Weekly Wrap-Up: October 23-29

OK, just 7 days left until the New York City Marathon and it’s really starting to hit me.

Running was better this past week. Once again, with the notable exception of Monday, the weather was really nice. My legs seem to be embracing the taper.

Weight Check: 167.2, up 2.1 pounds from last week. Ouch. Yeah, I’m still eating like the taper hasn’t started yet. Hopefully I can buckle down this week and maybe shave off a pound or two before the race.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 5 miles easy 5.02
Tuesday 1 mile warm up, 2 x 3 miles at marathon pace (10:50-11:10/mile) with 5 minutes easy in between, 1/2 mile cool down until I hit 8 miles 8.01
Wednesday 4 miles easy 4.01
Friday 4 miles easy 4.01
Saturday 10 mile long run 10.01

Total: 31.06 miles

Back in the spring, a 31 mile week would have seemed respectable. Now, it’s tapering. Marathon training is serious. (It has to be.)

Monday was one last warm and humid morning. It started to drizzle during mile 3 and that actually felt good, but then it stopped. I’m glad I’m tapering, so I only had to be out there for 5 miles instead or 6 or 7. My legs were still kind of tired from Saturday’s run. It wasn’t much fun, but I got through it.

On Tuesday, the weather was much nicer, cool enough that I didn’t really notice the humidity. My legs felt fine. I hit my pace goals and improved my pace on each mile of the intervals. I was pretty happy with this workout.

Wednesday, it was nice, cool weather. My legs felt OK. I got faster on each mile. It was weird only running 4 miles, though.

On Friday, the weather was excellent again. My legs felt pretty good. Tapering helps. I didn’t push the effort really, but the combination of rest and cooler temperatures resulted in a faster pace. I think I did subconsciously slow down a little on mile 3 after I saw 11:01 for mile 2 and thought that’s probably a little faster than I should be running. Still, I was pretty happy overall.

Saturday warmed up a little bit, but was it still pretty nice weather, cool enough that I didn’t notice the humidity, and there was an occasional breeze. My legs were a little bit more tired than I expected. I’ve experienced far worse, of course, but like I said, it was unexpected. Also, it seemed to come and go, it was worse early, then faded for a while, then came back, and I think that probably explains the changes in my pace during the run. I think my pace was still in about the right range for an easy run, even if it wasn’t as consistent as I’d like. I kept the effort easy except for the last mile.

Somehow I forgot to have a Gu even though I had one in my pocket the whole time. (I won’t forget about my Gu next week.)

Speaking of next week…

So, this is it. I still have a marathon pace run on Tuesday, plus some shorter runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I might get my October review up this week, but most likely I’ll save it until after the race. I do want to put up a post with my final thoughts before the race.

Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure next week’s wrap-up will be a little late.

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 16-22

Fall finally arrived on Tuesday. I just had to get through a lot of rain on Monday. My newest shoes (my 4th pair of Adrenaline 17s) got baptized.

Oh, I signed up for my next race after New York City, the Trophy Trot 10K in Raleigh on Thanksgiving. It looks like I’ll be the only one running, while the rest of my family will be drinking, as the race gets its name from Trophy Brewing. I’ll join in after the race, of course.

The taper is technically underway, although this week was still a decent amount of mileage.

Weight Check: 165.1 pounds, down 0.6 from last week. Slightly fewer miles in weather that won’t make me sweat as much, and I still had a small loss. I’ll gladly take it. I did manage one day with no Mountain Dew, so there’s that.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 6 miles easy 6.01
Tuesday Tempo Run, 2 miles easy, 2 x 2 miles at half marathon pace (9:40-9:50/mile) with 3 minutes in between, then easy running until I hit 7 miles 7.01
Wednesday 6 miles easy 6.01
Friday 5 miles easy 5.01
Saturday 16 mile long run, first 10 miles at an easy pace, last 6 miles at marathon pace (11:00-11:15/mile) 16.01

Total: 40.05 miles

Monday was very wet. I was way overdue for a run in the rain. It started out pretty heavy, then it eased up a little after about the first mile, but it never stopped. My legs were pretty tired, which I expected after last week’s 20 miler. I think I ran the fastest during the first mile because that’s when the rain was the heaviest and I subconsciously sped up. Other than that, I kept the effort easy until my usual push near the end. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had while running, but I survived. Also, I’m thankful for the taper, because my Monday runs had been 7 miles for the past couple of months, and I’m glad I only had to deal with the rain for 6 miles instead of 7.

Like I mentioned above, Tuesday finally felt like fall. 48 degrees and low humidity. It felt amazing. My legs weren’t quite 100%, but they were good enough. I managed to increase my pace on each mile of the intervals, and I was under my goal pace on each one.

Wednesday was 30 degrees cooler than last week, just 43. I had to break out one of my long sleeved shirts for the first time since…April? Maybe even March? Anyway, my legs were a little tired from the previous day’s workout, and I really felt it on the uphills. My pace seemed a little inconsistent, but overall, a pretty good run.

On Friday, I had more great weather, 44 degrees. My legs felt decent. I’m not sure what happened on mile 3, which was a little slow, but otherwise, a good solid run with a slightly better pace at the end.

And Saturday, I went out there and crushed it.

The weather was really nice at the beginning (47 degrees), but it did warm up. Still, it was a welcome change to do most of my long run while it was under 60 degrees. Anyway, my legs felt decent, although they got pretty tired near the end.

I had no stomach issues. I had Gu at around 4, 8, and 12 miles.

The first 10 miles were pretty good. I was maybe a little faster on mile 2 than I should have been, but otherwise, my pace was decent. The two slowest miles were the ones when I stopped for Gu, and I squeezed in one extra water stop during mile 10 to get ready for the last part.

I was really happy with the last 6 miles. The slowest mile was the one where I stopped for Gu, and I still hit my goal pace (actual time for that mile was 11:14.7). And my last mile was the fastest, 10:19.

The weather made a huge difference this week, but I’m still happy with my runs.

Next week, the taper really kicks in, with only a 10 mile long run, but I still have an 8 mile workout run that’s mostly at marathon pace.

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 9-15

The New York City Marathon is three weeks from today. A lot can happen in those three weeks, and a lot can happen on race day. I still don’t know how it will go. What I do know is that, if I cross the finish line and beat my goal, I can look back on this week, and say, “That’s when I earned it.”

Weight Check: 165.7 pounds, down 1.5 from last week. It’s mostly due to the miles, but I’ll take it. As usual, I need to cut back on the Mountain Dew (especially since my mileage is about to drop), but other than that, I guess my diet isn’t too terrible.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday 8 miles at marathon pace (10:50-11:10/mile), using the first mile to ease into pace 8.01
Wednesday 7 miles easy 7.01
Friday 6 miles easy 6.01
Saturday 20 mile long run 20.02

Total: 48.06 miles

Normally, I’d just cut and paste the comments that I put out there for my coach (and I’m doing that for Wednesday and Friday, since they were pretty uneventful), but there’s a story here.

We got hit with an October heat wave at the beginning of the week. The afternoon temperatures were pretty warm, but the worst part was the morning temperatures. For four days (Monday through Thursday) we set a record for the highest recorded low temperature. And since I run in the morning, that meant that I got to experience those low temperatures that weren’t really low.

Monday was 75 degrees with 90% humidity. On October 9 at 6:53 AM. And I was coming off one of my worst runs ever last Saturday. But first, a little background.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but one of the things I do during my neighborhood runs to occupy my mind is to look out for the neighborhood cats. There are several that I almost feel like I know from seeing them in their front yards watching me run by.

Also, I don’t remember the exact day that it happened, but about two weeks ago when I was out running, I noticed this black pickup truck with an Irish flag license plate driving around. I saw him several times during my run, which I thought was odd. Near the end of my run, the driver flagged me down and asked if I had seen a black cat. So that explained why I had seen him so many times, he had been driving around trying to find his cat. Luckily, on this day, I remembered seeing a black cat where I hadn’t seen one before. I wasn’t 100% that it was the cat he was looking for, since black cats are pretty common, but I gave him directions to where I saw this one. Since it was near the end of my run, I kind of forgot about it.

Well, I went out there Monday, and even though my long run last Saturday was a lot shorter than planned, it didn’t seem to help my legs. And the weather was just brutal. I slogged through two miles, and was really starting to question everything.

Then I saw the pickup truck with the Irish flag license plate, and the driver flagged me down again. He said that he had been looking for me, because he had found his cat, and he wanted to say thanks.

That was exactly the boost that I needed. The rest of my run was still hot, and it was slow, but it was just a little less miserable.

Tuesday was 73 degrees with 100% humidity. And I was supposed to run 8 miles at my goal marathon pace. I wasn’t really sure that was possible in those conditions, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I should mention that, for some reason, I had 11:15/mile in my head as my goal pace.

I got to the end of the first mile, and I saw my time: 11:11. At that point, I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do this.” I kept pushing. I had left a water bottle outside in front of my house, and I stopped for a drink during mile 4, which ended up being 11:18. Every other mile was under 11:10 (you know, my actual goal pace), and the very last mile was my fastest, 10:32.

I’m kind of glad that I thought my goal pace was 11:15, because thinking that I beat my goal pace by 4 seconds on the first mile gave me a huge mental boost. Granted, if I thought (correctly) that I missed it by 1 second, I don’t think it would have crushed me, but still. And I know I can’t do anything like that on race day. 11:26/mile is the pace I need for a sub-5 hour marathon. That number is burned into my brain, and no amount of mental gymnastics will trick my mind into thinking it’s anything else.

I still can’t believe I did that in those conditions. (Side note: It’s good to have what in all likelihood will be the month’s Best Run on the 10th.)

Wednesday’s weather was even worse, 74 degrees with 100% humidity. My legs didn’t feel great, but I expected them to feel worse after Tuesday. It wasn’t a great run, but I survived.

On Friday, it finally started to cool off a little bit, and it was only 68 degrees. (That’s still way too warm for 7:19 AM on October 13.) The humidity was 100%, but it felt worse because it had rained during the night and everything was still wet. My legs felt meh at first, but they got a little better as I went along. I kept the effort “easy” until the end. I survived.

So, Saturday. This would normally be a pretty important run, since it’s my last 20 mile run. After last Saturday’s disaster, I had to make sure I could get through this run, and I had to make sure I didn’t have any stomach issues.

I had discussed last week’s run with my coach, and the best theory we could come up with was that I needed to leave a little more time between my pre-run snack and the start of my run. So when I got up Saturday morning, I ate first, then worried about getting dressed and gathering all my stuff. I finished my snack right around 6:35 AM. My run started at 8:05 AM, so I had right around a 90 minute gap, while the previous Saturday, it had been closer to an hour. (Also, I know that on race day, I’ll probably finish my pre-race snacks around 9:30 AM or so, and my race will start at 11, so 90 minutes is pretty close to what will happen before the marathon.)

It was 64 degrees and about 90% humidity. Not ideal, but compared to the weather at the beginning of the week, I couldn’t complain too much.

As I started, I paid very close attention to my stomach. I’m sure there were a couple of spots where I thought I felt something, but during a normal run, I wouldn’t have noticed. I did get a side stitch at one point, which is definitely different than what I experienced a week ago. I applied a little bit of pressure, and it went away fairly quickly.

By the halfway point, I felt like I was in the clear, stomach-wise. Now I just had to get my legs through the rest of the run.

It wasn’t easy. Around the 16 mile mark, my legs started feeling really tired. I kept plugging along, though. I managed to not take any walk breaks except whenever I stopped for water. My pace was pretty slow for those last few miles, but I managed to speed up just a little on the last mile.

At the end, more than anything else, I was relieved. I made it through 20 miles in less than ideal weather with no stomach issues. Whew.

Also, this run put my 2nd pair of Brooks Adrenaline 17s up to 403.8 miles, so it was their last run before retirement. They went out with a bang. They got me through the Teal Diva 5(ish)K, they made the trips to both Connecticut and Portland, and they got me through two 20 mile runs.

Finally, this run put me over 6,000 miles in my running career. I didn’t think it was worth a full post like 5,000 was, and I didn’t take a picture, but it’s still a milestone.

And now, my taper begins. I still have a 7 mile tempo run and a 16 mile long run next week, but I’ll only end up with 40 miles total. Also, it’s supposed to finally cool off. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 2-8

Saturday was the 6th anniversary of my worst run ever, the one where I lost my car key in Ohio. I marked the occasion with arguably my 2nd worst run ever. I didn’t lose my car key, but that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. (Also, I didn’t realize it was exactly 6 years after the car key run until sometime in the afternoon, well after I finished.)

The rest of the week was fairly decent, but it really sucks to end a week like that.

Weight Check: 167.2, down 2.0 pounds from last week. Better. Still too high, though. My diet still isn’t good.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday Tempo Run, 1 mile warm up, 2 miles at marathon pace, 5 minutes easy, 2 miles at half marathon pace, 5 minutes easy, 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 mile cool down (until I reach 8 miles) 8.03
Wednesday 7 miles easy 7.01
Friday 6 miles easy 6.01
Saturday 18 mile long run 10.01

Total: 38.07 miles

Yeah, 10.01 is a lot less than 18. But let’s start with the runs that weren’t complete disasters.

Monday had excellent weather. 54 degrees! My legs were pretty tired, but that was understandable with my 20 miler last weekend. It wasn’t easy, but I got through it.

On Tuesday, I had a relatively complicated workout. It reminded me of some of the crazy workouts I did with my training plan from the last two years. Good weather. My legs felt mostly OK, just a little tired towards the end, which is understandable. I hit my goal paces on each interval, but went a hair faster than I needed to on the marathon and 10K. Overall, a tough workout that went pretty well.

Wednesday, the weather felt great, cool enough that I didn’t notice the humidity. My legs were still pretty tired from my Tuesday workout run. I couldn’t really find a good, consistent pace, but I still kept the effort easy except for a push at the end.

On Friday, it was cool enough that I didn’t realize it was 100% humidity. My legs felt fine. I slowed down a bit on a mostly uphill mile, and sped up a bit on a mostly downhill mile, but otherwise I kept a pretty steady pace, and I kept the effort easy. Just a nice, solid, easy run.

Saturday, I had pretty much the polar opposite of “a nice, solid, easy run.”

65 degrees and 100% humidity on October 7. Really?

My stomach had problems again. It was still just a lot of discomfort, no vomiting or anything else, but it made running very difficult. I ate the same thing before this run as I did before last week’s 20 miler, but for some reason, this week my stomach couldn’t handle it.

Between that and miserable weather, I just couldn’t finish. I almost stopped after 8 miles, but I wanted to at least get to double digits.

I’m confused and frustrated and disappointed. I’ve been searching for a silver lining, and the only thing I can come up with is that my legs won’t be as tired on Monday.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I had to write some comments about yesterday’s “run” for my coach, I probably would have just posted the numbers for last week, then I would have written that I didn’t want to talk about it, and I’ll see you next week.

Well, I have a marathon pace workout next week, and a 20 miler. If my stomach cooperates, I might be OK.

Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2017

I could say a lot of things about September if didn’t try to avoid using profanity here, so I’ll just say good riddance to September.

One of the things that really bugged me about September is that it started out with reasonable weather, and then, around the halfway point, it got warm again. It never reached August levels of misery, but for late September, it was pretty uncomfortable.

September 2017
Total Mileage:
 191.23 miles
Average Pace: 11:45/mile
Number of Runs: 22
Last Month (August2017): 164.47 miles
Last Year (September 2016): 168.52 miles
Races: None

Total Mileage for 2017 (through September 30): 1,304.06 miles

So, 191.23 miles is a new record for most miles in a month. I was definitely slower overall, but that’s mainly due to 2 really bad long runs and one that wasn’t really bad, but I still took it a lot slower than normal.

Once again, I’ll check in on my 3 goals, and only the first one has changes.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Rather than do the math to figure out how many miles I’m on pace to run this year, I’ll just say that I’m less than 200 miles from my goal. It looks like I’ll hit my goal either during the week before the race, or possibly during the New York City Marathon, which would be awesome.

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

Once again, no races this month, so no change here. It looks like I may be doing a race on Thanksgiving, which would be race #6. If I can’t PR in New York City, I’ll have to get my third PR there.

The non-specific goals are unchanged. I’m getting a little bit of exercise, although my mileage has reached a point where my Sundays are supposed to be complete rest days with no exercise, so I really only have one day a week with exercise. I’m not sure if it should really count towards my goal, but I am foam rolling twice a week, and it helps. I’m still running slowly on my easy runs, although given the general fatigue in my legs at this point in my training, sometimes it’s not exactly a choice. But cooking, better eating, and more blogging just aren’t happening.

Best Run: September 11, 7.01 miles, 10:23/mile

Yes, it turned out to be my fastest run of the month, but I was really pleased with my performance. This is the workout that I moved up to Monday so I could get it in before the worst of Irma arrived. It went really well.

Shout out to my 20 mile run on September 30. It was slow, but it was successful, and I really needed that.

Worst Run: September 16, 18.01 miles, 12:28/mile

Just 5 days after my best run. I had a few runs in September that I’d like to forget, but this one had a misplaced Gu packet that made things worse, so it gets the (dis)honor.

September was a really tough month for me, both for my running and for everything else. I’m hoping that, after I finish New York City, if it goes well, I’ll look back and say, “September is where I earned it.” (And if it doesn’t go well, of course I’m going to blame September.)

Anyway, now we’re in October, when my training peaks, then the taper begins. My coach sends me my training plan one month at a time, so when I saw October last week, that’s when it finally started feeling real. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: September 25-October 1

You know the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”? This past week was interesting times. The running was pretty good. Everything else was…well, the running was pretty good.

Weight Check: I ended up going to visit my parents Saturday afternoon and didn’t get home until late Sunday afternoon. That meant I had to do my official weigh-in on Saturday, before my long run. So, uh 169.2, up 4.2 pounds from last week. It was a rough week, and I didn’t have a long run to cancel out at least some of the damage. Next week will be better.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 7 miles easy 7.01
Tuesday Fartlek, 15 minute warm up, 3 x 8 minutes comfortably hard with 3 minutes easy in between, 15 minute cool down (until I reach 7 miles) 7.01
Wednesday 7 miles easy 7.01
Friday 6 miles easy 6.01
Saturday 20 mile long run 20.01

Total: 47.05 miles

Monday, the weather was slightly cooler but still humid. My legs felt surprisingly OK, considering how poorly my long run had gone two days earlier. Once I got through the first mile, I ran pretty well. I kept the effort easy except for the last quarter mile.

On Tuesday, the weather was kind of warm and still pretty humid. My legs felt OK until around the 3rd interval, then they got really tired. I didn’t quite hit the goal pace (8:50/mile), but I think the weather slowed me down just a little bit. Still, I think it went fairly well.

Wednesday, the weather wasn’t great. My legs recovered surprisingly well from yesterday’s workout, though. My pace was a little slower than usual due to the temperature, but I got through it, and was able to speed up a little bit at the end.

Also, it was a minor miracle that I even got out there, let alone that I ended up with a fairly respectable pace for the weather conditions, but that’s a story for another day. (See my comments about the week in general.)

Friday had slightly improved weather. My legs felt fine. I tried to relax a bit. My coach had posted a webinar about the mental aspects of running, and that was one of my takeaways. It seemed to help a little, especially with the first mile. I still kept the effort easy until the last quarter mile or so.

And on Saturday, I really needed a good long run. With 20 miles on the schedule, I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.

I lucked out on the weather. It was better, especially the lower humidity. My legs were tired for most of the run.

I had Gu at around 4, 8, 12, and 16, and water roughly every mile. I completely spaced out and missed a planned water stop around 11, but I don’t think it hurt too much. Also, I had planned on making the stop before 18 my last stop.

It was really slow, and like I said, my legs were tired most of the time. But other than before and after my water stops, I didn’t take any walk breaks. I was even able to speed up a little bit at the end.

In the end, I ran 20 miles, and I didn’t blow up. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the long run that I needed.

Next week, I’ve got a tempo run and an 18 miler. Also, I need to post the September wrap-up. I did reach a couple of milestones, but man, it was a rough month.