Erosene Winds? Close, but not quite. Marathon Training Week 5

23 09 2012

The Erosene Winds, an atmospheric phenomenon on the planet Alastria, were featured in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.  They are said to begin just before dawn and will evoke a feeling of euphoria in anyone who encounters them.  Now that would have been pretty nice here yesterday instead of the 25 mph gusts of cold Canadian air we got instead, but believe it or not I am NOT complaining.  The time I lost with them blasting me backward was well reimbursed with the tailwind on the second half of the run, and I actually did feel giddy with delight a time or two.

Week 5 of marathon training concluded on a high note with an excellent long run, faster than the schedule required, and a feeling that I have made great progress over the past month.  Run Less, Run Faster is the best training plan I have ever used.  I don’t know what I was doing messing around with all those other ones over the years.  Other than Couch to 5k, which got me started as a runner, RLRF is the only method that produced measurable results in such a brief time span.  And it’s perfect for an old body like mine that simply doesn’t do well if asked to run on consecutive days.  There are times I am skeptical about the short sessions of cross-training required on the in-between days because it seems unlikely that a mere 45 minutes of cardio will advance my fitness, but it is working so there’s the proof.

Here’s the breakdown for the past week:

Week 5 of 16

Sunday 9/16 —  Bike ride: 7.88 miles in 43 minutes on the old slow bike.

Monday 9/17 —  rest day

Tuesday 9/18 —  6 mile Tempo run:  2 miles easy, 3 at tempo, 1 mile cool-down.  It went well despite a slow start and I ended up with negative splits, finishing faster than I started.  All together that brought me in right on target for speed.

Wednesday 9/19 —  Upper body and abs workout.

Thursday 9/20 —  Speedwork:  Supposed to have been 3 x1600 meters with a warm-up and cool-down on each end, but the loop I like to run in the abandoned construction zone nearby is only 1400 so I did that at a slightly faster pace than the training plan called for, with each round faster than the last.  It was great.  I was amazed.  I know the weight loss has helped too, but I felt my old speed returning (still not “fast” by any means but fast for me) and I was very very grateful.

Friday 9/21 —  Bike ride 30 minutes easy followed by a long session of corework.

Saturday 9/22 —  Most excellent 14 mile long run at a full minute per mile faster than my expected marathon pace.  What a confidence builder!  After the past couple of crappy weeks, it was quite welcome to have a run like this.

Hopefully this is a harbinger of a good fall training season to come and I will find myself at the starting line in December confident and uninjured.  In my mind’s eye, I see it happening.  I feel the euphoria of the Erosene winds.

Marathon Training Weeks 3 and 4

16 09 2012

OK, so it wasn’t quite as bad as the time Captain Kirk and company beamed down to the planet Excalbia to conduct a geological survey and he ended up fighting this big ugly creature (a beast named Yarnek).  But it hasn’t been the most fantastic two weeks either.  Training has been up and down:  a couple of days were absolutely excellent and a few pretty much sucked.

Mainly there were some “intestinal issues” over the past week which have finally resolved, and then today I stubbed my toe and might have broken it.  It’s the middle toe on my right foot.  I have it buddy-taped, and I don’t run again until Tuesday.  So hopefully it will not be an issue.  But I sure will be happy when it quits hurting.

Anyway, here’s how it went:

Week 3

Sunday 9/2 —  A day off after the 9 mile Long Run; went with my husband to the Check Please Farm to Table Festival about a 2 hour drive away in Michigan.   The food was great:  “small plate” servings of food prepared by about 30 different chefs along with local brews and wine.  Our favorites were the sauteed pork belly on honey mustard with herb salad and fresh cherries and also a wonderful sweet-potato bread pudding.  I just love good food I didn’t have to cook!

Monday 9/3 —  Labor Day.  I should have done some Cross Training but I felt like lounging instead.  So I did.  It was nice to hang around the house with nothing on the agenda for the day.  You need those days every now and then, even when training for a marathon.

Tuesday 9/4 —  The schedule called for a 7 mile Tempo Run.  It was very hot and sunny, so I was slower than I wanted to be but I got it done.  I’d rate it “so-so.”

Wednesday 9/5 —  A Weights day.  I did one of my favorite DVD’s: Cathe Friedrich’s Push-Pull.  Nice DOMS the day after.

Thursday 9/6 —  Speedwork:  1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 and then 200 meters with a 200 meter rest interval in between.  A most EXCELLENT outing!  Faster than the training schedule called for, and I really kicked ass that morning.  It was great.

Friday 9/7  and Saturday 9/8 — Sick days.  Did nothing.  Feh.

Week 4

Sunday 9/9 —  A scheduled day off.  I worked at the Urgent Care.

Monday 9/10 —  Cross Training day:  45 minute bicycle ride around the neighborhood with a few hills.  9 miles in 45 minutes.

Tuesday 9/11 —  Tempo Run day:  Again, slower than I wanted to be.  The schedule called for 6.  I managed 5.5.  I still wasn’t back to 100% yet and it showed.

Wednesday 9/12 —  XT again:  30 minutes on the bike; should have done weights after the run but time got away from me and I had to get to work.

Thursday 9/13 —  A “supposed to be Speedwork” day:  30 minutes of run/walk intervals outdoors.   Just wasn’t feeling well enough to put forth much effort.

Friday 9/14 —  Scheduled day off.

Saturday 9/15 — 12 mile Long Run.  It was a nice day, slightly warmer than I would have liked, but I did good.  I followed the pace on the training schedule even though it seemed slow and felt decent afterwards.

So that brings us up to the present day. I have a 6 mile Tempo Run for Tuesday, more Speedwork for Thursday and a 14 mile Long Run on Saturday (with 2 XT days and a Weights session in between).   Hopefully the toe won’t be an ugly beast I have to conquer but if it is, c’est la vie.  I shall slay the monster like Captain Kirk and consider it another successful mission.

Marathon Training Weeks 1 and 2

1 09 2012

Heading out for my run this morning in an over-sized baseball jersey and baggy black shorts, I looked like a refugee from a Kris Kross concert in the 1990s.  With baseball cap and shades, the only thing missing was a big ugly gold chain.  I don’t usually care what I wear when I run but I did recently purchase a new outfit (on clearance) for my marathon from Skirt Sports.  I figure it will be a special occasion so I might as well look good.  My new threads, while definitely more gamester than gangster, in no way resemble these duds worn by Capt. Kirk and company during the original series episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion.”

But, fashion statements aside, what can be said about my first two weeks of training is:  “So far so good.”

The Kiawah Island Marathon is 14 weeks from today, and I find myself looking forward to it.  Cooler weather should be approaching as well and I am also looking forward to that.

Getting back in the swing of serious training after two months of heatwave and a family tragedy has had its ups and downs, but I am dealing with it all.  There are days I have to shove myself out the front door and others that I am virtually bounding like an 8 year old.  I guess that’s life.

The weight loss efforts which fell by the wayside after the half in Alaska have resumed (albeit sporadically at first) because it would really help to be at least a dozen pounds lighter by race day.   I haven’t regained any weight but must acknowledge a slow erosion of the self-discipline I had built up over 6 months of carefully planning and logging 90% of my meals.

The Run Less, Run Faster training week features three “quality” runs (that means “tough”) and two non-weight-bearing “aerobic cross training” workouts like swimming, rowing or pedaling a stationary bike.  I can’t say I have the cross training stuff up to par yet but I’m working on it.  Since I don’t swim and have neither a rowing machine nor a stationary bike, I did rejoin the local gym during their current $10/month special and will make sure I get myself there as soon as possible.  The authors also advocate 2 or 3 quick strength training workouts weekly which I can do either at the gym or at home.

I really want to give myself this successful effort as a 57th birthday present in December.  It will provide a nice end to what has been an otherwise sort of crappy year.


Week One
Sunday  —  Rode the bicycle 35 minutes.  It was hot, I was tired and I didn’t have more than that in me.
Monday  —  Took the day off.
Tuesday  —  Long slow run:  8 miles.  I hadn’t run this far in a long time.  I was suprised at how easy it was.
Wednesday  —  Upper body weights and abs; very short quick workout because I procrastinated too long and then had to go to work.
Thursday  —  Speed intervals:  15 minute warm-up followed by 3 x 1600 meters and a 15 minute cool down.  I was slower than I wanted to be, but it wasn’t a bad effort considering I hadn’t done speedwork in a couple of months.
Friday  —  Rode the bicycle around the neighborhood.  Short easy ride.
Saturday  —  Hot, hot day for a 10k but I did it:  the DeKalb Cornfest 10k.  Slow, slow day too.

Week Two
Sunday  —  Took the day off.
Monday  —  Walked the dogs two miles.  Didn’t feel like much else.
Tuesday  —  First attempt at the week’s tempo run:  I got out late because it took too long cleaning the house.  Started out from home but fizzled due to heat and sun.  So I drove to the woods.  It was hot there too and full of mosquitos.  Quit after two miles.  Very disgusted with the return of 90 degree temps the past week and dejected that my running is so affected by hot weather.
Wednesday  —  Second attempt at a tempo run:  A bit more successfully, I ended up doing 4 miles.
Thursday  —  Rode 30 minutes on the bike (6 miles), then came back and did a thorough upper body workout and abs.
Friday  —  Speedwork:  15 minute warm-up, 4 x 800 meters fast (faster than usual which made me very happy), 15 minutes cool-down.  Nice!  I felt my smile coming back.
Saturday  —  Long slow run:  9 miles.  Yes, I should have taken a day off in between but my schedule didn’t permit it.  It was a good run, faster than the schedule called for but still quite comfortable.  The smile is definitely back.  Even with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac pelting me the last 4 miles, it did me good.