Off-Season Week 4 Training Recap

This was definitely a better week. I’m still wondering about my right leg just feels weird sometimes but eventually that will (hopefully) come.

Monday stationary bike + NTC
stationary bike: After some really weird, unsettling dreams, I did not feel like running so I switched Tuesday’s workout to Monday. I really liked the ride, unsurprisingly. My toe did feel a little weird when I first put it in the “cage” (I really don’t know what that’s called on a stationary bike) so I think there’s still some tenderness. Other than that, the toe did not bother me.
NTC: I really liked this workout. (Every time I say this about a strength training I wonder who is actually saying that. :D) I did feel a few, fleeting, weird twinges in my right knee which was odd. I’m not super concerned about it but I would love for there to be a time sometime soon where I don’t have a nagging twinge somewhere.

Tuesday easy run
I wish I could run in the daylight more often. Even though it took me a little longer to get going (snooze button) I really liked this run. My toe felt fine. (I loosened the laces and focused on maintaining good form.) I ended up running a whole lot faster than I thought I was. That 8:54 average includes running into a headwind as soon as I turned around at the halfway point. This run made me happy.

Wednesday tempo
My new shoes definitely helped with the toe thing. That’s a relief. I did have some weird IT band/hamstring stuff with my right leg. I am so over this. Other than that I felt strong overall. Hopefully whatever is going on with my right leg will sort itself out soon.

Thursday stationary bike
This was a good, albeit rather boring ride. I tried to push the pace the entire time and managed to make it through the whole hour.

Friday easy run
This was a nice, easy run before the half tomorrow. It was pretty average, short and sweet.

Saturday Tryon Half Marathon
I enjoyed this race, a nice, easy run with Mom.

Sunday rest
I enjoy these days, thoroughly.

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Tryon Half Marathon Race Recap

Race #85
Half Marathon #27
NC Half Marathon #4
Tryon Half Marathon #2

I really enjoy this race. Perhaps some fall I may skip the marathon and give it a real shot. (Okay, who am I kidding. I’m a little too addicted to the marathon to skip.)

My tentative plan going into this race was to run about the same pace as Spinx, finish before Mom and take a bunch of pictures. Once we got there I wondered why I would run separately from her so we planned to run together. I let her dictate the pace.

It was quite fun. I put my Garmin on the clock page and did not look at it once. The weather was chilly. The scenery was beautiful.

I felt great through most of the race. Since I let Mom dictate the pace and when we walked I foolishly skipped the water stations and felt it later in the race. That was totally my bad.

I don’t have much to say about most of the race since I was just out there to run. Mom did great, especially considering that this was just 3 weeks after her first marathon. I’m pretty sure that she got her second fastest time today.

Just after mile 12, I started picking up the pace so that I could finish just ahead of Mom. (That way I could get some pictures.) I also decided to see how many people I could pass in that last mile.

Regardless of if you’ve taken it easy the first 12 miles, pouring on a sprint in the last mile of a half marathon is tough. Grand total? 10. That felt good.

Plus, I got some great shots of Mom. (I love the burst feature!)

Tryon Half Marathon

Once she finished, we wandered around a little trying to find the person who had her car key. It had fallen out before the race started. The race director mentioned in her opening remarks that they had found the key and the owner could come get it after the race. She just forgot to say where and who from. Whoops.

We managed to shake off the shivers long enough for one post race photo.

Tryon Half Marathon

I really like this small, scenic race. Maybe some day I’ll bring my A game.

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Off-Season Week 3 Training Recap

This was a rather lackluster week of training, not quite what I had hoped for but it’s in the books. I finally got around to communicating with my coach about backing off a little so hopefully this week will be better than the one I’m recapping now. (I also have a weird thing going on my right big toe but I’m hoping that it’s just all in my head.)

Monday easy run
I finally made myself run outside. It was just a mental block that I needed to get over. Now to reestablish the habit. I really enjoyed this run. It wasn’t all roses though. I did have a little bit of tightness in my left hamstring and I was a bit more tired than I expected. Other than that it was a pretty good run.

Tuesday stationary bike + NTC
stationary bike: I was too into The Flash (it’s official. i’m a nerd) to pay attention to the ride. It (the ride) was good. I think. :)
NTC: I did not like this one. There were far too many 30 second recovery breaks and some of the exercises were ridiculously complicated. Hopefully the next one I choose will be better.

Wednesday tempo intervals
I’m still not quite ready (or in the mood) for speedwork at pre-marathon levels so instead of a solid 40 minutes of a rolling tempo work, I made them into tempo intervals. I really loved this run. It’s the off-season so I’m not stressing about the downgrade.

Thursday stationary bike
I enjoyed this ride but am baffled as to why I wasn’t able to get farther. I thought I was pushing the pace like I used to but ended up with a shorter distance. Oh well.

Friday short intervals
The prescribed pace for these intervals was too fast. I’m not back there yet. I thought about ditching the intervals but settled for a compromise. I decreased the speed a little on every other interval (yes, I ran on a treadmill) and managed to finish the run.

Saturday long run easy
This was an okay run. Overall I enjoyed it even though I felt a lot faster than I was actually going. I did not look at my Garmin (to see the pace) once during the whole run. (I did look at it to see overall time so I would know when to turn around.) I liked that. What I didn’t like was a weird feeling that I now have on my right big toe. (What is it with the right side of my body?) Here’s the rundown: I have an area that is red, tender, and slightly swollen (bump like) on my right big toe just below the joint connecting it to the metatarsal. It does not hurt with weight bearing activities only when pressure is placed on it like from the top of a shoe while running. (That was the status Saturday. Today, Monday, it look normal.) While I’ve spent much of the rest of the day obsessing about the prospects of a stress fracture, the run itself was fairly okay. I would love for my body to stop falling apart. (That might be a slight exaggeration. :D)

Sunday rest
I definitely rested Sunday and tried not to think about the toe.

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Off-Season Week 2 Training Recap

No race this week but plenty on the schedule. It’s funny that in the off-season I want to sign up for all the races since I won’t be “racing” them. This week wasn’t as easy as I had hoped but that’s to be expected since I stayed up quite late to watch the World Series. Here’s how this week got on.

Monday easy run
My calves have been tight since the half. I’m working on plenty of stretching. In the meantime, the run felt pretty good. My calves loosened while running and I really liked the run.

Tuesday stationary bike
I took it easy since I was a little bit tired due to the World Series.

Wednesday tempo intervals
These tempo intervals were really tough. I made it through three as prescribed but had to decrease the speed on the last one. I loved it through.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC
stationary bike: This ride was noticeably slower thanks to a late night watching the World Series game. Go Giants! I really should have slept more but I’m stubborn.
NTC: I really did not want to do this workout (too tired) but I made myself a “bet” that if I complete my daily strength training exercises and one NTC workout per week then I’ll buy myself a race registration. I had no choice but to get it in. I liked the exercises in this workout. I’ll have to do it again after a full night’s sleep.

Friday attempted tempo run
This was supposed to be a tempo run but my body shut that down. I had a few late nights this week because of the world series and felt it. I’m in the off-season after all so pushing myself to get a tempo run in would have made no sense. Maybe next week after several nights of decent sleep.

Saturday long run with a little bit of a pick up at the end
Unseasonably cold weather and high winds = inside. I felt pretty good throughout the entire run although I would have loved to have been able to cover the display. I did have some right hamstring tightness towards the end of the run. Since that seems to be my trouble leg I’ll be taking good care of this. No sense in getting injured during the off-season.

Sunday rest
No problem here.

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Off-Season Week 1 Training Recap

With a race at the end of the week, this doesn’t feel like much of an off-season. That’s what it’s supposed to be though. I may have run that race a little harder than I should have…at least that’s what I figure if I listen to my calves. I need to get better at this whole “off-season” thing.

Monday easy run
This was a fairly good run. I ran inside because I still haven’t been able to make myself run outside. I did have a weird feeling somewhere around my knee (yeah, that knee) but nothing like anything else I’ve had and nothing that interfered. It also went away after a few minutes. The rest of the run went really well and I got to watch one of the David Tennant Doctor Who specials that hasn’t been on Netflix until now.

Tuesday stationary bike + NTC
Stationary bike: I liked this ride. By the time I got to the end I wanted to have pushed harder and go longer. That’s the sign of a good ride.
NTC: I really loved this workout. (Yes, I am wondering who this person is.) I am still motivated to get fit overall and can tell that my fitness is improving just with planks. (I’ve been working on finally completing a 30 day plank challenge.) Those 60 seconds in this workout felt like a piece of cake.

Wednesday fartlek run
Eventually I will get back outside and off the treadmill but not this time. :) This was the first “structured” workout I’ve had since the marathon and I loved it. (It’s hard to call fartleks structured. :D) I felt great the entire time even though the “speed” wasn’t quite as fast as I have gone in the past. That will come.

Thursday stationary bike
I decided against strength training with the half on Saturday. (I’m not racing it but I’d rather not be super sore.) I did debate about that decision through most of the first half of the ride but oh well. It was a good ride. I pushed hard and got farther than I have in a while.

Friday easy run with some hard effort intervals near the end
This run felt really good. I felt really strong including the hard effort intervals near the end. I loved it.

Saturday Spinx Run Fest!
I may have let my enthusiasm get the better of me. :)

Sunday rest
I did this like a champ. Sunday rest days are awesome!

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Spinx Run Fest Race Recap

Half Marathon #26
SC Half Marathon #19
Spinx Half Marathon #2

Hang on…this has the potential to be very long. This morning was amazing in so many ways, most of them not about me at all.

Today I ran (not raced) the Spinx RunTown USA Half Marathon and Mom ran her very first time (in full on beast mode no less!)

Spinx Run Fest, despite its many flaws, holds a special place in my heart. Back in 2010, I ran my very first half marathon there. In 2011 I completed my own 26.2 mile journey there and was hooked. Today was another first, this time for my Mom. I am so excited for her.

Before the race I Facebook messaged and emailed everyone I could think of to let them know about Mom’s marathon journey and projected finish time without telling her. I also started planning my post half marathon finish plans. After a half hour or so I would start walking the marathon course back and start running with her once we met up. Once we reached the stadium I planned to dash in and get down onto the field before she finished so I could hand her the medal.

Back to the race…

We arrived with just the right amount of time, not too much waiting. I took Mom’s sweatshirt and we took some pre-race photos.

Spinx Run Fest Part 1

Spinx Run Fest Part 1

Spinx Run Fest Part 1

I headed a little further down to take pictures once she started running. Just after 7:30 she was off!

Spinx Run Fest Part 1

I was literally giddy watching her go.

The half hour before my start passed fairly quickly. I had no goals except to run well but not too hard so I could run Mom in to the finish.

From the start I decided to use this race to focus on form. Throughout most of the miles (a few times I forgot…of course) I focused on keeping my arms swinging front to back not side to side. It’s a little thing but the little things that count.

I had such a great time throughout this race. I put the clock screen on my Garmin and ran by feel, making sure that I kept the effort in the easy range. Every mile I was surprised to see mile splits under 9:00 (except one) with most of them between 8:30 and 8:45 aka my marathon pace. Somehow my legs held onto that pace despite not running more than 6 miles and a minute per mile slower for three weeks.

I’m so glad that I wasn’t trying to achieve a PR on this course. It’s seriously tough, so many hills! I loved it though. I loved all the twists and turns through pretty much every runnable section of Cleveland Park.

Around mile 9 another runner came up beside me. He held up his left wrist which had a Garmin 220 on it and said “I read your review.” Alright Garmin, where’s my commission?

I felt so much stronger than I expected.

At mile 12 I flipped the screen back to overall time and clocked one of my fastest miles of the race, 8:30.

All too soon we were at the stadium. As I made the final turn and headed onto the warning track I decided that I was going to pass as many people as I could during that last little section. Mission accomplished. I even passed one guy feet before the finish line. That felt good.

Once I crossed that finish line, in 1:54 flat no less, it was on to the next part of the day. I cleaned up, grabbed some good and headed out. A few minutes later I realized that I was heading out way too early so I headed back to Starbucks (I forgot to grab my credit card so I was limited to the Starbucks app on my phone) to hang out for a few minutes.

While I was waiting I got a second text from my coach who was out on the course somewhere near Furman that he had just seen Mom at mile 17.5. Spinx may not have had runner tracking but I had an in. ;) I used that time and calculated both her estimated finish time and when I should start heading out again.

Twenty minutes later it was time. I cannot put into words how excited I was.

Just before mile 24 there was a railroad crossing. This crossing must be the bane of the Spinx’ race director’s existence. Before I got there runners had been blocked by the train for 15 minutes. Yeah, that sucks.

As I approached the train started to cross the road. I actually shouted at the train because it would have sucked if Mom got stuck behind it. I had to wait a minute or so but thankfully it moved back into the yard. (I don’t understand that though. Surely the conductor could see that there was a race going on. Why move the train then?)

After I crossed I spotted a runner wearing orange in the distance. After a few seconds I knew it was her and could not wait to get close.

Once I started running with her I could not believe how well she was running. (I was a mess by this point three years ago.) She stuck to her run/walk intervals and kept moving forward. I knew she was going to beat my projected time for her by a lot.

We made the turn to head to the stadium and I started to get nervous. I had no idea whether I would get down on the field in time. That’s how well she was running.

We got up towards Liberty Tap Room and there were my aunt, uncle, my mom’s boss, his wife and his mom all cheering for Mom. She was so surprised!

I dashed off then and headed down to the field. I had just enough time to take a medal and wait for her to make it around the field. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I watched her start increasing her speed to pass another runner, a 17 year old no less.

She’s a marathoner!

Spinx Run Fest Part 2

Not only that … she did it in 4:36:38!!!!

What an awesome day. I’m so glad that I got to be there for this.

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Another’s First

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve held off mainly because I wasn’t sure it would actually happen. (Then I forgot about posting it for a couple days. Whoops.)

Watching my mom discover her own love of running over the past two and a half years has been incredible. I love having someone to share this with. I must admit, I never expected that the marathon bug would infect her too.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, my mom will start her own 26.2 mile journey at the same race that served as my first marathon too. There’s just something special about a hometown marathon. (I just wish they would distinguish the medals from the half marathoners’ but that’s a story for another post.)

Due to many scheduling conflicts, her training has been jumbled and less than perfect. (She’s in high demand! :D) Through all that, even when the prospects for getting in adequate preparation seemed dim, she would not let go of that marathon dream. She persevered. Call me a runner nerd but that made me beyond excited for her.

Here’s to Susan becoming part of the real 1%!

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