Mango’s training log 7.23.17 and 7.30.17

These were weeks 5 and 6 of an 18-week marathon plan. It’s starting to ramp up now and get into the 40s in mileage this past week! As a Completely Average Runner, I get to peak at 50 mpw (which, being a completely average runner, still takes me no small amount of time) :)

Week ending July 23

Monday – ~7 miles (?) with 6 at tempo. My Garmin went crazy midway through this run and started beeping for laps when I was neither hitting a mile or pushing the lap button, so I turned it off midway and winged it. Luckily I was on a familiar route so I knew the distance! I know I definitely did 6 at tempo effort and a half-mile warmup; not sure how long the cooldown was because I was shuffling it.

Tuesday – Solo parenting, work was busy, life was busy, winged it, 30 minutes pool running.

Wednesday – 6.5 miles with 6 at tempo on the treadmill

Thursday – late afternoon: 4 miles easy

I actually ran without a shirt for once. It did not feel especially empowering, revolutionary, life-changing, or otherwise different from running with a tank top on. It did feel slightly cooler, but then, being the chronic worrier that I am, I worried about exposing a greater surface area to UV rays and then I worried about waist-belt chafe.

Friday – early AM: 2.5 miles easy with stroller (basically part II of Thursday’s easy run and then a rest day). Evening: flew to Cleveland to hang out with Salty, Cinnamon, Bergie, Ginger, and Pumpkin!

Kicking back after a long workday, before the flight

Saturday – 8 miles

Sunday – 10 miles: not ideal but we ran out of time, and 10 miles after an 8-miler the day before definitely counts, I decided, as cumulative fatigue. Spent the afternoon with my friend and her new baby! Flew home in the evening.

Week ending July 30

Monday – rest

I meant to do a tempo run today because I ‘always’ do my workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays! BUT: Life happens, work happens, scheduling conflicts happen, hormonal stresses happen. So I took a rest day, and it was totally fine.

I think there’s no such thing as 100% compliance with a training plan prescription, so the best plan for you is the one that maximises compliance. I’m not a machine; I can’t just write down all the numbers or mileage goals or workouts for each day of the week and then go ahead and crush them. Neither can I just wing it day to day.  That’s why I love the current training plan I have – the coach who wrote it said ‘go ahead and switch days around each week as you need to’.  It certainly maximises my compliance.

Tuesday – 7 easy miles in the AM, 3 easy PM because the weather was so nice and I was feeling strong (which always happens the first week of my period, because both estrogen and progesterone are low! )

Wednesday – 2.75 easy with stroller, 2.75 easy solo after daycare drop-off

Thursday – 7 as progression run, met arbitrary goal of all miles under 10:00 except mile 2 (goose poop and I stopped to stretch a grumpy ITB), last 2 miles at 9:04 and 8:10 (! wait what?), myrtls

Friday – 5.5 easy

Saturday – 14 long run

Sunday – 30 min spin bike and glute strength work – was supposed to be easy run but my ankle was still unusually sore from long run

Mango’s training log 7.16.17

Week 4 of 18. Motto for this week: just keep showing up.

The first month of marathon training is always exciting. It’s a thrill, like starting the first page in a new notebook, or perhaps getting your calendar organised for a new year. (Fine, I was a nerd.) But then five different teachers announce their first quizzes of the school year, give you 250 pages of reading, and assign two papers all at once, and the semester begins to lose its shine. Well, I can tell you that the end of week 4 in an 18-week training cycle is when you realise, oh, I have to settle in for the long haul. Sort of like mile 6-7 of a marathon. Man, it’s a good thing I actually like to run.

Monday – speedwork on treadmill. Warmup, cooldown, 8x 5min @ 8:00 mile pace with 2min walking/ jogging recovery; total 6.5 miles. This was a pretty satisfying speed workout: a little more mental toughness in the bank.

+ lots of sitting on the porcupine ball

Tuesday – 5 miles easy

Wednesday – 4.5 miles easy with stroller. I was supposed to do 6 tempo today but I got to Wednesday and decided my legs needed an extra day to recover, so what do I do on Thursday but…

Thursday – 10min cycling warmup + lifting. A sure sign that I haven’t been keeping up with my #extrasalt – I was sore for two days after repeatedly lifting weights only a bit heavier than my son. (How does that even work? I lift him all the time.) Gym session was followed by 40 minutes of tempo-effort pool running. I figured I’d try this since I was going to the gym anyway and didn’t really want to do my tempo in a thunderstorm…

…and then my Timex expired. Pool running was the last straw. RIP; those were some good times.

Friday – AM 2.5 easy with stroller, PM 2.5 back and forth to lunch. I felt like I was waddling; my legs were still sore.

Saturday – 13 miles with miles 10-12 speeded up (9:20, 9:40, 9:58) and then back to ambling mile 13.

Sunday – rest

Currently reading: The World According to Star Wars, by Cass Sunstein.

Currently eating: Chocolate ice cream with a…ahem, generous sprinkling of chocolate chips.

I Don’t Have A Running Tribe, And That’s OK

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

I don’t have a running tribe: no running mentors, no #runnergirlgang, no best running friends. I have no matching motivational wrap bracelets, no cute “mother runner” slogan t-shirts, no wings, no hashtags.

You see it all over Instagram or Facebook, or maybe Strava lets you know four or five people went on a run together. Group runs with a coffee stop afterwards. Group-runs-with-the-stroller-plus-playdates-afterwards. A standing Friday morning run date with a training partner. I just don’t have that.

And that’s all right with me.

Read more >>

Mango’s training log 7.9.17

Week 3 of 18 for Baystate. Motto for this week: consistency, consistency, consistency.

I went back and looked at my old training logs for the last two marathons I did (Perth, in August 2013, and Gold Coast, in July 2014). I was nominally using the Hansons beginner plan, but not really adhering properly to it, and my peak mileage was maybe 45 miles due to work and…seriously, a 2.5-week trip to Italy in the middle of one cycle. Seriously.

But now I’ve been running consistently (like 20-30 miles a week), trained for three half marathons in the last year (May 2016, October 2016, May 2017), and actually run 5 half marathons (May 16, Oct 16, Nov 16, March 17, May 17, some as training runs for the others)…so maybe this round I’ll be somewhat more prepared for a full marathon? Something like that?

Monday – AM: 4 miles easy with stroller. PM: track with the group. 2 mi warmup, 3(1200,400). Total for the day: 9 miles

Tuesday – 3.2 miles easy with stroller. We went to a northern Massachusetts farm in the morning for some end-of-season strawberries, and had to drive 45 minutes back. Uh-oh! Any time the kiddo has a car ride after 10am, he takes a mini nap that ruins his real one. Inevitably, he took a 30-minute car nap. 1pm rolled around, and still no real nap. 2pm…no nap. So in the heat of the day, I loaded up the stroller, slathered us with sunscreen, and took the kiddo for a run…all the way to the ice cream shop. Happy Fourth of July!

one for the bucket… one for the mouth…one for the bucket…

Wednesday – Warmup, cooldown, 5 miles tempo: 8:58, 9:12, 8:48, 9:22, 9:14. Tempo runs are HARD, y’all. Total 6 miles

Thursday – Ran with Caraway who was visiting from out of town! (Thank goodness for flexible hours so I can do things like this; I tend to make it all up at night, which suits me fine.)
Original plan: run downtown to meet her, run 3 miles, run home. Got stuck doing work. Made up new plan: take the T downtown to meet her, run a bit, run home. Then I was stuck on the world’s slowest bus and there were delays on the T (oh, Boston). Ran downtown to meet her, ran 3 more miles, took the T back and ran to daycare pickup for a total of 6 miles.

Friday – rest

Saturday – long run, 12 miles.

seen on my run: sunrise over the reservoir

Sunday – unplanned rest day, because I honestly needed that extra hour of sleep more than I needed a few easy miles today; we went to the beach in the morning and then to a toddler birthday party in the afternoon.

Total: 36.2 miles, which is a nice gentle ramp-up for me instead of trying to jump straight into 40+ miles a week.
Yes, the 0.2 mile does not drive me crazy. I’m a Type A in life and a Type B in running.

Currently reading: Commencement, about the friendship between four young women during and after college. The characters sometimes tell, not show, rather clumsily, but it’s not terrible. Unfortunately I saw the ‘reveal’ coming from a mile away, but it was a sufficiently entertaining summer read; I especially enjoyed how spot-on the portraits were, and how exactly the book captured the sense of dislocation that college freshmen experience.

Currently listening to: Cape Francis, ‘Iditarod’

Currently eating: Homemade strawberry shortcake, using that Fourth of July haul

Mango’s training log 7.2.17

Baystate Marathon log, week 2 of 18

This week’s log is short and sweet. My legs are beginning to adapt to the rise in mileage. I say this now, but in a few more weeks I have 49 miles on the schedule and then I will be grumpy, sweaty, hangry, and sore (just missing a few dwarves here to round out the full complement).

Monday – off

Tuesday – Track. Warmup, 2×400, 2×800, 2×1600, 2×800, 2×400. Let’s be honest, I only finished this because it was on my training plan. This is not the sort of workout one prescribes oneself, at least if one is not a masochist.

Splits: 1:56, 1:53, 3:49, 3:48, 8:11, 8:24 (here you begin to see me getting grumpy and giving up), 4:07, 4:10 (pause here, as the sky became very dark and lightning crackled suddenly in a way that suggested I should not be out on a great big open space…like a track), 1:56 (mad dash home), 2:06 (final 400 completed on treadmill next to a very surprised woman on the elliptical). Total 6 miles.

and then I put my legs up for a well-deserved break

Wednesday – 5.5 miles easy

Thursday – warmup, cooldown, 5 miles tempo really struggling with paces. 9:03, 9:28, 9:06, 9:55 (traffic light), 9:21. Total 6.5 miles.

Friday – 5 miles easy

live easy, run easy, take photos from and of all the bridges when it’s glorious out

Saturday – 11 miles that went by faster (mentally) because I went haring off exploring a new route. Up hills, down hills, into a new and much greener part of the city that I hadn’t known existed, along a river, a slightly hairy highway crossing, around America’s first ‘rural’ cemetery (Mt Auburn), and home. I ran at 6am but the humidity was already at Singapore levels, the sort of weather where you break a sweat before leaving the house. I still can’t fathom people who run, voluntarily, at midday or late afternoon in the summer…

Sunday – 2.8 miles total, stroller, in 3 parts, kind of like a symphony (you know, four movements) that was missing its allegro, because my legs were once again dead.

Total – 36.8 miles

Currently reading/ listening to:

Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks, which is this glorious book that rambles across England and Scotland and Ireland and Wales collecting stories and old forgotten nature-words

Modern Necropolis on the podcast 99% Invisible, in which I learned why people began to move cemeteries out of the city (churchyards, hillsides, etc) into their own separate spaces. In Boston, a city so old it predates the original Brexit by nearly a century and a half, you can still see historic burial grounds right downtown, next to the local churches and chapels. Later, epidemics of disease and a general sense that being so close to the dead was unsanitary forced burial grounds out of the city and into more rural areas.

Mango’s training log 6.18.17 and 6.25.17

or, Marathon Training for the Completely Average Runner

I fully realise what day it is. Pretty far from June 25, is what. Sorry about that…

I’ve been, in the past, resistant to either a structured training plan or to working with a coach beyond a running-group situation. What, little old me? I’m not remotely fast enough to deserve personal coaching. There’s so much low-hanging fruit – if I ran more, slept more, or ate better, I’d be faster.

Truth is, as a working parent, I need a PLAN to run more, or to really capture any of that low-hanging fruit at all. I don’t want to have to think about how far or how fast I have to run on any given day. I want to look at the plan and just go. I have enough to think about already: from weekend social plans and longer-term work travel and vacation planning, to whether daycare needs an extra shirt or sun hat, to meals and grocery shopping for the week, to the status of client projects at any given time. (Who says parents make bad employees? We’re masters of logistics and problem-solving. And we get sh*t done.) I don’t want to be out there second-guessing myself or thinking ‘Maybe I don’t have time for 7 miles today, how about 5?’ and then short-changing myself and stressing out about making it up on the weekend.

So, I’m outsourcing my marathon thinking to one of my running-group coaches; she’s given me a fairly detailed and sensible-looking plan, with instructions to switch things around as needed (but not run hard two days in a row, duh), and some apparently very ambitious paces. (Yes, I already told her I have no marathon time goals!) What’s the worst that could come of it? If I manage to stick to the plan and go into the race feeling more prepared, so much the better.

Anyway, June 12 to 18 was a down week before marathon training really kicked in.

Monday June 12 – Track. 2 mi warmup, 3 (800, 1200) at 8:10ish pace. Total 6 miles.
Tuesday – off
Wednesday – 8 mi easy
Thursday – warmup, cooldown, 3 miles at 8:40-9:00 pace. Total 5 miles.
Friday to Sunday – not a single step. We went to my 10-year college reunion, where there was lots of catching up with old friends and making new ones, food, sunshine, kid-chasing, other-people’s-dog-patting, beer, and ice cream.

Total: 19 miles

Week ending June 25 – week 1 of 18 and probably the toughest week of the 18! Motto this week: survival mode.

This was just hard all round. I was solo parenting this week, and had to squeeze in all my workouts (speed, tempo, long run) during daycare hours. Easy runs could be done with or without the stroller, whichever. I had calls for work most mornings so running right after daycare drop-off was out of the question; I wound up doing a few mid-afternoon runs and a few hiding in the gym on the treadmill, which is a last resort for me but at least it’s convenient and efficient.

More coffee please.

Monday – warmup, cooldown, 8×800 at 7:55-8:20/mi pace. Coach didn’t specify a rest or recovery interval, so I improvised: 2 minutes of walking in between reps. (She later suggested equal rest or recovery. I do not plan that well – see above – and therefore never have time for that.) Done at 2pm on treadmill. Total 6 miles.

Tuesday – easy 5 miles

Wednesday – warmup, cooldown, 3 tempo miles at 8:30-8:50 (ran by effort – it was hot). Total 4 miles.

Thursday – rest!!!!

Friday – Long run. Had to split this: 4 AM, 6 PM. Again, hot (30C/ 86F) and humid – I went by pure effort. By Thursday morning I’d run 15 miles and slept roughly the same number of hours, so on Friday morning I woke up almost too exhausted to move. I did a quick stock-take: Tired? Yes. Injured or about to be? No. After daycare drop-off I hauled myself out for 4 miles and actually felt much better by the end. The afternoon 6 miles that had to be accomplished before daycare pickup and a playdate, though…that run left me questioning my life decisions.

Saturday – strength workout and impromptu easy 4.5 miles to and from the splash pad in the afternoon.

Sunday – easy 4, in small pieces, with friends. My Strava is veritably littered with weird short runs on easy days and weekends. 1.5 miles to the subway station. 2.5 miles back and forth on a bike trail with a friend, and then afterwards our kids played together…and then I still had to get back home from the subway station after that playdate. And so on, and so forth. Legs: toast.

Total: 33.5 miles

Women Runtrepreneurs — Meet Charmaine Donaldson of Run Amok

Charmaine Donaldson is a woman of many talents: originally trained as a vet, she wrangles a veritable menagerie, makes dance, skating and gymnastics costumes, bakes astonishing cakes, has raised three grown sons, has a cheeky sense of humor, and runs, of course. But it’s her activewear business, Run Amok, that’s been her focus for the past two years.

The Queensland, Australia sport costume designer made herself a few pairs of running tights, people started asking where she got them, and ta-da! Run Amok was born. Since then, Run Amok has built a modest online presence on its website and Instagram and been picked up by the Intraining running stores in Brisbane.

In this interview, Charmaine tells us how running helped her smile through some difficult life challenges and gain the confidence to do big scary things, and how she hopes a pair of bright, bold high-performance tights can help other runners do the same. Read more >>

Mango’s training log 6.11.17

I have, I think, a bit of a summer-training secret weapon. I’m a complete wimp about cold weather, a nervous Nellie when I run in slush and snow, and the worst at wind sprints, emphasis on the wind. But I do know how to deal with heat and humidity. And here’s my secret… *drumroll* : I’m just resigned to being a soggy puddle within 10 minutes of stepping out for a run.

That’s it. Full stop. The rest is common sense. Freeze your handheld water bottle, take in electrolytes on the run, stuff ice in your bra or bandana, wear sunscreen and a hat, run before dawn. The secret is there is no secret. The secret is that what you’re really training is your mental toughness. Remind yourself: fall PRs are forged in the summer heat.

In high school, we’d often have PE classes and sports practice at 8.30am or 4.30pm. After the morning PE sessions, we’d all change and have to trudge off to class, still perspiring long after the running was done. (Don’t get me started on enduring a classroom full of sweaty teenage boys!) There was no secret then, either. You just endure.

I’m often tempted to compare my summer-pace self to my winter-pace self. Part of me still believes deep down that this is my real fitness level and that in the winter I’m just getting a cold-weather discount. Most people believe the inverse, that their winter self represents their true fitness level and they’re just slapped with a summer ‘heat tax’. Neither is quite accurate…

But my intent for this summer is ‘Run the season you’re in’. And that’s not just summer or winter, but also the stage of life you’re in, whether you feel up for a few sustained seasons of challenging and competing with yourself, or are pregnant but still want to jump into some fun races, or if you have other work, family and life commitments. Don’t compare yourself this season to yourself in another time. Just run the season you’re in. So – here we are.

This was a much lighter week than usual because of weekend fun plans and because I needed some rest.

 

Monday – Recovery after Sunday’s 5K. 2 miles on treadmill, 2 on elliptical = about 45 minutes.
Tuesday – off, started on my summer reading pile


Wednesday – 4.5 miles out and back to the grocery store. 0.75 mile walk home.
Thursday – 4 miles easy
Friday – 4 miles easy in the morning (11:00ish pace) – 2 miles with a friend, got home, kiddo was awake, 2 miles with him in stroller at his request!
Friday afternoon was my only time this weekend that I could possibly have done my long(er…ish) run, but by Friday afternoon I was toast. Skipped the long run. No regrets.
Saturday – off for an idyllic toddler-paced Cape Cod day: breakfast at a bakery, trails, petting all the dogs, seeing the seals at the aquarium, nap, ice cream, and beach, with a stop at a pub for dinner on the way home.

Beach day!

Sunday – Warmup + 1 mile in a 26.2×1 relay on the track. 7:13 (insta-PR – the last time I raced a mile was 5th grade). By late morning it was 34 degrees C/ 93F. Scorcher. We had to sneak out because the kiddo was under the weather and grumpy (isn’t cold season over yet?). I’m never there for the group photo any more, but I am there.

 

The next marathon training cycle begins for me next week (the week of the 18th). I’m trying not to psych myself out. I actually registered for the marathon the other day. Stuff just got real.

Mango’s Pre-Baystate Marathon Training Log 6.4.17

Marathon Training For the Totally Average Runner

When we left off, I’d just run the Providence half marathon, which ended up being my second fastest half ever! After that, I took a week off running. Not because I’d pushed myself very hard at Providence, but just for a mental change of pace. Then I eased back into running whenever and wherever I wanted, and right now I’m getting my bum back into gear and building a base for my next marathon training cycle. I’ll be doing the Baystate Marathon, a small, flat and ferociously well-organised local race, and marathon training starts June 19!

I’m starting to develop some strategies for getting the miles in.

  • First of all, I have a regular 5-miler that is my bread and butter, my baseline don’t-think-just-go route. It’s boring, but there are few stoplights and I know where all the water stops are. If I had to, I could run multiple loops.
  • Next, killing multiple birds with one stone, I’ve decided to run with the toddler every time he wakes us (me) up before 6am. He’s awake? Throw on some clothes, hand him some toast and string cheese, pop him in the stroller, and go. That way I often get a good 3 or 4 easy miles and quality toddler time before 7am and he gets some fresh air and outdoor time. I like to invite friends for some extra accountability should the kiddo not wake early.
  • And then, I’m going to try to commit to track every week, usually Monday night if not Wednesday. You’ll see all of these in my summer training logs: some days will say ‘AM stroller 3 miles, PM track workout’, and so on. You’ll see a lot of double days, but at least one of those runs will be easy. And when I rest, I rest.

Anywho, here you go. My training log for the week ending June 4. Or…

I Ran A 5K On No Training* And The Result Was Surprising!

* Oh, yeah. I’m still running. Like 25 miles a week. I just wasn’t trained specifically for a 5K. What do you mean, that’s clickbait?

Monday – off. Memorial Day hanging out with friends and munchkins at the local children’s farm.
Tuesday – AM: 3 miles with stroller. PM: 2.8 more miles of errand-run.
Wednesday – off
Thursday – 5 miles. Legs felt completely flat, bleh.
Friday – AM: 2.4 miles with stroller and a friend. PM: 3.8 miles with errands tacked on.
Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – 2 miles warmup to race start, 5K race, 1.9 miles home.

We ran the Cambridge Freedom Run 5K with some friends and their kids; the dads lined up in back and pushed strollers while the moms found a spot a little further up front. I gave the munchkin a kiss for good luck and threaded my way through the crowd up to the 8:00/mi corral.

I went out sort of hard, trying to temper it by chatting with a friend. I’d never actually run with her before so I didn’t realise exactly how fast she was…and then she picked up after the first mile and zoomed off! Accidental PR (24:23), a 10s/mile improvement from my previous best – that was a nice present! I do feel fitter now than when I ran my previous PR in early 2014, so I’m not completely surprised, but I had no real expectations for the race.

Yes, I am clutching my phone like a total twerp because I originally thought I was going to stash it in a stroller pocket. And then I didn’t want to short it out by stuffing it in my bra.

Total: 32 miles