Spring 2014 Running Training Plan

Spring 2014 Training Plan Phoenix Half Marathon and Green Bay Marathon

I have an obsession with making training plans. I LOVE to make them. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the thought of setting a goal, having a clear road map on how to get there, and knowing you can achieve it? I get excited to see where I’m starting out, and what I’m going to be able to do. It makes me feel strong, motivated and, especially with a marathon on the docket, kind of like a badass.

I made myself a custom training plan for the Phoenix Half Marathon on March 1st, and from there, the Green Bay Marathon on May 18th. I based the plan loosely on Hal Higdon’s training plans. I like that I run only 4 times a week, because it helps keep me from getting burned out later. Plus, I really enjoy bicycling, and it’s fun cross training as part of the week’s workouts {if the weather ever gets nice enough this spring}.

You can check out the full training plan here (PDF format):
Spring 2014 Running Training Plan

My days of the week are broken down like this:
Monday: easy run
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: tempo* run
Thursday: marathon pace run
Friday: rest
Saturday: long run
Sunday: cross train

* I would like to have the tempo runs on Wednesday to help get some speed back, but I also don’t want to push myself too much and get hurt. I’m going to play these runs by ear, so if I feel great I’ll push, and if not, I’ll just run at what feels right.

One thing I really paid attention to with this program was following the “10% rule,” making sure my mileage doesn’t increase by more than 10% each week. I kept it pretty close to a 10% increase each week, and some weeks I have it step back to give a little extra rest to weary legs. Because I did get injured last year, I am trying my best to ward off any setbacks.

Another thing that I’m focusing on more this year, that’s not accounted for on the plan, is more strengthening: Hips, core, arms and legs. I’m trying to get in some basic hip and core work at least every other day to keep everything strong (and pesky ITBS from flaring again).

Please share any thoughts or feedback you have, I’d love to hear it!

– – –

Do you follow a training plan?
How do you keep yourself healthy & strong while training for a race?
Favorite kind of workout? 

Running the Chicago Marathon, Part 2

It was pitch black when I woke up at 4am on marathon morning. The silence of the city drifted through the windows, by which I mean—a sort of humming, punctuated silence that never quiets completely. There was something already present in the air, something thrumming around me: excitement, anticipation. The city knew what was happening that day.

Realizing I had no chance of falling back asleep, I got up to pee for the umpteenth time. (Good hydration!)

Before I knew it, my two sisters & I were awake and ready to go. My mom snapped a picture of us before we left, remarking on our uncanny ability to look happy and excited at 5am with the prospect of running 26.2 miles weighing on us.

Ready to go run the marathon!

Ready to go run the Chicago Marathon!

What can we say? Runners: We’re a special breed.

It took about an hour of walking + train travel to get downtown near Grant Park, where the race started. We stopped in at the nearby Hilton to drop off our bags with my older sister’s running club, the Alpine Runners.

We followed the signs to find the right room…

101913_chimarathon_1

Note: Follow the yellow sign.

Funnily enough, they wouldn’t let us into the elite breakfast.

It calmed me to meet and talk to a few of the Alpine Runners as we prepped ourselves to head to the start corrals. I shook out any nerves I had. For the time being, anyway.

Brandi and Lara headed up to the wave one corrals (they are speedy) while I went to my entrance for the [slower] corrals.

Heading to Corral G.

101913_chimarathon_3

I kept an eye out for my friend Jessica, who was in the same corral as me, while I waited and stretched in the crowd. I figured there was no way I’d be able to spot her…

The corrals were packed!

The corrals were packed!

And then suddenly the crowds parted—and there she was! Yay. By this time, I was definitely getting super nervous—it was finally hitting me that I was actually going to RUN A MARATHON—so it helped to have a friend and someone to chat with while we waited over an hour to start.

Waiting with thousands of other runners to start.

Waiting with thousands of other runners to start.

The first wave of runners took off running at 7:30, but our corral wasn’t set to start ‘til 8am. Finally, at 8:08 I crossed the starting line and the marathon had BEGUN!

Oh my gosh. Is this really happening after all this time?

I quickly got split up from my friend Jessica and her running partner, but I knew that would happen as soon as I started my 10 min. run/2 min. walk plan anyway. I had my headphones and running playlist all set to go, but as the hordes of cheering people and music started filling my eardrums, I knew nothing on my playlist would match that.

The pure energy from the crowds, the music blaring over loudspeakers, the runners all around marching to the beat of some unknown drum, the sun rising brightly, the crisp and cool air—it just couldn’t get any more perfect.

I decided to just take it all in for the first 13 miles, and soak up as much of the experience as I could while I still felt great. I knew the second half of the race would be tougher, and I’d need to focus more on how I felt, making sure I was staying fueled, keeping a strong form, etc.

But for now, I would simply enjoy the ride.

Action shot taken while running.

Action shot – taken while running!

I got 10 minutes in and it was time for my first 2-minute walk break (all in effort to keep my rehabbed ITBS from bothering me). Let me tell you, it was mentally painful to stop and walk already. I was so amped to run, the last thing I wanted to do was stop! Every time I hit a walk break, I got to the outermost edge and made sure nobody was directly behind me, so I wouldn’t cut anyone off. It was so packed though, that I nearly always felt annoying and in the way of the other runners. I also felt people in the crowd eyeing me up, and actually a lot of spectators wouldn’t even look at me—they were probably thinking, “Dang, it’s this early and she has to walk already? That girl’s never gonna make it!”

But, I knew it was the right plan for me, and I had to do it to make it to the end. So, every 10 minutes or so, I diligently stopped for my 2 minutes of walking. (I admit, sometimes I’d get to 90 seconds and decide that was long enough!)

Suddenly, I was crossing the halfway point of the race. Mile 13. It sounds crazy, but I remember thinking to myself, It only feels like I’ve been running for half an hour. That is how inspiring, entertaining and motivating the crowd support was in this race (and, I suppose a nod to my training paying off). It was absolutely amazing to feel like 13 miles had literally passed in what seemed like the blink of an eye!

Around this time, I also spotted my fiancé on the side of the course, and got a little good-luck hug and smooch. Even with thousands of other people yelling support to you mile after mile, seeing a loved one makes all the difference in the world. I took off trotting from there with doubled ambition.

By mile 15, I started to get a bit tight and achy. Considering my comeback in the prior 6 weeks or so before the marathon didn’t include a ton of running, 15 miles was a lot of pounding that my body wasn’t used to.

I also realized, at this junction, that math is not my strong suit…as I had miscalculated how many Shot Blocks to bring for all 26 miles. I was going to run out of fuel at around 18 miles. Marathon rookie mistake. It all worked out, as the race volunteers were handing out bananas later in the race. I was able to eat some banana, and thankfully my stomach was fine. As a fun bonus, I felt like I was in a real-life Mario Kart race as I ran around trying not to slip on banana peels. Those suckers really ARE slippery!

At mile 18, I had the realization that, Hey, this is the furthest I’ve ever run! Awesome!

I probably looked better than I felt. Silly runner.

I probably looked better than I felt. Silly runner.

That marveling thought was quickly followed by another realization:

Hey, I still need to run 8 more miles though. Awesome…

I hadn’t hit The Wall yet, and felt fairly decent, so I wasn’t worrying. But by mile 20, which you hear so often as really being that threshold to The Wall, I started to feel it. I was really starting to ache all over: in my feet, legs, back, shoulders… And every time I stopped for my walk break, it was becoming harder and harder to start again—not mentally, but physically. I was literally groaning out loud in pain as I’d start to transition from the walk to running. I told myself to stop being a diva, but I couldn’t control it.

At mile 22, after my 2-minute walk break, I started running again and decided that if I stopped to walk anymore, there was a good chance that my body would not be able to start running again. There were people all over the place walking at this point, and ironically enough, this is when I decided I needed to STOP walking.

Those last 3 miles felt literally as long as the entire rest of the race. My body ached, I was tired, my ration of Shot Blocks was gone, and I was nearing 5 hours of running. FIVE! It was 100% heart, soul and mind that got me through those last couple miles.

And then, with a mile to go, I started hearing a familiar tune over some speakers someone had set up on the sidewalk…  One of my all-time favorite songs, Kings of Leon’s “Fans” was blaring. I felt a huge grin transform my face, feeling like a goon, and probably looking like a freak as I shuffled along. But I didn’t care, that song was just what I needed to push me along for a couple more minutes.

I was still smiling as the notes drifted away behind me, when all of the sudden I heard, “AMANDA!” out of the roaring crowd, with a half mile to go to the finish.

Happy to see some familiar faces at the end of the race.

Happy to see some familiar faces at the end of the race.

My family & friends were there on the side of the course, screaming and yelling for me. They later said they were surprised to see me at that point looking SO happy and smiling! Their cheers pushed me on for that last half of a mile, and my legs were flying beneath me, pushing me faster and faster. I was relishing the moment, oddly lamenting that I was about to be done, my goal was about to be achieved—but at the same time, I just wanted to be done. I was so close.

101913_chimarathon_8

Turning the corner, there was a bit of a hill at the end, and I wove in and out of people as I continued to pick up my pace. I don’t know where all that extra energy and speed came from in the end, but it rallied me forward faster and faster and then… Then it was there in big, bright letters:

FINISH

With whatever strength I had left, I lifted my arms up and smiled as I crossed the finish line.

I am a runner.

I am a MARATHONER!

Chicago Marathon 2013 Finisher Medal

Chicago Marathon 2013 Finisher Medal

Three sisters = Three marathon runners.

Three sisters = Three marathon runners.

Final clock time: 5:06:43 

The Last Long Run

It’s done! My last long run before the Chicago Marathon is in the books.

I should have had 8 miles on my schedule today, according to my Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan. But due to my lack of running over the last 6 weeks or so, I decided to go for 12-13 miles. Mentally, I thought it would help me to know I can make it to 13 miles with no problem, so when I’m running the marathon, I can enjoy the first 13 miles without worrying about how my knees and hips will feel along the way. I’m hoping that will leave lots of mental power for the last half of the race, which will probably be tough physically & mentally for me, due to taking so much time off running.

Last night, I was looking forward to only one thing about my long run today: Getting it over with. In fact, I started to write a post last night about how much I was not looking forward to my last long run, and how much I wanted it to be done.

Then I felt like a whiney bitch, and gave myself a little reality check.

Uh, hello? Weren’t you just injured for the last 6 weeks and wishing you could run almost every one of those days you had to take off? Weren’t you worried about not getting those long runs in, and whether or not you could run the marathon? Weren’t you wishing you could wake up early on Saturday morning to meet up with your running club friends for a jog along Lake Michigan, with the sun rising over the water?

Yes, you were. So suck it up, Amanda.

In my defense, I’d imagine this is a common feeling among runners who are entering their taper for a marathon. The training requires so much sacrifice: Time, energy, even sometimes pain, as I’ve learned. Maybe it’s natural to put so much effort and determination into something, that it sucks everything within you dry to the point that you’re excited, but ready, to finally reach, and freakin’ complete, your goal.

And that’s how I feel: Simply ready to be at that starting line, running along the streets of Chicago, and then crossing over that finish line… Hopefully still smiling.

But first, I had a 13-mile run to tackle today. I didn’t really eat enough for dinner last night, and I didn’t hydrate well yesterday like I normally would, either. Maybe I’ve just been out of my long runs for too long, but I woke up this morning SO tired, and worrying about whether or not I had set myself up for success.

It was still quite dark out when my alarm started squawking at me, and I didn’t sleep well, so I was reallllly tired. Like, I-only-got-four-hours-of-sleep tired. For a minute, I debated just not getting up—maybe I’d run later… But I knew there was a crappy rainy day in the forecast, so I dragged myself outta bed.

When I got to my starting point, I thankfully spotted my long-lost marathon training buddy, Liz! I was glad to have someone to start my run with, because it was a little creepy looking outside with the sun still half-sunken and the fog blanketing the town:

Foggy morning running

Plus, she made my smile and remember that running is a good thing that I like to do. 🙂

The run started out slow, maybe because of the literal 99% humidity. Hey, I’m just glad we’re not getting forecasts like this…

winter storm Atlas

SNOW?!

I mean, seriously. I am so not ready for snow.

I took my first couple of miles very easy and made sure to stretch well. I felt pretty sluggish, but tried to push any negative thoughts away. At mile 4, members of the running club, who started at a more normal time of 7:30am, began to pass me. Saying hi and exchanging a few quick words took my mind off my worries and energized me. I ran into Liz again (who had gone ahead of me due to my walking breaks) and we were able to log about a mile together until I had to continue on alone once more.

I still felt decent as I approached 10 miles, though not as good as I had last week. The last few miles were a little challenging—mostly, they just felt long because I was alone for them, and tired.

I did feel strong, especially at the end of the run, but my legs just aren’t used to the pounding miles of pavement. After mile 10, my legs were very achy from the ankles up. It makes me worry about how achy I will feel for 26 miles, but I guess I’ll just have to deal with it, and maybe throw in a little extra walking if my body asks for it.

I got to my starting point a tad short of 13 miles, but I called it a day, because at this point, three-tenths of a mile isn’t going to make or break my race!

And thus, the final long run for Chicago Marathon is complete:

long run splits for chicago marathon

long run splits

Now, I start the real “taper” for my training. This week I will only have three runs, which are one 3-miler and two 2-mile runs. I’m not sure if I’ll know what to do with myself?!

Rest, eat well, hydrate, think positive, and enjoy the extra free time… That’s my plan. 🙂

Any tips on what to do (or what NOT to do) the week before a marathon? What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Do you carb-load?

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 10 recap

Wow, week 10 is done already?! The weeks have really flown by, so I guess that means my training’s been going well. This week has had its ups and downs, though, as did my long run of 17 miles…and I might be dealing with a slight injury. 😦

Sunday, August 18th: rest

Monday: 4 miles • 9:55/mile
I took some frustrations out on this run, so it was great to push it hard and feel accomplished when I finished. I ran the four miles progressively faster, with splits of 10:46, 10;33, 9:36 and 8:42. That last mile was fast!

Tuesday: cross train – biking
Met up with some lovely ladies for a medium-effort bike ride for an hour along the lake. Good time!

Wednesday: 4 miles • DNR
I wasn’t feeling a run and my legs were tired. I decided I’d run an easy couple miles on Friday to loosen up, but…See Friday’s recap.

Thursday: 8 miles  10:43/mile
This run really pushed me. I met up with a couple people and we ran on trails for all 8 miles, which was fun. Trails are my favorite! Plus, it was great to give the legs a break from pounding pavement. The small hills and different muscles you use for trail running were really challenging, so by the end I was spent and glad to be done. Considering this was on trails, my pace per mile was quite fast; usually, I run around 11:15/mile pace for trails.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed it so hard, because later that night my left knee started to ache a little. Usually my right knee gives me pain due to IT band issues, so it was weird that my left knee was yellin’ at me. I iced my knee, took some ibuprofen and figured it’d be fine, but it came back to haunt me Saturday…

Friday: rest
That trail run kicked my butt, and I was psyching myself out for Saturday’s long run, so I didn’t make up any miles from Wednesday’s missed run. I thought the more rest for my legs, the better!

Saturday: 17 miles • 10:38/mile
Well, I did it! In exactly 3 hours, I ran 17 miles.

I still can’t believe I actually ran that far!!!

My friend Jess ran with me, and thank goodness, because I don’t know if I could have done it without the support of another runner. I felt pretty good starting off, but by mile 6 or so my left knee started to ache again. I’m not sure how to even describe the pain, as it’s not the typical pain I feel from IT band issues in my other knee. This pain was on the side of the knee, on the outside, and sort of felt like what I’d imagine arthritis feels like? Sometimes it just felt achy, but then sometimes (especially after stopping for a minute to stretch) it was really painful. A few times it felt like my knee was going to simply give out. My left lower back was also tight and started to hurt, so I have to figure it’s probably all connected…

By mile 7, I could tell that the pain wasn’t going to go away, despite stopping to stretch, so I hoped for the best and gritted my teeth.

For 10 more miles.

I have to say, I kind of feel like a badass since I could deal with that pain for 10 miles. But, maybe I could also be called a dumbass for continuing to run with the pain, as afterwards my knee hurt so bad I was pretty much hobbling around all day.

I got in a [really wimpy] ice bath for 10 minutes when I got home, which I think helped all of my muscles. Matt thought the whole concept of the ice bath was pretty funny I guess, because he was quite eager to help pour all of the ice in and then take pictures of my reaction…

post-run ice bath

Brr.

The ice bath must have helped, because today (Sunday) I’m not sore and my knee is barely hurting at all when I walk, go up & down stairs, etc. Nonetheless, I think I’ll just be cross-training for a few days, and doing some detective work on what might be going on and how I can help it.

This week’s schedule:

  • Sunday: rest/PT
  • Monday: 60 minutes cross-train
  • Tuesday: 5 miles/PT – will substitute biking
  • Wednesday: 8 miles – will substitute biking
  • Thursday: 5 miles/PT – will probably run a very easy 3-4 miles to see how my knee feels
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 18 miles

Any ideas on what might be wrong with my knee? How do you deal with injuries during and after your runs? Any advice? 

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 9 recap

Week nine of Chicago Marathon training was pretty decent. I skipped one run, but I’m not going to worry about it too much. The upped mileage is starting to make me more tired than usual. In the beginning of training, I slept so well, and 8 hours of sleep each night was enough. But lately I haven’t been getting 8 hours each night, and even when I do, it doesn’t seem like enough. More miles = more sleep to recover. That’s my goal this week.

Sunday, August 11th: Bike (cross train)
I was cooped up inside all day. I decided to do my cross-training for the week so I could get some fresh air. It was good to loosen up my tired, tight legs after my 15-miler on Saturday.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 miles • 10:23/mile
Had a group run with my running club. I felt really good for the first two miles of this run, but the last two miles I really struggled for some reason. I was glad when it was done…

Wednesday: 4 miles • DNR
I had to run some errands right after work Wednesday, so I didn’t get home ‘til 7. I was sooo hungry and tired by that point, I just blew off my 4-miler. If there’s ever a run to blow off, I guess it’s probably these easier, shorter ones.

Thursday: 7 miles
I ended up being glad I blew off Wednesday, because I was excited for the 7 miles of trail running on Thursday, and physically I felt great for ALL of it. It was one of those runs that leaves you giddy & smiling at the end, feeling like you could go run 7 more miles. (No pace recorded, I forgot to charge the Garmin.)

Friday: rest

Saturday: 13.1 miles • 10:17/mile (2:14:44)
I had a half-marathon on my schedule, so I met up with some people who are slightly faster than me in hopes they could push me along for a pseudo-half.

Runner friends

We ran on a beautiful trail with miles & miles of crushed gravel, some slight rolling hills, and gorgeous scenery of forests, wetlands & wildflowers. It’s my new favorite place. When we met there at 6:30, there was a heavy fog still lazing about, and brr! It wasn’t even 60 degrees.

The fog cleared as we started our trot, and eventually it started to warm up as the sun rose…

Sun rising over the trail

I started the run trying to stay up with the other ladies, but after a bit I realized I needed to hang back at my own “hard” pace so I wouldn’t burn out over the first 6.5 miles. When we turned at the halfway point, I stuck with them on the way back to push myself. I definitely ran hard, and my last mile was a 9:47! The last half was (for the most part) progressively faster:

Chicago marathon week 9 long run splits

A half time of 2:14 definitely beats my last half marathon time this year (2:28) back in late January, when I ran the Naples Half Marathon with my sisters in Florida. (That was a rough one, can’t say it was a good time at all.) 2:14 is also right around the times I put up for a few different half marathons last year (2:15 in April 2012, 2:11 in May 2012), so now that I look back, I’d say that was a solid run considering I wasn’t in racing conditions.

This week’s schedule:
• Sunday: rest/PT
• Monday: 60 minutes cross train
• Tuesday: 4 miles/PT
• Wednesday: 8 miles
• Thursday: 4 miles/PT
• Friday: rest
• Saturday: 17 miles (eeek)

Now that mileage is really starting to move up, I’m getting nervous. Those mid-week longer runs are kind of tough, and this week it’s upped to 8 miles. Remember when 9 weeks ago, 8 miles was a ‘long’ run for me?! Also, the 17-miler is the first long run that’s making me nervous. 17 MILES. That is a long ass way. I just need to remember how great I felt during my 15-miler, if I was good then, I will be fine for 2 more measly miles…

What was the highlight of your training this week? How do you deal with runs that psych you out?

My highlight was running on that new trail, a 13.1 PR for the year, and not feeling sore today after yesterday’s hard efforts. 🙂

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 8 Recap

It was an up & down week…  But it ended on a high (long) note. 🙂

Sunday, August 4th: rest
I was sore and tired from Saturday. Took the day off to get work done around the house, and planned to bike Monday instead.

Monday: 60 minutes cross train
I did some bicep curls with a beer bottle…? Don’t worry, I made sure to alternate arms.

Tuesday: 4 miles • 11:31/mile
Ran a solo trail run. Despite the slower pace, I felt like I was cruisin’ most of the time. There’s something about the solitude of trail running, it’s so peaceful and serene. I love taking in the views.

Running on the trails is my favorite!

I seriously felt like a deer prancing around. It was awesome. My legs were certainly a bit sore the next day from the hills and terrain, so it was a great workout.

Wednesday: 4 miles • 10:08/mile
My legs were still a little sore and sluggish for the first mile of this run, but after I loosened up, my splits were fantastic:

Mile 1 – 10:24
Mile 2 – 10:27
Mile 3 – 10:19
Mile 4 – 9:21 (!)

After pushing it, I made sure to foam roll & stretch really well, and got some PT exercises in for the knee.

Thursday: 7 miles • DNR
I was supposed to meet up with some friends to run this, but had to go to the police department instead. Boo.

Friday: rest
This week was rough and very mentally draining. I was sore & tired every day. I meant to run 3 miles just to stay loose, but I took a nap instead. I don’t really even like naps. I guess I needed it?

Saturday: 15 miles • 10:31/mile
Okay, for as much as the week drained me, and how off-track my training seemed…this run was FANTASTIC! Mentally and physically, I felt really good the whole time. And look at that overall pace—it is faster than usual, and this has been my longest run yet. (Yay for new distance PRs!)

My usual running buddy, Liz, couldn’t run, so I was solo for this long one. I think running alone almost helped me, because I was able to settle into “the zone” and slow down when I needed to, or speed up when I felt good. 15 miles was a little boring sometimes, all alone, but it was also relaxing, too. After such a long week, it was good to have some solitude and not have to think or talk for a couple hours.

Good morning, world.

My splits were GREAT:

Long run splits

I ran faster for the last half than I did for the first half. Exactly how you want to complete a good long run. The only reason my pace slowed on mile 12 was my attempting to send a few text messages and run at the same time (probably just as dangerous as texting & driving, FYI).

And uhh that last mile? 10:05 on mile 15, seriously?

YES.

This week’s schedule:

  • Sunday: rest/PT
  • Monday: 60 minutes cross train
  • Tuesday: 4 miles
  • Wednesday: 7 miles
  • Thursday: 4 miles/PT
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: half marathon

I’m so glad the week ended on a high note. I’m excited to start over this week and hopefully hit all my workouts and make ‘em count. The work is paying off. 🙂

I have a half marathon on my schedule for next weekend’s long run, but I’m not signed up for one, so I may just run 13 miles all out and see how I do?

How was your training this week? What are you looking forward to in the week to come? 

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 7 Recap

After last week’s marginal training, I came back with a vengeance. I got in all my workouts in some form, despite tired/sore legs some days. I even managed to do 2 days of PT for the knee, and some ab work throughout the week too. Feelin’ good about it!

Sunday, July 28th: 9 mile long run • 10:49/mile
This recap got its own special blog post. Went pretty well!

Monday: 4 miles bike ride • 35 minutes
After my 9-miler on Sunday (especially because my knee was acting up), I thought it might be a good idea to give my knees a rest from pounding pavement. I went on a bike ride with Matt instead. It was fun, and my sore legs needed some movement to stretch them out.

Tuesday: 60 minutes cross train • bike ride
I went biking with a group of lovely ladies all around town for an hour, despite some sprinkles off & on. It felt like a fairly hard ride (my legs must have been tired from Sunday still?).

Wednesday: 4 miles 3.29 miles • 9:47/mile
There’s running in the rain…and then there’s running in a MONSOON. During this run, I was keeping a speedy pace (for me) and feeling great, when suddenly I noticed a massive amount of dark clouds barreling in my direction… I stopped to snap this picture:

Storm coming during a run. That doesn't look good!

Hmm, that doesn’t look good…

And two minutes later, the storm was unleashed upon me. Normally I would run in the rain, but it was coming down so hard, I could barely keep my eyes open, and my contact was floating around in my eye! I booked it home a mile in the torrential rain. So, if you saw a wet rat traipsing about in a neon yellow tank top Wednesday afternoon—not to worry, that was just me.

Thursday: 7 miles • 11:14/mile
This was an enjoyable, jumbled run. I met up with my marathon training buddy, Liz, and we did a mix of bike trail, road & grassy trail miles. I heart trail running. The first several miles on pavement were at a good clip; but the trail miles really slowed us down (which was just fine!). Also, FYI: A small ice cream cone after a tiring 7-miler tastes SUPERB.

Friday: Rest
My legs were ready for some rest. Proud that I accomplished some great workouts all week, as well as ate quite healthy. (Did I just write above that I had an ice cream cone?) I lost a pound this week, too. Boom.

Saturday: 14.3 miles • 10:55/mile
I DID IT! My longest run ever.

Until next week, when I run 15. Ha. Oh my…

The pace is off for this run; my Garmin started when I did, but only tracked time instead of distance, for some reason? The first .3 miles weren’t calculated in. Adding in the stop to try to fix the darn watch, it said my first mile was 15 minutes! I feel good knowing that I would have been happy with a 10:55 pace, but I did even better…even if I don’t know exactly what it is.

This run was kind of up-and-down, which showed me how important it is not to get too into your head when running this far. I felt great the first few miles, even said so out loud to Liz, but during mile 4, my hips and legs started to feel very achy. I was kind of nervous how they’d fare for the following 10 miles, but I pushed it out of my mind and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and got lost in the random music playlist I had put together. (Note: Good music can make such a difference!)

We had been stopping quite a few times to stretch out achy limbs, adjust water belts, take bathroom/water breaks, etc. It’s always tough for me to get in the groove again after stopping mid-run, so as soon as I refrained from that, it seemed to help me feel less achy. From now on, I’m going to stop during my long runs as little as possible, only if I need to stretch something out or refill a water bottle, and see if that makes a difference!

When we finished, I was pretty excited—I mean, 14 miles is just long! But despite the long distance and running for about two and a half hours, I can’t say I ever really got “bored” during the run. Plus, it was so fun to be greeted by my running club members with applause and congratulations on my longest run PR. Even though many of them have run marathons and can run a pace WAY faster than me, they all understand that feeling of pushing yourself to new heights, and setting & reaching goals. It is so great to have that kind of support group. If you aren’t in a running club, join one!!

Now here’s a gross picture of me & my post-long-run celebratory mimosa:

Post-long-run celebratory mimosa!

My hip flexors and quads are a bit sore today (Sunday), but the rest of my body feels pretty good. Best part: No pain in the knees. I better keep those PT exercises up this week.

This week’s schedule:
• Sunday: 60 minutes cross train
• Monday: rest/PT
• Tuesday: 4 miles
• Wednesday: 7 miles
• Thursday: 4 miles/PT
• Friday: rest
• Saturday: 15 miles

How were your workouts this week?