Saturday, March 30, 2013

Boston Training Week 16

My plan for the week was cross-train, run 5 and 8 miles, cross-train, rest, run 4 miles, and 12 mile long run.

First week of taper. I'm sure I'll be sinking into taper madness in a week or two, but for now I am enjoying taper. Usually I get phantom aches and pains (although those don't start til 2-3 weeks into taper), but at least for now everything is good. Even the pesky ankle. Some of my speed is coming back too. I'm not sure if it's an artifact of taper or I really am getting faster, but I'll take it.

Sunday - Yoga DVD, plus squats, lunges, lower back, pushups, and calf raises.

Monday - 5.3 miles outside in the snow. Let it be duly noted that I busted out the Yaktrax for the first time this winter. On March 25.

Tuesday - 8.2 miles on the treadmill. With mileage ramping down, I got to sleep a little later. Yay. And then went for a walk for about 1.5 miles to visit the Supreme Court at lunch. Because I could. And then did planks, clamshell planks, and abs in the evening.

Wednesday - 40 minutes on the bike, plus upper body strength training, obliques with a medicine ball, and foam rolling.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - 4.3 mile run outside. Didn't even need my reflective gear, since I started a little later than usual and the sun is rising earlier.

Saturday - 13.2 mile long run. Was planning on 12 miles, but the weather was nice and I was enjoying being out on a run. I even lost a couple miles where I was off in lala land. Tested out my Under Armour Boston College Superfan shirt. I bought this shirt a year ago and hadn't even cut the tags off. It was now or never to see if it was a possibility for the Boston Marathon. Superfan shirt is a go.

Total Miles: 31

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Boston Training Week 15

My plan for the week was cross-train, run 5 and 10 miles, cross-train, rest, run 5 miles, and 20 mile long run.

Peak week. I haven't ran that much in nearly a year. 40 miles between me and taper. Sweet sweet taper and then the Boston Marathon. Assuming my ankle holds out. At this point, I am pretty sure it will.

Sunday - Yoga DVD, plus core work, pushups, clamshell planks, squats, lunges, and calf raises. Whew. That was a lot.

Monday - 5.3 mile run outside in light snow. Snow that doesn't stick is the kind of snow I like to run in. Makes it pretty but doesn't really interfere.

Tuesday - 10.2 miles on the treadmill. Booya, baby. Ran the first half with no music. Ankle felt twingy a couple of times but held up well.

Wednesday - 45 minutes on the bike, plus upper body lifting, planks, and foam rolling.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - 5.3 mile run. Outside. In the cold. Pace was good, though. Yay.

Saturday - 20.2 miles in Rock Creek Park. Made of win. It was my longest AND fastest run of this training cycle. The weather was clear but chilly when I started. I actually started a little later than usual so it would warm up. Boston has a relatively late start, so starting your long run later is a good idea anyway. I dressed for the temperature later in my run, so I was cold at the beginning. Ran the first mile as a warm-up. In the 8:40s. Are you kidding?? I am in no shape to run 20 miles in the 8:40s. However, what I usually do on long runs is see where the pace falls in the first few miles and go from there. Maybe 8:40-8:50s was where this run was going to be. Took off my jacket at mile 4. I had planned a refuel and bathroom break around mile 5-6. I stopped to fill up my water bottles, eat some pretzels, and drop off my hat as well. Busted out the music at mile 12. Ran all the way down the path to the Kennedy Center on the banks of the Potomac River, then turned around to head back to my starting point. Pace was still in the 8:40s. Hmmm. There was a very cold wind once I turned around. I was glad I still had my arm sleeves and put them on and took them off as necessary. Stopped with about 2.5 miles to go to fill up one of my water bottles. The last few miles were tough. My hips were sore and I was getting bored. But I kept thinking about the Boston Marathon. Envisioned the course. Practiced my mantras. Tougher now. Smarter now. Yes I can. I finished in the high 8:30s. I have no idea how! This run was exactly what I needed going into taper. I am not as confident as I was going into Shamrock, but I'm feeling a lot better after today's run. Confidence is priceless.

Total Miles: 41

Hello, sweet taper. Nice to meet up with you again.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boston Training Week 14

My plan for the week was cross-train, run 5 and 9 miles, cross-train, rest, run 5 miles, and 14 mile long run.

Last stepback week before one final push forward and then taper. Yikes.

I have reached that stage where I want to eat everything that isn't nailed down. I am hungry all. the. time. And yet I still managed to drop a couple pounds. Good, because I was hanging on to them from being injured last year. This is pretty typical of me at this point in marathon training, though. I am one of those weirdos who lose weight while marathon training. Clearly I am not eating enough. C'mer, food, get in ma belly.

Sunday - Rest. Unless yard work counts as exercise. I battled against mofo rogue vines and I won. Those were some nasty vines. They were entangled in fences, trees, and other plants. The vines made me fall on my butt on the ground. But I won, rouge vines. I won.

Monday - I usually run in the AM, but I decided to take advantage of decent weather, extra daylight, and the National Mall and run in the evening. Ran from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and back. Niiice. Would have been even nicer if my ankle had cooperated better.

Tuesday - 1 hour 20 minutes on the elliptical. I was going to bike, but one bike at the gym was broken and the other was occupied. Notice the lack of a 9 mile run. Eh. Ankle wasn't really feeling a longish run. Now is not the time to push it.

Wednesday - 5.3 miles on the treadmill (relatively pain-free), plus upper body strength training, oblique work with a medicine ball, and foam rolling.

Thursday - Rest. Extra sleep. Aaahhh.

Friday - 5.3 mile run outside. In partial darkness. I actually do like seeing the sun rise, although I wish I had a better route that wasn't so noisy. Chilly and relatively slow, but ankle pretty much cooperated. Yay.

Saturday - 14.2 mile run. The weather was supposed to be rainy and cold but turned out pretty decent. Ankle turned out pretty decent too. Pace was good and I took fewer breaks (only to cross streets) than last week.

Total Miles: 30 on the nose.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Boston Bound

Bib numbers and wave/corral assignments were posted earlier this week.

I got an odd-numbered bib AND a bib containing a 7 yet again. Chicago, Shamrock, Gansett, and a small 5K were odd-numbered bibs with 7s (and all PRs, by the way). Add Boston to that list, although I know Boston will be nowhere near a PR.

That marks 4 consecutive marathons with odd-numbered bibs containing the number 7. Honestly, people, I cannot make this stuff up. The odds of that happening are very, very small. A good sign? I hope so.

Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to get excited about the Boston Marathon. Less than 5 weeks to go ...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Boston Training Week 13

My plan for the week was cross-train, run 4 and 9 miles, cross-train, rest, run 5 miles, and 18 mile long run.

Here we go again. Mini peak week. Actual peak week is in 2 weeks.

Sunday - about an hour of yoga, plus calf raises and squats.

Monday - 4.2 miles outside. Cold and windy.

Tuesday - 9.3 mile run. Nothing like banging out a 15K before work.

Wednesday - Upper body strength training with a resistance band, pushups, planks, clamshell planks, and squats.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - 5.2 mile run. Outside. The first 2 miles or so were in a snow flurry. Pretty stuff.

Saturday - 18.2 miles. I made it! Woohoo. Ankle was somewhat achy but was better than it has been on other runs. I stopped a bunch of times, including about 4.5 miles in to change out of my cold gear clothes and into something cooler. Pace was decent and I even managed to run negative splits and run to Virginia (Ave.). I needed a good run after some of the runs I've had recently. I got it. I am reasonably confident that I WILL make it to Boston and I WILL cross the finish line. I had my doubts for a while. Just another 5 weeks.

Total Miles: 36.9

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Volta a Cidade 6K Race Recap

Cross off run an international road race off of my running bucket list.

I ran the Volta a Cidade 6K race in Funchal, Portugal over the Christmas holidays. I'd link to the race website, but it is all in Portuguese.

Never heard of Funchal? Most people haven't. How about Madeira Island? Most people on this side of the Atlantic haven't heard of that either. Funchal is the main city on Madeira Island in the Atlantic. But I bet you have heard of Madeira wine. Mmmm, Madeira wine.

This is Madeira. I like it so very much. It also doesn't hurt that the temperature is between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It is very mountainous but also very pretty.
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Volta a Cidade roughly means "tour of the city." What a nice tour of the city we had. The race started at 8pm. Running at night! Cool. It was a few days after Christmas, so all of the Christmas lights were up. Funchal does a good job of decorating for Christmas. Colored lights in trees. Lit up snowmen, presents, and angels. A big Nativity display. Booths selling food, drinks, and other things.

The entry fee was 5 euros (about $7). It was a no-brainer even-if-I-have-to-walk-this-is-still-a-bargain decision to enter the race. I was not in racing shape. Or, I was not even close to the racing shape I was in a year ago. I didn't really have a time goal (other than around 30 minutes). It was going to be an instant PR in a distance that I will never run again.

It was chip timed but only by gun time. I estimated I lost about 45 seconds just to get to the start line. There weren't a lot of women. I'd say the split was 90% men and 10% women. For a very mountainous area, the course was pretty flat. Most of it near Funchal's crescent-shaped harbor. Part of the race is on cobblestone streets. You have to be very careful when running on cobblestones. Especially if you are coming back from an injury.

I snuck in a just barely under my 30-minute goal. Yay. Go me.

If you ever find yourself in Funchal after Christmas, run this race. This was a really fun experience. For 5 euros, you really can't go wrong. Everyone got a T-shirt and a medal. I wasn't even expecting a T-shirt, no less a medal as well. I liked running through the streets with all of the Christmas lights up. I would definitely run this race again.

None of these pictures are actually from the race, but many are along the course.

Street decorations
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Angels in front of the cathedral
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Lit-up trees. Pretty sure this actually was on the course.
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Booths and lights
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Boston Training Week 12

My plan for the week was cross train, run 4 and 8 miles, cross train, rest, 5 and 12 mile long run.

Another stepback week. Oops, I just had one of those.

I think I am doing better with backing off a bit while still trying to get halfway decent training in. It is a delicate balance. Compression socks/sleeves and the treadmill are helping.

Sunday - About an hour of yoga, plus a lot of walking at Mount Vernon (George Washington's house) and around Old Town in Alexandria, VA.

Monday - 4.6 mile run. Outside.

Tuesday - 8.5 miles on the treadmill. No ankle pain. Ran 6 miles, then took a beak to reset the treadmill and fill my water bottle. Finally got to the gym early enough to get a full workout in before work. Did core work, lunges, pushups, and calf raises in the PM.

Wednesday - 45 minutes on the bike, plus upper body lifting.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - 5.2 mile run. Outside. Didn't even need my reflective vest or too much cold weather gear.

Saturday - 12.2 mile long run. Surprisingly cold, but it's all good because I had the right layers. Ran the first 4 miles relatively slow, then dropped the pace for the last 8. I even had a few miles in the middle where I felt good about my pace and really enjoyed being out on a run. That hasn't happened in a very long time.

Total Miles: 30.5

2/3 done with training. 6 weeks to go!