adjust to a whole new morning routine on Thursday and I was not prepared to do that and fit in my run :) 

Thursday was a tough day for Brian, but he managed to get out that night for his first walk!

Friday: 3 miles easy (9:53 avg pace) and strides

Short and sweet and I got it done before anyone in the house was awake and was home in time to get the boys up, Brian taken care of, and breakfast for us and the boys.  

Saturday: 1 warm-up, 4 @ 8:35, 1 cool-down

Pace-work runs are my favorite (along with long runs) and I felt good about this one. My splits were 8:32, 8:33, 8:36, 8:36.  I did an out-and-back route and ran against wind on the last half....so I suppose I ran with wind on the front-end (although I didn't know it at the time).

Sunday: 13 miles easy (9:37 avg pace)

This was just plain hard.  I learned from my long run the previous week and I brought money with me to stop for drinks, but I relearned other standard rules when doing long runs at the shore during the summer: get out there early and wear a visor and/or sunglasses.  I didn't want to ask my parents to wake up as early as they would need to in order to get the boys up, so I convinced myself that I could get the boys up and fed and get out by 8:00 and still be okay since I didn't have any pace-specific miles and I would bring plenty to drink.....wrong.  It was humid, the dew point was super high, there is no shade at the shore, and it was pretty miserable.  But I got it done.  And I have already ordered sunglasses and a visor for this weekend's long run....learning curve, people.

I know Brian would love to run and I know what it feels like to watch others run when you can't.  So he has been in the back of my mind all week when I was fighting the heat and humidity on my runs, it's part of what kept me going when I wanted to stop.  Perspective is a good thing :)

Total mileage: 37

What type of runs are your favorite - long, easy, speed work, pace-work?   How do you get through times when you can't run?  Would you rather train through the summer or the winter? Pin It

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Catching up, a new coach, & what's next

Oh hi there!  So it's been awhile....it always feels as if it should be easier to keep up with things in the summer and that I would have more time....yet, despite having a less demanding schedule and having Brian around more, I typically find the opposite is true.  Especially this summer with how active the boys are (and how much less they nap)!

We left Fayetteville in May and headed to Michigan to spend some time with Brian's family and introduced the boys to the lake life.  We got to the Jersey shore last week to see my family and are getting them acquainted with the waves now.  The boys love the beach....and apparently I have always under-estimated how much fun throwing rocks into water is :)  

Last time I checked in was my Bayshore marathon recap.  Things have gone well since then.  I took the week following the marathon off and then started picking my mileage back up and including a moderate long run.  However I officially start training for NYC tomorrow and I am so happy to be back in a training cycle!  I love having a structured training program.  

NYC is my big focus right now.  I am going to start working with a new coach for this cycle and I couldn't be more excited.  Kristy is a friend of mine (we graduated a year apart from the same undergrad, but 'met' through our blogs) and has been coaching Brian for over a year.  I have observed her style from the sidelines and am really excited to have someone else coach me instead of coaching myself.  I find I always put so much thought into the training plans for my clients and the decisions I need to make for them are black and white, but I end up constantly second guessing decisions I need to make for myself and not spending as much time planning it out.  So I am looking forward to being accountable to someone else and having someone else to sort through all of my second guessing with :)  

My biggest goal right now is to qualify for Boston before next year's registration.   However, I don't expect to qualify at NYC and I am not going to go into the race with that goal.  I will probably only run this race once and, more than anything, I want to enjoy the experience and not get too wrapped up in a specific finish time.   I haven't picked anything out yet, but I plan to run a late winter/early spring race and I hope I'll be ready to give a BQ a shot at that point.

I also plan (hope!) to keep up with regular weekly recaps again, I always enjoy doing it and am thankful for the documentation and reflection on my training.

How much time do you take off after big races?  Do you prefer to be in a training cycle or just going by what you feel like running?  How do you like to document your training?

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