Monday, November 12, 2012

Chugging along

I am tired. I have complete week one of my 10 week run in to Houston Marathon with a 77 mile week which included a killer mile rep session, 7 mile threshold run and 20 mile long run.

The mile reps really hurt, I opted to do them outside over the bridge at my YMCA. It's a little bit up and down and there was a bit of a breeze and boy did I feel every one of them (there were 6). I was a bit off target with a couple but only by a couple of seconds and it felt like one of the toughest session I've completed so I was pleased. It was one of those sessions when I find myself questioning what on earth I'm playing at. Thoughts like 'I'm 35 years old, I'm a mum of 3, why am I killing myself here to the point of wanting to throw up?!' But I knew those thoughts would vanish the second I completed the session whereas the disappointment of not getting it done would linger on and on and on so failure was not an option.

My long run pace has picked up to be between 7:15 and 8:00 min/mile now which would have been daunting a few months ago when the summer heat and humidity was high but I'm finding my happy, natural, running by myself pace is 7:30 at the moment so wasn't too concerned. I averaged around 7:30 for the 20 but had to stop 3 times due to stomach problems. I took my 1st ever imodium before the run (I have been having problems all week with stomach cramps) and without it I'm certain I would not have completed the session. So good news is I think I can count on imodium to get me through races although I'd prefer to solve the problem but I think I have some kind of weird stomach bug...thing this week. My stomach felt good for the last 4 miles of the 20 and I brought them in a little faster than I ought to 7:00-7:10 but it was so good to be running pain free that I just went with it and enjoyed it. 

I also genuinely feel, for the 1st time, that a sub 3 hour marathon is possible after only 2 years back running. The thought of 6:50's x 26.2, whilst still daunting is now, I believe doable. If I can handle the schedule I've been set and lose some lbs (I think my weight will be a deciding factor in my success) then I now believe I can do it. Bit of a breakthrough moment.

After the 20 miles, the real work began with our 1st soccer game at 10am followed by the library, lunch, grocery shopping then 2nd soccer game at 1pm. All of the in and out of the car/car seats and carrying of lawn chairs, sports bags etc whilst pushing a stroller solo is pretty exhausting. I am amazed by how much energy running actually GIVES me though. Once we got home and I had put the baby down for his nap and settled the eldest 2 with a snack and movie rather than flop in a heap and watch the movie too I found myself outside in the garden filling bin liner after bin liner with the leaves that have accumulated in our garden. Then back indoors to make dinner, I feel like I deserve a virtual pat on the back for all this hard graft...anyone? Maybe all the weekends activity is catching up with me now as it's all I can do to punch the keys on the laptop. That night I treated us all to a new Christmas movie (Arthur Christmas), we had all earned it. Great movie but I am a big Christmas fan and am as such probably very biased.

I'm now 2 days into the new week and have 82 miles comprised in part of more mile reps (7 this time), another 20 miler and todays 10 with 7 at threshold. 
Today was tough, the toughest threshold ever. My pace has stayed at 6:30-6:40 (due to these sessions being longer than 30 mins) and normally I enjoy this run and it's more easy than tough but today was VERY hard fought. My calves and back of my thighs (I have very poor knowledge of specific muscle names :s) were screaming from the word go, so much so that after 4.3 miles I dropped the pace from 6:30 to 6:40 where it remained until the last 0.6 where I picked it up again. 

I don't have any single digit runs until taper time and I admit I do wonder what a 100 mile week will make me feel if 70+ feels like this. But as my husband is away for 3 weeks (1 down 2 to go) maybe having my 3 cherubs solo is a factor although he works such long hours they're ready for, if not in bed when he gets home anyway but I am used to a little help at the weekend. So in his absence most sessions are on the treadmill although I have organized a sitter for very early Saturday mornings so I can get my long runs in in the great outdoors which makes me very very very happy.

I made a very exciting purchase today - a rice cooker! I am a terrible rice cook, I never seem to get it right so I loaded it up between picking up my middle cherub from preschool and going for my eldest from Kindergarten and when we got home, it was done! AND it's cooked to perfection! I see a lot of rice in this family's future. It's currently in the freezer awaiting being tossed in the wok for todays chicken fried rice which I am contemplating making and eating very soon and it's only 3:45.

I am so hungry all the time but, as mentioned I'm trying to lose a bit of weight so am attempting to find the right balance between eating everything in sight and having a bit of restraint. I also bought a slow cooker or crock pot as they call it here and N has given me some nice bean recipes which she makes a large batch of at the start of the week and then has it during the week when she's hungry. She adds a boiled egg or avocado or chopped up pepper for variety and hey presto a healthy, filling snack to tide me over until meal time. 

Now I have 2 days to decide whether those 7 mile reps on Thursday will be done on the treadmill or over the dreaded bridge.....I kind of hate that I know me being me means they'll be over the bridge. ugh. Sometimes I wish I would give me a break. Are you your toughest task master? 
This has reminded me of a woman in the gym today who I had the misfortune to hear bitch and moan her way through her session. She complained about EVERYTHING. I was very close to announcing 'we're all hurting, we're all suffering just shut up and get it done or go home'. Did I mention my threshold run today really hurt and may have added to my no nonsense mood ;s 
Why come and do something so half arsed and complain the entire time? Maybe there was an invisible gun to her head? (I'd have pulled the trigger...) Her training buddy looked suitably annoyed and tried her best to ignore her whilst busting her gut to complete the session. Today the loneliness of the distance runner was a blessing, I could never train with a complainer! I wonder if any of you run with a whiner, good motivation to get faster I guess!


  1. The Road, alway choose the road... If you can be outside why be inside, and your race, is it on a treadmill or on the road?

    If the weather is bad outside, just remember you might have to race in bad weather.

    if all the running you are do is making you tired, there are 2 things you can change (and change you should or you could burn out before you get to a rest week)

    1) the distance you are running (maybe 2 much, some people can't handle big miles)
    2) the speed of the easy recovery runs, don't worry about the clock, easy is easy, recovery is recovery.

    Good luck, will be reading how this go in the weeks to come.

  2. Bad weather doesn't worry me, well not the winter kind (wind and cold are my friends) but I guess I do hide from the Houston heat and humidity! This will sound dumb but if I leave the Y I have to take my mobile phone with me (creche rule) and that means carrying it. I hate carrying things when I run but need to get over that. I left it at the start of the mile reps and checked it every time I was back at the start but I could do some of my miles over the bridge and back. We get to go 1.5 miles away and back so I could make up a 10 mile run that way - boring but outside. Yes, I need to get off the treadmill thanks for the push!
    I was going to ask Coach Doug about the recovery runs today! The paces of those have increased too and like you say I feel like somethings got to give and I don't want it to be/don't think it needs to be the miles. I think you're right, the recovery pace doesn't feel as easy as I think it should. I feel like recovery pace shouldn't even be in a range, it should have a 'don't go faster than x mark' but then ought to be as slow and easy as needed on any day, right? Thanks for the input, its appreciated!

    1. 12 today, outside in the cold and wind. I took it easy and relaxed and was around 8min pace (bit faster at times had to keep slowing it down), I think 8:30 on the treadmill feels faster somehow? Saw deer, pelicans, a heron eating a fish AND got honked at by young dude who gestured that I ought to call him, doesn't get any better than that ;D Goodbye treadmill.

    2. Could run past the Zebra this evening, but that run is a little hill for a Wednesday before a marathon.

      When running think heart rate (you don't need to wear one, just think it) So yes some day's the easy will be faster than other, never worry what pace you are running, it's about how much work you are doing.

      If you look at my training times I should never have run so fast for that half. but my easy is easy and my hard is hard. yes I run the reps and most are aimed at running a sub 80 half, but the short stuff I ran harder, so with all the running I've done I was able to kick butt...

  3. I absolutely feel you on the "I'm a mom of 3, I'm in my 30's, why am I doing this?" thing. I have that same thought often and just have to remind myself how good it feels to see a shiny new PR. You have a sub-3 in you for sure! I believe it.

    My training partner and I do our best not to whine either. Whining is so contagious. One little whine and the whole group is complaining about everything. It's worthless. I "try" to remind myself that but no one is perfect.

    We LOVE our rice cooker too. Setting it hours beforehand is awesome.