Category Archives: Training

Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #15 and (most of) #16

It’s race week people! And I’m weirdly calm. I can feel some nerves creeping in a little, but generally I’m just feeling good; rested, ready and excited! I feel like I did (most) everything I could in terms of training and preparing for this race, and so now it’s just time to let it rip on Sunday.

I am still having a really hard time figuring out my goals and/or pace plan. I know where I could be on an incredible day, I know where I could be on an average day, and I know things could just get ugly, but there’s a very wide time range between those outcomes. I’m not going to sandbag myself at all, as I will certainly be racing and running as competitively as I can on Sunday, I just don’t really know what that will mean. I suppose I’m just going to try to run the best I can on that day, give my very best, and stay as mentally strong as I can.

My mantra for Sunday is to be smart in the first half and be brave in the second half (also known as: don’t be an idiot, then don’t be a wimp).

If I were to have ONE main goal, it’s to negative split the race. Out of my five marathons, the two that actually felt good were the ones I negative split. I have drilled this technique into my head over the past few months, and I’ve been running my long runs this way as well. Baring something terrible happening, I am determined to run the second half faster than the first. I’m less concerned about the “holding back” in the first part element of this equation so much as the pushing it after mile 13 element. Digging deep on tired legs is a scary thought, and it’s going to necessitate a great deal of mental focus and strength. I like to think I have these qualities, but the marathon is a merciless beast and has eaten me alive before. I’d be lying if I said the distance doesn’t scare me anymore since I’ve run it five times now. In fact, I’d say it scares me more because I’ve already faced it.

But here’s what I’ve been taught about fear: When things are important to us, there is always going to be an element of fear involved. When it comes to goals that we’ve been focusing on and working toward, this fear (namely the fear of failure) is even more pronounced. But when you want something more than you fear it, when you can channel those scared feelings into feelings of deep determination – you take control over fear, and consequently – you cannot fail.

There are some big goals that I want in regard to the marathon distance, and while it will take more than one race to achieve them, I intend to use Sunday as a step toward getting that much closer.

Here’s how the last two weeks of tapering have been:

Week #15 (aka: the week of the polar bomb)

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7.5 miles + PM hot yoga

13 degrees outside and the first time I wore tights to run in this year. Thankfully Julia joined in on the fun, or else my bed probably would have won out.

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from (5.5 miles)

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ONE DEGREE. Good thing I’ve got a weatherproof crew of badass people to inspire me to get outside. This workout was slow and easy stairs, and it was so special. To be out there in frigid cold, defying all natural instincts to hibernate, with some awesome people was an incredible thing and was one of my more memorable NP workouts.

Thursday: 75 minute yoga class

One of the best classes I’ve ever been to at my new studio. Good stuff!

Friday: November Project workout + run to/from (6 miles)

We ran up and down a gentle hill in the 9 degree weather. I took it easy, smiled a lot and probably shivered more.

Saturday: 12 miles

Last “long run” of the training cycle! It was snowing the whole time and I had a hard time seeing since snowflakes kept sticking to my eyelashes and not melting since it was so cold. It was beautiful, but this run seemed to take forever. My speed was fine, my legs felt fine, it just seemed to drag.

Sunday: 4 miles easy + hot yoga

Hottest hot yoga class I’ve ever been to. It was certainly cleansing and relaxing, but it was a little too hot for my preference.

Total= 35 miles


Week #16 (aka: this week, aka: RACE WEEK)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7 miles with Julia

Wednesday: 6 miles

I ran to November Project, sat out of the workout and took pictures, and still loved it as much as if I’d been participating. Really great to see my people, give some hugs, and get some good lucks before the race.

Thursday: yoga

Easy flow class this morning, it was lovely.

Friday (planned): 4 easy miles, shake out

Saturday (planned): rest

Sunday: yea…

You can add “binge watched Lost” to most days up there, as that’s been my chosen taper distraction technique. It’s really good for keeping me occupied, not so good for keeping my heart rate low.

Generally, I’m really happy with how things are feeling this week. I feel like I’ve balanced resting and continuing to move really well, and my body is feeling more and more ready every day. My legs, somehow, have felt great on every run this week – let’s hope that’s a sign of good things to come on Sunday! I’m trying a new technique of not doing the shake out the day before the race, and I’m excited for it. I always feel like my legs feel best after full rest days – so let’s hope this holds some truth. My guess is that we’ll be walking around Philly enough to get blood moving and to calm any nerves.

This is it! I’m really excited. Thank you all for your encouragement through this training cycle – it’s been a good one!

Here is tracking information, and my bib number is 2276.

Gah! Okay, time to buckle it in until Sunday. Booyah!


Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #8 and #9

Training! It’s been happening. Let’s recap before I forget all of it.

Hard to believe I’ve been marathon training for 9 weeks now. It feels like I’ve done nothing…but I suppose that’s not true. These next few weeks are going to include some hard workouts and high mileage before I taper down for three weeks. In a lot of ways I feel like I haven’t been doing the tough work I need/want to be doing, but when I look back I suppose things haven’t been too lackluster. There’s been progress, and I need to remember that.

Week #8 (9/22 – 9/28)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 8 miles, or at least…this is what I think I did? Not a lot of recording happened this week

Wednesday: November Project workout (clovers) + run to and from, ~6.5 miles total

Advantage of shorty shorts: even the most height-deprived of us get to have the illusion of long legs

Advantage of shorty shorts: even the most height-deprived of us get to have the illusion of long legs

So. Hard. This is a workout that is always hard, but since the first time I did it…it’s become a little easier every time. Not today. Following my half-marathon the Sunday before, my legs were not happy during these 35 minutes of stair running.

Thursday: 9 miles

Friday: November Project workout + happy hour run, ~7 miles total

We played capture the flag for NP and it was SO fun. After work, some members reconvened for a little jogging followed by beers. Again, so fun.

Saturday: 6.5 miles, so slow

Sunday: 20 miles

photo (17)

A friend is running the Denver Rock ‘n Roll full marathon in a few weeks and wanted to log her 20 mile run along the course. Julia and I joined her, and I’m still in shock at just how much better long runs are with friends. They go by so much faster, they’re so much less boring, and in a lot of ways I think they’re easier. This was a great run – my energy was high, my legs felt good, and it was followed by a great brunch.

Total= 57 miles, highest yet!

Week #9 (9/29 – 10/5)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 9 miles + Core Power yoga class

Would you look at that…something new and exciting! After months of hating my gym and not lifting or really cross-training, it was time to do something that would help my running. Julia and I decided to try out a few yoga studios via newbie deals/Groupons and choose one we liked to stick with. This month is Core Power, and I’m digging it so far. A great combo of stretching, strength, and sweat, with just the right amount of “om” factored in.

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from, 6 miles total

High fives and hugs, natch

High fives and hugs, natch

Thursday: 9 miles w/ 5 mile tempo + 5 x 100 meter strides + Core Power yoga

I had very good intentions about doing 800s on this day, but when the track was pitch black my desire to be in the people-filled park changed my workout plan to a tempo run. Which, ultimately, is fine – as marathon training necessitates longer hard effort workouts rather than short intervals anyway, IMO. Anyway, I ran two laps of Wash Park (2.5 miles each) at a 7:30-7:40 pace, stopping twice briefly (once halfway through for a breather and once for a bathroom break…). Regardless, I was happy with the splits (avg. 7:35), although I wish this had felt a little easier. Finished off with some striders, which are always my favorite. More Core Power that night, more yoga love.

Friday: November Project workout + running pre and post, 7 miles total

Such a fun circuit, Friday NP workouts are the best!

Saturday: 14 miles w/ 8 miles at GMP

image (7)

I don’t really know what my goal marathon pace is yet, but as of late I’ve just been using my old goal pace for Eugene which was 7:50-8:00. That was my benchmark for when my speed was really clicking, so while it might be a little ambitious (/delusional) to use it as my default, I still find comfort in it. Anyway, I was in Portland for the weekend and didn’t want to spend 3 hours running super long, so I decided on a shorter long run with fast miles in the middle. Here’s what happened:

3 mile warm up, 8:09, 7:56, 7:43, 7:36, 7:41, 7:43, 7:28, 7:50, 3 mile cool down

Guess what? Running at sea level is the best. I ran almost solely on effort since I used a borrowed Garmin and couldn’t figure out how to change the display screen, which meant my paces didn’t show up until the end of each mile. Really pleased with this run; I felt controlled and it was just fun to run fast.

Sunday: ~5.5 miles of marathon “pacing”

I was so happy to get to watch my best friend Anna run her first marathon this weekend! Portland was my first marathon too, so being on the course from the other side brought back all kinds of happy memories. Anyway, we got to see her a handful of times in the first off, and then we plopped ourselves at mile 20 or so. Spectating is seriously so fun, especially when people have their names on their bibs like they do for PDX. Being at mile 20 was great too – because I always feel like that’s when I need a crowd booster.

SPOILER: she finished, like a boss.

SPOILER: she finished, like a boss.

Anyway, I hopped in with Anna (per her request) from miles 20-24, at which point she wanted to finish alone. In order to get back to the finish line to see her finish, I didn’t really have a choice but to run along the course until right around mile 26, where I scooted off. Want to feel like an asshole? Run past a bunch of marathoners when they’re on mile 24-26 on fresh legs that have only run a few miles. Seeing Anna finish was worth it though – she killed it, and there’s nothing like watching someone complete their first 26.2.

photo (16)

Total = 50.5 miles

I was happy with training this past week, and I’m hoping to continue to see some fitness improvements over the next month before I have to taper! Here’s to the weeks ahead…

Happy Tuesday!



Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #7

Another week, come and gone.

We’re closing the summer-fall gap more and more everyday, and I have a feeling the leaves will be long gone before we know it. Trying to soak up all the yellow and red beauty while we can! Please check out Adam’s view on a Saturday climb of Pyramid Peak:

I can't make this up.

I can’t make this up.

So, still loving Colorado, more or less.

Training this last week was good. I opted for more intensity vs. high mileage, and it worked out well. I had a half marathon on Sunday that I certainly didn’t taper for, but I did schedule my training around it. The race went well, and it was a needed confidence booster. Here’s more of the details of my week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 x 800 (7 miles total)

Very pleased with this workout, especially given my apprehension going into it. I ran on a track (one million times better than on the roads or treadmill), but it was completely dark when I started, and I was the lone runner. It was at a high school so I felt reasonably safe, but the lack of daylight and company definitely added to the mental aspect of this workout. I was aiming for 3:25-3:30 per 800, and I was super happy with the results:

3:23, 3:21, 3:19, 3:22, 3:21, 3:20

Fastest 800s to date! I felt tired by the end for sure, but they all felt do-able. I told myself to run by feel and only check my pace on the 200s of each lap, which worked well. I did a slow 400 between each interval (and a few moments of stand-still heavy breathing). Definitely a repeat workout this cycle, probably two more times with added intervals. Oh, and around my fifth 800 the high school men’s XC team showed up to do their workout, so I did have some camaraderie :).

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to and from (~5 miles total)


Thursday: 8 easy miles

A fantastic run, all around. Fall temperatures, easy breathing, happy legs. A+.

Friday: ~2 mile swim

Fine cross-training, I’ll partake in you. I really REALLY wanted to go to November Project this morning, but figured given the race on Sunday I ought to give my legs a breather.

…but then FOMO got to me too much, and I went to the evening “Run to Happy Hour” outing with NP friends. 3.5 easy miles followed by beer with some awesome people=worth it.

2-for-1 beers, yep.

2-for-1 beers, yep.

Saturday: 5 slow-as-mud miles

Sunday: 13.1 miles + 1 mile

I finished the Equinox Half Marathon in 1:41:31, and like I said…I was pretty darn happy. After a 1:49 and a 1:46 earlier this summer, I feel like I’m getting back to where I was before in terms of speed, and it feels good. I’ll post splits and such when I get my race report up.

I also ran in my stepmom for the last mile of her race, in which she had a HUGE PR of 1:58…11 minutes faster than her previous best! Insane, I’ve never heard of anyone taking that much time off a HM. Needless to say, it was very fun to run her in.

PR city!

PR city!

Total=42.5 miles

I was happy to get in two solid efforts last week, and I’ll be adding a little mileage this upcoming week. Alternating between mileage and intensity seems to be working for now, so I’m kind of basing my training around that configuration. You can look for my next marathon training bestseller due out next spring :).

Welcome to fall!


Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #6

Hello and happy Tuesday! I have a chance to recap my training last week closer to the beginning rather than the end of this week, so that’s progress. Let’s do it!

Week 6 was a tale of two very different modes; the beginning was slow, tired, and generally just blah. The end turned a corner though, and the last three days were A+ training. I was originally planning on following a very formulaic, pre-planned schedule for this cycle, but so far that hasn’t really worked out — and that’s totally okay. I’m mostly just letting things ebb and flow according to how I feel, and last week was a perfect example of how such a method is so helpful sometimes. I’m starting to realize that extra rest is sometimes more beneficial than a hard, fast workout — and in a lot of ways they’re both a means to the same end.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

M: Rest

T: 8 miles + lifting

Would you look at that, I finally got back to the weights. Adam and I forced ourselves to the overcrowded, post-work gym and followed a tough, major muscle group routine. And guess what happens when you don’t do more than push-ups and planks for 2 months then lift a whole lot? You’re sore for the entire week after. It was our intent to lift again on Thursday, but there would have been no point…we were hurting too badly. But it’s a start! I love lifting with Adam because he gets me to do lifts I ordinarily don’t do on my own.

W: November Project workout + run to/from (~6 miles)


Imagine my horror when upon getting to NP, we were instructed to kick things off with “100 100s,” which is 100 push-ups and 100 leg-throw downs (read: ab destroyers) spread out over a few sets. After my night of muscle-shaking weight training, I was not psyched. But, I got it done, and I enjoyed the rest of the workout a lot (running interspersed with lunges, mountain climbers, and burpees (wait, I hated those…)). GO TO NOVEMBER PROJECT.

T: Rest, unplanned, but necessary

F: November Project workout + run to (8.75 miles total)


Hills! This was an awesome workout, and it gave me a bit of a confidence boost. Essentially, for 35 minutes, we ran up and down a ~0.3 mile hill. I finished with about 4.5 miles total, which I was uber pleased about since my uphill running definitely leaves something to be desired. I ran the entire time with an ultrarunner, and I feel like the distraction/company helped me push the pace.

Also, you can’t really tell in the above photo, but I was wearing an ear-warmer, and most people showed up in down coats and leggings. Yep, 34 degrees on September 12. Colorado is weird.

S: Mt. Bierstadt! 7 miles roundtrip, 2,850 feet elevation gain

photo 2

I summited my 10th 14er of the summer with Julia, and it was fan-flipping-tastic. The weather was gorgeous, the trees were teetering perfectly between green and yellow, and we kicked some major mountain butt. 3.5 hours roundtrip, not including a lovely stop on the summit. I’m pretty sure half the people of Denver were on the mountain with us, but it didn’t really matter. So fun.

Twins, unplanned. Also, let's talk about Julia's legs for a second?! #fordays

Twins, unplanned! Also, let’s talk about Julia’s legs for a second. #fordays

S: 14 miles

A solid long run following last week’s disaster. 8:25-ish average, felt great the whole time, and got to see some new parts of Denver.

Total= 36.75 miles (running)

A nice little step back week, including a solid ending. I’m starting to feel a little more spring in my step than I have been, and I’m happy to remember what that’s like.

We finished off the week sweating it out at the Broncos game, and I mean that both very literally and very figuratively. But, they pulled through in the end, much unlike our NFC friends to the north who let Phil Rivers get away with an upset. I’m not naming names, but…LOL.

We are covered in sweat and without voices from yelling but also happy!

We are covered in sweat and without voices from yelling but also happy!

Have a stellar week!

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #5

Hurrah! An opportunity to recap training!

You guys, this week has been insane. So much work. SO MUCH. But, it’s the kind of busy that I’ll always prefer over boredom, so I’ll take it. But seriously, I’ve been ready for Friday since approximately Tuesday at noon.

My favorite little lazy snuggle buddy. I would like to watch movies and sleep next to this nugget for three straight days please.

My favorite little lazy snuggle buddy. I would like to watch movies and sleep next to this nugget for three straight days please.

This week has also marked the first time this training cycle I’m feeling like I was hit by a bus. My whole body is sore, I can’t get enough sleep, and I’ve got a tickling throat and a relentless headache to boot. FUN! But, I’ve readjusted and made this a very-needed step back week. I’m not counting mileage, just resting more and focusing on recovery rather than build up.

But we’re not talking about this week, we’re talking about last week…the one that kicked me in the pants. I already recapped last Monday in the Week 4 recap, so let’s start with Tuesday. It’s not lost on me though that beginning the week with a half-marathon didn’t exactly launch me into a “rested” state for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from (6.5 miles total)

Thursday: 9 miles + 18 holes of golf. Does that count as exercise? It felt like it, considering my appetite afterward and whining during.

Friday: November Project workout + run to/from (6 miles total)

Saturday: 7 miles easy

Sunday: 18 miles, mixed up between spectating some sweet 70.3 racing action.

Total for Tuesday-Sunday: 46.5

My long run felt like death last week, which always sucks. It was almost entirely self-inflicted, after running 4 days in a row prior. But, it was also wicked hot (we all know how I feel about that), exposed, and just long. Since I wanted to watch my friend Dan race his 70.3 that day, I organized the long run around the race location and fit miles between opportunities to see him. Great idea, except that, as the brilliant Julia pointed out, this meant that the time on my feet was actually much longer than the long run itself. I somehow managed to average around 8:30s for this run, which does give me some confidence that when conditions are better, my speeds will be somewhat decent.

How cute are Dan and Julia? I tag along with them in all their coupley-cuteness. Is that weird? Hopefully not.

How cute are Dan and Julia? I tag along with them in all their coupley-cuteness. Is that weird? Hopefully not.

Honestly, I was hoping to be gearing up a little bit more at this point in terms of key workouts and speed increases. But, sometimes stepping back for a week is all part of the gearing-up equation, and I’m hoping that by next week I’ll have a little more fight in my legs. I better, since I have a half-marathon next Sunday that I’m hoping to run fairly well at.

This post is so little, I’m sorry. At one point or another I’ll get a race recap up, but today is not that day.

Adios amigos!

Playing Catch-Up: Fall Marathon Training, etc.

And suddenly it was almost September. Where has my blogging gone? There’s a handful of different posts I’ve been wanting to/meaning to write, but whenever there’s time available to write them, I’d rather be sleeping instead. Most hours of my days have been super full all summer – which is great – but again, I’m left with too much to say and no blog posts to show for it.

Life is hard, wah wah wah.

But hopefully there’s still a few of you out there that read, so I’m going to try and get down a few updates before I’ve lapped myself too much.

I’m training for a marathon, woo!

Training for Philadelphia officially started 3 weeks ago, and I’ve got 12 more weeks to get myself in fighting shape. My plan this time around is to get uncomfortable; actually do the workouts that I’m always scared to do instead of mindlessly clicking off junk miles. I’ve got a longgg way to go before my body and mind are in the spot I want them to be on November 23, but luckily I’ve got both time and decreasing temperatures on my side. In the meantime, I’m really happy with the base I’ve got, and provided I stay smart and stay hungry (figuratively of course..I’m always hungry literally), I think I have a decent shot at making good progress over the next three months.

The “plan” I’ve developed for myself is basically made up, with a little help from the Advanced Marathon Training schedule, which is what I used for Eugene. While I’d like to be the kind of person who can follow a by-the-book plan, it’s more important to me to keep certain things (like November Project) as a part of my routine. My schedule is focused on a key workout per week (unless it’s an off week), a long run, and overall mileage. I’d really like to peak around 60 miles per week, maybe a little higher, this time around— which I’m guessing shouldn’t be too hard since I’ve been around ~45 all summer. But generally I’m just listening to my legs and trying to ignore my head when it yells negative and discouraging thoughts at me. Admittedly the goals I have for this race are high, and it’s going to take a lot of umph to get there. I’m counting on fall weather, friends, and faith in myself to make it happen.

And because I need to write this down somewhere or it’s never getting in my spreadsheet (ha), here’s how training has gone so far:

Week 1

M: 8 miles w/ 5×100 meter strides

T: Rest

W: November Project workout + run to and from (~7 miles total)

T: 9 miles w/ 5 miles @7:30

F: Quandry Peak climb!

S: 5 trail miles

S: 14 heavenly miles @ 8:05 average <- best long run pace in a long time

Total: 43 miles

14er number 9 of the summer!

14er number 9 of the summer!

Week 2

M: 5 trail miles

T: 8 miles

W: Rest

T: 9 miles total, 3 in the morning, 5k race (22:00), 3 miles warm up/cool down

F: 7 trail miles (Smith Rock!)

S: 16 trail miles of perfection

S: ~3 miles

Total: 48 miles

Smith Rock is running heaven.

Smith Rock is running heaven.

Week 3

M: 7.5 miles

T: Rest

W: November Project workout + run to and from (6.5 miles total)

T: 8 miles total, 3 mile tempo @ 7:15 + 5 hill repeats

F: November Project workout + run to and from (9 miles total)

S: 6 miles

S: 14 miles

Total: 51 miles

Generally, I’m feeling pretty good. Despite my lack of strength training of any kind and not much cross training (oops…), I’m pleased with how things are going so far. Mileage wise, my legs are very comfortable here, which gives me confidence for gaining some momentum before too long. Once the weather stops being so perfect I suppose I’ll get back in the pool/gym, but for now I’m trying to integrate as much at-home strengthening gimmicks as I can…which isn’t much, but it’s something. Luckily, my twice weekly November Project attendance has done remarkable things to the strength (and size…) of my booty, which is where a lot of my running problems have stemmed from. The camaraderie also does remarkable things for my soul, but we’ll talk about NP another day. Overall, I have no doubt that keeping it in my schedule is not only helpful, but necessary.

Let’s see… what else? I ran a 5k for the first time in a year and a half (which you can see up there). I’ll recap probably in my next post, which needs to be followed by a post about the setting in which I ran said 5k: Bend, Oregon. I went to Bird Camp! Specifically, running summer camp for Oiselle runners that was all kinds of fun.

River soak post 16 trail miles. Bliss!

River soak post 16 trail miles. Bliss!

Oh, also, I’m running a half marathon this upcoming Monday, so I suppose I’ll need to work that in somewhere too. So you see, lots to talk about over here, and I’ll do my best to get it up. In the meantime, I’m really going to try and commit to weekly training recaps since they help me actually log the sweating that I do.


Thanks for sticking with me friends, happy fall race training to you!


Boston Marathon Training Week #9

Quick little training update post while I have a few minutes!

This was technically my first taper week. Some people go with only two weeks of taper for the marathon, but I’ve always had success with three. Don’t mess with a good thing…especially when it comes to preparing for the all-mighty 26.2.

This time around, especially, I’m hyper-conscious about resting up for the big day. The theme of these three taper weeks is restoration, and I plan on using every trick in the book to arrive in Boston feeling sparkly and fresh. And I mean every trick…but that’s a topic for another post.

Here’s how week #9 looked:

Monday: 6.5 miles

Pre-first day on the new job miles = necessary

Tuesday: 50 min. stair stepper + lifting

I had intentions to go to spin, but apparently I picked the day when the most popular class was going on. I arrived ten minutes early and there wasn’t an empty bike seat in sight. But, I took the opportunity to lift some weights instead which ultimately may have been smarter.

Wednesday: 8 miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 2 mile swim

The pool was too warm but I felt great otherwise. Magical swimming, I’ll tell ya.

Saturday: 6 miles + lifting

BF and I ran to our gym and back and it was rough. I had to stop twice on the way there (yes, that’s twice in only three miles) and generally running after lifting is tough stuff.

Sunday: 16 miles

Bliss. Total and complete long-run perfection. After the train wreck runs I’ve been having lately, I really needed this one. I rode the high on this for a few days.

Total= 36.5 miles

That’s all the time I’ve got! I’ve wavering back and forth between uncontrollable excitement and paralyzing fear about the race. Sound like taper-time? I think so too.

TEN days left!!!

Boston Marathon Training Weeks #7 and #8

I’m here, I’m here!

I realize I’ve been super MIA recently, and I know everyone is sorely upset about it.

Turns out… when you move, attempt to settle into a new routine, start a new job, and continue to train for a marathon, blogging gets put on the back burner. Huge surprise! And while I certainly haven’t had any time to spare for RBR, the truth is that I’ve also kind of been avoiding talking about training, running, and generally how I’m feeling about Boston.

I’m trying to spare the internet, in a way, because all I’ve really felt inclined to do when it comes to running and exercise is whine about it.

But, for the sake of honesty, here’s a bit of an update.

I’ve been severely lacking in both motivation and inspiration when it comes to running. As in, I can barely get out of bed in the morning every single time I’m supposed to run. This is probably not unrelated to the fact that my legs in general feel really heavy and off, and just about every workout takes an insane amount of mental and physical effort. Not to mention that my IT band still aches sometimes, my feet have been unhappy, and – perhaps most significantly- my stomach has not been on board with running whatsoever.

Before you get too concerned, I am not in any way experiencing the same ailments as I was last December when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was out of commission for a month. Not at all. Generally, my daily life is just fine and normal – with the exception of making bathroom stops when I run. I was doing much better in this regard a few weeks ago, but with the stress of the move and the general routine switch-up, my mending stomach wasn’t having it. So, I’d call it a small step backward, which I’m hoping will improve before too long, but it’s definitely not helping my running motivation.

Ultimately, I’m just not feeling like myself. I don’t feel fit, and despite the fact that I’ve logged the miles and on the surface I should feel ready to run Boston (see: training below), I just don’t have the confidence I normally have. Part of this is self-inflicted by my inability to ignore the clock and to accept the fact that I’m not as fast as I used to be. But a bigger part is due to the fact that I simply don’t have the endurance or the strength that I’ve had before, and a lot of that is out of my control. I wholly admit that I underestimated the toll that being so sick and being injured would have on me. In certain respects, I still think both are still having an impact, and while my brain feels ready for full speed ahead, my body isn’t ready yet no matter how much I wish it were.

So, while it’s really hard for me to accept my limitations, I’m going to need to put my pride aside at least for the time being. It’s easy for me to say that I want to just enjoy Boston and survive the race, but there’s always a voice in my head that hates the fact that the clock won’t reflect what I know I’m actually capable of. As awful as it is, I can’t help but play the comparison game to both my former running self and to others. Real talk: it’s so hard to hear the Boston goals of others who have a similar qualifying time as me and not cringe at how I would otherwise have the same goals.

If you think I sound like a stubborn asshole right now, I agree with you.

And perhaps the worst part of all is that I know I should be appreciating the journey for what it is and be thankful for the position I’m in. I’m lucky enough to be running the most historic race in the running world, on perhaps the most significant occasion of that race, and I should just put aside my personal issues and just enjoy it. Again, this is much easier said than done, and while I certainly do not take this opportunity for granted, I am having a hard time expanding my perspective.

I suppose it’s been a good learning process though, and it’s forced me to have some serious self-talks about my priorities as a runner.

So, these next few weeks before Boston are going to be about letting go, being grateful, and trying to garner as much positive energy as possible before race day. I am very excited for the race, and I think with a little work on my mindset it’s going to be an incredible experience. Let’s hope that my body follows suit, as well.

So now that I’ve admitted to just how competitive and self-critical I am, let’s look at some training. The past two weeks were my technical “peak weeks” and here’s how they looked:

Week #7

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8.5 miles + lifting

Wednesday: Spin + stair-stepper

Thursday: 7.5 + lifting

Friday: 2 mile swim

Saturday: 20 miles

Sunday: 6.75 miles

Total=42.75 miles

Week #8

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10.35 miles

Wednesday: 7 miles + lifting

Thursday: 2 mile swim

Friday: 6.75 miles

Saturday: 22 miles

Sunday: Rest

Total= 46.1 miles

Time to get it together. Both my body and my brain need a good dose of rest and TLC in order for Boston to be a great day. Hopefully my next post will have a little more cheer and optimism and a little less negativity. As I’m sure you know by now, this current mindset when it come to running is not my style – and I’m hoping these past few months of frustration will result in a brighter running future for the rest of the year.

And hopefully at some point I’ll get to tell you all about my new Denver life. It’s pretty great so far 🙂

Boston Marathon Training Week #4

This is going to be the quickest post in the history of Run Birdie Run.

There’s just two days until we’re hitting the road to Colorado for the big move, and my free time is extremely minimal. Between packing (hate), saying goodbye to people (hate), more packing (double hate), and marathon training, I’ve been pinched when it comes to just about everything else. Including showering. But it’s temporary. I’m trying to hold myself together, but I’m sort of expecting a hysterical breakdown at any moment.

Nevertheless, training is happening, and here’s how last week looked. It was a good one.

Monday: 6.7 miles + lifting

Oh sweet, glorious Monday. This run was a game changer, people. I decided to wear my old shoes that I’ve shelved for the time being, and within just a few paces I felt light, quick, and efficient. It was windy and rainy, but it didn’t matter. This was the kind of run we runners dream of, and it was long overdue.

Tuesday: 2 mile swim

I remember nothing from this swim, and if it weren’t for my Google doc training log, I wouldn’t have even remembered what I did this day. Oh well, it happened.

Wednesday: Total Body Conditioning class + 8 miles

In a very uncharacteristic move, I decided to wait until later in the day to do my run instead of before the class. I knew it would be sunny later, and somehow a runch sounded better than getting it all done at once, which I typically prefer.

Shockingly, the class was way better than usual since I hadn’t exhausted myself by running beforehand. Here’s what the class looked like, compliments of my instructor who posts the workouts ahead of time. And I’m only posting this because the result was soreness in precisely every single muscle. Pain, so much pain.

• Swings (hand weights btwn legs then in front of chest.) Optional hop up and down on bench. 0:45
• Single leg hip hinge with 2x row 8x ea side <— HAMSTRING DEATH
• Elbow plank with leg cross under 12x ea side
• Triceps extensions on 1 leg 20x

• Alternating front lunge passing weight under leg and overhead 16x
• Side lunge to wood chop, optional knee lift 10x each side
• Bench pullovers with hand weight 16x
• Walking plank then double knee tuck in elbow plank 0:45

• Squat with lateral swing – swing weight from hip to hip, bringing weight up and in front of body. Optional jump on the squat. 0:45
• Push-up with jack legs 0:45
• Double leg lower 12x
• Bicycle abs 32x

And the sunny run was all I’d h`oped it would be. Perhaps not quite as magical as Monday, but really great in general. Two good runs in a row, high fives!

Thursday: Yoga

Today was my planned rest day, but after the soreness crept in after Total Body Conditioning the day before, I decided I ought to do a little stretch out. Plus, I should probably stretch more often anyway. It was a good class and we did a lengthy pigeon at the end, which is really my only credential for whether or not I think a class is successful.

Friday: 50 minutes elliptical + Total Body Conditioning class

I was still so sore from the class on Wednesday, but it seemed like working those muscles again helped out some. I’m still trying to ease off the running at certain points each week, no matter how much I might dislike the elliptical.

Saturday: 18 miles

This was a good one, friends. I decided to explore the best running parts of Seattle while I still had time, so I trekked my way to the Burke Gilman trail for this out-and-back long run. It was tough, and around mile 12 I was feeling pretty tired. Luckily, thanks to a second wind, I ended up finishing feeling pretty good and strong. Pace was meh, but consistent. Oh, and only 1 bathroom stop…which is a significant improvement!

The best part about this run though was getting brunch afterwards with lots of my favorite running gals. I will miss all of them!

Photo courtesy of Nicole. And look at Baby Jack!!! You're allowed to be impressed with my posture.

Photo courtesy of Nicole. And look at Baby Jack!!! You’re allowed to be impressed with my posture.

Sunday: 5.5 miles + Jasyoga

Some recovery miles around Greenlake with friends, which was lovely despite my wonky legs from the long run the day before. And a great 1 hour long Jasyoga class, followed by mini donuts. As someone who’s fairly consistently eyeing the clock while in yoga (super zen of me, I know), I was impressed with just how relaxing this class was and how quickly it went by. Good stuff.

Total = 38.2 miles

Thing felt like they really started to click this week, which was encouraging. Recently, although I’ve been able to run, I’ve felt off-kilter. The best analogy I can give is when you’re changing gears on a bike and the gears haven’t clicked in yet; that’s how my legs have felt on the run. This week was different, and somehow those mismatched gears seemed to fall into their rightful place. I think we all know how satisfying that feeling is on a bike, and it was just as good on the run.

And also…two yoga classes? I don’t even know who I am anymore.

This current week has been pretty crazy, but somehow it will be ending with a 20 miler. If I manage to get to Colorado without an ulcer or the flu, it’s going to be a miracle. All good stuff though, and I’m grateful for the ability to keep up.

This post ended up longer than I intended, but I guess talking about running is more fun than packing anyway, right? 🙂 Fineee, I’ll get back to it.

Happy Wednesday!

Boston Marathon Training Week #3

One more week in the books! Boston is starting to feel closer and closer, and I kind of wish there was an extra two weeks or so to play with. Oh well. Quality is going to need to trump quantity in terms of miles and training days.

Step-back week must have: absurdly huge pancakes. To those of you who choose smoothies after long runs, I'm sorry.

Step-back week must have: absurdly huge pancakes. To those of you who choose smoothies after long runs for refueling, I’m sorry.

This past week was a step-back week, which in hindsight was a great idea. I’ve been building up mileage and fitness in general for the past month+ after having essentially no base, and I wanted to do a little tempering before continuing to add. My legs are a bit unpredictable at this point, and I’m trying to baby them as much as possible, as evidenced by the two rest days this past week and lack of much strength training.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles

This run was a little forgettable, but generally it was fine. I was glad to get in some decent weekday mileage again.

Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes stair-turner, lifting

I like to call this day: “Being Bored at the Gym.” Ugh. I wanted a good cardio workout but didn’t want to run two days in a row. The new issue of Runner’s World was the only thing that kept my sane. I was reminded of the days when I was much more of a gym rat than I am now, and I didn’t miss it at all.

Thursday: 7 miles

Gross, awful, no-good run. This was one of those runs where I was just so mad the whole time. Mad at my legs. Mad at my stomach. Mad at not feeling like a runner. I rallied by the end, but there was nothing encouraging about those 7 miserable miles.

Friday: 4,000 m swim

photo 1

For the first time in history I went to the pool after work on a Friday. But by some miracle, I was really into this swim. I guess subconsciously I’ve been craving some pool time, and I just kind of got lost in thought the whole time. I was definitely getting tired by the end, but otherwise this was a lovely swim. Yo’re welcome from my pruny fingers and mangled pinky.

Saturday: 12 miles

Mentally, this long run was very manageable considering it was shorter than I’ve been doing the past few weeks. And physically, it went well. I wore a watch again, and while I’m still far off of my “old” normal pace, it wasn’t too disappointing. Inching closer and closer back every week. I’ve been positive splitting my long runs like a champ recently, which shouldn’t be surprising at all, but I’m going to try and maybe spread out my effort a little more next week.

Good thing the dim lighting is hiding my Malbec-colored cheeks.

Good thing the dim lighting is hiding my Malbec-colored cheeks.

Sunday: Rest

I took an unplanned rest day yesterday, which I was fine with. My knee (not the recovering IT band-injured one) has been stiff this week, so I didn’t see a point in logging junk recovery miles. Instead, BF and I walked around Greenlake and I stretched a ton.

Total= 27 miles

Generally, it was a solid week, especially for a step-back week. I’d really like to be logging more miles, but I need to keep reminding myself of the end goal —Boston— and not immediately getting back to fitness I had four months ago. It will come, I just need to keep April 21 as my focal point for the time being.

More miles this week though, and an 18 mile long run as the grand finale. Starting to feel more like marathon training, and I like it.

Happy Monday!