Portland Marathon Training: Week 3

Hello My Friends!

This week was off to a great start… I love it when I have a full week of great runs that hit targets exactly as they are supposed to… I love them, but I’m usually wary of them. Maybe I’m too superstitious or maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the week ended on a less than chipper note. Admittedly, this was a very busy week for me, in addition to running. I had my kids so I was really busy with them most of the week, and that translated in to much later nights, much earlier mornings, and poor sleep quality for me, which has been adding up for weeks, finally took its toll on me. I guess it all came together on Saturday morning…

Let’s look at this week:

  • Sunday, 06/29/2014 – On Plan – rest day, plus stretching: I did rest, but I probably didn’t stretch as much as I planned to because I was busy with the kids most of the day. We had plans to go to a picnic with another run group in the area, so I had to get my household chores done first and go to the grocery store after. Not exactly the “sitting on my butt and doing nothing” kind of day I wanted, but not extremely active, either.
  • Monday, 06/30/2014 – On Plan – 6+ miles (plus :30 sprints at the end with 1 min rests between) and then abs: Did this on my treadmill, and did what I call the “1-2-3-4-5 ladders” which are basically 15 minute sets of increasing speed. I guess they are kind of like a controlled fartalek. I select an easy starting speed (usually 6.8 at this point) and I run that for 1 minute, then I increase by .1 (up to 6.9 in my example) for 2 minutes, and then 7.0 for 3 minutes, 7.1 for 4 minutes and 7.2 for five… then, I go back down to 6.9 and start a new set from there. I’ve been doing these for years in reverse (5-4-3-2-1) to push my upper limit, but I decided to start doing them the way I am now to teach my body how to stay comfortable at higher speeds. Since they are 15 minute sets, it is easy to remember when to change the speed and I believe that using these for my base runs have *really* helped be move up to the next level on my intervals. After doing this base run for a little over 6 miles, I then did 6 speed ups at 8.0 for :30 each and 1:30 rests at 7.2. This run was overall 7.23 miles at an hour on the dot, giving me a hearty 8:18 average pace. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t have to stop the treadmill and I wasn’t drained after. That night, I also worked on my abs, doing two full sets.
  • Tuesday 07/01/2014 – On Plan – 4 miles slow, plus abs: I did this run in the morning at work because I really wanted to do it outside. I ran with my favorite run buddy and he is always good for keeping me focused on my pace. We did a “make it up as we go” route for a healthy 8:46 pace. I also worked on abs that night – one set because it was a lower mileage day – and, because the two sets the day before made me sore!
  • Wednesday, 07/02/2014 – On Plan – 8 mi – (1/6/1 tempo with target pace of 8:20-8:40 for the 6), plus abs: I woke up this day around 4:30 am, and, admittedly, I was exhausted. I had a very long, busy day so I needed to get my run in the morning and I knew it was hearty one, so I had to do it, but I was tired. Like I said in my intro, I had not slept well and I think it was starting to catch up with me on this day. So, I do the same thing I usually do each morning: I get up and look at my calendar for the day. Never mind the day, though, kiddo, just look at what the little yellow “marathon training plan” entry says. It said 2 x 3 miles with 2 warm up and 1 cool down: just over 9. So… that’s what I did. I had to do it on the treadmill, so I targeted my intervals to be 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5 for the first one and, attempt 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 for the second. The first one went well – in fact, I did 7.3, 7.4/7.5 and 7.6/7.7 for those miles. I did my 3:00 rest, and then I started over with 7.4 – that mile went OK, but the second mile of that set, I started having stomach issues so I had to stop the treadmill for a few minutes. I ended up starting that set again much slower (7.1) and working my way back up to 7.5 – so I didn’t get the pace I wanted, but I ended up pretty close – or, so I thought. I had to cut some of the cool down short because I was running late for getting the kids to their camp on time for a field trip, so I ended up with exactly 9 miles at a very surprising 8:14 average pace! What?!?! I didn’t have time to celebrate that, but I at least had a good reason for being wiped out! I took the quickest shower ever, had a long productive day at work, and then was up until midnight because I took the boys to a baseball game. A LONG and tiring day. It was the next day, however, when I realized that I had looked at the wrong week! I was actually supposed to have done an 8 mile tempo today, not a speed interval. oops. Turns out, this particular workout occurs two more times this training cycle, though, so I have two more opportunities to get that 2nd interval the way I wanted it.
  • Thursday, 7/03/2014 – On Plan – rest, plus stretching. Thank God today was a rest day. I didn’t get up early, but I couldn’t sleep in as late as I wanted and, like the days (weeks) before, my quality of sleep was squarely in the 60% – 65% range and it was starting to catch up to me. But! It was the day before a long holiday weekend and a rest day, so I could just rest… right? Nope. I didn’t run, so there’s that, but I had a really, really busy day. I worked and then I met a friend for coffee, and then I went to a July 4th celebration in the town I went to high school in (I met my sister and her family and a few family friends at a party) – watched the town’s fireworks celebration, visited another friend from high school, went back to the party and finally got home to find my dog had broken in to my pantry and made a mess at around 11:30. I was meeting a runner from one of the run groups at 8 for a run, so I decided to clean up the biggest mess and head to bed – I’d get the rest later.
  • Friday, 07/04/2014 – On Plan – 5, and then abs – This was supposed to be an “easy” run, but (sigh), I couldn’t help myself with this one because the plan says, specifically, “vary terrain”. This area has a HUGE greenway system and I now have a map so I can start marking them off as I do them… Another reason I chose this portion of the greenway is this was one of my favorite routes when I was running after college. I chose Lake Johnson because you can get a little bit of everything there: there is a paved (albeit really hilly) trail around a lake and it is beautiful in the morning; cross the street and on one side of the lake, there is a groomed trail that ends at a bridge and then turns into a short technical trail. Do the whole thing, and you get around 5 miles. Sounded like a great plan! I got there at the same time as my friend and we set off to do the paved portion first – then we did the groomed… and then we crossed the bridge and…. well… it doesn’t look the same! Nor is anything marked. So, we got lost. At one point, I had to stop to figure out where we were and I forgot to turn off my timer, so my pace is really off. ah, well. Regardless, though, it was a good run and I am still glad I chose it. The technical trail was only about 1 mile, so I didn’t consider it a tough run. I came home and did abs, and then went to my town’s July 4th parade, then ran some errands, and met another high school friend in Downtown Raleigh for some of the (really crowded) celebration and First Friday events. It was another really, really late night, though. I was out until after 11 and I didn’t get home until almost midnight.
  • Saturday, 07/05/2014 – On Plan – 11 miles at target pace of 8:40-9:10 and then abs: One thing I know I really have to be better about is admitting when I’m tired. I have *always* been bad about that – even when I was a kid. To this day, my dad still tells stories about how much I fought going to bed every night and at every nap. I am still that defiant about sleeping. I don’t know why, but I am. I mention this because when I woke up on Saturday morning, I was tired. T.I.R.E.D. I actually said that out loud to my dog and cat who just looked at me sideways as if to say “soooo… go back to sleep – that’s what we do”. Or, maybe that part of the morning was just a lucid dream. I finally peeled myself from the bed and got some coffee and got dressed for my run. I was meeting the same friend I ran with the day before, but he was to meet me at mile 5 and do the last 6 miles with me, so I still had to start on time. Plus: it was going to get hot and I really didn’t want to start too late and run in the heat. As I woke up, though, I really started looking forward to the run. I was also going to try Generation UCan for the first time, and was excited at the prospect of it working for me better than Gu and Gatorade. I started on time and the first three miles were awesome – in fact, I was actually going too fast and I had to talk myself into going slower so I didn’t burn out – but I felt comfortable. However… I started to think about how much I had to go to the bathroom and, at the 3.5 mile mark, I got to the point in the run where I knew there was a park and a track – and I figured there had to be a restroom by the park. So, what do I do – I look over at the park. oooh. There’s the building… I wonder if there are bathrooms in there? Oh! Tons of people out there this morn…. do’h. All of the sudden, I’m sliding across the sidewalk on my elbow and knees. gah. This section of town has a lot of broken sidewalks co-mingled with a lot of brand new ones – I crossed over from a new one to a broken one and, most likely because I’m tired, I didn’t pick up my foot all the way and my toe clipped the edge of one and I went down. I tried not to curse, I really did, but I was PISSED OFF. I got up, mad, cursing, and didn’t even look at the abrasions – I just took off walking because I still had another 1.5 mile to go before I got to my friend and this was going to slow me down. damnit. I spent the first couple of minutes in triage of the event: I know I’m bleeding, but I needed to test my knee to make sure it was ok because I came down hard on it. It was a bit sore and starting to swell, but there wasn’t sharp shooting pains, and, as you all know, I’ve been here before. I focused on my knee as I walked for another couple blocks, and then I started a light jog. That felt OK, so I walked one block that had a messy sidewalk situation, and then continued jogging again – very slow, deliberate pace… then I had to go back *down* a hill. ooof. that kind of hurt. At that point, I figured it was better to walk than to try jogging again, so I continued walking, my mind steadfastly occupied on “I’m going to be late…” and “damnit! I really wanted that 11… maybe by the time I get there, I’ll feel better…”, completely forgetting about my other injuries. Then, I encountered a guy walking his dog who looked freaked out when he saw me – it was only then I realized I hadn’t wiped off the blood yet and looked down – my left leg from the knee down had a long trail of blood and my left arm looked the same. I quickly poured some water on my knee and elbow to attempt to clean it off, but that just made it worse, so I pressed on to meet my friend. That 1.5 mile to the meeting place was spent in blood and tears of frustration, so thankfully, most of it was over by the time I got there. I finally got to the meeting spot and, thankfully, there was park near by (that *did* have a bathroom) so I cleaned up and went to the bathroom, but I was done. He drove me back to my car, I went home, showered and took a nap for the first time since I think my first 20 mile run, which was almost a year ago. I then went out to get some Generation UCan (and discovered I mixed the one packet I had incorrectly) and some more socks but I was drained… so I came home and took *another* nap before seeing a special screening of “A Hard Day’s Night”. I came back from the movie exhausted and fell asleep. The silver lining from all of this: I got 80% last night for the first time in about a month.

Next week, I’m dealing with injury and travel, so I will likely be shaking things up a bit in terms of what (and how much) I do on what day, but here is the training plan for next week… and it is likely that I may end up trading a run for a swim or a spin event for my injuries:

  • Sun: rest (stretch)
  • Mon: 7+ and (abs)
  • Tue: 4 (abs and stretch)
  • Wed: 2 x 3 mi intervals (8:00 – 8:20 target pace with 2 min warm up, 1 min cool down and 3:00 rest) (abs)
  • Thu: rest (stretch)
  • Fri: 6 mi Tempo (1/4/1 target pace of 8:00 – 820 and then abs)
  • Sat: 12 at around a 8:30 to 9:00 pace (abs)

Hope you all have a great week!

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