Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An important run

The theory behind the Hansons training program is "cumulative fatigue." There isn't a big 20-mile run, because no single run makes or breaks the program. Some runs are more purposeful than others, but the idea is to gradually and consistently exhaust the legs, then keep going, and learn to run through the pain and the boredom and the exhaustion. Marathon training is about training the mind as much as it is about training the body.

We're ten days out and I STILL don't know my race pace. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the absurdity of how much time and consideration I've put into this. Esoteric problems of the very fortunate...) I skipped Monday's tempo run when I felt mildly flu-like, so today's tempo run was my very last "something of substance" run, and it was an important run, because today's outcome would go a long way toward determining my race pace.

Tuesday had been crazy humid and close to 80 degrees. Then it rained and became fall. Today was mid-60s, low humidity, full sun, and just enough breeze to challenge me. It was PERFECT running weather!!!!

The Hansons wanted 10 miles at race pace, and I was exhausted, so exhausted after working 4 am-3:30 pm, but I knew the sooner I ran, the sooner I could go to bed! lol The first few miles were easy. They always are. Around mile 4, I started pacing off the boys' cross-country team, which did great things for my confidence. Aside from the fact that I'm old enough to be their mother, they're teenagers and boys, two factors that should make them faster than me, but I kept up pretty handily, and when they stopped, I kept going :D

At the 6-mile mark, I did a body check. Was there any way in the world I could last another 20 miles at this pace?
Heart? Yes!!!!
Lungs? Stay away from student germs and third-hand smoke, and we got this!
Legs? All day long!!!!
Brain? ummm It's soooooooo far, and fast. I'm tired. I'm bored. I'm cold. Where's the water? Let's walk.

My only problem is the gray matter in my skull. I know this!!! I got myself through 10 miles alone without any sustained agony, but can the pace team and the crowd carry me through the next 16?!???!??

Then I thought, this might be a moot point. When I registered, I predicted a 4:30 finish, which put me squarely in the G corral (got my race number today - 36243). If I run 9:30s though, that's a 4:10 finish, which is the F corral. If I'm in a different corral from the pace team, that's just not going to work. I checked, and there are TWO 4:10 groups, in corrals E and G. I have to try!!!! I have to! Magic happens in Chicago! And maybe I crash and burn and fall all the way back to the 4:25 group. Finishing with them would still get me sub-4:30.

Stay healthy, stay focused, stay determined. You got this, girl!!!! (Yes, I'm feeling a little grandiose. I might have had a drink while I typed this haha First one all month, last one til my big 312 draft in the finishing chute :D

Monday, September 28, 2015

A little over-reaction

I'm at the point in my training where I start to get cranky and irritable because my run schedule changes to an easier plan. I can't build any more strength or endurance at this point. Now I focus on doing "easier" runs so I can recover from hard training, without losing any ability, and be healthy and ready to race. I'm not worried about a running injury, but more so about doing something stupid like falling down the stairs or tripping over the cat. It's too late now for anything to happen, and be able to recover in time. Staying healthy is even harder, when I'm inundated by student germs for 27 hours a week.

Imagine my sense of horror when I woke up on Monday, pouring sweat and feeling slightly flu-like. It's 11 hours later now, and I still don't feel great. I haven't vomited, I ate like I normally do, and I don't feel any better or worse than I did this morning.

Mentally though, I'm a mess. Today is supposed to be my last "strength" workout and I was debating two different options - 2 mile repeats at 9:05, or go to the track and do ten 0.5 mile repeats at Yasso pace.

What makes more sense - logically - is to put on my pajamas, lay down with kitty and try and sleep off whatever has me feeling less than 100%. When has marathoning ever been logical though??? I'm chronically exhausted from starting work at 4am and I didn't have enough water yesterday, so either of those could be affecting me. I need to get adequate sleep so I can fight off the student germs. It seems every child is sneezing or coughing and I don't have time to get bronchitis right now.

The idea of skipping a run though, especially a "something of substance" run sends me into a tizzy, where I immediately jump to the conclusion that I'm going to crash and burn in Chicago, that all my hard work over the summer will be eradicated in one day, and I'll struggle to another 5:20 finish.

Deep breath, girl. If I don't take care of myself, if I don't do everything I can to stay healthy, a PR won't happen. Look at the long picture. Do whatever it takes to stay healthy for 13 days, even if it means sacrificing one run.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Life happened

The Hansons wanted me to run 5 miles on Thursday and 8 on Friday this week. I did zero. I'm not sick, not injured, not on vacation. Life happened.

On Thursday I worked 4am-3:30 pm, then had a hair appointment. The only convenient day for me to do dippy time-consuming errands is Tuesday, but my hair stylist doesn't work Tuesdays, and after seeing her for 15+ years, I'm not letting anyone else touch my hair! Then I had to pick up a sympathy card and I didn't get home until almost 7, which was pretty much my bedtime. Besides, it was getting dark, so the gym would have been my only option, which would have added probably 35 minutes of driving time, not to mention running that late would interfere with falling asleep at a decent hour.

Friday I got to "sleep in" and worked 7:45-2:45. I rushed home to change into my funeral dress and drove up to Troy to see my bestie for an hour at her father's viewing. Then Bill and I had dinner with my dad, and I got home close to 8. Again, gym would be the only option and I just didn't care enough to invest the drive time. Besides, I'm exhausted.

I'll get back with the program tomorrow, maybe extend Saturday and Sunday a few miles further than they recommend. The break might be for the best, my body has felt exhausted and generally beat-up. I have to toe the line between training really hard, and training too hard and getting run down, which makes me susceptible to student germs. We're too close to the race now for me to have time to be sick, get well, and recover my lung capability. At this point, I have to stay healthy until it's over!!!! 15 days to go!!!!! I want it to be over, and as soon as it is, I'll miss it lol

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9:30? sub-10? No idea!!!

Or is it...???
The first two go-rounds with the Hansons training program, I had a definite goal pace in mind (10:30), I was able to maintain it pretty easily throughout my Wednesday tempo runs, and everything was fine and good.

This time, I decided to kick it up a notch and shoot for something faster. Using my time from the Martian half marathon, the McMillan pace calculator predicted that I can run a full marathon at a 9:32 pace. So that's what I've been training all summer, to varying degrees of success.

Let's look back at my tempo runs all summer:

July 1
3.01 miles
9:34 average pace

July 8
dreaded summer cold or allergies, no miles, just a long nap

July 15
5.25 miles

July 22
5.0 miles

July 29
+/- 5 miles
no pace written down

August 5
8.1 miles

August 12
8.0 miles

August 19
8.1 miles

August 26
9.5 miles

September 2
6.3 miles
9:31 treadmill

September 9
8.0 miles
First half were at pace, second half was a struggle to not walk

September 16
10 miles
Killed it, one second faster than total goal time

September 23
7.75 miles
First half were at pace, second half was a struggle to not walk

I don't put much stock in the shorter runs because they're short! I can run fast for a short distance! The two September runs concern me. Yes, they've both been hot. Yes, I've been bored, cranky, tired, you name it. I feel like I should be able to maintain my race pace for 10 miles by this point without falling apart or wanting to quit.

So now, with less than 3 weeks to go, I don't know how to approach my race day pace. Do I shoot for the moon and start with 9:30s, knowing I'll probably flame out early and crash and burn? Do I play it safe and re-adjust my pace to something more manageable, knowing that I would be leaving valuable time on the course? To break 4:30, my absolute slowest pace can be a 10:17, which feels really easy right now, so do I switch to that? I have no idea. 

So much of it is weather-dependent, which isn't good. When it's cool and low humidity, like September 16, I get in a groove and feel like I can run 9:30s forever, but if it's hot or humid, I may as well try and run on the moon, it feels so impossible. 

At this point, I have no idea how in tarnation I managed to finish the Martian with a 9:02 average pace. A big part of that was sticking with pacer Ron the whole way, but I'm not sure I can find the pace group in the massive Chicago crowds, or if I even want to. I most definitely do not enjoy group running whatsoever. Aside from that, though, I don't know about anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

50! 50! 50!

40 miles always feels like a threshold week. When I was using Hal's program, there was exactly one 40-mile week, and it was the biggest week, which included the biggie 20-miler. With Hansons, there is a huge block of 40+ weeks, like six or eight weeks in a row. It's hard to pre-calculate the total mileage because Mondays are "speed" or "strength" workouts, and I'm pretty liberal with the total distance I do those days - anywhere from 3.1 to 7ish, depending on time and how I feel.

My previous high-water mark was 45 miles.

I looked at the schedule and figured two different occasions where it would be totally do-able to hit a 50-mile week. The first chance I messed up somehow. It was too hot, or we were on vacation, or whatever, I don't remember.

I looked at the schedule again. Last week was my last realistic chance to break 50. The weather has been good, I've felt great, so stick with the program, add a nibble here and there, and cross the 50-mile marker.

Here's how it happened:

scheduled - 10 miles at race pace
actual - 10.0 miles at race pace, finished ONE SECOND faster than total target time. Felt exhausted, but after about 4 miles I typically hit a groove and it stops hurting so much.

scheduled - 6 miles
actual - 6.05 miles
Thursdays can be any pace, I averaged a 10:07. I don't remember how I felt, tired probably.

scheduled - 6 miles
actual - 6.41 miles
Any pace, averaged a 10:21. Kept stopping to pick up candy that wasn't collected during the homecoming parade lol

scheduled - 16 miles
actual - 15.04 miles
Got a late start and horsed around a few times filling water, then needed a bathroom break. Cut it short so I wouldn't be out after the street lights came on. Target pace was 10:30-11:00. Actual average pace was 11:03. Considering I was bored silly and responsible for my own water - I'll take it.

scheduled - 5 miles
actual - 6.01 miles
First few miles felt horrible, last few felt amazing, could have kept going.

scheduled - strength workout
actual - 6.51 miles strength
I didn't trust my ability to hit 9:20s on my own, so I used the TM as a tool. Did 1.5 mile repeats at 9:06 with 0.5 mile slow jogs in between.

I had done the math before Monday's run, and knew exactly what distance I needed to hit 50 miles. Then I went a tiny bit beyond that, so for the rest of my life I can talk about "when I ran OVER 50 miles a week..." lol lol

At the end, I feel great! Exhausted, but that's my schedule talking, not the miles.

Now I'm "tapering," but still doing 45 miles this week. The Hansons have a drastically different idea of a taper than does Hal!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Aaah Tuesday!!!

Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week! I work both jobs, then have absolutely, wonderfully NOTHING I need to do. A nap often seems to happen, a little tidying up around the house, but a great big zero in the exercise column :D

As soon as Wednesday dawns and I see what the Hansons want (10 miles at pace, and it's supposed to be in the mid-80s - yikes!!!!!), I immediately starting longing for the next Tuesday!

The countdown continues:

144 training miles to go (I'll be happy if I finish 130+ of them, knowing that life can get in the way)
Not me - I wish!!!!
25 days!!!

At work this morning I made myself officially unavailable to work any hours whatsoever the day of the race and the day after. I said I'm pretty much comatose, and completely worthless the next morning, especially facing a 4am start time.

Yesterday my bestie asked me about my plans for after the race, if I'll be able to relax. "For the rest of my life!!!!" I replied :)

I can't see beyond Chicago. I'll almost certainly run Cincinnati next year (heck, of course I will, just not ready to pay for it), most likely do another shorter race this fall, whether the Veterans half in Columbia City, or some 5k wherever, but I absolutely can't see past the Chicago finish line. Not to mention that my body needs time to forget the pain and misery before I can commit to anything else. Yesterday's speed work out was brutal mentally to get started, but I can deal with being miserable for 25 days if it takes me under 4:30.

If not, I'm going to be a sad, crying girl in the finishing area (when I do hit my goal, I'll still be crying, but bc of exhaustion and happiness lol)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

31 Days

Bill and I went on vacation to Tennessee, where I ran us ragged for 4 days visiting Civil War sites. I did a little running, but not what the Hansons wanted.

The next weekend we went to a beach-front bed and breakfast. I ran before we left, but not at all once we were there - the b&b was right on a 55mph road with no sidewalk - where would I run?

I'm working 12-hour days between 2 jobs, starting at 4am.

My running is sucking. Big shock there. My nutrition isn't as careful or diligent as normal. Many days I skip dinner because I don't have any food and no energy to procure any, or I'll have eggs and toast, with virtually no protein, even though I KNOW I need it. Runs keep getting cut or reduced. The miles are going down, while the pace keeps going up, and I just don't have the energy to care.

Then I have to keep reminding myself I'm not training for any old race, it's THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!!!! Best day of my life, PR city Chicago marathon!!! I asked the lottery fairy, St. Sebastian, and Jesus to get me a spot in the lottery. They all came through for me, so I need to do my part. Finishing isn't enough, I HAVE to break 4:30, because with the work situation, it's possible that I might actually mean it when I say I'm retiring this year. (I immediately feel sad thinking about that possibility, even if I'm a little relieved)

Yesterday I watched this video, it made me cry, like it always does. That inspired a little.

I tell myself it's 31 days and yes, I'm counting. 31 DAYS!!!!! Suck it up, and stay focused and committed for 31 DAYS. They're not even all running days. Get it done, girl!!!! Chicago is going to be the hardest, fastest, best, most fulfilling marathon ever!!!! Make it happen!

Friday, September 4, 2015

August numbers

Total miles: 145.67
Number of runs: 21
Average distance per run: 6.93
Shortest run: 3.01 miles
Longest run: 15 miles
TM runs: 4 (3 speed runs, 1 during lightning storm)
Runs skipped: 6 :(
Fastest average pace: 9:09
Slowest average pace: 11:12 (hot and exhausted)
Races: "Run for the Hills" 10k, no PR
Money found: $3.29

I added up the total mileage, and my first thought was "that's it????" haha Not feeling super motivated, the heat and humidity are beating me down, working at 4am interferes with very early or very late runs. Missed a few when Bill and I went on vacation. My August 2014 mileage was 146.47. I couldn't have gotten much closer if I tried! Average pace is faster. I guess I'm justifying the month with an ad hoc "run less, run faster" approach, even thought my usual attitude is "more miles, more better." We'll see. I have 3 black toenails. I seem to be more tolerant of heat and humidity this year - side effect from Vietnam?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's too late to turn back now

Registration closed last week for the Detroit marathon. I was vaguely aware of the deadline, but registering last minute never crossed my mind.

If I miss early registration (January 1 or 2), it increases $50 to $130 and becomes too rich for me. I'll pay more than that for other races, but I don't think Detroit justifies such a price.

More importantly, it's the week after Chicago, and while I've done both races in 2013 and 2014, not this year! All my hopes and plans are squarely in Chicago, to the point that there's no next day. I need to go all out for exactly 26.5 miles (factoring in a little extra mileage due to bad turns and tangents), then I can crash and burn in the finishing chute. It doesn't matter if I can walk the next day. Chicago is the be-all and end-all for my fall. When I have another race scheduled, I hold back a little on the first race so I can recover quicker and do it again, but when doing that, I'm sabotaging the first race, and Chicago is PR city. I will be DEVASTATED if I'm not sub-4:30 this year.

Besides, Detroit has a new medal style this year and I don't like it. I have priorities lol