EP Marathon Training: 6 Days To Go!

You read that right. The race is less than a week away. I’m glad it’s almost here. I’ve certainly been training long enough. But I’m also scared. When the race is in the far future it’s dreamy, almost like wedding planning before you’ve set a date, all possibilities and color combinations. Now it’s reality. It’s no longer about imagining what could be but making things happen. Which is exciting, yes, but scary, too.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, last week -

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Weekly Stats:

  • Total miles run so far during training: 313.95 (19.75 this week)
  • Interval run: 5 x 1000. Tough, especially with the strangely warm weather. But I battled through each interval.
  • Tempo run: 6 mile “short tempo.” I didn’t hit my fast miles exactly on the nosey, but I was trying to take what I learned from last week’s ugly long run and apply it to my running. When I went into the wind, I pushed as hard as was reasonable without depleting myself entirely. The last mile was my fasted. I was happy when I finished. Mission accomplished.
  • Long run: 8 easy miles. Tossed my pace out the window and just ran. It was glorious.
  • Cross-training: 60 minutes of yoga, 72 minutes of walking
  • Geronimo’s miles: 4.75 miles – a huge week for him!
  • Power jam: “Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara (“Take your passion and make it happen!” I like to sing/scream that line.)

Last Long Run

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My 8 mile long run was supposed to be at marathon pace, but I decided that I’d rather just run for fun. Geronimo ran two miles (a big distance for him these days) before I dropped him off at home and headed back out on my own. I listened to the radio on my nano, so it felt more informal. Less long run, more happy jog. It was just what I needed. Whatever was getting me down last week and making it impossible to run did not make an appearance this week. It’s a good thing because I’m plenty nervous as it is without a bad run getting in my head.

Geronimo was down for the count after his two miles!

Geronimo was down for the count after his two miles!

Weather Woes

I know that the calendar says February, but El Paso has not gotten the memo. We’ve had above average temperatures all week, and that’s what is in the forecast for next week, too. The high yesterday was 81. 81! It’s a lovely temperature when you want to go on a picnic or a walk or swimming. Not so much when you are running. Right now the race day forecast has a low of 43 and a high of 69.

That poses quite the conundrum. The majority of my training has been in cold or cool weather wearing pants and ear muffs and jackets and gloves. I have no clue what I’m going to wear or how the heat will effect me. The one thing you can say about the weather, though, is that it is completely out of anyone’s control. All I can do at this point is try to be smart (hydrate hydrate hydrate) and wait to see what happens.

Time to start thinking cold thoughts!

(Because one pre-marathon post isn’t enough, I’ve got a lovely selection of running related musings for you all week long. )

EP Marathon Training: 13 Days to Go!

Each week I’m tempted to start my training recap with some ridiculous combination of interjections. (Holy Guacamole! Oh Crap! WTF! OMG! Shark! Ack! Blargh! You get the idea.) Every week race day gets scarily closer. This week it feels really close. And I feel not good about that. So I’m going to go with this particular interjection: Zoinks!

Weekly Stats:

  • Total miles run so far during training: 294.2 (23.5 this week)
  • Interval run: 8 x 800. The cold head wind was an extra challenge, but I muscled through.
  • Tempo run: 7 mile medium tempo run with 5 fast miles under 9:17. Boom.
  • Long run: Where the shit hit the fan. 13 miles on the plan, but I actually only ran 8.5.
  • Cross-training: 90 minutes of walking, 2 hours of yoga.
  • Geronimo’s miles: 3.25 this week.
  • Emotional state: crapping my pants scared.

The day of my interval run. It felt wintry out. But yesterday it was 70 degrees out, so I guess it's not winter after all.

The day of my interval run. It felt wintry out. But yesterday it was 70 degrees out, so I guess it’s not winter after all.

Long Run Undone

I have to say, I went full on beast mode on training this week. I went on three long walks, I went to yoga twice, I hit both my interval run and my tempo run out of the park. My long run should have been easy. 13 miles at this point should be no sweat. I had my usual pasta for dinner the night before. I got plenty of sleep. I drank the same amount of water as I normally drink.

But this run just sucked.

I have some theories:

  1. It was windy out, and instead of adjusting my pace, I pushed through and tired myself out prematurely.
  2. The taper is playing with my mind and giving me phantom pains. (My right side felt tight and sore but honestly it’s probably fine. I felt these weird fake pains before both of my other marathons.)
  3. I went through the motions, but I didn’t really prepare for the long run like I should have.
  4. I let my personal stress cloud my mind, and I couldn’t zone out like I normally do on a long run.
  5. I was due for a craptastic run.

I think it was all of the above. The wind was a huge factor. It somehow came from every direction. I’d make a 90 degree turn only to go from running directly into the wind to still running directly into the wind. (How is that possible?) I pushed too hard, my joints felt tight, I felt sluggish (but my splits really were not bad). In the end, I could not will myself to run. I kept stopping, walking, running, stopping, running, walking. It’s a wonder I made it to 8.5 miles. I wanted to hit 10 so I’d at least have made double digits, but I consider it a victory that I didn’t stop at 6 miles when I originally wanted to.

The flags were flapping wildly in the wind, much like my ponytail, and my arms, and my sanity.

The flags were flapping wildly in the wind, much like my pony tail, and my arms, and my sanity.

It’s not the end of the world, it doesn’t mean my race will be awful, yet all I can think is “my race will be awful.” If I was reading someone else saying these things I would tell them that they are fine. That the 4.5 miles they missed out on were totally no big deal. But inside my head, thinking about my race, it’s all doom and gloom, planets colliding, lightning bolts and thunder, children crying, that sort of thing.

At this point, I need to move on. (Do you hear that, self? Move on!) I can’t get those  miles back, and I can’t have a do over. Instead, I should focus on the next run on my training plan (5 x 1000, oooh, aaaah) and try to get in a positive head space (easier said than done!). I’ve got 13 days to pull myself together (zoinks!) and I’m damn well going to try!

Friday Five

Two weeks ago I did a High Five Friday post, and I’ve decided to do it again. Why not? I like alliteration. I like things that come in fives. I like lists. I like writing posts that require minimal amounts of creativity. What’s not to love? These are five things that made me happy this week:

1. Stephen and I got a new dog!

Ace

Just kidding! (Did I trick you? Consider that my attempt at an early April Fool’s joke.) Ace here wandered up to our house on an afternoon that we both happened to be home. We put him in the yard so he could have some water and avoid getting hit by a car. He had no tags on, so our best bet was to see if he was microchipped. If he wasn’t, we’d have to try to take him to the Humane Society (a no kill shelter that is wonderful, but is often too full to take on more dogs), give him to Animal Services (where he would mostly likely be put down), keep him (not really an option; he kept trying to hump Geronimo. Geronimo does not like to be humped), or put him out on the street (certain death, also not an option). I was relieved when it turned out he was chipped, and his owner drove straight over to pick him up. Three cheers for a microchipped dog! Huzzah! (Now if only the owner had been a tad more grateful and didn’t tell me that this happens all the time. Sigh.)

2. Whitley became a big sister!

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This week my best friend gave birth to a healthy baby girl. (You can see her adorbs pregnancy announcement here.) I love Mary Beth and Mark so much. They’ve stood by me through the hardest times of my life. Seeing their family expand and their dreams become reality feels so right. I’m thankful that I get to witness it. Just like when Whitley was born (almost 2 years ago!), Brooklyn’s birth is a reminder of all the beautiful, wonderful things in the world. I’m so happy for them, and I can’t wait to meet her in person next month.

3. My job!

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(You can read about my position at UTEP here.) I’ve visited about half of my student teachers so far, and I gotta say, I’m impressed. They know their stuff, and they all try really hard. It’s fun to work with people at the beginning of their careers. They are so eager, so fresh. Plus, I get to keep my hands in the education world without writing lesson plans or grading papers. In fact, I don’t have to do any prep work. I just show up.

4. Long walks with ‘Monimo.

A look at the clouds on our most recent walk.

A look at the clouds on our most recent walk.

I’ve been really trying to spend more time with Geronimo leading up to deployment. He needs to get out of the house, and if I’m being honest, so do I. It’s good bonding time, and the sunshine and fresh air do my body good. Although, yesterday’s walk was followed by me eating half a large bag of Arby’s curly fries by myself. Hey, my body didn’t seem to mind.

5. Parenthood.

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I got into the show back when we lived in Germany. (The days of AFN, no DVR, and internet that was too slow for Netflix or streaming.) It just happened to be on once a day around a time that I was normally home. Then we moved, and I fell off the bandwagon. Bandwagon officially back on. I only wish there were more seasons! Once I work my way through every episode on Netflix (that should only take a few more days), I’ll probably switch back to ER. (I’ve watched all the way up to season 12, hence the need for a break and some other TV shows.)

So the first week in February was full of heart-exploding sized joy, everyday happiness, and a two smelly dogs. Not too shabby, I’d say.