Baystate Marathon Training: Week 2

Happy Labor Day!

Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend! I for one, felt like I was due for a day off and fully plan on soaking in the extra time to myself today. 🙂

So last week, I touched on my first real/full week of training for Baystate. I’m not starting from scratch, but it’s the beginning of my focused training plan for Baystate since I signed up for this race pretty last minute (not exactly advisable for the marathon distance but oh well). After being pretty stoked with Week 1, I’d have to sum up Week 2 in one word (or syllable for that matter):

Meh.

There was really nothing too great about this week, apart from Saturday’s long run. Frankly, it didn’t even include much running.

Monday: Rest day after Sunday’s successful 15-miler.

Tuesday: 5 miles nice and easy. By my Garmin, the average pace on this was right around 10 min/mile. Right where I want to be for those recovery miles. I was happy I got this run in during the morning because that afternoon, I flew to Charlotte for a work trip.

Wednesday: No running. In an ordinary week, this would have been a prime day for a hard effort, but my coworkers and I were up and working by 8 and basically worked straight through till bedtime. Part of our trip was touring a venue that we’ll be putting on a race at in the coming months and it entailed driving 4-wheelers around the trails to plan the course. This was my first time 4-wheeling and I discovered that I’m pretty horrendous at it. I tend to be nervous biking on nice, paved roads. Well, throw me in the woods on some uneven trails, with plenty of trees and ditches, and I get even more nervous, which in turn leads to panic. End result? Me on the ground, with a sore butt and a 4-wheeler on top of me. I walked away with only a few minor bumps and bruises so despite it being pretty embarrassing, I guess I’ll call that a victory (sort of).

Thursday: After hitting some horrendous traffic driving to the airport to catch our flight back, my coworker and I sprinted through the Charlotte airport. So, I guess that was my speedwork for the week. 😉

Friday: I was thinking I would run an easy 6-miler in the morning before heading home for the long weekend. As soon as I started running though, I felt slow and sluggish. Both of my calves felt tight with knots. I got progressively more grumpy about it as I ran and decided to call it just after 3 miles. I think my body just had not reset from all the traveling.

Saturday: I did my long run on Saturday this past weekend since I was volunteering with our running club on Sunday at a trail race. After reading up some on specificity in marathon training (this just refers to the idea that you should tailor your training workouts to match your race day goals), I decided I wanted to aim for negative splits and to do the last 5 miles at goal marathon pace. After Friday’s fail of a run, I didn’t know what to expect from my legs.

My mom and I set out at around 8 am after a quick breakfast of half a sweet potato warmed up with some maple syrup (I’m trying to experiment a bit with my fueling techniques). We did the first 5 together at a nice, comfortable pace. From there, we split up since we were aiming for different distances. I went out to tackle the next 13 miles, but I broke it down into chunks, each with specific pace goals. For miles 6-10, I focused on keeping my splits at 9:30/mile. For the most part, I was dead on with this. For miles 10-13, I worked on gradually increasing the pace so that the goal pace miles wouldn’t feel like too much of a shock to my body. I was around 9 – 9:15/mile for these 3 miles. Then, I finally got to the race pace miles. By the time I hit these, I really felt like I had almost finished the run. Even though I still had 5 miles to go, it was the last “chunk”, which made it seem much more manageable. Unfortunately, I hadn’t timed it quite right, and I hit some killer hills in Mile 14, so that split was not quite where I wanted it to be. Apart from that though, I did pretty good. I had a few that were 8:55/mile (a little slow), a couple that were right on, and then for my last mile, I ran an 8:33! Negative split success!!! This run gave me a lot more confidence after Friday, and I feel ready to dive into Week 3 now. I won’t be traveling at all for the next 3 weeks or so, so that will give me some time to really start focusing on ramping up the mileage. I’m pretty excited. 🙂

Happy Labor Day!

If you’re experiencing a crappy run, are you more likely to call it quits or do you try to gut it out?

 


Baystate Marathon Training Weekly Recap

Happy Monday everyone!

This past week has been filled with lots of running and Baystate preparation! Obviously, I’ve been doing plenty of running this summer, but my decision to sign up to do the full marathon at Baystate with my mom in October was a recent one. The week before last, I was in Utah and while I ran the Hobble Creek Half, it was not exactly a consistent week of running by any means.

That means that it was really only this past week that my official training begun. I’m pretty stoked with how it went – 41.5 miles for the week! For a lot of runners, this wouldn’t seem like very high mileage but my schedule has been so strange this summer with travel that it’s been very hard for me to find the time to get 25 miles done in a week, so I’m pretty proud of this. Here’s how it broke down:

Monday – 3 easy miles. I was still recovering from Saturday’s half marathon, so I made sure to keep this VERY easy – 9:48/mile average pace. I think it helped shake out my legs too because I felt pretty solid the next day.

Tuesday – 7 miles, 4 at goal marathon pace. The goal pace I am aiming for this time around is an 8:45, which works out to just over a 3:49 marathon. I’m hoping this is not too ambitious given the shorter window I have to train. I did a pretty good job with these splits, running 8:42, 8:42, 8:52, and an 8:47. I felt like I had to keep double-checking my pace on my watch though. I’m going to have to practice hitting this pace a lot because right now, my body doesn’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like.

As a sidenote, I recently heard about a study that looked at the fastest finishers of the Boston Marathon by age group. The study analyzed the training paces of the finishers and found that those who were fastest in their age groups had the widest disparity in their training paces, meaning their easy runs were VERY easy, but then on their hard days, they really brought the speed. This just reconfirmed to me that this is something I need to continue to work on. I need to give myself permission to run at a pace that seems almost insanely slow on my easy/recovery days, while continuing to push on those days when I want to hit that marathon pace or do speed work.

Wednesday – Rest day. 🙂

Thursday – Mystryde Endurance class (If you’re curious about these classes, you can check out the descriptions of them here). I covered 6.5 miles of grueling hills and intervals. Most of the intervals I was doing were around 7:24-7:30/mile, but I even had a few sprints thrown in there in the 6:40 range! It feels kind of scary to run that fast on a treadmill, but I didn’t fly off so no harm done. 😉

Mystryde Boston | 2 Generations RunningFriday – 4 miles super easy on the treadmill at the gym. Friday’s weather felt like Florida had decided to send a little taste of their climate – so hot and humid and disgusting. It was still hot out when I got home from work in the evening, so easy miles on the treadmill it was. In keeping with my new plan, I kept these miles SUPER slow – all over 10 min/mile. It was kind of fun! I watched repeats of The Real Housewives of the OC while I ran (this is Guilty Pleasure #2 to The Bachelor/Bachelorette).

Saturday – Originally, I was thinking I’d only do 3 miles. But then, I realized that if I went only a couple miles further, I could break 40 miles for the week, which was too exciting to pass up. I got out pretty early in the morning and managed a pretty comfortable 6-miler, at 9:28 min/mile average. I paused for a squinty selfie along the way. 🙂

Trekz Titanium HeadphonesSunday: Long run day! I did 15 miles total, 12 on challenging (and crazy hilly) trails with a work friend, and then I finished up with 3 miles on the treadmill. I decided to simulate the whole running fast on tired legs idea, and pushed the 3 treadmill miles starting at around 8:40/mile and finishing at 8:05/mile. It’s crazy, but those 3 treadmill miles felt SO MUCH easier than the 12 miles I did on the trails, where my average pace was 12:38/mile. LOL. Trails will always slow you down, and all the elevation gain just made it that much worse. Still, it was fun to get a change of scenery and tick off the miles with a friend. We got some pretty nice views too. 🙂

Photo Aug 28, 1 07 23 PMI’ll be traveling on Tuesday of this week again, though it will be a quick trip so I’m hoping it doesn’t screw things up too much as I head into my second week.

Hope you all have a great week!


Something New, But Not *So* Crazy

Today’s Post is from my Mom! Enjoy 🙂

So some of you probably know from our Facebook page that I have finally gone and registered to run the Baystate Marathon again this year.

After experiencing some nagging pains which led to a visit with the physical therapist and a few test runs, I decided to go for it. Still, I wasn’t sure that I was 100% and I had some reservations about diving back into what would be my 6th week of the intermediate plan from Runner’s World, Big Blue Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training – which has served me well in the past. Since my Baystate goal is also tied to my plan to raise money for Homes For Our Troops by donating based on my miles (please donate if you can!), I was worried that going into this training cycle like nothing was different might completely side-line me with an injury – and prevent both my running Baystate, and raising money for this great cause.

So I’ve made a big change. After lots of reading and research, I decided to go to a 28 day plan. This plan incorporates 12 hard workouts from what would have been the next 28 days of my old plan, but it allows me to incorporate the cross training I was doing with Quick Strength for Runners, by Jeff Horowitz,  and to keep to the criteria Horowitz suggests with these workouts. It wasn’t easy trying make all the pieces fit and then setting them down on the calendar, but I did the best I could (I suppose it’s an experiment, anyway, with me as the guinea pig!).  Though the cross training workouts don’t add a lot of miles to the weekly totals, they are enjoyable and far more challenging than the cross training I had done in the past and I can already tell I am reaping benefits from them. Plus it’s fun to work with the BOSU and the stability ball! With this longer plan, these two weekly workouts don’t get squeezed in before or after the really hard running workouts, which leaves me stronger and more rested to do my best for each one. For example, I felt really good going into this week’s 15 miler, and didn’t feel wiped out afterwards.

Photo Aug 12, 6 12 24 PMOf course, I know that for most people there are difficulties following any plan that doesn’t align with a Monday through Friday workweek. I’m lucky to have a flexible work schedule right now, and even more importantly, the fact that its summer, and we have all these hours of daylight will help.

With my 28-day plan and my new cross-training regimen, I feel pretty good that I’ll get to Baystate in good shape in October (plus Nora is joining me, so it will be even more fun!), and  I can continue my “Run for a Reason” project with Homes for Our Troops.

If you’ve never done this, consider logging your miles for your favorite charity – or visit my team at the Homes for Our Troops, Team name: Marie@ 2 Generations Running. It’s a great cause with a great rating from Charity Navigator.

And I’ll keep everyone posted about my progress (or not…) with my new 28 day plan!

But first up, Utah and another half marathon and state!!! 🙂


Long Term Goals and Short Term Plans

So I have some news…

Most of you probably know by now that my mom is planning on running the Baystate Marathon again this year. Last year, she had run it while I had done the half marathon and we both really enjoyed the race (you can catch last year’s recap here!)

Baystate Marathon 2015After having a not-so-great experience at Delaware, it was kind of a no-brainer for my mom to sign up for this race again. Originally, I was thinking I would go just to spectate and cheer her on.

But then I started getting that itch again…

Originally, I was looking for marathons in January and February. With my work schedule the way it is, I have less travel and more time to train between the end of October and the beginning of March. After that, things are likely to pick up again, making marathon training difficult.

So why do I even want to run another marathon (especially after what happened last time)? In all honesty, it’s because in looking at the long term of what I want in my running, it’s that qualifying time for Boston. For me, that’s a 3:35 or better, which seems scary and fast and very far away. I’m well off that time right now, and I know this will most likely require years of training and more experience with the distance. From everything I’ve read, people don’t run PRs on their first or second marathons. 26.2 miles is a whole different animal from any other race, and it takes time, experience, and a lot of patience to figure out how to run this race right. I know I made some big mistakes in Delaware – I went out too fast, I didn’t fuel at mile 20 when I needed it most, and I finished feeling worse than I have ever felt in a race before. But I’m ready to take all those lessons and give the marathon another shot.

I was discussing all this with my mom, trying to figure out what I should do. The marathons I was considering were all relatively far away and would have required air travel as well as hotels, making them more logistically challenging. Then, she pointed out that I could just run Baystate with her. I’m not sure why this never really occurred to me before, but once she mentioned it, it was suddenly an easy decision.

Baystate Marathon

We are about 10 weeks out, and I’m not starting from scratch, but it definitely doesn’t leave any time to mess around! I am officially back in marathon training mode! Bring on marathon #3!!

 


The 2015 Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon

Well, we did it!

Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonWe can cross off Marathon #2 (for my mom) and Half Marathon #12 (for me)!

The weather leading up to this race sure kept us guessing. For the most part, we had been having a nice extended summer here in New England. We had trained through the summer heat, and weren’t expecting that kind of warmth for raceday, but we also weren’t expecting the FIRST FREEZE OF THE SEASON. Yeah, that made things interesting.

PRE-RACE:

After waking up bright and early (5 AM – not too bad as far as early morning races go!), my mom and I fueled with our customary bagel with almond butter/raspberry jam and then headed out to make the short drive to the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, where the race was going to begin. But first, my mom had to scrape the ice off the windshield.

Ice GIFUgh. It’s too early for this winter crap!!

Luckily, we had no problem finding a parking garage once we got to Lowell, and then making the short walk to the Tsongas Arena which was packed to the brim with runners. It was awesome that they opened it up to us – we were able to use REAL restrooms and stay out of the cold until the very last minute.

2015 Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonThe whole time we were sitting inside, I was second guessing my clothes decision. I had worn capris, a shortsleeve Under Armour shirt, with a longsleeve tech shirt over it. I had a fleece on as a jacket, but I had planned on checking it with my bag. The 30 degree temperatures had me seriously struggling with that, though I finally forced myself to part with it, knowing that I would warm up quickly once I started running. My mom and I tried to keep each other calm and happy, and we devised a plan for me to call my mom when she would be around mile 20 for a quick encouraging pep talk before she would be heading into the last 10k.

Baystate 2015 Marathon

THE RACE:

Finally, it was time to run! My mom and I split ways, as I went and lined up with the other half marathoners. It was a self-seeded start for the half, and for the first time in a half marathon, I lined myself up right near the front of the 8:00 min/mile group.

2015 Baystate Half Marathon and MarathonMy A-goal was to break 1:50 for the first time. My previous PR was 1:53, but one of my coworkers had encouraged me, saying she thought I could definitely run a 1:49 (which comes to 8:19/mile). I wasn’t so sure, but I figured that with 11 other half marathons under my belt, I could try to run an aggressive pace from the start, and if I crashed at the end, then so be it. I figured that the worst that could happen would be that it would turn into a lesson learned.

The National Anthem played and we were off! For the first 3 miles or so, my legs felt TIGHT. I rarely have issues with shin splints, but my shins were aching through the first few miles. I would start to worry about my shins (I’ve never had shin splints! Why is this happening? Are my legs going to be like this the whole race??), but then I would catch myself and remember that I was still warming up.

Mile 1 – 8:17 ♦ Mile 2 – 8:16 ♦ Mile 3 – 8:11

I was a little nervous when I saw my first splits coming up all a little bit faster than my goal pace. I knew that I felt good, but I was very aware that I had another 10 miles to run, and I had never held this pace for that distance before.

Baystate Half Marathon and Marathon 2015I didn’t take many pictures during this race since I was focusing on running fast, but I did snap a couple before stashing my phone back in my Fitletic.

BayState Half Marathon and MarathonDespite being on the chilly side, it was a beautiful day to run. My mom and I have done mostly summer half marathons, so it felt nice to be running past the beautiful fall foliage for once.

The Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonI took this picture after finishing, but we got to run over this bridge twice!

The course only had a few minor hills on it, and every time we hit one, I tried to think back to the hill workouts I had done with my mom over the summer. The wind was beginning to really pick up, which only made things colder, but I tried to focus on enjoying the race.

Mile 4 – 8:16 ♦ Mile 5 – 8:19 ♦ Mile 6 – 8:17

By this point, I felt committed to running a 1:49. I was excited by the splits I was running and I finally felt warmed up. I felt strong. The course was a double loop, so around mile 6.5 or so I passed the finish area and could hear the announcer reading off people’s names. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel demoralized at all to still have over 6 miles to run. I was still feeling pretty good, and I was hoping that my mom was feeling just as strong wherever she was in the marathon.

Mile 7 – 8:18 ♦ Mile 8 – 8:19 ♦ Mile 9 – 8:21

Just after mile 9, I passed the speediest of the marathoners going in the opposite direction across one of the bridges the course took us over. They were all looking strong, and the crowd support right at that area was awesome, with people cheering for both marathoners and half marathoners. Most of the course was lacking in spectators (not too surprising given how cold it was), so it was an awesome mental boost as I headed into the final 5K.

Right around this time, I caught up to another woman, who was running just a little bit faster than I had been for the previous miles. I could feel that I still had gas in the tank, so I started pacing myself a few steps behind her. We were perfectly matched and passed a lot of runners who were beginning to struggle.

Mile 10 – 8:09 ♦ Mile 11 – 8:05 ♦ Mile 12 – 7:54

I was so excited to be near the end of this race, and I was thrilled with my splits. I wasn’t crashing and burning! I was actually getting faster! With one mile to go, I could hear the announcer again, and me and the other woman began to sort of race each other – it was awesome having her there to push me to run my absolute hardest going into the finish.

Mile 13 – 7:50. My fastest mile of the race.

As I crossed the finish line, I was ecstatic to read the clock – 1:48. Not only did I achieve my A-goal, I actually beat it!! After all my worrying about my training leading into this race (between traveling for work and moving into my new apartment, my running in the last 2 weeks leading into the race had not been stellar), I still managed to accomplish my goal. My average pace came out to 8:16/mile, which I’m still slightly shocked about! Between this race and the 5k series this summer, I’m finally beginning to feel like a fast runner.

After finishing, I quickly reclaimed by checked bag and immediately started adding layers – sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a fleece on top of that. I knew I was going to cool down fast and I still had a lot of time to kill before my mom would be finishing. The post-race food was good, although I wish they had had more hot options – they had cold sodas, bananas, chips, PB&J’s, and hot soup. I had the chicken noodle soup which totally hit the spot.

While I waited for my mom, I made a quick walk to Dunkin Donuts and got a hot chocolate (<- Best decision ever!) and then I set myself up at a good spot near the finish.

Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonIt was honestly so inspiring watching the runners come into the finish of their marathon. I saw so many fly into the finish, with huge smiles on their faces (This is a big race for people looking to qualify for Boston, so that might have had something to do with it.) BQ or not, a marathon is such a huge accomplishment, and I felt weirdly emotional thinking of how proud I was of my mom, out there running her second marathon. Especially when I think back to the days when she told me she would NEVER run a marathon! Oh, how things have changed!

2015 Baystate MarathonSpectators lined up along the last 100 yards leading into the finish. This was where I watched for my mom!

At 11:30, I called my mom as promised. She had already passed mile 20, so clearly she was cruising! She sounded a little out-of-breath – understandable, given that she was still running. 🙂 I told her she was doing awesome (which I actually knew for a fact, since I had signed up to receive alerts on her progress along the course). She was excited to hear that I had broken 1:50, and after wishing her luck again, we said our goodbyes.

Just about an hour later….

Baystate Marathon 2015

Woo! And guess who also achieved their A-goal (and beat their previous marathon time by approximately 30 minutes)? ^SHE DID! Final time: 4:26. 🙂

Baystate MarathonPepsi – my mom’s newest endorsement deal. 😉

Baystate Marathon 2015We headed home soon after she finished, happy to be getting out of the cold finally. Back home, my dad had pumpkin waffles and fresh coffee waiting for us, an absolutely perfect end to the morning.

My mom and I are so thrilled with how the weekend went. Both marathon and half marathon were extremely well-organized, and we both ran fantastic. Of course, my mom will have to fill you all in on how her race went in more detail! I’ll start bugging her to write a post. 🙂

Thanks again to all our friends and family who wished us luck, offered training advice or a sympathetic comment on this blog, or congratulated us on Instagram this weekend. You guys make writing this blog the most fun thing ever.