Monday, September 26, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 8

Monday September 19
Run 5.2 mi
I kicked off the week with an easy morning run.

Tuesday September 20
Run 8.8 mi
This was another quality track workout.  The pyramid is tough, especially that 1600 in the middle, but I feel great when I finish it.

Wednesday September 21
Run 5.15 mi
Run commute day!  This is turning into my favorite run of the week.  It's always nice and easy and I know I have almost 48 hours off when I finish. :)

Thursday September 22

Friday September 23
Run 7 mi with 4 mi tempo
For some reason I really did not feel like running on Friday morning.  The tempo run was a real mental struggle (especially at the beginning) but I somehow managed to pick up the pace each mile and finish with an average pace just under 8:00/mile.  It's funny how once I heard the final time, my mood and evaluation of the run drastically changed!
Saturday September 24
Run 20 mi
My first 20 miler of this training cycle.  I wasn't sure how it would go after last week's great 18 miler because I don't tend to have back to back good long runs.  It was also warmer and more humid than the week before.  Fortunately, my worries were unnecessary and I ended up having another great run.  We had a nice pack together for most of the run (4-6 people) and when one of the guys I was running with asked if I wanted to try to pick up the pace with him for the last 4-5 miles, I decided to give it a shot.  I figured I could always slow down if I couldn't keep up.  We ended up dropping below a 9:00 pace and it was hard, but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  I finished the run tired, but thrilled with how well it went.
Sunday September 25
Elliptical 45 min
This was a nice easy session at the gym to loosen my leg's after Saturday's long run.

Week 8 - 46.15 mi
My highest mileage week ever!  I'm really happy with how I have been running and how my legs have been feeling as the volume has increased.  I've been taking an ice bath after every long run (a new thing for me) and I really think it has been helping.  My legs have not been nearly as tight and sore on Saturday afternoons and Sundays as they have been in the past.  It's hard to believe that I'm halfway to Philly!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Random Friday Facts - Computer edition

1. My new laptop is here!

2. My first computer (freshman year of college) was a giant tank - the Apple G3 all-in-one

3. I haven't had a working printer in years.

4. I like Macs but I really love being able to right click on a mouse (and yes, I know there are ways around that)

5. I didn't have an email address until my freshman year of college.

6. I used to be very good at Snood. Sadly I haven't played in a while.

7. I took a semester long keyboarding class in 7th grade.  I would say it's the most useful class I've ever taken, hands down.

8. I want an iPad but I can't justify purchasing one.

9. I know most people's jobs would be different without computers, but mine would change significantly.  I'm very happy I don't have to maintain a card catalog!
10. I did all my college applications on a typewriter.  Who even owns a typewriter now?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. For some reason I haven't been blogging much recently.  You know what I have been doing a lot of?  Running. It's going really well but I haven't had the energy to sit down and write about it (other than basic weekly recaps).  Eventually I will.  I think.

2. I haven't raced since early August and that was an open water swim.  I just looked at my race calendar and realized that I haven't done a road race since June 11.  I'm shocked that it's been over 3 months!  Good thing the Army 10 miler is only about two weeks away.

3.  I ordered a new laptop that should be arriving today.  It's a lot harder to sit down and write a blog post when you know that it will take 30 minutes for your computer to have a functioning browser window.  Yes, that's how long it took on Sunday!  I'd been getting "low memory" warnings for a while, but that finally pushed me over the edge.  It should be a lot easier for me to get online at home starting tonight!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 7

Monday September 12
Run 4.0 mi

Tuesday September 13
Run 8.13 mi; 6x800
These track workouts are knocking me out. By the time I get home from work on Tuesday evening, all I want to do is eat and go straight to bed.  I'm taking that as a good sign that I'm working hard.  I actually felt a bit better this week so it seems that my body may be getting adjusted to the added toll of speedwork.
Wednesday September 14
Run 4.32 mi
Another recovery run commute.  I'm really enjoying this option for my mid-week run!

Thursday September 15

Friday September 16
Run 7.0 mi with 4 mi tempo
It was a cool morning and I was feeling good at the 3 mile mark, so I kept running and completed my first four mile tempo.  While I know it won't continue forever, so far I've been able to improve my average pace by a few seconds per mile each week.
Saturday September 17
Run 18.1 mi
Every training cycle, I have one or two long runs that are so great they remind me why I keep signing up for marathons.  This was one of those runs.  My morning didn't start on the best note (I thought I had charged my Garmin mid-week, but turned it on and got a low battery warning so I had to go with my basic Timex instead), but the weather was great and I was really looking forward to the run.  I felt strong the whole time and never had the end of run struggles that typically pop up once I get past 15 miles.  I even negative split the run by a minute or so, which is another rare occurrence.  I'm sure that next Saturday's 20 miler will be horrific as a result, but I'm definitely going to ride the high from this run all week.

Sunday September 18
Elliptical 30 min
I took an ice bath post long run and wore my compression socks all afternoon/night and woke up to legs that felt surprisingly good.  This was just a quick trip to the gym to get my legs moving.

Week 7 - 41.55 mi
I'm really happy with how this week went.  I'm approaching the peak portion of my training and my body seems to be responding well.  I'm ready to tackle my first 20 miler next Saturday!  I'm also glad that the Army 10 miler is on the horizon (Oct 9).  It's been a while since I've raced and it will good to get out there and see what I can do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. I don't like Three Musketeers bars.  They're too boring.  Give me either pure chocolate or chocolate with lots of stuff in it.

2. I will buy store/generic brands of almost every food except for Cheerios.  They just aren't the same.

3. Fluxx is a great game.

4. I don't like tucking my shirt in so I never wear button down shirts.

5. I've never been a picky eater and the only dinner I wouldn't eat growing up was meatloaf.  I still don't like it.

6. I changed a bike tire for the first time yesterday.

7. For a variety of reasons, I've stopped watching any TV shows regularly.  I keep saying I should invest in DVR, but never do.

8. I no longer even try on clothes that are dry clean only.  I know I'll never take them, so what's the point of trying something on and liking it?

9. I have a really hard time spelling occasion.  I always write occassion and have to correct it.

10. Today's weather makes me happy.  I'm glad fall is finally here.  Please don't come back summer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spandex love

When I started training for my first marathon in 2009, I fell in love with running skirts.  Eventually I realized that what I actually liked was the spandex shorts underneath and the skirt was unnecessary fabric.  Thus began my love affair with spandex.  A while ago, Page reviewed a pair of shorts she got at Target.  Being an avid Target shopper, I knew I wanted to try them.  I purchased a pair two weeks ago and it was love at first run.

Original pair (cat not included in purchase price)

So this week I returned to Target to get more.  Because can you really have too much spandex?

Though I was tempted to get two more pairs of shorts, I decided to go with shorts and capris because then I am covered for more seasons. (I won't mention how much I already own)  Totally justifies my purchase, right?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 6

Monday September 5
Swim 3100 yds
As I feared, now that marathon training has ramped up, I am having a hard time making it to the pool, even with a scheduled cross training day.  Since Monday was a holiday, it was the perfect day to fit in a swim.  Someone convinced me to do a 30 minute swim alternating 100 hard and 50 easy, so by the end of this workout my arms were toast.  But in a good way, of course.

Tuesday September 6
Run 7.13 mi; 3x1600
This was the first day that it hit me how tired I was.  I still managed a decent workout, but my legs felt pretty heavy the whole time.
Wednesday September 7
Run 10.0 mi
Since I was going out of town for the weekend, I wanted to get my long run in early.  Fortunately this was a step back week so it was more manageable to fit this in before work.  Ten miles is now my new before work distance PR.  Despite the fact that it was raining for most of this run I really enjoyed it.  And there is no better feeling then knowing the only thing I needed to do over the weekend was an easy 3 miler!
Thursday September 8
Run 3.0 mi
A nice easy (wet) recovery run. I love step back weeks because they include 3 mile runs! :)

Friday September 9
Run 6.83 mi; 5k tempo
By Friday I was getting a bit tired of running in the rain, but I'll take it any day over 80+ degrees and high humidity.  I felt much better than I did on Tuesday and managed to run my 5k tempo about 15 seconds faster than the week before.  It was a great way to start my long weekend!
Saturday September 10
Run 3.0 mi
A nice easy morning run on the boardwalk at the beach.  I've made it my goal to make sure my easy runs are actually easy so this was at a very relaxed pace.

Sunday September 11

Week 6 - 30.06 mi
This was another good week of training and the distance step back could not have come at a better time.  I find it hard to believe that I am already 6 weeks in and the race is only 10 weeks away!  There's lots of work to do before then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. WALD - Are you doing anything special to celebrate WALD (Weekend After Labor Day)?  I'm headed to the Jersey Shore to spend the weekend with my college friends.  We started the WALD tradition in 2003 and have been getting together every year since!  It works out really well because everyone knows to save this weekend.  Occasionally we have one or two people who have to miss it, but this year all 8 of us will be there!  I highly recommend starting a WALD tradition of your own!

2. Football - When I started this blog in January, my favorite team, the Redskins, had long been eliminated from playoff contention. So the extent of my love of football has been kept hidden.  But with the season kicking off today and the most important game (Skins v. Giants) on Sunday, my football fever is at full strength.  Given that this is a running blog, I promise not to talk about it TOO much.  I love fall for many reasons, including cool weather for running, but one of the big ones is that I can spend every Sunday afternoon/evening watching games.  The perfect way to recover from a hard week of training.

3. Tired - I cruised through the first five weeks of marathon training with no issues, but this is the week that it has all caught up to me.  It's nothing unusual or painful, I'm just tired.  It's as if my body finally woke up and realized what I have been doing for over a month.  I'm sure a big contributing factor is that I added two quality workouts to my schedule last week, but the overall miles are creeping up as well.  Fortunately this week is a step back week and I'm planning to more or less take the weekend off, so I should be ready to go again on Monday.  But it's a good reminder that I need to be more aware of my sleep, nutrition and hydration.  Things are only going to pick up from here, so I need to be as prepared as possible!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 5

Monday August 29
Run 4.0 mi
This was a nice easy recovery run to start off the week.

Tuesday August 30
Run 7.5 mi
Intervals - 400/800/1200/1200/800/400
This was my first workout with the Capital Area Runners.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect since I hadn't been to the track since before the National Half, but I ended up having a pretty good workout.  It felt good to do some faster running and I was able to have a much more consistent workout than I was expecting.  I was a bit nervous I might hit a wall on the way back down, but it was fine.

Wednesday August 31
Run 4.32 mi (AM)
Swim 2600 yds (PM)
I started my day with an easy run commute.

I knew that would be taking Saturday as a complete rest day and had been planning on swimming on Thursday morning.  Then during the day on Wednesday I decided I'd prefer to sleep in the next morning so I went to the pool to swim that night.  It had been about 2.5 weeks since I'd been in the pool so it was not an easy workout.  However, I was glad that I got it done and didn't have to get up the next morning!

Thursday September 1

Friday September 2
Run 6.7 mi with 5k tempo
I was nervous heading into this workout.  I hadn't done a tempo run in a long time and I don't think I've ever done one on the track, so I didn't know how hard it would be mentally.  Fortunately, it ended up being not nearly as bad as I was expecting.  I was hoping to stay somewhere in the 8:00-9:00 range (sub-9 was the ultimate goal) and I was quite happy to finish in 26:05 (8:24/mi).
Saturday September 3
I volunteered at the Dominion Trail Mix, and unfortunately the race portion of the day (which I was helping with) was washed out by a large thunderstorm.

Sunday September 4
Run 16.0 mi
Since I was volunteering on Saturday morning, I moved my long run for the week to Sunday.  I knew that my new running buddy Thom only had 12 on his schedule, so I got there early to run my extra miles.  I had 16 on the schedule and was hoping to do 4 before the group started.  I only managed to have time to do 3, but fortunately Thom was willing to step up to 13.  It ended up being a good run, despite the high humidity.  We finished with a faster average pace than the week before and really pushed it the last mile.

Week 5 - 38.52 mi
This was my first week running with a group and I think it went really well.  I had two good workouts at the track and am enjoying the structure that adds to my week.  I'm going to stop tracking the miles planned vs. ran since my old schedule is out the window. I'm not going to try to hit mileage goals on the workout days, instead I'm just going to make sure I do the proper amount of warming up and cooling down to do well in the workout and recover properly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1, My friend Heather and I became obsessed with pickles in high school.  I can't remember why, but we bought anything (and everything) pickle related.  Candy, gum, jewelry... I still have my pickle necklace!

2. I don't drink colas or dark sodas.  I had a few years with some stomach issues and they are tied in my head to Diet Coke & Diet Pepper, even though I know they weren't the cause.

3. I wanted to be a vet until I realized I couldn't handle the pressure of surgery (or animals dying).

4. I love the Metro, despite its many faults.

5. I hate paying for shipping when I shop online.

6. I love the movie Babe.  It always makes me cry and cheers me up at the same time.

7. I've always been intrigued by the idea of shaving my head.  I knew a girl who did and her hair came back curly.  I wonder if that would have happened to me.

8. I love reading memoirs.  I wish my life were more exciting so I could write one.

9. I am VERY excited that football season is here.  Best time of the year.

10. I can't handle spicy food.  I wish that I could.  Any tips for improving my tolerance?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August Recap

Miles: 129.38

X-Training: 5 (swim - 4, elliptical - 1)

Rest Days: 6

Race(s): Centennial Lake 1 mile swim. Hurricane Irene cancelled the second one (a 5k swim)

New gear: I gave the Asics 2160 a chance and found out that I like them.  Whatever went wrong with the 2150 (at least for me) has been corrected.  Plus, they are lime green!

Workout goals: 
Be smart as I start my marathon training plan - I think I did a good job with this.  I did more cross training at the beginning of the month and made sure to get in all of my scheduled rest days.  I've started taking ice baths after long runs (something I've never done before).  So far, I have enjoyed getting back to a run dominated schedule and my legs have not protested.

Keep swimming in the rotation - I did okay here.  My goal was to try to swim once a week.  I ended up swimming four times, but one of those was a race.  I also went about 2.5 weeks towards the end of the month without getting to the pool.

Plank a day - I started off well, but fell off towards the end of the month.  I did a plank 20 out of 31 days. That sounded decent to me until I realized it was only 65%.  Certainly it is better than the amount of core work I was doing before (none), but I can do better.

Non-workout goal: New recipes.  I did okay here.  With a few weekends out of town, my CSA produce started piling up and I got a bit overwhelmed.  Still, I've been able to use all of it, even though it hasn't always been in fun new recipes.

Ice cream flavor of the month: Oatmeal Cookie Chunk

August was a good month for me and marathon training got off to a strong start.  My running mileage is way up, though that is to be expected when I switched out of tri mode and into marathon mode.  I viewed August as more of a base-building month and a chance to get back my running legs.  I made the decision to run with the Capital Area Runners, which is going to completely change my training plan.  I'm 1/4 of the way to race day and excited to see what the next 12 weeks will bring.

I really enjoyed racing in my first open water swim in years at the beginning of the month.  I was hoping to get in one more race, but Irene had other plans.  One of the best things about tri training was getting back in the pool and I'd really like to avoid totally abandoning this as marathon training gets more intense.

September Preview

Workout goals: 
Focus on balancing workout intensity - I noticed in mid August that I was doing the majority of my runs at the same pace and intensity level.  The only guide on my plan was the mileage so I was doing the same thing every time.  I really tried over the last week to run my recovery runs at a recovery pace.  I think that now that I am going to have three hard workouts a week (intervals, tempo, long run) it will make it easier to keep my other runs easy and save my energy and effort for those days.

Injury prevention - I know this is extremely important as the miles continue to ramp up and I add in speedwork.  I'm going to make it a priority to do plenty of stretching and foam rolling.  I also plan to keep up the post-long run ice bath

Keep swimming - I'd like to make it to the pool at least once a week

Planks - I need to improve on August's 65%

Races: The 5k swim has been rescheduled for September 25.  I will probably participate, assuming I am able to get to the pool regularly this month.  Also, I don't own a wetsuit, so if for some reason the water temps drop dramatically, I'm out.

Non-workout goal: Work on the design of this blog. I'd like to play around with my current design.  I think there's a fair amount that could be improved