Sunday, April 29, 2018

Training log - Week ending 4/29/2018

This week was 44 miles of running, 4 "miles" of pool-running, and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

So...pretty much the opposite of last week - mostly land running, with my first post-marathon run on Tuesday.  

I've run eight marathons now, and I've taken anywhere between 4 days (borderline too little) and two weeks (too long) off from running after each. 7-10 days seems to be the sweet spot for me, with the exact number dictated by how I feel.  It's important to give the body a break from impact, so that it can repair damage done to soft tissue and bone during the marathon; at the same time if I wait too long my body loses some of its durability, and it's very hard to ramp back up.  Taking extended periods of time off can be a springboard when you're younger; but for older runners it closes a door that is very hard to reopen.

[to build on this - older runners simply recover slower (that's a fact).  In my experience and based on my observations, that means both that older runners need to incorporate more recovery into our weekly training and that we can't take extensive season-end complete breaks.  If proper training is a series of peaks and valleys, our peaks need to be lower and our valleys shallower.]

I didn't feel terribly beaten up after Boston (at least as compared to previous marathons), but I took 7 days in the pool anyway as a precaution, ramping up from pool-running with the belt (really, no exertion at all, just mobility) to "normal" pool-running.

Then, on the eighth day, I ran.

I generally run my easy days very slowly compared to my race times.  That's not something that comes naturally; it's a practiced skill that requires a fair bit of mental effort each morning.  I think it's for that reason that my first runs post-marathon are always challenging, and thus marked "aerobic" rather than easy.  I feel stiff and tight and my heart rate is elevated and at the same time I can't seem to slow down.  

But each day gets better, and when I'm once again able to ride the brakes I know I'm well on my way to recovery.  

By Sunday, I was feeling completely normal.  I'm a bit surprised at how quick the recovery has gone - I had assumed that running the Boston course in that weather would wreck me for weeks.  But from what I can tell, I'm not alone in bouncing back surprisingly fast.  A testament to the virtues of a) cryotherapy and b) not getting dehydrated at all during your race.


Monday: upper body weights and core and 4 "miles" pool-running.  
Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 6 miles aerobic (8:57) and 1000 yards swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 5 miles aerobic to yoga (8:46), yoga and then 3 miles easy (9:15) plus drills.  Massage in afternoon.

 Off due to work travel.  Nothing except f
oam rolling at night.

Friday: 4 miles (9:31) to yoga, yoga, and then 6 miles easy (9:31) plus drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  8.5 miles aerobic (8:34) (ran too fast so I could chat with friends - it's allowed once in a while if I'm not in training) followed by upper body strengthwork and core.  Foam rolling in afternoon

Sunday:  11.5 intermittent miles very easy (9:17) (cheering at race) followed by injury prevention work and f
oam rolling.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Training log - Week ending 4/22/18

This week was 26.2 miles of running, 42 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

One marathon.  And a heckuva lot of pool-running.  

I actually wasn't that beaten up after Boston.  As a friend noted, it's probably because I basically took a 3 hour ice bath that day.  Even so, I kept myself in the pool for a week.  Because, as another friend noted, I hadn't spent enough time in cold water.  

The first few days of pool-running were with the belt - just gently waving my legs in the water.  Then I shifted back to normal (but easy) pool-running.  I also did a lot of very gentle yoga - sitting out the challenging poses but just getting things mobile again.

(Why did I pool-run instead of just laying on the couch?  Because it was better for physical recovery.  And also better mentally, since it gave me a chance to chat with many of my running friends - I had company for every single pool-run this week.)

I've got a lot of thoughts about what to do next, but I'm not acting on them yet.  I have a rule of waiting 10 days post-goal race before making major decisions about what to do next.  Many times, something will seem like a great idea 2-3 days post marathon. And then common sense kicks in a week later when the emotions subside.

I've also had a chance to reflect on lessons learned from this cycle.  (And also lessons learned from Boston 2018 specifically, but that's a different upcoming post).

  1. This cycle I eliminated my evening pool-running double.  I experimented with this because I felt like I was losing more than I gained from the stress of having to fit the evening double into my schedule.  Instead, I resolved to use the time gained to go to bed earlier.  In retrospect this worked very well.  I don't feel like I lost anything in terms of strength from cutting out the evening pool-run - the fact that I was able to hang on as well as I did in the last few miles despite bonking indicates my strength.  And the extra sleep was wonderful.
  2. I experimented with longer sustained workouts of 2x5 miles at marathon pace, as compared to shorter segments with more recovery.  I hit a new fitness level during this cycle, and I'm convinced this change was a lot of it. 
    As a general rule, I respond much better to sustained effort versus breaking it into intervals with recovery (think tempo versus cruise intervals), and it seems marathon pace work is no exception.  I don't think this change would work for all.  In fact, my suspicion is that most are better off with shorter segments.  But for me, this modification was a game changer.
  3. I also pushed things slightly too hard during taper, resulting in legs that could have been a bit fresher on race day.  To explain more, I'm someone that does need to maintain and even slightly increase intensity during taper, while cutting volume.  In the past, I've over-tapered and showed up at the race start rested, but incredibly dull and stale.

    But this time, I pushed the intensity slightly too much in light of how I was feeling.  Much of this can be attributed to pollen, believe it or not.  The pollen in my area exploded during taper, and made me feel awful the last two weeks before the race.  But rather than back off on the intensity slightly to accommodate how I was feeling, and to keep the effort right, I kept pushing in the name of peaking.  In retrospect, this was a mistake, and I won't make it again.  I don't think it affected my race that much - certainly not as much as the weather did.  But it is something I can improve for next time.


Monday: 26.2 miles in 3:12:34.

Tuesday: Fly home.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: yoga and 5.5 "miles" pool-running with belt.  Massage in afternoon.

 yoga and 7.5
 "miles" pool-running with belt.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 1250 yards swimming and 7 "miles" pool-running with belt.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  7 "miles" pool-running and yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:  15 "miles" pool-running (way longer than I planned, but I was being social) and 75
0 yards swimming. Foam rolling in evening.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Race Report: Boston Marathon, April 16, 2018.

I ran the Boston Marathon yesterday, finishing in 3:12:34.  Not the time I had hoped for, but it is what it is.

My big worry when registering for this race had been that it would be hot, as it had been the last two years.  As the big day approached, I realized that instead we were going to get cool, damp conditions.  And, naively, I rejoiced.  I run well in those conditions, far better than heat.  Plus rain means no pollen.

Of course, that was before I knew how bad it would be. Temps of 38 degrees; rain (heavy at times); and a headwind that ranged and raged between 15 and 35 miles per hour.

I'm a chronic overpreparer, and I knew both from my previous experience at Grandma's Marathon and a test run I did a few weeks ago just how easily I get chilled when I'm outside and not moving. Like I would be when waiting in athlete's village for 90 minutes.  So I shipped a LOT of stuff up AND went shopping.    As the forecast grew more dire (and the entirety of Boston appeared to be sold out of everything), I was grateful I had done so.

If you want a laundry list of what I carried to the start, it was:

  • my pre-race breakfast (rice, hemp powder, gels, stroopwafels.
  • a bottle of water
  • a yoga mat
  • two pairs of disposable handwarmers
  • three disposable "body warmers" (like handwarmers, only bigger - they include a few in each box of handwarmers that I buy, and I've never had a use for them before)
  • a insulated cup to sip warm water out of 
  • a heavy blanket
  • two heat sheets
  • an umbrella
  • a roll of toilet paper
  • a couple plastic trashbags, just because you never know.
And I also wore a ton of clothes.  But more on that later.


I flew in early Saturday morning, and took the new "Silver Line" (new to me, since it's been 15 years since I was last in Boston) directly to the expo.  I was in and out in 15 minutes, with bib, shirt, poster, and obligatory stuffed animals (yes, I know).  Then I took the Red Line to Harvard Square, where I first stopped by FedEx to mail home all the stuff I had just bought at the expo, and then lunched on Chipotle while overlooking Brattle Street and reminiscing.

Then I went to my hotel, nicely located in the financial district (convenient to the start buses and the finish, but not so close that it cost a fortune), where I checked in and requested my box of shipped stuff.  And waited, and waited.  The hotel couldn't find my box, and claimed that it had not been received, despite UPS's representations to the contrary.  The box was finally found but only after I insisted on helping them look for it.  As soon as I walked in the storage room, it was right in front of me. Sigh.

But all's well that ends well, and I was able to spend the next 36 hours doing gentle yoga and eating Chipotle.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.


Race morning dawned early, of course.  I gave a lot of thought to what I would wear, both on course and during the 90 minute+wait in athlete's village.    Based on a) my "practice athlete's village" a few weeks ago, b) my experience during the Shamrock Half Marathon in 2017, and c) advice from a friend who had run a marathon in similar weather on Saturday, I went with the following layers:

Layer 1

Layer 1: Singlet, shorts (gels pinned to shorts), arm-warmers, hat with headband underneath.  Not shown are my convertible gloves/mittens, which I had sprayed with waterproofing spray a few days before I left for Boston.  I planned to finish the race in this outfit.

Layer 2

Layer 2: Add a cheap technical longsleeve (6 for $20 at a recent race expo), and a clear poncho on top.  I knotted the longsleeve at my bustline so that my number showed.  I would start the race this way, and remove layers if/when I felt appropriate.

Layer 3

Layer 3: Add sweatpants (XXL so that they'd slide off easily over my shoes), a heavy sweatshirt, and a wonderful LL Bean raincoat that I found for $8 at Goodwill.  Also waterproof shoe covers for my shoes that I bought on Amazon.  I'd wear this all the way to the start line.

I know that quite a few others wore one pair of shoes to the start, and then changed shoes there. For me, I knew that if my hands froze, I wouldn't be able to tie my shoes well, so it was much preferable to put on my running shoes in the hotel and then wear the covers over them.

Thus garbed, I left my hotel room at 6 am to walk my stuff over to bag check.  My teammate Larry was staying at the Four Seasons (very near bag check and the buses to the start), so after dropping my bag off I met him and some others in the Four Seasons lobby.  

As wave 1 runners, we (my training partners Larry, Chris, and Juan, plus Larry's friend Josh) were supposed to board the bus between 6:00 and 6:45 am, but I took Larry's advice and waited until 7 am to walk over to the buses, boarding with the first of the Wave 2 runners.  In retrospect, this was one of the best decisions I made that morning.  

Leaving the Four Seasons at 7 am, we boarded a bus at 7:15 and arrived in Hopkinton just before 8:30 am.  This was absolutely perfect.  Just enough time to eat second breakfast, use the bathroom, and then get called to the start.  

Walking to the buses in Boston Common, I noted the mud.  And by noted, I mean "almost fell twice."  As a horsewoman, I know mud.  Horses and fields and rain create a lot of it.  There's normal mud, there's peanut butter-like mud that sucks your shoes off, and then there's Crisco-like mud that can be deep but is incredibly slick.  This was the Crisco-like stuff, and it was treacherous.


It had clearly snowed some in Hopkinton, and when we arrived, the deep but superslick mud had an icy covering in spots.  We had arrived just in time to grab some of the last spots in one of the tents, so the five of us spread my yoga mat and some heatsheets on top of the mud, and then huddled together against the wind (which permeated the tent), eating and drinking.  Pretty much every item I listed above was put to good use and appreciated - the only thing that I didn't need was the toilet paper.

(the one thing that I didn't bring, but should have, was a pair of plastic gloves to wear under my glove/mittens. Fortunately, Larry had an extra pair.)

Then it was time to walk to the start.  I held onto my umbrella as long as I could before a race official finally pried it out of my hand.  Everything else stayed on until the last possible second.  Then we were off.  Only 26.2 miles between me, a hot shower, and a lot of junk food and alcohol with friends.


A week ago, my game plan for this race was something like "protect quads during the first 3, conservative through 16, then start to race."  But....with the weather forecast, I modified that to "stay cautious, don't forget about nutrition/hydration, and use your best judgement"  So much would depend on how the wind played out through the morning.  

I wanted to find packs to work with if possible.  I also was very worried about blowing up on this unfamiliar and notoriously tricky course, since in this weather the consequences of imploding could be dire.  On a normal day, if you blow up, you walk it in.  And it's fine.  Humiliating, but fine.  

In these conditions, the safest way to run was with a steady, building effort.  As soon as I slowed dramatically or walked, hypothermia would set in.  To that point, I ran with a credit card and cash on me.  I intended to run a good race.  But, if I started struggling I had every intent of dropping and taking the T to the finish.  This was not a day for foolish heroism.


So much of the race is a wet, windy, miserable blur.  I started the race very slowly - not just because I wanted to be careful, but also because I had no choice - I was so stiff that I couldn't move fast at all.  The road was also treacherous - discarded clothing and heatsheets were everywhere, and my Vaporflies felt like I was slipping all over the place.  So I gingerly felt my way into the race.

It took me about 8 miles to start feeling warmed up - an eternity.  Shortly after that, I started overheating, due to the poncho.  Sweating would doom me in this weather, so I tore off the poncho and tossed it.  My throwaway shirt stayed with me for the rest of the race - I never felt like it helped me that much, as water logged as it was.  But it wasn't hurting me, so no reason to waste energy tossing it.

One of my big to-dos was to stay on top of hydration and nutrition, and I tried as best I could.  But my failing hands and waterlogged outfit interfered.  

I usually run with a handheld water bottle - refilling that at stops by unscrewing and re-screwing the top.  Today, I thought that would be a plus because it would minimize water splashing on me.  Nope.  With my failing hands, I couldn't work the top.  So I just grabbed a cup every other stand.  I spilled half the cup on me each time, but it made no difference - the water in the cups was the same temperature as the water from above.

I also normally take 7-8 gels in a marathon.  I did 4 this time, with my last a bit after mile 19.  Not by choice - I had run with my normal 10+ gels pinned to the waistband of my shorts, folded inside.  And I had pre-torn the tops of the gels for easy access.  But my soaked shorts were glued to my body, trapping the gels within, and my hands were useless for extracting them.  Plus each attempt to remove a gel required me to twist and contort while running, and I wasn't all that stable on my feet anyway.  

The irony of running with multiple gels and a water bottle, and not being able to use either, was not lost on me.


As I noted above, the race was almost like a dream (and not a nightmare, because I wasn't suffering - I was just numb).  It was always rainy and the wind was always blowing.  And sometimes it was really raining and really blowing in my face.  At other times, it was just a shitty day. 

I looked for a pack, but was never able to find one. I think everyone had the same idea - find a pack - but no one wanted to lead.    So I just kept working my way through, passing person after person.  

I felt good in the hills.  Surprisingly so. So when I crested Heartbreak, I started to roll down the glorious downhill to Boston.  I caught up to Larry, and together we picked up the pace even more, to bring it in strong over the last 5 miles.

And then, within the space of 30 seconds or so, I bonked.  Hard.  This wasn't fatigue from the distance or from poor pacing.  And I wasn't cramping.  I simply ran out of gas - I could still run, but I had no power at all.  I'm sure this is due to inadequate gel intake during the race, amplified by my increased caloric needs because of the cold.  I simply ran out of gas.

I kept grinding.  Walking was not an option - not just because of pride but because of hypothermia.  I had to keep moving as best I could.  But it was hard.  The slower I went, the colder I got.  Even as I hobbled, I kept trying to curl into something like foetal position - not good for running.  And so I fought a hard battle just to keep my form upright, and to get to the finish.

I'm told that Boylston Street is one of the great marathon finishes.  I didn't fucking care.  All I knew was that I was done.


After the race was another ordeal.  The BAA volunteers (who were WONDERFUL) wrapped me in a fantastic heatsheet with a hoodie, and after a quick picture with Larry (I wanted to make sure the moment of misery was captured) I gathered my bag.  Then off to the women's changing tent, which was half men.  Since there were so many more men than women in wave 1, there was a long line for the men's changing area, and none for the women.
Larry and myself at the finish

I didn't care, I just stripped my top off anyway.  The floor of the tent was a half-inch of standing water and there was no place to sit, so I only changed into my dry top.  There was no way I was going to be able to change my shorts or shoes without falling over and taking an impromptu ice bath - undoing the whole point of changing into dry clothes to begin with.  Then I rewrapped myself in my sheet-with-hood, and lumbered back into the streets.  

In a surreal recreation of a scene from the Handmaid's Tale TV show, the streets of Boston were full of people like me, wrapped modestly in clothing that covered head-to-toe with a hood, walking slowly with a downward gaze.  As the rain continued to fall and the police looked on.


Splits were:
Mile 1: 8:01
Mile 2: 7:15
Mile 3: 7:22
Mile 4: 7:12
Mile 5: 7:14
Mile 6: 7:06
Mile 7: 7:03
Mile 8: 7:10
Mile 9: 7:10
Mile 10: 7:07
Mile 11: 7:15
Mile 12: 7:05
Mile 13: 7:01
Mile 14: 7:04
Mile 15: 7:27
Mile 16: 7:13
Mile 17: 7:34
Mile 18: 7:40
Mile 19: 7:16
Mile 20: 7:32
Mile 21: 7:44
Mile 22: 7:05
Mile 23: 7:29
Mile 24: 7:27
Mile 25: 7:37
Mile 26: 7:45
last .21: 1:42 (8:05 pace)


Other notes:

  • This marathon is for the most part, wonderfully managed.  But there is one striking flaw: bag check.  At a normal race, bag check is done by numbers - 6000-6999 at one tent, 7000-7999 in the next, etc.  This works well when the numbers are randomly assigned - finishers are evenly distributed among the tents.  But...when you assign numbers by seeding time, then it's not surprising that runners with similar numbers are finishing at approximately the same time, resulting in one tent being overwhelmed.  Of all races, this race needs to do bag check by some other means.  Letters A-Z, perhaps (i.e. instead of being 7560, I would be "B-7560", while 7561 might be "C-7561" and 7562 would be "D-7562").
  • I've seen some ragging on social media about "wimpy elites" who dropped out when they started to struggle.  I want to be absolutely clear - there was absolutely no shame in dropping today, regardless of one's pace or the number on one's bib.  This was NOT a day that you could safely jog it in, or take a break, regroup, and continue on.  As soon as you slowed, you were frozen toast, and the only choice was to drop and save for another day.  There was nothing heroic or respectable about finishing.  All I got for my work was a unicorn medal, a fancy heat sheet, a time that doesn't reflect my fitness, and a good story.  Only the last is of any real value to me.
  • As for what I would have done differently?  I don't know.  I can't think of any practical way I could have carried my gels that would have made them accessible once my hands failed on me.  And I ran with surgical gloves under water-proofed gloves/mittens with handwarmers, so I had already gone to the 9th degree as far as my hands were concerned.  
  • I'm also not sure how I could have dressed any better.  What I wore worked for me in very similar conditions at Shamrock half - but there's a difference between half-marathon intensity and full marathon intensity, and you don't generate as much heat in the later, while being out there more than twice as long.  But wearing more clothes would have meant either more clothes to get water logged, or more clothes to get sweaty under - as bad as getting soaked.   I guess I could do more research.  Or decide never to race in these conditions.  (knowing me, I'm going to do more research).
  • Pacing-wise, I do think I was a bit too cautious. As discussed above, that wasn't totally by choice - my stiffness mandated a long warm-up.  However, since I hadn't run the course, I think I held back a bit too much after the first 4-5 miles, which cost me time and also let me get a bit cold (which cost me more time when my hands froze).  If I do it again, I'll likely be a bit more aggressive in the middle of the course. 
  • Having now experience the whole "BOSTON" experience, I'm lukewarm on the subject.  So many people have an obsessive reverence for this race that I don't share.  On the one hand, it is a phenomenally run race, and I actually did like the course and feel I could have run very well on it on a different day.  On the other hand, so much of the BOSTON experience seems to be about stuff peripheral to the actual athletic event.  Large expos, pasta dinners, people wearing ugly jackets everywhere.  And that stuff isn't important to me.    I'm sure I'll do it again at some point, but it's not a race I'll insist on running every year.
  • Jetblue did a special pre-boarding for Boston Marathoners on Tuesday morning.  At first I was a bit uncomfortable: I felt like we were getting the special treatment reserved for veterans and active duty military.  And then I realized we were getting the special treatment given to small children and invalids, and it made more sense.
  • I had been hoping for a top 20 age group finish in Boston, but just missed it - 24th.  Bummer.
  • I'm so glad I overdressed this whole winter to prep for a hot Boston.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Training log - Week ending 4/15/18

This week was 19 miles of running, 12 "miles" of pool-running, and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

The calm before the storm.  Or something like that.  The consequence of a Monday marathon is a week before that has very little of interest.

(well, except for the fact that my hotel misplaced the box of throwaway clothing, gels, and similar that I had shipped up earlier in the week.  That was interesting in the bad sense of the word.  Fortunately, the box was located.)

The forecast is literally for doom and gloom (40 degrees, rain, substantial headwind), but I'm at peace with it.  It's not the weather I would have chosen, but still vastly preferable to what I ran Hartford in last fall.  Heck - pollen will not be an issue tomorrow, and that's awesome.

And I have plenty of experience racing in similar conditions.  I learned from Shamrock 2017 that I can run very well in this weather, as long as I'm smart about pacing.  From last month's Philly Love Run I learned that I can run well in a solid headwind when others are using ME as the windblock (not that I intend to have that happen again).  And, Grandma's 2015 taught me that a race can be wrecked before it starts if you go hypothermic while waiting.  All are races that I've learned from, and I will apply those lessons here.

[heck, I even did a tempo workout during the bomb cyclone.  Whatever, wind.]

So...we'll see how things play out.  Obviously the weather isn't ideal, but I still believe that it is possible for me to run very well tomorrow, if I make smart decisions before and during the race.


Monday: 6 "miles" pool-running and DIY yoga; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 7 miles, including a track workout of 4x800 in 3:00, 3:01, 2:57, 2:54.  Also 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Sports massage in afternoon.

Wednesday: 7 miles very easy (8:58) to the gym, 
drills and strides, and then some light injury prevention work and DIY yoga.  Foam rolling at night

 Very light upper body strength and core, plus 
6 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday4 miles, including 1 mile at "conservative marathon pace" (7:05).  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: Travel to Boston.  DCA->Logan->expo->FedEx->Chipotle->hotel (after picking up stuffed animals and a poster at the expo, I immediately shipped them home so I didn't half to deal with them on the flight back).   DIY yoga and foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  1 mile shakeout (9:14), DIY yoga, foam rolling.  Chipotle.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Training log - Week ending 4/8/18

This week was 48 miles of running, 15 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Second to last week of taper.  In general, I'm feeling very good about my fitness, and taper is mostly going to plan.  The one hiccup hit late in the week, when I started feeling awful - sinus ache, fatigue, minor sore throat.  

Since the pollen exploded late this week, I was 95% sure it was allergies, rather than incipient illness, so I showed up for the tempo workout.  The tempo went....OK.  It really wasn't a bad workout given how lousy I felt, but I was sludgy and my legs wouldn't turn over - not how one wants to feel 10 days out from a marathon.  I know I'm fit, but I need to be functioning at 100% to run a good marathon.

It was also depressing to have allergies raise their ugly head, given that I'm on all sorts of allergy meds (Xolair, Singulair, Clarinex, and a budesonide nasal rinse, plus regular allergy shots) to prevent exactly that from happening.

However, I'm due for my next Xolair injection on Monday, and so I'm hoping this was merely a perfect storm of heavy pollen hitting just as my Xolair was wearing off. In the meantime, I added another medication that my allergist has recommended in the past: Zantac.  

Zantac is sold as a heartburn medication, but it's actually an antihistamine (blocks the "H2" category of histamines) that works synergistically with traditional antihistamines (which block "H1").  I don't like taking it long term for multiple reasons, but if it helps me get through life for now, so be it.

(and as always, every medication I'm on for allergies is totally legal under USADA.  Want to check if a medication is legal?  Go here.)


Monday: 7 "miles" pool-running and DIY yoga; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 10 miles, including a track workout of 400, 800, 2x1200, 800, 400 in 88, 2:56, 4:28, 4:24, 2:51, 83.  Also injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (8:59) to the gym, 
drills and strides, and then upper body weights/core plus some DIY yoga.  Foam rolling at night

 DIY yoga and 
8 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday10.5 miles, including a 5K tempo on the track in 19:43 (6:21/6:21/6:15/0:45)   Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 8 miles easy (8:55), followed by drills and strides, and then upper body weights and core. Foam rolling in evening.

Sunday:  11 miles aerobic (7:42), followed by cheering and freezing at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.  DIY yoga and foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Training Log - Week ending 4/1/18

This week was 56 miles of running, 20 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

One of those weird hybrid weeks: recovering from the half and kinda starting to taper.  The first few days were just recovery, with an intentionally half-assed cruise intervals workout on Friday.  My legs were still somewhat tired, and there was no need to push things.  Anything that got my legs turning over a bit was fine.

Sunday was the last workout that I really cared about at all - 16 miles progressing, so that the last 6 were at marathon pace.  I intentionally pulled back slightly on this one.  My coach has given me a range of 6:45-7:00 for my marathon pace work, and like every other type A runner on the planet, I've usually ended up at the bottom of that range.  But now, with the marathon two weeks away (and a recent half-marathon still in my legs) there was no need to be aggressive, so I aimed for between 6:50-6:55.  

(I didn't aim for 7:00 pace because OMG that would be just crazy.....I mean, nobody ever targets the top of a pace range...) 

Like the 16 miler at the start of the cycle, I ran this one on the Mount Vernon Trail, structuring it so that the marathon pace stuff would coincide with the mild rolling hills near the airport.  These hills are not big at all, but they are just sharp and frequent enough to disrupt my rhythm (and I am a rhythm runner).  Holding a steady effort here was a nice way to practice for the bigger hills at Boston, without adding too much stress to the run.  And the 6:5x pace felt very easy aerobically, which was a nice confidence boost. 

(legs were a bit tired for this one also, but that doesn't worry me - I know from experience that it won't be until late this coming week that my legs start to feel fresh.)

Also like my first 16 miler, I used this run as a rehearsal for the late start at Boston.    Instead of eating my normal pre-run/pre-race breakfast, I again split the meal into two - half my breakfast at 5:15 am, and half at 8:15 am, before starting to run a bit after 10 am.  

My takeaway from last time was that I needed to skip caffeine and sugar during the first meal, saving them for the second.  Sugar/caffeine at 5:15 am made me crash at 10 am.  So this time I kept my first breakfast to complex carbs and protein (brown rice and protein powder), saving the gels for after 8 am.  And it worked very well.  Good energy, bathroom usage timed well with when I'll have access to portapotties.  So I'll go with that.

This time, since I had plenty of time to kill before the 10 am start, I decided to mimic the Boston start in another way, by getting to my run location at 8 am and then sitting outside with a book before starting the run.  Odd?  Yes, but it ended up being very helpful.  

[and honestly, practicing waiting at Hopkinton was more appealing than catching up on house cleaning (which is what I should have been doing) and more useful than arguing on the internet (which is what I would have been doing).]

My plan for Boston was to bring a mat to sit on, and then stay warm (assuming we have good weather) by wearing a throwaway sweatshirt and using a disposable "body warmer" (like a disposable handwarmer, but bigger).  As it turned out, I was freezing by the end of my roughly two hour wait this morning, and it sapped some energy from me. And it wasn't that cold - only 50-55 degrees.   I'm just one of those people who chills very quickly if I sit still.  (I'm also one of those people who keeps forgetting that I'm one of those people...)

So now I know that I need to bring a thick blanket with me as well.  And possibly 2-3 body warmers.  Best to learn that now, rather than in 2 weeks.

A few people have asked what my goal time is for Boston - the answer is "it depends."  On the weather, mainly.  Based on how I've felt during training, and how last week's half went, I think I could slip under 3 hours on a Chicago/Shamrock type course if the weather was good.  But the Boston course is a different beast.  

In my favor is that I'm usually very good at being patient at the start of my races, and I'm also a very good downhill runner.  However, I'm not a great uphill runner, and I also do best at races where I can hit a rhythm, as discussed above.   

Right now, I'm thinking that I have a reasonable shot at 3:05 or under, weather permitting.  Some may fear I'm being too aggressive, others may think I'm too conservative.  Maybe so to both.  But in the end, it really doesn't matter.  

Since I run my races with my watchface blanked, pacing off of feel and completely ignoring splits, my "goal time" has absolutely no bearing on how I will run the race.  If it turns out that I'm wrong about what I'm capable of running, it won't ruin my race.  As I've experienced before (Shamrock and Broad Street last year; and last week's Love Run), I'll run what I'm capable of running that day, even if it's several minutes faster than I expected when standing on the start line.

It's one of the many benefits of racing "watchless": when I don't use numbers to guide me,  I don't have numbers to limit me, and so I get the best performance I am capable of on that day.


Monday: 9.5 "miles" pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 2.5 miles very easy to yoga (9:22), yoga, then 6.5 miles home (8:47), followed by form drills (no strides - too close to the half).  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (9:14) to the gym, upper body weights/core, and then 3.5 miles easy home (8:48), followed by drills and strides.  Sports massage in afternoon.

 10.5 "miles" pool-running and DIY yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday10 miles, including a short track workout of 3200, 1600 in 12:44 (6:23/6:21) and 6:14.   Followed with injury prevention work and 1400 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 10 miles easy (8:44), followed by drills and strides, and then upper body weights and core plus some DIY yoga. Foam rolling in evening.

Sunday:  16 miles progressive, split as first 5 miles averaging 8:38 pace; next 5 averaging 7:41; last 6 averaging 6:51.  Followed with injury prevention work and 600 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.