Tobacco Road Marathon Week 8 Training Recap

Another week closer to the marathon and only a week away from my favorite half marathon

Monday, February 1, 2016
I am starting to get a little concerned about my right knee. Since I ran the long run yesterday I planned to take this run easy for sure. That being said, the knee has felt off periodically since the long run but nothing like before. It felt off for a good portion of the run today too. I focused on maintaining good form. My stride remained unaffected. I’m not really sure what to make of it. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Afterwards, I’m not really sure how it feels. I think it’s fine or maybe achey. I can feel the knee but then again… I can’t believe I’m back here again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
A rest day was just what my leg needed. My hypothesis is that my right leg is still adjusting to being used the right way and whenever I use it the right way for longer (or harder) than I have recently the muscles ache to let me know. Instead of spin class this morning, I slept a little bit more and then stretched and foam rolled. At the end of the day I felt great.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
This run went so much better than Monday’s. I learned my lesson. My legs are definitely not up to a run the day after a marathon long run (18 miles) even if I do take it easy. I’ve already changed the schedule for next week so that that doesn’t happen again. My right knee felt slightly tight at the start of the run but after a couple minutes that went away. Through the rest of the run my stride felt great. The tempo portion was challenging but doable. I really enjoyed this run. Afterwards I felt great for the rest of the entire day.

Thursday, February 4, 2016
We were without an instructor this time so it was up to us to remember all the workouts. We did pretty well. I was also short on time since I had to get in work early for training. We had to cut out a few of the exercises including my least favorite. That’s only because a trainer and client were hogging the machine, I promise. 😊 I felt pretty good throughout. I really enjoy these sessions.

Friday, February 5, 2016
This run went pretty well. My right knee felt a bit achey at the start and occasionally throughout. Other than that I felt strong. My stride felt even. The tempo intervals were challenging but only slightly. Afterwards, I felt pretty good with the leg only slightly achey.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Work means rest day. I feel pretty good but the leg feels achey just like it did last week. I’m not sure what that means. Once I stopped thinking about it though, I had no issues whatsoever.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
This felt like one of the longest runs I have ever had. It started with a very vivid dream of waking up and not feeling like running at all and spending an hour procrastinating, trying to put it off. It’s hard to explain the dream. Then I woke up and realized that the past hour (in my dream) was, in fact, a dream. Then I had to take some time to get back in the mood to run. I really had no desire to run long, much less run 20 miles. Shorter long runs, 12-15 miles are more up my alley right now. Thus I am looking forward immensely to the half marathon next weekend. I am definitely in a half marathon kind of mood. It took a while to get going and when I did, it was inside. I can’t explain it but I knew that it would be easier to plow through the miles on the treadmill since I would have the distraction of Merlin (thanks BBC for removing Doctor Who from Netflix) and the elimination of hills. Since Tobacco Road is mostly flat, I don’t consider that much of a cop out. It was still difficult to get through and very easy to let my walk breaks (every 40 minutes to eat my Gatorade chews) extend a little too long. My legs started to feel a bit fatigued around 12 miles which was off-putting at the time but now that I’m looking back at it, I remember that this treadmill is not the easiest on the legs. (It’s also not the most high tech machine either.) When I was finally approaching the end of the run I realized that I might not make it to 20 miles if I took another walk break to eat the last two chews so I powered through. That proved to me that a lot of my earlier struggle was mental. I know that on race day I will feel plenty motivated to get through the marathon. I also know that I’ll be relieved to be done with the marathon for a few months. At the moment my heart is not in it and that’s alright for now. It’ll come back eventually.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Week 7 Training Recap

Getting into the meat of marathon training now.

Monday, January 25, 2016
This run went really well. My legs felt a tad tired but that’s to be expected having just run 17 miles the day before. Other than that my legs felt pretty good. My stride was strong and even.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I think I may be starting to get a cold, again. It’s at the sore throat stage which isn’t terrible but more than enough to take me out of the mood to workout. It doesn’t help that the instructor (different from last week) also had poor music choices. I really can’t stand dance/club type “songs.” Oh well. I pedaled the bike and got a workout in. I’m focusing on hydrating well and making sure that the cold doesn’t get any worse.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
I woke up to a sore throat. After eating something and drinking some water it diminished some but I think I might just be holding the cold off. Despite that, this run went pretty well. My right knee felt a little stiff at the start but after a few minutes it warmed up. I focused on keeping my form good. My stride felt strong and even. Afterwards I felt pretty good. My calf felt just slightly tight so I wore the calf compression sleeves for a little bit.

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Each time we do this I tell myself that I need to remember what weight I had each machine on the last time. Someday soon I’ll make a chart. I really love this routine. My knee felt a little wonky at times but nothing bad. We stepped up our ball toss by standing on the bosu. So much fun.

Friday, January 29, 2016
This run went pretty well. My knee felt a bit wonky at the start but it warmed up after a few minutes. I focused on my form and maintaining a strong and even stride. Overall I felt good. Afterwards my knee felt a tiny bit tight at times but not too bad.

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Since I actually got to work, I ran long Sunday instead of Saturday. My calf and knee felt a little tight and wonky so I stretched and foam rolled. Hopefully this is just a little bump in the road.

Sunday, January 31, 2016
It took a lot to get me out of bed and onto the road this morning. I was definitely not in the mood to run long and that started last night. I ended up starting about an hour after I had originally planned. The run itself went fairly well. I tried my best to focus on form through the whole run which is definitely a challenge when it’s a run that lasts three hours. I divided the run into 3 hour long out-and-back sections which definitely helped with the mental aspect of the run. During the first hour my right leg felt a little stiff/off which helped remind me to focus on form. Towards the end of that section my right leg “warmed up” and felt fairly normal. I took the opportunity to put my gloves back in my car which meant, of course, that the wind picked up immediately making my hands rather chilly. The second hour was the best out of the three. I felt great throughout and only towards the end did my legs start to feel any fatigue. That fatigue came into full force during the third hour. I also felt a bit of that stiffness described earlier but only occasionally. During the “back” portion of the last hour the fatigue came out in full force. I’m not really sure why it felt as hard as it did. I did manage to pick up the pace a little bit but that was mainly the result of a mental bribe for myself just to keep going. I did manage to finish strong but a little disappointed after checking to see how I did last year with this same workout. I finished a little under a mile short. Part of this might be related to the difference in location – last year I ran on the Swamp Rabbit and with Mom for a portion. As for the other part, I’m not sure. Afterwards I felt pretty stiff and sore but that’s to be expected with a 19 mile run.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Week 6 Training Recap

If only I could earn money by running races, I would race every weekend instead of working. :)

Monday, January 18, 2016
After seeing some twisting and not great form in pictures from the race I made sure to focus on form during this run. My right knee felt a tad off in the first couple minutes but after some warm up time I felt great. The rest of the easy run went well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
It’s been a while since I’ve done a spin class. I definitely want to incorporate this regularly. However, hopefully it will be with a different instructor who picks different (and better) music. The bikes are new since the last time I took a spin class. That’s not hard to do though since it’s been a few years since I’ve been in that room. It took a little while to get used to but that’s to be expected. I sweat buckets but not quite as much as I expected. I definitely will feel the burn. Wednesday morning’s speedwork might be interesting though seeing how I’ll have about 12 hours to recover… :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I knew this run would be challenging since I did spin class 12 hours before. My legs needed all the 20 minutes to get going. The first interval was crazy hard. I needed to walk most of the rest portions but I managed to get the rest done and done well. Afterwards my legs felt a little sore but nothing too bad.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
We started upping the ante with the workout now that we’ve done it several times. For each exercise we completed 12 reps as normal and then a set of 7 reps with 5 additional pounds. This made the workout take a little longer. I have a feeling that I’ll be feeling the soreness soon.

Friday, January 22, 2016
I felt amazing through this entire run, almost surprisingly so. I loved every second of it. The intervals at race pace were only slightly challenging. I’m not quite sure what to make of that because usually when I have to run on the treadmill we have at home (yay for snow/ice) everything feels more difficult. I don’t feel that way about all treadmills, just the one at home. Perhaps I could go a bit faster on those sort of intervals? Afterwards I felt great too!

Saturday, January 23, 2016
It’s back to working and resting on Saturday or at least it was supposed to be. The winter storm cancelled work today which was a bummer since I’d been looking forward to time and a half. :) I could have run this morning instead of Sunday but my bed won out. I’ve had several touch workouts in a row so I figured it would be better to sleep in. (Yes, part of that was just justification for hitting the snooze button again.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016
When weather throws iced over roads at you, you suck it up and run on the treadmill. I’ve come a long way in being able to tolerate longer distances on the treadmill. I’m still not a fan of super long runs though. I got it done though and felt physically great. It was a little bit mentally tough but that’s to be expected. I was even able to pick it up for some moderate intervals although I miscalculated when I needed to start and wasn’t able to get as many intervals in as I wanted. It actually wasn’t until towards the very end that I started to feel physically fatigued. I take that as a good sign for the marathon. It may be just the speed, not endurance, that I still need to rebuild.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Week 5 Training Recap

Monday, January 11, 2016
I’m not sure what to make of this run. For the most part my stride felt fine. Towards the end though I started to feel this weird ache on the outside of my right leg unlike what I’ve felt before. Hopefully it’s nothing. Afterwards, everything felt fine. I wore the compression sleeves and felt completely normal. Once I took those off my right calf felt a little bit tight but nothing unusual.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The ride was fairly unremarkable. I did have to throw on a sprint at the end to get to 8 miles. As to the NTC ab burner workout, my abs felt sore from the start which made this workout fun. I counted down the seconds on this one. I got to do walking lunges afterwards. I definitely need to keep doing this regularly because I have a feeling that those lunges will make me a bit sore in a few hours or so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
This run was just what I needed. Everything functioned as it should. In fact, my stride felt amazing, strong and even. There’s not much more I can say about this run; it was that normal.

Thursday, January 14, 2016
I’m really starting to get the hang of this new strength routine. It’s still a bit odd to get no sort of distance (no cardio whatsoever) but I can feel myself getting stronger each time we do this routine. This time it took us only 20-25 minutes as opposed to 40-45 the first time. (way less standing around, figuring out the machines)

Friday, January 15, 2016
I started to feel sore Thursday evening. That was a pretty good strength training workout. Obviously, I could feel that soreness even more this morning. Thankfully, it did not interfere with the run. I felt good and strong throughout the entire run.

Saturday, January 16, 2016
Today’s run came in three parts and all three parts went fairly well. The warm up was nothing was nothing extraordinary. The race went really well. Unlike last year, I think I managed to run it at 85% effort. (Last year’s effort was closer to 90 or 95%.) I felt strong throughout. Looking at some of the pictures though, I realize that I need to work on keeping my trunk straight. Two of them showed some twisting. I think as I start to feel more normal I may be slipping back into old (bad) habits. As to the 90 minutes after the race, I felt so much better throughout that I remember last year. I averaged around almost the exact same pace. However, my splits were more consistent and I was making sure to keep my pace as easy as I could reasonably. My legs definitely felt all the work I had put in, especially during the last 30 minutes. Afterwards (and during actually) I still feel sore from Thursday’s new strength training routine. I made sure to get in a lot of stretching and foam rolling. I also wore the calf compression sleeves for a bit.

Sunday, January 17, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the rest day. The right knee felt a tad tight, perhaps, but nothing unusual. Overall, everything seemed A-Ok.

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Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016 Race Recap

Race #101
5k #41
Greenville News Run Downtown 5k #5

I had a lot of fun with this race. It’ll be a rude awakening next week when I have to wake up and go to work instead of pinning on a bib and heading somewhere for a race.

Even though I love building up to a race and pushing hard to PR, I also have a whole lot of fun just getting out there and running. I’m too competitive to take a race easy. At the same time, it’s fun to go out without a goal and just enjoy the miles.

Today’s workout was almost exactly like what I ran last year when I ran this race. I started with a twenty minute warm up and finished with a ninety minute long run after.

After my warm up Mom and I met up to get our pre-race pic before heading to the start with around 1200 other people.

Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016
Mom was a little colder than I was.

A couple minutes after we made our way to the start we were off. I’d managed to find a spot fairly close to the front for the two of us so we had very little weaving to do. We lined up on the left side of the road and pretty much stayed on the left side for the rest of the race.

Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016
We’re back there somewhere.

People always say that this race starts off going downhill. While that’s technically true, the downhill lasts for only a portion of the first mile. We settled in and kept plugging away.

Mile 1: 8:21

Shortly after we started the second mile I saw a couple people standing out in front of their house with trays of back. Yes, bacon. (Plus a sign that said “Free Bacon”) I burst out laughing and wished that we had been running on the other side of the road so I could have grabbed some as we ran by. I hope that they make that a tradition for every year during the race. (Side note: Now I really want some bacon.)

We started to pick up the pace, nothing dramatic, just a little at a time. Of course, the most significant decline of the course helped a great deal with this. I still felt good but had no desire to full out race. We had a good pace going.

Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016 Official Photo
At the water stop somewhere near mile 2

Mile 2: 7:56

I knew that the last mile held the “hill of death” and had no idea how we would approach it. I followed Mom’s lead when it came to pacing. We kept increasing it little by little, even on the hill.

At some point on the hill we passed a guy, me on one side, Mom on the other. Yeah, he got “double-chicked.” As we pulled ahead of him he gave us a hearty “Good job!” Very nice of him.

While the “hill of death” was hard, it was nothing compared to the hills in the first three miles last week. In fact, running the hill this time felt the easiest that it has ever felt. I think that’s a pretty good sign that this new strength training routine is helping a lot already.

Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016
Somewhere in the middle of the “hill of death” – I need to work on keeping my upper body still, eliminate the twisting.

We made the two turns and found ourselves back on Main Street for the home stretch still feeling pretty good. Mom told me I could go on ahead and sprint if I wanted but I stuck with her. We were running pretty fast already.

Mile 3: 7:39

Greenville News Run Downtown 5k 2016
Coming in to the finish

.1 nubbin’: 6:35 (average pace)

This was a pretty successful race. Unlike last year, I think I really did manage to run this at around an 80-85% effort. I think I ran the race last year too fast which made the ninety minutes after more than miserable.

Mom did extremely well too! In a race of approximately 1200 people, she won her age group! Way to go Mom!

(Side note: She mentioned that someone requested that the Male Masters and Grand Masters winners pose for a picture but not the female winners. Seriously? Hopefully it was just a matter of forgetting/miscommunication.)

This time the ninety minutes afterwards was definitely not miserable. I kept looking down at my pace and being a bit dumbfounded. I had to keep myself from running too fast. My legs definitely felt the worst during the last 30 minutes but I finished and finished well.

Now that I’ve successfully incorporated this 5k into marathon training, twice, I plan to make this an every year sort of race.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Week 4 Training Recap

Aside from a touch of calf pain during the half on Saturday, this was a really good, strong week.

Monday, January 4, 2016
This run went really well. I felt good and strong and wished that I didn’t have to run 10 minutes less thanks to having to get to work on time. (It’s almost impossible for me to squeeze in runs longer than 45 minutes on days when I have to go in early.) Everything, stride and all, did really feel great. I meant to wear calf compression sleeves but in my haste forgot to put them on. Everything feels fine afterwards although I’m certain that my leg does not appreciate the extremely odd angle that I have to sit at thanks to poor design. (That’s a whole other ball of wax.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
I’m starting to really like the new strength training routine. I’m becoming more familiar with the individual exercises and the order to do them in. Thus, transition time is lessening and we’re getting more exercises in which definitely helps with feeling the burn. Afterwards I felt really good, strong.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
These short and fast intervals went even better than last time. I started them a little slower than goal pace and gradually worked up to it. The rest intervals were a bit faster too, only a few steps walking to catch my breath. The intervals at the fastest speed didn’t even feel too difficult. They were hard but I felt like I might be able to go a little faster, for 200m of course. My stride felt strong and even. Afterwards everything felt completely normal. I did wear the calf compression sleeves for a little while as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2016
This ride went really well and passed rather quickly. I felt great throughout and loved pushing the pace. I definitely could have ridden longer. When I moved to the ab workout, I could definitely feel some soreness from Tuesday’s routine. I hadn’t planned to push hard but that’s what I ended up doing. I could feel the burn. Overall I felt great.

Friday, January 8, 2016
This run was nice and easy just as prescribed. I wanted to go faster but I’ll save that for the half tomorrow. My stride felt awesome. Everything about this run went perfectly. I’m thankful that running finally feels normal again.

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Resolution Run Half Marathon
This run exceeded my expectations. See the blog post for more details. I will mention again here, the odd calf pain. It still feels a bit tight and I have no idea why it acted the way that it did. I’m hoping that it’s just a one off because I’m more than ready to get back to normal running. Afterwards I stretched, foam rolled and wore the calf compression sleeves and felt fairly normal.

Sunday, January 10, 2016
I have to admit that I got a bit in my head about the calf tightness. I’m hoping that it’s nothing but I was aware of it throughout the day. Otherwise I felt good, normal.

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Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Race #100
Half Marathon #29
SC Half Marathon #21
Resolution Run Half Marathon #3

I almost forgot that this was race #100. Thankfully I remembered about a mile in and used that as motivation through the race.

I’m also thankful that the weather forecast changed. When I saw that initially rain was predicted, I groaned. I did not want a repeat of two years ago when we got absolutely drenched. I’ve run a few races in the rain but that was the absolute worst.

That being said, thanks to the wind, it was a bit colder than I expected. I’m still glad that I went with short sleeves and gloves. I was freezing at the start as evidenced by the picture below but perfectly attired to the race itself.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016

The half and the 5k started at the same time but since the course was wide enough, this didn’t cause a problem. Well, we did start the first half mile a bit too fast since we were surrounded by a bunch of the fast 5k runners. The hills soon slowed us down. The nicest thing that I can say about these hills is that they are absolutely ridiculous. Mom actually got really lightheaded on the first one.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016
See the dramatic drop in pace?

Mile 1: 8:47

Even though the race is well organized, I have to say that the course is rather unimaginative. It consists of 2 out and backs. The first took us from Trailblazer Park to the George I. Theisen YMCA and back to the park. (The turn around was just before the hill leading up the the YMCA.) The second half was on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The beginning and ending of this out and back were slightly different from each other but it was basically an out and back.

(I also have to mention that starting with the mile 2 mile marker my garmin started to measure almost exactly .25 off the distance and stayed about the same until the end of the race. Several other runners noticed an almost identical discrepancy. I think that the turn around point near the Y should have been placed a little further back.)

This meant that we had to go right back up those hills. Not cool. I’m glad that I ran the half and not the 5k because I had the relative flatness of the Swamp Rabbit Trail to look forward to once we passed Trailblazer Park again.

Mile 2: 8:48

Mile 3 included the rough hill that is one of the worst I’ve ever run. (I think Paris Mountain qualifies as the most difficult.) This hill really messed with Mom’s head. She was ready to quit and just run the 5k. We walked for a good portion in this mile, hence the slowest pace of the race. It was really tempting since we ran right by the park. I tried to be as supportive as I could and laid out the options for her. I reminded her that we had just a little ways to go before we got to the Trail and after that a muscle memory of sorts would help ease the difficulty a bit since we’ve run the trail so many times. Mom decided right at the turning point to keep running with me.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016
I felt great and Mom managed a bit of a smile too!

Mile 3: 10:14

Like I hypothesized, once we got to the trail, it got a bit mentally easier. We picked up the pace a bit and settled in. The next few miles were fairly uneventful.

Mile 4: 8:47
Mile 5: 8:41
Mile 6: 8:46
Mile 7: 8:52

Around mile 7 Mom mentioned that she was still struggling mentally and suggested that I might as well go on without her. I kept trying to encourage her. I really didn’t want to leave her behind. After all, I had the music (iPhone in an armband) and she didn’t. I also didn’t want to leave her behind to struggle so I suggested that we make it at least to the turn around point near mile 8 before she made the decision. As soon as we made the turn she told me to go on. I wasn’t sure I should but I really wanted to get a course PR. (Although, if the course is almost completely different from the past two times you’ve run the race, is it a course PR?)

Mile 8: 8:54

I felt really good, really strong through the next couple miles. I concentrated on keeping up a good pace and maintaining my form. I also kept looking for people to pick off by keeping up a slightly faster pace than “easy.”

Mile 9: 8:27
Mile 10: 8:37

I was feeling great, “run-dreaming” about future races and how much I loved the run and race when my right calf acted up in a way that I’ve never felt before. It’s been a little tight off and on (mainly after runs) so I’ve added some stretches and strengthening and have worn the compression sleeves consistently. I didn’t think it was an issue. That’s a lot of foreshadowing to say that a few times in the middle of mile 11 my right calf actually hurt. It took me surprise the first time it happened and then I started to get in my head a bit when I felt it again. It happened only a couple (2-3 times) but that makes me wonder a bit. I’m not sure what it might mean.

Mile 11: 8:48

I could feel my legs start to tell me that they were ready to be done so I tried to keep myself motivated with a countdown of all that was left. My stride actually felt pretty good and the pace didn’t feel too difficult. I kept looking ahead to try to find people to pick off.

Mile 12: 8:39

After we made the turn at TR Oriental I made some adjustments with my music so that the last track on my playlist, “Good to Be Alive” would help pump me up for the final half mile. Boy did it. It’s my new favorite running song. I picked up the pace and picked off the three people immediately in front of me.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016
On the home stretch, apparently the ground is fascinating.

When we turned at the Trailblazer Park entrance I saw a guy ahead that looked just out of reach. I decided that I wanted to try anyway so I poured on a sprint. As I ran as fast as I could at that point I could see the distance between us getting shorter but not fast enough to make it before the finish line came. So close!

Mile 13: 7:06

Just as I suspected, the course measured short. My garmin measured 12.89. Mom’s measured 12.83. A friends measured 12.90. Even accounting for tangent running difference, I find that fairly significant.

Once I finished I took my award and started running back to run Mom in for a bit before making a short cut and getting some pictures of her at the finish. (Side note about the medal: the coasters look great! It’s really cool to have handmade pottery. However, would it have been too difficult to ask the potter to include a small hole at the top for those who would rather hang the coaster?)

Mom was closer than I thought. She told me later that for a good portion of the time after I took off without her she could still see me up ahead and that was good motivation.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016
Almost done!

Mom finished really well, as she always does.

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016

Resolution Run Half Marathon 2016
Please explain why this is the second GTC race that has had the start/finish signs displayed backwards.

We stuck around for awards since the race director was able to read them off only 10 minutes or so after we finished. Just before he was about the read them off I pulled up the online results and realized that I had registered Mom as a 30 year old. Whoops! (again)

I hurried over to the timing tent to let Scott Bagwell know. As soon as I told him he laughed and said “you keep doing this.” Yup. At least this time I got her gender right.

He made the adjustment, printed off a new results page and Mom was able to get her award (2nd in her age group) a couple minutes later!

Overall this was a pretty stellar 100th race. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 bring!

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