A skipped run but a good night

Tuesdays are usually a pretty good day for me to get a good run on trails in. I start work at 6:00 am, so I get out of the clinic pretty early. Generally, I like to hit the trail right after work, but this week I was just too exhausted. The toll of waking up at 4:30 am and upping my mileage is catching up with me. I decided to head home to eat and found myself falling asleep on the couch. I was sore and just not really feeling it, so I decided to just skip my run.

I’ve always been a bit of an injury prone runner, so I try to listen to my body and stop before injury starts. When I’m tired or overworked, I don’t get too bent out of shape over skipping a run here or there. Although today made sense for a nice run in the mountains, it simply was not the right thing for my body. If I lack the motivation to get out the door, I try to take that as a sign that maybe I’m a little overtrained or that I need a rest day. Today was definitely one of those days.

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Elly and I had some much needed cuddle time.

Instead, Frank and I used our new projector to watch Planet Earth II. We don’t have a TV and have always walked movies on the computer. However, we thought it would be nice to get a projector and watch movies and shows on the wall. Turns out it works great! Even Elly found watching movies on the big screen to be quite an improvement.

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Elly is very interested in the animals of the jungles of Brazil.

Frank and I are pretty big nerds about our TV watching. We’re in the middle of The West by Ken Burns right now. It’s a series of documentaries about American colonization and immigration to the west. It’s a pretty slow show, but I’m always excited to hear about Utah and how Salt Lake City came to be. So far Brigham Young and his followers have only been mentioned once, but I expect that there will be a whole episode about the Mormon pioneers. Utah has a rather fascinating (and brutal) history.

After watching Netflix on our new projector, I did some photo editing and read a bit before heading to bed. I’ve been in the middle of a book about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a fascinating story of management and biology and I feel like I’ve gotten a much better appreciation for the hard work the Department of the Interior has put into keeping our parks as pristine as possible. If you’re interested here is the link to the book. And yes, I am very obsessed with National Parks and the West.

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I took this shot last weekend just after a storm passed through the mountains.

Despite a skipped workout, I still had a good night. I have 8 miles on trail up for tomorrow and hopefully my legs will be feeling much more up for the job.

Do you ever skip workouts/runs because you are tired or overtrained? What shows and books are you into right now? Have you ever sat through a Ken Burns documentary? 

Week 1: Getting back some consistency!

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Each week I am going to post a short recap of my training as I work towards my goal of PR-ing my marathon time at Colfax in May. In total, we are about 19 weeks out from the big day, and although things are still up in the air, I am assuming that I’ll be toeing that line on May 21.

I began my training last week and kept it light. This was really my first introduction back to real running and I didn’t want to push it and risk injury. I had two key workouts and three easy runs, plus I did a lot of yoga. Lately, my yoga practice has been a lot more about focusing on my meditation than it has been in the past. I’ve always tried to cultivate a strong asana (or postures) practice, but lately, I need yoga as a way to clear my headspace. Yin yoga has been a real refuge as the world around me becomes a bit unstable.

Key Workouts: Tempo Run & 8-mile Long Run

 Monday: Rest – was heading home from my trip

Tuesday: 4 miles easy pace (9:28/mi) + Yin Yoga – I was honestly worried that I didn’t even know how to do this anymore. I had taken a full three weeks completely off running and had been rather inconsistent before that. But I still knew how to run, and it felt good.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 3 miles at tempo (8:42/mi) + Hatha Yoga – I wanted to see if I still had my speed. Well, three miles isn’t much, but it definitely let me see how things were going. I didn’t lose as much fitness as I thought I had. The run felt great.

Thursday: Yin Yoga + Rest

Friday: 8 miles LSD (9:22/mi) + Yin Yoga – I dreaded the long run all week, and was surprised to find that it was actually pretty okay. I’m certainly glad I didn’t go any further, but the 8 miles felt just find.

Saturday: 5 miles easy (9:11/mi) – I kept most of this run pretty chill and then accidentally busted out a mile at 8:30. Oops. Guess I was feeling pretty good!

Sunday: 3 miles easy (9:49/mi) – I ran with Frank and he is a bit slower than me, so we kept it chill. I always like running with him because he forces me to keep a much easier pace.

Total: 25 Miles

Next week I am bumping it up a little with a total of 30 miles and another key tempo workout and 10-mile long run. My goal next week is to really focus on some strength training. Since I herniated a disc in my back, I need to be more diligent about abdominal and lower back strength work. Next week, I’ll be getting to a bit of that along with some stairs.

How were your workouts last week? What is your favorite kind of workouts (I love speed work

Colfax Marathon Training Week 14

Thanks everyone who listened to my complaining last week and gave me encouraging words as I was heading into a race week. I spent a lot of my training unsure if maybe something was wrong with my legs or if I was on the verge of an injury. I am still having the extreme soreness, but I think it’s getting better. I’ve been making a gentle yoga practice a real priority while also trying to cut back on my mileage a bit to give my legs a rest. I am under four weeks out from my first marathon and this next week is my peak mileage week.

This was my week:

M: Total Rest Day – did a lot of whining though

T: 6 miles – easy pace + yoga

W: 8 miles – 5 at goal MP tempo + strength training

T: 6 miles – easy pace + yoga

F: yoga

S: 13.1 trail race + biking

S: 10 miles hiking

Total Running: 33 miles + 10 hiking

Last week started with a lot of nervousness and hesitation. I was having a nerve-like pain going down the outside of both of my legs causing weakness that felt almost like my legs were going to buckle out. It was very strange and not anything I’d ever felt before. I was supposed to hit some pretty high mileage last week, but since I had a race, and this weird pain, I decided to cool it and air on the side of caution.

As usual, my easy days were a struggle and my tempo run was fantastic (why is easy so hard?!). Even though I was having the weird feeling in my legs, I still held the pace fine and without too much effort on my lungs. This gave me a lot of confidence that a 9:00/mi pace will be okay at Colfax. I started to wonder if this feeling in my legs is just mental (I’m still not entirely sure that it’s not).

On Thursday I went for my sports massage. I gotta say, that was an incredible experience. The massage therapist tortured my legs for a while, but at the end asked me if I knew that I tend to kick my right foot out to the side while I run (he could tell by the “imbalances” in my muscles on that leg). Of course, I did know all about this. I’ve seen it in pictures and video of my running. Basically, he made a total believer in me of sports massage and of his knowledge of anatomy. It definitely helped the weakness and pain in my legs a lot, but it didn’t take it completely away. While practicing yoga, I came out of a handstand a little funny and felt it again, so it’s not gone, but it certainly got better.

I took a day off heading into my race on Saturday and was feeling reasonably refreshed. The race was AWESOME and those of you who follow me on twitter already know what happened. I’ll save the story for my race recap. But I will leave you with this photo:

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So… that happened. 😉

Frank and I went biking after the race for a few hours and then camped at a state park close to the race. The next day I woke up pretty sore, so instead of running, we just hiked about 10 miles through some of the hilly grassland prairie.

This week is the peak of my training. I’ll see how many miles I get in, it really depends on how I am feeling and holding up. I’m getting very excited about the taper, but the last 20-miler is definitely sitting heavy on my mind. My goal is to make it through with healthy legs so I can taper and be ready for Colfax in less than 4 weeks (really?!?).

Congrats to everyone that ran Boston yesterday! I hope you had a great time!

How do you mentally prepare for really high mileage weeks? Do you look forward to the taper?

Colfax Training Week 13: Not the best week

Well… not all weeks are great and that’s ok! And this week was super NOT great. I was tired, I struggled to hit my paces and mileages, and I was just feeling a little over trained. So, I did what you do when your body is saying “I’ve had enough”. I backed off. I cut my mileage and intensity back and tried to give my body a much needed rest. I am learning that in order to make it to the starting line of a marathon HEALTHY, sometimes you need to back off and not hit your weekly goals. Unfortunately, I am still feeling a little over trained. I don’t know how to explain it, but I am sore… even on rest days and even after rest days. I just feel… off and my legs hurt like all the time. So, I’ve decided to do what the elites do… I am getting a sports massage. I made the appointment for Thursday and after talking to a few local runners, it sounds like it is going to help me a lot. Right now I am just in maintenance mode and hoping to not loose any fitness heading into the marathon. Despite the fact that I am in the highest mileage weeks I’ve ever run, I am going to take it easy, sleep more, eat better and hope to make it to the starting line in one piece.

Last Week

Monday: Went out for 9 – did 3 – easy pace

Tuesday: Went out for 8 – did 6 – easy pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 8 miles Goal MP Tempo (actually went fast)

Friday: 7 miles easy pace on trail

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Went out for 16 – did 11 – LSD

Total: 35 miles …Ugh!

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Friday was just a beautiful day for a trail run.

What a poopy week. I felt great for my tempo runs (tempo runs are always my favorite), but everything else just felt off. I took things slow and tried so hard to hit my mileages. I just couldn’t. Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be due to anemia, but I can’t make it to the doctor this week, so I’ll have to wait to get a confirmation. In the mean time, I’ve been eating lots of spinach, iron and vitamin C supplements, and (gross) tomatoes to up my iron and vitamin C with non-animal sources. Unfortunately, iron deficiency isn’t going to just go away in a day, so I’ll have to keep at it to make it to the starting line feeling fresh.

That’s basically it… I’m desperately trying to make myself feel normal again, not weak, achy and tired. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shout them out. I am 5 weeks out from Colfax and just two more weeks until the taper begins. I am so close that I can feel it. I just need to keep my body healthy and ready to run on May 15th.

This Saturday I do have a trail half marathon. It will be the furthest I’ve ever run on trail and should be a ton of fun. I’m going to take it easy and chill. My goal for this race is to have a personal worst in the half marathon. Weird goal, right? Well, all of my halves have been on road, which is always MUCH easier than trail. If I push myself to get below a 2 hour half, I think I will pay for it heading into my peak week. So the goal is to have fun and run the slowest half I’ve ever run! I think it’s a great goal!

Here’s a pic of Elly sleeping:

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She is the most beautiful creature on this planet.

Have you ever dealt with Anemia? How do you keep your iron levels normal? Have you ever dabbled in vegetarianism?

Colfax MarathonWeek 7: Feeling better and crushing some miles!

After a short hiatus from running and spending a few days sleeping more, I am feeling better. I still have a little sinus pressure and I am queen of the snot rocket, but I am back to training! Woohoo! Although the week did have a bit of a rough start with two rest days on Monday and Tuesday, I managed to pick it up and have a great week of training and high mileage as we start to get into my peak weeks for Colfax. I was unable to do much yoga because of the sinus infection (yoga made my face feel like it was going to explode). The nice thing about a few days off is that my legs felt so fresh and light. Without the cumulative mileage, I really felt strong and easily hit paces (even though I was sick). This certainly gave me a lot of hope for Colfax. I imagine that although training is hard right now, after the taper, Colfax might actually feel pretty good.

Monday and Tuesday: Rest days where I stayed in bed as much as I could and tried not to snot all over everything.

 Wednesday: 6.1 miles on trail

I went out to the Konza Prairie, a preserve about 10 minutes from my house. It was a beautiful, but slightly cold day. I was still not feeling quite well, but I wanted to get back to training. The trail takes you 6 miles through rolling prairie with some pretty awesome views of town. The run was tough. I struggled to make it up the hills, and I had to stop every 2 miles or so to blow my nose and breath a little deeper. By the time I was done, I was crazy tired, but I really think it helped get me back on track, so it was worth it!

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Enjoying some time out on the trails, even if I don’t look like it.

Thursday: 5 miles easy

This was supposed to be an easy run. I went out, hoping to hit paces close to 9:45-10:00/mile range. Well, my legs felt light and easy so I was hitting paces around 9:00/mi, which is my goal marathon pace. It felt so natural and chill to be out there and although my sinus infection was still giving me trouble, I just felt like I could go forever. I attribute this feeling to having very fresh legs from a few days off.

Friday: 8 miles Tempo HMP

I went out for a fast 8 miles with one of my friends in town. He tends to push the pace a little, so I do like to go on tempo runs with him. I was still having some trouble from my sinus infection, but it didn’t seem to make running my difficult… it just made me a little gross with lots of snot.

Saturday: Lots of hiking, no running though!

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Frank and I enjoying a hike at a Kansas state park. It was really windy and my hair was being unruly.

Sunday: 16 miles LSD

I was a little nervous about this run. The 16-mile distance is the first one where I really start to feel like I am training for a marathon. It’s long, slow, and at times, brutal. I started the run feeling a little icky, but as it went on, I started to feel stronger. Frank came along on his bike and we just went around exploring Lawrence, KS. The wind was incredible with gusts of up to 35 mph, but I still managed to hit goal pace. After the run, I basically went on an eating rampage and then hiked for a bit with a few friends. It was a great day!!

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Yeah, I ran up that hill on mile 11!
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Nothing better than a Kentucky Ale8 Ginger Ale after a 16-mile long run!
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Frank and I finished the day with a sunset hike!

Total Mileage: 35.1

 

Despite the tough start, I had a great week with some quality runs. I was honestly a little concerned that getting sick would derail my training, but it really hasn’t. If anything, a few days off kind of gave my legs a nice rest. This next week will be a tough one. I will be hitting my highest mileage ever and I am taking a backpacking trip out to the Ozark Mountains. This means that my long run (18 miles) will be on Thursday and not on the weekend.

This week:

M: 4 miles recovery

T: 8 miles goal MP

W: Rest

T: 18 miles LSD

F: 4 miles recovery

S: Rest

S: 8 miles Trail

I know that I missed out on so much last week. How was your week? Any fun or exciting stories?

Colfax Week 6: The Sinus Infection From Hell

My training this week was… close to non-existent. Unfortunately, Elly and I both came down with sinus infections (not sure why the cat and I are both sick) and mine seems to be the sinus infection from hell. It has made it hard to do just about anything, no less run. The good news is that Elly and I are both on antibiotics, and she seems to be feeling a lot better. I’m still feeling a little rough. Hopefully this week gets a little better for me.

Monday: Rest Day

Elly started to come down with something, so I was considering taking her to the vet. She would walk around the apartment sneezing, which made me a little worried. I was still pretty sore from A1A, and a rest was well deserved.

Tuesday: 5 miles Progression Run

I went running with one of my friends around town. Despite my legs still feeling a little sore, I felt strong and had no trouble holding 8:20/mi paces. We started around 9:00/mi for the first mile and made it down to 7:50/mi for the last mile. It felt so good to stretch out the legs and push the pace a little. I spent some of the run wishing that I had felt this strong at A1A.

Wednesday: 5 easy miles

It was warm and wonderful outside. I went out for a pretty chill run with no real plan. I tried to incorporate a few hills into the workout, but it was basically just an easy chill run. It was the first run of the year in shorts!!

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Proof that I was wearing shorts in February!

Thursday: Rest

I woke up feeling a little icky, but I was still hoping the feeling would pass. Elly was sneezing a lot, so I took her to the vet. She was not a fan and spent a lot of time whining, crying, and shaking. We got some antibiotics and were sent on out way.

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She was looking very concerned about being in the carrier. She knew where we were headed.

I found her passed out like this soon after we got home:

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I imagine the vet must be very tiring.

Friday: 3 easy miles

I woke up in the morning with the sinus infection from hell. If this is how Elly felt, I just feel awful for her. I went to the doctor, they gave me the ok to run as long as I was not coughing and sent me home with antibiotics. I decided to go out for a quick easy run, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.

Saturday: Rest

Sinus Infection from Hell (SIFH) got worse. I figured it would be a good idea to chill out and not run. I was starting to lose my appetite, which for me means I must be really really sick.

Sunday: More Rest

SIFH got worse and I started coughing a lot. Coughing was my cue to skip my long run this week even though I really wanted to go out. I rode my bike around town a little to get some fresh air.

What I was supposed to run: 36 miles

What I could actually run given the SIFH: 14 miles

Basically, that was my week. I am really hoping to feel better quick so I can get back to my normal training. If things don’t get better, I’ll be making another trip to see my doctor. I’ll kind of play it by year to see what actually gets done next week. It is supposed to be my first 40-mile week of this training cycle, but that definitely depends on how I am feeling.

Elly and I have been trying to sleep off our illnesses. It’s good to have company when sick. Luckily, Frank has been taking good care of us and has been trying to force me to eat.

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Partners in sickness.

Do you still run if you are sick? Have you ever gotten sick at the same time as your pet?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 9 – Recovery!

Some weeks running is just… hard. This week I felt like I was running with lead shoes, and that’s understandable, since I just PR’ed my half marathon and worked really hard last week. But this week, I just didn’t have it in me to give it my all. Maybe it was just that my all was not very much. Regardless, I took this week as a recovery week.

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I practiced yoga at home, did some body weight strength work and got about 28 miles in. I had planned for close to 40 miles and a 16 mile long run, but I was so exhausted and that was just not going to happen.

Monday: 4.7 miles trail running (11:29/mi)

I was sore from all of the mountain climbing and hard running I had done the week before, so I took it easy and ran with the Lawrence Trail Hawks on their Monday night run. I had a great time and they talked the whole way. The first mile felt like I was running through mud, but I eventually warmed up and felt good. Lawrence is about an hour away, but I would really like to make the drive occasionally to run with this group.

Tuesday: 3.2 miles (8:18/mi)

Apparently I was feeling good this day. I ran with the Manhattan Running Company on the Kimble route, which has a pretty good climb up a hill. I started pretty conservatively at 9:16/mi, but then decided to catch up with the guys who usually lead the pack. I ran hard for the next two miles (8:27/mi & 7:17/mi) and did catch up with them at the end. I’m really not sure what got into me that day, but I was going fast!

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Unintentional rest day – I was tired

Friday: 6 miles (10:00/mi)

I felt like I was running through a pool with lead shoes. I don’t even know how I finished the run, but I was beat the whole time. It was so hot out too…

Saturday: 4.5 miles (9:58/mi)

Another pretty chill run. Unfortunately, I still felt tired. I know that I had not fully recovered yet from the half and running at any pace just felt like work. I was going to go 8 miles, but I was tired and really didn’t want to.

Sunday: 10-mile long run (10:00/mi)

I was going to do 16 miles, but I didn’t feel quite right. I went in the PM, so it was getting dark by the time I finished. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t really right. I didn’t feel injured, just overworked. So I scaled back and took it easy. If these 6 miles are what stands between me and running a sub-4 marathon, I’m not ready to run that kind of time yet.

Sage Canaday always says that you would rather be undertrained than overtrained, and I really took that to heart this week. Even though I didn’t do the mileage I wanted to do, I’m more than ok with it. I needed a chill-ish week and I took one. Next week features my first 18-miler and I want to be ready to conquer that distance.

How do you recover from half marathons? Do you ever scale back your mileage because you don’t quite feel right?