Boston Marathon Training {Week 13}

I try not to have back to back speed workouts for several reasons. The first of which, is my body need recovery time. Obviously the fresher the legs, the better my speed work will go. The second, doing tough workouts back to back, is a recipe for injury. No one wants that. I also try not to do a tough run the day before my long run. Nothing like heavy legs trying to run long distances.

Last week, I broke my own, unspoken rules. After my Orangetheory workout on Wednesday, my legs were exhausted. For nearly a half hour, we did push, after push, all-out after all-out. While I felt like I was dying a bit, I hit my fastest 30 second all-out ever at 11.8 mph (5:05 min/mile!). That was pretty exciting! Anyway, Thursday came and I just did not have the energy to get my intervals done. I grudgingly, pushed my intervals to Friday morning.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, my legs were so tired. I told Amy, who wasn’t feeling great herself, my legs were a bit upset with me. We toughed it out in some pretty rough wind conditions with a plethora of hills to keep us on our toes. It was a tough run for both of us. Breaking my own rule had definitely affected my long run. I will not be repeating that this weekend before my last (!) long run before taper.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 8 miles w/6 at Tempo
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.5 miles)
Thursday – 30 min walk + 15 min bike + stretching (dead legs from OTF)
Friday – 6×800 @ 6:40 min/mile + 2 mile WU/CD
Saturday – 18 mile run
Sunday -Rest

Boston Marathon Training {Weeks 11&12}

I could not find my rhythm. I drank more water, wiped the sweat from my brow and started the treadmill up again. For the third time, I’d stopped the treadmill to do this. I was mentally struggling. My legs felt like bricks. I hadn’t slept well the night before and was a bit on the dehydrated side. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I needed the run to be over. I probably should have just thrown in the towel, but with only two weeks left before taper, I wouldn’t let myself give up. I slowed down my tempo pace, but still, I was struggling. A run that was easy last week, felt like torture.

My run had a case of the Mondays. Runs like this leave me questioning my fitness and my ability to make it through a marathon. Obviously, I know I can run a marathon. I’ve done it and I will do it again next month, but I feel so slow. When I reflect on how I felt during training for Lake Wobegon, either I’m romanticizing it, or I was in way better shape.

Going into this weekend, I needed a solid long run. I warned my friends that I was going to pick up the pace. Though I’d stay at conversation pace, I wasn’t going to dilly dally. Saturday morning was COLD. It was about 6 degrees with a windchill bringing it down to about -8. Needless to say I had lots layers on and was thankful that Amy was willing to brave the cold with me for 10 of my 21 miles. It was exactly the run I needed. I felt GREAT. Even at conversation pace and tackling hills, I was hitting low 8s. After I dropped Amy off back at her car, made a pit stop to refill my water bottles, I was off for the last 11 miles. I still felt great, singing along to my music and shouting out to the other runners on the trails. Much to my surprise, my average pace for the run was 8:09. Obviously this doesn’t count my two bathroom/gel stops, but those was brief. Hopefully I will feel this good in 32 days.

Over the next few weeks, I’m trying to make sure I get more sleep, stay better hydrated and watch my eating a bit. With the onset of Lent, sweets were eliminated which is really tough for me. I crave sugar. I love sugar, especially after a savory meal. We will see how it goes. The peak of training can be hard and maybe it’s just that I’m ready for taper.

Week 11:

Monday – 7 miles w/ 5 at Tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Orangetheory (2.79 miles of hills)
Thursday – 7×800 @ 6:40 min/mile + 2 mile WU/CD (9 miles total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17 mile run
Sunday – Rest

Week 12:

Monday – 8 miles w/ 6 at Tempo + body weight exercises
Tuesday – Body weight exercises, but mainly rest.
Wednesday – 5×1200 @ 7:03 min/mile w/2 mile WU/CD (8.75 miles total) + BW exercises
Thursday – Orangetheory (1.87 miles)
Friday – Body weight exercises, but mainly rest.
Saturday – 21 mile run
Sunday – Rest

Boston Marathon Training {Week 10}

Monday morning I knew I still wasn’t ready to run again. Truth be told, I should not have done my long run on Saturday. I was sick, really sick. Would missing a long run have broken my opportunity for success in Boston, probably not. Mentally, it would have totally screwed with me. So I waited until Tuesday to get back on the horse, or treadmill as it would be in this case. It was worth the wait. I’m still coughing and a bit stuffy, but feel human again. My tempo miles felt good, easy even, indicating I probably could have been running a bit faster than I was.

So, how sick should you be before you decided to skip a run? I don’t think there is really a specific measure. Everyone’s tolerance is different. Being stubborn, I’m a horrible example of knowing when I’m too sick. I mean, I did run a marathon with strep. Never again. Anyway, here’s my thoughts on when you should skip a run, or two, however many it takes for you to get better.

  1. Do not run if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea. If you cannot hold down liquids or food, you risk complications from severe dehydration.
  2. Don’t run if you have a fever. Your body temperature naturally rises when you exercise, which can make you more sick.
  3. Don’t run if you have body aches or symptoms below the neck such as chest heaviness.

A rule of thumb to remember, if your symptoms are from the neck up, you’re probably ok to run unless you just don’t feel like it. From the neck down, or includes a fever, skip the run and get some much needed rest.

One more note on last week. I hit the big 4-0 for the first time ever. It meant running less than a mile on Sunday night, but I couldn’t be that close to hitting 40 miles and not do it. While some think the  key to marathon success is running all.the.miles, I don’t. Quality over quantity for me. This won’t be the last time I hit 40 or more miles before Boston, but the first time was pretty exciting.

Weekly Wrap-Up:

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 9 miles w/7 at Tempo
Wednesday – Orangetheory (2.09 miles)
Thursday – 3×1600 @ 6:58 min/mile with 2 mile WU/CD (8 miles total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 20.1 miles
Sunday -0.81 miles

On Raising Good People

I made the decision a few years ago to stop blogging about my kids. While it was awesome blog fodder, I became more conscientious of sharing too much about them with the world, both for the sake of their privacy, but also safety. While I may share a story here and there, they are few and far between.

My decision was also because I frankly have no idea what I’m doing. I have days when I feel like I’m killing it and days when I feel like I’m an utter failure. Luckily most days I figure it I’m worrying about being a good mom, I’m probably doing just fine. I’m not an expert and I won’t really know if I’ve screwed up the kids for years to come. Today I’m just sharing a snippet because I think that compassion and empathy are lacking a bit lately.

Enough rambling and back to the point of this post, trying to raise good little humans. Behind the scenes at our house, we’ve had so much going on. The kids are growing and developing into quite their own little people. They have very different temperaments and personalities. I can see it in everything from how they wake up in the morning to how to play with each other and respond to trying situations, like sharing or having a kid take something away. What they do share, is love. A deep, unrelenting love, for each other and our family. They are quick with a hug or kiss and tell each other, and us, I love you at least 20 times/day. It brings me so much joy.

While it’s seems fairly easy to show love, caring and compassion to your family members, it’s not as easy to help kids understand how to show this to others. How to show them what it means to be empathetic and compassionate. That is something Josh and I are working on and little by little I’m seeing evidence of them grasping it. For example, last week Ella had her 100th day of school. She proudly brought home a paper entitled “If I had $100, I would…” Her answer, she’d by stuff for kids who were poor. While maybe the wording wasn’t ideal, her heart, her big heart was in the right place. I was floored (and so proud!) that at five years old, given the opportunity to say what she would do with $100, she chose to do something for others. Others that are less fortunate than herself.

Anderson is still young to be grasping empathy and compassion, but he’s starting to get it. He can point out emotions and often when we read books, he will say they feel sad or lonely. When I ask him what he thinks could be done to help them feel better, he is full of suggestions from giving them a hug, to helping them find a new toy or friend. When one of us is feeling down, he wants to help make it better. I said the other day how lucky they were to have so many toys to play with and a nice house to live in, and he said yes, because not everyone gets the same as we do.

In a world of mine and theirs, us vs. them, the haves and the have-nots, I just want my kids to be good people. I want them to care for each other, care for others. I want them to treat everyone with respect, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship, political affiliation, etc. We are all different and that is what makes us beautiful and valuable. I want them to be generous with their time, money and give to those that need a helping hand when they can. You never know when you may be the one who needs help.

Here a few a things we’re doing to try to help them learn this:

  1. Read books, lots of books. We’re reading everything from the story of Ruby Bridges to books on how to be identify different emotions, and everything in between. If you’re lost for ideas, there are tons of websites out there with recommendations for any value you’re trying to teach.
  2. Volunteer. We’ve packed food at Feed My Starving Children, cleaned out toys to take to Goodwill, bought groceries for families in need, and of course, they see what we’re doing for Support the Girls.
  3. Talk about what it means to be kind, generous, compassionate and empathetic. Any situation can be a learning experience from Ella having trouble with a kid at school to why there is a person holding a sign asking for money by the exit ramp.

Now, I am not claiming to be an expert and my kids definitely have a naughty streak. They still fight with each other and talk back from time to time. I’m also far from a perfect parent, is their such a thing? Overall, I think my kids are pretty awesome and we just want to do what we can not to raise kids that think because it’s not happening to them, that it’s not happening at all.

Boston Marathon Training {Week 9}

A mountain of used tissues had sprung up on the night stand next to my side of the bed overnight. What started as a scratchy throat and a slight headache on Monday had turned into a full blown, very nasty cold by Thursday. The kind of cold that just knocks you out and leaves your nose raw and Rudolphesk.

Here it is, Sunday afternoon and I’m still blowing my nose every 10 minutes and downing Tylenol just to try to alleviate the pressure in my head. Needless to say this, my last week before training starts to peak, was not my best week. I knew I was getting sick when I ran my tempo run on Monday. Tuesday, I rested as usual, hoping that I’d be good to go. Wednesday, I forgot to cancel Orangetheory, so rather than throw away $15, I went. It was my worst performance ever. Thursday I was down. Friday, I tried to run again, nope. I made it a single mile before I said there is no way I can do this, my entire body ached. But it was 65 degrees and sunny, so I ate my chicken noodle soup at the park where the kids ran around for three hours. We all needed the sun and warmth.

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After going to bed at 8:30 on Friday night, I was determined to at least get part of my long run done. I hate missing runs, especially two in a row which would include a long one. Saturday morning I took my trusty cold and flu medicine and went to meet my friends. I sounded freaking awful when we first started. I was questioning whether I would make it through three miles, let alone 16. Luckily I have very patient and understanding running partners. They slowed way down for me.

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The weather was incredible for February in Minnesota. With temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s, a blue sky with warm sunshine, it was a treat of a winter run. By the fourth mile, my cold medicine had kicked in and I was feeling much better. I still had to stop to blow my nose every few miles, but the fresh air and Vitamin D were doing wonders, at least for distracting me from my ills.

When we finished, I vowed to be lazy the rest of the day. Aside from a short walk with the kids and dog, and playing with them out in the 60 degree weather, I was. I took it easy, even catching a 30 minute nap while the kids watched some PBS kids show. Bless them for being at an age where I can lay on the couch with them and they let me sleep for a few minutes. They knew that mommy really needed it.

I just hope that this passes soon and I can get back on track. Next weekend is the first of my three 20+ milers. Wouldn’t you know it, we might have a blizzard on Friday night. Gah! We shall see what happens. I’m hoping that maybe it waits until Saturday night for me so I can get some miles in outside rather than having to run inside. Fingers crossed!

Week in Review:

Monday – 8 miles w/6 at Tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.14 miles)
Thursday – Sick
Friday – 1 mile/Sick
Saturday – 16 miles
Sunday – Rest