I am fighting this epidemic of blogging tardiness and delinquency with every fiber of my being, but it just won’t let up! Fortunately, this is not necessarily a reflection of how my training is going. A lot has happened over the last 3 weeks, so to bring you up to speed (and to help me feel a little better about myself as a Salty Running blogger) I’m going to give you the quick and dirty rundown of Weeks 11 and 12 of my Boston training, plus my typical overly verbose play-by-play color commentary for my most current week of training (Week 13), although now that we are nearly through Week 14, it really isn’t all that current either. Sigh.
At any rate, here goes nothing…
Week 11 (3/10 -3/16) Highlights:
Total Mileage: 51 miles
Workout: 4x (800m, 400m) Coach Saffron assigned me the goal of 3:10 for the 800’s and 1:30 for the 400’s. Here are the actual splits: 3:07/ 1:28, 3:08/ 1:32, 3:10/ 1:27, 3:08/ 1:23. I’m not gonna lie, it bums me out a little to think that I was running this workout a little faster at this point during my fall training cycle, BUT I was also training for a shorter, faster distance then (if we can really call the half marathon a shorter and faster distance), AND it’s race week, so we’ll just call this a step-back workout. On the other hand, I did have to pat myself on the back a little for resisting the voice in my head telling me to over-run it and sticking to plan. I also gave myself an A+ for consistency. So all things considered, I’m calling this a win.
The Shamrock 1/2 Marathon: Hooray for a super-fun Oiselle Team meet-up and a successful Boston tune-up in Virginia Beach! I still desperately want to break 1:30 in the half, but this obviously hasn’t been the focus of my marathon training, and I didn’t want to use up all of my fitness before I got to Boston (because that’s a thing, right?), so I decided to approach the race as a long run workout. I settled on a progression run strategy: 4 miles at 7:15 pace, 4 miles at 7:00, 4 miles at 6:45 pace, and then either 1 fast mile to the finish or a 1 mile cool down, depending on how the day played out. I didn’t actually calculate what finish time this might yield, mostly because I’m too lazy to do even the most basic of math and also because I wanted to stay focused on executing a quality workout, rather than getting hung up on a specific time. However, I suspected that if all went according to plan, I could probably at least match, and maybe even better my Richmond time from November.
How it actually went down… Miles 1-4: I chatted my way through the first 4 miles with ease, thanks to the delightful company of super-adorable Oiselle teammate Stephanie! And we were NAILING the pace plan without even trying or thinking about it! Stephanie, if you are reading this, thank you again for hanging out with me for those first few miles! Your presence was instrumental in helping me settle into a happy, comfortable confident place, and it set me for an awesome run! Here are the official Garmin splits: 7:00, 7:12, 7:13, 7:10.
The rest of it played out something like this: Miles 5-8: 6:58, 7:05, 6:55, 6:51 (Slightly ahead of the pace plan and feeling good!) Miles 9-12: Time to drop it down to LT/ 1:30 half marathon goal pace… 6:49, 6:46, 6:45, 6:41. One mile to go: Coach Saffron appears on the sidelines yelling motivating (yet borderline frightening) things. Better not slack off now! 6:13 for the final mile, despite nasty vortex-level winds! I looked up at the clock as I approached the finish and realized that if I REALLY HUSTLED I could in fact beat the Richmond time for a (teeny baby) PR! I made it in with 5 seconds to spare and an official time of 1:30:45. It felt very satisfying indeed to match my November time with ease and to execute the race plan to a tee! The 1:29:59 half is most certainly on my radar, but first I have new 26.2 PR to take care of.
Week 12 (3/17- 3/23) Highlights:
Total Mileage: 57 miles
Recovery Run w/ the Fasties = Tempo-ish Run for Me! 9 miles total. I hung with the fasties (dude fasties included!) in the low to mid 7’s for the first 7 miles before dismissing myself for a more appropriately paced cool down. I’m calling this my tempo for the week.
3x 2000m at 10K (ish) Pace: I’m pretty sure these were more like 2000m at half marathon pace, but whatever. This was far and away the most un-fun workout of my entire marathon training cycle. I felt mentally and physical drained, I struggled mightily to hit the paces, and I couldn’t wait for it be over. But 2000m is kind of long, weird interval, and I suppose that not every workout can be all puppies and rainbows. Ah well, 1 workout closer to Beantown!
Long Run: 20 miles. So many hills. So many bathroom stops. Much like Friday’s workout, this long run was least favorite of the training cycle thus far. I guess the theme of Week 12 is humbling, lackluster running. But it’s all good. My superstitious side is actually a little relieved to have a week like this. Things have been going really well and I was secretly starting to fret that I may be using up all my running good fortune before Boston. Better too have bad days now that on race day. I’ll take this week’s trials and tribulations to be a good omen. Onward and upward!
And Finally, The Complete, Unabridged Week 13 (3/24-3/30) Rundown:
Monday, 3/24, Easy Recovery, 4.06 miles. After yesterday’s less than awesome 20 miler, I was secretly praying that no one would show up for Monday Runday. But alas, one brave soul was there waiting for me when I rolled up at 7, so off to the work campus 4 mile loop we went. The old hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes were feeling pretty spent, but I didn’t feel too bad once we got going. Always nice to start the week off with some fun, easy miles!
Tuesday, 3/25, 5x 1000m, 8.69 miles. Somehow, by the grace of God, I did not have to work today! I’m not sure what inspired this random week day off, but I’ll take it! Just for kicks, and because I could I met up with Oiselle NC teammates Allie and Carolyn at UNC’s track for a little mid-morning speed work. My workout, per the BAA’s recommendation was 5x 1000 m at 10K pace with 2 min rest in between. Although my warm up, cool down and recoveries were PAINFULLY slow (I’m talking splits in the 10’s, y’all!) the working efforts felt pretty decent and went reasonably well. My goal was to hit roughly 6:30 pace for each interval, but as it turns out, it’s kind of tough not run all-out as fast as you can sometimes when you are on the track so things turned out a little quicker than that.
Here are the splits/ paces that I actually ran: 3:59/ 6:08 pace, 3:56/ 6:02 pace, 3:56/ 6:02 pace, 3:56/ 6:02 pace, 3:52/ 6:02 pace. So a little faster than my 10K pace, but I never felt like I was working outside of my fitness, so I guess it’s all good! Cheers to a lovely day off complete with speed for breakfast and burritos for lunch!
Wednesday, 3/26, Rest Day FTW!
Thursday, 3/27, Scrambling to Get the Miles In, 8.27 miles. I almost titled this training log entry “Scrambling to Fit It In” but I felt that the “That’s what she said” potential of a line like that might just be too much for Salty Running to handle. At any rate, suffice to say that today’s run, along with the rest of today in general, was a bit of a scramble. First my usual Thursday running buds were both unavailable for our regular early am meet-up. Left to my own devices, I failed miserably at finding the motivation to drag my arse out of bed and go do the run on my own. I opted for the snooze button instead and before I knew it I had overslept and was officially late to my core session with Saffron. I texted her to let her know as much, only to get a reply that she was bailing due to IT band/ SI joint discomfort from the boot of shame, which she has sadly recently been sentenced to. 🙁
Naturally, I was pretty bummed out by all of this sad news and utterly frustrated with myself for being such a non-self-starting, unmotivated piece of crap, but in the end I managed to pull it together and get myself out the door for a run.
The first to miles were slow-ish, and I fought hard to drown out the negative self-talk that was still spewing in my head after a morning of wasted productivity, but then I settled down and busted out some low-8 splits, and managed to further progress to some mid to low-ish 7s by the end, even with my nemesis hill up to the bridge on our little greenway. So maybe there is hope for me yet.
My time management skills still need lots of work, but I got it done! I don’t know about y’all, but I CANNOT WAIT to get through this week and Sunday’s final long-run of the training cycle so I can get my taper on! What, WHAT!!!
Friday, 3/28, 1x 15 min, and 1x 10 min at MGP (or something close-ish to that), 10.03 miles. Big shout-out to my homegirl Jen D. for keeping me company and providing the motivation I needed to get out of bed to do today’s run. Yesterday I was supposed to do what the BAA likes to call a “Medium Long Run”, but laziness prevailed. Furthermore, the BAA wants me to do some MGP tempo tomorrow, but little do they know that haven’t gotten around to a 22 miler yet because I was off running a whopping 5 second half marathon PR the weekend I was supposed to be doing that. Soooo, I am switching things up a bit and combining the medium long run with the tempo stuff today, doing some easy miles tomorrow, and busting out the big 22 on Sunday so I can cash in that glorious taper card. I know switching it up like this is probably doing it wrong, and I asked for no one’s advice or input in making these modifications, so here’s hoping they don’t come back to haunt me.
Anyhoo, here’s how today’s medium long tempo run went… The prescribed workout was 1x 15 min at MGP and then 1x 10 min at MGP with 5 min rest in between. I started with a 3 mile warm-up to get a couple of miles in the bank on the front end. When the watch chirped the 3rd split I darted off and it wasn’t until split #4 flashed up that I realized I had no idea what time I had started this 15 min effort. What I did know was that 1 mile had taken me 7:21, so I decided that 2 miles and a little change for good measure would be adequate to get me 15 minutes. The 2nd split of the first working effort was 7:14. I chugged along for perhaps another quarter or so just to make sure before starting my 5 min recovery.
Very shortly into round 2, the 10 min effort (or so I thought) I came across my friend Paul S. and his canine running buddy, Daisy. Paul recently ran a BALLER marathon PR and this was my first time seeing him since, so I was excited to congratulate him. He and Daisy hopped on board the MGP train, and before I knew they had pulled me through two chatty miles and well over 10 minutes at 6:42 and 6:47 pace, respectively. Whoops! Ah well, hooray for good miles and good company, and TGIF!
Saturday, 3/29, Easy, 6.03 miles. Just a few rainy, easy miles with Paul and Daisy. I’m sure you will all be shocked to know that I was running late today, because that NEVER happens. (Sarcasm!) In all of my flustered tardiness I could not find my Garmin, so to my great annoyance and anxiety I set off without it. Thank goodness Paul was wearing his so I could copy and paste his time and mileage for my Daily Mile post. Daisy dialed us in to a nice, chatty 8 min pace, and before we knew it we were back at the car. I was grateful for some good company and fun miles, but tomorrow’s 22 miler has really got me stressed as it looms over my head. As much as I’m kind of dreading it, I can’t wait to check that beast off the list. Only one run stands between me and the beautiful, glorious taper! Let’s do this!
Sunday, 3/30, Last Long Run in the Books, Bitches!!! 22.01 miles. Well friends, I am happy to report that the final long run of the 2014 Boston Marathon training cycle is in the books. I’m typically not one to brag, but y’all, I TOTALLY KICKED THAT LONG RUN’S ASS!!!! So I had been DREADING this God-foresaken run all week, particularly after last week’s not so great, unfortunate bathroom stop laden 20 miler. I was mortified that I might have to do this run by myself, but my kind, wonderful running friends rallied at my desperate email pleas and showed up in droves to run various bits and pieces of this monster mileage with me. God bless them every one.
My plan was to get 22 with roughly half the miles at MGP. I spent the first 6 in the comfort zone just testing the waters and trying to decide if I was having a good enough day to go after making the plan a reality or if I should just be ok with keeping it slow and steady.
I decided to start out with 2 miles at 7:30. That went pretty ok with 7:36 for the first one, and 7:29 for the second. I jogged back to my peeps for mile recovery, and decided to try 3 miles for the next effort. 7:20, 7:20, 7:32. Ok, that got me through more than half way. I could maybe be having an alright day. Let’s try another set of 2 miles and then 3 miles. 7:25 and 7:13 for the 2nd two-mile effort. Yes, today is probably a good day!
By the time I started the final 3 mile effort I was starting to wish for this run to hurry up and be done already, but I was also at mile 17 of 22, so there’s that. 7:33, 7:31, and 7:13. Booyah! Maintaining those low 7:30s even up the nemesis hill to the bridge at mile 18 of my longest long run was a nice ego boost for sure. As were all the awesome friendly faces and encouraging words from friends and kindred spirits on the trail. I really wish I could just pack up my delightful little running community and take it to Boston with me so I could have people all over the course saying nice stuff to me and making me feel like Miss America, but I figure there will probably be a person or two out there cheering on race, so I guess I’ll be ok.
At any rate, the dread last long run is DONE and it went really well! BIG EFFING YAY!!! If you need me I’ll be lounging in my compression socks and sleeping, eating, and hydrating like a boss for the next 3 weeks. I’m coming for you, 3:19:59!
So there you have it friends, 3 weeks of peak marathon training all rolled in to one painfully long training log blog post! Stay tuned for a few more weeks of taper tales as I rest up for the big day!
Until then, happy trails, and thanks for reading!