Well Salty fans and friends, my life as of late has been insanity to the max. I’m talking opening at one job then closing at another, cramming runs in at obscure times and in the most mundane of places, erratic and far from ideal eating and sleep habits, and basically just desperately grasping at straws to make it through the day in one piece and still get the miles in. I suppose I’m doing pretty well considering, but I really hope that this work/ life balance crisis levels off soon. It’s been so nuts that I haven’t even posted last week’s training log! Until now. I realize that it is highly unlikely that you missed it at it’s regularly scheduled time, but just for the sake of consistency, follow-through, and training accountability I’m going to go ahead a post it a week late. Feel free to take it or leave it. I’m still not entirely sure how I did it, but somehow I managed to Tetris 52 miles of training over 6 runs into the week of Jan. 26th through Feb. 2nd. Highlights include a new treadmill distance PR (aka the most God-awful hour of my life thus far) and “The Big Easy,” a Rock n’ Roll New Orleans half marathon odyssey. So without further ado, I give you Boston Marathon Training, Week 5!
Monday, 1/27, Easy Recovery, 4.01 miles. Gah! Why does Monday Runday have to be so darn fast these days! I am excited to see my little work run group runners getting faster, but damn, sometimes I miss the good old days of 9:30 pace. Especially after yesterday’s beastly 7-miles-at-MGP long run, which may or may not have broken me.
Anyway, I survived and managed not to whine too much in front of the group, but I was really relieved that we didn’t go any further than 4 miles. Happy Monday Runday to all!
Tuesday, 1/28, Easy Hour, 7.6 miles. Today my goal was to just run for an hour and try to enjoy it without getting caught up in maintaining or hitting a specific pace. I found this surprisingly hard to do. I felt a little tired and drag-assy, but I also found myself fretting about getting in a few MGP miles, which would probably only serve to make me even more tired and drag-assy, so I tried not to look at the watch and just let it happen.
This turned out to be one of my more consistent runs around my route on the campus at work with the first few miles in the mid to low 8’s a few miles in the mid to high 7s and then another low 8 plus 6x 20 sec strides with 40 sec recoveries. Cheers to Tuesday and to Snowpocalypse Durham 2014, which is happening tonight!
Wednesday, 1/29, Treadmill Speedwork Suckfest, 5x 4 min at 5K Pace, 8.01 Mother-effing miles. Today the unthinkable happened. I had no choice but to do my workout on the dreaded treadmill! Ugh! I wish that this could be one of those posts where I was all like “Ooh, I was all worried because I had to do my workout on the treadmill, but then I did it and it was awesome and now the treadmill and I are like totes BFF.” It’s not. You’ve been warned. (Seriously, I disliked this run so much that I chose the “blah” Daily Mile emoticon, and I ALWAYS chose the smiley face!)
I know you’re probably thinking something like “Oh, you wimpy southern douche bag! Guess you stayed in ’cause you couldn’t handle a little snow!”, right? Well, shut up. This wasn’t a cold weather problem, it was a staffing issue. Since today was a snow day, I had to open the fitness center (and yes, we still opened a 5 freaking am despite the fact that we are located in North Carolina), and I was stuck there alone until pretty much the end of my shift. With a busy afternoon ahead of me, I had to get my workout done in the morning and since there was no one else there and running out doors would mean leaving the joint completely unattended, I was confined to the treadmill.
The workout was 5x 4 min. at 5K pace, which I thought sounded vile even under the best of circumstances. I had NO IDEA how this was going to go, or if it was even possible since I had previously never even cracked the 1 hour mark on the TM, much less attempted any sort of hard effort on it.
I climbed aboard and fired up the 2 mile warm-up. Holy crap, you have to put this thing on level 7.5 just to get to 8:00 min pace?! OMG, I must have to put it on like level 17 to get it down to 6:20! Does it even have a level 17?!? It must have a level 17. Saffron does this all the time, and she runs really fast… Wow, I’ve only been running for 30 secs? Kill me now… And so went my treadmill inner monologue.
The warm up was kind of boring, but I got through it easy enough once I settled down. Time for round 1. I hadn’t foggiest what speed I would need to set the machine on to find 5K pace, so decided I would start with 10. I wondered if this might actually prove to be too slow because I felt like I had to jack it way on up there just to get to warm-up mode. As it turned out, 10 was a little to fast, but not that far off the mark. I dialed it back to 9.5, which is 6:18 pace according to the treadmill I was using.
Guys, I swear doing intervals on the treadmill is like entering some sort of bizarre time warp where everything happens at least 2x slower than it does in real-time. Holy long-ass 4 minutes. I finished round 1 and stumbled over my feet in my effort to straddle the belt so I could grab a sip of water. It took me by surprise that the hard indoor effort seriously dried out my mouth and throat out. My mis-step spiraled into the most epic save ever, shooting me towards the back corner of the deck, arms failing and obscenities spewing all the while. But I mercifully managed to catch myself on the rails before impact, thus holding my dignity in tact by the skin of my teeth and narrowly escaping what was sure to be the belt burn of the millennium. I can’t decide if I am incredibly relieved or disappointed that absolutely no one was around to see this little spectacle.
Round 2 was fairly uneventful. I made it through and successfully straddled the belt with no major disaster. But by round 3 the effort was starting get uncomfortable and my pre-schooler-esque ADHD attention span was really starting unravel. I decided this might be a good time to try some mantras. I usually think those are bullshit (no offense to anyone who thinks they’re awesome) but things were getting desperate and I was only somewhere around half way through. I repeated every positive, calming affirmation I could recall from every positive-think i-heart-running blog and tweet I’ve ever read. “Breathe in, breathe out. I am stronger than I think am. Eff this stupid effing mantra.” That ate up all of about 10 sec. Ugh. But I made it through yet another round without face-planting. Progress.
By round 4 I decided that it was time to bring out the big guns. I busted out the mother of all mantras and our Ragnar DC battle cry, “Everything is fine. Nothing is f@#$ed.” And I didn’t just repeat in my head, I freakin’ sing-song yelled it (silently, of course), like ROTC style. I think all this mantra excitement might have gotten me a little too worked up because at roughly minute 2 of 4, the dreaded feeling of impending vomit set in. Commence panic mode. My rational brain had ceased participation in this workout miles ago and I was consumed with thoughts of the fear and shame of barfing on the work treadmill. My panic level increased when it occurred to me that I was only person in the building at the moment, and therefore I would be solely responsible for cleaning up any barf that might happen. OMG, and FML! Miraculously, I made it to the end of round 4 vomit-free.
My spirit was completely broken by the final round. All attempts to buoy myself up knowing this was the last one were completely in vain. I made it through about 90 seconds at 5K pace before I caved and despairingly took a break. I think I was weeping by this point. At least on the inside. Then I got really angry at myself for being such a wimpy little bitch, gritted my teeth, prayed not to barf, and busted out the final 2:30 seconds at 9.5. This put me at a mileage total of 6.75. I was determined to run 8 miles on this abomination of a machine if it killed me. Try as I might, I could not stop obsessing over that little track indicator thing that tells you how many 400 m laps you have completed on the display. I tried to count all the little triangle markers that go around it to pass the time, but that was making me feel kind of queasy. So then I just tried counting. I made it to maybe 60 before I decided that counting required entirely too much brain power for my current state. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, I completed the longest 1.75 miles of my life and watched the display flash that glorious 8.0 in the distance box. Oh thank God. Somebody hug me.
And that, friends, is the sweaty, pathetic tale of my new treadmill distance PR. MAD RESPECT to all my homies out there who run on the treadmill day in and day out. Y’all are Jedi Masters of self-discipline and dedication, and I have no idea how you do it. Cheers to snow days that allow me to have the whole gym to myself, and to getting it done!
Thursday, 1/30, Easy, 6.01 miles. After yesterday’s epic treadmill festival of suffering, it seemed critical to do something to remind myself that running is actually an activity that I enjoy, or at the very least a thing that I do not hate. So I set out for my same old ho-hum run around the work campus intent on staying 100% within my comfort zone, and maybe even enjoying myself! (Crazy, right?) I tried my very best to entirely disregard my Garmin (in retrospect I probably should have just not worn it), and I truly did rather enjoy crunching through a little driven snow. (Guys, there is STILL a little bit of Snowpocalypse snow here!!!) Not the fastest 6 miles I’ve ever logged, but not the slowest either, and I am pleased to report that I honestly did not hate any part of this run in the slightest! Maybe there is hope for me yet!
Friday, 1/31, Tempo Ladder, 10 miles. God bless Saffron. She came all the way from her fabulous new house in the far away part of Chapel Hill (that’s like 30 minutes away!) just to keep me company on my tempo run around the same old shitty work campus loop today and I could not be more grateful for this. I seriously do not know that I could have willed myself out the door to do this without her!
Have I mentioned that my work schedule has been mercilessly kicking my ass lately? It’s been all the opening shifts at the fitness center and all the closing shifts at the running store like all day er’y day, and I feel and most likely look like a heinous zombie. I had NO IDEA where I was going to find the energy for 15 mins, 10 min, and then 5 mins at LT pace today, but somehow with Saffron by my side we made it happen.
The 15 min part wasn’t pretty. I covered 2.25 miles averaging something that probably comes out to low 6:40 pace. (As usual, this is a guesstimation. Math is for losers.) The effort felt high and bad, and even though 6:40 is technically what I claim as my LT pace, I’ve been rocking some pretty consistent 6:30-something splits for the tempo stuff recently and was kind of bummed to see things slow down a little on this one. But 15 minutes may be the longest sustained LT effort I’ve attempted this training cycle, so there’s that.
For the 10 min effort I covered 1.53 miles, with a 6:33 split for the first mile, and 6:28 average for the .53. Shaving that 5 minutes off put me in a much more comfortable place mentally, and obviously my pace reflected that.
The final 5 min effort felt luxuriously short and I covered .77 miles at an average pace of 6:32. A strong enough finish, I suppose. I was honestly very pleasantly surprised that I was able to access LT pace in my exhausted, bedraggled state and I’m certain that this wouldn’t have happened without Saffron’s presence and pacing.
So cheers to getting by with a little help from my friends, and TGI frickin’ F! I’ll be reporting live from The Big Easy this weekend! Get pumped!
Sunday, 2/2: A Lesson in Fun Running, 16 miles. “The Big Easy” is an appropriate nickname for both the city of New Orleans and the “race” I ran at Rock n’ Roll New Orleans. Just in case we’re not Facebook friends and you haven’t seen the 1 million pictures from our awesome NOLA weekend, here’s the deal… My running bestie Kara and I flew down to New Orleans with our other BFF , Swiss, who was on a mission to run a badass new marathon PR (mission accomplished!) Kara and I ran the half just for kicks, and to get some miles in and see the city.
This week’s Sunday long run assignment from the BAA’s Intermediate Boston Marathon Training Program was “16 to 18 miles easy”. (THANK GOD!!!) You’d better believe I ran those 16 miles about easy as they come! I’m talking multiple photo stops plus donuts, king cake, and JELLO SHOTS on the course! NOLA is the coolest! (*Disclaimer: Remember as you are chasing down your next PR or time goal that accepting any kind of outside aid is technically against the rules, and that taking jello shots from strangers is not recommended. Especially in New Orleans. Always drink responsibly and don’t try this at home.) Kara and I had an effing blast, and it was so, so lovely to be reminded that running is something that I love because IT’S FUN! (What a concept!!!)
I think this might have been a personal worst for me with regard to half marathon times, but it was a huge PR in half marathon fun! And I was really quite proud of myself for busting out 3 additional, not at all embarrassingly slow miles post-finish line and more importantly, post-jello shots to hit the minimum long run requirement for this week’s training plan.
Exciting blog photo essay re-cap forthcoming! Onward, Bourbon Street!
And so another week on the proverbial marathon training struggle bus ended on a fantastically fun note! Hooray for a very desperately needed run-cation and here’s hoping I can find the time and energy to make it through the next 11 weeks of training! Happy trails until next week, Salty Readers!
Have you ever run a race just for fun? Did you do, wear, or eat anything ridiculous? Tell me all about it in the comments!