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.




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)