A marathoner knows 15 weeks of training can be both a lifetime and a blink of an eye. I am well aware that anything can happen mainly because anything has happened in the 10+ training cycles I’ve run before. Looking back, some cycles have seemed flawless (most likely an idyllic exaggeration) while others have been a complete disaster (all of 2014 for me!). Most have been somewhere right smack in the middle with a whole lot of miles forward and a few miles back up until and including race day. No longer are the days where I assume I’ll be on my goal race starting line. 2014 I missed TWO marathons I wanted to run because of injury. Even Boston 2015, I ran but I wasn’t able to race. With that in my mind, my biggest goal for the Philadelphia Marathon is to get to the starting line healthy and ready to race.
This past week of training was a perfect example of making progress and experiencing setbacks. In the end it was a solid training week but not without a hiccup. Early last Friday morning I lifted my 14 year old Shar Pei/Lab dog up to place him on the sofa and felt the most horrible pain in my back. Everyone else in the house was asleep and so I laid down and tried not to panic. I felt awful!! We had a 5 hour road trip to Philadelphia (where our families live) to make that day and so I packed ice and pillows and basically was thankful that I didn’t have to drive and could use that time to stay still and relax. My plans to run through the rolling hills of Valley Forge National Park were shot and I didn’t run the following day either but luckily we had a fun filled day with family to keep my mind off “Flip, did I injure myself AGAIN?!”
Sunday I had plans to run with one of my favorite Virginia Beach to NJ transients, Hollie Sick, and was not going to miss that even if we had to switch the run to coffee instead. Everyone told me that they were sure I would feel fine in 2-3 days but my panicked side was skeptical. Sure enough Sunday morning I felt much better. I’ll be honest though, I was scared to run. Too many what ifs were running through my brain. Immediately after we started running my back felt 100% fine. Everything loosened up immediately and I let out a huge sigh of relief. Just another bump in the road. There will be many more I am sure. A run with Holz to catch up and laugh is exactly what I needed. Also, running parts of the tail end of the marathon course was a huge bonus for me. Every race course seems less intimidating when you aren’t actually amidst race chaos, so I made a mental checklist of how gorgeous the course is for race day.
The Mr. had work bright and early the next day so after my run in the city with Hollie, we hopped back in the car and made our was back to Virginia Beach. We made it in enough time for me to shower and put on real world clothes (as opposed to running gear) and attend the J&A Racing Training Team kick off party. The party was amazing. It was held on the deck of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA. The training team is prepping for the Harbor Lights Half Marathon which is coincidentally the same day as the Philadelphia Marathon. I hate that I will miss Harbor Lights but I love that we have the same countdown clock. Mentally having friends race the same day and time, even if it is in another state, is a great thing. Here are some pics-
As far as numbers and stats for this week. I am still not counting my miles. I believe I was just under 50 with the day off hiccup. My long run was 11 miles, cut short because of the back issue. I completed a 9 mile progression run starting at 8:20 pace for the first mile and ending the last mile at 6:18 pace. Progression runs are a favorite of mine. The third “hard” day was a 4.88 mile tempo run with the group pictured below. Two favorite things about the tempo run 1.) We spotted TWO coyotes before we began. Apparently the oceanfront wildlife is abundant at 5:30 am and 2.) While my overall pace was good, my final mile was GREAT. My Garmin says I finished that last .88 (we go by course not distance) at 5:30 pace. I had to read that about ten times to believe it because it was a first for me. We have a good set up where we start our tempos at different times and race each other to the finish which brings out some healthy competitiveness we usually only see on race day. Healthy competitiveness means we cheer each other on when passing or getting passed and resisting the urge to trip each other or throw an elbow 🙂
Another thing, I have finally gotten my nutrition where I want it to be. For awhile I was struggling under some awesome guidance from friend and nutritionist, Crystal Witte. She was wonderful in letting me know exactly where I was going wrong but actually applying that advice was a challenge for me. Eating at 4:45 am wasn’t something I wanted to do and eating more carbohydrates before lunch wasn’t my favorite either. Eating all my carbs in the form of donuts after dinner wasn’t the best for me?!? Ulgh. I’ve made progress in these adjustments and feel stronger because of them. The most important advice is to stay hydrated! I drink immediately upon waking up and almost always with one form or another of electrolytes in that beverage then post-hard workout drink a recovery drink within 15 minutes of finishing. I use Hammer Recoverite because of its convenience but there are plenty of options out there.
Thank you for reading everyone. I hope you all have a great week of running. Wishing lots of love & luck to all my friends racing the Triathlon Age Group Nationals!