Akron Marathon Training: Week Nine

This week couldn’t have gone better if I tried. After last week’s long run was cut short, I was nervous about getting injured, worn down or coming to a wall in my training. Luckily that wasn’t the case. I started off the week by breaking in my new shoes. I had one last pair of the Asics Gel 1160 in the back of my closet and decided it was time to break them in. It felt good to run in a new pair of shoes, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the support on my arch. Thursday I pulled out my second pair of new shoes, the Asics GT-2000. The moment I put them on, they hugged my feet and was reaffirmed that these are the perfect shoes for me. With less than two months to go, I’ll have just enough time to break in the shoes and get them ready for race day.

Asics Gel 1160 & GT-2000

Asics Gel 1160 & GT-2000

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 Miles

Friday: Off

Saturday: 20 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 25 Miles

I’m still not quite sure what to say about Saturday’s run,  but let’s start at the beginning. I had 16 miles on the schedule and was looking forward to running. I had decided I would join some of the MCRR members in a group run at Bonnie Park. I’d only been there once before so new scenery would be inviting. I was also looking forward to running with a new group, hoping that conversation would help keep my mind off the miles. The run was split up into three out and backs of 5 miles. The pace was set at 11:00, but I somehow found a way to pick it up on my way back each time.

I felt great the entire time and kept my hydration and fueling system in check.

  • Take a sip of water every mile
  • Refill my water after every 5 miles
  • Take a salt tab every 5 miles
  • Each two Sport Beans every 5 miles

I knew I’d have to do an additional mile after everyone was done, but when another women mentioned she was running 18, I decided I’d join her. I was still feeling pretty good, despite that the temperature was heating up. We came back to the parking lot just at my Garmin beeped for 18 miles. At this point I was at a cross roads. I still felt pretty good, and the thought had crossed my mind to try for 20. I knew it was on schedule for this next week, but running an additional 7 miles after a half marathon seemed a lot harder than finishing 2 miles right here. So I started off and knew I only  had to make it one mile and I could turn around for the home stretch. Those last two miles flew by and I could feel myself speed up the closer I got to my car. I finished the run with a “sprint” and heard the most amazing sound, the Garmin’s beep of a 20 mile run.

So much more than 20 miles

So much more than 20 miles

I was in complete awe of what I had finished. My first 20 mile training run and a milestone in my running. I had only seen 20 miles on my Garmin once, and that was during Columbus. But the last time my watch was sitting at 20 miles, I was in a breakdown in a port a potty in the Columbus marathon. At the 20 mile mark in Columbus, I wanted to give up, I wanted to stop, and I wanted to throw away running forever. This time when my watch clocked 20 miles, I felt so strong, so happy and craving more. This was the run that meant everything, and this was the run that almost nothing can beat.

I came home and took an ice bath like a champ wimp, forgetting how awful they felt, but remembered how good they are. For the record, an ice bath by yourself in a bathtub isn’t nearly as fun as an ice bath with your team in garbage cans outside of coach’s office. I followed up with my ProCompression socks, a 500 calorie cinnamon roll and a 20 minute nap. Still in shock of what I had run that morning, I tried to hold on that runner’s high as long as I could.

What I learned:

  • I missed running with a group. The miles fly by, and you learn so much. I ran with someone training for their first half marathon to a few ultra runners, and everyone in between.
  • The Asics GT-2000 are my go to shoe. Finding the perfect shoe for your feet make all the difference in the world.
  • Proper hydration, fueling and pace can help you go any distance, you just have to want it.
  • Nothing compares to the runner’s high after a perfect run. I’m still holding on to it, hoping I see it again soon.

Akron Marathon Training: Week Five

I think I go along with everyone when I say that the rain was putting a damper on my running. After 16 straight days of rain, I was so glad to finally see the sun. This week, well, I think I’d enjoy a few rain showers. I took off Monday to recover from my long run. I was feeling good, but on Tuesday my legs were a little tight. I tried to sneak my run in between the storms, but got caught in the rain not even a half mile in. It helped cut the humidity and felt good to cool off while running.

photo (6)

Post rainy run

Wednesday was a completely different story. After a huge line of storms came in and about 50 text alerts, flooding became my biggest issue. We were hit hard and many streets, yard and houses were flooded. My little township of Montville was even featured on the news with how bad the flooding was, including some of the streets I ran last weekend, which had two feet of standing water on them. Luckily our home was bone dry, but unfortunately many of our neighbors weren’t so lucky. I knew I wanted to do some hills, but finding some dry land was a challenge. I lucked out and found a smallish hill and decided on 10 repeats. They went quick and I was feeling good. The hill was just big enough that I could feel myself slowing down by number 8. I felt really good working on some hills, but not so much on my warm up and cool down, something I need to work on.

Lake Medina parking lot with a few feet of water

Lake Medina parking lot with a few feet of water

 

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3.25 Miles, .75  Mile w/u, 10 hill repeats, .5 Mile c/d

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 16 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 21.25 Miles

Saturday, long run day, was quite the experience. I’m going to go ahead and let you know now that it was a great run. I originally sent out an invite to MCRR inviting anyone to join me for 16 miles. When no one showed up Saturday morning, I was a little bummed out, but now, I’m glad I had another solo long run. I mapped out a new route that included some challenging hills and some roads I’ve never been on. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I figured it was better than doing my old route over and over from last year. I started through some expensive homes that back up against Lake Medina. The views of the lake are worth the pain of a steady incline for a few miles. I then headed out to some country roads with some beautiful rolling hills. I was feeling really good, consistently hydrating, taking my salt tabs and eating my sport beans. The downside to being so far out of town, is that there are no sidewalks, so I had to hug the white line a few times after cars wouldn’t move over.

I started to head back in town around mile 8 and attempted to take a Gu. I took two bites of the peanut butter flavor and had enough. I knew it wouldn’t sit well if I kept eating it. I was also at the point that I needed to refill my water so I stopped at Dunkin Donuts. Seeing all those donuts, I immediately regretting not sticking around for a while, but I had to keep running. For the next two miles I had sidewalks, but that also meant I was stop and go at stop lights. I liked being able to stretch, but I hated that once I found a good pace, I was stopping again. Around mile 10, I had made it to the square. The farmers market was out, which was also tempting to stop for, but instead I stretched in the grass for a few minutes and planned out my last 6 miles. I had originally found a loop that would bring me to 16 at my door, but at this point, my legs were starting to ache and I wanted to be closer to home. It was also part of my dreaded long run route from last year, which would be mentally tough to run. I took the back road out of town and followed it until I came upon a cross roads. I had 4 miles left, I could either head out and loop back home or I could cut down the development and create a few out and backs to hit my mileage. I decided on the longer loop. The more I did now, the less I’d have to do once I was home. It was also at this point that I realized I only had 4 miles to go, something so easy, and short! I suddenly had  some energy and was picking up  my pace.

I found myself on some of the flooded streets from Wednesday, the sun was out, debris was scattered and they smelled so terribly bad. It took everything in me not to gag, but I kept going. I was heading back  uphill towards home and noticed I’d still be short so I did an out and back into the first development I ran. I was at 14.5 miles and my body was now hurting. I was tired, my legs were sore and I was getting pretty hot. I was out of water and knew that the only thing between me and 16 miles was a nice gradual hill. I gave it everything I had, turned the corner and followed my street. I hit my doorstep at 15.30. I knew I had to hit 16, so I chugged some cold water and slowly jogged around my neighborhood. My Garmin beeped, and I was done. Best 16 miles to date.

Hills for breakfast

Hills for breakfast

I honestly felt great for 14.5 miles of this run. I kept a decent pace, never going over 10:25 and sometimes saw myself down at 9:40. I powered up those hills like I was on the heel of a PR and never once thought of walking them. Most importantly, never once did I wish I was back in bed instead of running. Ok, well, maybe the first few minutes, but I loved that run, and I can’t remember a run were I’ve felt so solid for so long. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d actually be able to train for a marathon, mentally or physically. And I’m sure some readers doubted I’d actually stick with my plan or get my long runs in. It feels good to see what I’ve done in five weeks, and even better to imagine what I can do in the next eleven.

This next week I have a 10k that I’ll combine with my 18 miles for Saturday. Does anyone know how to race a 10k, cause I sure don’t.

What I Learned:

  • Hills are so empowering. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. My elevation change for this run was 828 feet. It may not seem like a lot, but I know it’s making things that much easier come race day.
  • Even though I’m only running three days a week, I think it’s best for me. My body is feeling good and I’m staying injury free. I’ve debated adding a fourth day, but think I’ll just play it by ear.
  • I’m having less headaches than I used to, and I’m thinking it might be from all the running I’m doing. If not, it’s still nice to have a few weeks away from migraines.
  • I’m not a huge fan of warm ups and cool downs, this needs to change. Besides, it’s only a mile each time, it should be easy!
  • I miss yoga. Last week was the holiday and this week I had plans, so I haven’t been in two weeks. I’m so excited to get back to it this coming week.

Did your runs get rained out this week? Do you prefer running on sidewalks or the edge of the road?