Weeks 3-6

Weeks 3, 4, and 5 (I really suck at updating this, huh?)

Monday: 9 with 5 at tempo (8:11 average for tempo miles)
Tuesday: 14 miles (9:28 pace)
Wednesday: 5 recovery
Thursday: 12 miles (9:24 pace)
Friday: 5 recovery
Saturday: 18 with 10 @ marathon pace (MP miles 8:44 pace) – probably a little ambitious on the MP miles here, but my HR said it was working and I felt like a million bucks, so I went with it.
63 miles

Recovery Week
Monday: 8 with strides (9:18 pace)
Tuesday: 12 miles (9:28 pace)
Wednesday: 5 recovery
Thursday: 10 (9:18 pace)
Friday: 5 recovery
Saturday: 15 (9:13 pace)
55 miles

(Adjusted schedule slightly to accommodate a weekend getaway)
Monday: 10 with 5 at tempo (7:55 average for tempo miles)
Tuesday: 14 miles (9:13 pace) / 5 recovery pm
Wednesday: 11 miles (9:21 pace)
Thursday: Rest (travel day)
Friday: 7 with strides (8:58 pace)
Saturday: 21.13 miles (9:16 pace)
68.13 miles (new weekly high!)

I just…I’m not sure I have any words. This is going so much better than I anticipated…physically, mentally…things are just clicking. I took a spill off a curb in really cute shoes (that I’m never wearing again…jk…but maybe) the night of that 21-miler and rolled my ankle. Luckily Mr. Engineer took excellent care of me and got a hold of a brace, topical anti-inflammatory, and all the ice I needed. We were on a weekend away in the Gold Coast and I ended up having to skip our surfing lesson the following day because it still hurt, but I cautiously laced my shoes up Tuesday since Monday was pain-free. Major crisis averted.
Week 6

Monday: planned 10 recovery/took rest day for the ankle
Tuesday: planned 14/ did 6 very very slow recovery miles
Wednesday: gave myself the green light and ran Tuesday’s 14 a little slow (according to HR). KILLER side stitch here. Must work on hydrating! (9:22 pace)
Thursday: 5 recovery
Friday: 11 with 6 at tempo (7:55 average for tempo miles)
Saturday: 20 (9:24 pace)
Sunday: very brief thoughts about making up some of those miles I missed. Then realized I probably needed a rest day more than a 66-mile week. Bagged it at 2.
58 miles

Saturday’s run was the hardest I’ve had yet this cycle. My legs felt like lead from the start so I took it a little slower than I have been. It was interesting to see my HR right in line (even a little low for a good portion) but to be struggling so very hard. I really pushed it in Friday’s tempo (last mile was 7:35…umm let’s work on even pacing a little more, maybe?) and I felt it every single one of those 20 miles. Another side stitch jabbed me hard from 15-18 – so I’m making an honest effort to drink ALL THE WATER.
With the exception of my little scare from my inability to walk in cute shoes, I’m (knocks on wood) feeling really healthy. Even the weird hip tightness I was having in week 1 is nearly gone (but I’m still stretching! Kind of a big deal for me.) I’ve started incorporating little bits of strength work because I just cannot for the life of me commit to an actual lifting workout when I’m spending like 10 hours a week on the treadmill. So I’ve tried to hold myself to 10 minutes a day of abs/pushups/possibly picking up something heavy several times in a row (an idea stolen from Green Lightning Running). It’s not a heroic effort, but it’s something I can build on if I make it a habit, I think.
Other notes: GU Chomps are my new best friend. 1 every 15 minutes until I feel like I need a little more (usually ends up being at the 2:30ish mark) and then either 2 every 15 or taken more frequently depending on stomach. Might need to front-load a little more for actual race efforts? All long runs have been done in compression socks – will likely race this way. Saturday’s tired-legs 20 was the first run that’s made me sore all cycle. Not sure if the socks are part of that, but I’m willing to believe it.
My first 70-mile week is coming up soon, and while I realize it’s not that much farther than the 68 I ran a couple weeks ago, it’s still exciting to hit a new milestone with a nice round number.
Wearing flats till May, FYI. Happy running.

Week 2

First up, the miles:

Monday: 9 w/ strides; overall 9:22 pace

Tuesday: 14 at 9:35 pace

Wednesday: 5 recovery

Thursday: 11 at 9:30 pace

Friday: 5 recovery

Saturday: 18 at 9:31 pace

Total: 62 miles

New high mileage week!

And, the feelings:

This week was BORING. Nothing but mile after mile after mile staring at the same spot on the wall. I made this week’s workouts all about mental games…one day I even made it 12.5 miles before needing to turn on my iPod (new PR!) I won’t deny that I woke up the morning of that mid-week 14 and wondered if I hadn’t bitten off a little too much with the 70 plan – but it went alright. I’m finding that 97% of my struggles so far are mental.

And the other 3% – last week’s hip tightness was nowhere to be found until I stepped off the treadmill after Saturday’s 18 and could barely walk. My right hip flexor had practically seized up…uh what? I swear I’m not so tough that I just didn’t notice it – it really didn’t feel weird while I was running. I stretched and stretched (not a habit I’ve ever had, ever) and gave it the ol’ frozen bag of peas treatment multiple times this weekend. The weird lack of range of motion (that’s a mouthful) actually disappeared after an hour, but I still played it safe Sunday and didn’t bother with any cross training (unless never changing out of your pj’s somehow qualifies as an athletic feat.)

I’m trying to be cautious about the hip thing, but I also expected some aches and creaks from taking my mileage here, so I’m not too worried yet. I’m not afraid to veer off the plan in the name of avoiding injury either, so there’s that. I’m also (hopefully not naively) comforted by the fact that there’s no pain even when my hip is being an ass; it’s just tight. (These are different things, yes?)

Today I woke up absolutely dreading today’s tempo run – partially because I was nervous my hip might seize up (it never did) and partially because what if I couldn’t go fast? I think a piece of the mental puzzle to tackling a plan like this is that if you stick to it, it’s terrifying to think it might not pay off. What if I just ran two of the best weeks of training I’ve ever put together and today my legs have nothing to show for it? Mercifully Mr. Pftiz knows his stuff, and today’s tempo was longer and faster than the last. I’m looking forward to stepping on the treadmill and knowing I can do that as this cycle progresses. Timidly hitting the ‘up’ button on the speed hoping I’m not being an idiot? Well that’s just less fun than confidence.

Also possibly of note: I’m solidly 5 pounds heavier than my body’s ‘natural’ weight. (You know what I mean, right? The number the scale just says whether you’re really trying or not?) Well after eating New Zealand over the holidays (no really, all of it) I was about 5 pounds heavier than the norm when we landed back here, and I assumed it would come off on its own. Only it hasn’t…after running 129 miles in the last 14 days. Whether this is my body finally starting to betray me (I do turn 27 next month, hah) or I’ve just become a terrible judge of how many calories I’m consuming, I’m not sure. But my running has been better than it has in…3 years? So I’m finding it hard to be toooo annoyed about it. But still…something worth noting.

Other notes for posterity: 1 gu chomp every 15 minutes on long runs is the best thing I’ve found for my stomach yet. Must find a way to smuggle more into PNG…

Happy running.

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