Monday, November 24, 2014

Training log - Week ending 11/23/2014

This week was 47 miles of running and 2000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Race week, and not the race I wanted.  But what's done is done.  And I hobble away a bit better educated about the marathon, and substantially fitter than I was when I started.

So where from here?  My legs are shaky, and so are my emotions. What I would really like to do is to take 2-3 days off to let the soreness pass, then start running again, start training soon after, crushing workouts while upping my mileage, and then do another marathon immediately.  I really miss running (it's the day after my marathon, and I'm envying the people I saw jogging on the sidewalk this morning - ridiculous).  And when I have a bad race, I want to get back on the horse ASAP.

Don't worry.  I know how stupid the above is, and I'm not going to do that.  Especially since I think I made similar mistakes this past cycle.

I did two really sub-optimal things this fall.  One was ramping up from basically nothing to a hard marathon training cycle with high volume; in retrospect I think I would have been better to focus on just staying healthy and getting fitter.  It's one thing to jump into a marathon cycle after a season or two of steady and consistent running, and another to do it from where I was.  It was too much, too fast, too soon.

The other mistake was training at the paces that I wanted to be right for me, rather than where I truly was.  I trained at paces that matched the races I wanted to run, hanging with a group that ran the races I wanted to run.   And it was easy to rationalize doing so, since it wasn't too long ago that those were my paces also.  But they weren't the right paces for me this fall.  I was able to fake my way through some workouts fairly well (by running them too hard); the others I excused due to allergies and high mileage fatigue.

[to be clear, these were my mistakes, no one else's, and I own them].

The good news is that I've come away from this training cycle considerably fitter than I was when I started, which is a huge win.  But I fried myself too.  So now I need to consolidate my gains while also letting the damage heal.

The first step to that is to take some time off from running.  For this week, the rule is that I only do any physical activity if I really want to, and what I do will be restricted to yoga, some easy swimming, and some social pool-running.   I'm trying to hydrate really well, but also not setting my alarm clock, and eating as many gluten free cookies as my little heart wants.

I do want to introduce pool-running back into my routine - I skipped it for a while because it was annoying my back before that healed up, and then I didn't want to intro anything new late in the training cycle.

When I do start running again (likely sometime next week) I'll keep stuff easy, fun, and social for several weeks.  If everything feels right, I'll start doing workouts again in mid-to-late December, focusing on running the workouts easier than I feel I should.  I really want to run another marathon, but there will be no spring marathon training cycle for me.  Instead, I'll spend a season doing consistent, controlled-pace training (anybody who knows me in person, you are encouraged to forcefully remind me of this commitment), and then do a fall marathon.

I had been considering Richmond Marathon for next fall, but after yesterday, I kinda want revenge on Manayunk.

Monday:   2000 yards easy swimming in the morning, foam rolling at night. 

Tuesday:  In the morning, 8.5 miles, including a track workout of 1600, 2x800 (6:06, 2:56, 2:52).  Sports massage at night.
Wednesday:  In the afternoon, 7.5 miles (8:02 pace).  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday: Rest day.  Did get my spasming glute dry needled and did some foam rolling.

Friday:  5 miles (8:03 pace), and got ART on a sticky calf in the morning.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:  Rest day; picked up bib and foam rolled.

Sunday:  Philadelphia Marathon in 3:20:17, positive split as 1:35/1:45.  Big ass strawberry margarita at midday.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Race report: Philadelphia Marathon, November 23, 2014

I ran the Philadelphia Marathon today, finishing in a time of 3:20:xx.  This is both the slowest marathon I've ever run and the second fastest.  I like the latter characterization more, so I'm rolling with it.

The too long, didn't read version is that my legs cramped up and the last miles were ridiculous - a combination of horrible and amusing.  The longer story, read below...

Every lengthy overthought race report starts with a summary, and who am I to buck tradition?  My training can be summed up as a rapid build from very low mileage and injury recovery to a peak of 85 miles per week, followed by a taper.  Long runs were alternating 20-22 milers and 16-17 miles with 4-3-2-1 mile marathon paced segments.  Then I tapered.

The taper was, of course, a paranoia fest.  At various points during the last week, my glutes spasmed, my right calf got tight, I got bad indigestion, and I convinced myself I was coming down with a head cold (I'm pretty sure I wasn't). It's strange all the curveballs that your mind and body will throw at you.  I just told myself that it was all part of the taper paranoia and that I'd feel great on race morning. And I did.

By Saturday, I was fairly tense and bouncing off the walls.  That was when I had an inspired idea - instead of going out to eat, Brian and I ordered takeout and paid for a hotel movie (X-Men Days of Future Past).  It was exactly the right order - I relaxed and put the race out of my mind.  And whadyaknow - I felt good on Sunday morning, right when I needed to be.

I felt shaky/jumpy - very ready to go.  This worried me a bit - there was a real possibility of going out too fast here.  So I seeded myself in the very back of my corral, and started with a friend who was shooting for a more conservative time.  We crossed the start line and chatted for the first mile, and then I started to open up a little more, though still staying conservative.   I focused on keeping an easy effort - I'd find myself picking it up to a pace that felt "good", and then I'd remind myself -"if you don't feel like you're going too slow, you're going too fast" and I'd pull back to what felt "too slow."

As in my previous marathon, I started the race with a carry-water bottle - I planned to drink from that and then toss it, and then get another from either Brian or my coach at the halfway point.  However, for whatever reason, I had completely drained my bottle by mile 5.  And I was thirsty.

(before I get accused of starting the race dehydrated, I'll note that I was peeing clear for the days before (TMI) and also needed to pee slightly when we started the race).

This presented a bit of a quandry - I'm not good at drinking out of cups while running.  At the next water stop, I attempted to refill my water bottle with a cup of water so I could run while sipping, but that was pure fail.  So I tossed the water bottle, and reluctantly slowed down at the next station to grab a cup and down it.  Then I was off again.  (And not too long after, I saw my coach and got my second water bottle).

I continued on like that, running through Philly and enjoying the tour.  Around mile 8, we hit a set of hills that my coach had warned us about - essentially we were to be careful on the downhills not to run them too fast.  The downhills were a bit steep, and it felt like if I slowed too much, I was placing more stress on my quads, since they were doing the braking.  So I decided to focus on running them in whatever way felt like it took the least effort and the least stress, regardless of the pace.

I was feeling good and in control as we turned back towards the Arts Center and the half/full split, and then I noted that both my inner quads (VMO for you physio geeks) were a bit sore.  This was...concerning.  But...I could either freak out about it, or put it out of my mind.  I decided to do the latter, and just focus on running in control.

But the quads started talking louder.  Not good.  I wasn't even halfway yet.  But... the worst of the hills was over, right?  And breathing great, energy level good - I'd just keep working through this.

By mile 14, they were starting to yell at me, and I was having crazy fantasies about KT taping them (my mind is an odd place).  And then I remembered....

On the last interval workout before this race, we did a set of 1600, and 2x800.   I felt like my legs were tying up and I had no knee lift, only to discover that my running tights had slipped down.  The feeling I had now, as my quads tired, was much the same as when I had my wardrobe issue.

So....that was how I rationalized it - if I could hold ~6 minute pace with my tights slipping down, then holding 7 something pace while feeling the same was eminently doable.  So that's what I did as we progressed away from Philly towards Manayunk.

And so I progressed.  Between miles 17-18 there's a downhill for a quartermile, then a 180 turn and you come back up hill.  And that was truly the beginning of the end.  I held it together for that, but the quads were on fire, and in Manayunk, they spasmed.

From there, you can imagine how it went - the last miles back into Philly (most of which were downhill) were a shuffle/slogfest.    In a way, it was really upsetting - no one likes to run a race that way.  But in a strange way, I could also see the hilarity of it - my legs simply were not listening to me, but just doing some variant of a running motion.  It got worse as my right hamstring and calf decided to play along - a symphony of disobediance.

I felt like I was running past crowds of people with my pants half down, both figuratively and literally.   I also came to the realization that the slower you run and the more it's obvious you hurt, the more people start cheering you on - at the very point where I really wanted to pretend like no one could see me.

But... that's racing.  So, I slogged home to the finish.  I realized later that I could have just dropped at 18 and done CIM in two weeks (I'm entered).  But, I didn't want to do that for multiple reasons.  For one, I want a break now, not in two weeks.  Secondly, I didn't want to let this race win.  Simple as that.

And though it was a sucky experience, it was also a good one.  Though this was my second marathon, in someways I felt like it was my first.  My first marathon went so well that I never really felt like I had been tested, or experienced the suckiness of marathons.  I was worried that I didn't respect the distance and all the things that could go wrong.  Now I've been blooded, and that's a good thing.

I think that I'll be a better runner in my next marathon (and there will be a next one, and it might be Philly) because of the experience I had today.  I now have a better understanding of how it can hurt and suck, and I still think it's my favorite distance to race.

Splits for the hell of it:

Mile 1: 7:59
Mile 2: 7:35
Mile 3: 7:21
Mile 4: 7:22
Mile 5: 7:17
Mile 6-7: 14:14
Mile 8: 7:11
Mile 9: 6:57
Mile 10: 7:18
Mile 11: 6:57
Mile 12: 7:04
Mile 13: 7:15
Mile 14: 7:10
Mile 15: 7:12
Mile 16: 7:14
Mile 17: 7:12
Mile 18: 7:13
Mile 19: 7:18
Mile 20: 7:28
Mile 21: 8:10
Mile 22: 8:35
Mile 23-24: 17:34
Mile 25: 9:42
Mile 26: 9:22
last bit: 1:38

Other notes:
  • Weather was absolutely perfect.  Doesn't get better.  Started in high 30s, ended in mid 40s, overcast, little wind.
  • I stayed at the Embassy Suites, which worked well.  It was right outside the secure zone for the marathon start/finish, and had a TGI Fridays as the hotel restaurant.  The one trouble spot was that the elevators were slow and we were on the 14th floor - I was worried that the elevators would get VERY slow when everyone decided to come down for the race.  So I left my room early and headed to the gym on the second floor for some final stretching.  Gym was empty and had a bathroom - perfect for some pre-race relaxing.
  • Hit the security entrance at 6:30, which was perfect timing for getting me into my corral at 6:40.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Training log - Week ending 11/16/2014

This week was 50 miles of running and 3000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Taper, week 2.  Just resting up and recharging.  And starting to feel really good, albeit with some "taper aches" that I attribute to paranoia.  Both Tuesday and Sunday's "workouts" felt awesome; Friday's was a bit harder, but I attribute that to being significantly underdressed for conditions that ended up being a lot colder than I expected.  
On Sunday, I did the last few miles of my "long run" at "goal marathon pace" - the hope was to hold 7:15 (3:10 pace) for two miles and then drop to 7:05 (~3:05 pace) for the last mile, just to lock in the feel.  I know that's slower than the pace I've held for my runs, but I really believe in setting conservative marathon goals at the start and then re-evaluating as one goes.  I run my best races with negative splits, so going out "too slow" isn't a concern.
As it turns out, I ended up running a bit fast than those paces anyway.  I'm not too worried, though - my heart rate for those miles was at the low end of my normal marathon pace HR, so the effort was conservative.  I've reinforced my knowledge that I need to run easy and restrained and "too slow" for those first miles, and to trust (as always, I'll race with my Garmin screen hidden) that the pace will be right.
From here until this coming Sunday it's just a matter of sleeping and eating well, and dodging injury and illness.  The training's done and the die is cast; all I have to do now is show up on Sunday and run.  Simple.  Easy. Awesome.
And it reads cheesy, but I really am proud of just getting to where I am today as opposed to where I was last year. (for fun I've pasted in my training log from this week last year.)  The past 12-18 months have been their own endurance test - blood (literally), sweat, tears, pull buoys, injections, MRIs, missed races, PT sessions, alternating dejection and hope.  Emotional bonking and then the slow climb up.  But now, with the help/support/love of teammates and friends, I see the finish line, which is also the start.
Completing a training cycle is its own achievement, and its own reward. But what's even better is that I get to race. 

Monday:   1500 yards easy swimming in the morning, foam rolling at night. 
Last year: In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work and 4000 yards swimming, 50/50 with and without pullbuoy.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 10 miles, including a track workout of 6x800 (3:01, 2:58, 2:57, 2:54, 2:52, 2:52) followed by injury prevention work and 750 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.
In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work and then 3000 yards of swimming, 1/3rd with pull buoy. 2/3rds without.   Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday:  In the morning, 8.5 miles very easy (8:22).  Massage at night.
In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work and then 4250 yards of swimming -  1/3rd with pull buoy. 2/3rds without.  Sports massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 5.5 miles easy (8:11) followed by a few drills+strides and some upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.
In the morning,  injury prevention/rehab work, upper body strengthwork and walking 2.5 miles.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  8 miles, including a 5K tempo in 20:11 (6:34/6:24/6:27/0:46), followed by 750 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.
In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work and 3750 yards of swimming, 25% with pull buoy.  Also some walking.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   8 miles easy (8:18) followed by a few drills+strides; foam rolling in afternoon.
In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work and 4000 yards of swimming, with about 500yards pull buoy (rest without).  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:  10 miles with the last 3 at marathon pace (two miles at 7:08 pace, last mile at 6:50 pace).  Foam rolling at night.
In the morning, injury prevention/rehab work (including testing out the arc-trainer for a few minutes) and 3000 yards of swimming (no pull buoy).  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Training log - Week ending 11/9/14

This week was 50 miles of running and 3000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Taper, week 1.  And for the first few days I enjoyed it.  Needed it.  Tuesday's workout was a struggle, run on legs that had done 22 with a fast finish less than 48 hours before.  After that, I cut back sharply.    Before my last marathon (Shamrock) I did a fairly steep three week taper and thought it worked well, so I decided to do the same this time.   So, 45-50 miles with 3 weeks to go, 45-50 miles with 2 weeks to go, and then 15-20 miles in the week before the race.

I'm also tapering all my other activities.  This past week was my last week for yoga - I'm skipping that for the next two weeks both to rest and to avoid any contagious fellow yoga students (it always shocks me how many people will drag themselves to a group class when sick - it's really selfish).  I'll swim some this coming week (though not much), and then will cut it out for the final week of taper.

I'm definitely starting to feel the benefits of the taper.  I had several warning signs over the last two weeks that I was overreaching - high resting HR, insomnia, concentration issues.  The first two have resolved.  As for my shortened attention span, I seriously doubt that will improve during taper.  I'm also starting to get a bit jumpy, with taper anxiety.  Did I do enough?  Did I do too much?  Am I resting too much now?   Should I be resting more? 

There's no real answer, except not to worry about it and to find something to distract me (I am stocking my Kindle well).  In the end, I don't think there's one perfect taper, just as there's no one perfect training cycle or perfect race.  Just get to the starting line healthy, and see what happens. 

I did race on Sunday - it was one of the best bad races I've had in a while, if that makes sense.  It was bad in that I went out too fast, which is a mistake I rarely make.  But this was a good time to make it - to remind me to be cautious in the marathon.  And working my way through a mental tough patch at the end was a confidence boost of its own.  And it was nice to see that I'm now fit enough to run a major positive split and still run just over 40 minutes.


Monday:   Yoga and upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 10 miles, including a track workout of 4x1200 (4:38, 4:26, 4:27, 4:29) followed by injury prevention work and 2000 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday:  In the morning, 9.4 miles very easy (8:24) followed by yoga.  Later an easy 2.5 (8:37).  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 3 miles very easy (8:46) to yoga.  After yoga, did another 4 miles (8:09), followed by a few drills+strides, some upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  8 miles, including a 1600m pick-up in 6:18.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   1000 yards easy swimming and foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  13 miles, including a 10K race in 40:13.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Race Report: Veteran's Day 10K, November 9, 2014

I raced the Veteran's Day 10K today, finishing in a time of 40:13.

I have a preferred racing style - I usually go out fairly slowly and cautiously, and then drop the pace gradually, with a strong second half.  I'm pretty good at pacing, if I do say so myself.

But every once in a while, I screw it up.  Ooops.


The Veteran's Day 10K is held every year on a very fast course (Hains Point) in DC.  It's flat except for one tiny hump, and there are no sharp turns.  It's essentially an asphalt track, and can be very fast if there's no wind. 

There was no wind today, and temps were perfect.  This race brings out a lot of fast people, and so everything was in place for a fast day.

I warmed up by jogging for about 3 miles.  My legs felt a bit marathon heavy still, so I inserted a quarter mile pick-up to get everything moving.  Then some drills and strides, and lined up.

And we were off.  Fast.  I backed off a little, to a pace that felt controlled but still fast.  It felt uncomfortable, but frankly anything faster than 6:50 feels uncomfortable right now. so I went with it. 

As it turns out, someone was calling out splits at the first mile, and I heard a "6:20" as I went by (and I started a few seconds after the gun).  That was a bit faster than I was anticipating.  Huh.  Arguably not good, but maybe I was just having a good day.  Nevertheless I was feeling a bit uncomfortable, so I decided to back it off a bit so that I could come home strongly. 

As it turned out, I couldn't quite repair the damage, by mile 4 my legs were pretty much done and I was just hanging on from that point.  I nursed myself through the last 2 miles, reminding myself that I might feel like this during my marathon, and so this was good practice coaxing everything out of my legs.  And I'm pleasantly surprised at just how well I was able to hang on, given how spent I felt.  Usually when I blow up, I REALLY blow up.  This time I just fizzled.  Marathon strong legs FTW.  I can be dead, but the legs will still do their thing.

Splits were:

6:05 (mile measured .95 ~6:26 pace)
6:47 (mile measured 1.05 ~6:26 pace))
6:35 (oof)
6:36 (oof)
last .21 in 1:23 (also ~6:26 pace - this was all I had for a "kick")

40:13 - which was good enough for a top 10 female finish and second in my age group.

I am a bit wistful, because I think I could had run faster had I run a better paced race.  On the other hand, this race was primarily a final tune-up for my marathon in two weeks.  I'm pleasantly surprised that I had this much speed in my legs, given the focus of my training the past few weeks and months.  And after hanging on so well the last two miles, I feel ready for what the marathon may throw at me.

Next race report in two weeks :)

Other notes:

* Weather was absolutely perfect.  About 50 degrees, calm winds.
* Wore my my marathon shoes (Boston Boost) rather than my normal shoe for this distance (Hitogami).  I prefer to run my last tune-up race in my marathon shoes, rather than my flats - it gives me an extra bit of confidence to know that I can run significantly faster than MP in my marathon shoes.
* Parked on Rock Creek Parkway just on the far side of the Lincoln Memorial from the start - worked perfectly (one does need to get there before 7 to snag a spot, though).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Training log - Week ending 11/2/2014

This week was 85 miles of running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

And this is it.  Taper starts now.

And it's just at the right time.  I've hit that marathon training zombie mode.  No real speed, but I can go between easy and medium-hard forever.

By the end of this week, I was unquestionably tired.  There was a substantial differential between when I got out of bed on Friday (early), and when I actually woke up (about halfway through my tempo workout). The last two miles of my tempo actually felt pretty good (being awake helps), and I briefly debated adding another mile, but decided against it - if I was feeling that tired, I really didn't need to be stretching out any workouts.

(the astute reader will note that I swam a bit more than normal on Friday post workout.  Why?  Especially since I was already tired?  The answer is that I was in zombie mode and I completely lost track of time and laps, and basically swam half-asleep until the guards blew the whistle to indicate the end of morning swim.  Ooops.)

Slept a ton over the weekend, and cranked out my last long run on Sunday morning, which went fairly well (the windy conditions reminded me of when I raced Shamrock last year, which is actually a pleasant memory). 

Of my three 20-22 mile runs, this last one felt the easiest and left me the least sore afterwards - that's a good place to be.  The only bummer was a blister I developed under my left foot on Sunday at about mile 11 - apparently my compression socks don't play nice with the Boston Boosts.  It's all good - that's why I test stuff out during my long runs, so I don't learn stuff like this during my goal race.

So now I just need to rest and wrap myself in bubble wrap for the next three weeks.  Memories of my last training cycle for Philly haunt me a bit, so I'm being VERY careful.  I'll probably race a 10K this coming weekend as a final tune-up, but I'll wear my marathon racing shoes for it, just like I did during the Shamrock cycle.  I like to do this because it makes marathon pace in my marathon shoes feels a bit easier.  And I also feel I'm reducing the risk of injury by doing so.

So much nicer to be here than where I was last year at this time.


Monday:   Yoga and upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 14 miles, including a track workout of 400,800,1200,1600,1200,800,400 (splits of 1:32, 3:06, 4:34, 6:06, 4:32, 2:57, 1:24), followed by injury prevention work and 1250 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday:  In the morning, 10 miles very easy (8:48) followed by yoga.  Later an easy 6 (8:28).  Sports massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 4.5 miles very easy (8:48) to yoga.  After yoga, did another 4 miles (8:20), followed by a few drills+strides, some upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  12.5 miles, including a 8K tempo in 33:31 (splits were 6:52, 6:47, 6:45, 6:36, 6:31), followed by lower body strengthwork and injury prevention work, and then 2100 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   12.5 miles easy (8:18), followed by yin yoga.   Injury prevention/upper body strengthwork and foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  21.5 miles averaging 7:27, split as first 1.5 miles at 8:42 pace, next 5 at 7:54, next 6 at 7:27, last 9 at 6:56 (took a ~5 min break about mile 16 to chase down water when the water fountain I was relying on was off).  Followed with 650 yards shakeout swimming; foam rolling at night.  Skipped yin yoga to watch the second half of the Maclay finals

Monday, October 27, 2014

Training log - Week ending 10/26/14

This week was 74 miles of running and 5000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Another week in the books, with one more to go before taper.

I mixed stuff up a bit this week.  Normally my hard run days are Tuesday (intervals), Friday (tempo), and Sunday (long run).   This weekend I had the final "4-3-2-1" workout on tap, which I had to do on Saturday due to the Marine Corps Marathon being on Sunday. This raised the question of where to fit in the tempo workout.  The only real option was to do it on Thursday, but I really prefer to have at least 2 days between track workouts, since they're fairly hard on my body (the constant turns annoy my hips and ankles).   After talking to my coach, we decided just to skip the tempo altogether this week - it just made sense since the tempo for this week was a fairly minimal cruise intervals - not that important a workout.   And I think I'm better off for having only two hard workouts this week - it's not about packing in as many workouts as possible, but about hitting the proper balance of stress and recovery.

The other thing I mixed up were my shoes.  My quest for the perfect shoe is quite the saga.  By way of background, I ran very happily in the Kinvara for several years, including my first marathon.  Until Saucony changed the shoe on me, so that it no longer fit my foot well.  (Why do companies change good shoes?)

The was the start of a long quest for the perfect shoe.  Or several perfect shoes (I don't ever want to get dependent on one shoe again - damn you Saucony).  After a long cycle of injury, and test driving many shoes, and many consultations with podiatrists, PTs, etc, we determined that many of my injuries were caused by ankle instability.  This ankle instability is accentuated by shoes that are soft and cushioned, allowing my foot to sink and wiggle with each strike. (I also supinate slightly, so despite my instability issues, "stability shoes" that correct pronation just give me peroneal tendonitis.)

So, I swapped to firm, light neutral shoes, and they've worked very well for me.  The Mizuno Hitogami was instrumental in getting me healthy again, and the Adidas Adios Boost has been a good shoe for me too. 
My current rotation, if you're interested.  From left to right -
Mizuno Hitogami, Mizuno Sayonara 2, Adidas Adios Boost,
Adidas Adios Boost 2, Adidas Boston Boost 5

The problem is that neither of those shoes seems to be quite enough cushioning for me for the marathon (I know others have raced marathons well in them, but we're all unique).  I don't feel I can race longer than 10 miles in the Hitogami; I had been planning on wearing the Adidas Adios Boost for my marathon, but my forefeet have been getting pretty sore during my long runs.  Plus, it feels like the Adios is just a bit stiff for me.

So...went back to Road Runner, and picked up a pair of the Adias Boston Boost 5.  On paper it seems like just what I wanted - very similar to the Adios, but slightly more cushioning in the forefoot, and also a lot more flexible.  I took them for two test runs this week - an easy run on Thursday, and my "4-3-2-1" workout on Saturday.  And....yay.  They're not perfect - my forefeet were still slightly sore at the end of Saturday's run.  But my ankles and heels were also slightly achy - indicating that I definitely don't want to go any heavier on the cushioning.  These seem to strike the best balance.  For me.

But the really good news was how ridiculously fast both runs were.  I usually do my runs by effort - on easy runs I don't check pace at all, just heart rate.  On my marathon pace runs, I do check pace, but I still stick to marathon pace effort, even if that means that my actual pace is slower or faster than goal MP.  For both Thursday and Saturday's runs, my perceived effort was completely out of whack with the times I ran.   In a good way - about 15 seconds faster per mile than perceived effort.  These shoes are just a really good mate for my stride, I guess - running slow or fast felt easy and fun in them. 

So, I'm going to run in these shoes 2-3 more times, including my last 20-22 miler this Sunday.  Then I'll marathon in them.  Hopefully they'll continue to work their magic.

I just wish they weren't hot pink.


Monday:   Yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 12 miles, including 6x800 in 3:05, 3:04, 3:00, 2:58, 2:57, 2:52.  Followed with injury prevention work and 2000 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  9 miles very easy (8:50), then yoga, followed by another 7 miles easy (8:38), plus drills+strides.   Foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   In the morning, 3.5  miles very easy (8:47), then yoga, then another 6 miles very easy (8:12) followed by drills+strides and some upper body weight training/injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the evening.
Friday:  10 miles easy (8:22) followed by drills and strides.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   16.5 miles averaging 7:33; did the 4-3-2-1 workout.  3 mile easy jog, then:
4 miles in 27:42 (6:56/6:55/6:55/6:56), followed by a mile at 8:34 pace (and a quick bathroom break)
3 miles in 20:29 (6:50/6:45/6:40), followed by a mile at 8:03 pace  (and a quick bathroom break - damn stomach)
2 miles in 13:44 (6:45/6:59 - think Garmin lost signal here during the second mile under the freeway), followed by a mile at 8:09 pace
1 mile in 6:34 (felt like 6:50 effort).  Followed by half mile slow jog cooldown.   Total time for the 10 hard miles - 68:29 - 6:51 average pace (was shooting for 7-ish).

Followed with some injury prevention work, 1000 yards easy swimming, yoga, and foam rolling.

Sunday:  Cheering at the Marine Corps Marathon (my teammates rocked it, BTW) - logged 10 miles total jogging to different locations along the course.  Later did 2000 yards of swimming and foam rolling. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Training log - week ending 10/19/14

This week was 80 miles of running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

And, we're at the heaviest part of the training.

I didn't feel too beaten up after Army 10 miler, but skipped the Tuesday workout anyway.  And then of course, on Tuesday night my massage guy identified approximately 726 different muscle knots that needed to be kneaded.  Very glad I went in.

The rest of the week was really about mileage and marathon pace.  I made the decision to slow down the pace of my track workouts, even if it means I end up "between groups."  I've been able to hang with my present group in workouts, but the fact is a) I feel like I've been redlining a lot of the workouts and b) I'm not running the same race times as others in my same group.  Part b) could be possibly excused by the fact that I never seem to race shorter distances well when I'm in marathon training, and that I also struggle with fall races due to stinkin allergies.  Or maybe not.  Either way, there's no real benefit to me in really crushing track workouts when I'm marathon training.

Additionally, I tend to be someone who really needs a slow first rep or first mile in a track workout before dropping the pace , while most people tend to run more even splits.  So, I go out with the even splitters, get some oxygen debt, and end up struggling to run a time that I hit much easier if I just start a bit slower.  So, I'm going to try starting off my workouts slower, and then upping the pace when it seems right - even if that means I have to solo.

And....the long runs really are key here.  I was pretty happy with today's long run.   For DC area runners - the route I took was from Fletcher's boathouse out to Rock Creek, and then take Rock Creek up to Wise Road before turning and heading back the same way.   Going this way meant that I did a lot of my marathon pace segment on parts of the Rock Creek trail that can be twisty/turny and also have some very annoying (though short) hills.  It's challenging to hold marathon pace here just because your rhythm is regularly disrupted.   But I did.

And then my last 3 miles were on a slight (but noticeable) uphill into a (*profanity*) headwind.  By the last mile, I was running on fumes and sucking a gel just for the sugar kick.  But, it seems that I can hit 7:00 pace running on fumes into a headwind, so that's cool.  If there's one skill I have, it's being stubborn.

In other happy news, I went in for a follow up with my doctor (the one who did all the PRP/prolotherapy).  He confirmed what I already knew - the chronically stretched ligaments in my ankle are now considerably shorter, making that ankle MUCH more stable.  (I knew this anyway, since my balance on that ankle is so much improved).  So, yay.


Monday:   1250 yards easy swimming plus yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 2.5 miles very easy (9:21) with drills+strides, then yoga, followed by another 8.5 miles easy.  Sports massage at night.

Wednesday:  9 miles very easy (8:58), then yoga, followed by another 5 miles easy (8:18 - mostly downhill route), plus drills+strides.   Foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   In the morning, 4.5 miles very easy (8:58), then yoga, then another 4 miles easy (8:25) followed by drills+strides and some upper body weight training/injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the evening.
Friday:  12.5 miles, including an 8K tempo in 33:16 - my splits ended up screwy due to me zoning out and hitting the watch at the wrong time, but I essentially ran the first 3 miles in ~ 6:46 for 1600, and the last 2 (after finally tying loose shoe when it came completely undone) in ~6:30.   Funny how much the pace picked up for the same effort after I fixed the damn shoe.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1750 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   12 miles easy (8:29) and then yin yoga.  Upper body weight training/injury prevention work plus foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  22 mile long run (well...21.86, but close enough, right?).  Ran it progressively as first 7 at 8:29, next 6 at 7:33, last 9 at 7:02. Overall pace was 7:37.   Followed with 1000 yards of shakeout swimming, yin yoga, and foam rolling.  And eating all the things.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Training log - Week ending 10/12/2014

This week was 45 miles of running and 2000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Another cutback week.  I had planned to cut back mileage some for Army 10 Miler, anyway.  Then I picked up a bit of a bug early in the week - nothing horrible, but enough for me to decide to avoid the gym and yoga on Wednesday - I really prefer to avoid others if I'm even possibly contagious.  To that point, yes, I feel bad about going to track on Tuesday - I just didn't figure out that I was coming down with something until after.  Luckily, I don't think I gave my bug to anyone.  Also lucky that it hit early enough in the week to be cleared out of my system for the weekend.


Monday:   Yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 7 miles, including a track workout of 6x800 (splits of 2:59, 2:54, 2:54, 2:54, 2:54, 2:58).  Felt dizzy during the workout, so shut it down.  Felt even worse post workout, so skipped the cooldown and injury prevention stuff.  Ended up calling it a half day at work also, and just crashing the balance of the day.
Wednesday:  Felt lousy in the morning, so slept in and then went for a jog to see how I felt.  I didn't feel any worse as I ran, and maybe even a bit better, so I ended up doing an easy 10.  Good decision/bad decision?  Who knows?   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday:   Felt better.  In the morning, 7 miles easy plus some injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the afternoon.
Friday:  Felt fine.  7 miles easy, including a one mile pick-up in 6:17.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   750 yards very easy swimming in the morning.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  3 miles warm-up, then 10 mile race in 1:07:10, followed by mile jog back to metro.  In the afternoon, did injury prevention work, 1250 yards of shakeout swimming and foam rolling.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Race Report: Army 10 Miler, October 12, 2014

I ran the Army 10 Miler today, finishing in an official time of 67:10.  Still a good bit off of my PR, but I'm decently happy with it - I'm making progress.

Army's always a bit of a logistical challenge.  The most common (and recommended) way to get there is by metro, but the metro stop at the start isn't large enough to accommodate a large group of runners (and Army is a VERY large race).  Plus, once you get there to the starting area, you still have to go through a security checkpoint to get to the corrals.  And then there's really no good place to warm-up pre-race.  And they make you get into the corrals very early.

I live in Ballston, which means that I'd normally take the orange line metro (which was running a train once every 20 minutes) to the Rosslyn station, and then swap there to the blue line (running once every 6 minutes) to go two stops to the race start.  But....I had a bit of inspiration.

Where I live is about 2.5 miles jog from the Rosslyn station.  So....why not just jog to Rosslyn, and use that as a shakeout and the bulk of my warm-up?  (and also save myself the aggravation of waiting for a train that was running 3 times an hour).  So that's what I did, and it worked perfectly (except for the bit of chafing on my shoulder from my bag).  I left my house at 6:15, and the combo of easy jog plus blue line got me to the Pentagon station at 6:55.  Of course, it took another 10 minutes to actually exit the metro station, but I had planned for that, and had time.  Between getting to the surface, doing bag check, hitting the portapotties, and jogging the half mile to my corral, I ended up at my corral around 7:35.  Did a few quick strides and drills, and then hopped in to wait, chatting with friends.

We stood around for a long time (long enough that I think everyone in the corral with me lost the benefit of any strides they had done), and then we were off.  This course is always crowded, and I needed a lot of time to warm-up, so I took the first mile pretty slow (7:11), and then started nudging the pace down.  Even with such a cautious start, I still felt like I was in a bit of oxygen debt from the get go, which was annoying.  But nothing to do but work with what I had.

My breathing was a bit tough the whole race, like I had cotton wadded in my upper chest.  This was was frustrating.  But it also makes me feel even better about this race - I was able to run a decent race despite the fact that it wasn't my best day (not the weather's fault, BTW - it was perfect racing weather).

This was never going to be a PR race for me - I'm just not in that shape right now.  The whole reason to do it was to get a good race effort run in and to practice racing skills, and I did just that.  By mile 5 I was hurting, by mile 7 I was swatting away buzzing fantasies about dropping out (we've all had those, right?) and by mile 9 I had no freakin' clue how I was going to make it to the finish. But I held it together, focusing on my form and relaxing and positive thoughts, and somehow my last two miles were my fastest.  And that's a confidence boost.  The next time I'm REALLY hurting, it will be good to have in my mental back pocket the knowledge that I can really hurt and hold it together.

Splits were:

Mile 1: 7:11
Mile 2: 6:45
Mile 3-4: 13:31 (6:46)
Mile 5: 6:38
Mile 6-7: 13:25 (6:43)
Mile 8: 6:38
Mile 9: 6:33
Mile 10: 6:31

Other notes:

  • They really need to offer space blankets at the finish if they're going to have bag check over a mile from the finish area.  October is late enough that the clothes that are comfortable for racing are not the ones comfortable for standing around in after.
  • My stomach was pretty sour, so I ended up not taking any gels during the race, just a bit of water during the first mile.  I usually take a gel during a 10 mile race - not sure if that would have made any difference here.
  • Used Dulera in the morning, and then when stuff still felt tight I used my albuterol about 10 minutes before the start.  No full out asthma attack, but my lungs were definitely not great today - far worse than they were during the Navy Half.  I'm guessing this is some combination of my weed allergies, standing around in the corrals for a bit of time before the start, and maybe the bug I had earlier in the week.  As I do every year, I'm crossing my fingers that this will end once we have first frost (I often struggle until then).  If not, back to the pulmonologist.
  • Every year, someone describes this course as "fast and flat" - they're right on the first part - this is a very fast course.  But it is NOT flat - there's several gentle inclines/declines.
  • My gait still feels just bit off, despite all the work I'm doing on it - still like one of my axles is bent, to use a car analogy.  More stuff to work on.
  • 6:15 was the absolutely perfect time to leave my house.  But....NO LATER.
  • This is the one year anniversary of getting the MRI that confirmed a tear of my left hamstring at the attachment.  It's so great to be here, and not there.