Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marathon training week 15

       Late blogging again! What can I say, marathon training is very time consuming and some things just get put on the back burner for a while.

       So to catch everyone up, I just finished my miles for week 15. Since I modified my Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan, this means I ran 12 miles today and will have my “training” marathon next weekend, EEEPP!

       Everything is going great so far. There is something almost magical about the 20 mile run and last Friday was no exception. Once you get to that peak mileage run you have reached the top of the mountain. You have put on all the miles. You are ready for the big day! Granted, there are still quite a few miles left, and of course the big 26.2 ahead of you, but really, that is the frosting. Once you have hit your longest training run you have summited. I’ve had friends that ended up sick or injured at this point, didn’t run again until race day, and still managed a PR. I don’t recommend this route, but my point is that once you have mastered your long runs, you are there.

       Tossing in an extra marathon does complicate this somewhat. I am significantly shortening my taper, but although I am adding to my training, I am also not planning to run either marathon full out. Clare asked me what my goal pace was because it looks like I’m shooting for a 4 hour marathon. Yes, that is how my plan is set up, but that isn’t how I plan to run. The Chuncheon marathon is hilly, I’m not sure how hilly so I don’t know how much it will slow me down, and I don’t know how the first marathon will impact the second. So at the moment, although my training pace runs would give me a sub-4 marathon, I am actually shooting for more like a 4:30, but if it takes longer, that is okay too.

       So what really are my goals? 1) To finish a barefoot marathon. I will likely wear shoes for the second one since it will be colder and I want to spend more time looking at the view than worrying about every little piece of gravel on the road, but the race next weekend is my Barefoot attempt. 2) I want to qualify for Marathon Maniacs. Marathons are cheap and often here in Korea so I likely won’t have another chance to run 2 in 2 weeks without spending a bundle once we go back to the US. 3) to PR two more times. This shouldn’t be a problem since my goal pace of 11 minutes per mile for next week is a full minute per mile slower than I ran my 20 miler last week. This pace would give me a PR of several minutes and I know I can do better yet on the 23rd.

       Could I push it and run a sub-4 hour marathon? Maybe, I would certainly like to think I could. I’ve trained for it and according to all the information I should be prepared, BUT it would hurt and I would hurt for days after, I would significantly increase my risk of injury, and it wouldn’t be as much fun. I can meet my first 3 goals without pushing myself to the point of pain, so why kill myself when I have the rest of my life to run a sub-4. I do hope to do that in the next few years, but until 2013, it wouldn’t do anything more than give me bragging rights. Once I open that 2013 calendar, then I only need a 3:55 to qualify for Boston, and THAT is worth the pain!

Next post should be a marathon race report!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marathon training week 13

         As I tumble into week 13 of marathon training, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still have my longest runs ahead of me, but my hardest pace runs are behind me and they went really well. My second 8 mile pace run was so successful that I made up the time from the warm up mile and finished with 9 mpm average for all 9 miles. Lots of splits in the 8:30 to 8:40 range. Today was 5 miles at pace and I even managed a 4:05 half mile split in the last mile! This Friday will be my 19 mile run, but it doesn’t scare me now since I’ve run 18 and what is a mile or two more, right?

      It was a long emotional weekend and my RA is flared up (too many chocolate chip cookies probably played a large part.) A good 12 hour sleep helped, but the joints in my feet are swollen making it feel like I’m walking on marbles again. I was really worried about how it would affect my pace run today, but once I got out there and got moving the pain subsided. I’m tired now and my feet hurt again, but I don’t mind. Tomorrow will be an easy 5 miles with the dog and then a rest day and by then things will feel much better. My calf has not given me any further problems and my piriformis has stayed no more than background noise. My doc wants to do an MRI on it just to be sure there isn’t a pinched nerve or something since the pain has been going on for so long, but I doubt he will find anything.

      I admit I’m feeling a touch burnt out on running at the moment, but I know that is more because of other circumstances in my life than the miles I’m logging. Once I’m on the road, I always wonder why I was so resistant to getting out there in the first place. Once I am done with the run, I’m very glad I didn’t let the nagging voices in my head stop me. I’ve logged well over 300 miles since I started training and have almost 200 left to go; this is low mileage training as marathons go. I’m already thinking ahead to training for next year. What I need to do differently, what is working now. I've already learned a lot this training cycle and the biggest lessons are yet to come! I've read that to really know what you are doing in a marathon, you need to train and run 4 times. I believe it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview with Run Barefoot Girl

     A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Caity of Run Barefoot Girl podcast. It was a ton of fun and we ended up on Skype for nearly an hour after the interview ended just chatting about running and life. Caity wants to promote women and barfoot running since it seems to be a male dominated movement. I think she is doing a great job and I really enjoyed our interview. I hope you will too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Marathon training weeks 9, 10, & 11

Wow, time is flying by! Over two weeks since my last blog and so much to talk about!

       For starters, I pulled my calf last week. I’m not sure if it was the hills I added to my long run, my pace run, or something I did running the crazy obstacle course we call a Hash House Harrier run, but somewhere along the line my lower calf became very painful. The location was about 4 inches above my heel to the outer side of my Achilles, so the lower part of my Soleus.

       My 8 miles pace run on Tuesday the 23rd went fantastic, largely thanks to a cool front that brought the temperature down to the low 60’s. After a nice easy mile warm up, I managed my 9 minute per mile pace and even included a couple of walking breaks so most of my splits were in the 8:30 to 8:45 range. It was a really great run, but the next day my calf was in serious pain. This is NOT what you want to feel during training for a major race! I went ahead and ran my 4 miles the next day, talking it very slow with lots of walking breaks and really paying close attention to my form and what made my calf feel better or worse. I was able to establish that pushing off from the ball of my foot was the main culprit so I concentrated on picking my feet straight up and using my glutes and hams for my forward motion. I made it through the run with no additional pain to my Soleus and focused on ice and rest for the next 48 hours.

       By Friday morning my leg was still quite tender, but doing better. I decided to go ahead and start my planned 17 mile run, but I was prepared to throw in the towel if the pain got worse. In the first few miles there were definitely times I didn’t think I would finish my run, but as I adjusted my form I was able to make the pain go away and stay away. By the end of the first 6 mile loop, my calf was tender, but not painful and I managed to finish my run. Although I had plenty of half mile splits that were on target for a 10 mpm pace, I took walking breaks and did not stop the clock for water/bathroom breaks so my average pace was 10:48 for the run in general. Not great, but considering the heat and pulled calf, not too shabby either.

       For week 11 I decided to concentrate on letting my calf heal without giving up too much mileage. I rested Saturday by not going on trail with the Harriers and just walking a couple of miles. I totally rested Sunday, and skipped my run on Monday. By then my calf was MUCH better but I figured I would benefit more from resting than running 5 miles. Tuesday It felt great so I went on my 8 miler. I decided to take it very slow, plenty of walk breaks, and do some trail scouting so I was up and down hills, through the woods, and around town. It made for an incredibly slow average, but my calf was no worse so I considered it a success.

       I decided that running every other day would be the most conducive to my calf healing so I skipped my 5 easy miles run Wednesday and ran my 18 mile long run Thursday. I was really glad I did! The 18 miles went great. No problems with my calf and only a tiny bit sore now (Friday here in Korea). I managed to finish all 18 miles in 3 hours flat, despite the first two miles being very slow as I ran through town to get to the base (Hubby had the car). The temps were from the low 60’s to low 70’s over the course of 3 hours, but there was a wonderful thick fog that kept the sun off me, which is the number one thing that zapps my speed. My last half mile split was 9:01! It felt so great to meet my long run goals and at the end I could have kept going. I am really hopeful for my upcoming marathons and feel much better now that my calf is on the mend.

       The hardest weeks are past me now. Last week was the most intense, if not the highest mileage, because of the 8 mile pace run and 17 mile long run. This week did not have a pace run to go with the 18 mile long run and next week has my last 8 mile pace run, but the long run is a fall back to 12 miles. After that the pace runs come way down and I only have 2 more miles to add to long training runs. The “training” marathon will be longer, of course, but the atmosphere will be very different and I plan to take it much slower than usual, shooting for 11 mpm pace for the first 20 and then see how I feel at that point.

       I am resting today and running hard and fast tomorrow. I will be marking the trail for the Harriers which means extra running (to mark detractors and false trails, it is like a scavenger hunt) and to keep from getting “snared” by the runners behind me. I’ll have another rest day Sunday, and then be back on track for full marathon training starting Monday with week 12.

       RA update: I got a steroid injection in my wrist so it is %100 better! All else is behaving.

       Barefoot update: Feet are holding up fine. I wore VFFs for the first two miles of my 18 yesterday because I had to run from home to the base, but 2 more miles would not have been a problem. I’m feeling much more confident about putting 26.2 on my bare feet!