Marathon Monday: The Miles to Boston Pt. 7

6 Mondays Until Boston!

6 weeks out.  Fitness is really beginning to develop and the realities of the race are beginning to feel more real.  The past week of training was solid. There were no major bumps or extra pain. I can tell that my lungs are becoming more efficient and my legs are feeling stronger.  This past week I hit 60 miles, ran a strong 6-mile tempo, and hit my longest long run by doing the Drives Loop in Palos Verdes (21 miles).  

Every week it seems as though I have some major highlight and some major complaint, but this week, I really don’t.  It was one of those solid weeks of training where nothing really went wrong, but there was nothing majorly exciting.  It was very much a put your head down and grind it out type of week.  

The workout was a good one.  I actually have yet to do a tempo that long in this training block.  6 mile tempos were essentially the only workouts I did leading up to the SF Marathon.  With some convincing from my coach (Lance!), he agreed to let me do an effort-based tempo.  It was supposed to be more of a mile pace-changing workout, but I was feeling pretty tired heading into the workout, and it felt like my body could really use a nice steady state run with minimal looking down at the Garmin.  It felt so nice to just run for 6 miles based on my effort. I rarely looked down at the Garmin and pace was all under goal race pace, so to me that was a success.  

The Miles

  • 8 miles with jogger on strand 
  • 7 solo park loop miles
  • 10 miles with 6 mile tempo (6:09, 6:23, 6:28, 6:17, 6:26, 6:18) 
  • 8 miles with jogger on strand
  • 6 solo miles on the road 
  • 21 miles on the Drives.  Hilly loop in Palos Verdes with very few stops.  I felt strong.  I only did this course one time in last training cycle.  I was hoping to be quite a bit faster, but was only about 1-minute faster.  But hey, I’ll take a minute. We also stopped way less than last time. 

What I am Listening To

  • I spent most of my runs listening to recaps of the Olympic Trials.  Of all the recaps I listened to, the one that definitely hit me the hardest was Sarah Bishop’s interview on The Road to the Olympic Trials.  I have mentioned my love of her before on this blog, but this interview was so emotional and resonated so strongly as another mom who at times struggles with the guilt of chasing after running goals and dreams.  It was so beautifully captured and it literally made me cry as I was running through the foggy roads at 6 am in the morning. This is worth a listen.  
  • Also on the topic of the trials, I was really moved by Molly Seidel’s performance of making the team and getting second place in her debut marathon performance.  I wanted to listen to a podcast interview with her and discovered the Running on Om Podcast.  This episode with Molly was recorded over a month prior to the trials.  The podcast episode was made even more powerful as I knew how the story went with her making the U.S. marathon team.  All of her struggles with depression and an eating disorder were parts of her story that I was unaware of. It was a really powerful episode showing that the external success we see does not always tell the whole story.  

You need to be mentally well in order to run your best. Winning these titles in of themselves mean nothing. Like I was unhappier than I’ve ever been probably after those two national championships, it just felt like nothing. And like some of the greatest joys in my life have come after races that I didn’t even necessarily do that well, but you have people surrounding your life that you care about and your body feels good and just like things that bring you joy.” -Molly Seidel

How I am Fueling

  • Perfect Bars (new bar obsession)
  • Beet Juice from Trader Joe’s.  In college, I always got beet juice the day before a big race.  I am pretty sure it makes you faster! 
  • “Orange Crush” this was the name of the pressed juice, Hudson and I shared after our Thursday run.  It was from a juice and vegan foods stand at the farmer’s market and it was the most delicious juice I have ever had.  It was an immunity blend with turmeric, ginger, mango, oranges. 
  • More berry crisp. 
  • Spicy Mendocino Farms sandwich post-long run. 

Recovery

  • Park stretches 
  • Earlier to bed
  • Staying inside more.  Typically, I try to do a lot of things outdoors with Hudson.  Training has definitely hit my body and I am finding that it is really helpful to keep our days more simple.  It basically has looked like this: run, small outing, nap, stay inside, bed. I really can tell overexerting myself affects how I feel on my run and my attitude towards L + H.  Working on keeping our days as simple as possible until race day.  
Buzz Lightyear wanted the matching band!

Cross-Training 

  • Yoga membership is officially done, so no more strength classes!  
  • At this point, my cross-training truly is pushing the stroller (great for core) and chasing and lifting and playing with a 21-month old during the day.  Not your typical cross-training, but I truly feel like just living out my life outside of running keeps me moving and gets me strong.  
  • It has been fun to do planks and band exercises with Hudson on the mornings I run early.  It doesn’t last long, but it is so cute to see him trying to mimic the exercises I do. He actually has pretty good form when he attempts a plank.  This is a total side tangent, but one of the many things I love about marathon training is that it is setting an example to Hudson. I love that he gets to first-hand witness the hard work that mommy puts in.  I love how he gets to watch us pass guy runners on the strand. I love how mommy can be the one that cares for him, but also the one that chases her own dreams.  

What I Keep Telling Myself 

Press In. Press In. Press In.

Maybe it is all the pressed juice I have been consuming, but there has been something about this word of “press” that has really resonated with me during this training block.  When I was beginning to get the tinges of being uncomfortable during the end of my tempo, the words press in got me to lean in a bit more and dig a bit deeper.  When I was in the last 10 k of my 21 miler on Saturday and my hips were again on fire, press in got me to stay mentally in it.  

It is easy to check out the moment things get tough or uncomfortable or too hard.  This mantra of press in is changing things for me. It is acknowledging that yes, this is in fact hard, but it also is saying I am not afraid of it and I want to see what I can do in these hard places.  This is the mentality that great marathon times are made of. Press in is carrying me through these last 6 weeks of training.  

The Long Run 

For this week’s long run, I ran the Drives Loop in Palos Verdes, which is one big loop that is 21 miles long.  I actually really enjoy this loop because it is challenging with lots of rolling hills. There is something about running one big loop that mentally actually makes the whole run feel not as long.  I also had a sweet running friend agree to meet me three miles in and run 18 out of the 21 miles with me, which was so nice of her and made 21 feel way less lonely.

Overall, I felt really strong and controlled.  The hills still felt challenging and the last 5 miles or so my legs definitely got the fire, painful feeling, but as a whole it was a good run.  

This loop ends on a downhill, which is my favorite way to end a run.  It felt good to let go in that final mile and get some faster turnover in.

I did not do an intentional workout in this long run.  To me, this course and the length is enough work, but I tried to stay as steady as possible. 

In terms of nutrition for this long run, we just ran out of our Maurten Gels, so had to use Honey Stinger Energy Chews.  Not my first choice, but Target has a really terrible selection of energy gels.  It worked well though and settled in my stomach fine. Continuing to practice taking the Salt Stick Fast Chews towards the end of these long runs and loving the extra kick it gives me when electrolytes are low. 

Here are the stats:

  • 2 hours 37 minutes
  • 21 miles
  • 7:30 per mile 
  • Mile 11 and mile 21 were the fastest in 6:50 and 6:51

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