Caraway’s Vacation & July Berlin Marathon Training Log

Hello! It’s been awhile since my last training log. What have I been up to? Well, we had a lovely two-week vacation in the German Alps: lots of hiking, swimming, running, food, and beer. Then, I spent most of July dealing with frequent migraines. I usually get them every few months, but suddenly I seemed to be having them all the time (which is, of course, a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it was all the time). This was unpleasant and anxiety-producing, and the migraine hangover seemed to last longer every time. As I type this, it’s been 10 days since the last one, so maybe the phase is over? I don’t know. But I’m not here to whine, I’m here to tell you about my training, which has been going ok despite all the headaches.

Vacation was fantastic! I even followed my training plan for the first vacation week, but noticed that my legs were getting extremely tired and heavy from all the hiking and hills. The second vacation week I ran a bit less, but hiked a bit more, so we’ll just say it was “heavy on the cross-training” and call it good.

Vacation, Week 1, aka F YEAH ALL THE MILEZZZZ, June 19th-25th:

This week started off great with a 9.5-mile out & back in 50 degree rainy weather in the woods outside of Munich. Wheee! The next day, up in the Alps, I ran 11 miles. Yeah, those are some big hills, actually. Beautiful, but ouch. Here is a photo of where I ran. I had to run almost 2 miles uphill to get here, and was sore the next day, but the view was worth it!

The Isar river not far from its source in Austria.
The Isar river not far from its source in Austria.

We did lots of hiking and swimming in mountain lakes. Because I don’t learn, I got in another medium-long run of 10 miles up yet more big hills (gosh, who would’ve thought that would be really painful?), a fartlek, and an easy jog.

Total: 41 miles.

Vacation, Week 2, aka: Let’s just do a beer run. June 26th-July 2nd.

This week started with pouring rain on Sunday! Skipped the run and drove to a weird castle built by a crazy Bavarian prince who never talked to anyone and liked to pretend he was Louis the 14th. Stopped at a monastery on the way back for delicious beer and a plate of Käsespätzle (basically mac & cheese, only European and thus more sophisticated) the size of a truck wheel. Monday we hiked for about 3 hours, and I did a short 5-mile out & back in the afternoon, followed by a migraine. Oh, good. The next day I still felt a bit woozy and light-sensitive, but figured an easy 7-miler couldn’t hurt. Ended up with another post-run migraine.

Random Bavarian castle.

I took the rest of the week pretty easy with short jogs, but lots of hiking. There was a short interlude of “oh my god I’ll never finish the marathon” panic, and the strong feeling that if you’re only going to run three miles, you might as well just sit on the balcony and drink beer instead.

Total: 26 miles.

July 3-9: Post-vacation angst

As other Salties have noted, this was just not a great week. The news from the U.S. was terribly sad and some of the conversations/reactions on social media just so depressing. I slept poorly and had full-on insomnia on a couple of nights. Running was uninspired this week, with a so-so out & back on Sunday followed by a not-long-at-all run of 8 miles on Monday. There was also a medium-long run (11 miles), fartlek, two shorter jogs, and some Pilates.

Total: About 38 miles.

July 10-16: Miles & migraines

I started this week with a 9-mile out & back that felt hot, but fine. As I was stretching afterwards, a migraine aura set in. !”§§$&$/%$!!!!! Spent the rest of the day in bed. Felt weak and tired on Monday, but managed a very slow 12 miler followed by a killer headache, though no aura so I don’t know if it was technically a migraine or just my body going “dude, wtf?” It’s hard to admit “defeat” and not do a planned run, but I really need to just take the day after a migraine off. My body is obviously not recovered yet the next day, even if the pain is gone. I started to get very anxious and a bit depressed about the migraine situation because it felt so out of my control: why so many, suddenly? Is this going to be the new normal? Because I’m not sure I can deal with that. I did have a really nice medium-long run this week – 10.5 miles through the woods on the way to work – where my legs felt great. Plus all the usual fartleks, jogs, bodyweight strength training and Pilates.

Total: 44 miles

July 17-23: Caraway Finally Goes To The Damn Doctor

Started the week with a race-as-workout: 13.7 km on an out & back course. No, I do not know why they didn’t just make it 14. It was fun to run with lots of other people for a change. This race always seems to attract an older crowd, which I love because #lifegoals. Some of those guys in the M75 age group can really tear up a racecourse. The weather was not too hot but 90% humidity and drizzling: not my fave. Pre-race I had some (in hindsight) hubris about whether I would run slow enough to meet my workout goal and avoid beating up my legs with too much speed. Haha! Turns out that when you’ve run 44 miles in the preceding seven days, this is not a thing you have to worry about. At least not if you’re me. I ran the pace prescribed in my training plan and tried not to get all drama-queeny about the fact that it was a personal worst for this race.

The next day I went out for my long run and felt fine until 40 minutes in, when a migraine aura started taking over my field of vision. AAAAGGGGGHHHH. This time it took two days for me to feel normal again. I went to my GP (general practitioner) later in the week for some advice. He said that while we’ll have to keep on eye on this migraine thing, it’s not yet dire enough that he would suggest seeing a neurologist. He prescribed a new triptan medication that I’ve been carrying around everywhere, which of course means I haven’t needed it yet. Runningwise, I had a slow, hot 11-miler on the Thursday, a hill workout, and the usual assortment of jogs, fartleks, strength training and Pilates.

Total: 42 miles

July 24-30: A good week!

Did going to the doctor give me some sort of psychosomatic anti-migraine boost? I don’t know, but this week was astonishingly free of headaches, visual disturbances, and other unpleasantness. And it marked the start of a new phase in my Lydiard-based Running Wizard training plan: Intervals! The week started with a 7.5 mile “progress calibration run,” which is just another term for out & back/high-end aerobic run. These will be getting faster every week from now until the marathon. The next day’s 15-miler felt colossally slow, but it was reassuring to finally reach the 2.5-hour maximum long run length. Took the next two days really easy and foam-rolled a lot, and then did my first interval workout of the season on Thursday. The plan called for 7x1km; I made it to 6 km and decided that was probably enough for now. The next day my legs were a little sore, but two days later they felt good again. Saturday I jogged for 25 minutes in the morning to loosen up, and then did a 10k race in the evening with my husband and a friend. It was a beautiful night to run through the streets of Berlin. I ran a tiny bit faster than the prescribed pace for the Progress Calibration Run on my training plan, and felt stronger and faster than I have in a very long time.

Total: 44 miles

I'm a 41-year-old living in Berlin, Germany. I run because I can't not run. I write about training, mental training, momming, and the odd rant.

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