Because I haven't written an update on my running (besides quick notes in my recap posts) since the Resolution Run, I think an update post is in order. I feel like I've made a lot of progress since then, especially in terms of overall fitness and speed.
First of all I've been more consistent in sticking to a running schedule. Part of that is having races on the schedule and time goals. If I know I will be running a race, I don't want to waste money and go out there unprepared and feel unhappy with my performance. So Courtney and I planned to run the San Francisco Marathon when we went home during the summer to visit. Then we added the Philadelphia Marathon, since 'duh!' we are in Philly. Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia was also added because it seems like a cool race with a fun atmosphere and bling...plus we wouldn't have to travel.
Then we decided we wanted time goals. Our last marathon was pretty slow due to the fact that we weren't as dedicated to training as we should have been, it was cold, and we decided to run as a group. I don't really know what happened, but once I started training again I just run faster. Courtney says that she's always known I could run faster, but that I just didn't want to. It makes sense, I would always freak out about going out too fast and not be able to finish so I stuck at a 12:00 - 12:30/mile pace. Now my long runs have been 9:50 ish minute to 10:15 minute/mile pace. My midweeks vary based on how I'm feeling, but overall I am faster now.
Although I ran AR 50 last year, I took a long break from running and lost quite a bit of my fitness. So the thought of building up to these long distances was a bit scary. I think my confidence around running has increased. I know that I can
run faster than I think I can, so the long runs don't seem as scary now.
Each week I would tell Courtney, 'This was my longest run since ______ '
and when we finally ran a half-marathon distance I was so excited. My
last half marathon was in June 2014 so it was a big deal. Then in early
May, coincidentally on the same day as the Parkway Half Marathon, we
ran another half and PR'd.
Each time we run a longer distance and stay within our 'goal' pace I get
a little boost of confidence. That being said, there have been some
hiccups along the way. There are Saturdays where I don't want to get up
and run. There are weeks where it's hot, so I spend a lot of time on the
treadmill. And there are weeks where I want to take it easy and run a
bit slower. I know that's okay, it's about getting the miles in so I let
my body dictate the pace.
I think being able to run outside has definitely helped my motivation. Once things warmed up enough to do long runs along the river, I started enjoying running more. I think we did a couple of long runs along the frozen river with snow on the ground, but mostly it's been nice-ish weather.
When it was cold outside, we would wake up whenever on Saturday and go running in the afternoon. That's when it was the warmest. However that wasted a lot of the day. I would spend the morning and early afternoon dreading the run, then actually running, and coming back to the apartment with most of the day gone. Now that it's getting hotter and more humid, we have been trying to get up early and get our run out of the way so that we can enjoy Saturday. Running in the early morning, like with SacFit, is a much better fit. Plus there are less people out (bikers and runners).
Because of the increasing heat and humidity I've learned about chafing...the hard way. My bra clasp chafed my back pretty badly. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to avoid making it worse and preventing it in the future and my only fail-proof solution has been to stick a piece of plasticized gauze between the bra clasp and my back. The plastic-ness and my sweat (gross, I know) keep it in place and prevent further chafing. I haven't really had chafing problems anywhere else, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
May 16 // The worst running fail was falling on a gravel pathway 2 miles
from finishing a 17.5 mile run. There was a crew regatta along the
river so Courtney and I were weaving in and out of the crowds. We were
running on a little gravel path because there were less people walking
on it than the main path. I guess I wasn't paying attention because I
tripped on a tree root and down I went. I knew I was going down as soon
as I tripped, so I'm glad my hands made it out in time to break the
fall. I ended up scraping up my hand, elbow, and knee. Since I was
wearing my hydration pack with no way to easily rinse off my cuts,
Courtney used her water bottle to help my clean up. After cleaning up
the best I could, I got back up and finished the run. I was covered in
dirt all up one side and had blood dripping down my leg. Thankfully my
fall only resulted in superficial cuts.
May 23 // This long run was 18 miles and has definitely been my hardest training run. Because of my knee I took it easy with the rolling. The open cut and tenderness made it hard to roll, so I just avoided it. Unfortunately that made the next Saturday run incredibly hard. For the first half I felt okay, not great, but I knew I could get through it. As the run progressed and we turned around at the halfway point things started to get hard. My calves and hips were tightening up and by the time we got to mile 16, I was doubtful I could finish the last two miles. We ended up slowing down a bit and I did finish the run. When I looked at our stats once we finished, I was surprised. We had managed to finish with an overall pace of 10:16 minute/mile...the same as last week. Runs like that make me confident that I can push through hard patches during the marathon and that I shouldn't just give up if I'm struggling for a bit.
May 27 // Less than two weeks after my last fall, I fell off the treadmill at the gym. It was just an off day and I wasn't paying attention. Let's just say it was embarrassing and painful. If you want all the details, there's more about the whole thing at the end of this post. I felt the effects for the few days...not a good running week. I missed Monday's run because of the painful 18 mile run, I did do my track workout of 4 x 1600, which ended up being 8 miles total with warm up and cool down. On Wednesday I only ran about .5 mile before falling off the treadmill and I skipped Thursday's run to rest my bruised back and hurt knee.
May 30 // I was supposed to run 16.5 miles, but I skipped it in order to let my injuries heal. Sleeping in was a nice bonus.
June 6 // 18 miles completed. My watch was acting up, so I don't have stats.
June 13 // The miles are ramping up so long runs are taking longer (obviously). Courtney and I knew 19 miles would take over 3 hours and not wanting to run in the heat and humidity, we woke up at 4 am to be out the door by 6 am. It was still 78 F when we started. The humidity was awful...I was drenched in sweat less than a mile in. We ran nice a slow...no point in dying of heat exhaustion.
This Saturday is a 20 mile run followed by 12 miles and 21 miles. I know if I can get through the 20 and 21 mile runs at a decent pace, I can get through the marathon. Since I have a time goal in mind, I do want to get stronger on the hills. My next goal is to work on core strength and some leg exercises so the hills in San Francisco aren't as hard.
Although it may seem like I love running and am motivated to get my runs
in, Courtney is a huge part of it. She is the motivated one and by
default it makes me want to get out there and get my midweeks in. I
think she uses reverse psychology on me and says I don't have to run and
it's totally up to me. It works!
Also, I know I need to get better about staying hydrated during
the week and properly stretching and rolling. I can tell the difference
in runs where I've been lazy about rolling and when I've been diligent.
Rolling and Trigger Point hurts, but it helps the tightness in my calves
and hips. If my calves are tight my knees and feet start to hurt as
well, so that's extra incentive to keep on rolling.