Archive of ‘2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon Training’ category

Bellingham Bay Marathon Training Week 3 – My First Downpour Run

For some reason, when I trained for last year’s Richmond Marathon, I never had to run in the rain. It did rain during the marathon, but that was the extent of my rainy running last year. I never had to make the decision I made last week when I asked “What is worse – doing my hard run on the treadmill or in a downpour?

And I never got to learn the lesson I now know: DOWNPOUR > TREADMILL. No question.

I learned this one the hard way last Thursday. The rain was coming down hard and I hate getting wet so I went to the treadmill. Also, I’m moving at the end of the month and won’t have access to a treadmill anymore so I figured I might as well use it while I have it. Coach Abby had this on my schedule:

2 mile warm up, 3 miles @ 8:15, 2 mile cool down

I did my 2 mile warm up, and when it was time to run my 3 miles I turned the speed up. . . and I couldn’t do it. I lasted a half mile before having to get off the treadmill. Even after turning the speed down a little, it was just too much. I can’t do the treadmill. Even a 10 minute mile on the treadmill feels like I’m sprinting – I’ve always felt this way. I hoped I could just push through but I couldn’t.

But I know I had the prescribed pace in me, and I knew the only way I could hit it was outside. Rain or no rain. I left the gym, grabbed my Garmin (my apartment is connected to the gym through a garage) and started my 2.5 miles of the faster pace outside.

It wasn’t raining much anymore by the time I got outside, and even though it was tough, I had no problem finishing my miles for an average pace (including the treadmill half mile) of 8:05. The rain did pick up though, and for the last half mile of the faster interval and throughout my entire 2 mile cool down, it was coming down in BUCKETS. I’ve never run in anything like that before – even the heaviest rain at the Richmond Marathon wasn’t THAT bad, but I saw no reason not to finish my entire cool down.

I regretted my clothing choice – very short shorts that stuck to me and looked like underwear, and a tank top that is only mesh on the sides and in the back. The front was not the most comfortable – but overall it wasn’t that bad! I had a visor on so rain didn’t get into my eyes, which is usually my worst problem when running in any rain, and I got the added benefit of feeling totally badass!

And it was my first speed-based run where I was actually on pace, so it helped my confidence quite a bit. I know it’s slightly skewed because I did have a break in the middle of the first mile, but I’ll take it!

Week 3: June 2 – June 8

  • Monday – Refine
  • Tuesday – 6 miles easy (9:56 pace)
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 2 mile warm up, 3 miles @ 8:15 8:05, 2 mile cool down
  • Friday – 10 mi
  • Saturday – Plyos + Hip Exercises FAIL
  • Sunday – OFF

Total (running) miles: 23

Summary of Week 2 running:

In addition to that rainy run, I also had a few other great workout last week. Monday’s Refine class was incredible – I really feel like I’m improving already. My push-ups are getting better and we used suspension straps which I love. It was a really fun time and I felt strong. My first weekday “easy” run was perfect – a beautiful day to run 6 miles, I felt euphoric the entire time! I ran my favorite route, past all these waterfront apartment buildings I am obsessed with, and into Liberty State Park along the boats. My first truly AMAZING run of this training cycle.

And Friday’s long run was also pretty much perfect – the weather could not have been any better, and I met a new running buddy who loves near me to run the first 3 miles with.

Dori and Andy wedding

How has it been a year?!

For the first time in Bellingham Bay training, I did have to skip a workout. I had plyos + hip exercises on my plan for Saturday, but I was up at 5am to leave for vacation and the day was totally nonstop right through to late at night. We visited friends, visited family and saw the Dave Matthews Band 2 set show.

I had no interest (and was way too exhausted and WAY too full/sick from a great breakfast) to make it up on Sunday – our first wedding anniversary! I know the plyos + hip exercises are what will prevent injury this time around, but part of training is knowing when it’s OK to take a break – and I gave myself the OK for just this time.

And now we’re in Cape Cod for a week celebrating our anniversary, lazing around, reading book after book, watching Orange is the New Black, eating Cape Cod potato chips and doing a whole lot of absolutely nothing (except on the days I have to run!). It’s relaxing and amazing and this right here is the extent of my computer using. So, see ya!

What’s worse to you: treadmill or downpour? Do you find it impossible to run faster on a treadmill? Does anyone know why that happens?



Bellingham Bay Marathon Training: Week 2 – My First Time At The Track

Last week’s marathon training brought two new workouts I’ve never done before: a track workout on an actual track and a progression run.

Before I get into the details, can I just say how excited I am about this particular race? The more I read about it, the more I love it. They just put up a page on their site that links to different blog coverage the race has gotten over the years and it’s been pretty addicting for me. From waiting INDOORS before the race to the gorgeous scenic point-to-point course, I just can’t wait to run this one!

And that excitement makes training even better – especially training as tough as this! Coach Abby (who is having a baby TOMORROW) is giving me a run for my money:

Week 2: May 26 – June 1

  • Monday – 2 mi warm up, 1 x 1 mi, 2 x 800, 4 x 400, 2 x 200 (AR), 1 mi cool down
  • Tuesday – Plyos + Hip Exercises
  • Wednesday – 5 mile progression run
  • Thursday – Refine
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – 10 mi
  • Sunday – OFF

Total (running) miles: 21.89

Summary of Week 2 running:

THE TRACK! I went to the track for the first time in my life. It was Memorial Day and I knew the roads would be empty, so I figured I’d take advantage of that and drive to the beautiful waterfront turf track in Weehawken since that workout seemed really difficult to plan out timing wise in the park. Plus, I’d never done a track workout on an actual track, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to be badass.

The workout was: 2  mi warm up, 1 x 1 mi, 2 x 800, 4 x 400, 2 x 200 (AR), 1 mi cool down. This terrified me. I’d also never had a workout that combined different length intervals, plus it was so long! I have a set of goal paces Abby gave me, but as soon as I arrived at the track I knew it would be tough.

The sun was beating down hard, it was already 80 degrees and there was no shade in sight. I brought a handheld water bottle (now I know I can bring a bigger bottle if I ever go back to the track, since I just kept it on the bleacher and came back to it when I needed it) and when my water ran out, I found out the water fountain was not working. So, that sucked. And really, it just was not my day.

If you have to do a track workout, might as well do it with a view

If you have to do a track workout, might as well do it with a view

The 2 mile warm up was fine, but before I even had one full loop around the track I knew this 1×1 mile was not going my way. I could not go any faster than I was, but it wasn’t even close to my goal pace. In fact, it wasn’t even close to the pace I run 5K races in. As the mile progressed I felt worse and worse, and by the last quarter my neck pain kicked in. I finished the mile feeling defeated, but hopeful that the shorter intervals would be better.

And I used my AR (active recovery) time to stretch my neck, which luckily did not give me any more problems. But the two 800s weren’t great either. Really, none of it felt OK. I kept feeling cramps around my ribcage or on the side of my stomach. Breathing was hard. I was nauseous. After one particularly tough interval I had to sit down on the bleachers. I couldn’t get enough water, so I was probably dehydrated. My water was hot from sitting out in the sun. The water fountain wasn’t working. There was no break from the shade.

I don’t even mean to make excuses or sound so whiny. What it really came down to, was that it wasn’t my day. I sent Coach Abby an email with the subject ‘Frustrating’ where I didn’t even give her the excuses. I just listed my paces and told her I could not have pushed any harder, and I am not nearly as fast as I’d like to be. Her email back made me feel a LOT better. She said quite a few things, but the one that stuck with me most was this:

“It’s supposed to be hard. These are goal times that you may not hit every workout. You are where you are that day. They key is to push to your limit THAT DAY, no matter what the click says. If you do that, then you’ve done all you can do.”

And I definitely could not have done more. I need to factor in the heat into my times as well. It’s just hard. I mean, the fastest official recorded mile I’ve ever run was 6:53 during a 5K race (and not even my PR race!), so I should be able to run 7:05-7:10 on a track. But not every day will be my day, some days will be very hot with no shade and it might also be that I do better in a straight line than on a track. There will be many more opportunities before September 28 to figure this out! For those interested, here are my (frustrating to me) splits from that run:

1 mi – 7:52

800 – 3:52
800 – 3:55

400 – 1:51
400 – 1:53
400 – 1:54
400 – 1:53

200 – :57
200 – :52

FIRST EVER PROGRESSION RUN: And speaking of what I am capable of running, the next first I had was my first progression run! For those who never did this, a progression run means each mile is faster than the one before it. For this 5 mile run, Abby wanted my splits to be 10:00, 9:30, 9:00, 8:30 and 8:00.

During my first mile, I kept it nice and easy. But my watch was going a little nuts, showing paces that were insane, so I didn’t know exactly where I was. When I finished the first mile in 9:10, I was like ‘Fuck.’

I ruined the entire progression AND I made it much harder for myself – because now I had to be even faster than planned. And I was already concerned about the last couple of miles before I went ahead and ruined it.

Here’s how I did:

1 – 9:10
2 – 8:52
3 – 9:00
4 – 8:39
5 – 7:53

Mile 3 felt MUCH harder than Mile 1 (I actually wonder if my watch was just totally messed up for mile 1 and I did run it slower…), but I’m pretty proud of the last two miles. I might not have nailed my progression run, but it was my first time and it wasn’t a total bust.

And mile 5 just goes to show I had more in me for 1×1 mile at the track on a better day!

And lastly, I had my first double digit run of the cycle. It was a beautiful morning an I ran with my friend Miranda. The first 5 miles were awesome, then on the way back we were hit with the strongest headwind I have EVER run through. It was miserable. But I finished my 10 feeling strong!

Do you let challenging runs get you down?

Note: I am also running the NYC Marathon for the American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation in memory of my Aunt Dale, who died almost two years ago from kidney cancer. I will wear her name on my team shirt as I run 26.2 miles through the boroughs of my home city. I appreciate ANY donation at any amount to help me reach my goal. Thank you! 


Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

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