Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Running sick :(

Last week was the third week I've worked with students this school year, otherwise known as the time my immune system can't fight off their germs anymore :(

I started feeling yucky on Monday. It was supposed to be a strength workout, which are generally 1 hour, but within a half mile I was feeling pretty woozy and it didn't make sense to force myself to complete a training run.

Tuesday was a scheduled day off.

Wednesday I worked then immediately napped on the couch, completely skipping my run.

Thursday was the same.

Friday I felt marginally so-so and wanted to try a run. My plan was to cover 3 miles, regardless of how often I had to walk. If I didn't move my head, however, it limited the wooziness and dizziness and I managed 4 miles (of the 8 the Hansons recommended).

Saturday was supposed to be 10 miles. I slept almost 12 hours on Friday night, then after laying on the couch until 6pm, I finally started, with the idea of going for 1 hour. It wasn't terrible and I was able to do 6 miles at race pace, so I threw in one more mile at faster than race pace. Then I slept until Sunday.

They recommended 7 miles on Sunday, and once again I slept late and rested and relaxed until 6, when I managed another 6 at pace and the last one faster.

Monday I was back with the program as scheduled.

Some people would argue I wasn't really sick if I could run 7 miles at pace or better. It took 23 hours of rest to do so, however, and I still felt terrible, I just forced myself to run through it. I lost 20 training miles and I didn't want to let it slide anymore, even if it meant running through wooziness and flying snot. Ewwww

Monday, September 22, 2014

Not Hal's taper!!!

The last three weeks of a training program are generally tapering, or a gradual reduction in mileage to allow the body to heal itself before the race. Every time I used Hal's program, I knew that after my 20-miler, the miles dropped significantly and my free time increased :)

Not so much with the Hansons. Their plan is still 6 days a week, and the mileage is still high, much higher than Hal calls for. I count a running week as Wednesday-Monday. The week I just finished was scheduled as 49 miles, and I did 42.62 (I lose 1.38 due to darkness and 5 to feeling sick). Tomorrow is a day off, then the next week is still 46 miles!!!! The last full week before the race is 40, which is the same amount as Hal's week 15 (highest mileage week). I've had months where I've barely done 40 miles and here are three consecutive weeks of it! Heck, in January I ran 46 miles the entire month and 39 of those were done at Goofy.

My running feels stronger and is getting faster, but I told Bill this morning all I do is run and rest. His friend who just qualified for Boston had remarked the same thing. Then at work today I started feeling yucky, like a sinus infection is coming on, so I immediately went into cold-management mode. I laid down and took a little nap after work, took an Emergen-C packet, two vitamin d pills and tons of water.  I'm not sneezing or coughing, no runny nose, but my ears and throat are slightly sore. I have every intention of running 10 on Wednesday, so if that means going to a minute clinic tomorrow for antibiotics for a sinus infection, so be it. I've worked way too hard since I switched to the Hansons program for it to all fall apart with 20 days left.

Today was scheduled to be a strength workout. I should have done 3 sets of run 2 miles at 10:20, jog 800m at whatever easy pace. I made it 0.63 miles and decided against finishing it. My head was woozy and while I ran the entire 2012 Free Press marathon with a head cold, it was miserable and not an experience I ever want to repeat, especially if it isn't race day. I only jogged home because it was faster than walking.

Tomorrow's plan is work, then be in my pajamas and laying down by 3pm. What a boring day, but I'll do about anything to be healthy for the race!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

8 minutes

Saturday's plan was 16 miles. I wasn't particularly excited about it. I could have woken up early and run while it was cool, but I really enjoy sleeping late, and doing so is the best way to catch up on sleep. By the time I woke up, it was sunny and hot. Rain was in the forecast for the afternoon, so I just ate and went, even though it was in the upper 70s and sunny. Last year the Chicago marathon was the same weather, so I need to be ready to run in any conditions.

It was hot. It was sunny. There was a nice breeze and I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible, but it was an uncomfortable run. Originally I thought about doing the same route as my last 16-miler, but when I started, it was on a different route and that was ok. I did a 6-mile loop and stopped at Kroger to refill my water. (I also got distracted by a garage sale with tons of Barbies, but I have almost all of the same ones...)

I ran another 5.5 and stopped at the library to refill once more, then I ran home and I was done.

My first 16-miler was 3:01 so I was hoping to get under 3 hours. Last time it was mega humid, but I woke up early to run before the heat got really bad. This time after my last mile - which was the fastest of the entire run - I gratefully stopped the watch and finally really looked at the time.

2:53!!! The final average pace was 10:49, which is pretty much spot-on for a training run when I was saddled with a heavy water holster. Most training programs advise to do the long Saturday run 30-90 seconds slower than race pace, so I was exactly where I should have been.

My legs were beat and definitely did not want to run another 10 miles, but I had also run 21 miles in the past three days. The three runs before the race will be 14 miles, none of them at tempo.

The idea of the long run is a significant difference between Hal and the Hansons. Hal said half your weekly mileage should be on Saturday and if you need to take off a day or two before or after, that's ok. The Hansons say Saturday should be approximately 30% of your weekly mileage, and something that really struck me - if you need a day off before or after your long run, you're doing it wrong!!!

I'm now tapering, but still running 6 days a week, with this Wednesday being another 10-mile tempo run, so it's not an easy taper!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The great tempo run

Running consistent times isn't particularly a strength of mine, so I've done all my tempo runs on the dreadmill and let the machine maintain an exact pace. This week was prescribed as a 10-mile tempo run, which was bad enough - two sets of 53 minutes each - ugh! Add in the weather, which was absolutely perfect at mid-60s and sunny, and I couldn't justify a miserable TM run.

My watch predicts my finishing time per mile anyway, so it was time to self-pace. At the race I'll either have to self-pace, or stay with a group, which isn't really my style.

Almost immediately I started with the doubting self-talk. "8 miles is good enough." "An hour is good." "Go to the intersection and that's ok...."

Then I actually started running. The first few miles were a challenge to get the pace within a pretty exact window - I wanted no more than 5 seconds off pace either way. The first couple miles were speed up! Maintain. Slow down! Slower! Slow. Maintain. Speed up! After about 3 miles the pace was easier to maintain with less speed changes.

Then it started to feel good, and who wanted to stop before all 10 were done??? I didn't want the weight or bulk of carrying water, so I stopped once - at the library at 7.83 and it was a great run, one of my top ten ever.

At 5 miles my time should have been 52:30, the actual was 52:23. The second half was a little more under pace because I figured it was ok if I sped up a tiny bit the last mile.
Here were the splits :)
Today was scheduled to be 6 miles at whatever pace, but it was upper-60s and sunny, so obviously a great time to change it to another pace run. I figure the more 10:30s I can do, the better. I need to build muscle memory here!

Friday splits :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another race another shirt

This year's Detroit marathon shirt. I can't decide if I like it or not. Why is the start at the bottom and finish at the top? Shouldn't the design follow the progression of the race and go top to bottom? At least it's not covered in sponsor logos!!!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Strength workout

Something different that the Hansons include that Hal does not (at least in the novice programs) is a dedicated speed workout. About halfway through it changes to a strength workout, which is still designed to be speed work, but a little slower for a longer duration. They host organized workouts at their store, but I shifted the program one day so my long run is on Saturday, which means my speed work is on Monday, not Tuesday.

The next best option was to google "Hansons speed workout" and "Hansons strength workout." I found four of each, so I do each one twice before moving on to the next one.

Yesterday was:
- Warm up (0.5 miles in my case)
- 4 sets of run 1.5 miles at ten seconds faster than marathon pace, then recover/jog for 0.37 miles
- Cool down (short walk)

Race pace is 10:30 or 5.7 miles per hour so my strength pace is 10:20 or 5.8 mph. By the second set, however, I was up to 5.9 mph, then the third started at 6.0 and increased. Just for fun and to replicate the Chicago course I added an incline the last ten minutes. Good times :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Halfway to Hell Maryland

Last week I took a vacation to Virginia to see presidents' homes and Civil War battlefields. Obviously I packed my running stuff, but I know how hard it can be to make a long run happen at home, so doing it on vacay would be even worse, not knowing routes or available water, etc. It made the most sense to run a half marathon and let the organizers worry about the details.

The best choice in Virginia was a super hilly 20k just outside of Washington DC on Sunday, when I planned to be further west. Besides, VA hosts a rock and roll half so there are ample opportunities to run in Virginia.

It was geographically more desirable to run a half in Maryland. The only one in the state that weekend was in Hancock. It was pretty expensive for a half - I've done full marathons for less. I stayed at a small bed and breakfast that was 0.25 miles from the start, so I picked up my packet, returned it to my car at the b&b then went back to the start. The shirt is an orange t-shirt. I wore it to sleep in the hotels on my vacay, but doubt it'll be worn again.

That little distance was a nice warm up walk. What was a lot worse was the weather. We've had a super mild summer in Michigan so I haven't gotten acclimated to the heat and humidity this year. It was 79 degrees and massively humid at the start, which wasn't until 8:30. Whew! Satan called - wants his weather back! With the weather, I would have preferred they move the start to 7:00 or 7:30. Or keep the official start at 8:30, but give runners the option to individually start earlier.

The course was nice. It was an out and back along a paved trail. About half of it was in shade and after the first half mile, there was absolutely no elevation change. I treated it as a training run and with the weather became even less concerned with trying to PR.

I blurred my bare midriff in the interest of modesty :)
Even aside from the weather, it wasn't a good race. There were supposed to be 4 water stops, but the third one just disappeared, so we had to run from mile 6-11 without any water. It was the same heat as DX-A2, but even more humid. At that race I took water every single mile. This one should have offered fluid every mile, perhaps every half mile.

The timing chip was an actual chip I had to attach to my shoe. Not a huge deal, just a little archaic. I haven't had a detachable chip since 2010 and even that was a disposable one.

I dragged through a lousy half - and passed a woman in the last 0.2 miles - then they gave me..... a magnet??? wth????? It was not a cheap race, but the goodies were beyond cheap and almost an insult. I remind myself that it was a training run, and it was a fund-raiser, but what a half-ass experience.

Even with my less than desirable time, I finished 4/7 in my age group. The 3rd place finisher was only 2 minutes faster and had I known that, I could have made up 2 minutes, yet I really doubt there were prizes for the top 3, probably only the first in each group. Besides I don't need a second magnet :P

I still haven't decided if I'm going to run a marathon in every state. Maybe a marathon or half! in every state. If so, this was #6.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

More Spartan Freebies!!!

In Spartan news, NBC Sports has partnered with Spartan Race to film 6 episodes of the races, culminating with the world championship race to be aired November 16.

For my Michigan readers, two new events have been announced closer to home - this October 4th in Cumberland Ohio (east of Columbus), and one is scheduled in Michigan for 2015, date and location to be determined.

Don't want to wait that long? There is a Spartan cruise through the Bahamas in March 2015. Click here for more information, then here to enter the drawing for a free entry (and bring me as your +1 :)

Lastly, I can offer a free race entry to one of my readers. Anyone interested? Blog followers only this time :)