Saturday, March 28, 2015

Utterly Bananas: Wisconsin Marathon Training Week 13

Yeah, another Strava screenshot. But hell yeah I'm excited about this 70 mile week!

Even with the cutback in mileage the week I raced a 10K, I'm still going to cross the 250 mile mark for March.
That is BONKERS.

Crazy mileage aside, I've had some quality workouts that have been confidence builders for me. I'm focusing really hard on not just running all "junk" miles but giving each run a purpose (speed intervals, tempo, progressive, recovery, etc.) I also think a big reason why I'm able to hit this mileage without hurting myself is that Wednesday and Friday are always recovery runs done at a very, very easy pace.

So what was good in the past couple of weeks? I actually had a pretty crappy speed workout to start week 12 where I couldn't hit my prescribed paces- mostly because I wasn't paying attention to my easy intervals and ran them way too fast. Rookie move, I know, which resulted in me getting slower and slower until I was just completely frustrated in the whole thing. That whole week I was feeling pretty tired and the botched speed workout hung over me like a dark cloud going into my 10K race.

Luckily? This happened instead:

I am smiling really big because I made it over the top of that big stupid hill and was rewarded with a huge downhill on the other side. Great shot to take a photo if you ask me. I ran a 30-second 10K PR- which is pretty neat since my previous PR was run on a flat track a few months ago. This one was full of hills! It started to hurt by mile 5 but otherwise I felt strong. I managed to win my age group which was an added bonus! I always wonder how fast I'd be able to run if I didn't race theses short races in the middle of marathon training- but who am I kidding I'm always in marathon training. Maybe I'd be a lot faster? Or maybe I'm just full of shit. 

Anyway, that was a huge boost to me since I was feeling kind of down all week leading up to the race. It turned me around mentally just in time to focus on Week 13: 70 miles! Whoa. 

First off, on Monday I had a "do over" of the speed workout I bonked the previous week. I took my recovery intervals seriously this time and was able to hit my paces spot on. Boom! Science. My other runs this week were easy paced (just trying to log the big 7-0) although my 13-miler on Tuesday was done progressively quicker each mile with a fast finish. I'm working really hard on starting out conservatively and allowing myself to ease slowly into my speed. I feel like it's been paying off because the faster miles don't feel like as much work anymore. Point two for Science.

Today was my 22 miler to cap off the week. This run was fantastic. Actually, I'm having a hard time figuring out which run this week was the best. It's a good problem to have! Especially because I've had a couple of rough weeks. Today though, I was again super proud of my pacing. I ran with Sara and Renee for the first 5 miles and we took it very easy since Renee is coming back from an injury. From 5-9 I ran with Sara and we naturally picked it up a bit as we talked but still, I didn't want to be too aggressive. Sara finished up at mile 9 and I took off to execute the rest of my plan. At mile 10 I started doing minute surges at marathon pace (8:10-8:15) at the top of every mile. It felt so good to speed up my legs! In between the surges I was able to recover and I felt ready to kick it up again as I approached a new mile. My overall pace increased more due to the surges but I was still saving up for the end where I kicked it up one last notch and ran in the 8:20s from mile 15-20. It didn't feel super "easy" but it didn't feel hard either which was great. The last two miles were a cooldown and I just had the biggest smile on my face. I'm so happy I've figured out how to finish long runs strong this cycle instead of crashing. This may be the missing piece in my training? Who knows. 

An added bonus is that I never had to stop and pause my Garmin at all during all 22 miles. A lot of times I have to stop for a traffic signal or a car or sometimes I'm with people who want to stop to eat whatever fuel they brought with. Today I just kept on trucking through. I didn't even pull my ipod out of my zip pocket after Sara left because I didn't want to lose focus and mess with it! I guess you could say I was in the zone. 

So now there are just 2 more hard weeks of training before taper. I have another cutback in mileage next week so I can race the ChiTown Half Marathon on Saturday and then there's one last push. Right now my outlook is most definitely optimistic. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

7 Weeks to Go: Wisconsin Marathon Training Week 11

I'm really trying not to psyche myself out this time around by obsessively counting down, but who am I kidding- I'm excited! This past week of training was a real high point for me. I hit 65 miles and topped off the week with a 21 mile run that I paced so well I was able to crank out the last 4 miles the fastest. It's a new thing for me to not be dragging at the end of a super long training run and I think I like it. I'm really trying to practice starting slow and building speed as I go since that will be my race day plan in May. Obviously qualifying for Boston is my #1 goal but I'm also dying to have a race where I don't hit a wall and get stronger and stronger until the finish. It's my turn to have one of those right? I'm working so hard.

Next week is a step back week in mileage again because I'm racing a 10K on Saturday. I'm feeling confident that I can break the PR I set in December. I hope I'm right.

View from the Shedd Aquarium last week on my 19-miler.
Another negative-splitter! It's what I do now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Living on a Prayer: Wisconsin Marathon Training Week 9

We're halfway there! *insert Bon Jovi gif here*

It's amazing how much better I've felt in the last week and a half. I knew the tireds were just a temporary thing as I adapted to the mileage but I truly feel like a weight has been lifted. 60+ mile weeks? Pffft. I got this. 

Last weekend was another checkpoint of sorts. I raced a 5K for the first time in... 8 months or so? Sara and I drove out to Nashotah to run the St. Joan of Arc Frostbite 5K and despite the incredibly bitter cold we both had pretty stellar races. I actually kind of loathe how I feel while running 5K because it's so fast but I know it's over in just a little more than 20 minutes so that part is always good. In my case, it was over in 22 minutes and 27 seconds. Not too bad! I had hoped to sneak in under 22 but the course was a bit too hilly for me to do it. I suppose the 5 degree weather didn't help things either- it's super tough for me to breathe in deep when the air is that cold.

I know a 5K isn't the best indicator for projecting marathon pace but it was important for me to run strong. I actually ran negative splits (7:20, 7:19, 7:08) and finished the last tenth of a mile at a sub-7 pace when I thought I was dying so that was pretty neat. Sara and I placed 2nd and 3rd in our age group and got nifty icicle "medals." All in all it was a good day!

I'll be racing a 10K in a couple weeks and then after that is the Chi-Town Half Marathon where I'm super duper fingers crossed hoping for a PR. I'm working so hard this cycle I can't even tell you. 

February Miles: 217!