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:

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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 Four

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Week Four: Week of 7/24

This week I learned that if I try to do too many things, I feel like shit. Why do I keep having to learn this lesson over and over? I told Pete that from now on we need to take a complete day of rest on Sunday. Not just a day off from running, I mean a day to do absolutely nothing except whatever we want to do. If that means laying around watching movies and eating pizza, then fine. Or it might mean going to a concert, or a movie, or whatever. Actually have fun. It’s a tough thing when you have kids, you get into this mode of work, work, work, errands, and you end up passing out in front of the TV with your dinner half-eaten. Or sometimes not at all.

Base Week #4:

M 10 miles treadmill (7:15/mile)

T Pilates mat class + 6.5 miles hilly (7:28/mile)

W 7 miles easy treadmill (8:12/mile)

Th 4 miles easy (8:06/mile) + Pilates 

F 8 miles treadmill am (7:39/mile)/ 7.6 miles pm (8:24/mile) pushing double stroller

Sat 14 miles (7:18/mile)

Sunday REST

(57.1 miles) 

Fave pizza toppings? I’m into pizza piled with all kinds of veggies. I’m also a fan of the classic cheese.

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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!

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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.

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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.

The Three Best Treadmill Workouts Ever.

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Call me crazy, but I like making my own treadmill workouts. Yes, I know you could download an app or use a pre-programmed workout on your treadmill, but I think it’s more fun to have a hand in creating something for yourself. These can easily be adapted to the elliptical or another form of cross training too.

So, here we go. The three best treadmill workouts ever:

1. The Ultimate Fartlek- This is one of my all-time favorite workouts. I like the element of surprise, and the constant change in pace makes the workout go by quickly.

You’ll need: a treadmill, index cards (or a piece of paper cut into squares) and a pen or sharpie.

For a 5 mile workout you need 16 cards: write your regular warm up and cool down pace on two cards and label them warm up and cool down. For the remaining cards, write a variety of paces: for example, 6.5, 7.0, 8.2, 7.3, 8.0. Make sure to include some slower paces in with the faster paces so you have some recovery time. Keep the warm up and cool down cards out and shuffle the remaining cards. No peeking!

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Start with the warm up card for 3 laps. When you’re getting close to the end of your third lap (3/4 mile) get ready to flip over your next card… then whatever that card says, you have to run that speed for one full lap (1/4 mile). Repeat until the deck is finished (your last card should be your cool down card for 3 laps).

Index cards work perfectly and cut down on prep time. You can even use bright colored cards or sharpies to spice things up (hey, it’s the middle of winter and every little thing helps). I’ve been using squares of paper pinned together with a safety pin. There’s something satisfying about ending a workout with a pile of balled up paper scraps.

2. 60 Minutes- You don’t have to watch 60 Minutes while running this workout, any TV show or podcast will do. I’m a total weirdo and sometimes I like doing workouts without any form of entertainment, but there are many workouts that I wouldn’t have gotten through without Netflix.

You’ll need: a treadmill

This one is pretty straightforward.

Warm up 10 minutes
Run 3 minutes fast, then 2 minutes easy. Repeat 7 more times (for a total of 8 times).
Cool down 10 minutes

The exact paces here don’t have to be the same every time. Aim for 15k-half marathon race pace for your fast segments at first, then drop it down to 10k pace or faster as you get further into the workout. The easy segments should be easy, but fight the urge to walk. You could also do this workout as 2:30 fast/ 2:30 easy or some other combination.

3. The Grab Bag- This one of is from my high school cross country coaching days. We frequently had tornado warnings and hurricane warnings where I coached in Virginia, and we would be stuck indoors. Since I had about a million index cards lying around, I would write down whatever came to mind and throw the cards in a bag. Each kid would get to choose a card and then we would do them together.

You’ll need: whatever you have! If you have a treadmill, great. If not, you can use weights, a mat, a pull up bar, exercise ball, bands, the hallway, stairs, etc. You’ll also need index cards (or a piece of paper cut into squares) and a pen or sharpie.

Write an exercise that will take about 1-2 minutes on each card. Don’t forget to include a few fun ones (water break, dance break, etc.). When I was coaching cross country I would make a few cards that said “make a ridiculous face” or “sing your favorite song,” which you can do on your own too (even if you don’t have teammates to make faces at).

This sample workout of 15 cards adds up to 20 minutes- shuffle and repeat if you want a longer workout, or make up your own exercises using what you have:

1 minute sprint, 1 minute jumping jacks, 2 minute easy run,  1 minute push ups, 2 minute easy run, water break, 1 minute stair running, walking lunges up and down hallway (2 minutes), plank for 1 minute, side plank each side for 30 seconds, 1 minute sprint, 1 minute mountain climbers, 1 minute burpees, 2 minute easy run, 2 minute dance break…

Shuffle the cards and place them in a pile or in a small bag. The best part of this workout is that you have no idea what you’ll have to do next… it’s like having your own personal trainer.  You can keep your cards and recycle them for next time, and add new exercises when you think of them (or take out ones that you don’t like). A good playlist makes this workout even better.

Do you have any ideas for treadmill workouts or indoor workouts? I’d love to hear them!

 

Aramco Houston Half recap (1:22:54)

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I could write a book about this past weekend, but I won’t (you’re welcome). Many fun things happened because, let’s be honest, I haven’t been out much in the last few years. I mean, I just finally used my Uber app for the first time (Courtney will be proud of me).

So, instead of going through every single event this past weekend, let’s talk about some other firsts that happened in Houston:

First time perfect packing. I packed just enough of everything (only had extra socks left) and the only things I forgot were an extra hair tie (thanks Karen for for the hair tie loan) and bananas (thanks Ashley and Julie for the banana loan).

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At the expo on Saturday with Karen and Kelli… Skechers graffiti wall makes a good backdrop!

First time away from my kids overnight since they were born. This was scary for me, but it had to happen eventually. And guess what? They were totally fine and so was I.

First time pumping on the plane. I don’t even know if you’re allowed to do that, but I didn’t ask. I hate pumping, but the flight to Texas was long so that’s what went down.

First sinus infection!! Yay!!! No. Decided enough was enough and went to the doctor when I got home from Houston. So happy to be on antibiotics and not be sick anymore.

First time wearing new Willow Street AC team top. This Skechers Performance swift bra top was badass and perfect for the weather in Houston. I wore my Oiselle mini stride shorts on the bottom (not affiliate links, just sharing the links out of the goodness of my heart).

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New Willow Street top and new Brooks visor I picked up at the expo (attempt to keep the sweat out of my eyes).

First time seeing the finish of an elite marathon in person. After my race, we found a good spot to watch the elite men and women finish. I also got to see Ashley finishing strong in the half as well as a few other Oiselle ladies I met this weekend! And huge congrats to Megan (one of my Oiselle teammates) for running 2:47 in the marathon in those muggy conditions. We met in the ADP corral before the race. 

Okay, so about the race itself. I had missed a few key workouts in the last two weeks because I was afraid that my chest cold might turn into bronchitis or pneumonia if I pushed myself too hard. So on race morning I was a little more nervous than usual. The weather was another factor that kept things interesting (63 degrees with 97% humidity at the start according to this article from Runner’s World). I adjusted my goal pace to anything between 6:00 and 6:15, but planned to just run on feel and not be too concerned about my splits. I really had no idea how my breathing would be at race pace, so I was prepared to run even slower than that if I had to.

I warmed up to the race start and got to my corral in plenty of time, so I finished my warm up just jogging and doing some strides inside the ADP corral. We had plenty of space to run around and there were porto-potties there as well, so it was perfect. We got to see the “real” elites warming up as well in a separate area (kind of like they were first class and we were business class if you know what I mean). After the National Anthem we lined up behind the elites and the remaining corrals lined up behind us. Then the gun went off and we were on our way.

My first mile was exactly 6:00, but I felt relaxed and my breathing was fine. My next two miles were both 6:06 and then after that I stopped looking at my splits. Good thing, because each mile got slower and slower from there (race splits on Strava). I never felt bad, but I didn’t feel like I was on my A game.

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This was right around 10k. I smiled for a few seconds, then back to business.

I practiced positive self-talk to get through the middle miles around 7-9. Miles 12-13 felt like they went on forever and were my slowest miles by far, a long 2 mile straightaway into a headwind.

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Pain face.

But as soon as I saw the finish line with .1 to go I was fine and finished strong, so I feel like I didn’t necessarily give it everything I had. So much of running and racing is mental and I’m still working on that.

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Finally seeing that finish line.

I loved the course, and there were a LOT of people out cheering which was awesome. At some longer races there’s usually a few lonely spots, but I can’t remember any point in the race where there weren’t any spectators cheering for the runners.

Here’s a video of my finish from my Instagram (taken by Pete). And if you want to watch the rest of the runners finish, including the elites, here’s the official finish video from the Houston Marathon on YouTube (you can watch all the half and full marathoners finish). Shout out to Shawanna and Kelli for their strong finishes and solid races in those muggy conditions!

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With Pete after the race. Sorry I ate both of the ice cream sandwiches.

So, my body feels good this week but my head and chest are a mess from this cold and sinus infection so I’m probably going to take the rest of the week off and get healthy. Then, on to the next: Shamrock Half Marathon!