Training and Coffee: Marathon Week 15

Hello My Friends!

I’m posting this entry a day later than I wanted because I’ve been busy with the kids yesterday… but… this is what has occupied my brain the last 24 hours: Taper. Food. Taper. Clean. Taper. Food. Taper. Clean. haha. Yes, I’m a bit antsy, but I am feeling better at the end of week 15 than I did at the start of the week, and better than I did during week 14, so tapering appears to be working. If I can just make it through next week without having a melt down, I think I’ll be OK. I am feeling more confident than I was a couple weeks ago because (a) I’ve accepted that a BQ is pretty unlikely, though, I still want to come in under 4 hours (b) I know I’ve done everything I can physically to prepare (c) I can’t control the weather, so I have also accepted that over 4 hours is a possibility if the weather forecast changes from mostly cloudy and 56-73 temperature range to mostly sunny and hotter than that. There is nothing else I can do and I have no control over the weather or other factors that might play in to how this ends up. I’m at peace with that.

Having said that: week 15 brings me one week closer to the marathon I’ve been training for and that has occupied most of my attention for over a year now. I’ve fretted. I’ve stressed. I’ve rejoiced. I’ve celebrated. I’ve had equal moments of triumph and doubt. I’ve had awesome and awful runs, sometimes back to back – even within the *same* run, but, as I’ve said over and over on this blog, I always had my “eyes on the prize”. So, now that the “prize”, so to speak, is just around the corner, I think I’m more stressed about what I’m going to do after the full is over and the dust settles than I am about the marathon itself. I don’t want to screw up the recovery and I don’t want to aimlessly train like I did before. I hate to admit it, but I liked having the training plan, and I liked the results I’ve been seeing from following it. Yes, it took a lot of time, but I have learned a lot over the last year, and I don’t regret a single thing I’ve done related to training and planning for this marathon. I’ve learned a lot more than I expected to learn – something I’ll write about after I’ve done the marathon post. Physically, I feel better and stronger than I have ever felt. I have thought about – and even set it as a reach goal – to BQ, but after this is over, I don’t want to get side tracked by glittery, shiny Boston. I’d really like to be there next year – or maybe 2016 – but I don’t want to lose sight of my half marathon goal, either. That’s what started all this, and I owe it to myself to see that goal through. Marathon training has accomplished the biggest thing I wanted to do this year for the Half Marathon distance: feel better at the end. I do. Having now done six half marathons since I registered and started training for the  marathon (Martian Half, San Francisco Second Half, Newport RI Half, Savannah Rock and Roll Half, and Tobacco Road Half), I have felt increasingly better at the end of each one, and have recovered more quickly each time, so the training plan is working, and it is incentive to keep doing a lot of the same training I’ve been doing once I recover from the full.

So, I meet the end of this week with a somewhat bittersweet attitude: I’m glad the marathon is almost here and I’m excited to do it – and see my friends – but I’m also sad this phase is almost over and my one and only “first full” is almost here. I feel kind of like I did just before each of my kids were born: this has been a lot of work and has been great, and I am looking forward to how this event will totally change my life, but I’m going to miss this part just a little.

Nostalgia aside, my mileage was cut dramatically again this week: 27.5, down from 40 the week before. It was easier and tougher at the same time…. here’s how week 15 went:

  • Sunday, 03/30/2014 – A scheduled rest day, and much like the last couple of Sundays, I decided it was in my best interest to actually rest so I did – for the most part. I have people staying with me for the Marathon weekend, so I wanted to clean and straighten up a bit, starting with my boys’ toy room. Remember last week when I had to, uh, encourage them to clean? Well, I took it a step farther and got a shelving unit to organize some stuff and went through some of the games and toys that were broken and/or missing major pieces and cleaned those out. The most activity I had was putting the shelving unit together – and most of the organizing was doing sitting on my butt (watching Doctor Who, of course). It was nice and, though I was still a little sore from the previous day’s 14 hilly miles, I felt pretty good.
  • Monday, 03/31/2014 – I had 6+ on the training plan and, honestly, I don’t think I could have done 6 contiguous miles at any point during the day. I had the day off, so I went to the ATT to do 4 miles in the morning, and then I went to the nOg run club to do the last bit. Since the “+” runs generally equate to anywhere between .5 and a mile extra, I planned to do the 3 mile route at nOg – the first two of which were easy, the last would be the + part for the entire mile, only with shorter rests. The second run felt better than the first, and I was happy with my time for each run. I ended up with just a tad over 7 miles total for the day for both runs.
  • Tuesday 04/01/2014 – non-run day, so I did nothing but get up, go to work, come home and lounge around. 
  • Wednesday, 4/02/2014 – I had 1 mi warm up, 2 x 2.5 mile intervals at Marathon pace on plan… I didn’t do it. Physically, I was drained. I had barely enough energy to get up and go to work that morning, and I never felt better throughout the day, so I decided that, rather than pushing it on a day when my body clearly did not have it in me, I’d try it the next day, which meant doing 3 runs in a row, something I hadn’t done much this training cycle.
  • Thursday, 4/03/2014 – I felt markedly better, so I got up early and did the 2.5 mile intervals in my neighborhood. I met my goal pace targets, but I felt tired toward the end. However, throughout the day, I started to feel a little better as I ate and drank more water. I heard about a Brooks sponsored running club (different club) event with one of the local running stores and they were doing free gait analysis, fittings and test runs in Brooks shoes. Hmm. Ok. So, I had a decision to make: should I do my easy 5 tonight and do a double – like on Monday – or do 3 days in a row? I had hesitation about 3 days in a row because I was worried I’d feel exhausted for my last “longerish” run, so I decided to double up. Plus, I wanted to try some Brooks shoes because I’ve been curious and, with free gait analysis, it was worth it. The organized portion of the run, however, was less than 3 miles – dang. I did the out with the group, but on the way back, I meandered and looped around until I got to 5 miles. I then had my gait analyzed (I’m a moderate pronator, which was not a surprise), and I tried some of the Adrenalines – I loved them for the short jog I did in the parking lot.  In fact, I’m actually thinking about going back and buying a pair today, following the same advice I give to newer runners: pay a little extra to buy the first pair in a store that will let you return them, then bargain hunt if they work. Plus: if I buy a pair of Brooks now, I can use a potty with running water at the race, so… win-win. Overall, though, the second run felt much better than the first, so I am glad I doubled up on this day.
  • Friday, 04/04/2014 – took another rest day, which complemented my work schedule, too, as it was a pretty busy day.
  • Saturday, 04/05/2014 – My dad agreed to take the boys for a couple of hours so I could do my last long run outside. I had 8 on my plan, but a runner friend who does a lot of fulls suggested I do 10. After thinking about it, I landed on doing 9, and then seeing how I felt as to whether or not I did that last mile. I felt great the whole run – in fact, I wasn’t even breaking a sweat the first couple of miles. My breathing was even and easy and I felt like a million bucks once I did get to the point where I was actually working – around 3 miles or so. However… I think my pace after mile 3 was too fast. Most of my miles after 3 were at or below 8:30, and target marathon pace is 8:35 – 9:10. I mean, I’m proud of that because this route is pretty hilly, but I shouldn’t have been going that fast. When I hit 9 miles, I still had gas in the tank, but I thought better of pushing it – I wanted to feel rested the following week, not tired and, technically, my body is still healing from the 22 miler I did 2 weeks before, so I needed to heed to that. I stopped at 9 and walked home, proud of myself, and a bit angsty at the same time. I really wanted – emotionally – to have a double-digit run… but I recognize the difference between what I want emotionally and what I need to do physically, so I don’t regret my decision to stop… I just had to talk myself down from it for a bit after. As I was getting dressed to pick up my kids, though, I noticed that my range of motion is now much smaller than it was and I am probably way behind on stretching, so I really need to work on that this week, and I’ve added it to my week 16 goals.

Week 16 has only 3 runs – what? (sigh) ok… I can do this… I may split up the runs so I do my intervals on Tuesday and take the extra rest day on Monday. We’ll see. For next week:

  • 8 x 2:00 intervals – 1 mile warm up, 8 x 2:00 intervals at marathon pace (8:30-8:40) and 2:00 rests between, followed by a 1 mile cool down.
  • 4+ with 4 x 0:30 strides and 2:00 rests between them
  • 15 minutes easy
  • Core Work – goal of at least 2 this week – goal is to rest, but I still need some of this work
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch…

Hope you all have a great week!

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One thought on “Training and Coffee: Marathon Week 15

  1. Pingback: Training and Coffee: Marathon Week 16 | The Devil's Chasin' Me

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