40 miles running this week and I’ve only logged this many miles in a week once before. Everything else is going to be new territory for me in this plan. I’m still feeling really good considering my miles ramping up. But I could be doing more stretching, and more strength training. It was another week of no strength training and no cross-training on the bike.
I did take 7+ hours of a bike maintenance class at Pioneer Valley Bike School. Sure I don’t need to know right now how to take care of my bike, but I fit it in my schedule. I was the only student so this was all one-on-one time which was awesome. I worked on my old Novara hybrid which needed some work. I got new tires, replaced some cable housing, and basically learned how to take apart the bike and put it back together. I learned so much and I’m not sure how much I will retain. I’m hoping to get some basic tools and a repair stand soon and work on Bill’s bike which is the same as my hybrid. This will be a good test to see how much I really did learn.
Even though I didn’t get on my bike this past week, I did clean up Betty, installed the cadence sensor, and put it up on the trainer. Plus I figured out how to install the iPad on my handlebars.
Ella is planning to run the Hot Chocolate Run this year and I’m running with her during her training which started this week. I’m running these as my recovery runs which is still way slower than my recovery pace, but I love spending this time with Ella. It’s a great opportunity to check in with her and talk.
One thing I’m doing during this marathon training which I haven’t done before is keeping track of where I’ve been running on a map. I’d love it if I can cover all of the roads around town by the end of training. It’s been a great way to discover some new routes and fun places to run and to explore neighborhoods I’ve never been in before. This is what the map looks like after 3 weeks of training. I’ve been marking where I’ve been in pink.
Week 4 has only 42 miles planned, so it’s not much of a jump up from this past week. I might do a half marathon in Monson this weekend as part of my long run, but only if I’m up for it and time allows. I won’t be racing it though.
It’s been tough getting out of bed lately in the mornings to run. It’s cold and so very dark. Fortunately I have a few things to help keep me visible when I run in the dark.
If I head out just before dawn I’ll grab my Blackburn Flea. I bought this for my road bike in case I get caught at dusk still out on the road. It’s super light and tiny and put my finger through the velcro loop when I’m running. Once the sun is up, I’ll put it in a pocket. Plus I love the USB charging. If the bulk of my run will be in the dark, I’ll wear a headlamp. I love my new Tikka Plus 2 headlamp. On a recent run, it was so comfortable I thought I had dropped it. But it was on my head.
As far as reflective gear goes, I love the Brooks Nightlife collection. I have the Essential Run Vest (over a long-sleeve shirt keeps me warm enough down to 30°), Reflective Vest (good if I need more reflectiveness when it’s above 45°), and the Nightlife Hat (with blinking red light in the back).
I usually find myself running in the dark when it’s colder. My favorite reflective tights are a pair from Golite which have been discontinued. The have cute reflective flowers on the front and back of the tight. But when it gets really cold or biking in the cold, I’ll wear my Sugoi SubZero Zap Tight. These tights are awesome with wind too.
I’ve finished crocheting all of the hexagons. Now I’m just doing bonus ones so it’ll be bigger. I have plenty of yarn to make it twice the size it is. We’ll see what I can complete in two weeks before the class that covers crocheting the hexagons together.
This past week was a stressful one at home and work. I could only manage the minimum in my training, 4 runs and one yoga session after my long run. Tuesday’s run was not good at all. It was strangely hot that day and everything felt off. Fortunately the rest of the week of running went much better. Though a few hours after my long run yesterday, my right Achilles tendon started to hurt, which is a new pain for me. I’ll need to keep an eye on it. The highlight run of the week which was also the run I was least looking forward to was the recovery run Friday night after work. I ran with Bill through Look Park in the dark getting to see all of their spooky lights. It was super fun.
It’s been a month since I’ve been on my bike. I’ve got to get it up on the trainer so I can take advantage of it for recovery days. I think that will help me recovery faster. My plan this week moves up to running 5 days a week. I’m not sure which days to do strength training on. I read conflicting things about which you should do. So I’ll just have to experiment to see what works for me. Only new workout in the plan this week is a Lactate Threshold on Tuesday, 8 miles w/ 4 mi @ 15K to half marathon pace.
Soccer is done for the season, so life will be a little bit simpler. Here’s hoping for a much better week!
This week went pretty well running-wise. As I’m increasing my mileage, everything is still feeling good. 32.85 miles this week. And I’ve started doing some strength training again. I’d like to fit in two sessions this week and finally get my bike up on the trainer so I can add in some nice recovery rides. I’m getting used to this new plan and still not quite sure what a general aerobic pace is for me which is listed in the book as a % of your max heart rate which I don’t know. I tried to figure out my max heart rate by doing a really fast mile on the treadmill and got it up to 181. I’ll try again this week at the track to see what I can get there. I managed to get my 9-mile run done mid-week. But as these mid-week runs get longer, I’ve got to get up earlier to fit it in. The highlight of my running week was doing 8 miles of my long run on Sunday with Bill. This is the longest we’ve run together without kids. It was really nice catching up.
I kind of feel like these two first weeks of the plan are just practice weeks gearing up for the 3rd week where it switches to 5 runs a week with a total of 40 miles. My last marathon plan peaked at 40 miles, so everything beyond that will be new mileage territory for me.
A few pictures from my week of running. It’s getting colder, darker, and the leaves are dropping fast.
I wasn’t sure I was actually going to do the Lowell Half this morning. My throat was really sore yesterday, and by the end of the day I was feeling achy all over. This morning I woke up at 3:30 am and still had a sore throat, but not achy anymore, yet not feeling myself. Even when I got on the highway, I was still considering turning around and crawling back into bed. But I kept going. Two hours later I arrived in Lowell to pick up my packet at the arena. The race director’s warning “If you wait until race morning to pick up your number, we cannot guarantee you will reach the Start in time.” was freaking me out. Traffic was not a problem and I arrived right when packet pickup opened. But I could imagine that if you waited another hour, traffic would be an issue.
I had some time to kill since the race didn’t start until 8:00 am. I went back to the car and took a 25 minute power nap. I actually felt a little better after. I think it’s what I needed. I made one last stop to the lovely, warm bathrooms inside the arena, this time having to deal with long lines. Then I headed outside and did a very relaxed warm up mile toward the start, took off my gloves and long sleeve shirt which I ditched, and found a nook at the start with 5 minutes to spare, just the right timing.
My previous half marathon PR was at New Bedford this past March, 2:03:59 (9:27 pace). I was pretty sure I could be a little faster, but was hoping to get under 2 hours which would be a 9:09 pace. So my plan was to keep my pace somewhere in between if I could. The start wasn’t seeded and was very crowded for the first mile. I stayed relaxed and tried not to worry about the slow pace rather than wasting energy darting in between people. Once past the first mile the crowd started to thin a bit, and my pace picked up. At 3 miles, the marathoners split off and I put in my headphones as it was a lot less crowded. I stayed focused on my mile splits and not so much my overall pace. I felt really good and could have gone faster, but kept my pace slower than 9:00 for each mile.
Mile 5 came really quickly. But from there for the next 4 miles my stomach started cramping. I slowed down a bit, but still tried to keep the pace up as much as I could. And I continued to drink water and eat Gu Chomps at the water stops or drink just Gatorade. By 9.5 miles we were crossing the Rouke Bridge for the second time on this double loop course. As we were crossing we could see the faster marathoners crossing in the opposite direction. I was totally inspired. Smiling I picked up the pace on the other side of the bridge and noticed my stomach cramps had mostly gone away.
By 11 miles I knew getting in under 2 hours was going to be close. So I really picked up the pace, passing lots of people. Crossing the Aiken St Bridge I knew there was less than 1/2 a mile and kept pushing it. I was surprised by how fast I could go at this point. I cruised into the baseball park and across the finish line knowing I had run a smart race. Final time was 1:58:48 (9:05 pace), over 5 minutes faster than New Bedford. Mile splits: 9:20, 9:08, 9:01, 9:06, 9:00, 9:11, 9:09, 9:08, 9:12, 9:02, 9:05, 8:41, 8:22, 7:37 (0.1 mile). Finished 756/1490 Overall; 110/286 Female 30-39.
After I grabbed my food I sat down in the bleachers and got to watch lots of folks finishing the half marathon and even some of the first marathoners finish. Happy people, great weather (43°-52°, light wind, sunny). This was a good race and really great for spectators. The flat course was nice for a change too. I would definitely consider doing the full marathon some day, especially if I try to qualify for Boston which actually seems possible now that I finished a half in under 2 hrs.
I start training tomorrow for the Austin Marathon. I’m trying a new plan this time, the 55 Miles per Week or Less 18-Week Marathon Schedule from the book Advanced Marathoning. I know it’s a challenging plan, but doable. I think the biggest challenge for me will be fitting in the longer mid-week runs. 18 weeks until Austin!!!
The Amethyst Brook Crocheted Afghan is the pattern I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been collecting colors of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool for years now, waiting for just the right afghan pattern to come along. When I saw the sample afghan for this new Valley Yarns pattern sitting in customer service at work I gasped and new instantly that THIS was the pattern I was waiting for.
I assumed I would grow tired of making so many hexagons. All those ends, all those color changes are so tedious. But instead, each one was exciting to make. Each one was one step closer to my finished afghan that I’ve been waiting years to have.
So I’m about half way through the afghan. I’m still not sure how I’m going to choose the final placement of hexagons…random or deliberate placement??? I’m not sure.
Today I ran the Worldwide Half for the Worldwide Festival of Races. Last year for the festival I ran the Hartford Marathon. Since Bill was going to be out of town this weekend, I didn’t sign up for a race. Liam had a playdate after church. So I took advantage of being kid-free and ran my 13.1 miles along the Mill River, stopping for picture taking.
It was a perfect New England fall day. I got to run in some of my favorite places, and kept my pace a little faster than my easy pace. It was one of those runs where I felt very fortunate to be a runner.
I’ve got a half marathon race for next weekend, the day before I start training for the Austin Marathon. I’ll probably set a PR, but can I cut 4 minutes off of my current PR and run it in under 2 hours? We’ll see. I haven’t been training specifically for this race, just trying to build up my miles for marathon training.
A few photos from my first long trail run this weekend at the Chesterfield Gorge.
It was an incredible 10-mile run and I can’t wait to do it again.
I’m doing my first Olympic triathlon tomorrow and am tired of always coming up with a new list for every race or forgetting something for a workout. So now I have my ultimate checklist which will make getting ready for races less stressful.
Ultimate Running, Biking, Swimming, and Racing Checklist
Swim – Pool
- Swim cap
- Nose Plug
- Sports watch
- Swim workout
- House Keys
- Shower stuff
- Clothes for afterward
- Pool membership
Swim – Open Water
- Body Glide
- Flip flops
- Towel for sand
- Water bottle to rinse sand
- Fingerless gloves
- Bike shorts
- House Keys
- Garmin & mount
- Lip balm
- On-bike nutrition
- Bento box
- Tire/tool kit
- Full Water bottles
- Bike Lock
- Leave map of route
- Road ID
Bike – Cold/Rain
- Arm Warmers
- Full finger gloves
- Toe covers
- Leg Warmers
- iPhone protection
- Body Glide
- Garmin & wrist band
- Long sleeve shirt
- House keys
- Lip balm
- iPhone protection
- Running water bottle
- Fuel Belt
- Road ID
- Reflective vest
Race – Running only
- Gear check bag
- Disposable shirt
- SpiBelt toggles
- Garbage bag
- Timing chip
- Extra shoes
- Extra socks
- Extra clothes
Race – Triathlon
- Transition bag
- Race swim cap
- Bright colored cap
- Bike number
- Transition towel
- USTA membership
- Extra goggles
- Extra nose plug
- T1 sneakers
- Spray sunscreen
- Tri suit