August was a whirlwind of a month; I’d been apprehensively peeking at my calendar the whole summer trying not to think too hard about how busy I’d be. Before I knew it, July ended and off we went, starting off by running the Cascade Lakes Relay the first weekend. I sent my 11-year-old son off on a solo flight to his grandparents’ house the day before my husband and I left on our 216-mile running adventure, leaving our 4-year-old and dog at home with my mom.
Eleven years ago today, I had no idea that in 24 hours my entire world would be obliterated; broken into a million pieces by my husband’s unexpected and sudden suicide, leaving me and our seven-month-old son in a reality that I did not want to be conscious of. The days, months, and years that followed were the darkest of my life, and there are still long stretches of time I do not remember.
Today, I ran and my mind wrestled again with the memories and feelings that always reemerge this time of year. Happier memories surface more as the years go by, thankfully, but so do the rock bottom ones … moments where I’d stare at my nursing son and know that if not for his needing me, I would choose to not be anymore. Today I ran alone in the woods, along the river in the hot afternoon sun as a steady breeze cooled me. Why do I run? Why does this action specifically soothe my heart in a way that so many other ways do not?
For the love of gawd, I am sick of my treadmill … but desperately thankful for it at the same time. Five of my seven days running this week were in my swampy garage. EWWW. The last four summers, I was able to push my daughter in the stroller while my son rode his bike for most of my runs.
This year? My toddler is no longer a toddler but instead a long-limbed little girl whose feet touch the ground and whose head hits the umbrella top when she gets in the stroller. I’ve run with her once this summer, and I give myself one more run with it. She just doesn’t fit comfortably, and when you’re not pushing regularly, the stroller fitness ends up in the basement.
My plan is to make our last run a memorable outing: a pitstop in the woods for one last stroller forest potty stop, flower picking, snacks, and maybe one last fast mile with her cheering me on. And then I’ll retire my BabyTrend Expedition, which looks a little worse for wear but still rides like a champ and has still never had a flat or other issue. I miss being outside running more but I think by next summer, she’ll be able to join me on her bike so for now I sweat on the ‘mill while binge-watching Downton Abbey, again.
I’ve been good about taking my iron supplements everyday, and although I know it’s way too early to have affected my actual numbers, I like having an actual reason when I feel totally gaspy. It’s strange because some days I feel totally fine, but then I’ll have a day where I get through three miles and just stop, or I get winded walking upstairs. Ah well.
We are down to about a week before our big relay race. My husband and I are on a couples team, with the theme “Power Couples.” I chose Adam and Eve, the original power couple. I rounded up some skin-toned running gear for us and am making our fig leaves this week. Look forward to that race report and photos!
Monday 7/17: 10 miles (8:23 avg. pace), 50 push ups
7/18: 6 miles (8:10 pace), core and light weights
7/19: 10 miles– AM/5 miles (7:49 pace). PM/5 miles (8:39 pace)
7/20: 15 miles– AM/11 mile workout: 3 warm up, 8×800 @6:35/2-minute recovery, cool down to 11. PM/4 miles (8:42 pace)
7/21: 3 miles (9:14 pace), core and light weights
7/22: 21 miles (8:11 pace). Felt miraculously good, ran with friends and got off the treadmill!
7/23: 6 miles (8:43 pace), 50 push ups. Got outside in the sunshine, nice way to end the week.
TOTAL: 71 miles
Another week of summer running gone by, and still feeling like I have no pep. After reading Wintergreen’s low progesterone post last week, I decided to get off my ass and get some blood work done. Of course, the jaded grumpy part of me figured it would be a waste of time, but the hopeful part of me wished for some answer to all these months of feeling blue, tired, and bleh.
Ginger and her boyfriend stayed the night last weekend in the middle of their cross-country road trip. They brought along their collection of recovery tools that I have never tried before: Normatech boots and a sweet shiatsu massage pillow thingy. We went for cheap Mexican dinner and margaritas, a run in the morning, recovered with boots and massage, walked my dog in the evening and had fun catching up. My daughter, who has created an entire group of imaginary “Salty Running Camp” friends had her mind blown that my Salty Running friends are actually real people!
A day or so after that, my husband left on a four-day business trip. The result was I spent a ton of time on the treadmill and then out on various summer adventures with the kids all week. We explored some waterfall and mining trails in the Umpqua National Forest about 20 minutes from our house, spent time at the lake swimming, saw Wonder Woman, and BBQ’d with friends. My husband arrived home at 2:30AM Saturday morning, and I got up at 5:30 to long run with a couple of running buddies.
It was a big mileage week, and I have a much-deserved down-week scheduled next week … along with my first ever 5k on the 4th of July.
Living in the Eugene, Oregon area has many perks when it comes to being a runner but one that I’ve started taking advantage of only recently is the Bowerman Sport Science Clinic at the University of Oregon, right on the edge of Hayward Field. This winter I saw a request on one of the local Facebook running group pages from a graduate student looking for runners to take part in his running physiology study/dissertation. I fit the necessary requirements (comfortable with 50-mile/week mileage, capable of a 21-minute 5k, and I wear a size 8 shoe), so emailed him. Before I knew it, I was a human guinea pig.
I think we’re supposed to be approaching summer, and based on the end of the school year events filling up my calendar we are … but, looking out the window at the rainy, gray, upper 50s kind of weather makes it feel more like April. My high school principal husband is transitioning to a new school and district next year, so is sort of working two jobs right now; sewing things up at his current school while hiring, planning, and attending meetings at his new school. The result is he’s gone a lot. I want to fast-forward a week so he’s back down to just one!
Meanwhile, my 70-year-old mom is retiring, sold her house and is moving so I’ve been driving the hour up to her house and staying with her in any spare time I have to help clean out her house (Oh my gawd… the amount of STUFF is mind-boggling). Somehow, between everything else I still find time to squeeze in my runs.
It’s been a full, busy, and hard couple of months since I last wrote a training log. I mentioned in my last log that my anxiety and insomnia were hitting me pretty hard, and I’d add general depression to that mix in the months since. Throughout adulthood, I have had my ups and downs, and usually I just forge ahead putting one foot in front of the other and it passes after a while. This winter and spring, it just would not (will not?) pass. Nothing felt fun or exciting, everything felt more difficult than it should, I was constantly in a bad mood with no patience with my kids and feeling like I had a heavy weight on my chest.
I forged: running more, still scheduling run dates with my friends when they could meet up, trying to get outside as often as possible on my runs because nature helps. I volunteered to be a guinea pig in a running study at the University of Oregon, and have gotten to see my computer animated self run on the screen and run with those VO2 mask things on. I’ve been watching a friend’s daughter on Fridays to give my daughter a playmate, and planning outings and projects for them. I hosted a freaking bridal shower and bachelorette party, spending the evening as the designated driver. Trying anything and everything to keep myself busy so I’d forget that I feel so bleh. Fake it til you make it was my mantra, but … faking it for so long is utterly exhausting.
In early May, I got an email from a professional coach I know from when he lived in Eugene who needed a place for a couple of his athletes to stay for the Eugene Marathon. We have a nice guest room, so I volunteered (forge-forge-forge!) to host the female runner, who was racing, and her fiance. Hiruni Wijayaratne is an elite runner with dual citizenship (America and Sri Lanka) who needed to get a time of 2:45 so she can go to Worlds in London and then hopefully represent Sri Lanka in the Olympics in 2020. Her fiance, Luis Orta, ran the marathon in the Rio Olympics last summer for Venezuela.
Having them stay was an infusion of positive energy my whole family needed: I got to take them on their shake-out run on my favorite trail, my husband got to make them his pancakes and bacon breakfast special, they played XBox with my son until late the night before the race and took him out to pizza … and then Hiruni WON Eugene with a 2:43. We felt like we were hosting celebrities.
Their stay also lit a little fire inside me. I took a big down week the first week of May (only ran 17 miles because I felt like I needed the break), but after that I continued with my weekly double-digit mile trail run, started adding real workouts again, and began running with a little more intention. Let’s just say I have something up my sleeve, something that will hopefully help me fake it til I actually make it through this season of ugh. (And if you were wondering, I didn’t end up running the 5k with my little dog last month, but he doesn’t know the difference!)
April: 224 miles, 3 days off
May: 190 miles, 4 days off
2017 Mileage through the end of May: 1,019.5 miles
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a training log; my last one included my CIM recap in early December. I continued running after CIM, because it’s my sanity, but then four days before Christmas I got sick. The Influenza with a capital “I” sick. I didn’t run for over a week as I shivered and thrashed in a 102.5° semi-hallucinatory state. When I came to a few days after Christmas, I’d lost seven pounds apparently all from my leg muscles. My calves, quads, and glutes appeared shriveled like bacon from the extended fever.
The beginning of January, then, was trying to get my body to do anything, I ran each day but three miles felt tough. When I got to five miles, my body shouted “STOP!” and refused to go another step. 2016 was my biggest year yet, 2800 miles. Because of that, I had already decided that 2017 is going to be an “off” year, no training plans or marathons, just me running for enjoyment again. That meant there wasn’t any pressure or haste, and I just plugged along knowing that I’d get back to feeling ok on runs again eventually if I remained consistent.
My husband and I did Dry January (no alcohol) again this year which usually feels great after an over-indulgent holiday season. There was no indulging during Christmas this year due to me being so sick, so it didn’t have quite the same impact. We ate really well as a result of me using Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook so much, and between the nutritionally dense food and me running to just run again, it’s felt like a really good start to the year. I’m running with my dog again since I have no pace I have to hit, I’m running on trails again, and meeting up with friends for fun runs.
After burning out last November, this year my goal is to fall back in love with running and to run with no pressure on myself. So far, so good. I am still averaging in the 45-60 miles a week range because that seems to be my sweet spot for feeling good mentally and physically, particularly when I’m not doing any prescribed workouts. Without the confines of a training plan in the back of my mind, I feel a little more balanced in my life in general. Showering more (ha!), wearing actual outfits instead of running clothes and hoodies, writing more, getting more involved politically, running with my family because I don’t have to hit a mileage or pace goal… there’s more time for other things. Which I missed last year.
The one and only thing on my race calendar for 2017 is a 200+ mile relay on a couples team with my husband in August.
I’ll check in at least once a month on training logs, but this year my focus is “Not Training”!
January total: 200.36 miles
After hitting the burned-out wall last week and deciding to take a break despite the consequences, I ended up taking five days off running. That is, in fact, a rest-day PR for me extending all the way back to when I started back running after giving birth nearly four years ago. I walked the dog, did core, and had so much more time to get things done that I normally let slide because running takes priority. Showers. Hair appointments. Enjoying the scenery. I even read two novels and watched a movie!
I have one week until race day and will continue on my super-taper, also hoping my massage on Tuesday really get some kinks worked out. My big goal of running with the 3:00-hour pace group is sort of out the window, I think I’ll just try to run 7:15s pretty solidly and hope for the best. We’ll see what happens.
The dudes and I (I’m going down with two guy running buddies and our coach) leave on Friday and the forecast for race day looks fantastic so far. Let’s see if I can pull this year of training together for one more big race before I back off for a while!
Monday: Walked the dog two miles, core.
Tuesday: Walked the dog four miles, core plus light upper body weight lifting.
Wednesday: 5 miles on the mill, easy pace.
Thursday: Walked the dog and ate wonderful food all day.
Friday: 6 miles on the mill, core.
Saturday: 11 miles, avg 7:53 with mile 10 @6:53.
Sunday: 5 miles on the mill, core.
Total: 27 miles.
Last week ended with a bad long run, so this week started with a really bad attitude. The weather was seriously crappy almost all week, we’ve had almost eight inches of rain this October, so my treadmill has been working overtime. I accomplished my hard 13-mile workout on Tuesday, which should have made me feel better but didn’t, and when Thursday rolled around for my second workout of the week (11 miles with hills with the last three miles at pace) I decided to head outside and brave the deluge. UGH. Pouring rain and cold wind drove me back to my house after seven miles to finish up the workout on the mill. Two workout boxes checked begrudgingly for the week.
My coach/training partner/friend/running dad and I ran long at the coast on Saturday and met up with another friend for the first half of the run, so the family and I headed to the coast Friday night. Saturday morning dawned dry and sunny, and the first 10 miles of our run was just a lovely time, the second half we had to do five at marathon goal pace, a rest mile, then four miles faster.
I was wearing a new pair of shoes that felt crappy (my left arch ached the whole run with occasional zinging stabs), and the first two of those fast miles felt HARD. Like all-out hard. We were on a rolling hilly road, and my pace dropped for the last three but not dismally. Coach and I stopped at the turnaround, cussed, complained, cussed some more and then took off. My first mile was in the required range, but the last three dropped to the 8:00-8:30 range. We met up and cussed for the remaining mile or so to the finish.
Just feeling disappointed that my long runs, since my great one three weeks ago and then my half two weeks, have just been so meh. Shifting my brain to maybe just attempting a PR at CIM and leaving my goal at that. Coach is feeling the same way with his training, so is going to mix things up a little this week to see what we can accomplish.
Our weekend finished on a high note with beautiful weather, plenty of hot tub soaks, and fun family and friend time on the glorious Oregon coast. My attitude is better than it was last Sunday so I’ll just keep trucking along and see how the next five weeks go.
Monday: 6 miles easy, core.
Tuesday: 13 mile treadmill workout. Warm up 3 miles, 9 miles of (.5 mile @6:30/.5 @7:00), cool down 1 mile.
Wednesday: 7 miles easy.
Thursday: 11.29 miles. 7.19 in the driving rain, 4 on the treadmill with the last 3 @6:48 pace. Core in the evening and I VOTED!
Friday: 5 miles easy pushing the stroller.
Saturday: 21.2 miles. First 10 easy, last 10: 6:56. 7:00, 7:24, 7:12, 7:29, easy mile, 7:08, 8:15, 8:25, 9:04. BLEH. Core in the evening.
Sunday: Rest day, core.
Weekly total: 63.49 miles
I’m actually writing this while sitting on my deck in the Pacific Northwest sunshine with a cool breeze taking the edge off the temperature when it starts to feel too hot. Ahhhh. Summer. It’s a busy month for our family between our 4th of July 10k, multiple birthday BBQs, a trip to Vegas, and now I’m leaving for Salty Camp this evening. Vegas? You might ask. In JULY?! Yes, indeed.
My husband’s birthday was on the 18th and we decided to celebrate a little bigger than normal this year as the date also coincided with a break from his doctoral classes. We left Eugene July 16 at a cold, gloomy 63 degrees and got off the plane into 109 degrees. I left my running shoes at home to force myself to take a three-day running break, knowing I needed it and that I’d be walking a ton anyhow.
We indeed walked a ton, myself in uncomfortable sandals and then heels on the night we went out to a show. Walking three miles in heels is roughly as painful as a 50k, come to find out. Luckily, when we weren’t walking we were lounging by the pool soaking up the rays. When I got home the first few runs felt rusty and my legs and feet were sore in new and strange places from the walking in weird/bad shoes, but I proclaim myself healed from the Vegas vacation after my workout yesterday.
I’m starting the count-down to the start of my actual training for CIM… roughly two weeks of no-pressure/do-what-I-want running left before a return to structure, both in running and, soon after that, back to school. Gotta slow down and enjoy this time!
My summer “training” plan continues right on point: my target is to hit 50-60 miles/week and get a mix of speed, hills, trails, runs in the heat, long runs, and runs with friends in every week. This past weekend my husband took a trip to LA to see some family and friends so I took the kids and the dog to grandma and grandpa’s ranch in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. I love the middle-of-nowhere, totally unplugged feeling, the running at minor altitude, and the change of scenery as well.
Of course, this left me driving seven hours the day before the Butte to Butte, Eugene’s local 4th of July 10k, probably not the best plan, but I managed a 3-second PR on tired legs… which doesn’t really count as a PR in my head, but I’ll take it! Because of the Olympic Trials in town, my time (42:30) which got me 16th place last year, got me 57th this year… Darn fast visiting runners!
I really can’t complain, though– it’s been fun seeing famous runners and Olympians on the trails around town and out at restaurants. I attended the Trials on Thursday, with fantastic seats right on the finish line, getting to see the women’s 1500 and 5000 meter prelims as well as the steeple finals. Oh, and did I mention? Meb and his family were across the aisle and Justin Gatlin’s parents and son were right in front of my knees. Feeling inspired and loving that TrackTown, USA is my community.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a training log– since my taper, actually– but I have, in fact been running. Although I thought I would take more time off after my big PR at Newport June 4, I only took two days off and then eased back into running. Why? Well, I love it and it keeps me sane. Plus, summer running is great because I call this time of year my whatever-happens training; I like to keep my mileage in the 50-60 miles/week range and mix up my running with more trails, more hills, speed when I feel like it, and runs with my friends who are actually training for something. As of now, I have a 10k scheduled for July 4, then I plan on pacing my friend Kate for the last 25-30 miles of her 100-mile race in early September. Around then, I start training again for CIM in December.
I love summer running, I feel like the pressure is off and I can sort of cruise on the fitness I built up during the winter and spring and add to it by changing up my normal routine. It’s a mental break as well as a physical one, and my body already feels the benefit from mixing up my terrain, speed, and the time of day I run. So, in a nutshell, what have I been up to?
Week one of taper complete. Phew. I got online this week to search for a new pair of shoes for the race, I am flying through them lately. I was waffling between getting another pair of Saucony Kinvaras or my go-to shoe, the Brooks Pure Cadence. I bought a pair of Kinvaras recently because the newest update (5) on my beloved Brooks was truly heart-breaking and, although I like the Kinvaras, the Cadence will forever be my sole-mate.
I randomly (or was it fate?) found the Cadence 4 on clearance in my favorite color combo that I haven’t been able to get since last fall before NYC. They arrived Friday afternoon in all their peacock/monarch butterfly-colored splendor, and slipping my foot into them truly felt like coming home. On my long run Saturday I wore them out on their virgin run and shouted, “I love these shoes!” at the top of my lungs for the whole world to hear as I made my way around Cottage Grove Lake in the sun burning through the fog dawn.
Mentally, I feel a little nervous about the race next Saturday but also totally ready and anxious to get it over with so I can change gears for a couple of months. I promised my friend Kate that I will do one trail run a week with her this summer and then pace her last 25-30 miles of a 100-miler she’s doing in September. The plan after that? CIM. But first, I need to get through taper week number two and then kick some ass in Newport June 4.
Sunday: 5 easy treadmill miles. Pretty tired after yesterday’s 21-miler.
Monday: 6 easy, pushing the stroller.
Tuesday: 6 mile mini treadmill workout. Warm up 2 miles, 3 miles @7:13, 1 mile @6:48.
Wednesday: 8 miles, recovery pace.
Thursday: 9.3 miles with 6 @6:58 average. Legs felt tough and rested today. Strong run with two strong ladies!
Friday: 5 miles, recovery pace.
Saturday: 14 miles, last 3 @7:09 (MGP). Met up with my coach and another friend for a lovely run over the river, through the woods, and around the lake. Felt tired the entire time, but still managed to get the last three down to race pace. Looking super forward to heading to the coast this afternoon and actually taking tomorrow 100% off running, my first day off this month!
Weekly total: 53.3 miles, 3 core/upper body workouts
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