Getting excited over here! It's marathon training time! I haven't raced a marathon since October last year! I enjoyed training for the half marathon over the winter, but I feel ready to tackle the big 26.2 (or 26.4, as it always works out to be). Training plan is penciled in, new running shoes ordered, new music playlist done, new podcasts for the easy runs downloaded!
I had several questions about my training plan. I am using Hudson's level 3 as a template, making changes based on my weaknesses. It is obvious that I need to build my endurance. So, there will be 6 20+ milers in there, either as progression runs, or easy runs with some MP paces in. I am playing it by ear in terms of the MP. I need to see how I feel and will go with a range of paces for now. All I know is that between tapering for the HIM and recovery last week, I lost a lot of fitness. It always amazes me how hard it is to build fitness and how easy it is to lose it. I do know that the fitness is not lost for good, and in a few weeks I will feel strong again. Patience, yes, that is so important.
Something else I am going to work on is keeping my interval paces where they should be. I have a tendency to run way faster than prescribed. While this works well when training for short distances, I don't really need a lot of VO2 max work for the marathon. This is very hard for me, and it was a major fail today when I had a simple 8X2 min intervals @ 10K, and did all of them at 10sec/mile+ below this pace. I know faster paces are harder on the body, and I need to be strong and durable. So, AM, just slow down!
I am loving the extra time I have now that I am mostly only running. Summer is finally here and we are going to the town beach almost every evening for a swim and a picnic. We made a family list with all the things we want to accomplish this summer. I am really excited to do some of the fun things Petru asked for, like going to a water park, taking the Amtrak somewhere just for the fun of it, making a lighthouse cake for his birthday. I can say I do not miss tri training at all. I am sure I will eventually, but for now, I am happy only running.
Did I mention that summer is here? June has been 75% rain - one of the few hot days was my HIM day (ha!)- and everyone is ready for some sun!
This week so far has been interesting. I had minimal soreness which is now completely gone. However, I have been super tired since the race, and a little blah about any type of physical activity. My stomach has been finicky and if I don't see a gel the rest of my life I am going to be happy (I know this will pass, but for now, no gel talk).
I took an easy swim on Sunday @ Walden, and that helped loosen up my legs. It was nice to swim, rest on my back, and just enjoy the water, with no pressure. Chris joined me for a bit, and he almost got hypothermia (no wetsuit and zero body fat will do that to you) so we had to go home quickly so he could take a warm bath (he kept shivering for at least 1 hour, scared me a little!). On Monday I hopped on my bike to spin the legs for a bit. On Tuesday I attempted a run without the Garmin. Legs felt fine, but my breathing was heavy, sign I need more rest. I ran again today and had a nice cool run. Everything felt great. Just what I needed:)
I am trying to figure out what my next move should be. I am registered for Baystate and this will be my next A race. McMillan says 3:06, but I would be happy with 3:15. I have been getting 10+ minute PRs at Baystate for the past 2 years (3:29 from a 3:45 for my second ever marathon, and 3:19 last year). I feel I am a better short distance runner, with HM as my best event, and I have always ran marathons 5 min slower than what McMillan predicted based on my HM time. Right now, though, I do not have any desire to train, so will probably just play around for the next couple of weeks, and get myself excited by designing my training plan. I am also going to fit some no pressure tris for the summer. Biking and swimming have kept my body healthy, so I will continue enjoying them regularly until August, and then I might cut them down completely, or just keep swimming, will see. In terms of mileage, I may try 70-75 peak, since last year I had a couple of weeks of 65, so not a huge mileage jump. I want to make sure I get to enjoy summer with my boys!
Here are some pictures from the race.
Barely keeping my balance at the end of the swim...Man, that thick wetsuit is darn flattering..ha!
I went into work early on Friday, had a few appointments, a couple of meetings, and was home by noon. Chris met his mom and dropped Petru off (Thank you, Margaret!) for the night (which ended up being 2 nights!). We packed the car and were out the door by 12:30pm. I wanted to get there early to do a short swim to get my eyes used to the murky water, in hopes that my brain would not go all red lights on me on race day. But, after spending time getting myself inside my wetsuit (which has a big huge whole the Xterra folks did not have enough time to fix before the race) I saw a man running toward me with his hands up in the air yelling; "no swimming, we have signs everywhere". We both looked around and saw no signs. He did put one on later. So, I ended up swimming at a boat ramp a mile away. The water was calm and I felt so comfortable. Good.
We stayed at the Cathedral Camp for $50. Loved the place. Clean, simple, quiet. I watched a bunch of trash TV on my i-phone, had some soft icecream, and turned the lights off at 9pm. I kinda slept and was up and ready @ 4:30am. And got my period. Problem solve and adapt. Luckily, I was prepared. Oatmeal, chat with other triathletes while cooking, coffee, clothes on, walk to the transition area. Here, the silliest thing: one huge line to get body marked, before going into transition. Some smart folks body marked themselves and cut in. Ha! In transition I saw my friend Mary and chatter a bit. Several bathroom stops later and I had my wet suit on and was ready to go.
SWIM: 41:52 (GRRR). I got kicked in the head the moment I put my head in the water. OK, then. Again, problem solve and adapt. I moved on. I felt really strong in the water. My swimming has improved a ton this year, which is funny bc I did a 35 min swim at last year's HIM, and I had no pull then. I had 2 problems with this swim: 1) I could not stay on anyone's feet, as I could not see bubbles. The water was so murky, I would see some bubbles, follow them, but end up on the other side of the person. 2) I could not sight. The buoys were so far apart, and there was a current, so I zigzagged like crazy and got a bit discouraged at some point, but pulled myself together. I felt smooth in the water and my catch and pull were right on, but I just went off course too much. Out of the water and Chris said 38 something, which I thought was reasonable given the zigzagging. Well, turns out we had to run to the mat, and I almost fell (dizzy) so I walked. Still, whatever, I moved on.
T1: 3:58. I'll let you guess what slowed me down here..
BIKE: 3:00:51; 18.67 MPH. On the bike and I felt great. Except for the back pain. But, I was prepared, and took 2 200mg ibuprofen with every gel (8 gels = 800cals). That helped dull the pain a bit. I passed a lot of people on the bike, and I did not get tired at all. My average HR went from 170 when I hopped on the bike to 152 for the 56 miles. Right where I wanted it to be. This is a 12 minute PR for me. Given that I was in aero for maybe 10 min, this makes me happy (and yes, I need to stop being a chicken and get in aero). The bike was uneventful other then me seeing a woman on the ground at mile 30sh. Two racers where already there with her, so I went ahead and alerted the volunteers. I really hope she is OK. Another event was a funeral, which caused a traffic jam where a bunch of us had to slow down, really slow down (that mile was a 15.4MPH, my only mile this slow) and were going wheel to wheel for a while. Ha!
T2: 2:52 Same deal here...had to change:)
RUN: 1:57:11, 8:56 pace I started the run feeling great. I wanted to run a 1:38, which is 10 min slower than my open HM PR. It felt doable given that I have been doing bricks since January, including a 44 mile+8 mile @ 7:35. My HR was 175 to begin with, and I decided to start the run @ 7:38, to give myself a chance to bring it down. But, it was HOT, and my HR did not go down. It went up to 192 average by mile 3, and I could not breath. My legs, on the other hand felt great. I started putting ice in my bra, and drank some coke at the mile 3 aid station. And then it all came out. Repeat 5 times (water, gel, coke again, water, gel) and then at mile 8 I decided no more. Obviously I could not hold anything in. My pace kept creeping up and up and I honestly felt so bad, nauseous and with chills, that I did not think I would finish. I though of Jenn racing her marathon, and pushing thorough. It worked for a bit. Then I had to resort to splurging $XXX at Lululemon if I make it under 2 hours. No doubt the toughest run of my life. Not sure if it was the heat, or a combination of ibuprofen, gels, heat. I have a pretty tough stomach, but I know racing in the heat is very tough for me. Regardless, this was a very very bad run for me. I never run this slow, not even in recovery runs...
But, done, done, done!
Total time: 5:46:52, 4th/30 35-39 AG. Placing 4th in my AG makes me feel better. In fact, this qualifies me for the National AG Championships in Vermont, which I need to decide if I am going to do.
Afterthoughts: I felt proud crossing that finish line. I've had an amazing winter/spring running season and although I felt happy getting PR after PR, I did not experience the happiness I felt when I crossed the line this past Saturday. I did not work half as hard for those PRs. I asked myself several times if I could have ran faster, walked less at the water stops. The answer is a strong no. I feel good about this. Now I rest up for one week and then move on.
I discovered what is going on with my back. This morning I woke up with my R side (back and leg) sore. My L side is fine. I think I am using my R leg much more on the bike. I need to have someone analyze my biking.
My legs felt strong on the bike and on the run. No heaviness, not even at the beginning. This makes me feel good about the training and one week taper.
I absolutely loved the bike, even with the back pain. I felt confident and strong.
I met Tami and Kim, who both had great races! Kim just killed it on the bike. I need tips, Kim:)
Thanks for all your support. I felt the love during the race:)And as always thanks to Chris, the best sherpa ever!
Phew! I survived the last weekend of training in spite of crappy, crappy weather. Yesterday I had 72 miles on tap. I woke up to pouring rain. Accuweather told me I would have a 2 hour window in the morning, so I hopped on the trainer for 90 min, and then headed out for the rest of the ride. Except that 5 miles in, it started pouring again. I forgot to mention that it was cold, and my feet got numb. I ended up home after 20 miles, frozen and covered in dirt. After warming my feet up with the hairdryer, I hopped on the trainer and finished for a total of 4 hours. I did not feel like going out and skipped my t-run (I know, shocker!). Today I ran 12 miles, in the rain, by the ocean in New Hampshire, and though I was going to die coming back home with the cold wind hitting my face. Next, a 2000 yard swim with some short intervals, lots of foam rolling and stretching, and voila, training is done.
This week is going to be super light training wise. I am planning on making a race plan, catching up on work and enjoying not running around in circles all day long! I am actually happy to taper. I think I pushed myself to the max this training cycle in terms of juggling everything going on in my life. And, I just realized that I will only have one week of rest before starting a 20 week marathon training plan, and trying to keep up my biking and swimming for an Olympic and maybe a couple of sprints!
I woke up early and it was thundering and raining. I had a 44 mile ride, which I knew will not happen outside. I changed my back tire, put the bike on the trainer, and biked for 90 min before the sky cleared up and accuweather assured me that the sky will be thunder free until the afternoon. I changed the tire again, and went for a 20 mile ride @ race pace. All well, except that on Tuesday I got a nasty yeast infection, so you can only imagine how being on the bike with that was. I filed it in my mind as "lesson in mental toughness". And Chris learned that he is not to talk to me, ha!
In the afternoon I had 9 miles with 2X15 min @ HMP. I ignored the thermometer which said 95 degrees, and headed to the track. By the time I got there (2.5 miles) my clothes were completely wet, and the water in my fuel belt was hot. I started the first interval - I typically do these @ 10K pace even though they are prescribed for HMP, since they are so short) and made a deal to stay @ HMP. I did, except that when I stopped my entire body was so hot and I just could not make myself do the other interval. I don't remember when was the last time I skipped an interval, but I did today. I ran the rest of the miles slow and took several stops on the 1.25 mile patch of steep hills that got me home. A little bummed about this...
The good news is that the weather for the Patriot is looking good so far, rain and cold temps. Honestly, I am not concerned about rain, I just want cool temps and no thunder.
The real taper starts next week. Stay tuned for phantom pains (so far I am SO thankful for how my body managed to hold up to this amount of training), mood swings, weight gain, nerves and excitement. For now, I am READY to decrease the load...
Whenever I start dreading my workouts, taper knocks on my door! Good timing!
I celebrated the weekend with 70.5 miles (66bike + 4.5 transition run) on Saturday, and 14.7 (13 run + 1.7 OW swim) on Sunday.
Every time I start a long ride I feel mojo-less. I really don't want to go. I did not have much time to dilly dally on Saturday because we had a packed day and I needed to get home to give Chris a break (who again gets the "best husband" award for showing Petru SUCH a great time while I was on the bike. I am convinced the neighbourhood moms are terrible jealous as I never see another dad spend as much quality time with their kids as Chris does; OK, gotta make sure Chris reads this post:). In typical fashion, after 10 miles I started having fun; except the M%$%S F%&$# back pain showed up and had to take several stops. Still, I biked 56 miles in a little over 3 hours, with a HR of 139, so kept the pace very comfortable. Back home I grabbed a turkey burger and headed for the run. My meat craving is through the roof! I ran Garminless, amazed at how tough my stomach is. Lucky! Back home I had 1 hour to fill up on food, take an icebath and splash water all over me (no time for a shower) and take Petru to t-ball. Back home, one more hour and barbecue with friends. In bed after midnight.
The fatigue hit on Saturday after my run. I did 13 miles with 11 progression ending with 5 miles sub 7:15. I could barely walk when I got home. Petru and I kicked Chris out of the house and had some quality mom/son time before dropping him off at a bday party. Then I took a glorious 30 min nap before heading to Walden for a swim. My arms hurt like hell during the swim, but when I got back Chris told me I swam 10 min faster, so now I know why! Evening was spent working and watching basketball with Chris.
Today I did the crazy brick session again. I biked for 30 min tempo, then put the bike on the trainer and ran 2K @ 10K pace, than 30 min on the bike with alactates, than 2k @ 10K pace, than 30 min on the bike with alactates, than 2K @ 10K pace, than 30 min on the bike with alactates, than 2X2K @ 5K pace. Then I ran 2.5 mile with 1.25 hill home. This workout sounds hard, but it really is not. Part of my issue with races longer than a HM is that I get bored and have to work hard to keep focus. This is actually a reason why I do marathons and HIMs:) In a workout like this I never get bored. Sure, it is hard at times, but I know I can handle that pain since it won't last long.
This week I am tapering the run, but keeping the swim and bike up. I am getting excited but also SO nervous for the race. I googled my back pain and it is clear to me that it is due to my bike position. I am not comfortable in aero so I ride the handle bars and sit like a scaredy cat, as opposed to pushing my pelvis out. I will work on that:)
Such a great weekend of racing. I loved tracking everyone at Mooseman and Honu, and cheering virtually on marathons and other races. Some had awesome races, other did not reach their goals, but this is the beauty of racing; just like life, anything can happen on race day!
I took the day off and headed to Freetown with Chris for a day of training.
Plan: swim, bike, run, and have fun!
We got to the Cathedral Park and immediately got greeted with a "this is private property, you can't swim here". Oops. Nothing on the race site warned about this. Apparently the HIM has license for the weekend only. We took off and found a boat ramp less than a mile away, and I got a 25 min swim in. It was windy, the water was choppy and dark. I managed to get into a groove after a while and I think I can actually have fun swimming in choppy water, if it is clean! Moving on...
I changed quickly and Chris and I started riding. Again, the wind was strong. For the first 5+ miles I felt like I put in a ton of effort but going really slow (like 15-16 MPH). I stopped and noticed my L brake was rubbing onto the tire. I fixed it and wow, things fell into place. We rode 28 windy miles @ 18MPH (including the first really slow 5+ miles) in the wind, and I was pleased. My HR was 141, so fairly low effort. My legs felt great. My back, on the other hand, was on fire. I have been having back pain on the bike when my speed goes over 17.5-18MPH. It sucks big time and it worries me for the race. After the 28 miles we did 12 more before I started on for my run.
The run was awesome. My legs felt great. I ran 8.5 @ 7:35, HR 172. I had planned for 7 miles, but I got lost...
I feel pretty confident about my training right now. I feel strong and fit. If something goes wrong come race day, it will not be because of lack of fitness. I need to figure out the back situation, but otherwise, I am very happy with my fitness right now.
On Monday I plan a repeat of the quadruple brick (which was a lot of fun, by the way) then a couple of longer rides in the next week before taper! Excitement building up over here:)
I am looking forward to lots of fun races this weekend: Mooseman, Honu, Newport marathon! I hope everyone has a great race. Go tri/run FAST!
How we know what isn't so; The fallibility of human reasoning in everyday life*****, by Gilovich. Connected: The surprising power of our social networks** by Cristakis & Fowler Heartburn*****, by Nora Ephron
Long terms goals/dreams
Marathon: sub 3:00:00 PR: 3:14:29 Halfmarathon: sub 1:25:00 PR: 1:28:46 5K: sub 18 PR: 17:26 on short course (2.99miles on Garmin) 10K: sub 40