Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week 12

Week 12 with the Hansons begins on a Wednesday. First though, I had to finish week 11. The last run was scheduled to be a "strength" workout on Monday. The weather was gross though - 30s, 100% cloud cover, etc. It was a great day to be in pajamas by 3pm, especially with the Tuesday forecast of 55 and sunny. I swapped Monday's miles with Tuesday's rest day and it was a good decision, even though it meant doing "something of substance" runs on consecutive days.

Tuesday - Mile repeats at 10:05 pace with 1/4 mile break in between. Final average pace was 11:00. More importantly - it felt amazing!!!

Wednesday - Tempo run. As happens in Michigan, the temperature dropped 15 degrees overnight and it was cold! It was sunny though and an important run, so I bundled up, slapped on the Hokas and went. Those dumb clown shoes have never felt so good!!!! It was like little clouds under my feet.

I did a great job maintaining consistent 10:15s, except when I turned onto Wick Road and found myself in the middle of the boys' track team. There is a certain amount of pride and ego to be able to say "I'm old enough to be your mom, and having no trouble keeping up with your pace!!!" Yeah, the stretch with them was an 8:40....

Thursday - Bike 45 minutes with speed drills, abs

Friday - 70 and sunny. Not wanting the weather to change before my run, I went immediately after work. The Hokas felt so amazing on Wednesday, I grabbed those again. Stupid stupid stupid. I had forgotten about my experience last year where the Hokas and thin socks rubbed a dime sized blister on the underside of my foot. 2.3 miles in, it was feeling great, the only run this season that's felt easy, then the same blister started rubbing. I tried tightening the shoes, I tried loosening them. I finally walked back in defeat. I slathered it with Vaseline, put on thick socks and the Mizunos to finish the miles. Nope. They were garbage miles anyway, so I got on the bike for 20 minutes.

Saturday - mid 30s, 100% cloud cover. Heavy rain early. Barfy horrendous weather. No part of me wanted to go outside and run. I procrastinated until 4pm, then finally forced myself outside. Much to my surprise, it felt AMAZING!!!!! Seriously!!!! My long slow runs should be 11:15 or slower, but my watch kept reporting upper 10s. At the crossroad, I could have turned for the finish, or kept going for a 1.5 mile loop. Keep going!!!! I got close to 10, felt amazing, and decided I could totally do 11 well under 2 hours. So I did. The last 4 miles I was running INTO a strong wind and my legs were still saying Faster! Faster!!! I listened to them. Final average pace: 10:37 :D

Then I went to Charlie's diner for comfort food, as I do most Saturdays. The owner said my food was on the house. So nice of him!!!

Sunday - bike 70 minutes

Week 12 was the best I've had since 2015. I always bemoan to my friend that I'm not going to be ready for Cincinnati. She always claims I am. For one day (Saturday), I finally believed her. At least a little.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ground control to Major Bemis

Sometimes I can't improve on someone else's words. From one of the Martians in charge:

Hey Hey!

Good news!!  I think we have put together an amazing team of 4 to sweep the Martian Marathon on April 22

You are invited to be a group of this awesome group of 4 women sweeping the 26.2 course! Girl power!

Here is the big picture:
You will stay behind the last participant the entire way…..let me repeat that…the entire way….
No matter who it is. If you get very attached to the last person for 22 miles and they suddenly have a surge of energy and pass someone…guess what…you drop back and stay behind the new person.
No matter what…even if you think that person you have devoted your life to for 22 long miles is your potential soulmate and you can’t live without them…get their bib number, drop back….and we’ll work on connecting you back up later.
You have two jobs. 
Keep those back of the packers movin’ and shakin’ AND along the way to pick up race trash between aid stations. This will mostly consist of GU wrappers and cups. There will be various other things as well…and you can use your discretion….a McDonald’s cup….sure …if it’s easy to carry to the next aid station to drop…..a blown out tire lying on the road…..ummm…go ahead and leave that one…

Sooooo……
Are you IN???


Yup!!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The whining zone

For the past month my kids have been testing. I tell them they need to get their whining and crying done before we get to the office and start working. I needed a whining crybaby zone myself this weekend.

Saturday was scheduled for 16 miles. Zero part of me wanted anything to do with that. The forecast was mid30s with 100% cloud cover nasty gloomy yuck. When I woke up, it was even worse. Big fat snowflakes were raining down taunting me, rubbing it in my face. Every tiny part of me that's tougher than weather shriveled up and cried uncle.

A few hours later it had stopped snowing, the ground was wet, it was windy, and damp! I knew exactly how the run would go. My feet would get wet and stay wet for hours, I would be sweating within the first mile then the wind would kick up and I'd be chilled to the core. Then I envisioned how far my 16-mile route goes and I started crying for mercy.

I couldn't skip it though. Back to Mom's, back on the treadmill. I set it slooooooow. I played two episodes of Survivor on her computer, I was bored, I sweated through a hand towel. I ditched my headband when I could wring out the sweat, I ditched my shirt when it was drenched. I sweated through a second hand towel. 

Two and a half hours later I finally said I'm done. I don't know the exact distance, it doesn't really matter. I ran for longer than my most recent half. Going slow seems to have worked out well, I was dehydrated, but my body wasn't in pain like it so often is after my long runs. It was horribly boring, and yet, running while watching Survivor isn't that terrible.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pace schmace

In the Hansons program, there are three Something of Substance runs a week - race tempo, long slow, and speed. It seems like every week Mother Nature has been conspiring against my tempo days with snow or sub zero temperatures or 50mph winds. I've tried to make do with a hard bike sesh. It's not the same.

This week, I said I HAVE to get it done, even though the wind chill was 11. Mom has a treadmill, so that was the new plan. Yes, it was miserable. The first mile or two were easy enough, then it became a total suck fest. Mile 5, I slowed down a bit for a break. It was hot and boring, too noisy to watch anything on my phone. Just music and a street with very few cars.

It made me reconsider my whole idea of a 10:15 pace. It made me think what if I started ridiculously slow, like 11:30 or 12-minute miles? I inevitably get there at the end of the race, what if I started there and sped up? My m.o. has historically been start at a decent pace then fall apart at the end. If I start so slow, though, am I setting up myself for defeat? Then I question the whole idea of training. I'm dragging myself through 18 weeks of pain in the hope of a sub-5 finish. Last year I did zero training and hacked out a 6:03 finish. Somehow that hour difference isn't seeming worth it.

Sigh, I don't know anything. Granted, it was my first TM run in well over a year. Is that justifying the suck factor or is that a legitimate excuse?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chattanooga half

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to go on a little vacation, change of scenery, break the routine, etc. A quick trip to runningintheusa revealed there was a marathon in Chattanooga, Tennessee the weekend I wanted to travel. The week of the race, the half was still $75 and I had most of my Christmas money unspent. To Tennessee!!!!!

We left early Friday and traveled and visited and saw everything for two days before the race on Sunday. The way we travel and cram in every site we can possibly see, I was completely exhausted before the race started haha Pickup was quick and easy at the minor league stadium. Shirt, drawstring backpack. They offered pre-race pickup as well.

Sunday morning was in the low 30s at the start, but the forecast promised sun and rising temperatures. Did I want to be cold at the start or too warm at the finish? I compromised with a long sleeve shirt, skort and knee socks. At the last minute I tossed my gloves to my boyfriend on the sidelines because I knew I wouldn't wear them very long and they were my good ones that I want to keep.

The plan had been to start at marathon pace (10:15). I stayed with pacer Sergio for a few miles and it started off well. They always do. Chattanooga is hilly! Not as many hills as Cincinnati, but a lot steeper! I walked UP the hills. Coming down was just as bad because I wanted to go really fast, yet it was so steep I subconsciously landed on my heels as a braking mechanism then the PF tingle wanted to say hi every time I did that...

It got nice and hot. Initially I had hoped for a 2:08-2:10 finish. The reality was a 2:21. Ah well, first race post-injury. It was plenty faster than the halfs I did in October and November 2016. There wasn't a ton of scenery to look at - the bf walked around downtown while I ran and he saw a lot more than I did.  There weren't thousands of spectators either, but it was a good one. Very well organized, especially considering it was only the 2nd year, ample water on the course, more than enough Gu (I only took 1, I didn't want to take more than I needed and have full marathoners be without later in the race), tons of course marshals and cops directing us and stopping traffic. Very organized finish - Coke!!!!! at the finish line, water, chips, pretzels, cookies and mini candy bars! Then I could use my bib for a hot meal from a food truck, my choice of pizza, burger, chicken fingers or tacos. I got the chicken because it was the shortest line.

Good weather, great medal, and another state under my belt! (Full of half in 8 states now). I don't know if I'll do it again, but I'm glad I did it this once :)
Look at the medal! It's the primary reason I did the race, yes? ;)
Started by the Chattanooga aquarium, ended near a minor league stadium
The site said it was a tech shirt, it was cotton :( Nice enough design, front is a small logo on the chest.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Call me [Martian] maybe

I've done the Martian marathon for the last five years, the full twice and the half three times. It's a given in my world. Last month I volunteered a RunningFit race specifically for the $30 voucher to be used at the Martian. It's good for any event they sponsor, but why would I do anything else...?

Then I started thinking...idk...I've done it 5 times...the medal is nice, but I already have a rack of them...the shirt is nice, but I have a drawer full of race shirts and plenty more in the basement that I never wear. Besides, even with the voucher, the Milky Way 26k (5k and half) would be $50 out of my pocket and I spent most of my Christmas money on a race in Tennessee. Maybe...I skip it this year? I do the Pig for the bling and to keep my streak alive, I do Chicago for the experience of running with 40,000 people amid 1.7 million spectators. The Martian is a good training run, but I'm not feeling compelled this year. I'm not in shape to set a new PR and while its close and convenient, I can log my miles elsewhere for free. Besides, if I skip the Martian, then I skip Heroes on Hines half - which I would only do for the Hines double bonus medal - and I've just saved over $100.

Then they posted on Facebook, looking for sweepers. They need 4 people to walk the full behind the last finisher, at a 15:00 pace, encouraging the finishers, collecting errant Gu wrappers along the way. In exchange, the race is free, and includes a race shirt, volunteer shirt and the medal. I'm going to apply. They prefer a ready made team of 4, but I'm still going to apply. If they pick me, I'll walk the full, and if not, let it go. I either get a free marathon entry, or I sleep in late and save my legs. Win-win :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

In like a Lion

It's March 1 and Michigan is living up to the adage "in like a lion, out like a lamb." Within a 10-minute stretch driving home from work, it went from sun to full cloud cover, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and it was hailing! I figured I'd wait a little - I worked early today so I was done at 2:45. My cutoff to decide was 4pm. Any later and I'd run out of daylight. 4pm... The trees were swaying in 30 mph winds, intermittent rain still. Good day to bike. Not the same exactly, but I don't want to be out with the risk of downed trees or power lines. I'm warm and cozy and safe with my bike.