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? 

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Thinking Out Loud: The Taper Crazies

Let the taper crazies commence.

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Today I will be linking up with Thinking Out Loud. I am going to talk a little about my thoughts (mostly anxieties) heading into my first marathon. Those of you who have run marathons, feel free to chime in and tell me that this is normal (or not). In fact… I think everyone should just conclude that I am going nuts.

  1. So… What happens after mile 20? I have run two 20-milers and they were HARD. I felt like I could have kept running, but the run was 45 seconds per mile slower than my goal pace. I’ve been warned that a marathon is a 20-mile warm up for the worst 10K of your life… but I didn’t feel 10K racing worthy after my 20-miler. I felt like eating a ton of bananas and sleeping. Do I hit “the wall” after mile 20? And how do I run through the wall? Does race adrenaline REALLY get you through another 6.2 miles after you have already run 20? Seriously… I feel like at mile 20.1 that I my legs will go into self-destruct mode and I’ll end up walking the last 6 miles.
  1. I had a few great weeks in my training… but not every week was great. Sometimes I cut runs short because I felt over-trained or that an injury could happen if I pushed stuff. I don’t feel like I was completely consistent in my training. Should I have pushed a little harder? Will those missed miles come back to haunt me? Ok… now I am just sounding crazy.
  1. The first week of my taper calls for 40 miles. THAT’S A LOT OF MILES! Am I tapering enough? What if I am not properly rested? I don’t feel sore or anything from last week and my peak week was 55 miles, but I still feel like 40 miles is a lot. I’m worried that if I don’t taper enough I am not going to be able to finish this marathon. Next week I hit 28… which is substantially less and makes me feel a little better, but I feel like if I don’t taper enough this week that I am not going to be well rested enough come May 15.
  1. I’ve been pouring over race equivalency charts (yes, I’m that crazy) and based on my half marathon PR and other times that I’ve run during this cycle, they predict that I should have no problem cracking 4:00:00. But I am not so convinced. I know that people are often unprepared for the mental battle that happens towards the end of the race. I’d like to think that my consistent yoga practice will help me remain focused and present, but I am not so sure. I am worried that I’ll crash and burn and potentially not even be able to finish. There are plenty of people with better half marathon PRs than me that have not run a marathon in less than 4:00:00. 26.2 miles is FAR… like farther than I like to drive, no less run! A lot can happen in the course of 26 miles!

These are the crazy worries that I have been having. I know… this is the taper crazies, but I feel like they are real. These are real problems heading into the race and I want to have a good time. I don’t want to hit the wall and end up crawling my way to the finish. I go through moments where I am thinking this will be no problem… that I’ve trained hard and I’m prepared. But then I remember that no one is REALLY all that prepared for their first marathon. This is a really hard race and a really long distance that I should respect and not take for granted. I keep going back and forth… seriously… This is four days into the taper. I am already going nuts!

Thanks Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting Thinking Out Loud and thanks to all of you for being so encouraging throughout my training ups and downs.

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What are your taper crazies like? Do you find yourself doubting your training as you head into a big race?

Colfax Marathon Training Week 11: Cutback and Questival

Happy Monday Everyone!!

This week was a bit of a nutty one, although it was a cutback week on my mileage. I gotta say, I wasn’t too sad about not running once I saw a bunch of snow in our forecast. I absolutely hate running in snow. Even though I cut back in mileage this week, I still had a “race” of sorts to do on Friday night/Saturday. I kept the mileage this week low because Frank and I participated in a 24-hour adventure race in Dallas with two of our friends, which included a lot of running. Even though we were out-of-towners (we live in Manhattan, KS which is about 7 hours from Dallas), we still rocked the race. Recap will be coming soon… but trust me, it was pretty weird.

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The Batllama Questival Team – only like 3 hours in and Ben is already asleep.

Monday: 5.5 Miles at Recovery Pace + Yoga

After a long day of work, I did an evening run with a few friends that are training for their first half marathon. We kept it slow and steady, especially since I was recovering from a pretty tough tempo session the day before. My legs felt a little heavy and overused, so I knew that this cutback week was going to serve me well.

Tuesday: 5.1 Miles at Goal Half Marathon Pace + Yoga

I felt good starting on this run, but I started to notice some pretty nasty stomach pain that I was having. I didn’t think too much of it and just kept chugging along. Eventually, it just got too bad and I dipped into the local running store to use their bathroom. Unfortunately, I had my period… Weird for me to be a few days early, but whatevs (sorry for the TMI, but we’re all runners here… and mostly women). I was happy to see that the stomach issues were not actually stomach related. I tried to up the pace and get back to my car ASAP. I did a little yoga in the evening and that made me feel a lot better.

Wednesday: Rest Day

 Thursday: 12 mile Long Run

I guess when you get to the point where you are doing 18 and 20 mile runs, 12 miles just doesn’t seem that far. This run didn’t even feel like a long run. I kept the pace slow, but was surprised by how short 12 miles felt. Like seriously, 12 miles used to be ridiculously long!! Now, it’s just a normal no big deal run. The pace was a little faster than I would have liked. Around mile 6, the KSU men’s cross country team came up from behind me and took off into the distance. My competitive spirit kicked in a little and I upped the pace to keep up (like yeah right)… after about a half mile I tried to slow it way down. It took me another mile or so to get my pacing right and I kept it slow for the rest of the way home.

Friday: Questival Begins

I have no idea how much running I was doing, but we were running from challenge to challenge. We also slept for maybe two hours. I am going to write a full recap of this soon, but this is a short list of some of the more crazy things that happened:

  1. This picture:
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When dragonflies attack?

2. A cop coming to kick us out of a state park after dark – while we were having a peanut butter explosion in the car

3. I sang Bohemian Rhapsody in the middle of down town Dallas with my headphones in as loud as I could and embarrassed my entire team (this was a liberating experience)

4. I ran 1 mile on a trail in one of my nicest dresses

5. We cheered on a random baseball team with signs and everything at a city park

I’ll give you that much for now… more to come in the recap, but we did like over 50 things.

Saturday: Questival Ends (7 pm), 3.5 mile run at easy pace + 1 mile trail run (in a dress)

After running in a dress, I understand why running clothing companies make their clothes the way they do. After only one mile, I felt sticky and incredibly gross. Frank and I also ran 3.5 miles on the KATY trail through downtown Dallas. This is a beautiful trail and if you are ever in Dallas, you should check it out.

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Team Batllama getting up close and personal with a statue of Mark Twain

Sunday: Hiked and Drove Home

After a long day, we camped in a state park in Oklahoma and went hiking the next morning. Pretty uneventful.

Total Miles: 27 + running around for Questival

Overall, it was a nice and easy week of running. I think I got my sleep schedule back on track, so this week will be back up to high mileage. I have my first 20-miler on Friday. I am a little nervous because this week and the next one are pretty intense on the mileage. If I make it through this… I am basically there. I’ll only have one recovery and one last tough week before starting the taper. Seriously… this whole Marathon thing is getting very real!!

How was your week? Did you race this weekend? How do you usually feel at peak marathon training?

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?

Learning When to Rest

recovery It’s easy to work hard. You just grit your teeth and go. The real work is learning when to stop, to slam down on the breaks and just chill. This is especially true for runners. Somehow, it gets in our heads that rest means loosing fitness. Even though we might feel a little ache in our hips, we keep going to get that next PR or that further distance. This has been a really hard thing to learn for myself. I tend to ignore the little aches and pains in my body and just go further and faster. This practice costed me a half marathon back in the fall and I refuse to let that happen again.

In August, I spent most of the month in Alaska on a biological field station in the North Slope (check out the pic! It’s super pretty there!).

This is Toolik Field Station. There are some awesome mountains there, and it is a generally pretty place.
This is Toolik Field Station. There are some awesome mountains there, and it is a generally pretty place.

The field station is small and you can’t always get away to go for a run. There is also has unlimited candy and rather buttery food. I spent the month not running, but instead eating a lot. I gained 7 pounds and lost a whole lot of fitness. Now, I have never struggled with weight, so as soon as I came home and started eating normally again, those 7 pounds came right off. The problem was, I hadn’t kept up my base milage that I had been working a year to get. Before I left for Alaska I was running about 25 miles a week, so when I got back to Indiana, I just went back to 25 miles per week.

This is my husband and I on top of a mountain in Alaska. Toolik Biological Field Station is a few miles behind us.
This is my husband and I on top of a mountain in Alaska. Toolik Biological Field Station is a few miles behind us.

I had my eyes on a half marathon in October, which would have worked out pretty well with my schedule. A few of my friends were running it, so I figured, I could work up to it without too much trouble. I had also signed up for a challenging trail race in southern Indiana to encourage me to run while I was in Alaska (clearly that didn’t work out too well). The race was only a 10k, but it was a pain. It was crazy hilly and just generally kicked my butt. I would have been ok had I stopped there… but the next day, I decided to go for a 9 mile run to make sure I could commit to the half distance. By the end of it, I had some pretty intense IT band pain and I knew that Half Marathon was not going to happen. I had needed a rest day more than I knew.

The opportunity to overdo things again came this week. Currently, I am training for a Half Marathon, and although I have been told I am ready for it, in my mind, I’m not. I had an 11 mile long run scheduled for Sunday, but Indiana was hit by a massive blizzard. I tried to do the run, but only made it 5.56 miles before I had to call it off (the snow was up to my knees in some places). I figured I would just go for a do-over the next day, but when I woke up I was achey and sore from running through the piles of snow. Instead of going on the run, I did some yoga and really targeted my sore areas. The next day, I woke up feeling great. I went for my long run that morning feeling awesome! That extra rest had made a huge difference for me, both by keeping me healthy, and also by making my run simply more enjoyable.

The important thing is to really listen to your body. I know I always want to go hard, but pulling back is just as important (if not more). It was a hard lesson to learn, but I think I’ve got it now.

How many days per week do you run? Do you sometimes take rest days even when they are not scheduled?