Sunday, March 31, 2019

My Biggest Week!

Training week runs from Monday through Sunday.  In that aspect, I am at my biggest mileage week at over 60 miles after today's run (exact number unknown until I've completed today).  But the big deal for me is the week from Sunday through Saturday.  Since I did my long run on Sunday last week and Saturday this week, I hit 75.5 miles in 7 days!

I am officially tired, sore and constantly hungry.

Here's what that looked like:

Sunday:  18.6 miles - Swords Park    Mitch ran 15 miles too.  He dropped me off at the airport end of the trail and started from the other side.  We've done this a couple of times and its great because we can run our own pace and still see each other from time to time.  We did the last 7 miles together.  My overall average pace clocked in at 10:51/mile but most of my spits were in the low 10s.
Punxsutawney Phil made an appearance.  He's a long way from home.  (Actually a rock chuck is not quite the same thing as a groundhog but this is my story and I'll tell it how I want).

Monday:  10 miles - Shiloh Rd (Big Ditch Trail) at a 10:27/mile avg. pace.  I did this one after work and I dressed too warm for the weather.  This trail isn't much to look at so I didn't bother to take any pictures.

Tuesday:  3.4 miles - Zimmerman Trail    Yay!  The some of the trails are dry enough to run on!  I was mad at myself for not bringing a belt to carry my phone for pictures.  Mitch and I enjoyed a leisurely run/hike and then went out for dinner.

Wednesday:  9.6 miles - broken up in to two runs    This one was supposed to be a 3/3/3 (3 miles each done at a certain pace) but I was getting tired and it can be difficult to give up my entire evening to run when I have that many miles to do after work.  I got up and did the first half in the dark and then finished it with a treadmill run after work with a little speed thrown in.  I was trying to complete a challenge on Zwift anyway, but I wasn't excited about the treadmill when the weather was nice, but I admit that it is handy to be able to cook dinner while I'm running.

It was a beautiful morning for run -

Thursday:  10 miles - 2 out & back laps in the neighborhood.  I decided to take this one very easy.  It was cold and rain/snowing so I tucked my hands in to my jacket and refused to look at my watch the entire time.  It's so easy to feel like I need to push faster if I can see how slow I am running.  My goal was to run the whole time, including the hills at as easy of a pace as I could make myself do.  I kept telling myself "slow and steady, take it easy."  I managed an average of an easy 10:50/mile pace and only walked in a couple of spots for a few seconds.  The pace was what I was hoping for.

This is what 10 miles running in the rain does to the end of a braid:

Friday:  4.4 miles - Phipps Park   We've been waiting so long for this trail to be runnable again (Mitch's favorite).  In the winter we ran the steep climb for hill repeats often until the trail became to slick and then eventually too deep to run.  Now it's mostly clear with a short section that is till too muddy but otherwise perfect!   I love when the dirt is a little tacky because it's so much easier to run down than when it's completely dry.

Pause a moment here to look back at the first picture in this post.  There was quite a bit of snow still on the ground.  It's amazing how quickly it melted!

Saturday:  20 miles - Swords Park to the end of Zimmerman Trail and back.  Mitch and I did this together even though he was only going to do 18.  It was a long day.  I had already forgotten how much harder it is to do long runs on trails and overall it took us over 5 hours because we did a bit of walking and a few stops.  We are both sun burnt because I still haven't wrapped my head around the fact that I need to wear sunscreen.  I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful, spring Saturday with my husband.  We took time for a little photo shoot along the way:

While this was a big week for me, I have to give Mitch a shout out!  He topped out the last 7 days with over 47 miles and that is a huge week for him too.  I'm very proud of him.

If I'm following my plan to a "T" then I would start tapering now.  Unfortunately, my training plan is a week ahead and assumes that my race is in 3 weeks. I have 4 weeks so I need another peak week.  I'll be traveling for work again and that makes getting the miles in pretty difficult, but I will do my best to get in a good run every day and work in some speed since my training plan hasn't incorporated that in a while. Next weekend I will run an 18 miler on Molt Hills to simulate race day and make sure I'm good with the gear choices I've made and then.......... it's taper time.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

First Race of the Season, Spring has Sprung & My Weak Link

Last weekend was Run to the Pub - the kick off race to our season.  We finally got a decent break in the weather and we didn't freeze to death.  I will be posting a race recap and review later in the week so stay tuned.  Spoiler alert:  We finished!

I felt pretty good for that run consider the mileage I put in during the preceding days.  I did a 20 miler the day before.  I had never done this route.  I basically ran from one end of the city to the other and then back tracked to my office where I'd left my truck the day before.  The snow and ice made it challenging and seemed slow.  I don't know if I'll do that again.

I took the Monday following the race off from work and since I would be flying out for work on Tuesday, I hit the roads for my Tuesday Ten on Monday instead.  Spring weather is finally here!
I bought a new pair of shoes - Topo Magnifly 2s.  I wanted something that is low drop (zero) and wide in the toe box with a little cushion.  I tried on a pair of the Altra Torin's, which I have loved in the past but the current model had way more fluff than I wanted.  The Topos are very nice, but I'm not sure yet if they are going to work for me.  I'm suffering from pain in my right foot and at this point I'm unsure if that is a result of these shoes or the sandals I wore for 3 days while traveling.
PS.  Somehow I already have a sock tan line.  How is that possible?

After my ten-miler, I took myself on a date to the 406.  The restaurant has been open at least a couple of years now, but this is only the second time I have been there.  I was highly unimpressed the first time.  This apple-brie grilled cheese was pretty decent though and the beer was delicious (sadly I can't recall what kind it was).  Sometimes it's just nice to go on a lonely date, but it was entirely unnecessary since I would have to do it a couple of times while I was traveling anyway.

I went to Oklahoma City on Tuesday.  I knew it would be difficult to get in my training, but it was my goal to do it regardless.  Unfortunately, traveling is my weak link.  I eat terrible and work too late in to the night and I didn't get much running in at all.

I did get a running tour of Bricktown on the first night.  I ran from my hotel to the canal trail and through downtown, along the canal again at the Botanical Garden before heading back to my room.  I loved the trail along the canal but construction areas made it so that I couldn't easily get from one side to the other.  I do love this city. 

This is the Botanical Gardens (can you see the trees growing inside?).  From the front it looks like a space shuttle capsule. The canal trail goes under the building which is pretty neat and the canal is full of enormous Koi.  I took a picture, but it didn't do them justice.

On Wednesday and Thursday I should have run 9 miles each day but I was up until after Midnight working both of the preceding nights.  Getting up early just didn't happen. So I got a quick mile on Wednesday and 4.5 on Thursday using the hotel treadmill.  My view from the treadmill was kind of cool but nowhere near as awesome as running the city.

I've listened to the audiobook version of "My Year of Running Dangerously" by Tom Foreman a few times.  It's really good book and the author reads it himself.  He's very engaging to listen to unlike many of the audio books I have downloaded on my Audible app.  The first several chapters of the story is about how he and his daughter decided to do a marathon together and his training adventures while working as a busy news anchor.  This guy worked 100 hour weeks, traveling all over the place, running on strange streets and on strange trails (even after dark without a headlamp) and always managed to get in his miles. I need to be more like this guy.

I took Friday off because I had to finish preparing for my final work meeting while in OKC and then my travel home wouldn't get me in to Billings until 10:00 pm. 

Then I ended up taking Saturday off as well.  My right foot has been bothering me quite a bit this week.  I opted to work on getting out kinks so I did some hot/cold therapy - switching back and forth between ice and heating pad and massaging it with a golf ball and Tiger Balm. 

It feels much better and I am heading out for 18 miles shortly. 

I'll be home for a week and it's hell week on my training schedule.  I have 3 days of 10 milers in the middle of the week and a long run of 21 miles on Saturday.  There are no rest days over the next two weeks.  I will need to evaluate if that is a wise strategy for me as I put on the miles.  I have another week of work travel coming up too.

Four weeks until Revel Mt. Charleston.  I feel really good about my endurance, but I'm not overly confident about my speed.  I'm perfectly capable of maintaining the necessary pace on down hills but I haven't had enough training on extended down hill to know if I can maintain the speed as long as needed.  My training has been very hilly with plenty of ups and downs so I'm hoping that will translate in to a solid base over all.  For better or worse, the time is near and I'm excited to be going to Vegas regardless.

BTW... I'm still working on Mitch, trying to talk him in to letting me do Javelina Jundred in October.  It's more the traveling logistics that are complicated (and expensive) than anything else.  If you have any great suggestions on how to get all your 100 mile gear for a HOT weather race to a location 1200 miles away and still be somewhat frugal, I'm listening.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It's Been Redundant But I Can Finally See the Light

The last few weeks I've spent many miles between the treadmill and the path at Swords Park.  Montana experienced an insanely cold February with sub-zero temps more days than above.  I'm beyond grateful that I have a treadmill at home even if I hate to run on it.

But sometimes I just have to get outside and brave the cold no matter what or I will lose my mind.  I have put many miles on the path at Swords Park because they usually plow it.  However, a snow storm followed by strong winds made the trail quite challenging if I beat the plow there.  You can't see much of me because it was -4.  Even my eyeballs were frozen.  Why do I live where my eyeballs freeze?

Looking back over my Strava, the last ten days have literally been Treadmill, Swords Park, Treadmill, Swords Park, Treadmill, Swords Park......

The redundancy is starting to get to me.  On Sunday I had 18 miles to run and had planned to run Molt hills in to town but as Mitch was driving me out to the start point I had to change my game plan.  The sidewalks were in bad shape from the snow and had ice slicks from the melt off that was just starting to happen (finally).  My plan B was to run Swords Park.  It's only about 3.25 miles from end to end so that would mean doing about 3 out and back trips.  Ugh.  But it was a beautiful day and there were lots of runners out there.  Even Mitch went out and did 13.6 miles on his own!

Swords Park is also an easy place to meet after work to get some miles in.  Sometimes the views are pretty amazing so I shouldn't complain so much.

There is light at the end of tunnel finally.  Spring weather is on the horizon and we are starting to warm up.  This weekend is Run to the Pub half marathon in Bozeman and the forecast says it will be in the upper 30's.  Perfect.  I don't have any goals for this race.  In fact, I have a 21 miler that I will be doing the day before so I don't expect to have much left in my legs. 

I just ordered a new pair of running shoes.  I love the Brooks that I have been wear testing but they aren't great on down hills.  Since my marathon is all down hill I had to choose an alternative.  I have a pair of Topos that I love for working out.  They have a funny split toe so they look like deer toes.  The ones I ordered are similar to Altras in that they are zero drop and have a wide toe box.  I can't wait for them to get here.  Sadly they will arrive the day I'm leaving for Bozeman.

I also got a new cookbook.  Has anyone else tried a Hungry Girl cookbook?  I love her recipes which I usually get off the internet.  I made the Sloppy Janes last night and they were really good.


Have a great week!  I'll see you after the race this weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Peak Training Has Begun, North vs. South and My New Habit

I have officially hit the peak weeks of my training schedule. With one more run to go this week I am at 47 miles.  It's hard to see at a glance using the Training Peaks app, but I believe the peak training will top out somewhere around 67+ miles/week.  I would be lying if I said that doesn't intimidate me a bit.  I don't recall what my biggest week is, but I know it's somewhere in the 50's.

I had to travel for work this last week.  Getting in the running was going to be very challenging, let alone the weight training.  I did weight workouts the Saturday and Sunday before knowing that I would not get to while I was out of town - partly due to time but as it turned out I didn't have access to dumbbells at one of my hotels either.

I left Billings on Sunday afternoon and got in to St. Louis around 1:30 am and had to get up, check out of my hotel and get to my client's location by 7:30.  Meetings wrapped up there at 3:30 and then I had a 5+ hour drive to Willow Springs, MO.  I just have to say that driving through Oklahoma was a lesson for me... don't travel without cash.  I had to pay a toll on the interstate at 2 places and couldn't get off the freeway outside of the metro area without paying another toll to get OFF the freeway.  It was hours before I could use the restroom.

Thankfully Monday was a rest day.  I got in to Willow Springs around 9:30 pm and I was pooped.

I had the pleasure of running outside on Tuesday.  My schedule called for nine miles, which seemed like it would be difficult to do while I was out of town.  But Willow Springs is a sweet little town so I wasn't afraid to go running alone and I had plenty of daylight once my meetings were over.

They had a short, 1/2 mile loop around the park that I incorporated in to my run so that I could pick up the speed a little.  I did 3 loops when I first found it and another 2 on my way back from touring the town.

This mural is in the town center. There was another one as well and there was a nice "picnic" area.  I didn't get to learn much about Willow Springs, but I suspect it was a bustling railroad town at one time.

Their high school track isn't connected to the school.  I got here before students filtered in for whatever sport they are training for this time of year.  It is a really nice, paved track so I did four loops so I could pick up the speed again for a bit.  I didn't do the nine miles exactly by the prescribed speeds, so this is how I made up for it.

Willow Springs has these boxes at various places around town.  The first one I saw was at the park with the walking trail. This one is by the high school track. There are jars of food in this one.

As you can probably tell from the pictures above, the weather was pretty nice.  It was blissful to run in the sun and warmer weather.

Meanwhile in Montana.............. (I had Mitch screenshot this from his weather app at the same time I took the one above)

I flew home on Wednesday and got home after 6:30.  Mitch and I went to dinner and then I did 6 miles on the treadmill.  I was supposed to hit a 7:44/mile pace for the last 20 minutes of my run but I was tanked.  I could only hold that pace for about 3 minutes at a time.

While I was out of town, it snowed.... and snowed... and snowed.  When I got home, it was still snowing.

Thursday I had ten miles to do, broken up in to 5 mile segments of intensity.  I did the first five on the treadmill before I went to work and the other 5 in the neighborhood when I got home.  It was snowing again.

The temp was somewhere near zero.  These hand warmers are a life saver.  I wouldn't be running outside at all this year if it weren't for the bulk bags of them we bought at Scheels last winter.

I miss the beautiful 60 degree weather I enjoyed while in Missouri.  Why oh why didn't I bring it back with me?

I did 7 miles of interval work on Friday morning before work.  Then it snowed again that evening.

This weekend the bottom dropped out of the thermometer again.  I was planning to do Saturday's long run outside in spite of the forecasted 0 degrees.  But when I got up, it was -14 with a breeze which prompted me to change my plan.  Fifteen miles on the treadmill is good mental training, right?

Today is worse.  It is currently -19 degrees and the wind chill is somewhere in the -40's.  I'll be running inside again but thankfully it will be a much shorter run than yesterday.

I really dislike winter and the last month has highlighted exactly how much.  We've had the coldest February on record and plenty of snow to back it up.  I should live in Arizona.


I started a new habit recently.  It is my goal to drink over 100 ounces of water/day.  I dislike plain water so I don't get enough.  I started three weeks ago and only missed the days I was traveling and that is because you never know when you are going to get to use the restroom on an airplane or how long you might have to sit on a plane without going anywhere. I kept my liquid intake to a minimum on those days as well as the day I had to drive from Oklahoma to Missouri.

We bought a water filter for the sink because we already use a ridiculous number of plastic bottles.  If we added another gallon worth of Dasani bottles every day it was just irresponsible (we do recycle at least).  I got this crazy big water jug with motivational notes on the side to help me stay on track. It holds a gallon.  I've been teased a little at work about it.

I've had the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones on my wish list for a while now.  They are bone conductive so they don't go inside your ears.  You can hear what is going on around you while still listening to music, books, podcasts, etc.  Yesterday we found them on sale at Sam's Club so I got a pair.  I'm excited to try them out.  Stay tuned for a review.

I hope you have a great week with perfect running weather!