PEAK WEEK! St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 11

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  5.1 @ 9:32 + 10 min moderate spin
Wednesday:  8                                 Wednesday:  8 miles @ 11:35
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  18                                    Saturday:  5k @ 8:37 + 2 @ 11:21
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday:  18 @ 11:38
Total:  36 miles                                 Total:  36.2 miles

Monday was a federal holiday, so I was off work.  I guess TECHNICALLY it was a rest day since I did no deliberate exercise of any sort, but the day was anything but restful. I’ve been so behind here at home and have neglected the domestic duties for entirely too long.  I worked on this house all. damn. day.  Well, until approximately 3:30, when I decided it was time to start drinking beer and watching baseball.  Of note, my legs felt fantastic following my 17 miles the previous day.  A little tired, hammies just a tad tight, but very, very little actual soreness, all of which was completely gone by the next morning.

Tuesday was one beast of a day at work.  It always is on the day after a federal holiday.  I was on my feet all day, so I really didn’t expect to have much pep in my step by the time I got around to running.  I kind of surprised myself by running a 9:29 average for 5 miles (followed by a super slow jog the remaining 0.1 mile back to my driveway, bringing the average down to 9:32).  The most exciting part about this is that I didn’t feel like I was out there killing myself.  It was just a good, solid tempo run.  The fastest I’ve ever run 5 miles was at a 9:26 pace, and that was back in March, after training all winter long.  I find it pretty exciting that I’m going into this winter, having done NO SPEEDWORK WHATSOEVER since the spring, already as fast as I came out of last winter.  Maybe there really is something to this running slow and not taking the summer off stuff.

And speaking of running slow… that’s exactly what I did on Wednesday.  I mean sloooooooooow.  Intentionally.  My legs were pretty tired.  They were more tired after Tuesday’s faster 5 than Sunday’s slow 17.  Or maybe it was a combination of the two.  So I took it painfully slow on Wednesday.  I kept it at a pace where I was able to sing with my iPod.  I felt like it took forever, but at least I entertained myself.  And probably everyone else within earshot.

I took Thursday and Friday off (despite the fact that my legs were telling me they really wanted to run Friday afternoon) in preparation for Saturday’s 5K, which you can read about here.  Afterwards I could feel everything tightening up a little bit, so I hopped on the treadmill for another slow, easy 2 to try to loosen up.  I needed those 2 anyway to fully make up the skipped 5-miler from Thursday.

I knew ahead of time that Sunday’s 18 was going to be tricky.  First of all, I had to be sure I got up and got started super early.  Like before daybreak early.  It was my Mom’s birthday, and we had made a lunch date in a city about halfway between us.  So in order for me to get in 18, get cleaned up, and make it to our lunch date, I had to start out on the treadmill.  Second, I figured I would be sore from the 5K.  And third, they were predicting thunderstorms.  I knew as soon as I woke up that it was gonna be ugly.  My calves, quads, and hamstrings were all sore, but I put on my compression socks and hoped for the best.  I started at 6:00 and planned to do 6 on the mill and then take it outside.  The first 6 were okay.  I put The Machine on 5.3 (11:19 pace) and found Home Improvement on TBS.  Good enough.  First 6 were fairly uneventful (aside from being painful) and went by fairly quickly.  I peeked out the window and, yeah, it was daylight, but I could see dark clouds.  I checked the radar before heading out and knew there was no way I could get 12 in before the red stuff got to us.  Rather I decided to shoot for 6 but decided I’d better do it in two 1.5-mile out-and-backs so I was never too far from home, just in case.  Good move.  I was just finishing up the first one, about 100 yards from the house, when the bottom fell out.  Back to the mill I went.  The storm seemed to be moving pretty fast, though, so I was hoping it would blow on over and I could still do the majority of what was left outside.  Psht.  Wishful thinking.  Finally after another 6 miles, it looked like it was trying to let up a little bit.  I decided to wait it out.  I just couldn’t stand the thought of getting back on that treadmill for another second.  I had never run more than 5 miles on one before.  Today’s 12 nearly did me in mentally.  After a few minutes, I decided it was as good as it was gonna get and I couldn’t wait anymore.  My legs were already screaming at me, and the longer I waited the more stiff they got, so I headed outside.  The first 1.5 were great!  And then I turned around.  The 25 MPH winds that had been at my back were now kicking me square in the teeth.  That was just the icing on today’s shit cake.  So, as bad as the treadmill sucks, it was a total savior today.  There’s no way I would have ever got my miles in today without it!

As I sit here about 12 hours after finishing the run, I’m clad with a fresh pair of compression socks and reeking of Biofreeze.  Overall I feel pretty good.  No injury-type pain, but my quads are incredibly sore.  I’m happy to have my peak week behind me (the midweek mileage drops the weeks of my 19- and 20-milers!), and am now looking forward to RnR St. Louis next weekend!  Moving right along!

A Tuesday Miracle!

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear to you before, let me just clear up any confusion you may have right now.

But with the training plan that I’m doing right now for my spring half marathon, that’s exactly where I find myself once a week.  On Tuesdays, I will be doing some sort of speed work, whether it be intervals or a tempo run or hills, and as much as I hate to admit it, the only way I can successfully pull that off is on a treadmill.
Last night I headed to the gym for a 5-mile hill workout.  That dang treadmill kicked my butt from one end of that gym to the other.  I set it on the “rolling” program, and it rolled all right.  Rolled over me like a steam roller.  As with most treadmill workouts, it peaked in intensity about halfway through.  I think I died once.  I almost quit at three miles, but I bargained with myself.  “No!  You have chili waiting at home!  These next two miles are two more beers!”  And so I muddled through.  It was hot.  It was sweaty.  It was slow.  But in approximately 55 minutes it was DONE!  And that, my friends, was the best part of it.  And just like Funderson said, I am just as proud of that 5 miles on a treadmill (I’ve only done that distance on a mill a couple of other times and never any farther) than I am of any other run I’ve ever done.
It’s the little things…

Too Good To Be True

I was really looking forward to running this week because of the forecast. Cooler temps, lower humidity, just better running conditions all around. I was able to run a midweek run outside Tuesday for the first time in three weeks. And yesterday’s forecast? High of 84, cloudy, with scattered thunderstorms. And they hit the nail on the head. Until 5:00. Which COINCIDENTALLY was about five minutes after my run started. I quite literally had only gotten about half a mile into my scheduled five-mile run when the clouds magically disappeared giving way to crisp blue skies with wispy white clouds and a brilliant shining sun. Like something out of a freaking cartoon, really.

It was disgusting.

It qould have been beautiful if it hadn’t immediately turned my running route into a sauna. The rain water was steaming up off the asphalt. I thought I was going to DIE. I left the house with no water and no sunglasses because — HELLO! — it was cloudy and cool when I left and I was only going five miles! Yeah. I gave up at three.

Pathetic. But I COULD. NOT. BREATHE.

And we’re back to our 95-degree/105-heat-index bull crap today, so back to the gym I shall go today. And since I turned my five-miler into a three-miler yesterday, that means I get to turn today’s three miles into five. On a treadmill. Five miles on a treadmill. I’m dreading it already. I did four last week, and that pushed me to the brink of insanity. Five just might do the trick.

Just Another Day…

Nothing spectacular to report these days. S.S.D.D.

I’m two weeks into marathon training now, and so far so good. I’m getting all my miles in. I can’t say they’ve been enjoyable, but I’m getting them in. It’s still INCREDIBLY HOT here (we’re STILL under that excessive heat warning!), so my midweek runs have all been on the treadmill. I REALLY am trying, but I just do not love it. I just can’t seem to be able to channel my inner Emz! I’m still getting my weekend long runs done outside in the early morning, but even then it’s pretty miserable. I started my 9 this morning at 6:30 at 76 degrees with 89% humidity. By the time I finished it was already 83 with a “feels-like” of 89. But I still managed to pull out a personal best! To the tune of over 6 minutes, no less!

I’ve really been trying to educate myself on this whole training thing the past couple of weeks. Going through training for my previous two HMs, all of my training runs were basically the same thing, just of varying lengths. This time, I’m trying to make each run really count for something. Hopefully today’s time is an indication that I’m on the right track.

I’m really looking forward to next weekend. I’ll be going to Clarksville for my first group run with the Clarksville Running Club! I got my membership card in the mail this week, so I’m official now! They also sent me a schedule of their group runs, and it falls in line with mine PERFECTLY! They’ve got a bunch of women that are training for the Women’s Half Marathon in Nashville next month, and their scheduled long runs line up with where I’m at in my training exactly. I’m really, really looking forward to meeting some new people who can push me. 🙂 However, I’m NOT looking forward to the early start! Group run starts at 6:30, and it’s an hour and a half from my house. Hello 4:00 wake-up call! Blech!

The things we do…