Halfway!! I am officially halfway through my marathon training for the Chicago Marathon!!
This has been one crazy week for my training. Honestly. Not just from a time perspective, but there was just a lot going on for me with my running and training schedule. Some of it was part of the plan. Some of it…well…some of it was bonus…extra…things I do for fun. And that’s good to have in there every now and again. The key is to keep it easy and run smart. As long as I listen to my body and not get stubborn, I’ll be fine.
It seemed I was doing quite a few doubles this week. That was not actually intended…it was just how it worked out. Regardless, I can feel my legs growing stronger because while they have been worked hard once already, they still power through another run. Sometimes faster…sometimes slower. They run as they feel and I don’t push it. I have a goal to come out of this year uninjured and so far that’s worked out for me.
Let’s take a look at this week of pulling double duty…
Sunday is either an easy run or a day of rest. I normally opt for the easy run unless my legs are just crying out for some down time. But, this past Sunday I was invited by my good friend Kelsie to go running with her running group. I never turn down a chance to get out and run with people. I have a blast getting out with others, talking, running, and just having a good time. You don’t even think about the miles when you’re in that sort of a zone. They were meeting up in Jeffersonville, Indiana to run for 11 miles. I had done 15 the previous morning, but I was feeling up to it and feeling good. I met up with her group at 5:30 a.m. and we all headed out to run across the Second Street Bridge and head up Bardstown until we hit 5.5 miles. Turning around and heading back. We all talked about races, goals, pace, and some amendments to our own goals we had set. Kelsie and I figured out why we click so well…we’re both Virgos. And we had really great conversation for much of the run, talking about fundraising, about family, everything. Running was not the only subject, nor were our upcoming marathons. It was a gorgeous morning with 57 degree temperatures. We finished up just as the sun was coming up. A beautiful 11 miles with good people and great motivation. My legs weren’t screaming at me at all. They felt strong the entire way. It was an easy pace, with great people and I would certainly do it again in a heartbeat.
Monday returned with a vengeance. The weather that morning was perfect for a run. And I took advantage of that for sure. I was scheduled for 7 easy miles, which I totally devoured that morning. I was shocked, actually, since I was coming off a weekend of two longer than usual runs. But my legs were still feeling amazing and that was what mattered. I even managed some awesome negative splits. And, as usual, Monday also brings around my group fun run after work. After rushing home to eat a quick meal and getting ready, I grabbed a special cake I made for my group and headed out to meet up with them. Laura had heard about a World Championship Dainty Competition going on in the area, so we headed a different direction than usual, up Eastern Parkway, and took it over to Goss, where the event was being held. We all paused to watch for a few minutes, then continued along the way. I mostly stayed in the front with Harry and Natalie. Harry and I have been trying to get through to Natalie that she doesn’t have to sprint through every run. Especially since she is recovering from arm surgery and now an injury to her leg. She is stubborn though, but hopefully she’ll learn. We finished up another 4.1 miles that day and then returned to the store to cut into and devour the cake I made. What was this special cake? I made a cake shaped like a Minion from Despicable Me. We all love Minions in my running group. It was a gluten-free and dairy-free cake…and it was a hit!!
Tuesday, however, I was starting to feel all that running. This was a no run…but cross training day. So, Cathy and I hit the gym. She was returning from having her wisdom tooth out. So, we hit the Arc Trainer first. I did 45 minutes on Program 2 – Hills – on Level 5. This was a challenge. But I pushed through those 45 minutes of hills, which means a change in intervals, resistance, and inclines. It was tough, but I managed 2.38 miles. Then it was over to the Cardio Wave machine. I love this machine because it moves my legs from side to side instead of just the standard front and back motion. In 10 minutes, I did 3.69 miles and was ready to call it a day. But some strength training was up next. I hit that up, left the gym…and was supposed to come home from work and fit in some circuit training. My legs were saying “NO!” So, I decided with Cathy still coming back from her tooth and my legs telling me to lay off…we’d take a break this week from circuit training and come back to it next week. We were both happy with that decision.
Wednesday is my speed work/pacing day. This week called for a 6 mile tempo run. And, aside from having some issues with my fuel belt staying in place that morning, I was mostly successful in rocking this out. I held a great pace, I worked into the tempo, sustained it, then cooled down. I felt good about it when it was done, I just needed to get past scooching my fuel belt down throughout the entire thing. I fueled halfway through just as my sports nutritionist is requiring me to do while out running. And it was a good pacing day. When I finished it up, I felt good…so that was the important part.
Thursday…was insane. I went out in the morning for my 5 mile easy run, which I managed better than I thought I would. I didn’t check the weather like I normally do that morning, and figured it would be cool like the past few mornings have been. Wrong. The air was very humid, but I did have a wind. A strong headwind that hit me on the inclines of this run. Despite that, I still rocked out those 5 easy miles and even managed negative splits. Thursday is also our other day to hit up the gym. This time, I did 49 minutes on the elliptical machine. The last four minutes are a cool down, but I was doing good, despite having busy legs all week. I did 9.38 miles in 49 minutes that morning. Then I went over to the rowing machine for 10 minutes. The rowing machine always kicks my booty. It just works my body all over. It’s great cross training and great on the core, back, arms, and even the legs. I really struggled this morning though, starting to feel the fatigue set into my legs. So…I did 1.17 miles in those 10 minutes, then headed downstairs for a couple of strength machines. But my day didn’t end there. Nope. Thursday was also the BlueMile Brew Mile at Molly Malone’s. I haven’t missed a Brew Mile yet this year. And the one at Molly’s is one of my favorites. Despite having to run through Eastern Cemetery. I had actually gotten there in good time and met up with Natalie. We probably should have been stretching, but instead we just got to talking. This happens with us. We met up with Ellen and Andrew from BlueMile as well…and more talking. Then Laura showed up…and we all just talked. No stretching actually occurred. Not really. We were directed to walk toward Eastern Cemetery, so we did. All of us lined up and we were given the course directions by Derek. And then…we were off. Despite these tired, overworked legs, I rocked off a mile in 6:42, which is fantastic for me, I think. I wasn’t sure I would be able to push it having not stretched and having just really tired legs, but I got through it and I pushed and pushed. It was a brilliant mile and all of us finished in great time. Then, we headed back to Molly’s for the giveaways and drinks. I bought Cathy a Magners while I sipped on some much-needed water. I even won a $15 BlueMile Gift Certificate in the prize drawings. WOOHOO!!
Friday…the much needed day of rest. And I’m really good about obeying this for the most part. I have been going out for a walk in the morning. It’s not running…it’s walking. Which, I suppose, doesn’t really mean I am resting. And I tend to walk fast too. So, that morning I went for 3 miles and did that in 34:26. It was beautiful out. Nice breeze. It just felt good. And, on lunch, Cathy and I went for another walk (pulling a double again!), in which we managed 1.65 miles in 23 minutes. It was good and I didn’t push much because I knew Saturday held my long run.
Saturday morning came and normally I would be running with Matthew and company. Matthew and Dawn, however, had decided to spontaneously run a marathon in Tennessee…so they weren’t going to be there. I had 12 miles to run for this week, as it was a fall-back week. A few other people needed to go that distance as well. So, I met up with Laura and a couple of other ladies for the early start at 6:30 a.m. We headed out from Bardstown toward the Second Street Bridge. From there, the other two ladies turned around, as they were only going 6-7 miles respectively. Laura and I continued on, heading down toward the Waterfront. Here Laura took me the opposite way, away from the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge…which was a very scenic and new route for me. And I loved it. We had great conversation, said hello to other runners and bikers that we passed, and she even showed me the trivia about river boats. Oh, and if you don’t know much about trains…Laura can fill you in. I loved learning so much about them. I just love trivia and knowledge…especially on things I normally know nothing about. We reached our turnaround point, then headed back along toward the riverfront before taking Main to Market to Baxter back to the store. I was going to stop at 12 miles, but I felt so good coming up the hill on Baxter, that I just kept going. When it hit the corner near Blue Mile, I was only 0.10 miles off from 13, so I made Cathy run behind me as I worked to hit that 13 mile mark. She jogged for about 20 feet before just heading to the car, where I met her after my watch hit that 13th mile. And I felt good at the end of it. Which was what I wanted to feel. We had a Maroon 5 concert that night and I had every intention of rocking out another 12 – 13 miles on Sunday, despite getting home at 2 a.m. But that…will wait for next week.
So, there was a lot of daily doubles going on this week, whether in running or walking. But I can feel my legs are getting used to working even when fatigued. And that, I feel, is a good thing. The marathon is going to drain me…so knowing my legs can carry me through, even when tired, is just making me feel better about the entire situation. I’m loving every bit of my training…and the extra stuff I do for fun. Because I can’t just keep it serious all the time. I love to run…so when the opportunity comes up to run a mile for charity…to run with friends…to bake a cake and share it with good people…that’s what I do. It’s good for me to adjust my running, to take it easier than usual at times, because it helps build endurance and strength. That’s a hard lesson to learn. I can’t be all-out all the time or I will get injured. Those long, slow distances are key to going the distance and making it to the finish line at the very end of it all.
Definitely looking forward to this coming week…which won’t include as many doubles. In fact…Monday should be the only one. I keep learning from all my training and fun runs. I take in great advice, I learn about what my body is capable of managing, and I just enjoy the feeling I get when I hit stop on my Garmin and realize just how far I’ve gone.
I might have been pulling double duty this past week on the running, but I ran smart to ensure I could handle it. And that is the key!