Archive of ‘Refine Method’ category

Bellingham Bay Marathon Training: Week 11 – Mistakes and Praise

At the end of an interval, my watch beeps. It beeps, I stop.

But it actually beeps a few times in a row. I’ve been stopping as soon as I hear the first beep and either hunched over my knees gasping for breath or, on a less grueling interval, walking as I start my active recovery.

But that first beep? Not the end of the interval. It’s the last beep that ends it. So not only have I been ending my intervals a few seconds too early, I’ve been skewing all my times by walking or totally stopping for the last FEW SECONDS of an interval! And when I’m running 200s or 400s or even 800s — hell, even my 2 mile repeats — my times have been slower than they would be if I just kept running a few seconds longer. ALL MY TIMES.

I realized this four 400s in on Tuesday’s 6×400 run. So the only true 400s were the last two. And they were faster. See how that works when you actually run through the entire interval?

400m splits

1 – 1:47
2 – 1:41
3 – 1:39
4 – 1:42
5 – 1:39
6 – 1:37

So, lesson learned. It’s just frustrating because I feel like 11 weeks in, I shouldn’t be making these dumb mistakes anymore. I know it’s just a few seconds and not actually THAT important when it comes to my goals, but still. All my times could have been just a little faster. At least now they will be.

That 6×400 run wasn’t so bad. It was hard the way it should be hard, and while I had moments of rib pain and neck pain, those didn’t last. The intervals were hard because I ran them hard, and I feel good about my effort.

Here’s how the rest of my week was:

Week 11: July 28 – August 3

  • Monday – Maintenance Legs
  • Tuesday – 2 mile warm up, 6×400 (active recovery), 2 mile cool down (5.9 mi)
  • Wednesday – Refine
  • Thursday – 2 mile warm up, 6 x hill repeats (400m hill), 2 mile cool down (6.72 mi)
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – OFF
  • Sunday – 15 miles (2:33:06)

Total (running) miles: 27.62

Summary of Week 11 running:

Wednesday (cross training)
I met Emily (who also uses Coach Abby!) for the first time on Wednesday. She was on vacation in NYC, so of course I brought her to my favorite cross training workout in the world – Refine Method.

Boxes and bells at Refine Method NYC - Dori's Shiny Blog

Boxes and bells at Refine

It was so nice meeting her in person! We’ve been talking through Twitter, email and Gchat for a year now. She used the same coach as me last year too (not Abby) and had a lot of the same concerns I did with our training. We bonded over that, along with running in general, and I just really liked her! I’m so happy that she loved Refine (but really, how could you not?)

On Thursday, I had my first hill repeats of this training cycle. The instructions were 2 mile warm up, 6 x hill repeats (.20-.25 hill), 2 mile cool down. I grappled with myself about the distance for this one. I knew I’d run my repeats up the Brooklyn Bridge because it is the most convenient option, and since the hill up the bridge is longer than .25 miles, I basically had my pick of how long these intervals should be. Going .20 seemed like taking the way out, and I want to stand at the start line at Bellingham feeling like I did everything in my power to hit my sub-4:00 goal.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with choosing the shorter option – especially if my legs were tired or something was bothering me. But I felt fine, and there was no reason not to go for it. Since I just did 400s two days before, I decided to go with that for the hills as well. Then I could have a baseline for comparison!

Brooklyn Bridge sign - Dori's Shiny Blog

400 meters to this

This sign marked 400 meters exactly, and it was in my line of sight for the entire interval. Having an end in sight definitely helped me push hard, knowing exactly how far I had to go.

After my first hill, I could not believe I still had five to go. It felt ridiculously hard, but I was able to jog right back down for my active recovery. But after a few more, I had to stop and hunch over catching my breath before starting my descent down – which started with some walking before I could summon up the energy to jog. And 400 meters up a hill cause a LOT more sweat than 400 faster meters on a flat road.

On the fifth repeat, I felt nauseous. But with one to go, I gave it everything I had – and my final hill interval was my fastest. And I really like the consistency!

400m hill repeats

1 – 1:53
2 – 1:54
3 – 1:54
4 – 1:54
5 – 1:54
6 – 1:51

Ah, the long run this week. This was a stressful situation.

I woke up Saturday, planning to meet American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation teammates at the Hope Lodge. We were going to run 14 miles (I had 15, and intended to do 1 mile before I met them) up and down NYC’s Summer Streets (every summer, they close Park Avenue for three Saturdays in August and it is AWESOME). The run would end back at the Hope Lodge where we would have breakfast with some of the patients staying there while getting their cancer treatments.

I was really looking forward to this for two reasons: (1) Doing most of my long run with my teammates because I had all easy miles on my plan and (2) spending time with the very people I’m helping by raising money for ACS to run the NYC Marathon. I wanted to feel more connected to why I am doing this.

But when I woke up, it was POURING. I went outside, thinking I’d do my mile here in Jersey City as a weather test, but I only made it  few steps. It was just coming down so hard, and the thought of running in that for 2.5 hours was miserable. I was still considering it though, when I saw the PATH Train tweet that there were signal problems and delays.

That meant that I couldn’t be sure what time the train would come and if I’d even make it to the Hope Lodge to meet my team. Along with the crappy weather, and the fact that I actually didn’t feel great (my left foot was hurting [I went to PT for the foot during the week, more on that in another post] and I just felt exhausted), I made the decision to stay home. And spent the entire day feeling guilty. And napping. And feeling down. And feeling exhausted. When the rain stopped, I felt worse. When I saw everyone’s tweets and Instagrams from Summer Streets, I felt jealous that they got to experience it and guilty that they ran just fine when I didn’t bother. The only thing that got me out of the house was dinner at Razza, because you don’t turn down the place that perfected the pizza.

Razza NJ - Dori's Shiny Blog

Razza perfected the pizza. Trust me.

And the next day, I woke up and my foot felt much better. I wasn’t so exhausted, and I knew I could run 15 miles. The only downside was I’d be running it alone, and I’d be running it in Jersey City – the land of totally flat running paths and no shade. Oh, and it was raining. But it wasn’t pouring, and running in this rain was totally doable.

The run was fine. It wasn’t awesome but it wasn’t terrible either. About halfway through, the rain stopped. I ran through Liberty State Park to the Port Liberte area where my friend lives, and then I ran all around there (partially to check out the area because it’s gorgeous, and partly to see if she would wake up and feel better from her food poisoning and want to come out and play). Killing so many miles there helped big time, and by the time I was back in the park I had just 6 miles to go.

I thought about how during the marathon, if you only have 6 miles to go you know that barring a broken bone or major vomiting, you will finish the race. Even if everything hurts and you have to walk, there’s not much quitting going on after 20 miles. You’ve come too far, and the finish line is in reach. This helped me get through that first of 6 final miles.

It got better after that, I felt less tired though I was very hungry. The thought of French toast helped me speed up and finish those last few miles faster than I started. I don’t usually share long run splits for easy long runs, but I really like how I negative splitted (not a word) this run.


Statue of Liberty/NYC view from Port Liberte on a cloudy run

Long Run Splits

1 – 10:39
2 – 10:30
3 – 10:31
4 – 10:30
5 – 10:38
6 – 11:18
7 – 10:19
8 – 10:20
9 – 10:14
10 – 10:10
11 – 9:41
12 – 9:50
13 – 9:42
14 – 9:17
15 – 9:24

And then I had French toast.

Madame Claude French Toast - Dori's Shiny Blog

Amazing French toast

This long run day also marked another milestone – 8 weeks to race day! I can’t believe it is so soon. August will be my most intense month of training – the longest long runs (up to 22 miles) and longer, more intensive weekday speedwork. Plus, I’m starting a new job on Monday that involves a bigger commute and I will have to figure out how to balance it all.

But back to the long run – I felt proud that I did all 15 alone! That was the last thing I wanted, but I got it done. I really wanted people to praise me. After a long run, I always feel like I deserve lots of praise. Especially when I do it alone. Do you feel that way?

Post-Injury Learnings + My Husband’s Viral Tweet

While I was injured for a few months, I learned something: Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should.

What I mean is this: When I’m taking Refine classes, I get stronger. And when I get stronger, I’m able to lift heavier kettlebells, use heavier resistance on the pulley system and do the advanced version of any given exercise. And I go from two classes a week, to three, to four. But I don’t think it’s right for me and the way I am built to always do more more more. I already know I can get the benefits of the class without it – my problem is that the class is so much fun I WANT to do more. I crave it. I feel proud when I can use a heavier bell or add an extra resistance cord. But just because I can doesn’t always mean I should.

Don’t get me wrong – for many people, that is the entire point of exercise! You get strong, you move to the next level. But with my injury history I’m only now realizing that that isn’t right for my body. I have a very small frame – maybe that’s why, I don’t know. But I can tell you that I’m already noticing improvements in my strength from just going to Refine once a week (and not using much weight yet). Of course, everyone reaches a point where they have to do more – faster reps or heavier weight – to continue gaining benefits. But I can be more mindful about how I challenge myself.

For example, when I talked to Brynn (founder of Refine) about this, she suggested that when I am ready to pick up a kettlebell again, instead of racking them by my shoulders, I hold them with my hands, hanging down. Or I continuing to avoid exercises that just might not work for my body (like jumpbacks) and keep substituting them with ones that do, even if they’re not quite AS challenging (like med ball wall slams). I’m still boosting my heart rate and moving constantly and gaining strength – that is good in and of itself!

Plus, the benefit of a class like Refine is that I’ll always have an instructor ready to offer me a modification or alternative workout when an exercise doesn’t feel or look right. And one thing my Physical Therapist said that sticks with me – go with my gut. I’ll know when something doesn’t seem OK and that means I should stop right then and there. If I have any doubt about an exercise, don’t do it. Which makes me especially glad to have such great instructors at Refine to offer alternatives.

After the marathons, I’m sure I will go to class more – but I don’t think I will go more than three times a week again. I think I need to recognize my limits and remember that exercise is a personal thing. Just because my friend can take class five times a week and be awesome doesn’t mean I can, and that is OK. Just because I *could* do an overhead press after the last time I came back from my neck injury doesn’t mean I should have – clearly, since that brought on the recurrence of my injury. I need to recognize the limits of my body and remember I am still reaping the benefits of the class.

So much of exercise is learning what works for YOU – and that will always be different than what works for someone else.

I’m so far from type-A it’s laughable, but for some reason when it comes to classes I love, I get into this mindset where I plan my life around going X times a week. So many months off from my injury seem to have freed me from that, and I really value the extra free time to see my dog husband and dog.

Speaking of husband, we were sitting outside on a pier eating my favorite breakfast from my favorite Jersey City cafe Sam A.M. when he came across a funny article about the Kanye + Kim wedding. He wanted to take a photo but neither of us had a pen with us for him to place a little mark (he does this so he can easily identify when other websites steal his photos). We tried to figure out how to get Larry in it, but couldn’t find a good way and so he just snapped the photo and tweeted it. And then went viral:

With over 10,000 retweets and being picked up by multiple other sites (most who credited him, we can identify those who didn’t because his version has that crinkle in the corner). There is no real point to this story other than to express my excitement that a tweet Andy sent while we ate breakfast went viral. The real question is: How can we get rich?

Other news:

(1) Today is National Running Day! Women’s Running has a special offer in celebration of the day – just $1 an issue!

Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

(2) Last night I went to the kickoff session for the American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation NYC Marathon team at the Hope Lodge. The Hope Lodge is a facility that offers lodging at no cost for cancer patients being treated in Manhattan. As part of our team efforts, we will be spending time there with patients, reminding us why we are all working so hard to raise money for ACS. My constant reminder every day is my Aunt Dale, who died almost two years ago from kidney cancer. I’m sharing my fundraising page here again because I appreciate any donation at any amount to help me reach my goal. Thank you! 



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