Looking to Little Rock: Week Two

Meh…. I ran four times this week, but I still didn’t feel up to doing the amount of miles that I normally would do at this point in a training cycle. It also rained off and on all week, which messed with some of my plans.

Wednesday, Ran 2 miles/8:49 pace

2 miles

I did this before work, and I got a later start than planned because it was raining heavily when my alarm went off at 6:30. I woke up again at 7:10 and the rain had stopped, so I went out just to get SOMETHING done. It started raining again shortly after I did the 2 miles.

For Valentine’s Day, we went to a really nice restaurant, Ernest’s Orleans. There were free pictures being taken in front of a green screen, so we posed for some! It was funny. It felt like we were at a high school dance taking pictures 🙂

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Thursday, Ran 3 miles/8:50 pace

3 miles

I went out after work to get this done, and it was a struggle. I had a moderately speedy first mile, a faster second mile, and then I was so out of breath that I took the third mile slower, rather than just quit. I’ve found it hard to breathe during faster runs this week. It was annoying.

Saturday, Ran 2.8 miles with “hill work”/10:37 pace

hills

Saturday was a rainy day, but around 5 p.m., after several hours of volunteering at the cat shelter, I was able to go out and run to the local arena where I could do some “hill work” via climbing these stairs five times. My heart was pounding when I was done!

stairs

Sunday, Ran 13 miles/10:27 pace

13 miles

We had to be at church at 10:30, so I headed out at 7 to ensure I would have enough time to do a double-digit run, then shower and dress before church. It was “misting” a little, but otherwise no rain, just wet, cold, dreary – just like last week! But about 20 degrees warmer. Heather McDonald’s podcast and her interviews with Camille Grammer and Spencer Pratt got me through this one.

My foot started hurting again, just like last week… 😦 I wrapped it with an ace bandage and am going to try and spend some time icing it this week.

Little Rock Marathon in two weeks! It’s probably going to be rough. From what I’ve read, the second half is harder than the first, with a 2-mile long hill starting around mile 14, and then a long out-and-back that is mentally tasking, then another hill in the final miles. Yuck. Combine that with my lackluster training and a foot that keeps hurting, and well… we’ll see how it goes!

shoes

In other news… I am getting a new pair of Brooks running shoes! They were on sale at Zulily, so I ordered a pretty pair of Brooks Ravenna 8s.

It is always an exciting day when I find a new pair of running shoes! I’ve been running in two different pairs of the Mizuno Catalysts for the past year, but with this Zulily deal, I decided to return to the old faithful Ravennas.

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Looking to Little Rock: Week One

Well, with an unexpected trip to Little Rock on the horizon, I desperately needed to get back to a regular running schedule this past week.

I was worried that I might injure myself if, after three weeks of basically not running, I just jumped back in and attempted to run a week’s worth of miles as if I had never stopped. So instead of doing what I would usually do at this point in a training plan, 3-4 weeks before a marathon, I decided to do 4 training runs, all a little shorter than what I normally would plan to do.

Monday, Ran 3 miles, 8:26 pace

3 mi

Speed run: Oof. This was the best I could do, I guess, and I definitely saw the loss of speed considering my inconsistent training over the past 2 months. At my peak of training for the Dallas Marathon, I ran a 5-mile speed run at a sub-8 pace. So to be 30 seconds slower for a 3-miler is a little upsetting. But I earned that. I have to now try and regain what I lost.

Wednesday, Ran 4 miles, 8:39 pace

4 mi

Tempo run: I actually went out and did this run at 9 PM. I had to work a little late that evening, so I had decided to push the run until Thursday morning before work. But the more I thought about having to wake up extra early, the less I wanted to do that. Since I felt good enough, and our neighborhood is safe, I decided to go out and quickly do this tempo run late that night. I wore my reflective, blinking light clips and a white shirt to make sure I was visible to any cars, though I didn’t see too many.

Friday, Ran 2.4 miles, 9:33 pace

hill work

Hill work: Little Rock apparently has some difficult hills, so I’ve decided that what I used to call my “easy runs” will be dedicated to focusing on running some “hills” …  Since we don’t have too many of those, this is mostly going to be the outside steps of a local arena, which go up pretty high. So whenever I do these “easy” runs, I will run at a comfortable pace and incorporate climbing those stairs several times. I didn’t get to do this for too long on Friday because I went after work, and it started getting dark soon after.

Sunday, Ran 17 miles, 10:24 pace

17 mi

Long run: Well, this would normally be the week where I run 20 miles for a second time during a training cycle, and I did think I might get up to that, but I also was really determined to listen to my body. Running 20 miles when I hadn’t run double digits (or even longer than 35 minutes) since Jan. 14 didn’t seem very wise.  But I was going to maybe try.

I got a late start Sunday morning, getting out to the running path around 10 AM. It was gray and cold and windy. It had rained off and on all day Saturday; while it wasn’t raining on Sunday, the air still just felt kind of wet. Needless to say, it was not the most pleasant running environment at 33 degrees. I ended up wearing my Nike hoodie jacket over my running shirt, unplanned, because it was colder than I expected, made worse by the wind. I felt pretty strong throughout the run, though I didn’t do very well with my fueling and that definitely was felt in the later miles.

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New trail signs at the ART! I was weirdly excited to see them LOL

I listened to podcasts by Ali on the Run and Reality Steve for most of the run, and they really helped the miles go by. By mile 14, the top of my left foot was really starting to hurt, and I kept thinking, “What if I get a stress fracture?” I’ve never had one, but I know they often are in the top of the foot, and they are usually caused by over-training or doing too much too fast. I was still a couple of miles away from my car, but I decided that I would probably call it quits whenever I got there because I really didn’t want to risk actually hurting myself. I did feel that, without the foot pain, I could have gone 3 more miles. Finishing 20 miles was not a question. So I got to my car at 17 miles and though the pain in my foot had subsided a little, I still ended my run.

I haven’t noticed my foot hurting since then, but I am going to be careful. Better to run the race under-trained than to not be able to run it at all.

Oops, I did it again…

I thought I was done with marathons for awhile, but then I saw that the Little Rock Marathon still had open spots for its marathon one month from now, and that I’m only 3.5 hours away, and, well… I registered.

March 4. Marathon #11. I will earn the most ridiculously-sized marathon medal of them all.

bIQXMHs

This will be the fourth different state where I’ve run a marathon, first marathon in Arkansas.

I have run a total of five miles combined over the past 3 weeks since Louisiana Marathon, so I have to get in gear TOMORROW. I will be working up a four-week training plan tonight and trying to retrieve my discipline. It’s been kind of nice loafing around, but I am itching to have a goal again. I’m excited!

Louisiana Marathon Training: Week Three

Nothing.

This was still me all last week:

sick

I even had to work from home a couple days in order to spare my coworkers from my germs and my annoying coughing.

But finally, by Friday, the worst of it seemed to finally be passing. I played it safe all weekend, refraining from running to make sure I continued to get healthy and didn’t do anything to regress.

And then today, Monday, for the first time in two weeks, I ran.

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I’m still coughing a little, but it’s nothing compared to even a week ago. I hope to run a few more times this week, though nothing very long or strenuous. It won’t be my best marathon on Sunday, but I will finish.

Louisiana Marathon Training: Week Two

Last week was hijacked by an illness that I am still fighting. I don’t think I ever had the flu, which has been going around, but I have had a nasty cough and chest congestion since Christmas night that is still nagging me 8 days later.

I haven’t run since Christmas because I don’t want to do anything to aggravate the cold and prolong it. It has already lasted way longer than I anticipated. My hope is that I will be able to at least run double digits this coming Sunday, the last long run before the Louisiana Marathon. So with all that said, this was my one run of the week:

Monday, Christmas – Ran 3 miles

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Easy run: I intended to run 5 miles, but it was hard to get motivated to go out on Christmas morning. I kind of let the day get away from me, so I decided to go out and do my easy run around 4 in the afternoon. I felt awful during the run, and I thought it was because I had eaten so much earlier in the day. But that night I started getting a cough, congestion in my chest, chills, and aches. By the end of the day, I could tell I was just sick.

Louisiana Marathon Training: Week One

The plan: 

Htnv2sa

With four weeks to go until the Louisiana Marathon, I simply went back to my Dallas Marathon training plan and decided to re-do the last four weeks of that schedule.

The only difference is that I am switching the 20-mile week and the 15-mile week so that I’m not running 20 miles the weekend before Christmas. This means I will be running 20 miles only two weeks before the race, but I think it will be fine as long as I take it easy.

Monday, Ran 4 miles/8:56 pace

run

Tempo run: Our local running store had a no-frills fun run – the Ugly Christmas Sweater Run – for a measly $5 on Monday evening. The race was simply a non-timed 1.8-mile lap around the block, and they said we could run it as many times as we wanted. I decided to turn this into my tempo run, so I ran the loop twice, plus a little extra until I got to 4 miles. It was very dark, so I bought some blinking light shoe clips at the store prior to the race starting.

The first mile was very congested because we were all trying to run on a sidewalk, so that slowed down my overall pace. Still, I felt pretty winded at the end. I figured it would be interesting to see how my speed run went later in the week.

Tuesday, Rest

Wednesday, Ran 3 miles/8:51 pace

easy 3

Easy run: Well, my easy run ended up being faster than my tempo run. I think I ran it faster because it was shorter. Did this after work in the evening, enjoying the neighborhood Christmas lights in the process. I realized that this was the first run I had done that WASN’T a race since before the marathon.

Thursday Ran 5 miles/8:00 pace

speed 5

Speed run: I hadn’t done a speed run more than 4 miles in about a month, and I was reminded how tough speed runs are, and how little I like them. But I have no doubt that doing consistent speed runs, that progressively got faster, is what helped me PR in the marathon, so it’s a love-hate thing. I was pleased with my pace for this one considering I was feeling like my conditioning had already degraded a little since the Dallas Marathon.

After this run, we went to a local theater that was screening the 1992 movie “Batman Returns” – it’s basically a Christmas movie, right?! It was very fun, they did trivia beforehand and also showed some 1992 commercials from the marketing that was associated with the movie, like Diet Coke and toys and video games. I loved it.

Friday, Rest and travel

Headed south for Christmas!

Saturday, Ran 15 miles/10:00 pace

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Long run: It rained Saturday morning, so I got a late start, around 8:45. Thankfully the weather started to cool off after the rain was gone, about 68 degrees with a slight breeze. The humidity was still pretty bad though. I felt pretty strong for most of this run — my IT band has been have twinges lately, and it did give me a few problems during the marathon, so I need to give it more TLC over the next few weeks leading up to the Louisiana Marathon.

Sunday, Rest (Christmas Eve)

No cross-training today unless you count climbing the stairs at the Superdome to get to our seats for the Saints game. Merry Christmas!

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Seventeen

The plan:

wk17

Monday, Arm and ab workouts

Tuesday, Ran 3 miles/8:20 pace

3 tempo

Tempo run: Meh. I kind of expected to do better since it was a shorter distance, but I did it after work and was tired, and this was honestly the best I could do.

Wednesday, Ran 4 miles/8:02 pace

4 sp

Speed run: Terrible. This was completed before work, and I just felt so out of breath and sluggish. I was congested, which may have contributed to the run being crappy, but I was surprised to feel so weak during this run. Especially after I had had several very strong speed runs for a few weeks prior.

Thursday, Rest

Friday, Rest

Saturday, Ran 4 miles/9:14 pace

4 ez

Easy run: I kept putting this run off until finally, my choices were to either do it after a long day of volunteering at the cat shelter, or skip it all together. I chose to do it, and I was very glad I did.

Sunday, Ran 10 miles/9:49 pace

20l

Long run: Can’t believe I just did my last long run before the Dallas Marathon. I might have gotten more sentimental or introspective or whatever about the past few months of training, but I’ll be right back training again after I recover from Dallas, in order to run the Louisiana Marathon 5 weeks later.

This run felt pretty easy, and it was such a mental relief to only have 10 miles. I definitely was getting to a burned-out stage with training, so this taper time was really needed to be at my best for the race.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Sixteen

The plan:

plan

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Rest

I didn’t really plan for this to be a rest day, but things came up at work and I didn’t get home until almost 10 PM. So rest it was.

Wednesday, Ran 5 miles/7:53 pace (!)

speed5

Speed run: This run was done late after 2 hours of grocery shopping for last-minute Thanksgiving ingredients. It was my last 5-mile speed run before the marathon (next week goes down to 4), and it was the fastest yet! I was amazed at my pace when I finished.

Thursday, Ran 3 miles/9:01 pace (Turkey Trot 5K)

easy3

Easy run: My husband and I ran this together, and I decided to do it as my easy run for the week. He hasn’t really run much at all, so this pace was pushing it for him 🙂 I made a point to stick with him and just enjoy the run. I think over 1,600 people turned out for this 5K. I love this race – it’s fun to be out with everyone on a holiday, there’s a feeling of celebration in the air.

Friday, Arm workouts and sit-ups

Saturday, Ran 4 miles/8:10 pace

tempo4

Tempo run: Got up and got this done before volunteering at the cat shelter for the day. I didn’t feel my best during this one, but I was very pleased with my pace. I was also happy to be doing a shorter tempo run than normal.

Sunday, Run 15 miles/10-minute pace

long15

Long run: Not much to say about this one. I felt pretty good, and mentally it was a relief to “only” have 15 on the schedule after two weeks of 20-milers. The taper starts now, and I do feel like my body needs it. My knees feel a little more “creaky” than usual, and I definitely feel like less mileage, extra rest will help me out.

My plan for these next two weeks is to do more yoga, foam rolling and stretching, take more vitamins, drink more water, and hopefully be full of energy by the time race weekend comes.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fifteen

The plan – identical to last week:

UTDMStR

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Rest 

I felt so tired after work, and my right quad was still really sore from the 20-miler, so I took another rest day. I am definitely ready for the taper to begin.

Wednesday, Ran 3 miles/8:57 pace3e

Easy run: I intended to do my 5-mile speed run, but I still just lacked energy! I got up before work, and whereas usually I have no problem getting into my ‘speed’ pace, I felt sluggish and slow. I decided to just to do my 3-mile easy run, and try to figure out a way to reclaim some energy for the next few days. I took my B-complex vitamin when I got home, which I’ve been neglecting to do lately, and I tried to drink more water and eat better throughout the day. I’d been eating kind of bad the previous few days, which surely doesn’t help contribute to energy and activity.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/7:59 pace

5s
Speed run: My coworkers and I agreed we were all feeling extra tired this week. Maybe it’s the weather? Still adjusting to DST? Whatever the case, I was still tired Thursday morning when I got up to do my speed run, and I felt myself running out of gas near the end. But, somehow, I still managed to do my fastest pace for a 5-miler ever. Pretty sure I’d never run 5 miles at a sub-8:00 pace before. I’m constantly amazed that after several lackluster and sometimes downright awful running years, I’m now the fastest I’ve ever been.

Friday, Ran 5 miles/8:40 pace

5t

Tempo run: I couldn’t muster up the motivation to do this run before work, and I even considered pushing it back to Saturday morning. But I got out and did this run Friday evening instead, and I felt okay but not great. My pace was slower than last week. 😦 Verrry sweaty afterward too. This is November. Sigh.

Saturday, Arm workouts

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/9:58 pace

20l

Long run: Just like last week, I super procrastinated getting out the door to start this run. It’s just so mentally daunting sometimes. But the run went by rather quickly once I got going. The weather was really nice, in the high 40s to high 50s, breezy, sunshine. I listened to episodes of Dateline and Hollywood Crime Scene podcast, and those really kept my mind off the task at hand.

I also focused on trying not to glance at my Garmin too much, so that I wouldn’t be constantly checking how far I had gone. As a result, my pace was usually too fast. I did make conscious efforts to try and slow down at points, but it never stuck.

Mileage starts coming down next week, and I am relieved. I think the combination of weather changes making me sick, adjusting (or not adjusting, as the case may be) to Daylight Saving Time, on top of work, volunteering, and marathon training, has all started to catch up with me. I will focus these next three weeks before the race on trying to get as much rest as I can, taking my vitamins, eating well, drinking water, and hopefully being at peak health on race day.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fourteen

The plan:

(Let’s try this again)

UTDMStR

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 5 miles/8:02 pace

5 sp

Speed run: I ended up working later than expected, and when I got home it was chilly and drizzly outside. I was tempted to push this back. But instead, I sucked it up and got it done. I didn’t get too wet, and ended up with my best 5-mile pace thus far.

Wednesday, Arm workouts, sit-ups

It was raining tons this day, so running outside wasn’t happening for me. I pushed my tempo run back a day and did my typical lazy “cross training” instead.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/8:26 pace

5 te

Tempo run: I got up before work and did this run around 6:45 AM, with temperatures around 44 degrees. I felt kind of bad during the run, but still pulled out a good pace. I was happy to have this done early.

Friday, Rest

After work we went to a little concert at my brother-in-law’s church. I felt so tired at the end of a long week!

Saturday, Ran 3 miles/9:07 pace

3

Easy run: Another early morning, chilly run. I got up and did this run around 7:30 AM before heading out to volunteer at the cat rescue for the rest of the day. I ran what felt “easy” and felt really, really good.

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/10:11 pace

20

Long run: For this run, I was hoping to have the same cool temps we had earlier in the week, but alas, it was about 68 degrees when I headed out Sunday morning. I got a much later start than planned because I was procrastinating, big time. There is something so mentally daunting about tackling 20 miles solo. It’s only 2 miles longer than 18, but just sounds so much harder.

Finally, I got started shortly before 8 AM, and I just tried to zone out. I listened to a couple of podcasts, but mostly music. I did a decent job fueling for this run – peanut butter and honey toast beforehand, three PowerBar energy gels total (beforehand, 7 miles, and 14 miles), and Powerade throughout. My pace was faster than I expected or intended, and I finished strong at the end, but I was definitely feeling tired at the end. I think in the marathon I’m going to end up taking 5 total gels, so I will be eating more calories during the race.

Hotel for race weekend is booked, and I’m growing very excited. I hope my nerves don’t get the best of me come race day. I need to remember to enjoy it.