Thursday, July 31, 2014

157 Miles in July!

I wrapped up July training today with a 10 mile tempo set.   1 mile warm up - 8 mile tempo at 9:40-9:45 pace - 1 mile cool down.
Mile 5 I had to wrestle a packet of GU out my hydration belt (always fun) so I made up the time on mile 6 to make sure it averaged out.  We had a crazy thunderstorm roll through last night which meant I got maybe 3 hours of sleep and the aftermath of the storm left a cooler temperature, but 94% humidity.  I'm so over the humidity.  Over it.  Regardless, this was a fight from start-to-finish so I'm happy with the results!

After uploading my data I got the grand total for July - 157 miles!  Me?  Run 157 miles in one month?  Holy shnikes.  My thoughts on that real quick...

  1. Ouch.
  2. If you had told me 6 months ago that I'd be running 157 miles in one month, I would have told you to stick that thought where the sun don't shine.
  3. Your body really is capable of so much more if you're willing to push yourself.
  4. Running 5 days per week has resulted in me slacking heavily on my strength training, which I hate.  The fatigue from the mileage hit me like a ton of bricks these last two weeks, and my body literally craved sleep.  So I listened and slept in on rest days and treated them as true rest days. Still working on trying to find that balance.
  5. Ice is my friend.
  6. My knees have always been my nemesis during training, no matter how many miles I run.  Obviously with this high mileage they are pretty peeved but are getting a lot of love via ice, stretching, and regular visits to the chiro.
  7. My husband sees me more in sweaty disgusting running clothes than he does in anything else.  And he still loves me.  He's a keeper.
  8. Speaking of my husband, I should send him back to school to be a chiropractor, we'd end up saving a TON of money on doctors visits.  Hmmmmmmm... 
  9. I want to eat food and lots of it.  LOTS of it.
  10. If money wasn't a factor, I'd hire a masseuse to live at my house during training.  Seriously, foam rolling is practically a second workout.  

  Despite the aches and pains that come with high mileage, I am loving it!  We are a little over two months away from Chicago and training is going to keep getting more intense.  I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Progress not perfection.

Last week was rough, really really rough.  Physically and mentally I was drained.  We had a horrible storm roll through on Thursday which meant I had to miss my tempo run.  There was no way I could handle doing that on the treadmill.  Me being the "must stick to the schedule" person that I am kind of freaked out over it.  After realizing that I was ten weeks into training and hadn't missed a single run yet, I cut myself some slack.  Life happens.  Everything from the waist down was achy so I took the storm as a bit of divine intervention and took a rest day.  Since I had a long run on Saturday, coach said to not worry about the tempo and instead tack on a couple of extra miles to the long run and enjoy an extra day of rest.  Done and done.  My workouts have been progressing nicely and coach said that this week we were going to tinker with moving me up to the next tier of pacing, which I was super excited about!  Until I saw the paces.....

After a rough week I honestly had zero confidence in my ability to hit the paces for my speed work today.  The Pyramid workout was something new to me and it went a little something like this:

1 mile warm up
1 mile cool down
(7.5 miles total with a 400m recovery in between each set)

It was hard...wayyyyyyy harder than I expected.  (The hearty steak dinner I ate the night before certainly didn't help the cause.)   Coach assigned me a target pace of 8:25 and low and behold I did it!  The 1600m segment was a few seconds slower but hey, that was no easy task.  A month ago he had me do a series of 800's to determine what my training paces would be.  He told me to put 100% effort into those 800's to gauge where I was at.  I pulled those numbers today and was super excited to see how much progress has been made in just a month.

On June 18th my 800's ranged from an 8:42 - 8:52 pace.  Today my 800's paces were both at 8:28!  Keeping in mind this was during a workout that was full of longer segments both before and after the 800's.  I'm really happy with that!  I'm curious to see how I would fare if I did another round of purely 800's (so I could really go all out) and see where I would end up.  I'm sure that will be on the schedule at some point!  It's always nice to step back and see how far you've come instead of how far you have to go.    Every bit of progress should be celebrated!  I'll never qualify for the Olympics by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm really happy with the progress I've seen and it's the motivation I need to "keep crankin'" as coach says.       

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Training Update: Week 10

Back in May when I signed up for coaching under the Hanson's team I knew it was going to be challenging and something above and beyond what I've ever done before.  When I wrote the title "Training Update: Week 10" I sat there and stared at it for a minute.  10 weeks already??  More importantly I have survived this for 10 friggin weeks?!  As I've stated before, I started this training cycle completely from scratch.  Spring 2014 I took a few months off and only ran for recreational fun here and there.  Week 1 of training was simply to develop a routine, there were no paces to hit, only easy paced runs.  It looked like this:

15 total miles for the week and running 4 days per week.  A few weeks into training we started introducing structured speed workouts, tempo runs, etc.  In all my years this is something I've never pushed myself to do.  Why?  I was uncomfortable.  I didn't really understand it all and I especially didn't understand the benefits so I just didn't do it. I'm not comfortable doing things I don't fully understand.  I think we're all guilty of this in some form or fashion right?  Over the last 9 weeks I have learned to be fully OK with being uncomfortable.  Every Monday I wake up, load my workout onto my Garmin and head out the door to tackle a speed workout.  These workouts have ranged from 200's repeats to 1200's repeats but the one thing they all have in common:  they all kick my ass.  Speed was something I kind of dismissed as "not for me".  Over the years yes, I have gradually gotten faster but it was nothing I ever focused on because I simply had accepted the notion that I was ok being a mid-pack runner.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, I repeat, NOTHING wrong with it.  I just didn't think I, Lindsay - little ol' me, could be any faster.  Low and behold though I have learned to LOVE my speed sessions.  They are such a huge challenge for me and admittedly the first couple I was terrified.  I was scared that I wouldn't be able to even finish it or that I wouldn't be able to hit the paces coach assigned.  As we entered week 10 of training I tackled what was undoubtedly my hardest workout to date, a 1200's workout.  After eating and drinking whatever I wanted over the 4th of July holiday it was pure punishment. (80 degree temp and 88% humidity doesn't help either)  In fact, I almost puked twice but I slowed the pace to a walk on my 400 recovery and kept on pushing during those 1200's.  Not only did I finish this workout, but I nailed my paces assigned to me!  Major victory for me physically but more importantly mentally.

In addition to weekly speed work, my mileage has reached a level it never has before.  In June I finished the month with 110 miles logged, which I know is a record for me.  Weekly mileage during week 1 was 15 miles, and last week (week 9) I ended that week at 33 miles logged.

Week 9

Let me put this into perspective, 30+ miles used to be my PEAK weeks for marathon training.  And by week(s) I mean I only had two maybe three that hit that level.  So here we are, not even halfway through training and every single week is now 30+. Over the weekend coach emailed me my training calendar for the next two weeks and said "You're going to start feeling some fatigue now".  LOL.  Now?!?  I got a good laugh out of that.  Ok bub, I'm a little ahead of schedule on that fatigue thing but thanks for the heads up. July is on schedule to have me enter 40+ mile weeks.  I've never gone over 40 before and in my previous marathons, I only had one week at 40 miles each time.  So uh, I'm about to start getting really uncomfortable!  Bring.  It.  On.

It has been tiring, stressful at times, and painful.  I spend quality time with my foam roller each and every day and take my Nighttime Recovery every night.  Those two things are what I'm convinced have helped me to keep trucking forward.  Focusing on my recovery has been a HUGE area of focus this time around.  Yes, it adds even more time to my morning and nighttime routine but it's critical.  Three things I am really focusing on in the weeks ahead:

1) Nutrition - all of these miles means I need to eat more which is actually harder to do than it seems.
2) Form - I have started to work on lifting my knees just a tad extra (like an inch) during my runs to keep from over-extending my knees.  So far so good!
3) Recovery - I've dedicated a ton of time to this so far, and more is going to be needed in the weeks ahead.     

I entered week 10 with a lot more confidence and desire to keep pushing.  Over the last 9 weeks I have learned what it's like to push myself beyond what I thought I could ever do.  I have overcome hurdle and after hurdle both mentally and physically and it hasn't been easy.  Becoming uncomfortable has become the new norm!

This post is simply to say and hopefully encourage you to get out of your own damn way!  You can do anything you want to and the only thing holding you back, is you.  Great things really do happen once you step outside your comfort zone - I fully believe it now.