Highs and Lows of The Last 7 Weeks of Marathon Training

In 3 days I’ll be running a marathon.

20th_Annual_Indianapolis_Marathon_and_Half_Marathon

Scratch that – 3 days from now I’ll be done running a marathon, cuddling on the couch with my sweet 2-year-old and double-fisting a mimosa and a chocolate milkshake from Steak’n’Shake.

Lunch___Dinner___Specialty_Milkshakes___Double_Chocolate_Fudge___Menu___Steak__n_Shake

No matter what happens on Saturday, I feel really good about this training cycle. I was flexible, I didn’t beat myself up, and I enjoyed running while not letting it interfere with my life.

Win-win-win.

I won’t bore you with 7 weeks of training logs. Or maybe that interests you? I doubt it. Let’s just cover the highs and the lows of the second half of Indianapolis Marathon – Home Page training, shall we?

The Lows

Injury Scare-I wore ridiculously high wedges to my brother’s wedding Labor Day weekend—this after 13 consecutive days of running because I’m a moron. I woke up the next morning with so much achiness in my shin that I thought it was a stress fracture. I’m also a tad bit dramatic when I think I’m injured. I took a few days off, and realized that it was getting steadily better. Then I put two and two together and figured it was the damn shoes. I swore I would not wear wedges or heels until after the marathon.

Hubs and I at the wedding, I couldn't find any good picks of the offending shoes. They have since been burned.
Hubs and I at the wedding, I couldn’t find any good picks of the offending shoes. They have since been burned.

A Week of Treadmill Running-I traveled to Boulder, CO the second week of September for work. I was in BOULDER. Ya know, running mecca? I didn’t get to run outside once the whole time I was there. Thanks to work all day everyday from 8:30 to 6:30, followed by dinners out, the only time I had to run was early. I didn’t want to run in the dark somewhere I don’t know, so I made friends with the treadmill. #travelingrunnerfail

It stinks that I didn’t get to enjoy the beautiful Boulder trails, but on the plus side, I did some killer speedwork.

Long Run Fail– I got home from said trip to Boulder late Friday night and planned to do a 20-miler early Saturday morning before I picked Max up at the in-laws. The run started at 5 and I felt like death. Maybe it was due to lack of sleep all week, a little too much alcohol 5 days straight and some serious humidity, but that was a sad attempt. I capped it at 17-miles and tried not to stress too much about my craptastic performance. My overall pace was fine, but I felt like I was barely moving and that I could never, ever run 26.2 miles.

17mi

The Highs

Long Run Success- After my failed attempt, I went for another 20-miler a week later. I managed to drag my butt out of bed at 4 and was outside and moving by 4:15. I was motivated by the fact that I won’t have to get up that early again for a long, long time.

20

It was pretty much a perfect long run. It felt nice and comfortable, and I actually enjoyed that the majority of the run was in the dark. I also listened to an excellent book, which made the time fly by—The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore. I’ve had to run super early this whole training cycle in order to be home when Max wakes up, and for some of my runs I’ve done the first part on the treadmill and the second half outside. This saves me from running in the dark the whole time, but also makes for a more painful second half. Something about the treadmill kicks my butt, which is why I just wanted to do this whole run outside.

Early Morning Runs-I’ve successfully made the transition to a morning runner. I was able to get in so many more runs because I’ve stuck to the morning plan. At this point, I actually wake-up a few minutes before my alarm goes off. WHO AM I?

 

Must run in the morning so I have time to play drums with this guy!
Must run in the morning so I have time to play drums with this guy!

No Stress-I’ve had a cool as a cucumber approach to this training cycle and I feel a lot less beaten down. Usually, by the time my taper comes around I feel physically and mentally drained. And then I spend three weeks obsessing over whether I did enough. Not this time. Life is so full these days that running is not the main thing on my mind—and I love that. I get up, I do my run and get my “me-time” and then it’s on to my day. I’ve found when I don’t expend so much mental energy on my running that I actually run a lot stronger.

Unrelated...but cute
Unrelated…but cute

The Outcome

Well, we’ll find out on Saturday, right? I will say that overall, I think that I am in shape to run close to a BQ, but it’s going to have to be a perfect day. I strongly believe that a PR is in reach, as long as I take the first few miles SLOW. I’m guessing I’ll end up somewhere in the 3:40s possible upper 3:30s. I know, that’s a big range. But I’ve run enough marathons to know that ANYTHING can happen.

Cruising on my way to PR city!
Running last year’s Monumental Marathon

Ultimately, all I really care about is running in the moment and enjoying the race. This is the last year that there will be a full marathon at this race (the half will continue next year- not sure if they will change the name?) and I want to savor the beautiful course. The Indianapolis Marathon was my very first full in 2007 and I’m so sad it will be gone next year. I’ve run the half or the full every year since then except for 2008 and 2014, and I want to relish running my hometown marathon one last time. Finishing this year will definitely be bittersweet.

Do you have a race that you hold near and dear?

Who’s racing this weekend? If you’ve already done a fall race, tell me about it! I’m so out of the loop!

 

 

 

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Indianapolis Marathon Training Week #8

hello week

Am I seriously already halfway through my training for the Indianapolis Marathon? Where the %^&$* did the time go?

Molly___motherhood_and_marathons__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos

Last week was pretty solid, except I only had one real “workout” – Wednesday morning’s tempo that would be more aptly described as a progression run. Or something like that. I did do a long run on Friday that ended up being 2 miles less than the plan, but I’m still pretty happy with it. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the rundown:

Monday: Off. Lots of glorious sleep. But not really, because my toddler is going through some things and had quite a few wake-ups last week. Andy and I use the phrase “going through some things” anytime Max has unexplained fussy or sleepless behavior 🙂

Tuesday: 6 miles total. 4 miles at lunch (8:30 average pace) + 2 miles late night (8:34 average pace)that weren’t really necessary, but I was frustrated with life stuff and needed to run off some aggression.

Wednesday: 6.2 miles. First mile at 8:40 then 7:59, 7:47, 7:34, 7:26, 7:57 and the last .2 at 8:17

Wednesday morning run
Wednesday morning run

Thursday: 10 miles total. 7.1 miles AM (9:08 average pace), 3 miles PM (8:35 average pace) outside. Max goes to my in-law’s house on Thursdays and they drop him off around 6. Which means if I can get home by 5:30 I can squeeze in a run. Made it home at the exact same time my in-laws got there. Max was grossed out by the “wetty hug” I gave him 🙂

thursdaymorn

Friday: 17 miles total. 16 mile long run with the first 10 easy pace, last 6 at tempo pace. My original plan was to do 18 miles with 8 at tempo pace, but I ran out of time. My legs were also toast, so if I had not run out of time, I probably would have done the last two as cooldown miles. I was beat.  Splits from Strava:

16miler

My Garmin said I ran 16.05 miles, while Strava says 16.4. Not sure which one is right, so I’m just going with my Garmin as far as mileage goes. I felt really strong those last 6 miles. I never would have believed even a year ago that I could hold those paces after already running 10 miles. I really don’t even believe them even though the numbers are right there in front of me. Did that really happen? I feel as if a BQ might be possible, especially after how good this felt. But, who knows? The hecklers in my brain (I imagine they look like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets) are telling me this was a fluke or a computer error. Who knows? I’m just going to keep doing the work and will see where it gets me.

Where did the additional mile for the 17 mile total come from? My drill sergeant trainer, AKA Max, insisted that we run to the park. My legs were shot, so I figured I would walk him instead of run and take the shortest possible route. He kept saying “Faster, momma. Faster!” So I ended up jogging the ~half mile there and ~half mile back. I usually take the long route, so I wore my Garmin just to see the distance when I don’t add in any extras.

bonusmile

Saturday: 7 miles total. 3.1 miles AM (9:19 average pace), 4 miles (9:00 average pace) during Max’s nap. I wasn’t planning to do the 4-miler, but I was itching to run and I told myself I could as long as I kept it easy.

run1

Sunday: 7 miles total. 4.3 miles AM (8:45 average pace), 2.7 miles (8:34 average pace) on the treadmill during nap time.

tmill run

Total: 53 miles

I’m happy with this, but I really don’t want to increase my mileage any more than this. I’d like to keep it in the upper 40s to low 50s and increase the quality, not the quantity, from here on out. I have the tendency to run junk miles whenever I get the chance (see Saturday and Sunday’s afternoon treadmill miles). Maybe those doubles are helping, but most likely they are just making me more tired. I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a bus and I’m sure it’s because of the added miles this weekend. I think I would have been better served by taking the day completely off on Saturday. Note to self: You don’t need to run ALL the miles.

In other news, Max and I had a fun weekend. If you’re new here, my husband works pretty much all weekend long, so it’s the Max and Mommy show Friday afternoon through Monday morning. Friday afternoon was when I hobbled him in the jogging stroller over to the park. We played there for HOURS. We have a game called “Slippery Slide” (Max named it), where he sits at the top of the slide and I climb up. When I get to the top, I act like I’m slipping off and I say “Max, save me! It’s so slippery!” and then he “saves me” by pushing me back down the slide. He gets really proud of himself and says “Saved Mommy!” He doesn’t quite get the saving concept, obviously 🙂

Saturday my friend and I took Max and her son, who is the same age as Max, to a kids’ workshop at Lowe’s. They were so too young for it and were not interested at all. She and I tried to do the project, but we couldn’t read the directions. Mommy fail, haha. We ended up bailing and letting the kids run around the store for awhile. The staff loved us (sarcasm).

lowes

Boys and their tools! I love how it looks like they are legit shopping for stuff. Max is saying
Boys and their tools! I love how it looks like they are legit shopping for stuff. Max is saying “You see buddy, you need this doohickey to fix your broken tricycle.”

Sunday, Max and I went to our favorite place, the Children’s Museum. We go here at least twice a month. We spent a lot of time looking at and playing with trains.

trains

The Museum has a giant glass sculpture in the center by Dale Chihuly called “Fireworks of Glass.” It’s STUNNING. It extends all the way from the first floor to the fourth and is the focal point of the museum. In the basement, you can go underneath the sculpture and look at it from below. There’s also a bunch of fake “glass” pieces that kids can play with and create their own sculptures with. Max loved it!

colored glasscolored glass 2colored glass 3

Sunday afternoon and evening were spent cleaning, playing and grocery shopping. Max woke up early from his nap, so I went and got him. I sat on the couch with him and he promptly fell asleep. I ended up holding him for about an hour while watching 27 Dresses and eating Skinny Pop white cheddar popcorn. It was blissful.
kissmax

Whew, that was a long recap! Cheers to a new week and being halfway to the start line!

P.S. – I started an Instagram just for Motherhood and Marathons! If you follow my personal insta and you want to see more running-related stuff, follow my m&m insta! If you don’t follow me, please do @motherhood_and_marathons !! 

How was your training last week? What did you do this weekend?

Every Run Is Worth It

running

There are runs where you want to quit, but you don’t.

Runs where you want to quit, and you do.

Runs where you push yourself so hard, you puke your guts out.

Runs where you puke your guts out because you’re pregnant and don’t know it.

Runs where you go faster than you ever have before, and it feels amazing.

Runs where you’re so sore from a previous workout that you can barely move.

Runs where you’re injured, but you don’t want to admit it.

Runs when you’re coming back from an injury and you’re scared to hurt it.

Runs when you have to pee with every single step (pregnancy!)

Runs where you pee your pants.

Runs where you poop in the trees.

Runs when you start off angry and end happy.

forest gump

Runs when you watch every single second tick by.

Runs when you finish before you realize you even started.

Runs where you make new friends.

Runs where you figure shit out.

Runs where great ideas come to you.

Runs where not so great ideas come to you.

Runs when you realize what you really want to do with your life.

Runs where you realize you’re not doing what you want to do.

Runs where you are just plain sad the entire time.

Runs where you are so hot, you fantasize about diving into an icy cold pool the entire time.

Runs where you know you’re getting brutally chafed, but you keep on keepin’ on.

Runs where you are with thousands of other people.

Runs by yourself

Runs where you leak milk.

Runs when you cry the entire time.

Runs where you cry when you’re finished.

Runs that earn you a medal.

Runs where the wind is blowing so hard, you feel as if you’re going backwards.

Runs that are so effortless, you’re not even sure they happened.

Runs where you’ve gone 20 miles, and don’t possibly think you could 6.2 more. And then you do.

Runs where you qualify for Boston.

Runs where you’re exploring a whole new place, in a way you never would if you weren’t a runner.

Runs where you have a cold, and your nose leaks the whole time.

Runs where you’re getting pelted with ice.

Runs when the rain is pouring.

Runs when the sun is shining.

Runs when your Garmin dies halfway through, and you have to do it blindly.

Runs where you get so confused as to how far you’ve gone (math is hard, especially when you’re tired) that you say screw it and just give up counting.

Runs where you think you hear your baby screaming, but he’s 4 miles away at home sleeping.

Runs that are “stolen” when you should be doing something else.

Runs where you make your to-do list.

Runs where you have to stop and take a work phone call.

Runs where you have to stop and go back to work.

Runs where you should stop and go back to work, but you don’t.

Runs when you’re drunk.

And so many, many more. Yet, every single run is worth it. Every run makes you better and stronger—whether mentally, physically or both.

Now, go kick Monday in the balls 🙂

monday-morning-enthusiasm-funny-ecard-OJR

What kind of run did you have today? Any types of runs you want to add to the list?

Lessons Learned – The Story of My Soggy 15-Miler

Well, the longest run I’ve done in almost two years is in the books. And it was…OK. Yeah, just OK. Some parts were good, some parts were great, and some parts just plain sucked. But it’s done, and I’ve taken a few lessons away with me.

Intended to run about 2:10-2:15. NAILED IT.
Intended to run about 2:10-2:15. NAILED IT.

Let’s start with the good. It wasn’t knock you on your feet, take your breath away hot and humid, like it so often is here in the good ‘ol midwest. Since I’m forced to do my long runs at 2PM on Saturdays, I pray every week for a cool, or at the very least, cloudy afternoon. Saturday’s high was in the mid-80s, but thanks to off and on rain showers, and herd-of-cattle-like thunderstorms, it was in the low-70s when I started. It felt fresh and downright Springlike when I started, which was a nice change of pace from the migraine-inducing 90-degree highs I had suffered through for the previous week’s 14-miler and my 12-miler earlier in the month.

So the run started off on a positive note, thanks to an abundance of precipitation. My legs felt less than fresh, which I think was due to putting in the most weekday miles since long before The Cheese made his arrival. But, I reassured myself that training on tired legs would pay off at mile 20 of the marathon, when I would need the experience.

The first few miles ticked by uneventfully. My goal was to keep the pace easy, around 9:00-9:15 minutes per mile and then run close to MGP (Marathon Goal Pace) 8:15-8:30 ish, for the last 3-4 miles. But as I settled into my easy pace, I glanced at my Garmin to see 9:35. 9:35???Surely, I was going faster than that. But I wanted to stay true to keeping the pace easy and when I tried to speed up, I felt like I was pushing too much. And so the plan was already out the window from the get-go. Awesome.

Way to stick to the plan.
Way to stick to the plan.

I felt my confidence wavering at this point. So much of marathon training and racing is mental and if your mind isn’t right, you’ll falter. If you let doubt creep in, it’s so hard not to just give in and completely fall off the pace, cut the run short, or give up completely. I faltered. Maybe I should just cut the run down to 8 or so, since obviously my legs were worn out from the week’s miles. This would just be a rest week, and I’d try again next week. Yes! My worn-out jello legs screamed. Just quit! 

And then, the bad. It started to pour. Up until this point (about mile 6) it had been lightly drizzling. It was only slightly noticeable and, if anything, was actually quite pleasant. But now the rain was coming down in waves, soaking me from head to toe instantly. The sky had literally opened up and was dumping. It was all my addled brain needed. The tiny voice that was being swayed by my worn down legs was now shouting, This is ridiculous! Why are you running in the rain? You’re not Shalane Flanagan. No one’s paying you to do this. Go home! 

Shit. I was seriously thisclose to grabbing my one-way ticket to give-ups-ville. But, for the love of diet coke, if I quit now, then what? When would I do this run? Between working 40+ hours a week, spending as much time as possible with Max and my husband, and trying to keep my house from becoming so disgusting that the Board of Health doesn’t step in, there is literally no other time in my schedule to run for more than two hours. I had to suck it up. I promised myself a chocolate milkshake and some new clothes, and that was enough of an incentive to get my feet moving.

A time when I was running and much, much happier.
A time when I was running and much, much happier.

So I slogged on as the rain kept on coming down. And then, magically, the clouds parted and the sun came out. Now, if you’ve ever run in the pouring rain, you know that it’s not so uncomfortable when it’s actually raining. It’s when the rain stops that you’re really screwed. Because now you realize that your clothes are sticking to your body like heavy, wet Saran Wrap. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that I wasn’t going to be mistaken for Heidi Klum, what with every lump and bump on embarrassing display, my hair in a wet, matted mess, and yesterday’s mascara smeared under my eyes. But, I kept on picking up my feet. You don’t run marathons to look hot.

My plan to run MGP the last 3-4 miles didn’t pan out, as you can see. I had enough mental fortitude to finish out the run, but I just didn’t have enough to kick it at the end like I wanted to. I felt defeated. I felt over it. And I’m not proud of that. But what I am taking away from this run is that I do have some strength, as I was able to keep from quitting, but I have to focus on pushing harder. What I have always done in marathon training and in actual marathons is continue to put one put in front of the other, with no thought to pace. If I’m going to meet my goal of going sub-4 hours, I have to not only put in the miles, but put in quality miles. But that is hard. It is so much easier said than done. But I’m ready, and excited, to keep on trying.

Random picture of my sweet little Cheese
Random picture of my sweet little Cheese

So, you’re probably wondering what was great about this run, because it obviously wasn’t my pace. Besides getting to stop, the great thing about this run was little to no chafing. I only have a small scrape on my left collar bone, but other than that, my skin is intact. Amazing. I owe that to getting a new sports bra that I love and that actually fits–The Moving Comfort Juno Bra–and to applying Lanolin (otherwise known as nipple cream) liberally to my collar bones and sports bra band area. I usually use vaseline, but I could only find Lanolin in my bathroom. And since I’m no longer breastfeeding and therefore, no longer need to use it, I figured I’d give it a go. Score one running hack for this mommy!

So that’s it, the story of my un-impressive 15-miler. It’s amazing that after running six full marathons and completing countless long runs, I’m still learning lessons. And now I’m going to kick back, drink a milkshake and indulge in my favorite reward for a run sort-of-well done: SHOPPING!