My participation in the Vermont City Marathon was questionable for the past few weeks. I enjoyed my time in Colorado and ran 3 more times during the week (14 miles), which was easy to coordinate since Joe was working and I had a lot of free time. Then the weather turned from 70s to 30s. The quick switch squashed my motivation. I have no trouble with 30 degree temperatures, but a 40 degree change in 48 hours, is hard for the soul. My last weekend in Denver was even harder to find the motivation since Joe wasn’t working. We did quite a bit of cool things; Coors Brewery Tour, NBA -Nuggets vs Nets game, Brunch with some friends, a microbrewery pub crawl, a mini binge of Stranger Things and a few episodes of art with Bob Ross.
On Sunday, I was scheduled to fly home and be back by 7pm. Although traveling always makes for a long day, it was my hope to take Marcy out for a few miles to shake out the legs, but my flights were delayed, instead I worked on progress reports and dominated the pokemon gyms in the terminal at Dulles airport.
The following week was rough. I had progress reports to complete, laundry to be done, and basic life after vacation blues. I started the week fairly strong with a 5 mile morning run with Lindsey and an attempt at Hansons speedworkout Wednesday night.
For a number of reasons, the workout was a mess. 1) I am not in the same shape I was before the last marathon. My leg turnover is slower, although I feel my endurance has improved. 2) I was recovering from a brief Ulcerative Colitis flare, which meant my nutrients were off for a few weeks and likely lower Iron levels due to my symptoms.3)Mildly related to the UC Flare, I decided (rather abruptly) to stop taking Oral Contraceptives, I have been UC symptom free for the past 4 years – with 4 years ago being the last time I had tried to take BC pills. My body was angry. 4) By the next afternoon, it was very apparent that I had a sinus infection.
While I hit my target paces, I felt absolutely miserable. Because of all the above mentioned contributions, it took me days to recover, physically and mentally. The weather was lousy and I wasn’t feeling well, so I ended up skipping all of my other runs. (14 miles total for the week)
By Monday (3/6) I was determined to turn it around. I had planned to run after work, but by the time I got home – felt completely dead and skipped another run. I knew that if really wanted to make it to the starting line of Vermont City Marathon, something had to change. I first decided to switch from Hansons Beginner Plan to Hansons Just Finish Plan. It maintains some of the key parts of their method, but takes out the speed/strength and tempo runs. If I am being completely honest, I had dropped a lot of those workouts after the speed section ended during Philly Marathon training.
I believe that can improve my marathon time by simply training better (miles, miles, miles). I know at some point, in order to continue to improve, I’ll have to introduce other types of training, but I haven’t reached that plateau yet. I immediately felt more inspired and with my new habit of running in the morning, I kicked ass during the week.
I’ll call it a rest day, since I didn’t do anything. I had parent conferences all day, came home and fell into the couch for some Bachelor. I was relieved to discover that the 3 hour episode they were advertising, was really only 1 hour with the other 2 being the women tell all. Since I wasn’t interested in that part, I went to bed at a reasonable hour.
Tuesday: AM: 4 Miles ( 10’18 pace) PM: 75 Minutes Yoga
I had reached out to my friend Karen about running together since I still haven’t mastered the skill of running in the morning on my own yet. Karen is faster than me, but not to the unmanageable amount. It pushed me a long and reminded me that I can move faster than I have been. My legs have been in lazy mode for a while. I went to my favorite yoga teacher’s class for a guided practice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out of my own head. I struggled to be mentally in the class the entire time, but Yoga is a practice, next time will hopefully be better.
Wednesday: AM 5 miles (10’53) PM 2 mile walk
One would think after hundreds of miles at SUNY Albany, I would be tired of it, but I’m not. I am a creature of habit. Because of my new plan, I have some flexibility with each days mileage. My options for the week were 5,4, or 6. Lindsey had 5 on her plan, so it was easy to decide to run the same. Legs felt a bit tired but our splits were quite even, so I’ll take it as a win. The day had started off grey and bleh, but by the time I left work ( and I left a bit early since they ended up using my classroom as a yoga room) it was sunny and beautiful out. I opted to take Marcy dog to the golf course so she could run. Because I can’t quite swing, driving to SUNY, running, and returning Marcy back home and getting to work on time, she’s been missing out on the fun. The walk was hilly and lovely.
Thursday: AM 5 miles (10’28)
Lindsey and I met again at my beloved SUNY Albany. Lindsey had 3 on her schedule and I hadn’t yet decided if Thursday would be 4 or 5. I haven’t yet tried 6 miles before work and was a bit unsure of how much time that would leave me. Along the way, I came to the conclusion that I should get the 5 miles done. I was already out and running and it would mean less miles on a Friday.
Friday: AM 4 miles (10’31)
Lindsey was taking a rest day and I had thought that Karen had a scheduling conflict, so I was trying to amp myself up to continue the morning streak by myself. I was afraid I’d hit snooze too many times and burrow in my bed too long. Although I truly love running in the morning, I really love my bed. Early Thursday evening, Karen sent me a message asking if I was running in the morning, I’m not sure I’ve sent a more excited YES! text before. She agreed to meet me and all was right with the world. As I was doing dismissal at my school, I was so relieved to know that I wouldn’t have to face the wind or cold temperatures that evening. The temperature had dropped quite dramatically later in the day.
Saturday: 11.11 miles ( 10’32)
I can’t emphasis enough the appreciation I have for Lindsey. She had plans for Sunday, so her long run needed to be completed on Saturday. The weather for this weekend was far less than ideal. The temperatures would be low with the windchill keeping temperatures steady in the negatives. I had some flexibility with my plan, but really had no reason to not complete my long run on Saturday vs Sunday, so I agreed to meet. I woke up and ate a reasonable breakfast and googled to figure out what exactly is appropriate running gear for negative temperatures. By 9 am I drank UCAN, put on a lot of clothing, and packed my water & gel for the car to head over to tried and true SUNY. Sure we could have found anywhere else to run – but if it’s not broke, why fit it? The run was fantastic. It was cold and I was awkwardly layered. I ditched my sweatpants and heavy ski gloves before mile 2 but ended up keeping a parka on the whole time. There were some really strong winds, but we kept moving forward. After the first loop, I took in some water and GU before heading out for the second round. I’m not sure if it was the GU or UCAN ( only the second time I’ve used UCAN) but I felt great. I didn’t notice my sugar drop ( which usually means I’m ready to knock someone out of the way) Most impressively, my will to keep my bare ass from having to come out for a pee, kept me from having to pee for the entire run. ( I almost always have to run by mile 5 ) We finished our run very high on endorphins!
After those 2 dodgy weeks, this run was a huge confidence booster for me.
Sunday: 5.65 Miles (10’20)
I had thought that Sunday was going to be warmer than Saturday, but it was more of thr same. Still barely single digit “feels like” temps and a whole lot of wind. Karen and I had vague plans to run together, which really ended up working in both our favor. I caught up on laundry I had been avoiding and did a solid clean up around the house. Eventually, I was ready to run. Karen and Dave were working at a similar pace as myself and we met at Suny after 2pm. I was shocked at how good my legs felt. Moral wise, its a lot easier to get outtl there when I knew I only had to do one loop!
As my body recovers from UC, hormone shifts, and sinus infections, I will try to incorporate some tempo work. As for speed work, I’ve been enjoying the morning company of my ladies, and don’t see that working with my current situation. Someday I will be badass enough to complete Hansons plan at its finest, but for now, this is enough.
Miles this week: 35 (!!)
Total Miles to Date: 125
* there is a shift in mileage goals from Hansons Beginner & Hansons Just finish!