Boston Marathon Training – Week 6

Cutback week!

38 total miles where most were pretty easy paced. This week was really good overall. I feel strong. There are less than 3 months left before the marathon. It seems like forever, but I know it will be here before I know it and that the work I’m putting in now will make a difference on race day.

Monday – Rest Day

So after my 16 mile run on Saturday + a bonus 5.5 mile walk looking for my car keys, I jumped into my car and drove for 4 hours to attend a violin teacher training intro course. I definitely should have brought the foam roller. Driving after running was not good on my hamstrings. I sat in the class all day and drove back on Monday night.

Tuesday – 8 miles with 10 sprints

Treadmill. Warm-up 6.5, then 10 x .15 mile at 9.0 with .15 at 6.5 in between. Jog at 6.5 to finish out the 8 miles. I dig this workout. I’ve done it several times now and it always goes by quickly.

Wednesday – Yoga

I had to swap my Friday rest day for Wednesday again. The yoga teacher decided to not turn on the fan and it was really warm. I was in the mood to try new things so I tried all the optional extras with varying levels of success.

Thursday – 8 miles General Aerobic

I started out at 6.5 on the treadmill and bumped it up every 2 miles. The last mile I got up to 7.0. Felt great.

Friday – 5 miles recovery

Treadmill. Jogged it out.

Saturday – 3 miles

I royally screwed up on Saturday morning. I thought I had to get my son to the school by 7:30 to take the bus to a wrestling tournament. Turns out the real time was 7:15. If you don’t ride the bus they don’t let you weigh in or compete. He totally missed out on the whole thing. I felt like a complete failure as a human being and was so frustrated with myself for not getting this right. Like, a bit over-the-top frustrated with myself.

My son was so kind about it. I feel really grateful. He suggested we go on a run together which is basically my favorite thing in the world. Then he picked the hilliest route possible and kicked my butt at it, but for most of it talked to me about what’s going on with him and his friends. Then we played Halo together for about an hour and all was right with the world.

He’s a lot better at being a teenager than I ever was. I’m amazed.

Sunday – 13 miles

Runkeeper says this is my 3rd fastest half marathon. Average pace was 8:35. Temps were in the 40s, but it was raining so it felt super cold, and nothing’s more motivating than that. I felt like I was going fast, but it was a comfortable fast. Until the last 4 miles where it felt like every time I turned a corner the wind turned too so that it was blowing me back. Resistance training, I guess.

I got home to find that my husband had cleaned the entire house while I was gone. I expected him to leave me the bathroom because I always clean that, but he’d cleaned it AND organized the mirror cabinet and the under-sink cabinet. Astonishing.

I spend the rest of the afternoon leisurely making chicken enchiladas from this internet recipe. Did you know how easy it is to make enchilada sauce from scratch? I had no idea. I’ll never buy it again.

That’s it for this week. Next week is going to be a killer with two long midweek runs and an 18-miler on Sunday. Woohoo! Can’t wait!

Linking up with HoHo and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.

Boston Marathon Training – Week 5

Linking up with HoHo and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.

45 total miles

I felt pretty good about it, but I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s cutback.

Monday – Rest Day

I had my 6 month dentist appointment after work. Getting my teeth cleaned is like a mini-spa day. They have this warm wax hand treatment you do while you get your teeth cleaned and you get a warm cushion under your neck. My hygienist ran her first marathon last summer and my dentist is a triathlete so we chat about running and racing a lot. It’s rad.

Tuesday – 9 miles w/ 5 at Half Marathon Pace (7:47)

I continue to struggle with this pace on the treadmill. It makes no sense at all to me. My 10k just last month was way faster than this. Part of it might be that I’m not used to the early morning workouts since I’m usually a noon runner. I had to jump off to use the bathroom a couple of times.

Anyway, after warming up for 1.6 miles, I made it 3 miles at 7:47, then had to step off to go to the bathroom. Then I did two more sets of 1.25 with a little jog break in between and then I jogged to cool down until I got to 9 miles.

This run was frustrating and I think next time I have a half marathon pace run scheduled on the treadmill I’ll just knock it back to an 8 min pace to start and then get faster if I’m feeling good after a few miles. I want to be able to run a tempo without stopping.

Wednesday – Yoga

I was planning this for Friday, but got scheduled for a meeting during my regular yoga time so I switched it up.

The yoga woo woo of the day for me was noticing how my ability doing a pose on one side doesn’t predict how well I’ll do it on the other or how well I’ll do it next time on that same side. I decided to give myself a break about the run the day before. It’s just one run and doesn’t need to mean too much.

Thursday – 10 miles General Aerobic

Got up early again to hit the gym. I took it easy at about a 9:13 pace for the first 5 miles and then pushed the buttons every mile for the last 5. I finished feeling like I could’ve kept going and decided maybe morning runs aren’t that bad after all.

Friday – 5 recovery

I was still feeling really good after the 10-miler from the day before. I averaged an 8:59 pace.

I have a pair of running shoes I keep at my desk and use only on the treadmill. They’re this year’s model of a shoe I really liked last year and the toebox is now way too narrow for me. I’ve been trying to tough it out, but I’m 182 miles in on these and my pinkie toes are 1/3 blister on both sides. This run was fine, but I think I’m done with these shoes.

Saturday – 5 mile recovery

I had two of recovery 5-milers in a row since I shuffled around for yoga. I convinced my husband to go outside with me for a slow jog since I didn’t want to overdo it in advance of my tough long run planned for Saturday.

He talked the whole time about music podcasts and his plans for our album. It was like running with my kids. As soon as we set out I heard all his hopes and dreams and thoughts. I’m definitely going to try to repeat this.

Sunday – 16 miles with 10 at marathon pace

I decided to circle the same 2.5 mile loop for most of this run which turned out to be very handy later…

I stashed a water bottle by a tree, drove to a Starbucks to park, and jogged a 4 mile roundabout warm up that ended on the loop. This loop has a bit of a tiny uphill on one side of it and a bit of a downhill on the other.

I didn’t run this super well. My goal is to stick as close to 8 minute miles as possible on these but my garmin tells me all sorts of paces so I end up trying to guess what marathon pace ‘feels’ like and failing. Here are my paces, but I’ll be honest that I stopped 3 times for water and I think I could’ve skipped at least one of those stops if I’d slowed down a bit. I took Gu at mile 7 while running (salted watermelon – this one’s actually pretty good).

7:53, 7:43, 8:03, 7:42, 7:49, 8:06, 7:49, 7:48, 7:57, 7:52

I jogged 2 miles back to my car where I discovered I’D DROPPED MY CAR KEY ON MY RUN!!!!!

I retraced my steps back to the loop and texted my husband to come bring me a coat. He came up and we walked the entire loop together searching for my key. I have no spare and I had to drive to Oregon tonight. We finally found it retracing part of the loop I’d already walked while waiting for him to meet me. So freaking relieved.

I went home and plugged the garmin in to the computer (still can’t get it to connect via Bluetooth on the new phone). It says I traveled 21.5 miles on foot today. So 16 miles running and 5.5 miles looking for my keys. That’s rough.

Everyone, don’t be like me. Make sure your keys are very securely tucked into whatever pocket you have them in.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I’m grateful.

Show Us Your Books Jan 2018

This is my second time linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books and I’m late again. My intentions are good, but damn life is busy. I need another winter break.

On to the books!

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I had this on my shelf ready to crack open when I was reading through Decembers ‘Show Us Your Books’ and learned that most people hated it, so I approached it with some concern.

I loved it. Yes, the style is very different and takes some getting used to, but I was so moved by this book. I was in tears in parts of it.

The story takes part in the graveyard where Abe Lincoln’s son Willie is interred. The graveyard is inhabited by ghosts who are in denial about their deaths. They’re all hanging on to some aspect of their life and are refusing to move on. When Willie shows up they’re surprised to see him not move on quickly like most children do, but you learn that his strong attachment to his father is keeping him around. When Lincoln comes to the grave and can’t help but hold his dead son, I died. And all of the spirits watching around, wondering why it’s been so long since someone touched them too…it was a lot.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about the preacher who seems to be the only person with an idea of what’s happening to all of them. That part was really jarring for me. And also the black characters who kind of existed on the periphery of the story. It was odd that there wasn’t more there.

The Bardo is a Buddhist idea for the transitional state between death and rebirth. The graveyard is the bardo for these spirits, but Lincoln and the country are also in a transition period, trying to figure out what kind of a country it’s going to be or if it will be one country at all.

I’d recommend this one. It’s one of those books that makes me miss my old book club because even three weeks after finishing it I’m still thinking about it.

How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald

There were a bunch of reviews about this one floating around on the net about the same time so I decided to give it a whirl.

Before I get to the ideas, a couple of things:

  1. The Tour de France sounds like the quidditch of bicycling. It’s so unnecessarily complicated. I do not understand why it takes so long and why there are different types of events on different days. This seems custom made to ensure nobody cares about it because how can you possible spectate something like this for over three weeks?
  2. Matt Fitzgerald’s ability to write race reports for races he didn’t run is astounding. There are a lot of drawn out accounts of single races in this book. They’re exciting, but I’m also taken out of the drama because I can’t help but wonder how did Matt F know so-and-so’s innermost thoughts at this precise moment of the race? The details are so specific. Clearly he’s a real fan and has watched a lot of footage. I can’t tell you hardly anything about what happened yesterday let alone during a race I ran even a month ago.

The ideas though. I was motivated by this book and I would recommend it for endurance athletes. There’s a lot of interesting research and anecdotes here and I can see myself coming back to this book and getting something new from it each time.

The highlight this time was resilience. An athlete has to accept that things will not go perfectly. It does no good to sit around envisioning the perfect race conditions. With experience (through sport or life), the best athletes learn that they can make adjustments when things don’t go perfectly and still get a good outcome.

Life lessons, man.


Romola by George Elliot

I made it 15 pages and returned it to the library. In my defense, I loved Mill on the Floss. I checked this out at the tail end of winter break when I was feeling that delving into a dense, luxurious Victorian novel would be decadent and cozy. Real life intervened and this just wasn’t keeping my attention during my bus commute.


Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan – Just started it today. Very good so far.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – I got this recommendation from one of the link up blogs and it happened to be available at the library)

Boston Marathon Training – Week 4

This week was an emotional rollercoaster which fortunately ended on a high.

Total mileage: 43

Extra: I finally got my butt to a yoga class!

Even though I can feel that I ran 43 miles this week in my legs, it’s actually soreness from yoga that I’m noticing the most. I haven’t done much for my core or arms in a while and I can feel all those down dogs and chaturangas in my shoulders today. It also occurred to me that with all this running I don’t do a lot of twisting motions in my regular day so just doing that felt so amazing.

To the workouts.

Monday – Rest day

I’m clearly not a never-skip-a-Monday girl. I skip a lot of Mondays. This was New Year’s day and I basically read books and played video games all day. It was great.

Tuesday – 8 miles with 10x100m sprints

Did my normal routine of cranking the treadmill up to 9.0 for .15 mile sprints with .15 at 6.5 in between.

I started a new show on Netflix called “Halt and Catch Fire.” I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about it but everything I heard or read said to start in the 2nd season so that’s what I did. It’s a drama about a company trying to revolutionize personal computers in the 80s. I know that doesn’t sound too exciting, but I like it. Weirdly, I feel like it’s helping me keep motivated at my desk job where we’re doing a lot of testing lately.

Wednesday – Recovery 5 miles

Avg pace 9:06

My sister texted me saying she’s been struggling with an injury and can’t run as much as she wants to. She’s my best running friend these days, training for a BQ in March, and is a few weeks ahead of me on this same training plan. Her text made me start wondering whether this is worth it and whether I’m setting myself up for injury too.

Thursday – Total 10 miles General Aerobic

AM –  5.3 miles at 9:26 pace

PM – 4.7 miles at 9:07 pace

I got up early thinking I could maybe bang out 10 miles on the gym treadmill and then just show up an hour later than normal to work and skip a lunch break. I was not feeling it this morning at all. I did a 10 mile treadmill run last week after work one day and it was fine, and I probably could have continued to slog through this too, but I just didn’t want to. I quit at 5.3 miles.

I spent the morning thinking about these long midweek runs that I have planned for the next 13 weeks. Maybe I should modify the plan and split those days with running in the AM and cycling or barre in the afternoon so I can get some cross training in. My hamstrings have been bothering me since July so maybe less running would actually be good for me.

Before my 2nd run, my sister texted saying she went to a PT and the injury isn’t as devastating as we feared. She’s got a plan to strengthen some muscles that are out of balance and her goal marathon is not out of the question.

I felt a lot lighter on my feet for the 2nd run. Still twinges in the hamstrings, but I actually enjoyed myself.

Friday – YOGA!!!

I haven’t been to yoga since maybe June – coincidence about the timing of my hamstring issues? Hmmmm…..

I’m really into the yoga woo woo. Since it was the first Friday of the year, there was lots of imagery about thanking the past year and letting it go – the good and the bad – so you can look forward. But my favorite idea was related to resolutions. Sometimes resolutions are really veiled ways for us to punish or criticize ourselves for what we think we lack. A better way is to realize that there are already great and beautiful things inside of us and through practice we can bring them to the surface. I love that.

Saturday – 5 miles recovery

I saw a “Run with Shalane” ad on instagram so I decided to download the Nike + run club app so I could check it out.

Well done, Nike. This was brilliant. I had so much fun.

This is basically a 46 minute guided run, with Shalane Flanagan and a coach. They’re obviously reading a script so it can come across as a bit canned, but I really don’t care. They first start you off talking about what the purpose of the first couple of miles of a longer run are and how you should feel. Then throughout the run they pop in to talk about Shalane’s experiences running – what got her motivated to start and what motivates her now, how running with teammates helps, what it was like to be injured before her goal race of Boston last year, and then at the end what it felt like to win the New York City Marathon. By the last couple of minutes I felt like I was winning the New York City Marathon. It was fantastic.

Sunday – 15 mile Long Run

Avg Pace 9:06

I read up a bit about hamstring issues and decided that it’s because my quads are stronger than my butt and hamstrings, so today’s mantra was Run With Your Butt. I tried to stay mindful of engaging my butt and core muscles to propel me forward and I think it made a difference. I only felt one twinge on each side near the end of the run when I was getting fatigued.

I’ve been seeing all these pictures of folks running outside in truly horrible conditions so I know this isn’t that much of an ordeal, but it started raining so hard after the first hour. The temps here are in the low 40s, but the raindrops are huge and assertive and I wasn’t wearing a hat and my jacket isn’t built for full on rain. By the time I got home my whole body was soaked and my feet were pruney. The shower has never felt so good.

This run felt amazing. I did last week’s 14 miler on a flat route and it sucked, but this one was hilly and wet and I felt strong. I’m hoping I can keep that up for the next week and beyond.

Linking up with HoHo and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.



Boston Marathon Training Recap – Week 3


I ran a lot last year. At the beginning of 2017 I had a vague idea that it would be cool to run 1000 miles. I hit that goal in January around mile 17 of my goal marathon. This is the 2nd year of actually keeping track of annual mileage and my first year being fastidious about recording in Runkeeper. I climbed over 193,000 ft of elevation and spent over 257 hours running. That’s wild.

After taking New Year’s Day off as a rest day, today I’m starting week 4 of my Boston Marathon training program. But first, last week in review. It was kind of slow and I didn’t feel great, but I got it all in at least.

Total Miles: 40

Monday – Rest Day

We got some snow on Christmas Eve! By Christmas night it was mostly melted, but I got out to walk around in it.

Tuesday – 10 miles easy, avg pace 9:20

I was still feeling some twinges from Sunday’s killer marathon pace long run so I took it easy. I’m watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix and I’m on the fence about it. It’s about the Saxons vs the Danes in the 9th century. I don’t really care for the main character and there are only about 2 women in it, but I keep thinking it could get awesome pretty soon and Vikings are cool.

Wednesday – 4 miles recovery, avg pace 9:15

Treadmill again

Thursday – Rest Day

This was supposed to be a speedwork day, but by the afternoon I was feeling really stuffed up and exhausted so I decided it wasn’t worth it. I went home, took some Nyquil, and fell asleep at 7:30.

Friday – 8 miles, with 4 @ Half Marathon pace

I usually run in the middle of the day, but my boss wanted to take us out for lunch, so instead I ate a bunch of delicious Asian fusion and then hopped on the treadmill after. I was still a bit under the weather from my cold the day before. Those are my excuses.

So, I got in the run, but not exactly as written. I got 2 miles at 7:47 pace and then did the other 2 as mile repeats with .25 jog recovery. Warm up was 2 miles and then cool down to complete the 8 miles.

I’m not crazy about this. It’s the 2nd time I’ve had this tempo run scheduled and the 2nd time I’ve had to break up the tempo miles because I just couldn’t push through. I get another shot at it next week.

Saturday – 4 miles recovery, avg pace 9:12

Just running around outside, getting it done.

Sunday – 14 miles, avg pace 8:53

This run was long enough that I busted out the Gu. Now I feel like I’m really marathon training. Next week I may even strap on my hydration pack!

I ran a route that takes me 6 miles out to hit a bike trail for 1 mile and then loops back for 7 miles. This route is kind of silly because the bike trail isn’t really that nice. It’s right between a freeway and a trailer park. There’s garbage in the bushes. In the summer, every 9th stick you see on the trail is probably a snake. But, at least it’s different. I felt like I needed some variety and didn’t want to deal with the hill on my lighthouse route.

Happy New Year!

I’m linking up (late) with HoHo and Tricia for the weekly wrap up.