Well, it was inevitable. My incredible summer of hopping all over the place has come to an end, and on September 2nd, I was back at work as a third grade teacher. My kids headed off to 5th and 2nd grade, and now life has a bit more predictability to it. While I was sad to see my summer go, this predictability probably accounted for the fact that week 11 was my highest mileage week so far this year at 40 miles! When school was ending last June I thought how great it was that I could get my runs in whenever I wanted to now that I wasn’t restricted by working. The truth is, being restricted by work actually meant I had to create a schedule and a system that worked. And it meant I would run immediately after work every day – either on a treadmill at the gym, or at my parent’s house where they could watch my kiddos. Having unlimited freedom in my day really just meant that it was too easy to push running off until later, and then frequently it would be forgotten. No more of that for me!
Tuesday, September 2nd – five miles on the treadmill after work. I was feeling pretty good and had some nervous energy to burn off after my first day, so I was able to get this wrapped up at about a 9:30 pace.
Wednesday, September 3rd – This run SHOULD have been eight miles. However, it was not to be. The downside of running right after work is that if I don’t get to they gym on time, or if I have to loiter too much at work, I end up in a crunch where I really do need to get home and start making dinner to make sure everyone is fed. This was a day where by the time I got to the gym, I only had less than an hour until I needed to be trying to head home, and I am not the kind of runner who runs eight miles in under an hour. I did what I could (it ended up being right about four miles before my stomach insisted I hop off the treadmill). When I first started running having things like this happen would just devastate me. I would have wanted to take the four miles I missed and toss them onto the next day’s workout. I’ve learned better than this. Four out of eight miles is so much better than none, and even if it had been no miles today – one day of missing a run does not destroy what you are building.
Thursday, September 4th – Yet another day when my planned run didn’t go quite according to plan. Today I was able to get my folks to watch the kids so I could run outside (which is almost always preferred). It was kind of a nasty hot temperature out, but I thought five miles around Burke might feel good. I decided to try a new route that ended up as a total flop. There wasn’t sidewalk where I expected there to be sidewalk, and there were some huge hills where I expected things to be flat. As a result I ended up going 4.5 miles instead of 5, and it was at an almost 11 mile pace. Not the greatest. Thursday tend to feel the worst for me these days, as three days in a row of running is the most I do (Mondays are rest or crosstraining, Tuesday-Thursday I run, Friday is a rest day, and then Saturday and Sunday are running again). By the time I stopped today I was very happy to know that the next day would give me a break.
Saturday, September 6th – My training plan has a pretty evil factor to it, where it has me run a medium distance run the day before my long run. The idea is that my long runs are on legs that are already a bit fatigued, so that I am a bit more prepared for the exertion put on my legs for the marathon. While I understand the reason, it’s still pretty brutal in practice! As such, this morning I headed out for eight miles. I knew I had a long day ahead of me (both of my kids were working at the Burke Festival with scouts), so I was up early to get my miles in. I ran my eight around my Kingstowne neighborhood and have no complaints. Ran at about a 10:30 pace and even stumbled upon this beautiful view in a neighborhood I had never explored before.
Sunday, September 7th – Long run day. Today I was slated for 18 miles. This number intimidated me in a huge way. 18 miles was the LONGEST long run I completed while training for Marine Corps in 2011 and I remember it well. I ran it alone, and because I am uncomfortable running too far away from my starting place when running alone, I ran it in loops around Burke Lake. Today was to be a bit different as I had a friend from our training group out to do the same number. I warned him about my apprehension – he is faster than me, it’s been a long time since I’ve run 18, my longest long run so far this training season has been 16 and it didn’t feel great, and there was that whole “I just ran eight miles yesterday” thing. It is amazing how many obstacles and fears can build in our head at the same time. He said we’d just see how it goes, and off we went. What a difference having a partner makes! Every four miles-ish I made us stop to eat a little snack (this is my general race strategy when it comes to making sure I’m keeping myself properly fueled), and when all was said and done, we had conquered 18 miles of the Four Mile Run and W&OD trails. To make it even better – thanks to having someone to help distract me, these 18 miles were done at a faster pace than my eight miles yesterday! To the right you can see my “after” look.
That was week 11, now on to week 12….
Tuesday, September 9th – Another outdoor run in Burke, this time it went much better! I did, however, forget my ipod, my headphones, and my garmin. So I mapped out my route on google pedometer and went out for a completely unplugged run. No beeping watch, no music in my ears, not even a water bottle on my hand. It was absolutely lovely.
Wednesday, September 10th & Thursday September 11th – Two days, same workout. Five miles on a treadmill right after work. Nothing thrilling or exciting or silly to report – just steady building of mileage.
Saturday, September 13th – This was my first day without kiddos or work in quite a long time, and I kept putting off my run. I had to wake up early to take care of some wedding things (don’t forget I’m also planning a wedding right now – with less than a month to go). By the time I got home I was terribly unmotivated and took a nap until about 2:30 in the afternoon. It was blissful, but not really the best way to train. I puttered around the house for most of the day, when finally around 5pm my fiance announced it was time for us to go to the gym. I won’t lie – I pouted and shuffled my feet around, and after mentioning how lovely the weather was, I was able to coerce him into running the eight with me outside. It was supposed to be at race pace, however, we didn’t quite make it happen. My race pace for my goal should be around 9:30-9:45ish, and our overall pace was about a 10:10 pace. I typically make multiple goals for a races, and MCM is no exception. My A goal – the thing that would just make me pleased as punch, but would require perfect scenarios would be to finish at about 4:15. This would be more than 40 minutes faster than the last time I ran it, and is a pretty aggressive goal for me. My B goal – which is the more reasonable goal and gives some room for error and imperfection is to finish under 4:30. And my C goal – the goal at which I am allowed to be slightly disappointed, but not get too angry about it – is just to beat my time from the last time I ran. If I am not able to do this, then something has gone terribly wrong.
Today is Sunday, September 14th and I should have run 13 miles today. However, it is 10:21 and I find myself on my couch, under a blanket, writing this blog post. I will be working at the running store from 12-5 today, but I do intend to do some kind of running at some point. I’m not totally sure what my distance will be, but I’m certain it will be something. I know this seems strange given how please I’ve been at my consistency, and I know I should not be skimping on long runs, but sometimes I just need a little extra sleep! I’ll update next week to let you know what happens today!
Til next time!