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.

Marathon Training: 6th Edition

I received an email from WordPress in December asking me if I’d like to renew my domain, and it seemed like it was worth the $19 not to let it go…so maybe this year I’ll actually use it?

First up: Despite nearly being done serving our (original) 24-month sentence here in the jungle, we’re not headed back to Texas in March. Repatriation date is still up in the air, but we’re hopeful it’s in 2013.
Secondly: I’m marathon training again. In April I’ll head to California for a week to adjust to Pacific time/spend some time with my college roommate. From there, it’s on to Eugene to chase a marathon PR I’ve been after for years.
The plan is to finally break that 4-hour barrier that I just can’t seem to get my legs to. (For reference, my half PR is 1:48:xx and my 10k is 48:xx. Marathon is 4:08:12. One of these is not like the other…)
I ran that 4:08 last spring in Australia off a very hot/cold training cycle. On the one hand, I ran my first ever 60 mile week. On the other, I spent what should have been peak week on vacation in Hong Kong and only ran 15 miles. I’m pretty sure a little more dedication could lead to something good.
The plan I settled on is the Pfitz 70. I started it at 16 weeks out (instead of 18 where it actually starts) because I knew better than to bank on solid training while we were on vacation over the holidays. While we were in New Zealand I ran whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like it. Going into this my long run was at 13 (for 2 consecutive weeks) and I felt my mileage was in a place where I could make a slightly gutsy jump. (I’ve always thought the 10% rule was garbage…I guess if I end up injured the joke’s on me.) In all seriousness though, I found last spring when I was actually being a dedicated runner that I could hold up to higher-ish (for me) mileage pretty well, and that minimal speed work with lots of miles still led me to a PR (even if I did slack pretty hard.)
As I said, the goal is to break 4. Here’s how week 1 went down: (I’ve moved everything up a day so I can do long runs on Saturday.)
Monday: 11 at 9:40 pace
Tuesday: 13 at 9:40 pace
Wednesday: 5 recovery
Thursday: 9 with 4 @ tempo (33:14)
Friday: 5 recovery
Saturday: 15 at 9:28 pace
Total: 58 miles
I’m a little unsure if I’m doing those midweek medium long runs at the right pace. Pfitz says the long run should be 10-20% slower than goal pace, and 10% slower is 9:54, which doesn’t even get my heart rate to 150, so that can’t be quite right, can it? 9:30 seems too close to my goal pace, but my heart rate stayed at 155 and I didn’t struggle at all. Where’s the balance between taking it too easy and being one of those idiots who does long runs too fast?

Overall, this week felt good. Monday-Tuesday runs were boring as hell (did I mention I do all my miles on a treadmill?), I felt strong on the tempo, and I could have kept running after yesterday’s 15. Only issues of note are minor tightness in right hip (which I’ve been stretching diligently) and needing noticeably more sleep.

Anyone else going to be in Eugene?

Happy running.

purpleshoe (still!) runs

Since you heard from me last, I’ve PR’d in the marathon, flown 38,658 miles (thanks delta for keeping track!), been to the highlands of Papua New Guinea (the middle of actual nowhere), and snagged a little promotion. Life has been really unbelievably good.

After our Hong Kong travels, my next escape was to Canberra, Australia, to run in the Australian Running Festival Marathon there in April. I went solo (Mr. Engineer can’t always snag the days off that I can…his job is more demanding) and I only told Jeri and Megan what I was up to. I figured keeping my beak shut would keep the nerves at bay – and it did! I ran my little heart out (a little too hard on those hills in the first 19!) and just didn’t quite have what I hoped I would in the last 5-6 miles. I finished in 4:08:12 tired, happy, and ready to do it again. I’ll get sub-4 one of these days.


a little hand-scribbled mantra courtesy of Jeri.


post-race hair beaver.

In May I was lucky enough to head back to the US to meet Mr. Engineer in Houston (he was there for business…my boss was kind enough to let me work from there to get a little face time with my favorite country) and run a couple (half) marathons. I’d intended to run two full marathons while I was back (Brookings and Green Bay) but ended up not sleeping for the four days prior to Brookings (jet lag+sick=suck) and Green Bay was unseasonably warm and ended up being called off. I ran two PW half marathons at 2:08 and 2:10, respectively. But I ran outside! With friends! Funny how race times don’t matter so much these days.


damn I love these two.

after surviving the blast furnace that was Green Bay with Jeri and Ms. Angryrunner

I peaked at 64ish mpw training for this eventual train wreck, and after it happened I was so very OVER running. I took nearly two months off, which coincided perfectly with a surprise move to a new (so much nicer!) apartment here in PNG, a long-anticipated 4th of July trip back to the US, and a brush with Insanity, which is SO much harder than running a marathon. Holy crap.

did I mention I ran off to Vegas to celebrate Janelle’s (college roomie!) bachelorette party while I was back? amazing weekend.

more shenanigans.

More 4th of July trip goodness:




Also of note: surpassing the one-year mark here with far fewer tears than I’d have guessed would be necessary, looking excitedly towards the future, and making some things a little more official.

No date, no plans. Just happy : )

I just ran my first double-digit week in months and I’m sore and humbled – but I found myself back on the treadmill because I just love it. I love the feeling of putting one foot in front of the other. I have no race plans and no idea what’s next, but it’s nice to know that underneath all the posturing and goals, I really do just love to run. That’s enough for now.

Happy running.

Sh!t You Can’t Make Up

Alright, I know I’ve dished out more than my fair share of negative over the past year and I’m working on being more positive and blah blah blah, but THIS:

So today we land at about 8 am after flying all night in Air Niugini economy (small and smelly…aka no decent sleep and ALSO a flight we weren’t supposed to have to be on), and then we make the long trek home over the many-potholed roads of Port Moresby. There’s construction going on right now so it takes like 45 minutes of getting jostled around (where in the world all the taxes they leech from my paycheck go, I sure don’t know, but the roads aren’t it.) Once we arrive at our apartment, it’s drop our bags, shower, and turn right around and head to the office.

(I give all this background to my little tale of rage because CLEARLY I’m tired and running on a short fuse here. Maybe if this had happened any other day it wouldn’t have phased me.)

After about a half days’ worth of work my boss tells me to go home and get some sleep. (For which I am very grateful!) I decide to capitalize on the free afternoon and tell Mr. Engineer I’ll go get groceries (we have no food since we’ve been gone and all) and I’ll get a jump start on the laundry and unpacking.

I snag a car and have the driver take me to the grocery store with the best selection, which is also the one that’s farthest away…we usually only get there on the weekends. We pull into the parking lot and I’m getting out of the car when the driver informs me my apartment is now a no-go zone. And I can’t go home after we go here, so do I really want to buy groceries?

[No-go zones are the “bad” areas of town, as the name would imply. I don’t usually live in one. I thought.]

And why had my apartment become a no-go zone, you ask?

BECAUSE THERE WAS AN EFFING BOMB SCARE. At a building in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District), maybe half a mile from us.

I just…I don’t have the energy to express my exasperation. Almost no sleep…all that time in a car for nothing (I know I sound like a whiny brat here but I get SO motion sick on these damn pot-holey roads), and all I wanted was to do LAUNDRY.

LAUNDRY. Not even take a nap, or watch a chick flick, or paint my nails. JUST DO MY DAMN LAUNDRY.

(Oh look! I do have the energy to express my exasperation!)

It kills me that crap like this is becoming more and more commonplace. Not bomb threats specifically (hi dad! don’t worry I’m fine!) but crazy off-the-wall shit you just wouldn’t believe if someone told you. I barely believe it and it and I see/hear about it happen.

Hey look! Here’s a picture where I’m not being all stabby!

not bomb-scared! or ranting!

what?! oh, just some local fare.

Batman jumped off this building in The Dark Knight (in Hong Kong)

(None of these photos have anything to do with my rant, but I have no visual for me being so angry I might scream. Aren’t these more fun?)

That’s all I’ve got. Happy running.

That Time I Cried in an Airport

I’m currently blogging from the Cathay lounge in the Hong Kong airport…I’m supposed to be arriving back in Port Moresby right now, but our travel plans went a little haywire on this adventure.

We arrived at Jackson’s International in Port Moresby last Wednesday to catch our (direct!) flight to Hong Kong. We quite literally chose HK as our destination for this getaway only because we could fly there direct–normally you have to go through Australia to get anywhere (and we were looking to maximize fun time and minimize sitting in airport time, you know?) It was about 9:15 when we approached the check-in desk for our 11:45 flight.

And then they told us it was cancelled. No apologies. No explanation. Just “oh that flight is cancelled. Your travel agent didn’t tell you?” (We book our own travel, THANKS.)

And then I burst into tears on the spot.

You see, we try to leave the country every 6-8 weeks or so…we sometimes have business in Brisbane, or can take a weekend getaway to Cairns…but it’s essential to survival there. You just can’t possibly understand how depressing it is to be there with no break for much longer than that. Well this go-around, we hadn’t left in almost 3 months. This vacation had been my reason for getting out of bed in the morning for weeks. And poof! Cancelled.

We made our way over to the customer service desk where they tried to send us to the Philippines for an overnight to get to our eventual destination (no thanks) and then offered that perhaps we should leave tomorrow instead.

I’m not being dramatic when I say I could NOT go back to our apartment. Mr. Engineer agreed. We decided that if all else failed, we’d just go to Brisbane (there’s a flight there about twice a day).

After some harsh words (yes, Air Niugini, you WILL pay for our nonrefundable hotel if you don’t get us to Hong Kong, and you’ll do it NOW) suddenly a faster option became available. (Disclaimer: I’m not generally in favor of being a bitch to customer service people, but being nice was getting us nowhere. And they CANCELLED OUR FLIGHT WITHOUT TELLING US. WHEN WE HAD BEEN STUCK IN HELL FOR ALMOST THREE MONTHS. Desperate times, people.)

Suddenly we had about 11 minutes to check our bags, get boarding passes and board a flight to Cairns where there would be a connection to Hong Kong for us. And about 10 minutes later I was drying my eyes, seated next to Mr. Engineer on what must be the tiniest plane allowed to cross the ocean (those little things are scary!) en route to an Australian connection.

Our connection was on time, and we ended up in Tsim Sha Tsui about 6 hours later than we had originally intended–not bad, given how the day started.

new stamp!


a nice touch.

More later. I’m off to enjoy the complimentary food and a bloody mary here in the business class lounge (we’re flying economy but scored a lounge pass anyway…with free WiFi!)

Happy running.


That’s how many miles I ran this week.

A weekly mileage goal I’ve been chasing for a couple months is finally (as my Australian coworkers would say) done and dusted.

No awesome scenery photos or triumphant Garmin shots to share, because obviously it was all on the treadmill. Instead I’ll leave you with my view for the rest of the afternoon.

fleecy loungewear (with lambs on 'em) + compression socks. I'm recovering in style.

Seventy, consider yourself on notice.

Happy running.

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