Wasabi’s Training Log: Boston Training, Week 4. 1.26.14

Wasabi's #selfieoftheweek: Delicious, homemade post-long run lattes with Saffron, Allison, and mini-Saffron!
Wasabi’s #selfieoftheweek: Delicious, homemade post-long run lattes with Saffron, Allison, and mini-Saffron!

Hi there, Salty Readers! Another week of my Boston Marathon training program has come and gone and boy, was it a tough one! Craziness at work plus the return of the Polar Vortex made my schedule erratic and training partners scarce. It wasn’t easy braving the cold and the hard workouts mostly all by my lonesome, but somehow I managed to grind out 50 miles over 6 runs last week. Here’s hoping this will prove to be boost to my mental strength, confidence, and independence moving forward.  Now  get comfy while I tell you all about my epic, lone wolf week of training!

Monday, 1/21, 4.02 miles: Another nice, brisk Monday Runday! My little run groupers at work just keep getting faster. Always nice to start Monday with some easy miles!

Tuesday, 1/22, 8.01 miles w/ 6x 20 sec Strides: Nice, cool easy/ MGP miles on the ATT with run buds Amy P. and Rachel, plus Kara and Lacy for the first 2. The Legs and the pace felt really good. I was feeling a little fatigued by the final round of strides, but I guess that’s kind of the point. As always, I was grateful to get some good miles with good company. Hooray for getting it done!

Wednesday, 1/23, 2x (4x 800m), 8.51 miles: In case you haven’t heard, it snowed like a fraction of an inch in Durham last night! OMG! Unfortunately, our little Snowpocalypse rearranged my schedule a  bit. Our opener at work didn’t feel comfortable risking driving in on “icy roads” (I put that in quotation marks because the road were not actually icy), so I had to come in at 8 to relieve the substitute opener. Since there was no one to meet up with for an ass-thirty am sub-freezing workout (not complaining here), I had to run in the afternoon. Naturally, I spent my whole day stressing out about stuff  like getting it done, carefully timing my lunching, having to do it by myself and from work, etc. I was pretty relieved when it actually came time to go so I could just get it over with already.

Today the BAA’s intermediate Boston Marathon training program called for 2x (4x 800m) and Coach Saffron agreed that this was the way to go. As always, I thought it seemed pretty daunting, especially since I was doing it by myself and mid-day, but it had to be better than those effing 2Ks from last week, right?

In the end, it did not feel as great or as easy as I had hoped, but I got it done. The intervals were supposed to be at 10K pace with 90 sec recovery in between, and 5 min. recovery between sets. According to Coach Saffron, my 10K pace should be roughly 6:33. What actually happened was something in between 10K pace and Vo2 max…

Here are the splits… Set 1: 3:02, 3:04, 3:01, 3:01. Set 2: 3:06, 3:09, 3:08, 3:07

Although the 2nd set came a little closer to the prescribed pace, I was kind of bummed that it was slower than the first. I know that’s totally silly, but I just thought round 2 felt a little better and smoother and more controlled. I suppose there is a good possibility that the 2nd set felt better because I was running slower, but still, faster splits are always a nice ego boost.

At any rate, it wasn’t all that easy, and I didn’t feel super great or excited about it, but damnit, I got it done, and I did it all by myself. So that’s pretty cool, and worthy of a point or 2 on the Wasabi Becomes a More Confident and Independent Runner score board. So yay for celebrating Hump Day in style by conquering that beastly workout!

Thursday, 1/24, REST DAY! Holla! 50 minutes of aqua jogging FTW!

Friday, 1/25, 4x 1 mile at LT Pace, 9.01 miles: Today was an epic workday from hell that I had been dreading all week. Opening at one job and closing at another made for 5 am to 7 pm work-a-palooza, and my only break to speak of was going on this run, which I was also dreading because (a) it was a hard effort at the end of a tough week, crammed into the longest day of all, and (b) it was more frigid than ever this morning, and that’s when my workout had to happen.

I incessantly stalked my phone’s weather app all morning, watching the temperature creep from 9 degrees to 10 to 12, which was where it seemed to stick. 12 degrees. I know some of you have probably spent your winter dealing with colder temps, but to this North Carolinian that just seemed really effing cold. As game time approached, I seriously considered just bagging the run until tomorrow, or worse, doing it on the treadmill! (Gasp! Who AM I?) At 10 am I told myself that if the temperature (still stuck at 12) rose to 15 degrees by 10:30 (the latest possible time I could start my run and still get away with not cutting it short) then I would go outside and do it.

At roughly 10:27 I held my breath as I opened the weather app to see that the temperature was…. wait for it… a balmy 16 degrees. Half annoyed that it was not still 12 so I could call the whole thing off, I bundled up and set out to take care of business.

I have no idea how this happened, but to my great surprise, I had an awesome run! This was particularly unexpected because if I’m being perfectly honest here, Wednesday’s workout was a lonely ride on the struggle bus, and I had feared the same for today, being confined to the same lackluster route around the campus at work, and even more run down than I was earlier in the week.

But somehow I felt strong and the miles clicked by quickly, and reasonably consistently. My splits for the 4 working efforts were 6:36, 6:30, 6:35, and 6:32 vs. my goal of roughly 6:40 pace, and I felt really good about that.

When all was said and done it was a huge win to get through workout where I felt really good completely by myself and despite stressful, less than ideal circumstances. Add a few more points in my column on the confident, independent runner scoreboard! Cheers to Friday and to my survival of the most epic workday ever!

Saturday, 1/26, Easy 6.01 miles:  My running store hosted a (very chilly) fun run on our local greenway trail this morning. Guess who drew the short get up early and go stand out in the effing cold while everyone else gets to stay indoors and not come to work until 10 straw? This girl. Standing in 20 degrees (which is double the temperature it was a the same time yesterday) is MUCH colder than running in 20 degrees. When it was all said and done, we had an awesome turnout despite the cold and I enjoyed being a part of it, except for the part where I had to forgo my beloved customary Saturday doughnut shop run.

Instead, I was reduced to running after work, which was supposed to end for me at 4. I finally escaped around 4:30. My plan was to run from the store, so as not to get sidetracked by things like my couch or my laptop that could thwart productivity at home. But alas, no running tights or pants of any sort made the trip to work with me that day. Since pants-less running is (sadly) considered to be socially unacceptable, I headed home where I reluctantly set out on what felt like my one hundred millionth run around the work campus of the week.

It was 5 pm by the time I started and I felt very uneasy about getting caught in the dark. Running around campus when no one was there was pretty creepy, and I was very eerily stared down by a deer as I lapped an empty parking lot. All I could think of for the rest of the run was those infomercials for “When Animals Attack” which scared the crap out of me as a child.

It wasn’t particularly fun because I was feeling uneasy and counting down the miles and minutes until it was over every step of the way, but I got it done.

Sunday Funday (?), 1/26, 14.5 miles with miles 6-13 at MGP. (Well, kind of…) Guys, running 7 miles of your long run at marathon goal pace is not as easy as it seems like it should be! Eff! This was a tough one!

The plan said “14 to 16 miles with miles 6 through 13 at MGP”. I really wanted to get the 16, mostly because this time next week I will be living it up in NOLA and it seemed like a good idea to get a longer long run under my belt in case I’m inclined to slack off a little while I’m away. But Coach Saffron insisted that 14 was the way to go.

The first 5 miles went well enough. Just cruising along and chatting with Caren, Allison, Lacey, and Sarah at 7:45 to 8:10 pace, but then Saffron and the fasties  looped back to get me, and so the suffer-fest began. Perhaps I’ve already mentioned this, but I thought it sucked to have to drop it down to MGP  halfway through the run. Like a lot. This could be because my first split for the MGP miles was 7:13. My marathon goal pace is 7:30. When I saw that split and realized that it felt like crap and not all maintainable (not to mention the fact that it was NOT MGP), I vowed to run my own run, even if it meant letting my fastie pacers go. I kind of did that for MGP mile 2, which flashed up in a more appropriate, but abysmal-feeling 7:36. I think my rabbits felt bad for me because they slowed down until I caught up with them, and pulled me through another heinous 7:08. I have to do this for how many more miles???

I summoned my best polite and grateful, yet firm voice and told my speedy pacers that I HAD to slow down to survive this workout, and also in order to do it correctly and actually benefit from it. I successfully talked them down to 7:20 for the next split. And somehow, by the grace of God, I began to feel less terrible. The remaining splits were 7:21, 7:19, and 7:10. It took a few miles, but I eventually settled into a (only a little faster than MGP) rhythm. And that last 7:10 was just a classic case of hurry-the-eff-up-and-get-the-last-mile-over-with. I couldn’t even hang on to anything that started with an 8 for the remaining mile and a half, even with the aid of a sad and desperate bathroom stop. So much for getting 16 miles in.

I probably  definitely over-ran the MGP portion of the run, and this was evident by how spent I was by the time I reached the cool down. But I got it done, and so closes another week in my 2014 Boston Marathon training log. Looking forward to taking somewhat of a step back next week, and happy to be one week closer to Beantown!

Cheers to finishing another chapter in the Boston training saga, and hooray for pushing through some pretty gnarly workouts all on my own! I think this element of building self-reliance and self-confidence is something that has been lacking in my marathon training gone by, and my race performances have often reflected it. I’m going to go ahead and high-five myself for practicing a lot of solitary training this week and mostly coming out on top!

Until next week, happy trails and thanks for reading!

Do you struggle with training on your own too? How do you cope when you are stuck doing a hard workout all by yourself? Teach me your ways, friends!


Mid-pack racer and social running enthusiast. Full-time fitness specialist and part-time running store employee extraordinaire. Certified running gear fashionista and lover of laughing, lattes, and color coordination.

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1 comment

  1. Congrats on your successful week!
    I admit I find it fun to read what other runners find cold. I’m looking forward to days of 12 degrees F. Here in Ottawa, Canada I have now adapted to – 10F without the windchill. My last few runs with windchill have been in the -20F or colder range. Honestly, you do get used to it. Actually, one day when it was -23F with windchill I actually over heated and ended up having to slow down and take off layers. By the time I was done I had managed to sweat as much as I do on a hot summer day!
    Of course, somewhere right now there is someone saying ” Only -23F, I can’t wait to run in those balmy temperatures!” It is all relative 😉