Akron Marathon Training: Week Eight

We’re halfway there! I can’t even believe that it’s already been 8 weeks of training and that there are only 8 more weeks to go! I started off the week with one of my now favorite out and backs. I enjoy any time that I can run downtown and take in the historic views. Wednesday I headed to one of my favorite hills (can you believe I said that?) and did my best at some repeats. I enjoyed running these because I had a small loop at the top to continue with instead of stopping at the top of the hill. It also helped to add up the miles. I felt really good after this run and feel more confident about hill running and the marathon course.

No flat land here

No flat land here

Not only was the workout a successful one, but those six miles helped to put me at my highest month of mileage yet. Three cheers for running!

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 4 Miles

Wednesday: 6 Miles, 1 Mile w/u, 6x hill repeats, 1 Mile c/d

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 15 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 25 Miles

Remember when I said I had made it this far without an injury? Well, I’m not injured, but my body, specifically my knee was really sore Saturday. As in so sore, it started bothering me within the first 5 steps. The Second Sole Medina store had a group run at 8:00, so I figured I’d run down there and if it still hurt I’d just turn around and figure out plan B. The pain started to go away but I still felt blah, it was a lot more humid than I expected and I probably shouldn’t have had that large glass of wine the night before. By the time I got to the store I had three miles done. There were a few guys outside and I was hoping someone more my pace would show up. Turns out these gentlemen were from MCRR. I hadn’t seen them before but they gave me some good insight on my running. I waited until after 8:00 and no one from Second Sole showed up. At this point, I realized I would be on my own and headed to a path that the MCRR guys mentioned.

A change of scenery was nice and I ran the next  four miles without music, taking in the sounds of nature and all it had to offer.

Quiet little stream in the park

Quiet little stream in the park

I ended up back at the square, refilled my water and headed out for a short out and back. I had to be at home by 11, so I needed to do the rest of my runs closer to home. It was starting to get warm and my legs were starting to hurt, but once I took a few Sport Beans I was feeling better. Around mile 10 I attempted to take a Blueberry Pomegranate gel, and immediately threw it out after one gulp. Lesson learned, that’s not my flavor. So I headed home to grab a granola bar and fill my hand help with colder water.

I was at mile 12, and only had 8 to go. I headed out on a short loop for three miles and my body started to give up on me. Even after stretching my knee and hips were tight. I had the same pain in my knee from last year and this time it wasn’t going away as I kept running. I headed to the tree covered path, hoping this would help to keep me energized. I could feel myself slowing down and I even started to walk the hills. After I hit 13.5 miles I started the dreaded walk-jog. I knew if I headed home, I’d have 15 miles for the day, not an easy task, but certainly not the 20 I needed to get in. I stopped, stretched and asked myself if 5 more miles of pain would be beneficial to my running. I knew in the end it wouldn’t, so I called it.

I came home, iced, and rolled my legs a bit. I went over and over in my head what would make my knee suddenly start hurting, I felt fine when I woke up. And then it hit me, the high mileage. Not only was I putting some high mileage on my legs that I wasn’t used to, but I had pushed it on my shoes. I finished up Saturday with 359 miles on my shoes. They were pretty worn down and I knew the time to retire them was approaching, but it became clear that Saturday would be their last run.

I didn’t hit my first 20 miler, but I’m not going to dwell on it. It didn’t happen, and I need to focus on this next week of training. I still have plenty of long runs to go and some beautiful new shoes to break in!

What I learned:

  • If you’re going to host a group run, show up. Not showing up leaves you less accountable for the next group run.
  • Pay close attention to the miles on your shoes. The long runs have the miles adding up, and I need to pay closer attention to them.
  • Listen to your body. If you know that the pain will get worse as you continue running, head home and recover. A few miles short now is better than a rough injury down the road.

How many miles do you put on your shoes? Would you rather run alone or with a run group?

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?

Akron Marathon Training: Week Four

This week didn’t start off so great, but it finished exactly where I  needed to be. Tuesday’s run was short and rough. I had a hard time breathing from the humidity and felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. Still a little nervous about running two days in a row, I moved my tempo run to Thursday and ran the Twin Sizzler 5k. I’ll post more on the race later this week, but it was quite humid by 7:30 and made for an interesting race.

I had hopes of running with MCRR on Friday, but with a lack of sleep, I knew I needed to let myself get some rest. With a busy weekend and even more lack of sleep, I pushed my long run to Sunday morning. I knew that I had 14 on the schedule, but decided I’d be satisfied with 12  because I only hit 10 in my last long run. Last year I  made the  mistake of doing the same route for all my long runs, this year I wanted to mix things up so I set out for some back roads hoping to find some peace in the country. I also didn’t want to have a repeat of the dehydration issue so I set up a game plan of staying hydrated and full of energy.

  • Drink water at every mile marker
  • Take a few sport beans every 4 miles
  • Take Gu around mile 6
  • Take salt tabs once every hour

I started out easy and kept my pace around 10:15-10:30. It felt slow, but I knew I’d need the energy later on as the miles went on. It wasn’t too humid yet, and the sun kept hiding behind clouds about every other mile, not bad for an 8am run. I had some rolling hills, but was enjoying my time out on the back roads. I also knew I had a huge hill coming up, so I tried to relax as much as I could.

So much peace

So much peace

I really do enjoy moments like this, with no cars, no other people, and just the pure beauty of the land.

About a mile later I had found my “heartbreak” hill. From 963 ft to 1037 ft in less than a quarter of a mile, followed by an additional 50 foot elevation gradual change over the next half mile. It  may  not sound like monster, but my legs were hurting pretty bad when I got to the top. Fortunately I felt strong and never once thought about giving up on that hill. I continued on my way and started to have some heavy chest pains. I was at a point in my run where I could turn and go further from home, or I could make a slight change and stay within two miles of home. I decided to play it safe and stay closer to home. I quickly had to crunch some numbers and create a new route that would still get me over double digits without doing the same loop over and over. The pains went away and decided it was probably from the heat and my body was caught off guard by the hill.

I eventually figured out a plan and was getting close to 9 miles when I could feel my body starting to get sore. I was close enough to home that I could stop, refill my water bottle, stretch and head out for the remaining miles. And then I had my first incident with a car. Classic case of driver looks right at me, stops for a moment, and continues a right on red while I’m in the middle of her car. Luckily I had my eyes on her and moved out of the way at the last minute. *Drivers, please, please be cautious of runners, walkers, cyclists when turning right on red.

I made it home in once piece, but I could feel my hips and legs getting tight. I spent some time debating if I should continue my run or save the rest for later tonight. I only had 3-5 miles left, which at the point wasn’t much, but felt like it would have taken forever. After stretching, re-hydrating, snacking and mapping out what would be next, I headed to the lake for some softer ground. With an out and back on crushed gravel and grass, my legs felt so much better. By mile 12 I was feeling the pain and ready to get back home. After doing a few loops in my development I approached my front door with 14 miles for the day, my longest run since last October. It was tough, but I felt strong, and finally felt like I was really training for a marathon again.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Twin Sizzler 5k

Friday: Off

Saturday:  Off

Sunday: 14 Miles

Total Miles: 19 Miles

This week had it’s ups and downs, but I survived. I’ve got another long run this weekend, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I also have another tempo run that I may turn into hill repeats. Because hills, actually aren’t that bad!

What I learned:

  • Long runs are all about pacing. In the beginning I always feel slow, but the pace will eventually work itself out in the last miles.
  • Staying hydrated is key. I felt so much better using salt tabs this week.
  • Hills make or break a run. When you feel strong on the hills, you feel stronger about your run.
  • Always be cautious of your surroundings. Drivers, animals, pedestrians or cyclist may be in their own zone and not see you. When you lose touch of everything outside you’re run, that’s when you get hurt.

How was your holiday weekend? Have you ever had an incidents with cars while running?

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 13

This week was progress, but not as much as I had hoped. With a busy start to the week, I knew I’d have to push some workouts around. While they may have been short, I was able to get two solid workouts done during the week. I’m starting to like having a 3-4 mile run one day and a short, speedy 2 mile run another day. I’m able to focus on my pace with the longer run and focus on speed with the shorter. May not be what my training schedule has for me, but it’s been working so far.  At least I think so. I’m also able to keep weekday mileage low so I can get a good long run done on the weekend.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 3.5 Miles

Thursday: 2 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 16 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 22  Miles

Saturday’s run was supposed to be an 18 miler. Last week’s fail made me even more determined to get out there and run my longest run yet. Unfortunately, Friday at about 4:00 I started to feel a fever coming on. Pretty bummed I’d be spending my weekend sick, so I figured I should get my run done first and then spend the rest of the time on the couch. Luckily I woke up Saturday feeling pretty decent, so I decided I’d stick it out and get my miles in. I started with the mid sized hills that I scared myself out of last week. They were tough like I had imagined, but I’m struggling to find flat land, so I sucked it up and went for them. I felt good, strong and didn’t stop at all. I’m not sure how or when it happened, but I’m getting better at hills, and I don’t dread them as much. Looking back, I may have run them too quick too…

What was even more impressive than the hills, was the views. Honestly, I’m finding the most beautiful scenery on my runs. I’d take pictures every two seconds if I could. It makes me excited for winter to see all the trees….snow covered….

After the hills, I found myself back on a familiar route to discover some more unknown streets later in the run. But by mile 6 I hit a wall. I knew this was too early to be drained, and it wasn’t like me to be this worn out so quickly. I told myself “I will run 18” and repeated it over, and over, and over. I managed to get back on a comfortable pace and suddenly was already at mile 11. I had 7 miles to go, the worst was over, I just had to coast in and I’d be ok. I made it to mile 14 and could feel my body wearing down, could I get another 4 miles in? By now I could feel my fever really heating up and my legs were sore as could be. I took time and did the whole walk/jog for about a mile, and realized my body was just shutting down. I turned towards home and came in at just about 16 miles. I thought a long time about going out for those last two miles, but the longer I waited, I knew I just could do it.

For the second weekend in a row, I was frustrated with my long run. I need to get 18 in before Columbus. Darren reminded me that I did 16 tough miles including hills, “that’s kind of like running 18.” There’s still a two mile difference, but those hills were killer, I know I worked hard and I felt it my entire run.

A little bit of hills

It may not have been my best run, but I know it will help me on race day. On the bright side, I had my biggest mileage month yet, 83 miles! And I reached over 500 miles for 2012, 507 to be exact. Not the highest of miles, but it’s a lot for me. Now I just have to keep a steady pace and get that last 18 miler in before the big day. Three weeks to go!