Weekly Running Report: September 11-17

I’ve had better weeks.

Weight Check: 165.6, down 2.1 pounds from last week. Wait, what? OK, this was a pleasant surprise. I don’t think I ate differently this week, and as far as I remember, I drank the same amount of Mountain Dew. I guess the miles were the difference.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday Lactate Threshold, 2 mile warm up, 2 x 2 miles at Threshold pace (9:05/mile) with 3 minutes in between, 1 mile cool down 7.01
Tuesday 7 miles easy (Due to treadmill time limit, I split it into 4 miles, then 3 miles) 4.01/3.01 (total 7.02)
Wednesday 7 miles easy 7.01
Friday 6 miles easy 6.01
Saturday 18 mile long run 18.01

Total: 45.06 miles

Like I said last week, I planned on doing my workout on Monday. The cutback week before this one helped. I don’t think I’d be able to handle any kind of workout on Monday of next week after running 18 miles yesterday, but in the 3 days leading up to this run, I ran 10 miles, 5 miles, and 0 miles.

Irma was approaching, and we were starting to feel the effects. It was windy with a little bit of light rain. My legs felt OK until near the end. It was tough, especially the 2nd mile of the 2nd interval. I didn’t quite hit the target pace, but for the most part, I kept my pace pretty steady, except for the 2nd mile of the 2nd interval, where I slowed down a little bit early due to fatigue, but I rallied near the end, and it ended up being my fastest mile. My legs were completely drained, and I walked a good tenth of a mile before going back to a slow jog. I didn’t do a full mile for the cool down, I just stopped when I hit 7 miles total, mostly due to how my legs felt.

The worst effects of Irma came through Monday night. By Tuesday morning, there was still a little bit of wind and rain, but I wasn’t sure how much damage there was in my neighborhood, and I didn’t really want to try to find out in the dark, so, after getting a large branch out of my driveway, I drove over to the Y and got on the treadmill. The treadmill has a 60 minute time limit, and my 10K PR is 57:04. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get to 7 miles in under 60 minutes. (And even if I could, there’s no way it would possibly be considered an easy run for me.) So I split it up into two runs, 4.01 miles in 43:45 (10:55/mile pace) and 3.01 miles in 32:05 (10:40/mile average pace). On the second part, I started at a 10:43/mile pace, then sped up on last mile, ending at 10:00/mile pace. My legs felt fine the whole time, because the treadmill is generally easier on my legs. However, it’s still mentally excruciating, and that’s the main reason I sped up on the 2nd part.

Wednesday was just one of those days. Weather wasn’t an issue, and it was cool enough that I didn’t realize it was 100% humidity until I checked Garmin Connect afterwards. It didn’t help that, even after I used the bathroom before my run, I had to stop at around 1.25 miles and go again. I just couldn’t get into a good rhythm. My legs didn’t feel terrible, but there was a little bit of fatigue. All I could do was take a day off and get back out there Friday.

I did indeed get back out there on Friday. Again, it was cool enough that I didn’t notice the 100% humidity. My legs felt fine. It was a much better run overall. I may have gone a little faster than I should have on miles 3-5, which is why, even though I did speed up at the end, mile 6 still was a few seconds slower than those miles. But after Wednesday’s run, I’ll gladly take a run like this.

And then there was Saturday.

I figured that I’d need 3 Gu packets for an 18 mile run. I put all 3 of them in my pockets and drove to the greenway. But somewhere along the way, one of them fell out of my pocket and ended up between my car seat and the center console. I didn’t realize I had only two of them until after I had taken the other two at 5 and 9 miles. So I ended up having to run the last 9 miles with no fuel. Also, initially, I had assumed that the 3rd Gu fell out of my pocket somewhere on the run, and didn’t find out it was still in my car until after I finished. Add in to that the fact that it warmed up to 68 degrees at the start, the warmest it’s been in almost 3 weeks, and I had a really rough finish with several walk breaks. Also, I stopped to use the bathroom around 12.20 miles (that’s when I realized I didn’t have any Gu left).

My legs felt OK for the first half, but they got really tired after around 12 or so. Also, knowing I had no more Gu messed with me mentally, so that didn’t help.

I did manage to get a few hills in (mile 5, mile 7, and mile 9) before things went south.

Fun fact: My training plan from the last 2 years didn’t include an 18 mile run. There was a 17 miler, and a workout run that ended up at 18.75 miles (it was a 3 mile warm up, 4 x 3 miles at marathon pace with 3 minutes in between, and a 3 mile cool down), but nothing that was 18 miles even. So yesterday’s run, as bad as it was, is still my fastest 18 miler.

So, yeah, the run really sucked. Between that and Wednesday’s run (which now doesn’t look so bad), I’m not feeling really good about my training right now. All I can do is keep going and hope I can work things out.

Next week, I’ll have plenty of chances to work it out. I’ve got a hill workout scheduled. (Crap.) My long run is only 16 miles, but 8(!) of those miles are supposed to be at marathon pace. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Running Report: September 4-10

Mileage-wise, it was a step back week. Outside of running, things were kind of chaotic.

On Wednesday, my parents had to put down their cat, Willie. He was 17 years old, so he had a pretty long life. He had arthritis, and he reached the point where he really couldn’t walk on his own, so it was time. It’s still pretty tough, though. I’ll miss him.

The forecast for Irma started out looking pretty bad for Charlotte, but as the track shifted west, the potential damage here went down significantly. Still, watching the forecast was stressful, and it’s going to cause a slight change to my schedule, but more on that later.

And to top it all off, I was on call this weekend. It’s over now, and I guess it wasn’t terrible. I was able to sleep through the night both nights, so there’s that.

Weight Check: 167.7 pounds, up 1.3 from last week. Lower mileage plus stress-fueled eating equals weight gain. I don’t know if next week will be less stressful, but hopefully I can buckle down a bit. I know my runs would be slightly easier if I could just drop a couple of pounds. We’ll see.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday 6 mile rolling hills run. 6.01
Wednesday 5 miles easy 5.01
Friday 10 mile run (2 miles easy, 6 miles at 11:00-11:15/mile pace, 2 miles easy) 10.01
Saturday 5 miles easy 5.01

Total: 33.05 miles

Monday was Labor Day, so I had time to go over to the McAlpine Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenways. The weather was pretty nice. My legs were tired early on, most likely due to my long run on Saturday, but they got better as I went along. I stopped at a water fountain just after the 3 mile mark. I kept the effort easy except for the last quarter mile or so. Overall, it was a pretty good run.

So Tuesday’s run was a little different. Instead of hill repeats, my coach described it like this: “Have fun with the route and do not be too precise, just get in some changing terrain.” The weather was humid but not too warm. My legs felt pretty tired going up the hills, but I expected that. I don’t know that I had fun with the route, but I hit at least 7 different hills (maybe 8, there’s one that you could argue is part of another hill, or you could argue that it’s separate). It may have been tougher than the usual hill repeats, since the hills were more spread out, but I survived.

Wednesday was warmer and humid. My legs felt OK for the most part, but it was one of those runs where it seemed like they just didn’t want to move very fast. I did a little better on the last two miles, though. Not a great run, but I got through it.

I knew I’d be on call for the weekend, but I figured I could get 10 miles in before work on Friday, so that’s what I did. I really lucked out weather-wise, it was the best weather I’ve seen since May. My legs felt fine.

I managed to hit my pace goal on each of the first 5 miles of the middle section. I sped up a little bit at the end of the last mile, but still was only about 10 seconds faster than the goal, which isn’t too bad. For miles 3-6, I felt like I had to speed up and slow down more than I’d like in order to get to the right average pace on each mile. On mile 7, I finally felt like I found the right pace, and even early on mile 8 (before I sped up) my pace was just about right. I probably ran a little faster than I needed to on the last 2 miles, but it was still fairly comfortable.

I did not get paged during my Saturday run, so there’s that. However, I did have to deal with yard sales. See, twice a year my neighborhood has a community yard sale, and while not everybody participates (I didn’t), there are a bunch of people who do, and so there are cars parked near each yard sale, and a bunch of cars coming and going. Normally on Saturdays, I go run somewhere else and only have to deal with yard sales and their related traffic on my way out of my neighborhood and on my way back in, but because I was on call, I had to stay close to home. It was fairly annoying, but I survived.

As for the run itself, there was lower humidity, which was nice. My legs felt OK. I was pleasantly surprised by how consistent my pace was on miles 2, 3, and 4. I kept the effort easy except for right at the end.

There’s one mildly amusing note about my on call. Normally, I’m worried about getting a run in without getting paged. Well, Friday evening I got paged, and when I was done, I went to bed. The next morning, I remembered that I was supposed to do some foam rolling Friday night. D’oh! I did it Saturday evening instead.

Next week, I’m going to do my workout run on Monday before the rain gets here. It’ll still be a little bit breezy, but the worst wind won’t get here until late Monday. We won’t have to deal with anything close to what Florida or even Georgia will be dealing with, but it looks like Tuesday morning won’t be great for running, and I may just do my run on the treadmill instead. We’ll see. Also, next Saturday, I have an 18 miler.

Weekly Wrap-Up: August 28-September 3

This week was better, and not just because I actually remembered to post the August Monthly Wrap-Up on time.

I forgot to mention my non-specific goals in my Monthly Wrap-Up, but really, there’s not much to report. The slow easy runs/fast hard runs thing is still working well, and almost everything else (cooking, better diet, more blogging) isn’t. The one exception is non-running exercise. Late in the month I got better about doing some strength training. And while I did start foam rolling, I’m not 100% sure that should count towards my goal. It’s great that I’m doing it, and it really seems to help, but I need to make sure I get the strength training done more consistently over the next couple of months. I feel like foam rolling will help with recovery, but strength training will help me be a better runner.

Looking at the forecast, I think we’ve made it past the worst of the heat. Temperatures in the 60s are still about 10 degrees warmer than I’d like, and it’s still pretty humid in the mornings, but it’s much better than the low 70s. We might still see a couple of bad days here and there, but I think overall, it’s going to be a lot more tolerable.

Weight Check: 166.4 pounds, up 0.2 from last week. Well, that’s disappointing. I actually did reduce my Mountain Dew consumption by a very small amount. On Thursday, instead of a 20 ounce bottle, I only had a 12 ounce can. That’s still 12 ounces too many, of course.

The other thing, and I don’t think I’ve mentioned this previously, is Gatorade. Now, I’m always going to have Gatorade after my long runs, and that’s fine. I also generally have Gatorade after my workout runs, and I think that’s acceptable. What’s not good is having a Gatorade after a 5 mile easy run in anything other than 75 degrees with 100% humidity. I’ll try to cut back on the Gatorade and stick with water on my easy runs. With the slightly cooler weather, that will be a little bit easier.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday Fartlek, 15 minute warm up, 5 x 3 minutes hard (8:35-8:45/mile), with 2 minutes easy in between, 5 x 1 minute hard with 1 minute easy in between, 15 minute cool down (until I reach 6 miles) 6.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 5 miles easy 5.01
Saturday 17 mile long run 17.01

Total: 41.05 miles

Monday, the weather was much nicer, 64 degrees. My legs were still a little tired from my long run, but they felt better as I went along. It was the first day of school, so I had to run around the kids at the bus stops. Overall, a pretty good run, and a good recovery from Saturday.

On Tuesday, the weather was humid and it was breezy, but the temperature wasn’t terrible. I kept my pace fairly consistent for the first set of 5. I screwed up one of the recovery intervals, I had a brain fart and thought it was 3 minutes of recovery instead of 2. For the second set, I was a little faster, not quite as consistent, but it’s tough to find the right pace in just 1 minute. I did manage to get my fastest pace on the last interval, though. I didn’t really notice my legs until the cool down, then the fatigue kind of hit me all at once. I did manage to recover a bit, though, and I did unconsciously speed up on the last quarter mile, which isn’t necessarily good for a cool down. Overall, I was happy enough with the workout to give it a shout out in my monthly wrap up, so there’s that.

Wednesday, the weather was nice, and I didn’t notice the humidity. My legs felt a little tired when I was going uphill, but otherwise, they were OK, especially considering Tuesday’s workout. (I think foam rolling helped.) I kept the effort easy, except for the last quarter mile, but somehow managed to get faster on every mile.

On Friday, the bad weather returned, 70 degrees and 100% humidity. My legs felt fine, though. I kept the effort “easy” except for the last quarter mile. I was a bit faster on mile 2 than I expected, and I’m not sure why, but otherwise, a fairly unremarkable but solid run.

So, Saturday. (I think I’ve used that intro for my long run before.)

There was fog at the beginning of the run, but the sun came out eventually and while the temperature went up a few degrees, it also dried out, so it wasn’t too bad, and much more comfortable than any of my recent long runs. My legs were OK pretty much the whole time. There was a little bit of fatigue on the last mile, but I also picked up the pace, so that may have caused some of the fatigue.

I did have to stop at 7.25 miles to get my sunglasses, and I stopped around 12.2 miles to use the bathroom. I had Gu at 4.15, 8.3, and 12.2 (after my bathroom break, but before I re-started my watch). I stopped at some water fountains, usually once per mile, but didn’t take any walk breaks other than right before/right after getting water.

I added a few hills, but the last decent one was around mile 10. I probably need to try to add one in later during my next long run like this. Central Park has hills, so a few late climbs will help prepare me for New York City.

Overall, I think I did pretty well. Mile 4 and mile 10 were a little faster than I wanted, but otherwise, I felt like my pace was pretty consistent, and I still had enough left to push it on the last mile, which I ran in 10:31. A 10:31 on any other mile would have led to problems, but on the last mile, it’s pretty good.

Next week, it’s a cutback week. My “long” run is 10 miles on Friday, before I start my on call for work. My “workout” is just a 6 mile run where I should try to include some hills. (In my neighborhood, it’s harder to not include hills.) Also, Tuesday marks exactly two months until the New York City Marathon. Not that I’m counting.

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2017

Well, that was a month. I survived.

August 2017
Total Mileage:
164.47 miles
Average Pace: 11:37/mile
Number of Runs: 22
Last Month (July 2017): 142.52 miles
Last Year (August 2016): 150.46 miles
Races: None

Total Mileage for 2017 (through August 31): 1,112.83 miles

Yes, I broke 1,000 miles for the year this month. I ran farther than last month and last August, so that’s good. I was a little slower this month, but I had to deal with some pretty heinous weather conditions.

I’ll say this about the weather, it feels like we got some breaks, but when it was bad, it was really bad. Last year, the worst days weren’t quite as bad, but there was something about it that seemed unrelenting. I think I prefer this year, with the occasional breaks.

This is the part where I say I’m going to check in on my goals, but really, it’s only the first goal that has any changes.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Average miles per day is 1112.83 miles divided by 243 days, that’s about 4.58 miles per day, times 365 days for the year, comes out to over 1,671 miles for the year. Last month’s projection was 1,632 miles, so, uh, wow. I’m pretty sure the projection will go up again next month. (At some point I probably need to switch to a countdown instead of a projection.)

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater
Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

No races. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll even have a warm-up race, so I may be scrambling for another race after New York City. Just to review, I’ve run 4 races so far, one that’s 13.1 miles, and have 2 races with PRs.

Run That Broke the Best/Worst Scale: August 15, 6.26 miles, 10:39/mile.

I wasn’t sure what to do with this run, but I felt like it needed to be mentioned. Best? Worst? Both? Neither? It kind of broke the scale.

It was my fastest average pace for a run all month. It featured my fastest mile since the Teal Diva 5K. But I also bonked and couldn’t finish. So, yeah, scale broken. But I had to mention it here, so that my Best Run makes more sense.

Best Run: August 16, 6.01 miles, 11:13/mile.

The day after a blow-up, this was the run that I needed. It wasn’t my fastest run (or my fastest non-blow-up run), but I was really happy with it.

I’ll give a shout-out to my most recent workout run, a fartlek on August 29, with an average pace of 10:44/mile (making it my actual fastest non-blow-up run). It may have been assisted by some slightly cooler temperatures, but it was still a tough workout, and I think I ran it well.

Worst Run: August 26, 15.01 miles, 11:50/mile.

The other run this month where I blew up. Except this time I didn’t have an insanely fast mile, just a couple of miles where I went a little faster than I should have. Also, I forgot my Body Glide. It was a learning experience. (I mean the pacing part, not the Body Glide part, I already knew about that, I’ve had chafing before.)

Next month, the miles are going to keep piling up, but the weather shouldn’t be quite as bad. Since September has 5 Saturdays, I’ve got an outside chance at setting a new record for mileage in one month. The old record is 181.3 miles in October 2016. We’ll see how it goes.