Last week was the seventh week of the marathon specific phase of my training for the First Light Marathon. Three weeks to go! I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
After a strange start to the week, a few pep talks from some of my Salty friends, my actual (IRL) friends and my coach, I finished the week off feeling stronger and more confident. After not completing any of my workouts as prescribed last week, I was basically questioning my fitness and doubting my training. I was dwelling on the workouts that didn’t go well, instead of realizing that *most* of my workouts over the course of the entire cycle have actually been really decent (good in fact). My coach pointed this out to me and suggested that I stop focusing on the missed workouts and focus on the positive ones. Fair enough. Onward and upward.
Here is what my training looked like the week of 12.18.17 – 12.24.17:
Monday – Off
I decided to take an unplanned rest day. I had an on campus training session to attend for my new job and my introduction to the world of academia left me feeling a tad overwhelmed. Asynchronous students. Grading rubrics. Oh my. I quickly learned that I have A LOT to learn (about teaching in general … I’m comfortable with the subject matter, so I guess that’s at least one positive). So yeah, at the end of the day, I was very stressed. Stress does weird things to my stomach. Keep this in mind.
Tuesday AM – Easy: 10 miles (8:48 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:23 pace)
I ran a few miles with a friend Tuesday morning and then we came back to the house and ran some more miles with my husband. About half way through the second part of the run, I started to have severe stomach pain. I slowed way down and eventually couldn’t even run. The pain was so intense that I even felt kind of dizzy. My friend was a basically a saint and ran back to our house to get the car while my husband stayed with me as I alternated between being doubled over in pain and trying to stagger my way back home.
At the time, we had no clue what was going on. I laid down in the middle of the floor for a while. Laying flat seemed to be the only position that felt okay. Eventually the pain subsided and I felt pretty much normal. So strange. I was hopeful that it was just a fluke. By the end of the day, I felt totally fine and was even able to do an easy loop with some friends.
Wednesday AM – Tempo: 8 miles (7:17 pace) + PM – Easy: 5.1 miles (8:17 pace)
My schedule called for a 1 mile warm up, a 10 mile wave tempo (alternating between 6:50-6:55 pace and 6:30-6:35 pace every half mile) and a 1 mile cool down. I met a friend at the track Wednesday morning. She was doing some 1200 repeats and we were both just happy to have some company at the track. My stomach felt totally fine … until it didn’t. It started hurting again about halfway through the tempo miles. I made it to mile 6 of 10 and had to call it a day. For whatever it’s worth, I averaged 6:53 for those 6 miles, even though I felt pretty crappy (no pun intended).
I came home and laid down in the middle of the floor again. My friend asked if I had eaten anything different from normal the last few days. Ahh! Yes. Perhaps the ice cream I was eating before bed was NOT agreeing with me. Oops. To be fair, I still think it was likely a combination of ice cream and stress. I don’t eat a ton of dairy in general and I guess it might need to stay that way. Ha.
By the end of the day, again, I felt totally fine and was able to do an easy loop with friends.
Thursday – Easy: 8 miles (8:45 pace)
I decided to skip the morning run Thursday (just in case). I ran later in the day and felt good. My legs felt a little heavy, but my stomach felt great and that was all I really cared about.
Friday – Easy: 12.5 miles (8:41 pace)
My schedule called for 12 miles with ten 30 second pickups Friday morning. I did the pickups during the last 2 miles of the run. I didn’t time them or anything and apparently I didn’t count them either, because I actually did twelve 30 second pickups instead of ten. I got an entire extra minute of work in! Such an overachiever. I know.
It was nice to feel some pop and turnover back in my stride. This was the first run since my last long run (when I paced the marathon) where I actually felt fresh.
Saturday – Long Run: 18 miles (7:37 pace)
My schedule originally called for a 24 mile long run this weekend, but after talking with my coach about it, we rearranged and modified some things. I will do my last easy-paced long run next weekend and instead of an easy-paced long run this weekend, I did 18 miles with the last 8 miles at close to goal marathon pace. Since I had to cut my wave tempo workout short earlier in the week, it made sense to add some more quality miles in during the long run this week.
Ideally this run should’ve taken place on Sunday (since I did 12 miles the day before). Not only would my legs have been a little fresher, but the weather would’ve been MUCH better as well. The temperature was in the seventies with 99% humidity on Saturday. Yuck. But seeing as how Sunday was Christmas Eve and most everyone had family plans, it just made more sense to go ahead and get the workout done Saturday. I had company for the entire run, which was amazing! Several of us met early to do 8 miles and then others joined an hour later for the last 10.
The weather definitely made those last 8 miles a bit more of a challenge, but I knew that if I could come relatively close to my goal range in those conditions, I would be happy. My splits for last eight were 6:51, 6:47, 6:49, 6:49, 6:58, 6:52, 7:46 (big hill) and 6:58, for an average of 6:58. The hill at mile 17 crushed me a little bit, but I was pleased that I was able to at least get it back down under 7 minute pace for the last mile after that. It just so happens that there is a rather large hill at mile 17 of the First Light course as well and so if nothing else, this was excellent race-day simulation.
Sunday – Easy: 6.5 miles (8:26 pace)
I ended the week with a fun little Christmas Eve group run.
Total – 73.1 miles
Merry Christmas Salty friends!