Hartford Marathon Training: Week Five

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Week Five: Week of 7/31

I got the most well-timed and amazing email this week. You may know that I’m a podcast junkie, and I was listening to an episode of one that I don’t usually listen to. At the end of the episode, there was a prompt to enter the contest so I did. I’ve probably entered at least 100 contests on social media and have never won a damn thing. But I figured, what the hell?

You guys, I won.

Unfortunately I can’t give all the specifics yet, but once it’s announced I think you’ll realize why this was such a big deal to me. At the beginning of the week, before I got email, I was seriously doubting my ability to train for a marathon. But I realized that this was absolutely a sign. It really helped me re-focus and cut out distractions.

And now… something that made me laugh way too much:

 cat family kittens hiding hide GIF

Week Five:

M 4 easy treadmill miles, (~34 minutes)

T 4 miles easy (ran most of this outside, last 11 mins on treadmill (~32 mins) + Pilates 

W 10 miles treadmill (7:42/mile)

Th 2 warm up, 5 mile fartlek workout, 3 cool down 10 miles (7:13 avg)

F 6.1 miles easy (7:54/mile)

Sat 14 miles on the treadmill (7:19/mile)

Sun REST

(48.1 miles)

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Hartford Marathon Training: Week Three

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Week Three: Week of 7/17

We’re on the road (in real time) this week. I’m writing this from somewhere in Delaware or Maryland, on the hunt for a Chick-fil-A, because that’s basically the best fast food you can get. Mmmm Chick-fil-A…

 

Base Week #3:

M 10 miles on the treadmill (7:24/mile, making up for missed weekend long run)

T Pilates mat class + 5 miles (1 mile “race” 5:11 on the track)

W 8 miles (7:49/mile)

Th Pilates mat class + 5 miles treadmill (8:20/mile)

F 8 miles treadmill (7:32/mile)

Sat 12.7 miles (7:16/mile)

Sun REST

(48.7 miles)

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This was the first week when I felt like things clicked. I went to Pilates twice this week and had a fun long run with friends. I got a ton of stuff checked off my personal to-do list as well, which I think helped me feel a lot better in general. Sometimes when I have a lot to do I get overwhelmed and my running suffers. So I’ve been making an effort to be more systematic and organized with my daily STUFF. Always working on ways to be better.

What’s your current favorite show to binge on?
We just finished The Night Of on HBO and I’m so sad it’s over.

Hartford Marathon Training: Week Two

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Week Two: Week of 7/10

Yesterday I mentioned that my last marathon training cycle didn’t go well. In all honesty, I set myself up for that. With a 2 year old and an infant at home, I was barely hanging on by a thread. Add in marathon training, work, home renovations, adjusting to northeast winters, and it all became too much.

In the last few weeks of training for Boston, I started to feel off. After the race, I realized something was actually really wrong. Although it took me awhile to figure this out, eventually I learned that I had form of post-partum depression (PPD) known as post-partum anxiety (PPA). Basically, I was having more frequent and unexplained panic attacks that would occur without warning, and it caused me to withdraw from my normal activities because I didn’t want to have a panic attack in public. And yes, it’s just as horrible as it sounds.

It took a few months to get better, and then I had a relapse this spring after weaning my second daughter from breastfeeding. You can hear more about my experience with PPA here on Lindsey Hein’s podcast, I’ll Have Another. When we recorded that episode I was coming back from that second bout with PPA.

A lot of people told me that things would get better with time, and I had a hard time believing that in the moment. I’m so used to being in control of everything. But it is absolutely true: you’re not alone, it’s not your fault, and it will get better. And I do think that it made me a much stronger, more empathetic person.

So, anyway, things are much better now. I’m happy to have running to channel my stress for sure. This week was another easy week, although I missed my long run due to travel and laziness and had to make it up the following week.

Base Week #2: 

M 6 miles treadmill (7:34/mile)

T Pilates + 4 treadmill miles (8:03/mile, supposed to be easy but wobbly legs after Pilates)

W 8 miles treadmill (7:25/mile)

Th 5 miles treadmill (7:41/mile) + Pilates mat class

F 7 hilly miles (7:43/mile)

Sat REST 

Sun REST

(30 miles)

(Week one is here in case you missed it…)

One of my goals is to continue to go to Pilates class twice a week. I started taking classes at the YMCA during my running break, and I fell in love with the joy and pain that is Pilates. It works all of the muscles that I’ve been neglecting for years and my butt is actually starting to take a normal shape again. So, even though we had planned to leave for a trip to our old college town on Thursday morning, I made sure to sneak in a class that day.

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I always struggle with sticking to my training when I’m traveling, so that’s something I have to work on. I did well the first day, and got up early enough to (somewhat) beat the heat. But I got lazy and slept in both weekend days.

Do you have any tips for getting in your workouts when you’re on vacation or traveling for work? 

Here are some resources that helped me when I was at my worst:

Postpartum Progress

A Cup of Jo: The Hardest Two Months of My Life

Kathy DiVincenzo’s experience with PPD

Shades of Light (*this is a local organization, but the website lists additional resources)

 

Hartford Marathon Training: Week One

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Week One: Week of 7/3

About 8 weeks ago, I made a [relatively] scary decision. It was something I had been avoiding for months. But, I sucked it up and ignored the 99% of my brain that was telling me “this is a bad idea”.

I emailed the elite coordinator and asked to be included in the field for the Hartford Marathon. Then I waited. Part of me was hoping I wouldn’t get in, but a few days later I got an email back that I was accepted!

 excited booty exercise happy dance black boy joy GIF

My last attempt at a marathon was a disaster, and it took me a long time to get over that.

But, here we are, and this is happening. I’m determined to make this one count. So let’s catch up on how training has been going.

I took May and June pretty easy so I knew I needed a few base mileage weeks before diving into marathon training. My first week of base training started with a local 4th of July race. Besides the race, the rest of the week was fairly easy. I felt pretty accomplished for getting over 35 miles.

Base Week #1:

M REST 

T 6.5 miles with 4 mile race (Firecracker 4 23:23)

W 6.1 miles “easy” (8:27/mile… double stroller runs are never actually easy)

Th 6 miles on the treadmill (7:55/mile) + Pilates mat class

F 10 miles (7:02/mile)

Sat REST 

Sun 8.2 miles easy (8:05/mile)

(36.7 miles) 

I’m going to end each of these posts with an inspirational quote. Just kidding.

 reaction taylor swift eye roll loser let it go GIF

But, I will give you an insight into my thoughts each week. I felt pretty defeated after my long run. Or, more like out of shape. I have to constantly remind myself not to make comparisons to my past workouts and races.

I spent most of this weekend at a USATF coaching clinic, and there were a few moments that stuck with me. I was reminded to take easy days easy. Like actually EASY. Logically I know this, but it’s something you have to like, actually do.

The other was a sports psych tip, something that initially made me laugh: the circle of allowed thoughts. If you have negative thoughts, you just have to tell yourself that those thoughts aren’t allowed in your circle. It’s so simple that it just works. Supposedly. I haven’t put that into practice yet, but it sounds good in theory.

Do you have any tips or tricks to help turn negative thoughts around? I really like counting because it helps me disassociate from the pain that I’m feeling. Sometimes I close my eyes in races, and it usually works, but that’s probably not great advice for normal people.

I have a few weeks of posts to get caught up with the present, so look for those in the next few days. Hey, I know it’s just putting one foot in front of the other, but with everything going on right now in our country I welcome a healthy amount of distraction in the form of reading, looking at pictures on Instagram and listening to/watching things that make me laugh.

My marathon history…

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(I haven’t finished my recap from this past weekend’s race yet but if you want to skip below I wrote a little blurb about it…)

One of the questions I was asked in the med tent in Boston was “how many marathons have you run?” and I had to think about it for a moment before I gave my answer. I was so dehydrated and exhausted that I couldn’t recall exactly, so I just said “six”, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how abnormal it was that I didn’t know. So today I parked myself in front of my laptop to look up my past race results.

Part of me wishes this fit into a perfect little progression that makes sense. Instead, there’s a story behind each of these races.

#1 Charlottesville Marathon (Charlottesville, VA) 2006 3:52:29

… I was in grad school at JMU and had recently “retired” from running when one of my friends asked if I would train with her for this race. We followed a Hal Higdon plan (her idea) and did our weekly long runs together. I was hung over the day before the race, and ate veggie pizza for dinner that night- both were terrible choices. I felt good early on but spent portions of the last 8-10 miles walking and swore I would never run a marathon again. Because I hadn’t fueled properly, this was my first experience with “hitting the wall”.

#2 Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT) 2008 4:33:09

… My sister and her boyfriend (now husband) decided to run this race so I ran it with them. They followed a Hal Higdon plan and I followed a no running plan. All I remember from this race was that it was hot and very hilly, but I thought it was a nice course.

#3 Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA) 2009 3:43:45

… Pete and I had moved back to Virginia and I started coaching cross country in the fall of 2008, which is when I started getting interested in running again. After cross country season I didn’t run at all and I was in school to get my teaching license. Between that and planning my wedding, I didn’t have time to train, so I’m not sure why I signed up for this race. I did one random 3 hour run at the end of February and otherwise made it through this race on the fitness I had leftover from the fall. I was on pace to run 3:40 and qualify for Boston (the old qualifying time) but ended up slowing way down in the last few miles.

#4 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon (Albany, NY) 2011 3:05:22

… The death of one of my college teammates prompted me to get off my ass and actually train for a marathon, so I started a blog on blogspot and chronicled my training (actually “our” training because Pete and I trained together and he wrote some of the posts). We used a plan from the Pete Pfitzinger book “Advanced Marathoning”. I had run a 1:30 half that spring without training, so I figured I might be able to run close to 3 hrs with a solid training block. I ran into a few issues training through the intense summer heat, so I was pleasantly surprised to run this fast and feel good doing it (and I learned how to carbo load properly which was why I was able to hold my pace in those later miles).

Shamrock Marathon  2012 DNF (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

… Had some great training for this race but also a lot of personal health issues which affected my training, and dropped out around 14 miles. Boo.

#5 Three Bridges Marathon (Charlottesville, VA) 2012 3:12:42

… Took some time off from marathons for most of 2012, but after spectating at the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon I decided to give it a go and find a winter marathon nearby. I had 8 weeks to train for this, mostly done on the treadmill at 4 am before work. I also got really sick about 3 weeks beforehand with a virus and didn’t know if I’d make it to the start line, but my doctor cleared me to run that week and I somehow pulled it off.

Boston Marathon 2013 DNS

… Preggers with Emmaline. This was the year of the bombing. I had initially planned to run this race or at least part of it, but changed my mind a few weeks beforehand.

#6 Boston Marathon 2014 3:46:44

… An injury forced me into cross training for about 6 weeks. I ran alongside my sister for about 21 miles of this until we hit the top of Heartbreak. This was the year after the bombing. I’ll never forget running up Heartbreak and finding out that Meb had won. It still gives me chills.

#7 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon (Albany, NY) 2015 3:05:25

… I surprised myself with this race, almost running a PR with a pretty pathetic training cycle. I ran about 5 days per week pushing Emma in the running stroller for almost every run. My mileage averaged about 45 mpw. I lost motivation at the end of August and took 10 days completely off from running. We were also in the process of selling our house… and a few days after this race I found out I was pregnant with Natalie!

#8 Boston Marathon 2016 3:24:57

… I trained with a new coach and although it wasn’t the time I was hoping for, I was happy to make it through the post-baby comeback without a major injury. It was very warm for Boston this year, not hot, but enough to affect many of us who train in cooler climates. I wrote a recap of the race, and my splits are up on Strava. In general, it’s best to run evenly or negative split a marathon, although that’s difficult to do in Boston the way the course is laid out (with the significant hills in miles 16-21). I was attempting to run this race at an even pace, around 6:50s, but around mile 10 or so it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen. I was really sore (even four days later when I originally wrote this post) particularly in my right quad.

#9 Rhinebeck Hudson Valley Marathon (Rhinebeck, NY) 2016 3:10:39

… This was such a fun race, and I felt great for this one even though it was another very warm day (probably similar to Boston weather but we had a lot of shade too). I signed up for this one a few days before the race and went into it without a goal time, just planning to run how I felt and maybe try to get my marathon mojo back after a disappointing result in Boston.  I ended up having a good group of guys to run with for the first half and finished feeling pretty strong. I loved this course- it was two loops, with lots of hills and gorgeous scenery. My splits are here.

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So… maybe I’ll get it right by marathon number 10? I’m not planning to run one this fall, so I think number 10 might have to wait until Boston next year. Or maybe I’ll sign up for another one on a whim, who knows!

What are some of your favorite marathon courses? Big or small, flat or hilly, doesn’t matter, just looking for a good excuse to travel and run 26.2 miles (although a fast course wouldn’t hurt)!