Blue Ridge Marathon Training Week #6

Blue Ridge Marathon training week #6 was the hardest week yet.  And it was a cut back week.  Funny how that happens.  Anyway, I was dealing with a cold, the uncertainty with the hernia and lack of motivation – so I cut back even on the cut back mileage.


29 miles run; 25 miles biked

  • M: 2.4 miles (10:14)
  • T: Bike 2.6
  • W: 8 miles (10:00); Bike 10.6;
  • Th: Bike 12.6
  • F: 8 miles (8:59)
  • Sa: 11 miles (9:43)
  • Su: rest

Restart button, please.

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My New Running Fashion Accessory

It’s your lucky day, blog readers.  You get a sneak peek of the SUPER sexy and fashionable item that I’m gonna start wearing during my runs.


umbilical hernia belt

I know what you are thinking.  WTF is that ugly thing?  Is she serious?

Unfortunately, I am.

It’s an Umbilical Hernia Belt.  Yes, I said hernia.  Apparently my 17 miles of hills on Sunday caused a hernia.  Which, frankly, I’m relieved about because when I woke up Monday morning and felt a lump on my lower abdomen about 2 inches below my belly button, I convinced myself I had cancer and the end was near.  So a hernia is a relief.  And an umbilical hernia (as opposed to an inguinal hernia) is even more of a relief.  (Because many people can have an umbilical hernia and not need surgery; with an inguinal hernia, surgery is necessary).

Here’s what I learned about an umbilical hernia, in the lay terms that my (new and awesome!) doctor explained to me:  Umbilical hernias are common in babies and not super common in adults.  They happen more frequently with women who have had kids because pregnancy and childbirth weaken the abdominal walls.  They are often caused with activities that overexert yourself with pressure on the abdomen (a lot of times with obesity, which obviously isn’t my case).  The hernia itself is fat poking through a weak area of my abdominal muscle that created a small hole (and during the exertion the fat poked through).

I had basically self-diagnosed myself before seeing the doctor (thank you Google).  But she took a history, did an exam (classic sign: the lump is there when standing up, but when you lay down it disappears and can’t be felt), and then did an ultrasound to confirm with images.

The good news, in my particular case, is that I don’t need surgery because: it isn’t painful (the first day it was tender to the touch, but I can never feel pain when I’m just sitting here and living life – not touching it); it isn’t interfering with my bowel movements (TMI, sorry); the first layer of muscle is completely intact (the layer that keeps the guts in); it is TINY according to the doctor.  (Google “umbilical hernia images” and you will see some NASTY looking photos; mine looks nothing like that – it is mostly just something I can feel by touch and you can see a slight bump if you know where to look and are searching for it).  Some umbilical hernias “relapse” – where they sort of shrink and recede (the fast is going back where it belongs) and then appear again with exertion.  Some remain as is.  But as long as it’s not painful, obstructing bowels or interfering with life activities, I can just let it me.  If it gets bigger, interferes with bowels or bugs me, we can talk about surgery (from what I read surgery always and very easily fixes hernias).

The other good news is that she said I can run as much as always.   Whew.  She said if it bothers me while running, to wear the super sexy umbilical hernia belt.  It sort of is like compression socks, but for the abdomen.  Or a girdle. Tucks things in to where they should be.  She did say if it bothers me or interferes with running, to come back and discuss surgery.  She also said that I can and SHOULD do ab exercises like planks, etc (not crazy ones with swinging movements and weights – which I don’t do anyway) because if my abs are stronger, that, too, will keep things in place where they are supposed to be.

Always something to keep life interesting! :-)

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Blue Ridge Marathon Training, Week #5

How do you train for a mountain marathon when you live in Minnesota and don’t have a mountain near you?  Find the hilliest section that you can and run it over and over and over for 17 miles.  Blah.  That’s what I did for my long run today.  There is this stretch of road that’s 1.25 miles long and pretty hilly, with one bad ass hill right in the middle of it.  In my training for “normal” marathons, I’ve avoided this stretch of road at all costs.  Seriously.  It sucks.  But today I ran it over and over and over again.  Just as I was starting the climb up the bad ass hill (14% incline), another runner came up behind me and said “Hey.  You doing this hill first or last?”.  I felt like a bad ass when I said, “First, last and middle, I’m running this stretch of road for 17 miles!”  (I ran it 3 times and walked it twice)

So this week started off freezing cold (again!) but ended up gorgeous with sun and 35 yesterday and today.  Wheee!

Recap of Week 5 of Blue Ridge Marathon Training:

Miles run: 50.3; Miles walked: 4; Miles biked 12.6; core/strength 2 times

  • M: 5 miles (9:50 on TM); biked 12.6 miles
  • T: 9 miles (9:40 on TM)
  • W: 5.1 miles (10:16 footing was SLIPPERY and my legs were SO tired)
  • Th: walk 4 hilly miles on TM
  • F: 7.1 miles (9:52 on TM)
  • Sa: 7.1 miles (8:30 with 4 miles about 8:05ish)
  • Su: 17 HILLY miles (9:04 with 1492 feet elevation)

Cut back week next week.  I need it.  My body is tired.

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Blue Ridge Marathon Training, Week #4 Recap

I’m getting wimpier in my old age.  Below zero temps and double digit below zero windchills kept me in side for 5 of the 7 days this week. A couple of years ago, I would have been running outside in this ultra cold.  But I did work on my mental strength this week by running my 8 AND 10 mile runs on the treadmill!  I ended up scrapping 2 short recovery runs because of work and happy hour.  :-)  And I did the core/strength routine 3 times.  Yippee!

Recap of week #4 of Blue Ridge Marathon training:

38  miles run; 23.5 miles cycling

  • M: 8 miles (9:50) on treadmill!
  • T: Bike 15.8
  • W: 10 miles (9:34) on treadmill!
  • Th: Bike 7.6 miles
  • F: Rest!
  • Sa: 5 miles with 4 miles of hill repeats (9:25)
  • Su: 15 hilly miles (9:17)

On to week #5!

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Preparing for lots of F-Bombs

Here’s what I’m predicting about my experience at the Blue Ridge Marathon:  It’s gonna be the marathon where my F-Bomb count is BY FAR the highest.

The hills (mountains) are already scaring me.


Blue Ridge Marathon Video

I’ve been reading blogs about, and looking at people’s Strava entries for, the Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon.  And I’m realizing I NEED to get going on the hill training.  I know it’s so crazy steep for so long that I’ll end up walking a lot of it (apparently everyone walks some of it – there are parts that aren’t even runable). But I need to get going on the hill training so that I’m not aerobically dead from doing this thing.  I’ve been trying to do some hills on my treadmill runs, and last week I sought out a fairly hilly route near me.  But after reading the blogs and looking at the marathon profile again, I know I need to kick the hill training into high gear.  Not an easy task when we have sub-zero temps and crappy road conditions.  Gotta figure something out.

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Blue Ridge Marathon Training, Week #3

This week was all about improvising.  I had to mix up the order of the workouts, as well as the workouts themselves, because of cold weather. I ended up on the treadmill more than I wanted to, which meant my paces were slower (for some reason I can’t go fast – like even faster than a 9:20 pace – on the treadmill; I think it’s mental).

I found a core/strength circuit routine that I am going to try to do a few times a week.  Just decided this late in the week, so only did it once this week.  Baby steps.

Week #3 of Blue Ridge Marathon Training:

45 miles running; 23 miles cycling; 1 mile walking

  • M: Cycle 11.5 miles
  • T: 5 miles (10:05) (Treadmill)
  • W: 8 miles (9:52) (Treadmill)
  • Th: 10 miles (8:47; with 4 miles 8:07 – 8:27)
  • F: Cycle 11.7 miles; 4 miles (9:05; with some hill sprints); core/strength
  • Sa: 14 hilly miles (9:12)
  • Su: 4 miles (9:56) (on Treadmill at 2 – 3% incline)

This next week will be even more challenging with ULTRA frigid weather all week.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the only run that I manage outside is the long run.


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