Boston Marathon Training: Week 14

My Boston Celebration jacket arrived in the mail on Tuesday and I’ve been wearing it around the house non-stop ever since. It feels weird to wear it out…is it too braggy? Is it bad luck to wear the jacket before I actually do the race?

Saturday, after a 4 mile shake out, I wore it to the grocery store and the nicest lady stopped to ask me about it. She says she runs the Boston 5k with her son every year and then he does the marathon the next day. She wanted to let me know what a great time I’m going to have. Super sweet!

This week’s total: 49.75

Monday: Yoga

This yoga workout was heavy on the lunging. That was really tough considering my fast 18-miler the day before. I was sore through Wednesday and I honestly don’t know if it was from yoga or running. Still, it always feels amazing to have at least one day a week where I’m twisting and stretching.

Tuesday: VO2 max 8 miles with 6x600m at 5k pace

I really love that this phase of my training plan has this fast intervals in it. I chose 8.5 on the treadmill (7:04 pace) for the speedwork for .4 miles and recovered with a .2 mile jog in between.

Wednesday: 11 miles

This run was so hard. I kept expecting it to get easier and it never did. I think the plan had a recovery day here but I had to do some shuffling around because of my actual life, so I’ll blame the sluggishness on doing two hard workouts in a row.

In other news, I finished Breaking Bad during the first 25 minutes of this run. I spent the next 10-15 minutes trying to figure out what to watch next and then I settled on Better Call Saul which, in my opinion, does not have an engaging first episode. Episodes 2 and 3 are way better and definitely worth getting through the first one.

Thursday: Rest Day

Especially after my cruddy early-morning 11-miler, I’ve been thinking about life after marathon training and all the variety of activities I’m going to do that I can’t do now.

Thursday afternoon a friend emailed and asked if I wanted to do Flywheel and my first thought was ‘no’ because these are my peak training weeks and I need to save my legs for running.

Then I realized that’s no way to live. I couldn’t go Thursday night because of a high school choir concert but suggested next Monday. We’re signed up and I can’t wait!

Friday: 9 miles, 5 at 10k race pace

Today’s training run was supposed to be the 2nd of 3 tune-up races in my training plan. I guess I could’ve done one of the St Patty’s day races around here, but the plan says 8k-15k and I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a 5k. Plus, the two sort-of close to me were over $40.

Anywho, I did this on the treadmill and it went great. Two miles warm up and cool down with a 5 mile progression starting off around 7:45 and ending just under 7:30 for the last mile. Such a difference from the beginning of this plan when I struggled to do my tempos without stopping to rest.

I have one more tune-up race on the plan in a couple of weeks and decided to actually sign up for a real race. It’s a trail 5 miler which should be interesting. I’m going to want to race it, but the last trail race I did was single track for quite a bit of it so I was pretty much stuck at the pace of the people in front of me. This looks like it’s a wider trail so hopefully I’ll be able to go all out.

Saturday: 4.5 mile with 6×100 meter strides

This was supposed to be just 4 miles but I misjudged my loop. We’re starting to get some sunshine (for now) and being outside felt so good. For my strides I sprint while I count to 20 and then jog while I count to 20 and repeat.

Sunday: 17.25

The sun was still out (see above pictures) and this run felt great. It’s weird to be at the point where I see 17 miles on the calendar with no fast miles and think it’s going to be nice and easy. I picked a route with a few hills including a gigantic two mile hill at the beginning that I took at about a 10 min pace. The rest was rolling hills/flat with an overall downhill for the last mile. My last 5 miles were in the 8:30 range.

4 weeks to go!

I’m linking up with HoHo and Wendy for the weekly wrap.


Show Us Your Books March 2018

I’ve only joined the Show Us Your Books linkup a couple of times, but I have gotten some GREAT recommendations so far. Thank you Jana and Steph and all the other contributers! Two of the three books on my list this month were checked out of the library the week after the January linkup. I’m in line for a few more and I’m planning on restocking my backlog after reading through other people’s blogs this month.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

This one I already had picked out before I went trolling for recommendations. I picked it because I’ve seen it on “Best of 2017” lists and because I used to live in Manhattan Beach California so maybe I’d recognize some of the landscape.

Haha no. The setting is Manhattan Beach in New York during WWII. For the first 80 pages or so I was really into the luxurious prose, but soon I realized I didn’t care about any of the characters and I wasn’t sure what they were trying to accomplish. It took me all of January to finish this book.

I like the idea of this book. The heroine is a woman who wants to be a scuba diver. Her dad is missing due to some mysterious shakedown involving gangsters. She’s drawn to a lead gangster, not realizing his part in her dad’s disappearance and the gangster doesn’t realize who she is. There’s adventure and mystery and intrigue. I just didn’t personally find it that compelling. And yet, I finished it for the prose.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I loved this book. It’s so strange. It’s hard to figure out how to describe the plot or characters without making it sound horrible. The protagonist is a child named Wavonna who’s mother is mentally ill and who’s father is a drug dealer. Wavy falls in love with a man in his 20s who looks after her. The love story is heartbreaking and tender and somehow realistic despite it being between two people with such an age gap. I zoomed through this and was completely satisfied by the end.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Read this book. This was my favorite. It starts in the late 18th century in Ghana with two sisters who share a mother, but never meet each other. One becomes a slave and is shipped to America and the other stays in Africa.

The story follows their descendants through generations on both continents. It was so beautiful how each child was a continuation of the family story, but also a unique individual affected by their specific place in time and space.

My favorite vignette was near the end. I don’t want to give away too much because I really think everyone should read this, but there’s a part where a mother in Ghana hurt her son while being entranced by visions of her family’s past cruelty. Their reunification scene was the heart of this book for me. As a species we’re capable of hurting each other so much, but it’s possible to unite by recognizing our damage and shortcomings and what we have in common. That sounds trite, but it’s so lovely in this book. I think the ending is perfect.

Life According to Steph

Boston Marathon Training: Week 13

Total Miles: 50

I’m so happy with how this week went. I’ve been training for this race almost non-stop for a year and a half, first to qualify for it and then to run it. At the beginning of the week I was feeling so tired. I was fantasizing about the things I’ll get to add back into my life when it’s over in 5 weeks. Now that the week’s over I’m feeling really grateful for all the fun things I have in my life right now including running.

Monday: Rest Day

I got myself to a yoga class finally!

The past several weeks have thrown me off my yoga game because of getting sick and the unexpected trip to Utah, but this week I was able to start off right with yoga.

The theme of the class was identifying what yoga is for you right now. The reason for yoga changes over time…sometimes for flexibility, or for escape, or for strength. For me right now yoga is partly for injury prevention, but I realized during class today that it’s also just for me to be doing something that isn’t running.

Tuesday: VO2 Max 9 miles with 5x1000m @5k pace, jog 50% recovery in between

I don’t mind interval workouts on the treadmill because it’s so easy to keep the pace even. I did .65 miles at a 7:09 pace and then followed it up with .35 jogging before the next interval.

Tuesday night my band had our first Seattle show ever. I was in a state of high anxiety literally from before I woke up at 5am. I woke up in the middle of a nightmare about the performance. I was nervous all day long. We played from 8-9:30 and I finally got to bed around midnight where I was too wired to sleep until 1am.

The show went pretty well. We have some things to work on for sure and it took me a good 20 minutes on stage before I stopped shaking. The best part was how many of my friends and coworkers showed up! I felt so loved and so grateful.

One of the people who came was my best running friend who I haven’t seen in years. We used to work together and would run during our lunch breaks and talk about our lives. We lost touch when I got a new job and our lives just got really busy. It was amazing to see her again and I’m determined to reach out to her again for happy hour soon.

Wednesday: 3 miles recovery

Being freaked out for a full day on Tuesday took it’s toll. I was wrecked on Wednesday. I had 5 miles scheduled. It took all my willpower to get 3 miles in during my lunch break. I decided cutting it short and taking a shower would make my life better than pushing through and I have no regrets.

Thursday: 12 miles

Another early morning treadmill run. I was still really tired and considered early on cutting this run short and finishing it up later in the day, but I’m glad I powered through. Later on I reviewed my schedule and realized that this is the last 12 mile midweek run of this cycle!!!

That’s crazy that I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to tick off the last time I’m doing this or that type of run. I’m not starting to taper yet (I still have a couple of 11 mile midweek runs) but it feels like there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.

Friday: 8 mile GA

Early morning treadmill, at it again. This one felt just fine.

Saturday: Rest Day

I spent Saturday at a recording studio for the first time ever. My band is putting together an album and today was vocal recording day. The studio is next to a nature conservation area in the woods and is completely gorgeous. I felt like a total rock star.

Sunday: 18 miles with 14 at Marathon Pace

This is my last marathon pace long run and it’s over!!!! The sun came out today so I had perfect 60 degree weather. I had some trouble around mile 14 where I was getting really warm and had to stop for water. Otherwise, I’m really happy with how consistent I’m getting with pacing. This isn’t something I’ve been confident about before. All of the marathon pace workouts in this plan have definitely given me a 6th sense for 8 min/mile pace.

Marathon Pace splits: 7:47, 7:55, 7:59, 7:51, 8:03, 7:55, 8:05, 8:03, 8:01, 7:56, 8:01, 8:11, 7:59, 7:53

Around mile 12 some teenagers across the street started yelling at me and waving their arms. I almost ignored them but the realized it was my oldest son and his friends out walking around. Other than that, this run was about locking in on my hard (but not too hard) pace and just zoning out and not thinking about how much time was left.

Five more weeks to go!

I’m liking up with HoHo and Wendy again this week.







Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 11/12

Week 11: 58 miles (whew!)

A trip to Utah for my uncle’s funeral at the end of this week meant that I had to be creative with my training plan, but it also meant I got to see family and go on runs with my sisters. Since I was driving back on Sunday I didn’t blog so I’m playing a little catch up this week.

Monday: 7 miles + 6x100m strides (treadmill)

Tuesday: Lactate Threshold 11 miles with 7 at half marathon pace (treadmill)

I’ve found the key to these half marathon pace training runs and it truly is just running slower. I started the fast portion of this workout at an 8 min/mile pace and sped up slightly for the last two miles. Nailed it. I ran a half marathon a year ago faster than an 8 min/mile pace so I feel like I *should* be able to do this faster, but I have to be honest with myself and run the pace that I can complete this workout.

Wednesday: Rest

I worked from home until noon and then we drove 10 hours to Twin Falls, Idaho. Having a day to sit around in a car was a lot better than it sounds. It’s kind of luxurious to have nothing to do but sit.

Thursday: 12 miles (hotel treadmill)

There was only one treadmill in the hotel gym. We still had 7 hours left to drive this day so I hopped on it early and got my miles in. The hotel maintenance staff walked in and out every now and then and I’m pretty sure they thought I was nuts, but you do what you gotta do.

Friday: 7 miles easy with sisters outside

I was planning on taking a rest day this day and doing a 5 miles recovery run on Sunday, but my sisters were going so I had to take advantage of that.

Saturday: 21 miles outside with sisters

This will absolutely be my favorite run of this training cycle. My youngest sister and I started out at 5:30 am when the stars were still out. There’s a trail next to the road that we ran on until we reached a little past 10 miles. By then the sun was up and we were in the middle of this gorgeous red rock desert.

On the way back another sister met us about 3 or 4 miles from the end and we all finished together. Seeing Claire coming over the hill in the distance waving her arms at us was so great. I really wish we all lived closer together.

Sunday: Rest day 

Week 12: 49 miles

Monday: Rest Day

I was on the fence about taking two rest days in a row but realize by the afternoon that I just didn’t have the energy for it today and I was willing to pay the price later in the week.

Tuesday: 8 miles with 5×600 at 5k pace (treadmill)

I crushed this. I guess that’s what two rest days in a row will do for you. I ran the 5k pace at a 7 min/mile. No biggie.

Wednesday: ML 12 miles (treadmill)

I’ve never finished watching Breaking Bad so I decided to take on the last season again. It’s depressing and I hate all the characters but I’m curious enough to finish this out. I started watching this show years ago and never finished it because I hate Walter White and I despise how the writers treat the women characters. Anyway, I’ve got a lot of time to spend on the treadmill so I’ve decided to see what all the hype is about. I’ve heard the ending is really satisfying. Hopefully Walter White dies.

Thursday: Recovery 5 miles + 6x100m strides (treadmill)

This was so hard. SO HARD. It shouldn’t have been so hard.

Friday: 7 miles with 5 fast (treadmill)

The plan I’m on has an 8k-15k race scheduled for this weekend, but I couldn’t find one and I didn’t have the time anyway so I just ran a fast tempo run closer to the 8k end of the spectrum.

This run was validating. I’ve had such a hard time with these tempo runs in the past and this time I was able to run all of those fast miles between 7:47 and 7:30 without stopping. Proof that I’m getting stronger. I love it.

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: 17 miles (outside)

I did not enjoy this run at all. I honestly can’t believe I even finished it, but I’m glad I did. I was plotting the whole time about how I’d just go two more miles and then call it quits. I’m blaming the cold I got yesterday. I don’t know what else it could be. Overtraining maybe? Who knows. Sometimes you run well and sometimes you don’t.

Anyway, five more weeks to go until race day. I’m fully in the peak training portion of this cycle. My airline tickets to Boston have been bought. I’m going to buy my jacket after I post this blog. This is really happening!

As always, linking up with HoHo and Wendy.


Boston Marathon Training: Week 10

I got some sad family news early this week that means I’ll be taking a road trip to Utah next week for a funeral. It was a rough week in general. Just stressful and sad with personal and national events. I don’t know if this is the most healthy way of dealing with things when life gets chaotic, but I took to my planner to reschedule my runs. Barring illness or injury, running is something I can control. It helps me sleep better at night and keeps my mind a little calmer.

Fortunately this was a cutback week, so I wasn’t concerned that the schedule adjustments I had to do would be too much. Next week might be trickier though.

Unfortunately I’ve had to do so many adjustments lately that I haven’t been to yoga since before I got ecoli I couple weeks ago. I’m starting to feel the strain in my hamstrings again.

Monday – Rest Day

My sister texted me Monday night to ask about the 20-miler I have scheduled for next weekend. She’s coming to Utah too and also has a 20-miler on the calendar that day even though she’s about a month ahead of my with marathon training (hers is on St. Patty’s Day). I almost always run alone. It felt really good that she was keeping up with my schedule and wanted to figure out how to do this together.

Tuesday – 8 miles General Aerobic (9:07 avg pace), treadmill

Now that I’m running in the morning more, I’ve noticed a pattern that Tuesdays don’t feel great. I think there’s some leftover fatigue from whatever Sunday’s hard effort is.

Wednesday – VO2 Max 8 Miles: 5×800 @5k pace with 50% jog between, treadmill

I haven’t run 5k pace in a while and wasn’t sure what to expect after feeling slow the day before. I started out my fast paces at 7:13 pace and by the last one was at a 6:57 pace. It felt great.

Thursday – Recovery 5 miles (9:02 avg pace), treadmill

I did this one on my lunch break. Nothing special to report.

Friday – 8 miles with 8×100 sprints, treadmill

Normally this would be a rest day, but I’m trying to adjust my schedule so I can do long runs on Saturdays instead of Sundays the next couple of weeks and so I can use my rest days for travel days next Thursday and Friday.

Saturday – 14 miles, outside

I had crummy luck with the weather. It was sunny before and after my run, but rained most of the actual run and even hailed a little. I opted for the hilly lighthouse route so I’m sure that had a lot to do with my legs feeling so heavy, but also the no rest days since Monday were probably catching up to me.

Sunday – Rest Day!

We got a little snow this morning but it’s all melted by now and the sun is shining. I’m making chicken pot pie for dinner and spending the whole day in my pajamas, playing video games with my kids, cleaning a bit, and finishing up my library book. I finally re-organized my sock drawer which had gotten out of control and I planted a kitchen window herb planter. I’m enjoying the calm before things get busy again next week.

Linking up as always with HoHo and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.


Boston Marathon Training: Week 9

I’m halfway through my 18 week training plan and feeling really strong. I’m doing the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan which is the most aggressive marathon training plan I’ve tried so far (this will be my 5th marathon). It’s been a challenge to make time for the runs but I feel like it’s really paying off. Even the long, hard runs are starting to feel ok.

Monday: Rest Day

There’s a manicure place that opened up in the same building as my office. I didn’t have enough time today for yoga so I opted for a different way to treat myself.

Tuesday: Easy 6 miles treadmill

I kept the pace a tad over 9 min miles. I think I was still sore from the Sunday 19 miler, but this was fine.

Wednesday: 14 miles treadmill

I’m pretty sure this is a new treadmill high score for me. Average pace for the first 9.5 miles was 9:06. Then I hoped off to go to the bathroom and finished the last 4.5 at 8:56.

This scheduled run has been the boogeyman for me in this training plan. The Pfitzinger plan includes a medium-long run like this each week with 14 miles being the longest. I was pretty sure I’d have to creatively split this one up somehow.

But you know what takes longer than running 14 miles on a treadmill? Running 7 miles twice in one day on a treadmill. You have to go to the gym twice, change clothes twice, shower twice…

I decided to just get up early and get it done. I started around 6:15 and just kept going. And you know what? It was totally fine. I don’t want to do it every day, but it felt easier overall than the 6 miles the day before. Figure that one out.

Thursday: 6 miles recovery treadmill

I did this one during my lunch break. Average pace 8:54.

Friday: Rest day

I play banjo and fiddle in a bluegrass/folk/Americana band. We had a gig at a new place on Friday that used to be a church and now is a Hobbit-themed bar with a really great stage. We went on 2nd which meant that we didn’t start until 10pm and finished at 12. I usually go to sleep at 9:30. It was a good day to have a rest day. I basically drank a bunch of coffee and saved my energy.

Saturday: 6 miles with 6×100 strides OUTSIDE!

This was a rough run after being up so late the night before. We didn’t get home until 1:30am. I didn’t feel super strong, but the sun was out and I was outside so you can’t beat that. I took two naps and played another gig at an Italian restaurant in town from 6:30-9:30. Much better hours and we get free pasta!

Sunday: 16 miles with 12 @ Marathon Pace OUTSIDE AGAIN!

This run was magical. I really think this training plan is working well for me even if I do have to sometimes run 14 miles on the treadmill.

It was sunny again. Temperature around 40. I did the same route I did a few weeks ago when I did 10 miles @ marathon pace and temporarily lost my car key. That run had been hard and I’d had to take short breaks a couple of times which was bad for my self esteem. Afterward, I decided I’d been running too fast so I made an effort this time to look at my garmin more often and stick as close to 8 min miles as possible.

I wouldn’t say it felt easy, but it felt kind of easy. As in, running 19 miles last week as slow as I wanted felt harder than this. I took a vanilla gu halfway through and had a large container of water with a nuun tablet that I drank out of before and after.

MP splits: 7:59, 8:03, 8:00, 7:56, 8:02, 7:58, 7:57, 7:58, 7:51, 8:11, 8:02, 7:51

Next week is a recovery week and that will conclude the Endurance + Lactate Threshold phase of training. Even with last week’s bad runs due to Ecoli recovery I feel like I’m solidly on track.

I’m linking up with HoHo and Wendy for the weekly wrap. I hope everyone has a great week!


Boston Marathon Training – Weeks 7/8: Not as Planned


The last .10 miles of 19.2 miles

Flexibility is key, my running sisters.

After a fantastic week 7 I was actually looking forward to my 18-miler. I’d nailed all my runs that week – even the treadmill tempo run which had been my nemesis this cycle.

I woke last week on Sunday feeling not quite right. I’d been out late the night before doing karaoke with friends. I took mental stock of how much wine I’d had…definitely not enough to feel like this. Pretty soon I got a text from one of my friends saying his wife was puking every 10 minutes.

Conversation with my husband:

Me: If I have something like what she has I need to start running now before it hits.

Husband: This is a bad idea.

Me: I’ll stop when I feel bad.

Husband: Do not do this.

I agreed to give it some time to see what would develop. A couple of hours later I was completely down and out. It was bad. Like, shivering while sweating and not keeping anything down all day bad.

My friend ended up going to the hospital for IV fluids. The best guess of her doctors is Ecoli. I’ll not be going back to that karaoke place.

In comes week 8.

It was supposed to be a pretty aggressive week ending in 20 miles.

Monday: hahahaha. Rest day obviously.

Tuesday: 3 miles

I felt ok so hopped on the treadmill for my scheduled 7 miles with 8 sprints. After about 1.5 miles I realized I’d been way too optimistic. I felt bad. Time to cut this one short.

I texted my sister who’s training to BQ in March and got sidelined for a bit with knee issues. She’s back in training, faster and stronger than ever. I’m really happy things are going well for her, and also it was super reassuring to hear that her time off didn’t make her lose any fitness.

Wednesday: 6 miles

Schedule for today was 12. I did what I felt like doing and tried to keep in mind that I’m a lifetime runner, not just a one-race runner. The goal of this week just needed to be to get healthy and not overdo it.

Most of marathon training is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You have to be able to keep going when your body says stop. This week flipped that on it’s head. It’s a mindset I haven’t been in for a long time. When my body said stop I had to stop and be happy that I could do that much.

Thursday: Rest Day Yay!

Friday: 8 miles with 5 at Half Marathon Pace

Plan was 10 miles with 6 at half marathon pace. This was the first day I felt like I was getting my mojo back. I scaled back my ‘half marathon pace’ to 8 min mile and that felt like the right effort. Near the end of the 5 fast miles I was feeling that old familiar “I’m done” feeling from earlier in the week so I cut the tempo short and did enough slow cool down miles to get to a nice round number. The end for the day.

Saturday: 5 recovery miles

Nailed it. My first run outside since getting sick and I felt good for the first time all week.

Sunday: 19.2 miles

20 miles on the schedule. I went out today with the goal of hitting last week’s 18 mile distance and the realization that I might have to call for a pickup at any time.

This run was tough. I was definitely feeling the lack of training from earlier in the week. But after a while I was able to tap into that run trance that happens when you know you have a long way to go and the only way to get there is to keep putting one foot ahead of the other until enough time passes.

At mile 15 I decided I had enough in me to split the difference between last week’s 18 miles and this week’s 20 miles. I finished feeling sore, but really good about how I handled this entire recovery week. I  kept myself moving, but stopped when it was time to stop. Sometimes stopping when it’s time to stop is as hard as continuing when it’s time to continue.

After taking a week off from blogging, I’m happy to be linking up again with HoHo and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.