Marathon Monday: The Miles to Boston Pt. 5

8 Mondays Until Boston!

Things are finally feeling like they are coming together fitness wise.  This past week of training, a lot of the pain from last week went away and I was left feeling really strong.  

This was a solid week of training.  I think the slight down week with a shorter long run last week, helped my body recover.  I hit 55 miles and ran my longest run of this training block. The Wednesday workout really surprised me and faster pace came more naturally.  The workout was a huge confidence builder and it made me feel like my 2:48 goal is indeed possible.  

This week, running came easily.  The miles flowed together without a ton of resistance on my part. Things did not feel like quite a struggle compared to the previous week.  This week, I felt like I was doing exactly what I was made to do.  

As much as I sometimes fight against going out on a run or getting a hard workout in, there is no denying that running is the place I feel most at home and confident.  

I was reminded of this during my workout on Wednesday.  Prior to this workout, I was feeling a bit all over the place. The house was a disaster.  The body felt tired and unmotivated. The baby was vying for my attention and I felt distracted. 

This is the headspace I was in when I started my workout.  It was in the middle of mile repeats that I hit a stride. Suddenly, the mess, the tiredness, the distraction, all melted away.  I felt laser-focused. Everything within the home that was pulling at me, mattered a bit less. All that I saw was the next mile before me: each one clicking away. These sub-6 consecutive miles did not feel nearly as hard as I was expecting. It felt like I was made for them. My training so far made these mile repeats actually feel fun.  It felt, in a weird way, like medicine. The very thing my body and mind needed.  

Find your mile repeats.  For you, it might not look like running hard miles on the strand and obsessively checking your watch.  For you, it might be in the kitchen as you whip together a Baked Alaska. For you, it might be behind a canvas with a paintbrush in hand.  For you, it might be in the garden. Whatever, it is, find your space where you can feel at home, confident in doing hard things. Find your own mile repeats that can remind you of your strengths.  The mess at home will slowly melt away. Something changes when I am out there running hard miles. The mom hat is off. It is just me, the road, and the clock. I can run with a freedom in being able to push myself as I lean into the gifts God handpicked for me. 

Clearly, I had a good week with running.  Let’s get into the details.  

The Miles

  • 7 miles on the road with the jogger. 
  • 6 solo park loop miles
  • 10 mile workout with 4 x mile on the strand with ¼ mile recovery (5:52, 5:45, 5:53, 5:56).  Felt STRONG. This was a big confidence building workout for me. These were done solo and of course I was working hard, but they felt much more natural than I was expecting.  This got me feeling more excited for what is possible. 
  • 8 miles with jogger on the strand
  • 6 solo park loop miles
  • 18 miles on Quarter Horse (HILLY!) in PV 

What I am Listening To

This week is the week leading to the Marathon Olympic Trials in Atlanta!  4 years ago, the trials were held in Los Angeles. Lance and I, along with some LMU teammates went to watch it.  At the time, I was really not into marathoning or even knew much about the process of qualifying for the trials. I wish I would have appreciated the opportunity to watch those trials more. While we are not going to Atlanta, we are excited to watch the trials from home.  Naturally, a lot of what I was listening to on the run revolved around that upcoming race in Atlanta. Here are some that stuck out to me:

  • Sarah Bishop’s interview on The Road to the Olympic Trials.  Sarah really pumps me up anytime I listen to her interviews.  First, she is a mom to 4, which I am so inspired by. Second, she is so fearless in stating ambitious goals and making them happen.  It really struck me that her plan going into the trials is to run a marathon and then fly to New Zealand to do a triathlon.  Definitely not normal, but I loved her confidence in owning that this was the plan that she wanted to pursue. In the interview she talked about her goal of breaking 2:40 in the Mesa Marathon, which was the following weekend.  It gave me chills when Matt at the end of the interview said how she met her goal by running a 2:39. Not to mention, she won the whole thing. I love this so much. It inspires me to be more bold in my running goals. 
  • Towards the end of my long run when I had to extend a few miles, I put the headphones in and listened to the Women’s Marathon Preview with Erin Stout and Alison Wade.  It was fun to hear all the names they are expecting to be contenders for those 3 Olympic team spots.  
  • Not related to the trials at all, but I also very much enjoyed an interview with Andrea Barber (aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full House) on the Ali on the Run Show.  It was such an interesting conversation and I had no idea she was also a runner.  It made park loops this week go by faster.
  • And of course, Taylor Swift was on shuffle for those mile repeats.  

How I am Fueling

  • Mid-week, I felt like baking and something sweet, yet healthy.  I made a berry crisp. This is literally the simplest recipe! I got it from Shauna Niequist’s amazing book, Bread and Wine.  You can find the recipe here.  It is the simplest ingredients that I almost always have in my pantry and it literally takes minutes to whip together and then pop in the oven.  This was good fuel to pull Lance and I into the weekend. Confession: the two of us literally ate the whole pan of crisp. 
  • Post-18 miles I tried a new pancake recipe that was a hit.  We are big Coach’s Oats fans over here. It is what I eat every morning before I run.  It is also the oatmeal I used in the berry crisp. I got this peanut butter pancake recipe from their website.  It was so good. I added some chocolate chips, which I would definitely recommend. Also, replaced the regular milk for almond milk. There is no sugar, maple syrup instead and the peanut butter adds a nice nutty, sweetness. It was the perfect pancake post-long run. The recipe doesn’t make much batter, so I would double it. 
  • Steak 
  • Turmeric Smoothies 
  • Salt Sticks (took a couple of these during the long run and loved them)

Recovery

  • Compression Socks 
  • Sunday nap 
  • Sunday bath 

Cross-Training 

This week, I was forced to slow down and not go to as intense of workout classes.  It was probably for the best, but it was not part of my plan. My typical class with Petra was already full by the time I got there, so it forced me to go to a yoga class.  I was feeling a TON of shoulder/neck tightness and pain. In the class, we used blocks to focus on this area, so it was actually exactly what I needed.  

Thursday, Lance had a meeting, so I could not make it to class, so instead did 10-minutes of my own strength work in the living room.  It consisted of band work to strengthen my ever-so-weak glutes and some planks or attempted planks. Hudson was climbing all over me and sitting on my back, so that made it a bit more challenging.  Not perfect, but hey, 10-minutes of strength is always better than zero.

Friday, I made it to another yoga class.  Again, not as intense as I like it, but got some much needed hip stretching in.  This could very much have been the key to the long run feeling so good.

What I Keep Telling Myself

8 weeks is still a ton of time to build fitness. 

It is also a ton of time to get burnt out and get injured.  I am still dealing with some major mileage comparison, but I was reminded this week that I actually am in a really great place fitness wise.  I definitely need more time, but 8 weeks truly is a ton of time to grow in fitness. This excites me. 

High + Low

HIGH

  • Feeling strong
  • Miles don’t feel as hard
  • 18 miles
  • Confidence building workout
  • Berry Crisp + peanut butter pancakes

low

  • Comparing my mileage to others and getting mental about it. I need to stop it!
  • Not making it into Petra’s classes this week

The Long Run 

This was the longest run this training block and it felt great.  First few miles had some pretty steep uphill trails, but even on the uphill I felt strong.  It really was not until about mile 16 that my legs tightened up a bit and I was reminded that I was running long.  To me, that is a sign that I have not done enough long runs yet. And I haven’t, but I still have a few weeks to get in a few more good long runs.

The other thing I noticed, actually both Lance and I noticed this, was that we felt really good right after.  Usually, it takes awhile to recover after a really long run, but almost instantly after stopping, my legs and lungs felt weirdly good.  Again, this makes me feel excited for April 20th.  

The long run in numbers:

2 hours 19 minutes

18 miles

7:44/mile average 

Fastest mile: 18th mile, 6:41

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