“Only” 10 Miles + My Philadelphia Marathon Goals

Today I did “only” 10 miles. My last long run before the marathon.

Whoa. I remember the first day I ever got up to 10 miles, about 3 1/2 years ago. My whole body was burning and I was questioning my sanity.

Now 10 miles is my “easy” run? PERSPECTIVE SHAKEN.

I haven’t written much about this training cycle, other than about my Ragnar experience, and a couple of other things. (And can I just stop for a moment and say how crazy is it that I’ve been running long enough to actually have training CYCLES?) Truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of drama, and I haven’t had a lot of time. This year, Coach Erin laid out a plan for me to run 5x per week, and that combined with me being a good girl and going to bed earlier means less writing time. But now I’m in the taper, oh glorious taper, and all of those posts that have been burning a hole in my brain are coming out now, when I actually get hours of my life back!

For the first time in my life, I worked out SIX DAYS PER WEEK, sometimes even SEVEN! (5x running and 1x spin or swim) and my body adapted well. My feet hung in there – barely. (The foot drama needs its own post, TBD). Erin gave me some challenging workouts…

marathon training track repeats speedwork

That workout was so hard, my head FELL OFF.

…I had a couple of horrible long runs…

bad runs, marathon training, long runs

Even beautiful scenery sometimes cannot make a bad 17-miler disappear.

But more often than not, I had some really, really good long runs.

marahton training long runs

That 20-miler was SO GOOD, Lori and I were emanating rainbows.

In early October, I had a moderate setback with my foot and with Ragnar taking more out of me that I’d planned, but despite those things, I’m pleased with the way my body has handled the training. BUT, will these 16 weeks of mostly good training translate on race day? YIKES. Ooof. I don’t know, but I’ll go ask my little friend Ambien.

Speaking of, here are my goals. For races, I often have an A, B, and C goal, because I’m a teacher and I like neat and orderly thoughts. But for this race, I have one and ONE ONLY:

MY GOAL: To not let the race break me.

I know I will probably hit The Wall somewhere after mile 20, and I know my foot might rebel at some point, but I hope that I can handle it better, push through it, and not want to cry or quit, like last year, when I felt like the distance broke me. If I can accomplish that, then I’m figuring a faster time will naturally follow.

Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t have a specific number in my head, but I’m going to keep it between me, Lori, and Coach Erin for now. Oooooh, secrets!

Enjoy the taper, friends!

Two Very Different Kinds Of Running Love

I swear I’ll have the TriFitness race report done soon, but in the meantime, I just wanted to share that I was a recipient of two kinds of love today.

Badass Coach Erin assigned me TEN x 400m repeats. Yes, TEN. 400 meters is once around a standard track. All ten to be executed at a pace between 7:46-8:18 per mile. YEOWZA. With the 400m “rest” in between each one, it’s a total of 5.5 miles – my longest speed session yet.

But I did it. I did it after a long day of herding cats teaching 1st grade (JK! They’re adorbs!). I did it at the track at 7:30 PM, when all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and watch Vampire Weekend videos. Hot damn, I did it.

speed work marathon training

This is the “I think my coach is trying to kill me” post-workout face.

So she was giving me some tough love, knowing that if I pushed myself, I could Get It Done. She didn’t really try to kill me. Yet.

When I got home, I have no energy to do anything but shove chips and salsa into my piehole (no utensils or plates needed!), Dan shows me a giant, gorgeous, loaded salad he made for me.

speed work marathon training

Plus fig newtons and chocolate soy milk on the side. Excellent.

I spy with my little eye mixed greens, leftover rotisserie chicken, leftover takeout brown rice, avocado, carrots, tomatoes, and goat cheese. YUM YUM in my TUM. Now that’s some LOVE!! Thanks, honey!

LovePeopleFeedThemTastyFoodTwo kinds of love…food love and coach love. I’m so blessed!

Going Cross Country

Tonight was speed work night for me at the track. I was all ready to go with the agenda in hand, literally:

triathlon speed work track

Yes, that’s FIVE 800 meter repeats. Yeowza.

When I arrived at the track, I discovered that tonight was also a high school boys’ lacrosse game, with my usual entry gate was closed a locked. I figured perhaps they were charging admission to this one. I’m not paying to run unless it’s a race, and I’m certainly not paying to run in front of a bunch of lacrosse dads! I thought to myself.

speed work track triathlon

Doesn’t lacrosse know I need to run??

Then I spotted this sign for the cross-country trail.

triathlon cross country track

The alternative is to bail. I did not shave my legs for nothing.

Lacrosse? Ppfffttt. My sport is your sport’s punishment, ninnies! and off I went down the trail.

The cinders, steep hills, mulch, grass, roots, and errant jaywalking bunnies made for some rebellious achilles tendons. But once I was warmed up, I kind of liked it. I felt a little like Katniss, if Katniss had a mummy tummy. Though if I were really Katniss, the cannon would sound and the hovercraft would be swooping me up by now. Also, I’m out of milk. These are the things that go through my head when I run.

Two loops around the grounds at 1.5 miles each, and dark is setting in. I was ready to call it a night at 3 miles, when I noticed people coming out of the exact fence I was trying to get into. It turns out, there’s a subtle-sneaky (but legit) fence opening around the corner that I’ve never noticed before.

triathlon cross country track

Doi. (Doy?) Doi.

I could’ve run on the track after all. DUH!! It even photo-bombed my picture and I didn’t even notice. Geesh.

The lacrosse game was over, so I ran the last mile on the track, feeling strong but also pretty darn stupid. So much for speed work, folks!

Buh-Bye February!

Note: This was written before bronchitis struck on February 28th. February just reached a whole new level of suckery.

As much as I dislike the dreary March weather here in Connecticut, it’s still better than February. Now that I’m over my lung issues and my marathon issues, I’m ready to kiss February goodbye, and enjoy the upcoming NYC Half Marathon on March 17. Time to get thy butt outside!

But before I do, here are some things that I won’t miss about February:

The bundled-bandit look.

cold weather running

God, that’s sexy.

 Frost beards.

cold weather running

All the rage, and even sexier.

Fargo-like snow driftings.

cold weather running

You betcha.

Frozen (and sometimes mascara-caked) eyelashes.

cold weather running

Tammy Faye, eat your heart out.

cold weather running

Yes, they are short, but FROZEN together. (Note to self: Groom brows before next selfie.)

“Lane Closures”

cold weather running

Speed work or speed skating?

My Garmin died. Like, D-E-A-D. Less than a year old. I don’t have a photo of said dead Garmin. I tried every troubleshooting trick I could Google. Then mysteriously, 7 days later, it rose from the dead. I simply tried to plug it in one more time, and POOF! It started right back up again and has been working ever since. It was like it didn’t like February either and decided to hold a little GPS protest.

So remembering that my Garmin revived itself reminded me that February wasn’t all that bad. Here are a few redemptive affairs:

Like a true friend, Mary joined me for quite a bit of the self-torture. So did Amy, Lori, and Jen-with-one-n. Running friends, I tip my beanie to you.

cold weather running

She’s more cold-hearty than I.

Hey! I got some new shoes. PURPLE SHOES. I mean, really purple! But then I got them all muddy. But still…purple!

cold weather running mud new shoes

Why yes, that is original 1960 bathroom tile, and yes, it is that color. Thanks for asking.

My friend Nancy and I went to see the Broadway show The Heiress, staring my boyfriend Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens.  This has nothing to do with running, but it was a bright beacon in the pit of the month, and we had to fight our way out of Blizzard Nemo to get to see the curtain rise. Actually, perhaps it is a bit like running. Achieving a goal against seemingly insurmountable, snowy odds? Ok, it’s a weak link. Throw me a bone here.

I've never been so happy in 15 degree weather.

I’ve never been so happy in 15 degree weather.

So there you have it. Bring on March! And how was YOUR February, friends?