Weekly Wrap-Up: July 24-30

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a normal week. It was another hot week, but I had a really good workout run, and while it didn’t cool down for my long run like it was supposed to, I did get some reassurance at the end.

I went back to the podiatrist this week. I don’t know if I’ve ever described my orthotics in detail, but when I got them, they were white plastic with a thin layer of black fabric on top. Well, after 1,894.1 miles of running (and lots of walking), the fabric had started to wear down, so I wasn’t sure if I needed new orthotics or what. The podiatrist said that the fabric wasn’t necessary, that he wore orthotics with no fabric, and then he stripped the rest of the fabric away from the plastic. He said he could put new fabric on there if I wanted, but I figured I’d try them out with no fabric. So far, they’re doing OK. Added bonus: It would take a little while for the fabric to dry out after a run, especially one in the heat, but now with just plastic, worst case scenario I can just use a towel to dry them off.

Weight Check: 165.7 pounds, up 0.2 from last week. I fell off the wagon this week as far as Mountain Dew goes. I had a really mind-numbing task I had to do at work, and the only way I could get through it was with Mountain Dew. However, once that task was done, I didn’t really cut back on the Mountain Dew. Maybe next week. I managed to stay away from junk food, though. I guess my mileage helped limit the damage.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday Marathon Pace, 1 mile warm up, 6 miles at a moderate effort 7.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 4 miles easy 4.01
Sunday 14 mile long run 14.01

Total: 37.05 miles

That’s a lot of miles. It’s my highest weekly mileage since the week of the New York City Marathon. (That’s also the last time I ran at least 14 miles.)

On Monday, it was a few degrees cooler than it had been, but still warm, and extremely humid. My legs felt really tired on the first mile, but got better after that. Maybe I was still feeling the effects of last Saturday’s long run. I kept the effort “easy” but sped up on the last quarter mile. I did go up a large hill (end of Mile 2/start of Mile 3) because I was looking for a hill that would take at least 90 seconds to run (for future hill workouts), and I found it, but I normally wouldn’t include that hill on an easy run. (Side note, I had totally forgotten about finding the hill until I checked my notes for this run. I guess it was a pretty long week.)

Tuesday’s workout looked pretty scary. 6 straight miles with “moderate effort,” then add in miserable conditions (74 degrees, around 90% humidity.) The first mile was slow, almost 13:00, then I took off. Luckily, my legs felt fine. I did end up stopping at the 4 mile mark to run inside and get some water. With those weather conditions, I didn’t want to take any chances. In the end, I was really happy with how I ran, and I definitely finished strong.

On Wednesday, it was warm, slightly less humid than Tuesday, but still pretty uncomfortable. I was a little worried about my legs after Tuesday’s workout, but they still felt fine throughout this run. I probably ran a little faster than I should have on Mile 4 (although part of that was a downhill stretch), but I don’t remember really increasing my effort that much on that mile. For the most part, I kept the effort “easy” except for the last quarter mile.

Friday’s run was mercifully short, because the weather was just terrible. For 4 miles, I can tolerate it. My legs felt fine, so there’s that. Other than the heat and humidity, it was an uneventful run, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

And then there was Saturday.

First, a little background. I do keep an eye on the weather forecasts so I have some idea of the conditions I’ll be running in. All last week, I kept hearing that it was going to suck during the week, but the weekend was going to be (relatively, for late July) nice, with slightly drier air and lower temperatures.

It’s one thing to go into a run expecting bad weather and then getting it. Last Saturday, the weather was miserable, but it was pretty much what I expected.

Yesterday morning, it was 75 degrees with 90% humidity. Seriously. Either the less warm, drier air was late, or Saturday morning is no longer considered part of the weekend. I briefly considered pushing my run back to Sunday (it was 67 degrees this morning *grumble*) but I didn’t know what that would do to my schedule for next week, so I figured I needed to suck it up.

Just like last week, I stopped at water fountains as often as possible. This week, I didn’t need to include any hills, which was a relief. (My coach even specifically said to give my legs a break and stick to the flat greenways.) I trudged along, and it was bad, but for the most part, it was barely tolerable. There was a very occasional light breeze that helped. This was one of those runs where I was supposed to pick up the pace on the last two miles. I did need to take a couple of walk breaks at the very beginning of those two miles (and an additional water fountain break on the next to last mile), but somehow, I managed to make those two miles my fastest two miles, with the last mile being the fastest.

I was pretty wiped out at the end. The sheer distance, the terrible weather conditions (especially when I thought it would be better), the speed up for the last two miles, the mud. (Did I mention we got a lot of rain on Friday? Yeah, it left mud behind in a few spots.) Then I saw this, on the car parked next to mine.

That’s exactly what I needed to hear at that point. It’s nice to get some reassurance. (And I need to remember it the next time I have a tough run.)

I still can’t say it was a good run, but it wasn’t terrible, I got through it, and I had enough left to finish strong.

Next week, well, I’m waiting for my coach to update my schedule. The good news is that she adjusts my schedule based on how I’m running. The bad news is that she’s only got my schedule set through Friday. I do know I’ve got a hill workout scheduled for Tuesday, but I don’t know yet how far I’ll be running on Saturday.

Oh, and we’re nearing the end of July, so I’ll have a Monthly Wrap-Up posted at some point this week.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 17-23

I really miss Portland weather. (I never did get around to writing a post about my trip there, though.) So, yeah, it’s been really hot this week. Really, all I can say is that I survived.

I noticed that this is going to be post #100 on this blog. Cool.

Weight Check: 165.5, down 3.3 pounds from last week. Holy crap! There’s two reasons I lost weight. The first, which I had no control over, was the heat. Running 13.1 miles when it’s 75 degrees with over 80% humidity is going to cause a little bit of weight loss. The other, which I had complete control over, was *gasp* I cut back on Mountain Dew. I had 2 cans for the entire week, instead of multiple 20 ounce bottles per day. I actually drank more water this week, so I’m pleased with the results. I still have another pound and a half to go before I’m not overweight, but this is progress, and I’ll take it.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Tuesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Wednesday 2.5 mile warm up, 6 x 90 seconds uphill hard with a jog back down in between, 2 mile cool down (until I reach 6 miles)* 6.01
Friday 5 miles easy 5.01
Saturday 13 mile long run (include hills if possible) 13.11

Total: 30.14 miles

It’s weird only seeing 4 runs. Also, I’ll explain the asterisk for Wednesday in a bit.

First, there was Tuesday. My first run after Portland. The weather was absolutely terrible, 75 and humid. I was definitely back in North Carolina. My legs felt a little bit tired from my trip, but they somehow felt a little better in the second half of my run. I kept the effort “easy”, and I survived.

On Wednesday, I, uh, chose the wrong hill. I ended up having to change this workout a little bit. I found out the hard way that the hill I picked only takes 60 seconds to run. I realized that 9 x 60 seconds would have me running uphill for the same amount of time, so I did that instead. The temperature was a couple of degrees cooler than Tuesday, and while it was still uncomfortable, it could have been worse. My legs felt a little tired during the warm up, and they were pretty worn out after the hills.

Friday was hot. It was bad, but I was expecting it to feel worse. My left calf was a little sore at the beginning, but I guess running stretched it out and it was fine by around the halfway point. Other than that, my legs felt OK. I kept the effort “easy” except for the last quarter mile or so.

So, Saturday. I needed to run my longest distance since March, my first true long run since July 4, after running slightly lower mileage over the past 3 weeks, and I’d be running in 75 degree weather with 80% humidity. Oh, and I was supposed to include hills. What could possibly go wrong?

I survived. That’s pretty much all I can say. It was rough. I even had to take a couple of walk breaks outside of stopping at water fountains over the last few miles. I still managed to find enough energy to speed up at the very end, and I made it to 13.1 miles. I did get a couple of uphill climbs in during the first half or so, then later I felt like I was in survival mode and wanted things as flat as possible. I got through it, though. It was mildly disappointing, but given everything else (and looking back at my two 13.1 mile training runs last year), I think I did OK.

Next week, it’s finally back to a “normal” schedule, and allegedly the temperature is supposed to drop a couple of degrees. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve got a workout involving Marathon Pace, and a 14 mile long run. Yes, a 14 mile run. That’s why I said it was “normal.”

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 10-16

I love Portland. I really think it’s my second favorite city (after New York City, of course, but it’s hard to compete with the city where I was born). I don’t think I could ever move there, because it’s too far away from my family. But maybe I could just spend my summers there so I wouldn’t have to run in this insane heat.

The running was great (55 degrees on Friday!), of course, but overall I had an amazing trip. Perhaps later this week, I’ll *gasp* put up a post that isn’t really about running and jot down some of my thoughts. I’m not promising anything, though.

Weight Check: 168.8 pounds, down 1.2 from last week. I also did an unofficial weigh-in right before I left for Portland and was at 169.1, so I lost 0.3 while I was gone. Lots of walking and a little bit of dancing (!) made up for plenty of beer. I did end up drinking a can of soda (usually Coke) with my lunch each day due to the combination of not great sleep and the fact that my body never quite made it all the way to Pacific Time, so I needed a little bit of caffeine to make sure I made it past the end of the day in the Eastern time zone.

I’m still about 5 pounds heavier than I’d like, but I do feel like I’ve made it through a rough stretch without too much damage. Things should settle down a bit, and with that, hopefully my weight will go back down.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday Lactate Threshold, 2 mile warm up, 5 x 5 minutes at Threshold pace with 1 minute easy in between, 2 mile cool down 7.01
Thursday 7 miles easy 7.01
Friday 6 miles easy 6.01
Sunday 5 miles easy 5.01

Total: 31.05 miles

Wow, I managed to break 30 miles in a travel week where my longest runs were 7 miles.

I definitely need to rely on my notes for any details of the first two runs before I left for Portland.

On Monday, the weather wasn’t quite as nice as Sunday, but still tolerable, especially for July. (I thought 70 degrees and humid was a break from the heat. After seeing the weather in Portland later in the week, I look at that observation and laugh.) My legs felt a little iffy on the first mile, then they were fine the rest of the way. I kept the effort easy until the last quarter mile or so.

Tuesday, the heat and humidity were back after a couple of relatively nice days. This was a tough workout at any temperature or humidity. My legs felt OK for the most part, just a little tired at the end. The last interval was my fastest interval, which is nice. I actually finished the last interval at exactly 5.0 miles. I don’t think I could do that again if I tried. The 2nd mile of my cool down may have been a little faster than it should have been, but I have to admit that I had started thinking about how my next run would be in Portland, and that motivated me to run a little faster.

Thursday was glorious. Portland Running! (At least that’s how it shows up in Garmin Connect, except without the exclamation point.) The weather was beautiful, even if it was overcast, because it was 57 degrees, or 15 degrees cooler than Tuesday. Also, my legs felt fine. This was one of those runs where I was supposed to speed up a bit on the last mile, and I did, quite a bit more than I expected.

Friday was also a pretty solid run, and really, the only difference was that the sun was out, and and I only had to run 6 miles, but again with a speed up on the last mile. My legs still felt fine, and my pace was fairly consistent. When I sped up on the last mile, it wasn’t quite as fast as Thursday, but it was still a good run overall.

And on Sunday, I just tried to savor my run. I knew it was my last run under really nice conditions until maybe mid-September if I’m lucky, or longer if I’m not. I still took it easy, and my legs may have been a little tired at first, since I walked around quite a bit on Saturday, but it was a truly easy run, and I enjoyed it.

This week, I’m sort of back to normal, although I did get a rare Monday rest day. I’m writing this after my Tuesday run. (Spoiler: It was hot and humid and miserable.) I’ve got a hill workout on Wednesday, and a 13 mile long run (which I will, of course, turn into 13.1 miles). Also, it’s going to be really freaking hot. I miss Portland already.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 3-9

It was a strange week. Most of it was tough, but I got a little bit of a break with my somewhat unexpected Sunday run. A Tuesday long run and not one but two runs while I was on call, and neither got interrupted by work. (One was delayed a little bit, and the other did get interrupted by something else, but more on that later.)

Next week I’ll be running in Portland. And I thought last week was strange.

I did manage to get my June monthly wrap-up posted in a somewhat timely manner, considering I was about 500 miles away from home for the first 2+ days of July.

Weight Check: OK, before I give you the number, I have to add the disclaimer that my last official weigh-in was before my trip to New York. And this morning, I was at 170.0, up 2.5 pounds. Gaining that much is not good, and for me, 170 pounds is definitely not good. However, I was up around 172 in the middle of the week, so I did manage to reduce the damage a little bit. I still drank too much Mountain Dew, but I did an OK job of avoiding junk food for the most part. (After I got home, that is.) Also, for what it’s worth, I weighed myself before I ran today.

I’ll probably make a note of my pre-Portland weight, but I’ll wait until after I get back before I do my next official weigh-in.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Tuesday 12 mile long run 12.01
Wednesday 3 miles easy 3.11
Friday Fartlek, 20 minute warm up, 10 x 2 minutes at 10K pace with 2 minutes easy in between, 15 minute cool down (until I reach 6 miles) 6.01
Saturday 6 miles easy 6.01
Sunday 3 miles easy 3.11

Total: 30.25 miles

I was really glad to break 30 miles this week. Also, after last week’s screw up where I stopped at 3.01 miles, due to the luck of the training plan I had not just one, but two chances to turn a 3 miler into a 5K, and I took advantage.

So, Tuesday long run. Brutal weather, 74 and humid. I had gained about 3 pounds while I was out of town, and my legs didn’t feel great, so these were not ideal conditions for a run. I took it easy, and my legs somehow got better as I went along. I stopped at a water fountain at some point during every mile except the first and last. I had instructions to pick up my effort on the last two miles if I felt good. I don’t know that I felt good at the end when I sped up, it was more like I just wanted to finish sooner, but my 2nd fastest mile (barely) was mile 11, and my fastest mile (by a lot) was mile 12. I’ll take it.

Wednesday, the humidity was really terrible, probably worse than Tuesday. Luckily I wasn’t out there for very long. My legs were a little tired after my Tuesday long run, which I kind of expected, but I got through it and my pace ended up being decent after the first mile. I kept it at an “easy” effort except for the last quarter mile or so, and like I mentioned earlier, I decided to bump it up to a 5K.

On Friday, I had another fartlek workout. Running 10 intervals is no joke. It’s one of those things where it’s probably going to suck in any weather, so I might as well do it when the weather’s really bad. Still, I kept the pace on the intervals fairly consistent, even if I had to walk a little more on the recovery intervals near the end. I still managed to make my last interval the fastest one, so there’s that. I was a little surprised that I only needed about 0.6 at the end to get to 6 miles, which, even with some walking right after the last interval, still took me way less than 15 minutes.

Saturday, I woke up early due to a work issue. Once that was resolved, I got outside, and after half a mile, I had to come back because nature called. I was so worried about having my run interrupted by work, then something completely different stops me. Go figure. Anyway, I got back out there, and weather-wise, it was still pretty brutal. This was one of those easy runs where I’m supposed to speed up on the last mile, and I did. (I need to ask my coach if I’m the only athlete she’s got that actually likes these “speed up at the end” runs.) I did want to note that if it wasn’t for work, this is when I would have done my long run, and I’d say the Saturday morning conditions and the Tuesday morning conditions were pretty equally crappy.

Sunday’s run was optional, but since my legs felt OK this morning, and I knew my mileage was a little low due to travel, I wanted to do it. It was several degrees cooler, which was nice, although still pretty humid. I had to deal with another work issue before I started, and this one probably delayed me by about half an hour. When I got out there, my legs initially didn’t feel as great as I had hoped, but after the first mile, they got better. It ended up being a pretty good run, and once again, I turned a 3 miler into a 5K.

This week, I have two runs before I leave for Portland, one of which will be my first Lactate Threshold workout. I think it’s another one of those workouts where I’ve probably done something like it before, it just didn’t have a name. It looks kind of scary, though. I hope the break in the humidity lasts until Tuesday morning. If not, I’ll just have to comfort myself with the knowledge that once I get through that run, my next run will be in Portland. I have no idea what kind of mileage I’ll fit in while I’m out there, but I know it’ll be much less humid, and the view of the Willamette River is much nicer than the view of my neighborhood.

I’m flying back from Portland next Monday. On a related note, my next weekly wrap up is going to be late.

Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2017

It wasn’t easy, but I expected June to be worse than it was. Yay?

My Connecticut run didn’t happen until July 1, so it will have to wait until my next monthly wrap-up (and then it’ll have to share time with my upcoming Portland runs). At least for June, all my runs were in North Carolina.

It was my first time working with an actual professional coach, and so far I think it’s been pretty good. I’m still working on adding a few new things to my routine (stretching, foam rolling), but overall, I think I’m on the right track. *knock on wood*

June 2017
Total Mileage:
130.11 miles
Average Pace: 11:28/mile
Number of Runs: 20
Last Month (May 2017): 137.20 miles
Last Year (June 2016): 89.67 miles
Races: None

Total Mileage for 2017 (through June 30): 805.84 miles

Last June was the end of my injury recovery, so I won’t have to bring it up again in next month’s wrap up. (Really, I don’t need to bring it up ever again, because it wasn’t much fun.) My June mileage was down slightly, mainly due to the stupid calendar, although my trip at the tail end of the month didn’t help (but the trip was totally worth it).

Let’s check in on my goals for 2017, now that the year is…half over?!?!?

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Average miles per day is 805.84 miles divided by 181 days, that’s about 4.45 miles per day, times 365 days for the year, comes out to over 1,625 miles for the year. Last month’s projection was 1,633 miles, so I slipped a little more, but that still blows away my goal, and I suspect that the next couple of months will see that projection go up.

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater

No races this month. I still have 4 races overall, and only 1 so far that’s 13.1 or greater. I’m looking at a warm up race, most likely in September, before New York City, and those two races would put me at my goal.

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

I still have 2 PRs this year. I probably won’t be shooting for a PR in my warm up race, so I guess I’m going to have to PR in New York City. No pressure.

I’m still struggling with my non-specific goals (with one notable exception which I’ll get back to). I’m not doing a great job at the non-running exercise, but with my marathon training about to ramp up, I really need to get on that. My diet? Cooking? Ha! And my June blog output consisted of exactly 4 weekly wrap-ups and the May monthly wrap-up. Sigh.

The one goal that’s actually been going well? Slower easy runs and faster hard runs. Especially the slower ones. It’s made a huge difference. I’ve found during my long runs this past month, even as the temperature and humidity have gone up, I’ve managed to slow down enough that I don’t need to take very many walk breaks. I still have to stop if I want to drink out of a water fountain, and I usually walk a few steps after the water fountain, but other than that, I feel like I’m doing a little bit better.

Best Run: June 24, 12.02 miles, 11:58/mile pace

A run when it was 74 degrees and humid, where I had to use Runkeeper on my phone because I forgot my Garmin watch (and had to carry the phone in a Ziploc bag so it wouldn’t get fried by sweat), and then I had to stop in the middle because somehow I managed to turn off my phone’s GPS in my pocket, where I got mud all over my shoes as a result of some recent flooding, and where I finished with my slowest average pace of any run in June. And this is my best run of the month. I wasn’t expecting that either. It’s that whole overcoming adversity thing, I guess.

This is one of the runs I was talking about when I mentioned that the slower paces were helping my long runs. Honestly, if this had happened last year, it would have turned into a complete disaster, probably with an average pace close to 13:00/mile. Instead, I was actually faster after I stopped to turn my phone’s GPS back on that I was before. Go figure.

I’ll also give a shout out to my June 28 run. It was a fartlek workout, and while it wasn’t my fastest workout run this month, it happened to be my last run of any type for June, and it was really nice to end a month with a run that didn’t completely suck.

Worst Run: June 17, 11.01 miles, 11:54/mile pace

My phone died because of this run. My waterproof arm band didn’t protect my phone from sweat, and it stopped working, so I had to replace it. That will “win” the Worst Run award any time. I suppose this didn’t completely suck as a run, though.

While June felt like I was just continuing to work on base building, July is where things are going to start ramping up…after I get back from Portland. And except for the trip to Portland, I expect a month of terrible weather, but again *knock on wood* I feel like I’m handling it just a little bit better than last year. We’ll see.

Weekly Wrap-Up: June 26-July 2

I had a really great trip. It was for a family reunion. I have some amazing Cousins. (Everybody’s considered a Cousin, whether they’re a first cousin, second cousin, or whatever. Even if you marry into the family, like my Mom, you’re a Cousin, too.) One of my Cousins is an ultramarathoner. I should have known I wouldn’t be the only runner. But really, they’re just great people, and I feel lucky to be a Cousin.

So I ran in Connecticut for the first time. That’s the 7th state I’ve run in. The current list, in chronological order, is North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. I noticed over the weekend a bunch of people on Facebook started posting these maps of all the states they’ve visited. My states visited map has a few more states – 25, plus D.C. – but apparently there’s 18 states that I’ve visited but haven’t run in. Yet.

And lost in all of this, Sunday was the 6 year anniversary of my first run. That means that it was also 1 year since I started this blog. I’ll say this, I think I’m in a much better place as a runner today than I was a year ago, even if I can’t really credit the blog for my improvement.

Weight Check: I decided to write this up Monday afternoon, so I haven’t done a weigh in since Thursday, June 29, so that’s going to be my official weigh in, and it’s 167.5 pounds, down 1.2 from last week. I don’t really remember how I ate before I left. (I know it was really bad while I was gone, though.) It’s still higher than I’d like. Hopefully by next Sunday I’ll be able to cancel out all the damage from my trip.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday 5 miles easy 5.01
Wednesday Fartlek, 20 minute warm up, 4 x 4 minutes hard with 2 minutes easy in between, 15 minute cool down (until I reach 6 miles) 6.01
Saturday 5 miles easy 5.01
Sunday 3 miles easy 3.01

Total: 25.05 miles

8.02 miles in Connecticut. That puts it ahead of New Jersey (only one non-treadmill mile) but sadly, still behind my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 10.21 mile run in Ohio.

On Monday, the weather was much, much better than the previous week. My legs were a little tired, though. (Maybe they were tired during the previous week and I didn’t notice because of the heat.) I kept the effort easy, although I pushed it a little for the last quarter mile or so.

Tuesday, the weather was still pretty nice. My legs felt OK. I kept an easy effort most of the way, and again pushed a little on the last quarter mile.

On Wednesday, I did a fartlek workout, and could not have asked for better weather for late June. 60 degrees, still a little bit of humidity, but not nearly as bad as it’s been. That certainly helped. My legs felt OK for the most part, just a little tired near the end, which is understandable.

It was really weird not running for 2 days when my legs were healthy and not recovering from a marathon. I could have squeezed in a run Thursday morning, but I followed my coach’s plan.

Saturday I ran for the first time in Connecticut. There were some rolling hills, but at least the scenery was kind of cool. The weather was a little more hot and humid than I’d like (and certainly worse than earlier in the week), but it wasn’t terrible. I did all right, I guess, and my car key was safely stored 500 or so miles away, so there’s that.

(Edit to add: I forgot to put in my post-Connecticut run picture, so here you go. You can see both my bright blue shoes and some of the flowers they planted outside of my hotel.)

Finally, on Sunday, I didn’t even realize it until I started writing this up, but I stopped at 3 miles. I can’t believe it. I almost always turn scheduled 3 mile runs into 5Ks. I guess all the traveling got to my brain. Anyway, it was a decent run, although my legs were a little bit tired, since I had been standing around a lot talking to people at my family reunion on Saturday. (I still had a great time there, though.)

Next week, I’m not going anywhere, but I’m on call this coming weekend, so I’m going to celebrate America’s birthday with a 12 mile long run. I’ve also got a fartlek workout scheduled for later in the week. And we’re in a new month, so I need to write a wrap-up for June.