Weekly Wrap-Up: August 21-27

This week, 4 of my runs were uneventful, then Saturday had enough stuff for several runs.

The weather got slightly less terrible at the end of the week, but it’s still unpleasant.

Weight Check: 166.2 pounds, down 1.8 from last week. OK, I’ll take it. From watching my weight over the course of the week, I know that pretty much all of that happened as a result of my long run. I still drank too much Mountain Dew, but I guess I did OK otherwise.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday 3 mile warm up, 8 x 90 seconds uphill hard (jog back down in between), 2 mile cool down (or until I reach 7 miles) 7.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 5 miles easy 5.01
Saturday 15 mile long run 15.01

Total: 40.05 miles

That’s two weeks in a row with over 40 miles. I expect that streak to continue for a while.

For Monday’s run, I don’t have any new ways to say how bad the weather was. My legs felt a little bit tired, presumably from my long run, but it wasn’t too terrible. My pace seemed to be a bit inconsistent, and I’m not quite sure why. I kept the effort “easy” until the last quarter mile or so.

Tuesday, the weather still sucked, but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: hill workouts suck at any temperature. My legs were OK at first, and got more tired on each interval, but I kind of expected that. My pace generally improved as I went along, although it wasn’t exactly a straight line. I did manage to get my fastest pace on the last interval, though.

On Wednesday, the weather was brutal again. My legs felt OK, I guess, but they just didn’t seem to want to move very fast. I did manage to gradually increase my pace each mile. I kept the effort easy until the last quarter of a mile. Not a great run, but I survived.

Friday, we finally got a little bit of a break in the weather. It still wasn’t great, but it was much better than it’s been. My legs felt OK. I tried to keep the effort easy. I think I may have gone a little faster than I should have on mile 2, but I pulled back on mile 3. I did push the pace a little on the last quarter mile or so.

And then there was Saturday. I’m not sure what to think about this one.

So, I was supposed to run 7 miles easy, then 6 miles around marathon pace, then 2 miles easy. OK. The weather was slightly better than it’s been, and there was an occasional breeze which helped.

I was pleasantly surprised with how consistent my pace was for the first 7 miles. My legs felt OK through this stretch.

Miles 8 and 9 were good. I sped up, and went up a hill (and back down) on 9. Mile 10 felt like a struggle, so I slowed down a little bit.

Mile 11 felt like a disaster. I had to stop to use the bathroom during this mile. (I stopped my watch, though.) I guess my pace wasn’t as bad as I felt, although the break probably helped a little.

I rebounded a little bit for mile 12 and 13. My legs still felt pretty tired, but I was able to push through.

And that concluded the marathon pace portion of the run. Which is good, because at that point, I had nothing left.

I walked most of mile 14. I still had nothing on mile 15, but I did manage to slowly run almost all of it, with just a short walk break in the middle.

I had Gu at 5 miles and 10 miles. My second Gu was before the bathroom break, so that may have made it a little less effective than usual.

I’m still not entirely sure why mile 11 and mile 14 were so bad (for 11, it was more that it felt bad), but both times I did manage to recover a little bit.

Also, just to make things a little bit worse, I forgot to use my Body Glide. Ouch!

I’ve had a day to think about it, and I think where I screwed up was miles 8 and 9. I think I went a little too fast. I ran those miles in 10:35 and 10:38. If I’m shooting for a 5 hour marathon, my pace needs to be 11:26/mile. For a training run like this, somewhere around 11:00/mile would probably be OK (and that’s roughly where I ended up on miles 10, 12, and 13), but 10:38 (or faster) will lead to trouble.

That’s really all I can do, figure out what went wrong, then fix it next time.

Next week, I’ve got a fartlek workout and a 17 miler. The weather looks like it will be more like Friday and Saturday than earlier last week, so that’s a plus. Also, September 1 is Friday, so I guess I need to do a monthly wrap-up as well.

Weekly Wrap-Up: August 14-20

Where do I start?

I bonked, I recovered, I retired a pair of shoes, and I slogged through 16 miles to get over 40 for the week.

Weight Check: 168.0 pounds, down 1.1 from last week. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s higher than I’d like. I’m still drinking too much Mountain Dew. This week, in theory, should be slightly less stressful at work, and so maybe I’ll be able to cut back a bit.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday Lactate Threshold, 2 mile warm up, 4 x 1 mile at Threshold pace (9:05/mile) with 1 minute in between, 1 mile cool down* 6.26
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 5 miles easy 5.01
Saturday 16 mile long run 16.01

Total: 40.30 miles

There’s a reason for the asterisk next to Tuesday’s workout. (Hint: Add up the miles in the workout description and you’ll get more than 6.26.)

First, Monday. I barely remember it. More brutal weather. My legs still felt OK, though. I survived, and gradually sped up over the course of the run. I kept the effort “easy” until around the last quarter mile.

I found it amusing that this was my first 7 mile easy run (unless I count the one in Portland, but I requested that one, and it was scheduled to be a “speed up on the last mile” run). It’s weird how that used to be a staple in my training plan for the last two years.

Then there was Tuesday.

I bonked.

The weather was bad, but not really any worse than I’ve seen lately. My warm up was fine. I knew with the conditions a 9:05 pace would be pretty difficult, but I was hoping to stay below 9:30. I did that for the first two intervals, but on the 3rd, my legs got really tired. I tried adding 30 seconds to my recovery after the 3rd interval, but during the 4th, I had very little energy, and my pace seemed to get slower as the mile went on. At the end of the 4th interval, I was right near my house, I really had to use the bathroom, and my legs were dead, so I stopped there, skipping the cool down. (Although the 4th interval looked a lot like a cool down.)

The good news is that it was only fatigue, there was no pain. Still, it sucked. It really affected me mentally. As bad as it felt, both physically and mentally, it still ended up being my fastest average pace for a run since June. Go figure.

So, on Wednesday, I needed a comeback run. So of course I forgot to set my alarm and woke up about 45 minutes later than I planned. This was not an ideal way to start.

I made it through the first and second mile with no issues. Then I turned on to this one street. It’s straight, it’s flat, it’s about .12 miles, and it ends in a cul-de-sac. About halfway down this street, I saw a large dog without a leash standing in a driveway at the end of the street. I immediately turned around, hoping the dog hadn’t seen me. No such luck. I soon heard the dog running behind me. I know I can’t outrun a dog over short distances. I had no choice. I turned around, stood as tall as I could, pointed away from me, and yelled,”Go home!” The dog stopped and looked at me. I said it again. Then the dog turned around and started walking away. I took a few steps backward to keep an eye on the dog, and when I felt like I was safe, I turned around and ran away. It was around this time that I finally heard the dog’s owner calling for the dog to come home. (It took him long enough.) But I had stood face-to-face with a dog, and I won.

After that, my run was easy. I managed to improve my pace on each mile.

Also, this was my last run in my first pair of Brooks Adrenaline 17s. My first run in them, on February 14, was in 33(!) degree weather. They got me through the 2017 Tobacco Road Half. And they got me through a showdown with a dog. What a way to go out.

Friday’s run seemed pretty anti-climactic. The weather was still terrible. My legs felt fine, though. I kept the effort “easy” until the last quarter mile or so. Other than on the last mile when someone asked me for directions (I stopped my watch for that), it was uneventful, which, after Tuesday’s run, I’ll gladly take.

Saturday was 16 miles. Side note: it was the day of the 2017 OrthoCarolina 10K. I ran the 2014 version, and the weather this year was only slightly less horrific than 3 years ago. Still, there’s a big difference between 6.2 miles and 16. It was either 73 or 75 degrees depending on whether you believe my phone or my Garmin. (Officially, I split the difference and recorded it as 74.) Either way, there was about 90% humidity.

My legs actually felt OK until after mile 12, then they got really tired. I did manage to speed up for the last mile, but it wasn’t because I had a bunch of energy left over. Really, I think it was that I just stopped caring about the fact that I had no energy left, wanted to get my run over with, and just ran as fast as I could.

Next week, we might actually see some slightly less terrible weather by the end of the week. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve also got a hill workout, but my long run is only 15 miles. Yes, only 15. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: August 7-13

The weather sucked this week. I survived.

I bought a new pair of shoes, my 3rd pair of Brooks Adrenaline 17s. This time, I was able to buy the default style, dark gray with blue and black trim, so they had them in stock in 10.5 wide. I’ll have to special order my next pair, though, since I try to alternate the colors to keep them straight. If my math is right, there’s a small chance this pair will be my shoes for New York City, but I think it’s more likely that my next pair will be the ones to make the trip. We’ll see.

I didn’t retire my oldest shoes (my first Adrenaline 17s) just yet. They’re at 397.4 miles, and that was after Monday’s run. So I wore my 2nd pair on Tuesday, broke in my new pair on Wednesday, and then really broke them in on Friday with my “long” run. I brought my 2nd pair to my parents’ house and ran in them Saturday morning. I didn’t want the last run for my oldest shoes to be in Greensboro, because I still don’t enjoy running there. I’ll retire them on one of my runs this week.

Also, I have seen the light. I’m a convert to foam rolling. It helped after last week’s long run, which I normally would have felt the effects from on Monday (but didn’t), it helped after my Tuesday run, and it helped after this week’s “long” run. My legs are in much better shape, and I don’t think it’s due to the reduced mileage this week.

Weight Check: OK, I had to do my weigh-in on Friday morning, before my long run. It was 169.1, up 3.1 pounds from last week. That’s pretty terrible. I drank way too much Mountain Dew. Now, I was missing my long run (and my Saturday run), but still. I really need to buckle down. Having more days (and more miles) this week will help, but I’d really like to see some progress in my eating and drinking, and not just see the numbers go down because my mileage went up.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday 7 mile progression run (5 miles easy, 2 miles comfortably hard) 7.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 11 mile long run 11.01
Saturday 4 miles easy 4.01

Total: 34.05 miles

I was greeted on Monday with rain. Yes, for the first time in months, it rained during one of my runs. But it was pretty light, and it stopped somewhere in mile 2. The humidity stuck around, though, so it was rather unpleasant. My legs felt pretty good considering I just did 15 miles on Saturday. Like I said earlier, foam rolling. I kept the effort “easy” with my usual push on the last quarter of a mile.

On Tuesday, the weather was miserable again, but this time it only rained on the last two miles. My legs felt OK, with just a little bit of fatigue at the end, but I expected that. It’s difficult to imagine anything being easy or comfortable in these conditions, but I kept the effort “easy” for 5 miles, then “comfortably” hard for the last two. Not a great run, but I survived.

Wednesday, the weather wasn’t quite as bad, and there was no rain, but it was still uncomfortable. Legs felt OK even after yesterday’s progression run. Foam rolling. It works. (Feel free to add another word after “works” if you’d like. I try to keep things clean here, but I’d probably add a word in other contexts.) A pretty uneventful run, but I won’t complain.

So, my “long” run was Friday. Since I didn’t want to sit in rush hour traffic to get to Freedom Park, I stuck with the Four Mile Creek Greenway. I’ve been staying away from there because of the relative lack of water fountains. I measured it, 1.88 miles between fountains, and that’s a little farther than I’d like during a summer long run. I managed to survive, though. The weather was brutal. My legs held up OK, though.

My coach gave me the option of adding in hills, and I did, during mile 4 and mile 5. I actually felt like I had trouble finding my easy pace, and my running was a little more inconsistent than I’d like. I was able to get away with it on an 11 miler, but when I’m up to 15 or 16 miles, I need to do a better job. I did managed to speed up on the last mile, so I didn’t completely screw it up.

One other note about this run is that I tried a Vanilla PowerBar Gel Vanilla on this run for the first and last time. PowerBar is the official sponsor of the New York City Marathon, and they give out gels at one of the aid stations (around Mile 19 or so, give or take a mile). I brought my Strawberry Banana Gus last year, and plan to bring them again this year, but after talking to my coach about it, I wanted to try out the gel that they’re giving out (and, presumably, will have for sale during the expo). So I bought a PowerBar Gel last week, and figured Vanilla would probably be easily available, and wouldn’t cause any stomach issues. Well, Vanilla PowerBar Gel is like drinking watered down vanilla syrup. I’ve had Vanilla Bean Gu before, and while I still prefer Strawberry Banana, in a pinch, Vanilla Bean is perfectly acceptable. The PowerBar version of vanilla is really strong, and if it wasn’t so watery, I probably would have had trouble choking it down. I’m very thankful I had a working water fountain right afterward to wash away the taste. So, I just need to make absolutely positively sure I bring my Strawberry Banana Gu this year. (It’s possible they sell them at the expo, but I don’t know if PowerBar has some kind of exclusive agreement.)

Finally, on Saturday, I ran in my parents’ neighborhood in Greensboro. The weather was still terrible, but my legs were fine. I love my parents, but I still don’t love running in their neighborhood. I think it’s mostly a mental thing, but I still don’t like it. It was only 4 miles, so I got it over with relatively quickly.

Next week, I’ve got a Lactate Threshold workout, a 16(!) mile long run, and it looks like I’ll break the 40 mile mark. The weather looks pretty miserable, though. I guess I’ll just have to push through it.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 31-August 6

Yesterday was exactly 3 months until New York City. But who’s counting?

I finally got a break this week. The weather was beautiful for 2 days, and warm but not unbearable the rest of the week.

Weight Check: 166.0 pounds, up 0.3 from last week. I guess it could have been worse, considering all the Mountain Dew I drank. My 15 mile run offset a good chunk of that, though. I’ll try to buckle down this week, I guess. I don’t know when my next official weigh-in will be, since I’ll be traveling next weekend.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday 2.5 mile warm up, 10 x 1 minute uphill hard (jog downhill in between), 2 mile cool down (or until I reach 6 miles) 6.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 4 miles easy 4.01
Sunday 15 mile long run 15.01

Total: 37.05 miles

Monday was beautiful. 61 degrees! The cooler, drier air they had been talking about for a week finally got here. Almost Portland-esque. (Although I heard they got up over 100 degrees this week, so even Portland wasn’t really Portland-esque.) Even though it was still humid, it doesn’t feel nearly as bad when it’s only 61 degrees. I felt a little bit of fatigue in my legs early, most likely because of my long run, but it wasn’t that bad, and it went away after a couple of miles. I kept the effort easy (which is harder to do when the temperature drops 14 degrees from your last run) except for the last quarter mile or so.

On Tuesday, the weather was still really nice, but it was wasted on a hill workout. Hills suck at any temperature, so I didn’t get to really enjoy the weather today. My legs felt OK until near the end, but if they didn’t feel a little bit tired I’d be worried I didn’t run hard enough. For the most part, my pace improved as I went along (with the exception of interval #5, which I think was just a fluke, and #7, when I was slowed down by a car backing out of a driveway), and my two fastest intervals were #10 and #9.

Wednesday, it was warmer than the last two days, but still not nearly as bad as a week ago. Legs felt fine, even a day after a hill workout. I kept the effort easy except for the last quarter mile or so. Pretty much an uneventful run. Not being able to come up with anything to say about a run is a good problem to have.

I have to mention that when I went out with friends Wednesday night, I had a Brooklyn Brewing Summer Ale. I think that’s appropriate during a summer where I’m training for the New York City Marathon. Also, it’s a good beer.

On Friday, the weather still wasn’t too terrible, especially for early August. My legs felt fine. I managed to run fairly well on the first mile, although I can’t figure out what was different from the rest of my runs this week where I struggled a bit on the first mile. I kept the effort easy, but sped up a bit on the last quarter mile.

Saturday was my first 15 miler for this training cycle. The weather wasn’t great, but still way better than last week. My legs got a little tired after about 11 miles or so, but it still wasn’t too bad. I had Gu right after 5 miles and just before 10 miles. I had the option of adding in a few hills, so I did. I didn’t take any walk breaks other than around my water fountain stops. I kept the effort easy for the most part, but I had enough energy left to speed up for the last mile.

My biggest complain is that the only rain we got all week was some storms late Friday evening, and that meant mud and debris on the greenway, just like last week. It’s annoying, but I got through it.

Next week is a step-back week, which comes in handy, because I’m going up to my parents’ house next weekend. My long run, which will only be 11 miles (yes, “only” 11 miles), will be on Friday before I leave town, then I’ll do a 4 miler in my parents’ neighborhood on Saturday morning. I wanted to make sure my long run is here so I know where all the water fountains are.

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2017

I wrote this up on Monday, July 31, and figured I should wait until August to actually post it. Rather than using the nifty scheduling feature to automatically post this on Tuesday, August 1, I told myself, “Oh, I’ll just post it Tuesday after work.” On Friday, after receiving a notice that WordPress had been updated, I came here to make sure the site was still functioning, and I saw the draft of this post sitting there. D’oh! Still, posting the wrap-up on the 4th of the following month isn’t as bad as some previous monthly wrap-ups. Also, on the plus side, I took one last look at the post and found a typo that I fixed, so there’s that.

Well, that was an interesting month. I ran in 3 different states – Connecticut for the first time, Oregon for the 4th year in a row, and at home in North Carolina – and I’m fairly certain I’ve never done that before. It was hot when I wasn’t in Portland, but I survived.

July 2017
Total Mileage:
142.52 miles
Average Pace: 11:32/mile
Number of Runs: 22
Last Month (June 2017): 130.11 miles
Last Year (July 2016): 146.64 miles
Races: None

Total Mileage for 2017 (through July 31): 948.36 miles

For the first time since February, I fell short of my mileage from a year ago. Considering I had two different trips out of town cutting into my mileage, the fact that I was only 4 miles short of last year is pretty good. Also, I increased my mileage over last month, so there’s that.

I guess I should check in on my goals, even though two of them have no updates (and won’t have any new updates until at least September).

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Average miles per day is 948.36 miles divided by 212 days, that’s about 4.47 miles per day, times 365 days for the year, comes out to over 1,632 miles for the year. Last month’s projection was 1,625 miles, so I increased it, and it still blows away my goal. At least for the next couple of months, I’m pretty sure the projection will continue to go up.

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

Once again, no races this month, so I’m stuck on 4 races with one that’s 13.1 or greater. I should have a warm-up race in September. It’s either going to be a 10K or a half. If it’s a half, that will make two races (along with Tobacco Road) that are 13.1 or greater. The warm-up race plus New York City will make 6. (And, of course, if I run the 10K, NYC will be my second 13.1 or greater race.)

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

No races, and that means no new PRs. (A PR for miserable weather during a training run doesn’t count.) Like I said last month, I’m probably not going to be shooting for a PR in my warm-up race (regardless of the distance), so, New York City Marathon PR or bust, I guess. (Or scramble to find a December race I can PR.)

My non-specific goals are still (with the notable exception of slow easy runs) not going all that well. I suppose I should cut myself a little bit of slack considering how busy July was. But still, not enough non-running exercise, cooking, diet improvement (except for that one week when I almost eliminated Mountain Dew), or blogging about other stuff besides running. Maybe August will be better.

Best Runs:
July 13, 7.01 miles, 10:55/mile pace
July 25, 7.01 miles, 11:13/mile pace

This is my blog, I can pick two different Best Runs if I want to. Funny how in my May Monthly Wrap-Up, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a good run for this section during the summer months.

The first run was my first run in Portland, and it was glorious. I could have picked any of my 3 Portland runs, but I went with this one because it was the longest of the three, and I ran the last mile in 9:16, easily my fastest mile since the Teal Diva 5K. My second Portland run had a faster average pace, but it was shorter, 2 degrees cooler (although we’re talking 57 vs. 55, so not that big of a deal) and I ran the last mile in only 9:32. Yes, only 9:32. Look at me, trying to sound like a fast runner.

Before July even started, I was 99% sure my best run would happen while I was in Portland. I didn’t expect a run like I had on July 25, though. That one was done in my neighborhood, in 73 degrees and 90% humidity, and it was a workout, 1 mile warm-up, 6 miles at a moderate effort. A difficult workout in any weather. I admit that I stopped and ran into my house for water at the 4 mile mark, or exactly halfway through the workout portion, but I didn’t want to run that long at that level of effort in that weather without some water. The degree of difficulty was high on this one, and when I got done, I knew I had nailed it. (Also, in the back of my mind, I remember thinking, “Oh crap, I’m gonna need to have two best runs for July.”)

If I’m doing two Best Runs, I can do two shout outs too, right? (Of course, I can, this is my blog.)

First shout out is to my run on July 1, which was my first ever run in Connecticut, the 7th state I’ve run in. It wasn’t a great run, partially due to the humidity, but once I got off the main road, it was pretty scenic. The second shout out, which I didn’t even think about until I was getting the numbers for my first Portland run, was my run on July 11. It was a Lactate Threshold workout, and I ended up running very well, especially considering the conditions, but I also knew that it was my last run before Portland, and I think that motivated me.

Worst Run: July 22, 13.1 miles, 12:30/mile pace

There’s only one Worst Run. The only good things I can say about this one is that my phone was not harmed during this run, and in spite of everything, I managed to run these 13.1 miles almost 6 minutes faster than my first half marathon.

Once I got back from Portland, I finally felt like I had started marathon training for real. I know August is going to be tougher. I won’t have a break from the heat in Portland this month, and the mileage is going to keep going up. All I can hope is that I get a little bit of a break from the heat (which I actually got to close out the month – 61 (!) degrees on July 31), keep muddling through when the conditions are miserable, and hope that my hard work will pay off on November 5.