Final Week of Training – TARC 50 Miler!

So did you end up cashing in (more like cashing out ha!) on some of the Running Day deals?  T & I are in for RnR New Orleans (Feb) and Georgia Marathon (March) for 2014!  Two new cities, two new states, two new marathons, lots more fun.  Anyways, I added that and a few other goodies to my schedule (NYC!).

So last week was my last week of actual “training.”  I’m currently in taper week and with lack of running, I have to warn, I haven’t been the most pleasant.  Does anyone ever feel like a royal b— when you don’t get a workout in?  I guess drug addicts would say the same thing on their withdrawal symptoms.  I’ve been too cautious of cross-training because I don’t want to make my other muscles sore. However, I plan on picking up with swimming and biking after the 50 miler since I have a sprint triathlon a month away!  (Oops forgot to add that to the calender).

Anyways, last week.  Last week felt great and I have to confess, the biggest struggle was keeping my mileage down.  The problem is that when you start running high mileage weeks, after a while they become easier, and you feel great so you want to keep going, more running, faster, longer, stronger.  Problem is, this “great” feeling is a GREAT way to get a one way ticket to Injury City.  You start to skip your easy runs, you start to skip your rest days and before you know it, instead of feeling great, you feel pain.  So instead, I have to remind myself to take a step back.  To slow down and focus on my goal for June 14th.  Taper isn’t just a one week process, for it to be effective it should be done gradually and that’s what I tried to do while fighting my addictive nature to run more.

Monday – 2 Miles
I felt guilty about taking a rest day since I didn’t feel like the Spartan race counted as running miles on Sunday.  However, every muscle besides my legs hurt. The humidity and my smarter half of the brain feeling guilty about not taking a rest day made me cut the run  at 7:short.

Tuesday – 21 Miles
Double duty run.  8 miles in the morning and 13.1 in the evening!  8 miles on incline 2, 7:50 pace felt great.  A little less great in the evening run, with barely 8:30 pace.

Wednesday – 8.35 miles
Kept it slow with a 9 minute pace to try to recover from Tuesday

Thursday – Rest Day
Was too busy to run so rested it up instead

Friday – 5 miles
8 minute pace, but forced myself to keep it short

Saturday -14.1 Miles
Debated on how far too run. I didn’t want to take my run too long and not feel my best less than a week later.  I decided 14 miles was a fair compromise.

Sunday
5 miles.  Struggled once again to not run too much.  Felt weird but fun to take an easy weekend!

Total Miles 55.5

Total Feelings – Antsy! I want to get my 50 miler done!  Nerve-wrecked!

50 Miler Training Week Infinity and beyond

It’s week 22? Or maybe 23? Seems like forever since I signed up for this race.  I’m now sitting with less than two weeks until gun time.  I know that over the next 10 days or so, nothing I do will help or improve my race.  It’s too late for that.  Instead I worry, and worry that what I’ve done wasn’t enough.  I worry about all the long runs missed.  I feel pretty confident on my mileage per week but I wish I’ve gotten at least a 50K under my belt.  I worry that I haven’t done enough trail running.  Although i know the course isn’t very technical from past experience, I can’t help but worry about my severe lack of trails I’ve seen for the training season.  It’s been a cold long winter, lots of winter snow storms, lots of rainy weekends, and I’ve just haven’t been on the trails like I probably should have.

I worry that I haven’t spent enough time on me feet which is same as worrying that my runs have not been long enough.  I worry about the night time and the bugs that will eat me.  I worry about a blister I got from the Spartan race.  I worry about which socks should I wear.  Zensah compression? light running socks? Cushion? All at once? I worry that I haven’t fully gotten used to running in this heat.  I worry about what to carry for hydration. My handheld bottle? My camelpak? Nothing and rely on the aid stations?  I worry about how often I should eat? I worry about what my pace should be? 11min? 12? maybe even slower? I worry about the weather? What if it rains? I’ve already decided I’m not doing the race if it rains. I worry what my replacement 50 miler will be if it rains.

I share all my worries so I can let go.  Once I put it out there, I can move on and focus on the excitement.  Excitement of my first night race.  Excitement for my first 50 miler.  Excitement for a giant party in the woods with my trail loving friends.  Excitement for the week or so running break I plan on taking afterwards.

Anyways, last week recap… less miles than I hoped but it’s a hard balance in life, love and running.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 20 Miles
It took 2 run buts I got it done to make up for the lack of double long run over the weekend. 7.3 miles during lunch and 12.7 miles after work into the evening.  First run ended up being 8:11 pace on treadmill at incline 2 while the second averaged at 8:25 on the roads.  I would have keep running but it was getting dark and the bugs were beginning to feast on me.  Just one of those nights where I was mentally and physically there with the run.

Wednesday – 12 Miles
Was going to do 15 but ran out of time.  Ran 7 during lunch and 5 after work.  Both at a surprisingly decent pace.

Thursday – 8 Miles
No double run for me today.  Felt pretty low and couldn’t get myself to run during lunch.  However, got myself together after work and hit the treadmill.  It was pouring outside so instead I stumped away at 8:15 pace on the workmill while watching kitchen confidential.

Friday – No Miles
Didn’t plan on resting but busy day with work, appointments and a 5 hour drive to NYC left no time.

Saturday – 20 Miles
A late start after 9AM and the weather was already reaching 80.

Shared Photo

I ran up and down the curvy road. It was beautiful in that creepy empty wooded roads type of way.

Sunday – Spartan Race
About 4 mile run and half mile to and from parking lot.  Full recap of all the pain to follow!  I was planning on running 15 miles in the morning but am really glad I got lazy because I needed all strength I could gather to survive the race.

Total Miles – 60

Total Feelings – Wishing I ran more!

NYC Marathon, Spartan Freak Out and a Week 21 Recap – 50 Miler Training

The good news –

NYC marathon accept

Yea, don’t think I’ve ever been happier about a $255 charge on my card.  I got into the NYC Marathon on my second year attempt!  Although this will be my most expensive race.

The nervous news –

I’m not more nervous than excited after reading the description of my spartan race.

“3-4 miles with 25 obstacles including a few new surprises. Extremely steep, this course winds up, down, across, and back on this monolithic mountain, giving racers the most challenging sprint in NY Tri-state history.”

I’m pretty sure I’m going to die.  How did I go from 3 miles with 12 obstacles to 3-4 with 25!  Oy.

And now for last week’s training summary because I don’t have my Run to Remember race recap yet.

Monday – Rest!

Tuesday – 8 Miles
Don’t know how but I got myself into a fast run.  I guess that’s the magic of rest days.  8 minute miles on incline 2 on the evil work treadmill.

Wednesday – 13.1 Miles
7 Miles for an hour on incline 3, 8:30 pace.  6.1 after work.  My 6.1 miler felt sluggish and awful.  Got down to 7:58 pace on a path I know I could hit 7:30 or lower on.

Thursday – Rest
It was raining, I was lazy, and the run just never happened.

Friday – 5 Miles
This is probably where I went wrong in my taper.  I was tapering like I would for a full marathon, another mistake but I didn’t want to give up too many miles. And even then I did 1 mile too long.  I should have stopped at 30 minutes but the running felt comfortable that I went for an extra mile.  Ran 5 miles at about 7:50 pace on incline 2.  That was one of my fastest run on my work treadmill.

Saturday – 2 Miles
Testings out my legs, did 2 miles in 14 minutes and felt great!

Sunday – 27 Miles
The first 13.1 miles was the Run To Remember.  I’ll have a full race recap but because although a PR for me, it wasn’t what I was hoping for.  Disappointed a little but I’m okay because there will be more races. After taking a nap, watching some Arrested Development and cuddling with the cat, I finally got enough energy to go for a second run.  I still felt too time constrained for the trails so instead I stuck to the familiarity of the roads.  Ran 12 miles on pavement at about 8:40 pace, took a small drink break and then finished with 2 more on my treadmill.  I got tired of looking at concrete so I figured the spiderwebs in my basement made a great change of scenery.

Total Miles – 55.2

Total Feelings – It was nice to have a break!

50 Miler – Week 20 Recap – Another Week of 80 Miles!

Hitting 80 miles the week before was exhausting and truth be told I did not want to go that high in miles again.  However, I realized with a certain half marathon (I’m going to taper for) and a weekend away visiting family and the Spartan race on the calender, it was time to step up my game and suffer just a little bit more.

Monday – REST! Seriously  I don’t think I loved my rest days as much during marathon training as I do now.

Tuesday – 11.5 Miles
For the first time in what seemed like forever but was only a month, I woke up earlier to run.  Did some mile repeats for about 5 miles at average pace of 7:28.  Felt good to sweat that early again.  However, the wake up is still a struggle.  I ran about 6.5 miles during lunch.  I thought I would struggle after the Cox Marathon but finished in under 52 minutes on incline 3 on the evil work treadmill.  It’s funny how the days you expect bad runs, the good ones pop up.

Wednesday – 16 Miles
My big day of double runs! 8 miles outside on the Charles at what I thought was a fast pace but since I had no Garmin and Runkeeper stopped working on my phone, I’m not too sure.  My evening run almost stopped after 1 mile when it started to downpour on me.  Luckily, I have my basement treadmill and I finished the last 7 in about 8 minute pace.  It felt great!

Thursday – 7 Miles
Ran on the Charles for about an hour for about 7 miles in a relaxed pace. Figured I should use some recovery miles after two days of double runs. People watched and enjoyed the sunshine!

Friday – 4.5 Miles
Planned for 6, was making great speed on incline 3 during lunch when my hamstring suddenly felt tight.  It hurt to continue running and so I immediately stopped and foam rolled like crazy.  I ain’t risking an injury over an extra mile or two! Felt pretty cranky rest of the evening and kept stretching.

Saturday – 23.7 miles!  
My favorite run!  Ran with one of my favorite trail running buddies.  We ran about 13 miles together on different trails in the fells.  After we parted, I got the brilliant idea to run the reservoir trail on my own and took a nice little stumble on mile 20 pretty much bruising up my whole right side.  Between the fall last week and the fall this week, I probably will not be wearing dresses or skirts to work for a while. Yea, if you want to lose the will to run, fall on the end of your run, that did it.  Overall I finished over 20 miles on the trail (the rest were roads) and was on my feet for 5 hours.  I think that was successful enough even with the fall.  Plus whatever issue I’m having with the tight hamstring doesn’t seem to be an issue when I run trails.  Now if only I could learn to lift my legs more so I can stumble less.

I did come across a few heat issues and more bruises than just from falling.  My arm fat chaffed a little (okay a lot) where my triceps should be, and my camelbak which never had an issue before cut into my neck.  I might start wearing bandaid or something to have an extra layer between skin and my camelbak.  Anyone have better suggestions?  Basically aside from my feet where I was well prepared, my skin was feeling pretty raw =(.

Sunday – 18 Miles
I wanted to do about 20 miles because I figured whats better than a back to back 20 miler.  However, I lasted 3 and half hours running and figured between the trails and the rain, it was good enough.  Final round out about 13 miles on trails, 3 on the road and 2 on the treadmill after I had enough for the rain and my Camelbak trying to cut my neck off.  I ran about 2 miles with Tony before he left me and about 11 with some TARC friends. While I love running on the roads alone, I really enjoy company on the trails.  I didn’t track pace too much outside the treadmill run which was about 8:10 pace for the last 2 miles. Trails varied between 11 to 13 depending on the trails and if I had to go downhill.

 Total Miles – 81

Total Feelings – Legs & body feel great, but starting to feel like I always lack time to live!

50 Miler – Week 19 Recap – Hit my 50 miler training peak

When I first started “planning,” well actually more like a general visualization of what my training will be like for the upcoming months of the 50 miler, I thought I would have lots of 90s, even 100 mile weeks.  It seemed easy after following one too many ultra runners on facebook who on a daily whim run a 50K like its eating breakfast.

Well needless to say, that did not happen.  On many weeks I struggled to even hit 60 miles, often resulting in 2 runs a day to get my mileage in.  I still think I can handle 90 miles of running a week physically but mentally, I struggle for the time and energy.  I struggle to find time for friends and family, for being focused at a full time 8:30-5:30 (often longer in March/April) job.  I struggle to find time to follow all my TV shows I love (Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, Vampire Dairies etc.).  Then, there’s this little blog that I love working on.  And this doesn’t even brush any normal life chores, home ownership or interests I may have.  So yes, mentally and time-wise handling a 90 mile week on a regular basis just did not happen like I thought I would.  I considered waking up earlier, but I love my sleep too much and it’s been a cold long winter.  Maybe next year….

So instead I think I’ve reached what will be the mileage pinnacle of this training cycle… 81 Miles.  Here’s a breakdown of how it got done.

Total Miles

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 16 Miles
I did two runs outsides of 8 miles each.  One around noon at 7:50 pace, one after work at 8:37 pace.  Needless to say, the evening run was a struggle.

Sometimes on rough days, I take even a short run outside and remember just how lucky I am to be able to run where I am.

Wednesday – 6.2 Miles
54 minutes on my work treadmill at incline 3.  I thought I would struggle because I ran the night before.  However, I think the slower evening pace was easier to recover than the faster midday run I took.

Thursday – 7 Miles
Incline 2 on the treadmill after work.  I struggled to wake up early to run so that didn’t happen so evening miserable run it was.

Friday – 6 Miles
About 50 minutes mostly on incline 2 with some 3s thrown in.  It was a struggle to run on Friday, esp with my plans for Saturday & Sunday but I had a goal of wanting to hit 80 miles so I took it slow and stopped as soon as I reached 6 miles.

Saturday – 20 trail miles
About 16 miles of trails.  As mentioned before I fell before I even reached mile 10.  There was crying, there was pouting and then I ran 10 miles more for a total of 4 hours and about average pace of 12 minutes which included my crying/falling time.

Sunday – 26.2 Miles
Cox Providence Marathon.  I’ll have a full recap up when I have time but for now, here’s the summary:

Cox Marathon Finish Time

Total Mileage – 81 Miles

Total Feelings – Cloud 9! After hitting some low worrying points on the upcoming 50 miler, I’m back in the I can do this mood!  I almost ran 50 miles over the weekend.  I was short 3.6 miles! What stopped me on Sunday? I already showered and washed my hair for a dinner.  Yes, I’m a girl, sometimes I skip runs because I don’t want to blowdry my hair again. Deal with it.

50 Miler Peak!

The plan – Run 20 Miles on the trails Saturday, Run Cox marathon on Sunday

If I succeed, I am ready for TARC 50 miler and I’ll keep my spot.  If I want to die, I’ll switch to volunteering/eating instead.

Progress thus far

Best way to run a 20 miler? Almost break yourself around mile 10.  I started to cry and turn to go home, then I realized that there is no way I am getting through 50 miles, if I give up and cry over one fall with 10 miles.  Womaned myself up and got going!  Saw a lot of really fast runners on the trail.  I decided I will happily accept being the slowest as long as I can finish.

Step 2 – Providence Marathon – Goal is for a sub 4 but a finish will be good enough!

50 Miler – Week 18 Recap

Week 18… Over 4 months of working on my 50 miler goal and I still feel nervous.  I worry I haven’t spent enough time on my feet or trails.  I worry about the darkness, I worry a lot.  Sorry friends and family, but I have  less than 5 weeks left before the big night and I’ll probably be babbling about whether I think I can or can’t on an hourly occurrence.  Also I’m looking for recommendations on headlamps for the race.  Yea, you figure the girl whose planning on running 50 miles in the dark for the past half year would have one, nope, I was never a boy scout, I am never prepared.

Anyways week 18, a week after taking a full week off from running… My withdrawal symptoms did get a bit scary (day 5 is the worse) but coming back into the routine had a comfort that very few things could replace at the moment.

Monday – 2.62 Miles
It was in the hotel gym.  Running after sunbathing for an hour in the Vegas sun in a hot hotel gym, yea not smart.

Tuesday – 7 Miles – 61 Minutes
I was nervous after having two failed runs in the hotel gym after a week off. Luckily, I prefer to blame the weather.  Not that Tuesday was any better with 70 degrees in Boston.  However, even with 4 hours of sleep and heat, I got 8:42 pace.  I’ll call it a transition run?

Wednesday – 14 Miles 1 hr 54 min
I call this the getting my confidence back.  8:08 average pace which includes warm up and cool down.  Maybe the vacation didn’t kill all endurance.

Thursday – 6.2 Miles 55 min
Repetitive work gym run on incline 3

Friday – 6.2 Miles 55 min
Repetitive work gym run on incline 3, same as the day before

Saturday – 13.27 Miles 2hr 26min
I wanted to do 20 miles but I slept in until half my day was gone.  Damn being sick & jet-lag  11 min pace with 11+ trail miles in the Fells!  After spending a week in the dry canyon west, I was happy to return to my tree lined trails.  I wish I woke up early enough to meet up with TARC but those 8AM meet up are too far from me for me to ever make it on time.

Sunday – 20 Miles
My favorite running day of the week. 13 miles on the Quincy Half marathon (7:32 Pace) and 7 miles after eating a snack and changing an hour later.  The second run felt really difficult.  I do double runs regularly but I usually have several hours to recover in between.  My legs post race felt heavy but I knew I could do it, how else am I surviving 12 hours of running?  First 2 miles felt horrible, next 3 felt great,  but the last 2 I was glad to be over.  I stuck to an 8:30 pace but i as not going to run a mile more than 20.  So even though it took about .3 miles for the Garmin to sync, you bet you I counted those towards mileage!

Total mileage – 69

Total feelings – Happy to be running!

How did your week go?