Category Archives: Long Run

Fast Finishes, Scavenger Hunting, and Mayhem

Life, as I know it, has gone a little haywire. In a good way—but the days of lazing my days/nights away seem to have disappeared completely, along with the rain and gloom. Essentially, summer has become playtime x 1,000. Not that I’m complaining, it’s all fun stuff, but man—being social is tiring.

Unrelated photo from the 4th of July. But I did make this for a party and was ridiculously proud of it.

Unrelated photo from the 4th of July. But I did make this for a party and was ridiculously proud of it.

This past weekend was the essence of how busy life has been, and I feel like getting to Monday was more of a relief than how I normally feel on Friday afternoons. But that’s how it should be sometimes, right? It makes the time go by quickly, but that was going to happen anyway—right? Might as well fill ‘er up.

As I wrote on Friday, Mr. BF joined the big and bad 25 club, and we had a small celebration just the two of us that evening. No pictures were taken, but pizza was had and presents were opened. You can imagine it, it was lovely.

But the celebrating didn’t stop there. We had a whole banaza planned for Saturday, involving lots of beer and lots of raw fish.

But first, I had to get a long run in. I wasn’t too concerned about mileage for this weekend, considering I had already logged 38 miles by Friday, but I still wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day. My plan was for 14 miles, and to start slow and finish fast. I wanted to negative split the whole run and also practice this whole “fast finish” idea with my last two miles being the fastest.

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This picture doesn’t demonstrate much (and I’m sure you’ve never seen one exactly like it before), but overall the run was a success. The second half was 3 minutes faster than the first, and my last two miles clocked in at 7:24 and 7:26. And let me tell you…fast finish is no joke. Fatigued legs + rising heat + increased speed= a nice kick in the bum right at the end of a run. Trust me, if you want to really feel the effects of a long run, try it out. I liked it though…great practice for race conditions.

After some reading, coffee-ing, and sunscreening, it was off to the International Beer Festival where we met up with several friends. As if I wasn’t dehydrated and sweaty enough that day already…

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I had so much sunscreen in my hair and was being SUCH a diva about it. I don’t know what got into me. I can deal with unwashed, sweaty hair multiple times during the week—but heaven forbid my just-blow dried hair gets a little grease in it? I don’t understand.

Anyway, it was awesome. Tons of sun, tons of tipsy/happy Seattleites, and tons of delicious international brews. I’m trying to hold off on drinking for the most part these days thanks to my super pissy intestines, but I made an exception this day and scouted out how I could get the most bang (>8%) for my bucks (10 tickets total). It was successful.

We ended the night with pounds of sushi at Umi in Belltown. Again, no photos unfortunately. But we got to sit on the floor and ended the night playing credit card roulette (BF and I didn’t lose!)

Despite knowing everything that was going down on Saturday, I had it in my head that I would get up Sunday morning and go for a long bike ride. I knew that wasn’t happening on Saturday night (mostly due to fatigue…not beers), so I decided to go to spin instead. Also wrong…I woke up Sunday morning and it took all of 1.5 seconds to decide I needed more sleep. I blame 4th of July for all of this lingering tiredness. And Belgium dark hefs.

Eventually, after watching Andy Murray reinstate British reign at Wimbledon, I got myself to the pool for a nice long swim. I swear, sometimes swimming does the same—if not more—for me as yoga. It can be super meditative when I’m in the mood, which apparently I was yesterday, and I finished with a little over 2 miles total. My legs loved me afterward.

But not for long. Around 1 it was time to head to an Urban Scavenger Hunt birthday party for one of my oldest friends. Seriously, how fun does that sound? It was such a good way to get out in the city and enjoy the day. Three teams of four people broke out with our lists of things and people to find, and we spent 4 hours traversing all over the city hunting down our clues.

"Ride a duck boat"

“Ride a duck boat”

 

"Reenact a scene from 10 Things I Hate About You"

“Reenact a scene from 10 Things I Hate About You”

It was all ridiculously fun. We had no trouble filling the four hours with exploration and list-checking, and it ended up being a race to the finish line. After all the excitement, I couldn’t inhale a plate of fries or drink enough cold water fast enough. Finishing an adventurous day at a delicious restaurant is brilliant.

Happy birthday Hannah!

Happy birthday Hannah!

And to cap of what was a magnificently tiring and fun weekend, Seattle decided to pull this out last night:

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This picture doesn’t even do justice, but I did drive out of my way (and prolonged going to bed) in order to try and capture the glory. All the people standing around should be a good indication of how freaking beautiful the setting was.

 

So now it’s Monday and I am a little bit happy to be sitting in my desk for 9 hours. That feeling is bound to pass by tomorrow, but for now I’ll be regaining my strength for all the other festivities that are coming up in the next few weeks. Spoiler…one of them involves running 35 miles in a little over 24 hours. Fun stuff folks, and despite my ever-present fatigue, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And somehow, amidst all the mayhem, I managed to run 52 miles last week…easily the most since before Eugene. Slowly, those ultra relays are starting to get a (little) less scary.

 

Now, tell me about your weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

Eugene Marathon Training Week #8

M: Rest

T: 10 mile,s easy

W: 7 miles w/ 6 x 800 in ~3:30s + Maximum Sculpt

T: Spin

F: 7 miles @ hmgp (7:30/mile) + Maximum Sculpt

S: 17 miles

S: 7.5 miles easy

Total= 48.5 miles

Mini step-back week last week. If you consider 17 miles a step-back, which I hardly do. But, it was nice to have a long run ahead of me without a “2” in the front of it.

The two most notable workouts for me were Wednesday and Friday. I decided that I really enjoy 800s as speedwork. They’re long enough to do the work, and short enough to not make me want to cry. The 6 that I did were all at about an 8.5-8.6 mph pace, and I felt great. In control, strong, and probably could have a few more. Afterward, my legs were the perfect amount of tired, and I think I’ll probably try to get in an 8×800 before taper starts.

I was feeling all kinds of happy after Friday’s workout as well. I was a little bit anxious about 7 straight miles at hmgp at O-500 on a Friday morning, but I was reminded—again— that I should try and trust myself a little bit more. The miles actually felt easy, which was pretty darn encouraging. I followed the effort up with my favorite lifting class at my gym, which together yielded more sweat than I knew how to handle.

The class instructor started posting the workouts on her FB page before class, so here’s a look at how Friday’s went (which is a good carbon-copy of how most of my Maximum Sculpt classes look):

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It’s a lot like BodyPump. I really, really love this class, and I’m certain it’s helped with a lot of imbalances/weaknesses I have as a runner. I’m not really a class person, but when it comes  to strength and lifting, I’d much rather have an expert instruct me.

Saturday’s long run was fine. Not great, not horrible, just fine. I didn’t wear a watch with the intention of it being an easier effort, but I think this may have had the opposite effect. It didn’t feel top-notch, which I think was due to it being a little too fast. Of course, it could have been to my negligence for ideal fueling/hydrating/etc., but from now on I think I’ll wear the watch on my long runs even for the purposes of staying slow.

But, truth be told, I actually wanted to get a less-than-stellar long run out of my system. I’ve been having a really successful jaunt of long runs recently, which was making me nervous that I wasn’t saving my good mojo for race day. It’s silly, really. But getting in a harder long run actually makes me feel more in-balance with the long-run juju…or something like that.

We all have our running quirks.

A few more snapshots from this weekend. In case you hadn’t heard, Seattle was all dressed up in her springtime finest:

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First roller-blade + taco-truck date of the season. Friday afternoon splendor.

The Easter bunny knew their recipient very well. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

The bunny loves you BF, you’re welcome. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

Easter yesterday was perfect. Run with BF, brunch, Ballard locks to see some boats, reading outside, cooked a ham, Breaking Bad, and lots of chocolate. It couldn’t have gone better, really.

Happy Monday!

How was your Easter? Weekend? Long Run?

Eugene Marathon Training Week #7

Last week was peak week ya’ll.

56 miles on tap. 22 mile long run.

All kinds of big numbers that make me question my sanity and sends my injury-paranoia into overdrive.

Every 50+ mileage week I’ve ever done while marathon training has led to minor injuries. Once a major injury. I also haven’t had an injury-less spring in three years. Needless to say, I have been ridiculously in-tune and overly-wary of how my body has been feeling and how the runs have been going.

So how did this past week fare?

Things are looking/feeling/going great!

Here’s the deets:

M: 7 miles with 7×100 meter pickups, after work

T: 10 miles, no watch

W: Maximum Sculpt class + 1 hour swim

T: 12 miles w/ 7 ” fast” miles

F: 5 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt class

S: 22 miles

S: 1 hour swim

Total= 56 miles

And tack on way too many push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks every night, too. That’s right… PSJJ is still going. We hate it.

A couple of things about those runs/workouts up there:

Thursday’s run didn’t go exactly as it should have.

The truth? I gave myself a little bit of an out.

On the docket was 12 miles with 7 miles @hmgp. When I read that description on my training schedule on Sunday night beforehand, I was already scared. It was like I somehow knew that I wouldn’t be up for it, and—surprise—when the day came, I definitely wasn’t. And while ordinarily I would write this off as a missed-workout and a loss of mental strength, I’m actually glad that I decided to approach this run differently.

After last weekend’s faster-than-planned half marathon plus 7 miles, my body was a little toast. Not overworked, just in need of a little more recovery than a regular training week. I decided to “do what I could” on the run instead. Go fast when I could, hold back if I needed to, essentially—let my legs dictate the run. And wouldn’t you know it, the results weren’t too shabby:

Let's play, "Find the steep uphill mile of this fun." Go!

Let’s play, “Find the steep uphill mile of this fun.” Go!

Perhaps I should have just done the workout and not let the voice of doubt get the best of me. But I’m actually happy I took the route I chose instead. There’s a difference between not giving into fear and recognizing when you actually should hold back, and it’s that fine line that defines the difference between constructive and destructive training.

Onto my favorite training run of the week: the big kahuna.

I’ve only ever done 22 miles in marathon training once before, and it was in my first training cycle. I don’t completely think that it’s physically necessary, but mentally…it’s huge. For me, getting within 4 miles of the full marathon distance does a lot for my confidence, and in distance running… confidence can at times be more important than actual endurance.

That said, there was really only one thing I wanted out of Saturday’s 22 miler: confidence. I had gained a great deal of excitement and encouragement last week from the race, but now was the time to really go long. No stopping, no breaks in the middle, just running. And running. And running.

I decided to tackle this monster on the Burke-Gilman trail for a change of scenery and also for some company. Sure enough, there were runners/bikers/walkers galore…and it felt like the place to be on a Saturday morning.

No sugar coating— this sucker took a long time. But truthfully, it felt like it went by relatively fast. I enjoyed essentially every mile of this run, and with the exception of a couple lonely/tough miles around 15-16, I felt great the whole time. I should note that it was also so m-f cold at the beginning that anyone would rather be running than standing still…meaning the first 5-ish miles were spent thawing out and regaining control of my fingers.

Once the end was in sight and I knew I wasn’t going to blow up, I decided to go for a strong finish. A strong finish in a regular training run (at the tail end of a high-mileage week) would be optimal for the whole “confidence” goal…and I’m really happy with the end results.

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8 minutes per mile flat average pace. Last mile in 7:30. I like it.

A little fast, I’ll admit. But my recovery this training cycle has been so much better than it’s ever been. I woke up on Sunday without any soreness (11 hours of sleep probably helped 🙂 ) and I essentially have zero lingering fatigue.

I decided to swim on Sunday to shake out my legs, after debating if I should take a rest day or not, which felt fantastic. I still maintain that swimming has actual magical powers.

The universe disagreed with this decision though…and it made me pay the price. I woke up yesterday after a horrible night’s sleep with a cloudy head and sore throat…allergy season, you devil. I always forget that the spring is the worst allergy-wise for me, and apparently running through the woods for 3 hours doesn’t really help them stay put.

Alas, unplanned but welcomed rest day yesterday. This week is a partial step-back week with a “shorter” long run, and otherwise— we’re heading into the homestretch, folks. Just two weeks until the three week taper starts. Crazy.

I’ve really been loving this training cycle…and as much as I’d like it to continue, I’m getting really anxious for the grand finale. My focus on my BQ goal hasn’t wavered a bit, and if anything… I’m hungrier for it now than I’ve ever been.

I think it’s possible. I think it’s going to take a little more work and a little bit of race day luck. I’m a big believer in never doubting the unexpected—both for better or for worse. But I’m also a big believer in race day magic.

We’ll see. All I can do now is continue to run well, run safe, and keep my eye on the prize.

Happy Tuesday!

How was your weekend?

Eugene Marathon Training Week #6

And just like that, we’re halfway through this training cycle already. Just crazy. I hadn’t really realized how fast approaching race day really is until Sarah posted a “42 days left” countdown yesterday. Yipes.

But! This weekend was a big confidence builder, which makes me more excited than nervous about the dwindling time frame.

So with that, here’s how week #6 shook out:

M: 12 miles- no watch, blissful + lifting

T: 5 miles + spin

W: 5 miles + Maximum Sculpt

T: 10 miles with 5 x 1,000 meters @ 5kp

F: REST

S: 20 miles total. 7 miles in ~61 minutes, then 13.1 miles at St. Paddy’s Day Run Half Marathon in 1:40.

S: Spin + 30 min stair-stepper + lifting

Total= 52 miles

Monday’s run was the kind of run you always want to have. Perfect temperatures, perfect setting, and the feeling like your floating. I didn’t wear a watch but I did see the time I started and the time I ended—essentially dead on 8 minute miles, all of which felt great.

I already wrote about the horror of Thursday’s workout, which made me slightly nervous for not only 20 miles on Saturday, but trying to maintain marathon goal-pace for 13.1 of those miles. Luckily (thanks to the Irish?) the outcome of Saturday’s running was exactly what I’d hoped for—if not better. But that’s a post for tomorrow 🙂

I think what I’m most pleased about is how my body has been feeling so far. I’ve had a few paranoia-fueled aches and pains, but overall I feel great. Nothing lingering, nothing worrisome (here’s where we all knock on wood in unison…ready, go), and generally I just feel strong. Now that this weekend is behind me, I can come out and say that for the past two years I have been unable to run on St. Paddy’s weekend because of injury. Not this year! I’m hoping this healthy trend continues through race day, as I really would like to have a fondness for spring racing.

Generally, I’m just feeling really excited. I’ve had some hard, not-so-awesome runs and workouts, but I’m trying to be of the mindset that it’s the tough ones that are going to be the most helpful tools come race day. Learning how to push through and trek on isn’t as easy as learning to play it safe, but it certainly has a better pay-off in the end. I know for a fact that running a BQ time on April 28 isn’t going to be easy or necessarily all enjoyable, so I’d rather practice the painful feelings now than let them scare me away come race day.

That’s all for now folks. Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! It felt like the spring race season really kicked off these past two days, and from what I’ve seen so far—there were some huge milestones reached and PRs achieved. So fun to see!

Did you race this weekend? Did you spectate this weekend? Did you drink green beer this weekend?

Eugene Marathon Training Week #4

Happy Monday folks, how’s your day off to so far?

Time for a little training update. My tail is between my legs a bit as I know my last post was last Monday…and it was also a training update, but it happens sometimes. Ironically, I have a drafted post about how I haven’t been posting/haven’t had time/haven’t had inspiration, but of course, it remains a draft.

No matter, I think you’d rather read about running than my boring musings about not posting anyways.

This week was good. Kind of weird, as in it felt both very easy and very hard, but overall it was pretty quintessential marathon training.

M: 6.6 miles easy PM

T: 10 miles with 5 @ HMGP

This was hard. One of those workouts where I questioned how the f I was able to run 7:30s for 13.1 miles not too long ago. But either way, it happened and here’s how it went down:

2.5 mile warm up

7:27, 7:25, 7:27, 7:26, 7:23

2.5 mile cool down

This kicked my butt, but it was one of those runs where I could almost feel how effective the fast miles were going to be. Good stuff. Learning to appreciate the pain…and appreciate when it’s done 🙂

W: 8 miles + Maximum Sculpt <— love love love this class

T: REST

F: 6.6 miles slow

S: 20 miles in ~2:42

S: 4000 yd swim (~2.2 miles) + yoga

Total= 51.2 miles

Lots of numbers up there to talk about. First of all, I had my first 20 miler on Saturday, and for better or for worse—it was a tough run. Based on the route I chose, I ended up with about 14 miles of headwind—which is perhaps my least desirable condition, especially on a long run. Give me snow storms and pouring rain, but please oh please spare me the wind. Thank goodness for no goal-pace miles. BUT, I firmly believe that it’s the really grinders, the mentally-challenging runs that make the marathoner. 26.2 miles hurts no matter what—so it’s better to train with a little pain sometimes as opposed to simply fairy-dusting our way through each long run. So, once I again, I embraced it. And despite the slug-fest feeling of it all, I finished in a pretty good time. My right leg was super tight/heavy, which I felt was holding me back, but apparently it was more of a brain thing.

Another number to discuss: 50! I broke that barrier this week, and while I could feel the mileage increase, I have to say I’m a little shocked at my recovery times and how much they’re decreasing. I was barely sore after Saturday’s run, and on Sunday my legs felt as if it hadn’t even happened. Really happy about this. It could be that it’s my 4th time doing a full training cycle, or a myriad of other cosmic possibilities I suppose, but at any rate I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m going.

Admittedly, the big 5-0 number is when I start to get hyper-aware of injury possibility. The higher mileage weeks have always been the common denominator for me in terms of when I get hurt, so honestly I have been experiencing a little injury-hypochondria. Better paranoid  safe than sorry though. Again, I’m going to just continue to do what I’m doing and listen to the little aches and such as they come and go.

Oh, and in case you’d like an update…PSJJ is still happening! We’re into the 60s now, and it’s rough. But not rough enough to quit yet. The push-ups are getting easier, which is nice, but the sit-ups are getting tougher. We’ll see.

One last thing I’d like to point to: Yoga! I haven’t been to yoga since probably last October or so, and while I always kind of dread going, I forget how happy I am when I’m done. It’s hard to psych myself up for a yoga class the same way I can psych myself up for a run, but, like running, I’m always thankful after the fact. And let me tell you, there are much worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than a long solo swim followed by an easy yoga class. So rejuvenating and cleansing.

Anyway, this week is cutback week—which feels like perfect timing. Not only will I be out of town (!!!HAWAII!!!), but it feels like the perfect point in time to draw in the reigns a bit.

That’s all for now, I hope at some point I can entertain you with more than just training-reflections and weekly updates 🙂 You can, however, count on an assortment of photos from our Maui trip after we return—as for when we’re there, well, I am hoping to forego all social media as much as possible, so until next week—aloha!

How was your weekend? 

Eugene Marathon Training Week #3

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and your Monday has started off well (or at least—bearable 🙂 ) Did anyone watch the Oscars last night? Let me rephrase that…did anyone not watch the Oscars last night? The internet was blowing up with commentary. I somehow managed to watch the entire show—beginning to end—and was pretty entertained. The show is always more enjoyable when you’ve seen a lot of the big films, which I somehow managed this year, so overall I enjoyed it. The Sound of Music reference killed me. Also…this:

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Moving on, last week was my third week of training for Eugene, and it was a good one.

M: 6 m trail run- slow, meditative, perfect

T: 5 m run + spin

W: 11 m run + Maximum Sculpt

T: REST

F: 5 m slow run + Maximum Sculpt

S: 18 m long run w/ 10 m @mgp

S: 75 min spin + lifting

Total= 45 miles

Saturday’s long run was a bit intimidating. I wasn’t feeling 100% tip-top, and I woke up in a grumpy mood to begin with. However, it turned out pretty great—and while it was a little fast again, I’m starting to really feel “in the zone” in my hopeful goal pace. I finished in 2:24, which is exactly and 8:00/mile average- 10 of which were between 7:50s and 7:55s.

The thing I was probably most pleased about in regard to this run was just how well I recovered from it. I had zero lingering soreness that night, and yesterday morning I felt 100%. Good signs. I tried to walk around a lot after the run on Saturday so I think that may have had something to do with it.

Otherwise, training is going well. I like the more orderly schedule I’m following as it takes a lot of the guess work out of it. My first of 4(?) 20+ milers is this weekend, and next week will be cutback week…which happens to be perfect timing, because next week I’ll be heading here…

Big%20Beach%20Maui%20Hawaii

Oh Maui, you can’t come soon enough.

Have a lovely week, friends!

Chicago Marathon Training Week #8

Good morning!

I hope everyone had stellar weekends and you’re enjoying the finale of summer. I personally refuse to accept that autumn has arrived until nearly Halloween, so you’ll be seeing me in my summer dresses until the very last minute!

This is an exciting week, primarily for two reasons. The first being that it’s a cutback week, which has such super perfect timing. Last week was my highest mileage to-date, and although it all went well, I am definitely feeling it, particularly in a very sore quad/hip, and I just generally feel drained. And the other perfect reason for this being cutback week leads me into the SECOND reason to be excited…

The Disneyland half marathon is this weekend!!

I wrote about registering for this race way back when, and now it’s finally here. I giddy excited for it—and so is BF. He tweaked his ankle a few weeks ago, and although for a while his ability to race was questionable, he thinks he’s gonna be up for it. We both have NO intention of racing, and it is highly possible this will be my slowest half to date, but I don’t really care. I’m really just excited to frolic around the park with BF and all the characters lining the course. And no, a costume decision has not been made yet.

Needless to say, running 13.1 miles through Disneyland is a perfect long run option for a cutback week.

Anyway, let’s talk about some training.

Here is what last week looked like:

M: 60 min spin class + ~20 min stair-stepper

T: 10.4 m run, 8:10 avg. pace

W: 7 m tempo run, 5 @ 7:30 + BodyPump

T: 10.2 m run, slow—no watch

F: REST

S: 20.5 m run in 2:44

S:9 m run, slowww recovery

Total: 57.1 miles

My weeks are really starting to look a bit identical, but I suppose that’s what happens when you spend over 10 weeks training for something. This was a new record of miles in one week for me, and like I said…I was feeling it. Saturday’s 20 felt superb (I’m a little convinced that time isn’t right…8:03 averages seems fishy) but yesterday’s recovery run turned into a very hot, slow, “ow my hip hurts wtf” trudge. I think my hip hurts a bit from canoeing for two hours immediately after Saturday’s long run and trying to balance on a wet swimsuit bottom—but it could also be some general wear and tear from so much mileage. I’m trying not to be too concerned, and like I said—perfect week for a cutback in running. I’m trying to get a sports massage in this week too and I’ll likely abuse the privilege of decreased miles.

After this cutback, I’ve got two more heavy weeks—peaking at 63 or so, and then it’s taper time. I’m hoping my body cooperates, because it’s been a trooper so far. Lots of rolling, stretching, and sleeping to come.

Other than nearly 30 miles in the books, I had such a wonderful weekend—canoeing, swimming, and brunching with some of my best friends, getting late night McFlurrys with BF (did you know they have a snack size now??), and buying some new running shoes yesterday. I’ve already put nearly 400 miles on my little baby Pure Connects, not too shabby after almost 2 months of running silence 🙂

Also, stalking following all the Nuun HTC lady bloggers this weekend via Twitter was insanely entertaining. Congrats to all you gals who participated, I hope you had a blast!!! Now I really REALLY want to get a team together for next year….

How was YOUR weekend?

Happy Monday!