U-G-L-Y

Today’s long run was UGLY.  No two ways about it.  It reminded me of about 7 of the 10 marathons I’ve run, where I hit a wall and the splits turn really really bad.  Because I think we can learn something from ugly runs like this, I’m trying to analyze it and figure out what went wrong, so that I don’t repeat this run ONE MONTH FROM TODAY at the Phoenix Marathon!  Feel free to move on to a more exciting blog.  I won’t be offended.

So why did it suck?

  • It was 2 degrees, with a windchill of -7.  I was dressed ok but for some reason my face got really cold this time.  Even now, 12 hours later, it feels like I have a wind burned face.  Very weird.   (Pretty sure this won’t be happening in Phoenix).
  • The footing was horrible.  I went out about 7:30 this morning.  1/2 the roads were plowed, which actually made the footing worse than if they weren’t plowed, in my opinion because there was loose slop/chunks of snow ice from the plow all over.  And it was too cold/too early for it to melt.  So it was sloppy and icy.  Footing really really sucked.  (Pretty sure THIS won’t be happening in Phoenix either).
  • The route was hilly.  It’s hard to avoid hills where I live, which I don’t think is a bad thing because training on hills makes you stronger and faster.  But when the roads are sloppy/icy, getting up the hills is HARD work. (Phoenix is downhill, so this shouldn’t be an issue)
  • I didn’t hydrate properly.  Just like last week’s long run.  I brought a handheld (20 ounces) with Nuun water.  But within 2 miles the spout was frozen and within 4 miles the whole top was frozen.  So other than my gu, I didn’t have fuel.  I use a handheld because I have learned that I need more water/Nuun/gatorade than “normal” runners – the amount I get at water stops just isn’t enough.  So I’m sure this played a huge role in why I hit the wall (I can avoid this and hydrate properly in Phoenix)
  • I was bored.  It’s getting really fricking old to run for 3 hours by myself freezing my ass off.  When it’s decent weather (i.e. at least double digits ABOVE zero) I actually love running by myself because it’s my time to sort through my life.  But virtually all I thought about for 3+ hours today was how bad this run sucked, how bad I wanted to be done, and WTF am I thinking signing up for marathon after marathon!  (This shouldn’t happen in Phoenix, since it will be new scenery to run in and it’ll be at least double digits above zero!)
  • Another big reason it sucked is my legs are tired.  This training plan is higher mileage than I’ve done for marathon training.  I’m in week 12 of the 16 week plan.  All but 3 of the weeks have been 50 – 65 miles.  The past 4 weeks (including this are 60 – 65 mile weeks).  So put tired legs on crappy footing, and it’s bound to be ugly, right?  (Phoenix won’t have this issue because my legs are going to be fresh and tapered!)

What got me through the ugly run?

  • It’s my last 20 miler before Phoenix.  So even though it sucked, I wanted to finish the entire 20 miles.
  • Thinking about sitting under a warm blanket and reading my book.  (I’m reading Gone Girl.  Anyone read it?  It’s messed up. In a good way.)
  • The groundhog not seeing his shadow.  Seriously.  I know it’s all just a big fictional thing but I am so ready to be DONE with winter that if that little guy had seen his shadow I think I would have had a breakdown.

So there you have it.  I’ve analyzed the shitty run.  And I’m not going to dwell on it – especially because virtually all of the reasons I think it was crappy will NOT be there in Phoenix.

Moving on.

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Disciplined Running

Today’s long run, for me, was about being disciplined.  Not the “you’ve been bad” kind of discipline (although I DID look abused after my run today; another fall!  The sidewalk just jumped out in front of me again.  I swear I’m not running on sidewalks anymore.  I’m gonna break the law and run on the street.)

Running is a dangerous sport!

The discipline that I’m talking about was with my pace.  I wanted to run slow for the 1st 1/2 and a bit faster for the 2nd 1/2 (but all slower than marathon pace).  The biggest challenge for me, I knew, would be not getting caught up in the group pressure to run fast.  I know the group is good for challenging/pushing in a lot of workouts, but on the last long run this close to the marathon I didn’t see any point in going to fast.  Today wasn’t the race.  That’s in 3 weeks.  SO – my goal was 8:30 pace for the first 1/2 and 8:00 pace for the 2nd 1/2.  Ended up with 21 miles at 8:16 pace average, so I’d say it was a success!  Although I will admit that some of the earlier miles were too fast because I did stay with the group to gab a bit. And then one of my later miles was slow because I didn’t stop garmin when I fell. Uggggg.  Must stop falling.

It was SO fun to have my mom out on Summit cheering for us! She had the usual signs, as well as one saying “Cindi Matt is Chicago bound”. And she was ringing a cowbell. 🙂 All of that deserved a quick stop to give her a sweaty hug.  So cute!

Oh – in other exciting news – I got moved up to Corral B in Chicago.  So I’m in wave 1, corral B.  Yipee!  I figure that should put me behind/among about 4000 runners instead of back with 45,000.  I’m sure the marathon must be following my blog and realize how speedy I am and that’s why I got moved up. 🙂

 

The Shopping Run!

I have a new favorite kind of run.  Better than The Donut Run.  It’s The Shopping Run.  Today we ran out of a local running store and at the end of our run the whole running group got 25 – 30% off clothing and shoes.

I love me some shopping.

Someone told me since I run in the Adidas Glide, I should try the Adidas Adizero Boston, which were red and gold and a good light weight trainer.  So I decided to give them a whirl.  Imagine how excited I was when the shoe lady came out with the Adidas Boston in my size opened the box and instead of the red and gold shoe, this beautiful shoe was in it:

 

Bright Pink shoes?  Called Boston?  I seriously almost teared up with happiness in the running store.  Pretty sure I can abandon all my training and sheer happiness at having these beautiful shoes on my feet will carry me across the finish line at a record pace.  Stay tuned.

20.25 miles at 8:16 pace with 161 avg HR done this morning.  I feel freaking fantastic.  Let the weekend begin!

It’s Official: I’m a Klutz

Here I was thinking that I was just a klutz on the bike because I wasn’t used to it.  Not so.  Apparently I’m just a klutz, period.  Check out my knees (and you can’t see it, but I think my right index finger is sprained) from my fall on my run today.  Ugggggg.

Ignore the ugly hair – you’d look like crap too if you just ran 20 miles.

At least I have cute running shoes.

And my fall was only at mile 9 of a planned 20 mile run.  I’m lucky like that.  So now my knees match my elbows from fall after fall after fall on my bike.

Thankfully, I’m tough and I will be ok. 🙂

And I did survive our first 20 miler of the Chicago Marathon Training Cycle.  20.2 miles at 8:12 pace with 164 avg HR. It’s all good.  I’m feeling really good about the training! 🙂

Here is the training group that you all hear so much about (about 1/2 of us are training for Chicago and the rest for Twin Cities)  So much fun!

Not quite sure why I’m slouching backwards like that 🙂

Blah

 

 

Blah.

That’s how I felt for almost every step of my solo long run this morning.  18.5 miles of blah.  It didn’t feel horrible, it just didn’t feel good.  It didn’t feel as easy as it should have for the paces I was trying to hit.  (8:40 for 1st 4 miles, 8:30 next 4 miles; 8:20 next 4; 8:10 next 4; 8:00 for final 2.)  I didn’t hit my paces for the ending 5 – 6 miles.  Which irritates me.

It wasn’t a bad run, it just wasn’t what I wanted.  18.5 miles (8:26 avg pace; 163 avg HR)

So instead of sitting here all day being irritated by the run, I started thinking of it as a learning opportunity and tried to figure out what went “wrong”, why the run was off.  You blog readers are smart, bet you can figure it out in about 10 seconds.  Ready?  Go.

Prize to whichever one of you said: “I bet Cindi’s long run sucked because of the two french silk pie blizzards, the brownie the size of her hand, the greasy hamburgers, the beer, the red wine and the lack of water that she’s had.”

Just a guess, but I think my crappy fueling this week played a part in why I felt so Blah today.  I felt large and off.

I have recently been joking with a friend of mine about how I’m going to get rich and write a book about my Super Speedy Secret Marathon Training plan of hamburgers, beer, blizzards and red wine.  Only 9 weeks of training left.  Time to scrap the crappy diet and get serious.  Wish me luck.  🙂

Donut run!

Loved today’s long run for a bunch of reasons:

  • It was with the group and running with them is good for me.  It motivates me to go faster/harder than I would on my own.  It also forces me to get out and be social, which is desperately needed after months of focusing too much on work and life craziness.
  • Hills!  They have been lacking in my training this time around.  But between last week’s hilly 21 miles and this week’s hilly 17 miles, I should be good for racing in Lansing (which is supposedly flat; anyone know if this is really the case?)
  • 17 miles, with hills and a bunch of marathon paced miles that didn’t feel like MP miles, which is always a nice feeling.  17  miles, 8:21 pace avg.
  • Good times.  Good conversation with KH and Jen, made the time and miles fly by.  Plus I got some good baking, fashion and self defense tips.  Fun stuff.
  • The best part:  DONUTS!  We started our run from the parking lot of Yo-Yo Donuts, so when we were done with 17 miles we pigged out on yummy donuts and coffee.  I’m gonna talk to coach about starting all our runs from there.  So good.

****

I’m gonna admit it:  I’m jealous of all the Boston peeps.  Most of the running group is doing Boston, so there is excitement in the air.  I think I’M more excited about it than they are (most of them have run it before).  I can’t wait next year when I get my Boston chance, finally.  I’m gonna be crazy obsessed with the picture taking and blogging.  So be ready, readers.

22 miles of crap!

The 22 miler was a mixed bag.  Success in that I got it done (yipee!) and got my thinking/work done (yipee!).  Fail in that it felt off from the beginning and the last 5 miles were really sucky (9:07, 9:23, 9:44, 9:31, 10:04).  My finish, with the miles getting slower and slower and feeling suckier and suckier (is that a word?), reminded me of many marathons that I crashed and burned in the later miles.

So, in analyzing what went wrong (b/c you all know I like to analyze things), here’s what I figured:

  • The weather didn’t help.  It was cold and windy (23 with 18 mph winds) and light snow at times.
  • The footing wasn’t the best.  Slippery in spots.  Not horrible, but enough that I had to concentrate on the road.
  • Things just felt off right from the start.  During the first 1/2 mile I felt like I was at a comfortable pace.  I felt like it was about an 8:40 pace.  When I looked at garmin it was 9:08 pace.  Uh-oh, not a good sign that my pace was so much slower than what I thought it felt like.  In retrospect, maybe I should have just stuck with that pace and then my run might have finished stronger.  But, I tried picking it up a bit, so that for the first 10 miles it would average 8:58.  Weird, but 8:58 felt hard.
  • So for miles 10 – 20 coach had said to try to negative split it.  So I did pick it up for miles 11 – 17 (8:42, 8:47, 8:46, 8:45, 8:51, 8:51, 8:47).  But then I just completely died at mile 18.  I felt dehydrated.  I was shuffling more than running.  My right hamstring was tight and I had to stop and stretch about 8 times.  I was cold.  I just wanted to be done.
  • I was very close to quitting at 18.  The only thing that kept me going is knowing that my schedule wouldn’t allow me to do a long run next week, so I needed to get it out of the way.
  • In retrospect, I think my biggest problem was that I didn’t give this training run the respect that it deserves.  22 miles is a REALLY long way.  It’s just about a marathon.  And my fueling yesterday was sub-par.  My sleep all week has been minimal (5 – 6 hours a night).  My stress level has been high.  I probably would have been better off sleeping in a couple extra hours instead of getting up early to work before my run.

Lessons learned! The important thing is, it’s done.  Now my remaining 20 milers should feel easy after this!

Balance Restored and Lansing Marathon Training Week #7

This week was jam-packed with work, life and running.  It’s all good though.  I finally feel like things are a little more balanced.  This is embarrassing to admit, but for the first time since November of last year (seriously! pathetic, I know!), I actually went out with adults without kids.  And when it rains it pours.  Not only did I go out, but I went out TWO nights in a row.  And, in between going out at night, I squeezed in happy hour with a new friend.  Super glad that I forced myself to get out.  It’s one of those things where I felt like I didn’t have the time (work is insanely busy) or the energy to get out, but once I did it I realized I’ve been missing friendship and adult companionship.

And running this week has been great!  Which is surprising considering the insane amount of hours I’ve been putting in at work.

Today was 20 miler #2 of the Lansing training cycle.  It was (once again) by myself, since I couldn’t justify the extra time it would take to meet the group yesterday.  My plan was to run most of the miles easy-ish (8:40 – 8:50) and throw in marathon pace miles for miles 5, 10, 15 and 20 just to keep me interested.  I love Daniels type workouts like this.  They make the long distance so much more manageable when running on your own.  So, anyway, it was a success!  20 miles done at 8:37 pace (which includes my 1:30 potty break), with miles 5, 10, 15 and 20 at 7:59, 8:02, 7:59 and 8:05.  Yipee!

I followed up the 20 miles with an ice bath.  Tonight I’ll do an epsom bath and a glass of red wine and I should be good as new tomorrow.  (I actually feel completely fine already; no residual soreness).

Lansing Marathon Training, Week #7 Recap

  • Miles run:  52.5
  • Pilates: 4 times
  • Planks:  2   (pathetic!)  🙂

The details:

  • M: pilates;  9.1 miles (8:19) w/ 6 x 1000m intervals (10k pace, dropping to 5k, then to fast)
  • T: pilates; 4.1 miles (9:25)
  • W: 6.1 miles (8:49) w/ 5 x .25 hill repeats
  • Th: 7.2 miles (9:01)
  • F: pilates
  • Sa: pilates; 6.1 miles (8:46)
  • Su: 20 miles (8:37)

69 days til race day!

20 Miles of Awesomeness!

Today’s 20 miler was one of those runs where everything just feels right.  Where you are thankful to be alive.  Thankful for the gorgeous weather (30 degrees, no wind, clear streets, gorgeous frost on all the tree branches).  Thankful just to be running.

Ended up with 20.25 miles in 2:54:16 (8:37 pace).  But I stopped for 1 minute and 31 seconds for bathroom/drink, so really total running time was less and average pace better. 🙂   Although I know in a race I can’t stop the clock, so I didn’t.  Anyway, I followed coach’s instructions to a T.  First 10 miles were between 8:36 – 8:44 pace.  Then miles 11 – 16 were progression miles (8:27, 8:26, 8:23, 8:19, 8:11, 8:09).  Then last 4 miles were back to conversation pace (8:48, 8:28, 8:43, 8:32).   No issues, no aches, no pains.  Just 20.25 miles of pure awesomeness!

Birthday dinner with my sister at Cheesecake Factory tonight, so will be consuming all the calories I just burned, plus some, in delicious cheesecake.  🙂

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