Marathon Training Week #3 – Going the extra mile…or 2.5…

Marathon Training Week #3
Marathon Training Week #3

It was a rather trying week this past week.  I went in for my procedure for my skin cancer and came out of that feeling good, but drained.  I was given the okay by the doctor to start running again the day after I went in for it, so that was at least uplifting.  I don’t like being down for the count and I wasn’t going to let anything slow me down.  Not even a little pain in my head.

That being said, the procedure went well, and despite the weather’s best efforts, I was able to modify my training program to fit in between storms, life, and just an overall hectic schedule.  And, my favorite moment of the week was my Saturday run, which I did with my group in Louisville.  A good friend of mine, Matthew, ran with me for the entire way.  We are both pretty directionally challenged, and we took what we call the “scenic route” on our run to the pedestrian bridge in Louisville.  My long run turned into an even longer run…taking me above and beyond the furthest distance I have ever run in my entire 2 year running career.  SO proud of myself.   It was accidental, but I was still feeling good at the end of it.  Just really hungry…but that was easily remedied.

Week three in the books…still going strong.

Sunday is my easy run or rest day.  As I knew I was having my skin cancer procedure on Wednesday, the day of my 7 mile run with negative splits, I opted to do this on Sunday, where I didn’t have to add any stress to an already stressful day on Wednesday.  It was a very humid morning, despite setting out just as the sun was coming out.  I made sure I hydrated and fueled and what happened was I totally nailed my negative splits.  Just the confidence boost I needed at the beginning of a draining and tiring week.

Monday, as always, takes me back to running in the wee hours of the morning when it is still dark.  Despite the sun not being up at that point, it is always muggy and humid these days.  So, I always have my water with me, even on shorter runs.  This Monday was six miles easy, which I did.  Oddest thing though…when I finished up the two miles I did on the street, a runner wearing no reflective gear came tearing out of the 4-H Fairgrounds and heading up ahead of where I run to turn around and head back.  Not sure what to make of it, and being a little bit paranoid about that sort of stuff happening, I unhooked my pepper spray from my fuel belt and held onto it as I made my way up to my turn around point.  He had stopped at the sidewalk and I turned around faster than usual.  I thought he was behind me…but when I turned into my apartment complex and ducked around the parking lot to pause my Garmin and wait it out…nothing came of it.  Thank goodness.  Call me paranoid, but I just wanted to make sure I was taking every precaution to keep safe out there in the dark.  I finished up my remaining 2 miles and headed inside to get clean, make breakfast, and get ready for the day.  Monday also means that it’s fun run day, so I went that evening out to my running store and hit the hills of Cherokee Park with no time goal in mind.  Just having a fun run, as is the entire point.  As it was my second run of the day, I made sure I slowed it down and took it easy on the hills, as much as I wanted to push up them.  No time for injuries while training for something as important as a marathon.  My Monday daily double ended with me, my roommate, and two of my good friends from the running group going out for frozen yogurt to cool down after a warm afternoon run.

Tuesday is the usual cross training day.  This week I was scheduled for 40-50 minutes of cross training.  No problem.  I hit up the gym and did 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer on the Pike’s Peak setting.  Training for the hills I’m encountering in my upcoming 15K in Upstate New York.  I had it set for Level 5 and totally rocked it out.  I was so pleased when that cardio session came to an end.  I was still feeling good.  Then it was on to 10 minutes on the stationary bike.  I absolutely HATE the stationary bike.  HATE.  I hate it more than I hate the treadmill.  Seriously.  But I rocked it out, then went down to the weight room for a little bit and got in a bit of strength training as well.

Wednesday normally would be my speed work and pacing day…but not this time.  As I stated, I did my speed work on Sunday and it was a good thing too.  I woke up to thunderstorms.  Lightning, wind, rain, the works.  I got up and got dressed to go out to run and as I was opening the door, lightning flashed and reality came back to me.  Running in rain is fine.  Running in lightning…not so fine.  Not safe.  So, I took off my gear, kept on my workout clothes, and headed to the gym.  I had my skin cancer procedure this morning at 7 a.m., so I didn’t have long to get my run done.  I managed 5 minutes on the treadmill at the gym, hating every single moment of it.  Finished it up, made it home in enough time to eat breakfast and then get to my dermatologist’s office for my appointment.  It was not a good morning.  But the procedure went fine and that’s the important part.

Thursday called for another easy run.  This one was supposed to be for 5 miles.  Easy pace.  I ended up going for 7 miles.  I think, for me, it was my way of taking back my body from the skin cancer.  It was me showing that I run my body, nothing else does.  It was liberating.  And it was just what I needed that morning.  I even ran it with negative splits, without even trying or needing to focus on pace or anything.  I was out there because I could be and it really just made all the difference.  Afterwards, I hit up the gym for another cardio and strength training session.  I had a great workout there, hitting up the elliptical and then the Cardio Wave machine.  Later that night, it was the second BlueMile Brew Mile, so I went out for that and rocked out a mile for charity.  No free beer for me.  This girl wanted water.  I got to hang out two of my favorite running peeps who turned out for the mile run as well.  Just an overall good day…feeling strong.  During the mile run, I also tried on some Saucony Kinvara 4 shoes.  They were very light.  Not sure if I liked them or not, but I could totally tell the 3 ounce difference between those and my Nike’s.  Hmmm…

Friday…the rest day.  Also known as the day that drives me crazy.  I hate not being able to even clock a few miles.  As I said before, I get antsy and fidgety.  But, I do continue to remind myself that these days are built into training plans for a reason.  The body needs to heal itself from the hard, strenuous activity that I inflict on it during the week.  In doing so, my body also gets stronger.  Stronger means…I get faster.  I’m fitter.  I’m doing it.  So, I went on a walk at lunch, kept it easy, just getting out and being active.  And that was that.  I was ready for my long run on Saturday now.

Saturday was my Long Slow Distance (LSD) pace long run for a scheduled 13 miles, per my marathon training.  I met up with my group of runners, and there were some faces I hadn’t seen yet.  So that was good.  I promised them as we were planning out when to meet that I would bring goodies.  I did.  Gluten-free zucchini muffins, which I baked the night before using fresh zucchini from my CSA bin.  Loving it.  Anyway, the route was planned and we headed out at 6:30 a.m. to get the run in before the heat of the day.  I ran all of this run with Matthew, who is a super-speedy, super great runner, and one that I met (and ran with) during the Mile 2 Mile run I did back in December.  We talked the entire time, detoured through U of L’s campus when he and I failed to notice the Sidewalk Closed signs, got lost on our way to the pedestrian bridge, found the pedestrian bridge.  Ran to the end.  Hung out there, ran back across, spotted more of our group, so we turned around and ran back across the bridge.  Then, headed back with two other runners, Harry and John, who were showing us a new route.  Another sidewalk closure was ahead, but we hopped into the grass.  I tripped on a piece of concrete, but caught myself.  Matthew kept asking me if I was okay and if I had twisted an ankle…but I was fine.  Didn’t slow me down any.  We continued on down the waterfront to an area I had never been through, then we hit up a trail I ran part of one Monday with my fun run group.  I powered through that trail and waited for everyone at the end of it.  Harry sent Matthew and I on after we stood around for a moment.  He was going to make it back with John.  Matthew and I struck out to get back to the store.  I was leading and missed the turn, so we turned off somewhere else, went up a hill, and hoped we’d end up where we needed to be.  We just kept going straight until he noticed that we were near where he used to live while he was in college.  YAY!  We now knew where we were.  We ran through the neighborhood and finally ended up on Bardstown Road.  The humidity was really starting to suck, so we decided to hit the afterburners at the end and make an all-out sprint toward the “finish,” at the coffee shop.  We made it.  15.5 miles in the books.  It was the furthest distance I have run to date.  And I was on cloud nine because I felt good.  I felt great.  That’s how I want to feel at that point, honestly.  I think running with people can really just make all the difference.  Anyway…strong finish in the humidity.  I went to meet up with Cathy and went out for breakfast because, despite fueling along the way, I was starving and actually ready for food.

Not a bad week for my training.  This week tapers back the miles a bit, which is fine.  It’s also a holiday weekend, so that actually works out really well.  I’ll be out of town and intend to meet up with a group of people so I can get my scheduled Saturday long run in.  I just need to get the details on where to meet everyone.  I’ll be sure to do that very soon.

So, despite having gone extra miles 2 days in a row…this week really made me feel strong and good as a runner.  I feel my running is improving.  And next week I am definitely getting back into my cardio circuits and my yoga.  I slacked this past week on them due to my procedure, but no excuses this coming week.  None.

Getting stronger…getting better…

And I’m healing up perfectly too.  Loving it still!

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