Archive of ‘2013 Richmond Marathon training’ category

Richmond Marathon Training: Weeks 18 + 19: My Marathon Week Brain

It’s hard to believe that in four days, I’ll be running my second Richmond Marathon (and my third marathon in total)!

4 days until Richmond Marathon

I wrote an article for the Richmond Marathon event guide. I believe every participant gets a copy of this in their goody bag at the expo. Here’s the online version – my article is on pages 21-22:

The Magic of the Richmond Marathon

My thoughts are a jumbled mix of the race, my training and reflection on the last 19 weeks (seriously, how was it been that long?).

Before I expose you to the crazy insides of my brain, here’s how last week’s training went. I’ll recap this week’s plan later in the post:

Week 18: November 4 – November 10

  • Monday – 15 min w.u. 6 x 1000@MP with 1 min rest. 10 min c.d.  (6.3 mi)
  • TuesdayRefine Method
  • Wednesday 40 mins easy + 4 x 100m strides (3.6 mi)
  • Thursday – OFF
  • Friday – 40 mins easy (4.27 mi)
  • Saturday – 10 mi (1:47:46)
  • Sunday – OFF

Total: 24.17 miles

Most notable in week 18 are the 1,000 meter repeats at marathon pace (which ended up being a bit faster than MP). It was a very cold, insanely windy morning and I was glad I thought to wear my running wind vest. 1,000 meters is a strange distance, and I felt really great about my splits. Especially just two days after running 18 miles!

The other notable workout last week was Saturday’s 10 miler. My plan actually called for 10-12 miles, last 2 at MP. I always go for the top of my ranges, but by the second mile I knew this would be a 10 miler. Everything hurt. This run sucked.

My knee bothered me the entire time. This knee pain is strange; it started at the Portland Marathon as a sharp, outside the knee pain that I’d experienced many times before. While my knee hasn’t felt right since then, the pain’s been totally different. It moves around. Sometimes it’s in the front of my knee off to the side. Sometimes it’s right above or below the back of my knee. Sometimes it moves down to my ankle.

It doesn’t feel like an injury so much as it feels like super tight muscles that never fully recovered from Portland. I have a massage on Wednesday with my brilliant massage genius healer. I expect this, along with the insane amounts of icing I’m currently doing, to help a little. I even added “advanced methods of icing” to my Target shopping list on Sunday.

That brings me to Week 19:

Week 18: November 11 – November 16

  • Monday – 30 min easy with 6x100m strides (3.14 mi)
  • Tuesday – OFF (skipped tempo)
  • Wednesday Scheduled: 30-35 mins easy +4x100m strides (Might skip)
  • ThursdayScheduled: OFF
  • FridayScheduled: 20-25 mins easy + 4x100m strides
  • Sunday – Mac and cheese

I skipped today’s tempo run. I’d been looking forward to this run for a few weeks now — 15 minute warmup, 2 mile tempo, 2 mins slow jog, 800 meters @10K pace, 3 minute slow jog, 2 mile tempo, 15 minute cooldown. This is unlike any tempo I’ve ever done and I love how varied it is. I probably would have been focused and never bored.

But I knew, especially after Monday’s 30 minute run, that I needed to skip this tempo. While Monday’s run felt so much easier effort wise than Saturday’s — I felt like I was flying! — my knee still felt off. And it continued to bother me for the rest of the day.

I emailed my coach Steph and she confirmed skipping this run was the right choice. I’m not losing any fitness at this point, she said. I’m also considering skipping tomorrow’s 30-35 minute run.

I will do my Friday shakeout run because I found it to be a really helpful strategy in Portland. I also have lots of foam rolling plans once I get to my hotel in Richmond on Friday. And I expect to be good to go on race day. At least, I hope!

And now, a peek inside my marathon week brain:

Larry Gary space heater

  • Larry Gary really loves the space heater
  • I have to get my bangs trimmed before I leave for Richmond
  • Why doesn’t this wraparound ice pack stay cold for longer than 5 minutes?
  • Why doesn’t this new cold wrap get cold at all?
  • Am I doing it wrong?
  • How do people foam roll for more than 30 seconds without dying of boredom?
  • Why do no foods ever appeal to me at lunch, resulting in my consumption of multiple Picky Bars as lunch?
  • How many other people spend over $50 on coconut water during race week?
  • My goal is unattainable. 4:05 is for fast people.
  • I really wish there was a 4:10 or 4:05 pace group.
  • Maybe my goal is conservative and I am actually faster than I think!
  • But then why are my “easy” runs so slow?
  • My goal is probably somewhere between slightly ambitious – completely doable.
  • My watch GPS is always off in real time (but correct at the mile split). How am I supposed to pace myself?
  • I can’t believe the new Garmin I ordered, that was supposed to arrive by November 7, still hasn’t shipped.  So much for having it on race day. CANCEL.
  • At least now I can take advantage of the Garmin trade-in program and get the new watch now that I don’t need it right away.
  • This marathon can be the last hurrah for my weathered Nike+ GPS Sportwatch.
  • Maybe I can find someone else with the same race goal and stick with them?
  • Why did I make this arbitrary “no dairy during race week” rule? I don’t even know for sure if dairy bothers my stomach. My stomach is almost always bad regardless of what I eat.
  • I didn’t eat any dairy the week of Portland and my stomach was still a mess that day.
  • I chose not to blog about that part of the race.
  • Maybe just a little mac and cheese?
  • Maybe mac and cheese can be my post-race meal!
  • But what about the pancakes??
  • I need to buy ShotBloks at the expo.
  • I hate all lunch foods.
  • I hope I don’t spend too much money at the expo.
  • I wonder if they sell Richmond Marathon dog shirts at the expo?
  • I wonder if they sell macaroni and cheese at the expo?
  • Who can I talk nonstop about the marathon with?
  • I’m sad I missed out on a chance to get my favorite running tank top in bright purple.
  • My daily eBay checks failed.
  • I hope Andy can easily spot me in my ugly mismatched race outfit.
  • At least my shorts are orange.
  • I love the race day weather forecast! It’s perfect! I hope it sticks.
  • I hate being cold.
  • I should pack a hat in case the forecast changes to rain.
  • What if the race feels easy and I can beat my goal?
  • What if the race feels easy at first and I think I can beat my goal but as a result I injure my knee worse and then the race sucks and I sabotaged it for myself?
  • Why do I only remember bits and pieces of the course? Is my brain non functional? Did I black out mid-marathon?
  • No, I actually remember a lot now that I see the course map. I remember most of it! I remember specific turns. I remember being at mile 18 thinking “this is when I had to drop out of NYCM.”
  • How will I find Andy after the race? I am not running with my phone. We need to pick a meeting spot! I wish I knew what vendors would be there so I could say “meet in front of X vendor…”
  • It’s OK  that my last long run before the race sucked because I was due a bad run. Now there is less of a chance the marathon will suck.
  • But that 10 miler depleted most of my confidence. Why did it feel so hard to maintain 11:30 miles? Why did my marathon pace effort miles at the end feel like I was huffing and puffing and sprinting and still going so slow?
  • STOP IT. I thrive on race day. I thrive on race day. I thrive on race day.
  • I need to pack my neon green with pink tye dye headband. And maybe I will buy a new one at the expo too.
  • I wish they made orthopedic UGGs.
  • I hope Larry enjoys spectating for over four hours.
  • Larry is a boy.
  • We should bring a space heater with us to the hotel for him!
  • I know I didn’t think the Richmond Marathon hills were bad at all two years ago. What if I was wrong??
  • Whatev. I killed that hill in Portland. I’m awesome at hills.
  • Having bangs means I can wear my hair in a bun and not look a balding boy.
  • Do people still shop at Esprit?
  • Why am I completely unable to foam roll even when I know it is the only thing that might save me?
  • What is wrong with me?
  • Ugh.
  • I’m looking forward to training being over so I can take lots of Refine and fit back into the jeans I wore last December for my engagement photo shoot.
  • I’m looking forward to start marathon training again in March when I am stronger from lots of Refine, and not coming off injury like this cycle.
  • I am glad I was smarter and didn’t gain as much weight this time around as the last time I trained for a marathon. That sucked.
  • Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon Marathon
  • My knee is the only thing getting in my way.
  • Running the Portland Marathon as a training run was totally worth it, despite the lingering pain (a risk I was willing to take)
  • I am so happy we made our hotel reservation in February and are staying right by the race start.
  • I am so happy the hotel allows pets.
  • Why do I sing “Ice Ice Baby” to myself every time I get out an ice pack?
  • I am excited for pre-race dinner with Danielle and Amelia. I am excited for them to meet Larry. I am sad alcohol cannot be involved.
  • That will make them like me. Also, cookies.
  • I already brought my packing list home. I will begin a supplemental packing list on smaller paper so I can copy the items over to my main packing list.
  • Adding “foldover sandwich bags” to the supplemental packing list! This is what I forgot to bring to PDX and it sucked!
  • This giant robe my coworker gave me months ago will be perfect to bring for before the race!
  • I can’t believe this race is the only thing I’ve blogged about for 18 (soon to be 19 and likely 20) weeks.
  • What will I blog about after?? Do I even have anything to say? I am not interesting.
  • A major perk of the Richmond Marathon is that I don’t have to go to work on Friday. Four-day week FTW.
  • Saturday will be awesome. The Richmond Marathon will be awesome.
  • I hope to be able to say to the Ander mid-race, once again, “I AM LOVING THIS!”
  • I am running a marathon on Saturday!!!!!!!!

Dori-Richmond-finish line

What’s your craziest pre-race thought?

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 17 – My Intimidating Tempo

Congratulations to everyone who ran the NYC Marathon on Sunday! From all your experiences, it sounds like it was a perfect day to run through the boroughs of New York City.

I also did some running this past weekend – I had my final (very) long run in my Richmond Marathon training cycle. That 18 miler was supposed to end my peak week, though that term isn’t exactly accurate.

Larry the dog

I saw this on the ground during my 18 miler. MY DOG’S NAME IS LARRY! Good omen for the marathon?

Last week was not my highest mileage week and it was actually .1 miles shorter than the week before. I would have ended my week at around 43 miles if I didn’t skip one run because my knee hurt. I told my coach Steph and she made some changes to my plan, including cutting my final long run from 18 to 16 miles.

“You don’t need to run long at this point,” she explained. “We already know you can run 26.2 miles. Long runs now are more for your mental confidence than anything else. Feel free to adjust or skip runs in the next few weeks.”

But I felt fine by then and really needed that last two miles of confidence, so I ran that 18 and felt awesome. But that wasn’t the highlight of my running week.

Croissant French toast

Croissant French toast. Has nothing to do with this post but OMG.

The highlight of my running week was the tempo run that’s terrified me for the last month and a half, ever since Fiona told me about it:

15 minute warm up, 3×3 miles at marathon pace effort with 3 minute jog between, 15 minute cool down. 

When I did the math I realized this run would be about 12 miles. Before work. Before daylight savings. With nine of those miles being at a challenging pace. And can I even maintain my pace for that long? Sure, at a race. But race day is very different from a regular day, much less 5:15 am on a Monday.

As much as I feared this run, I looked forward to it for two reasons:

(1) Once I got past it, the hardest part of training would be over
(2) If I conquered this tempo I would feel incredibly badass, and therefore on top of the world, after

I should also note that my plan had the option to run 3×2 miles, but what fun is that?

And so last Monday, on a chilly morning, I set out at 5:15 to run for two hours.

Any nerves I had about being alone in the dark that early dissipated quickly, because I saw other runners almost from the beginning. Not many, but more than I expected, especially since I usually start my runs a little later than that and often don’t see any other runners at first. I knew right from my warm up that this would be a good run. I did regret my choice of long sleeve top because it is made out of that shinier wicking material that always stays cold to the touch. Other than that, I felt great.

My first interval went well. It was pitch black and the backlight on my Nike watch has actually never worked, ever, so I couldn’t keep a close watch on my pace but that didn’t matter. I was supposed to run at marathon pace EFFORT, and that’s what I did.

When I use the interval setting on my Nike watch, I can review the splits of the entire interval, rather than view individual miles. And I can’t see the splits until I am back at a computer, so I actually didn’t know how I was doing doing the run. I ran solely by feel.

Interval 1
3 miles – 9’28” avg pace

KILLED IT. As I said last week, my goal for Richmond is 4:05-4:10 and this split is right on target for that goal.

By this time I was also pretty far from my Jersey City home, almost at the end of Hoboken. I added on piers to add distance without having to leave the Hoboken city limits which worked out well.

My second interval felt tougher, but it was also during this set of three miles that I smiled a lot about how awesome this all was. I couldn’t believe I was running THREE sets of three miles, plus warm up and cool down, all before work — and feeling great doing so. It was amazing. Marathon training is amazing. Moments like these are amazing.

I also started seeing more runners, which of course made me feel a lot safer out there in the dark so early in the morning. Of course by this time I was running for a long time already and it wasn’t quite so early anymore!

I was thrilled to finish this interval, knowing I had only one interval left to have dominated this run!

Interval 2
3 miles – 9’19” avg pace

I relished each three minute jog between intervals, using them as my time to hydrate and prepare myself for another three miles of hard work. Those three minutes went by so quickly!

On my third set I enjoyed some entertainment. It was a few days before Halloween, and I ran past a couple photographing their dog, dressed in FULL Batman costume, in the pitch black with the NYC skyline behind him. It looked so cool and I would love to see how that photo turned out!

Does anyone know this Hoboken-based dog??

My other entertainment was a police academy training type thing I ran past and alongside (which looked a lot like the bootcamp classes I’ve taken!).

My left knee, which started hurting during the Portland Marathon and hasn’t felt 100% since, bothered me at the start of this interval but felt better midway through (though the next morning’s run is a different story).

I finished my final three mile interval feeling strong, but ready for a cool down. And I was still so cold!

Interval 3
3 miles – 9’22” avg pace

As you can see, I totally conquered this tempo! I ran 11.96 miles, about two hours of running, before work on a Monday morning. Every single three-mile interval was right on target for my marathon pace (9:32 to begin, bringing it down if I feel good in the second half).

It’s runs like this — the ones I fear, the ones that seem so out of reach when I hear about them — that make me LOVE marathon training. I’d never do a run like this if I wasn’t training and it feels so amazing to know I am putting in the effort to run a strong marathon in Richmond.

When I trained for my first marathon, I did the runs easy and that was it. And I didn’t love training; in fact, I said I’d never run another marathon again. But I said that because my training plan was meh. Now that I am training in a much more structured, focused way with a clear goal in mind I can easily say I love marathon training. I love having a goal. I am already excited to do this again for Eugene this spring.

But I am getting ahead of myself! Here’s how the rest of last week’s training went:

Week 17: October 28 – November 3

  • Monday –15 min w.u. 3 x 3 mile @MP effort with 3 mins rest 10 min c.d. (11.93 mi)
  • Tuesday – 49:07 easy + 4x100m strides (4.76 mi)
  • Wednesday OFF
  • ThursdayRefine Method
  • Friday – 50 mins easy (4.81 mi)
  • Saturday – 18 miles easy (3:07:41)
  • Sunday – OFF

Total: 39.5 miles

Now I am in my first week of taper, which doesn’t feel like taper at all. Someone told me I’d feel “bored and our of shape” by race day, but my training plan has me running just slightly less than previous weeks. For example, instead of 50 minutes today I had 40 minutes. Next week it will be 30 minutes — but otherwise, no major differences. I still have a long-ish interval/tempo in each of these two weeks.

Steph said I should feel free to skip or modify any run as needed, but so far I’ve been sticking to the plan. Which means, no taper crazies for me — not that I would get them anyway, I thoroughly enjoy a good rest.

What’s the most intimidating workout you’ve ever conquered and come out feeling incredible after?

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