Thursday, October 23, 2014

MCM14 Training, Weeks 13 & 14

Week 13


Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 10/6Regular Run69:34
Tuesday, 10/7Regular Run99:41
Wednesday, 10/8Rest0--
Thursday, 10/9Regular Run69:38
Friday, 10/10Rest0--
Saturday, 10/11Long Run149:52
Sunday, 10/12Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 35


Week 14


Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 10/13Regular Run59:29
Tuesday, 10/14Regular Run79:47
Wednesday, 10/15Rest0--
Thursday, 10/16Regular Run69:31
Friday, 10/17Rest0--
Saturday, 10/18Long Run109:27
Sunday, 10/19Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 28

Oops. I fell behind on posting. I'm actually in my 15th (and final) week of training leading up to this Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon. The last two weeks have gone pretty well--with some on and off foot pain (and lots of rest, you might have noticed). At this point, I'm just going to go up there and give it my best effort. I don't think I'm going to do any major damage to my foot; I'm not trying to beat my PRMy last long run was a bit faster than the previous ones (and much shorter), and I think it has something to do with the cooler temperatures lately:


Not exactly speedy, but still improved.

I'm hoping to stay with my two girlfriends who run the same pace as me for much of the race. Ideally, we'll keep each other from going out too fast but also motivate each other when we start to drag. And then cross the finish line smiling and holding hands. Just kidding. (Sort of.) 

The temperature should be perfect--lows in upper 40s and highs in mid-60s. While I know I'll be wearing a tank top and shorts for most of the race, I'll probably want to start in a long-sleeved "throwaway" shirt. I had visions of wearing something very patriotic, or at least trying to match the colors of the marines' navy and white uniforms, but I don't have anything like that, and when I went to three different stores this evening to find something, I came away empty-handed. All of the Florida stores are stocked with long sleeves and pants. In Florida. And the prices! This is supposed to be an inexpensive sport. So I'll just have to wear something old and unpatriotic. It may seem like a silly thing to be concerned about, but sometimes wearing something special makes me feel like I'm doing something more special (than an ordinary run). But I imagine the large crowds and swarms of marines will indicate to me that I am in fact doing something special.

My body has felt surprisingly sore this week, when I've only run 5, 7, and 4 miles--and that's it for training. It almost feels as if it's just now absorbing all of the training. I just hope it feels better by Sunday! I'm looking forward to being in DC, but I'll feel better when all of the logistics of the race are taken care of--flying in, picking up packets, checking into hotel, mapping out the plan for race day. And then, of course, the race. But AFTER all of that, I think I'll be able to enjoy myself. Lots of folks from Tampa are going, so I'm hoping to see as many as possible, but that will be difficult with the masses. And if anyone is interested in tracking me, you can do so at http://www.marinemarathon.com/Community/Social_Media.htm. It won't be very exciting. You'll receive five updates over the course of probably four and a half hours. 

That's about all I've got. I've been thinking about packing, but haven't made a move yet. Luckily I don't leave until Saturday morning. One more day to procrastinate.

Hopefully my next post will tell about my major, unexpected success at the race. Or at least that I survived it. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 12: All Systems Go

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 9/29Regular Run69:41
Tuesday, 9/30Regular Run99:55
Wednesday, 10/1Rest0--
Thursday, 10/2Regular Run79:44
Friday, 10/3Rest0--
Saturday, 10/4Long Run219:57
Sunday, 10/5Yoga0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 43

Last week was the week I was waiting for. It was the peak of my training schedule, and my success or failure in getting through it would, I believed, determine whether I'd be able to go into MCM feeling capable. And I was successful! So much, in fact, that I ran one extra mile than I'd planned for my long run (but mostly because I misjudged the distance).

I didn't run the full distances on my training plan during the week, as I've still been hesitant about my foot, but I didn't feel my long run was negatively impacted because of it. For the first time in a while, I ran with two other friends who are also running the marathon. I'd gotten so accustomed to running by myself that I forgot how much I enjoyed running with others--others who run my same pace and whose company I genuinely enjoy. That factor definitely made the run go by faster, and easier. I think sometimes I let my social anxiety get in the way of running with others, but this was a good lesson for me to open up more to partner and group runs.

Trying to get more artsy with my watch photos. 

My recovery throughout the day was not too bad--thanks in part to a wonderful deep-tissue massage. But after that I felt utterly exhausted. I always have grand visions of celebrating long runs with a nice night out on Saturday evenings, dinner and drinks, but in reality I rarely have the energy for it. My weekends pretty much revolve around the long run. I got to bed early Friday nights so I can wake up pre-dawn Saturday morning to run long, and then I go to bed early Saturday nights because I'm just too tired to stay awake. Such is the cost of marathon training. And for the most part, that's just fine with me.

Now I'm in official taper mode, and I've returned to full mileage this week, since it's decreased anyway. I'm back to morning running, thanks to a partnership with my new place of work and the health club across the street, which I use solely for showering. This saves me lots of time in the morning and keeps me from having to drive back and forth across town. And the weather--folks, it's autumn in Florida! While that still may mean 89-degree highs, it also means less humidity and cooler temps in the mornings and evenings. This shift in the weather, though slight, is such a relief from the oppression of summer training.

I still have 16 miles on the books for Saturday, but after that the last long run is only 10 miles! That's barely a double digit. I'm finally able to look forward to the race and the trip. Thanks for sticking with me through this tenuous journey. Only a couple more weeks to go, and I promise more positivity!

Friday, October 3, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 11: Get It Done

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 9/22Regular Run59:15
Tuesday, 9/23Regular Run810:28
Wednesday, 9/24Rest0--
Thursday, 9/25Regular Run79:57
Friday, 9/26Rest0--
Saturday, 9/27Long Run1810:01
Sunday, 9/28Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 38

Last week's theme was simply to "get it done." My runs have been slower lately, but I'm getting through them and my foot seems to me handling the mileage, so I'm OK with the decreased speed. I also ran most of my runs, except for the long one, in the evenings, which my body wasn't adapted to.

Monday's run was one of the last runs of my mini vacation (at home), and perhaps that had something to do with the better pace. I was also coming off of a pretty short long run a couple days back. I guess conditions were just good for that run, which I did once more at Upper Tampa Bay Trail, after visiting with my nieces.

On the Tuesday run, because I was on my last day of mini vacay, I was reluctant to get up early in the morning to run. I started at Four Green Fields Running Club and had a particularly rough time that evening (hence the 10:28 avg. pace). One friend even saw me running back and said he noticed I was "struggling" and thought he'd help run me back in. I'm glad he did--I might otherwise still still be out there. Because I started running in the evenings, which meant running in the sun--a thing I generally avoid, my body had a hard time adapting to the time change. On top of that, my stomach wasn't accustomed to running later in the day, so it was acting up during my evening runs.

I started a new job on Wednesday (I promise to post about that soon), and I had to begin work earlier than in my other job--like, by nearly an hour. So I continued my streak of evening runs, hoping they would get better. As an additional excuse for a poor performance week, I think all of the anxiety and energy that goes into starting a new job caused me to be a little more tired than usual, as I was just dragging through a couple of runs. 

On Thursday evening I accepted beforehand that I might not have a great run, so I just decided to get through it and not worry about pace. It wasn't as painful as Tuesday's run, though I still didn't want to make the evening runs a regular thing (which I was able to address this week at work). 

On Saturday I got through the 18 miler, in Flatwoods, just fine, thankfully. Although I've been feeling different types of pain in my foot, almost as if the pain is just shifting around, I think I can continue to run through it. I don't really feel as though it will cause a serious injury if I keep running. 

My stats for the week show a glaring lack of any cross-training activities--especially compared to previous years of training--and I blame that, too, on starting a new job. It's something I want to fix, but one thing at a time. This year has just been tough, for a number of reasons. I feel I'm accomplishing a lot by just doing my marathon training; perhaps I'll be able to get to a better place in the future when the running part feels like second nature and I can spend more energy on other activities.

For tomorrow, I have 20 miles--my first and last, since my previous effort didn't work out. I feel this will be the ultimate test on my foot. If I get through that, it's just a matter of tapering down for three weeks before the marathon, and I can truly look forward to the event.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 10: Let It Rain

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 9/15Regular Run49:23
Tuesday, 9/16Regular Run79:37
Wednesday, 9/17Yoga0--
Thursday, 9/18Regular Run69:31
Friday, 9/19Rest0--
Saturday, 9/20Long Run12.459:56
Sunday, 9/21Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 29.45

Last week was my cautious comeback to training. I cut back my weekly runs by a few miles overall, and I only had a twelve-mile long run on the schedule, which was very timely. Because this was my week off in between old job and new job, I was tempted, each morning, to sleep in and gave in to that temptation, each morning. So I ran in the evenings, which is doable at this time of year with the ever so slight shift toward cooler temperatures. 

I ran at the Upper Tampa Bay Trail on Monday, which I haven't run in probably a year. I enjoy this trail for shorter runs; it has several trailheads and is a little more than seven miles overall. Depending on where you start, it can feel like you're bouncing around from trailhead to trailhead, rather than running a loop or an out-and-back--and I prefer the latter two options for longer runs because I have fewer interruptions and can remain focused for more time. But the trail is enjoyable because it has lots of shading from trees, water provided at several locations, and restrooms at two trailheads. And there's also a bridge--an overpass that is steep enough for this Florida girl to feel as though she did some elevation training.  

My other two runs were on Bayshore, the default training ground. Then I ran once again with the Sharks for my long run Saturday. I felt pretty confident going into this run, as it was a shorter long run. But when I woke up early Saturday morning, I thought I heard rain. I asked Tim if it was raining (he's smarter than I am that early in the morning), and he in fact said that it was. We both thought for a second about going back to bed, but as we were already dressed, we decided to make the short drive over to see what the weather was like on Davis Islands. Often with these summertime rains, it will be raining in one neighborhood and not in another one nearby. But the rain was really just sprinkles, albeit annoying ones. And it was at our run spot, too. But seeing other runners out doing their warmup miles made us feel as though we had no excuse not to run. I actually don't mind running in light rain--it's getting started in it that's uncomfortable. And puddles. In the dark. I don't like those because my shoes get squishy and I can't do anything about it.

As usual, I ended up running at the back of the pack, solo (why does everyone always pass me?). Normally I prefer it that way, but there was something slightly eerie about running alone this time. Perhaps it was the added darkness from clouds that prevented the gradual lightening of the sky that I'd become accustomed to. Or maybe it was the smaller gathering of runners and knowing for certain that nobody was behind me. Nevertheless, I was getting my miles done with no serious pain. And right around the halfway point, after taking a water break, I started back running and noticed a few more rain drops here and there and thought they seemed a just little heavier than before. Before I knew it, I was full-on rain-running, puddles and all. My pace slowed, as there was wind, too, but I didn't really care. Granted, that's a tough way to finish a long run, but I'll take it over oppressive heat and swampy humidity, which is how I spent most of the summer training.

After successfully completing my run, I got to visit my family in Orlando for my sweetheart-niece's third birthday party. These trips always feel like the best reward after a long run.


Is she cute, or is she cute?

She insisted on pushing me on the swing, and I had to be very careful not to knock her over each time I swung back!

And now that the present week of training is coming to a close, I can report that I've had some very rough evening runs, but I've done the mileage. I'm not sure what this portends for Saturday's 18-miler, but my mindset now is to just get through it. Check back to see if I did ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 9: The Rollercoaster Continues

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 9/8Rest0--
Tuesday, 9/9Rest0--
Wednesday, 9/10Rest0--
Thursday, 9/11Yoga0--
Friday, 9/12Regular Run39:43
Saturday, 9/13Long Run159:41
Sunday, 9/14Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: a whopping 18

Last week was a rest week. I wanted to give my foot a chance to make up its mind as to whether it was going to do this race or not. It appears to be leaning toward yes--though the extent to which I'll actually be "racing" is very much in question. And that's OK. 


I learned last week that the deadline to defer or transfer a bib to another runner has passed. So basically I'm stuck being signed up for it. In a way, that's good; it means I don't have to make a difficult decision. Everything is booked--race, flight, hotel. Very worst case scenario--I am too hurt to run at all, and I spectate. But I don't think it will come to that. I've long abandoned the idea of running a PR, and that's perfectly fine for me. So now I just plan to carefully get through training and run or run/walk the race at a comfortable pace.


I was able to get through a 15-mile long run this past Saturday, and my foot felt good in the days following. I went to Davis Islands to run with the Sharks, thinking I'd at least do one loop (almost 10 miles) and then see how I felt from there. But before I even started, I heard a familiar, friendly voice. It was Beth! We live on opposite sides of the bay, so we don't often train in the same areas. She enticed me to run with her and her friend Megan, both of whom are training for a full-on, real-deal Iron Man. They're hardcore. I said I wasn't so sure about what I'd be able to do, but she said they were running 10s (10 minutes per mile), and that was good for me, so I decided to run with them and see how it went. When I'd gotten about halfway through and was feeling good, I decided to stick with them through their mileage of 15. Right before mile 13 I started to feel a sort of snap of pain in my foot, and I thought, that's it. But I kept running, slowing my pace, and it didn't get any worse. Beth and Megan went ahead of me to finish--they were finishing their last long run before their big race, so they had a lot more incentive to get it done! I trudged behind and made it back a couple minutes later, not too much worse for the wear. 


The rest of the day I felt fine. Granted, I'd taken four days off from doing anything that week, but still. Going forward into my training for the week, I decided to cut down the mileage in my weekly runs, hoping that would make a positive difference. So far I think it has. I continue to see Pete at UltraSports Massage Therapy every other week, and I think his sessions really help. 


I'm going into a weekend with only a 12-mile long run, so I think I should survive that just fine. What's a little more concerning is the next weekend, and the one after that, with 18- and 20-mile long runs, respectively. But that's in the future. I'm focusing on now, and right now I'm doing pretty good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 8: Ugh

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 9/1Regular Run5.259:35
Tuesday, 9/2Rest0--
Wednesday, 9/3Regular Run109:53
Thursday, 9/4Regular Run79:48
Friday, 9/5Rest0--
Saturday, 9/6Long Run2.39:26
Sunday, 9/7Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 24.55

This past week not did not end up the way I'd hoped it would. Although it started strong, with high mileage weekday runs and little pain, by the time Friday rolled around, my foot was hurting more than usual. I hoped it was a fluke. I went to bed Friday night and hoped a good night's sleep would have me feeling better in the morning and ready to conquer 20 miles.


That did not happen. I met my friend Nicole for an early warm-up mile, and that mile didn't feel great. I couldn't decide whether I should just quit there or try to start with the group and hope for the best. Nicole reminded me that I bailed on her this same time of year last year, around her birthday, because I felt like I was going to pass out. So I felt guilty enough to at least attempt doing the run. But after another mile in, I could tell it was going to cause further problems for my foot, so I had to stop. I went back home and slept for a long time. I decided I needed to take some more time off. And I haven't done a damn thing since. I've slept in (i.e., not gotten up early to run) four days in a row now, and I'm starting to feel depressed. I don't know what I'll be able to do in the next couple of days, let alone come marathon time. I halfway want to just go out and run and see what happens. 


The very frustrating thing about this bursitis diagnosis is that I can't tell how much worse it might get if I do run, and then I don't know if it would be worthwhile to try to push through the pain so I can meet my training/marathon goals. However, it was only months ago that I had to take a six-week hiatus so I could heal. I don't want to do that again. I guess I'm in a place of not wanting to accept that I'm hurt. Running has given me so much confidence and positive perspective; yet, when I don't have it, I feel just awful. I keep saying I'll get on my bike and ride, and even though I've pumped my tires and set out all my bike gear, I just can't make myself get on it and go. Perhaps I just have too much going on in my life right now--too much change already about to happen to focus on something new (more on that in a later post). I'm trying to have a better perspective; after all, this is not a catastrophe--it's very, very far from it. I still have much that I am able to do and many people who love me. Thank goodness for that.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 7: Holding Strong (Enough)

Date
Workout
Miles
Avg Pace
Monday, 8/25Regular Run39:30
Tuesday, 8/26Regular Run910:45
Wednesday, 8/27Yoga0--
Thursday, 8/28Regular Run79:47
Friday, 8/29Rest0--
Saturday, 8/30Long Run189:54
Sunday, 8/31Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 37

Last week started out a bit rough: I overslept for my Monday morning run and ended up doing three instead of four miles (not a huge deal, and not enough of a shortage for me to want to make up), and I decided I also didn't want to get up early on Tuesday morning, so I decided to do my nine miles that evening. And that was one of the worst runs I've had in recent memory. I haven't run in the evening in some time, so I wasn't used to the lingering heat and humidity from the day, and my stomach wasn't accustomed to running during that part of the day, so I had all kinds of cramps--side stitches, water cramps from drinking too much, and, er, BM cramps. But on top of that, my body had no energy. And my head started hurting. I was just off in every way. But since I'd gotten myself four and a half miles out on Bayshore, I had to do the four and a half miles back to where I parked. I ended up walking a total of a mile or so, which partially accounts for my slower pace that day. I was glad to have done it once I was finished, but doing it was literally painful. I was back on track for my Thursday run, which I did in the morning and had no trouble with. So the only remaining run was the 18-miler on Saturday.

My biggest concern going into this run was my foot; while the pain I'd recently and once again experienced seemed to have eased after some treatment, I knew that a big run like this could potentially cause damage and prevent further training. I must have adjusted the laces on my shoes five times before starting my run "with" the Sharks training group on Davis Islands (I don't actually run in pace with anyone, but I like that other runners are around in the dark), and once after I was 10 miles in. I can't seem to loosen my laces enough on that left shoe, same side as my foot pain, and I wonder if my laces have been a culprit this whole time. Wishful thinking, probably.

I did one mile prior to the group start time of 5:30 a.m., which wasn't much, but anything helps. Soon after, the group began the official run, passing me by like a herd of cattle, at which point I told myself that everyone else was running less mileage and therefore could afford to run faster. What's funny (and sort of annoying) is that I often end up playing leap frog with some of these faster runners, as they tend to stop more and linger at the designated water stops. One great benefit of the Sharks runs is that the organizers provide water and sports drink at three different points along the route. And that's three different opportunities to stop, along with what I consider the main stopping point at the DI Yacht Club, which has a water fountain and real restrooms (as opposed to the port-a-potties in the neighborhood, which I I'm also thankful for). But with so much mileage ahead of me, I didn't want to stop if I didn't really feel I needed to. So my first stop was around seven and a half miles, around the same time others also arrived at the yacht club. But I wasn't even halfway done. I refilled my handheld water bottle, popped a Shot Blok in my mouth, and carried on my steady way.

I got back to the starting point and then proceeded to run another small loop. When I was almost back at the starting point, I realized I'd have to add on about a half mile of distance to get 18. My legs were so over the run. The just didn't want to turn over. When I first started running years ago, I used to have a silly little mantra, more like a cheer, that I said in my head over and over again when I didn't think I could go any farther. It was very simple and to the point: "Go, legs, go!" repeated over and over again. So I revitalized this mantra, if for no other reason than the diversion. I knew I would eventually finish, but focusing on how awful I felt would have had me finishing crappier than finishing with a positive message in mind--silly as it was. Tim also ran 18 and was waiting for me in the parking lot. We were both pooped, but we had a beach vacation to look forward to next!


Probably the very worst thing we could do after running 18 miles was sit in a car for two and a half hours while driving to New Smyrna Beach, on the other coast. But for the sake of beach and family time, this is what we did. As soon as we arrived, we rewarded ourselves:


The rest of the holiday weekend was spent visiting my family--more than I usually get to see at one time these days--playing on the beach, and lounging by the pool. The youngest generation now totals seven, and I loved getting to spend time with all of them!

Tim took one for the team so the whole family could be in the shot.

After walking back and forth on Flagler Avenue multiple times over the weekend, in flip-flops, and not having iced my foot since my long run, I started feeling a bit more pain in my foot again and knew I needed to take better care of it. Luckily I had a massage appointment with Pete in the upcoming week, and he would be able to fix me up.

This coming weekend I have my first 20-miler ahead of me, and I'm feeling pretty confident that I can get it done and not hurt myself much. Those are my lofty goals. Check back to see if I met them!