Richmond Marathon Training – Week 9

The marathon is getting closer, and each week that passes makes that more real.  This was particularly true this week as I booked my flight to Richmond and started planning logistics of the weekend!  I’m so excited to see my friends and family and to have a fun weekend in Virginia.

Here’s how this week went down:

Monday: Planned – 4 miles easy.  Actual – 4 miles @ 11:56 pace.

Finally, an easy run that actually felt easy.  I was so grateful for good weather and to not feel too fatigued during this run.  I also enjoy the shorter distance on Mondays, it’s such a great way to start the week.

Tuesday: Planned – Strength & Speedwork (1-1.5 mile warmup, 5x1000m repeats @ 8:27 with 400m recovery, 1-1.5 mile cooldown).  Actual – 30 mins strength training, treadmill speedwork (6 miles total)

I was nervous for this workout, but was happy to do it on the treadmill again.  I discovered that my foot pod works really well and is extremely accurate on the treadmill, so I was actually able to set up this workout on my Garmin and not have to manually calculate in my head cumulative distance for each interval.  The first and second interval were mentally tough – I kept thinking how many I had left to go.  Once I got down to the last two it was easier to push through.  I am so pleased to report that I did not walk at all during any of these breaks, just slow recovery jog!

Treadmill miles

Treadmill miles

I had my first awkward “I work with you and now you’re seeing me in sweaty clothes” interaction right after this speedwork.  It was especially awkward because I was a little delirious from the hard workout and had trouble forming sentences.

I went back on my lunch break and did my strength training!

Wednesday: Planned – Active Recovery and/or Restorative Yoga.  Actual – 30 minutes stationary bike.

I was glad I wasn’t too sore on Wednesday, I think I found the right balance of strength to do mid-week that is effective yet doesn’t derail my training.  I ate poorly though – Chic Fil A for lunch and Tex Mex at this restaurant called Tin Lizzie’s for dinner.  It was delicious but I had all the regrets….

Thursday: Planned – Strength training, 6 mile pace run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles at 9:07, 1 mile cooldown).  Actual: 30 minutes strength training, 6 mile pace run (splits: 12:19/9:35/9:29/9:36/9:24/11:18)

I really regretted that Tex Mex during this run.

The first mile of this run was harder than it should have been. I nearly decided to just do the middle miles at marathon pace, but instead just tried as hard as I could to hit the pace I needed. I was able to hit it but not sustain it. Then, right before my turnaround point, I had a serious bathroom situation on my hands. How serious you ask? I was desperately looking for a secluded bush, then thought to myself “whelp, maybe today’s the day I become that runner who shits their pants”.  Luckily, I was close to the hospital and ran into the ER and used their toilet. It was bad, y’all. I had a hard time starting back up after that, but then got back into my groove and the balance of the run was fine.  Just another reminder that nutrition is important. Junk in = junk out. Sometimes literally!

I did 30 mins of strength training after work, going a bit harder on my legs than Tuesday.

Friday: Planned – rest day. Actual – rest day!!!

I actually slept in and it felt great. I was a teensy bit sore from the previous day’s workout, but once again, nothing too serious. For dinner, I had my usual baked potato, white rice, and chicken.

Saturday: Planned – 16 miles.  Actual – 16 miles @ 11:24 pace.

Ok, so last week I wrote this:

“Each week I’m feeling stronger and stronger.  I keep waiting for the really bad long run and it hasn’t happened yet.”

Well, I had my bad long run.  It could have been worse, but this was definitely one of those runs where you struggle so bad that you start doubting how you can possibly run 26 miles.  Then I reminded myself that I knew this run was going to be hard.

Carrie was racing this weekend, so I was on my own for the run.  I’ve been doing all my long runs with at least one other person this cycle, but I’ll be running the majority of the marathon solo (more than likely), so I knew I needed to get one in by myself. It was windy and rainy here in Atlanta – but at least it wasn’t hot! After awhile though, the wind and rain can start to grind on you mentally.  Also, I planned a pretty hilly route intentionally, and it kicked my ass.  We’ve been doing about half of our long runs on flat terrain, so I wanted to do one on hills.  The hills on this route are way worse than what I’ll experience in Richmond, but they definitely accomplished testing me both physically and mentally.

I had a hard time figuring out how to dress for this run.  I ultimately decided on capris, a short sleeve tee, and my purple Nike jacket.  This jacket is like magic – no matter the temperature out, it always seems just right! I also got some new headphones as mine broke earlier in the week.  I’m happy to say that these were great and I actually like them a lot better than my last pair!

New headphones!

New headphones!

Honestly, this run was pretty good until around mile 11.  The first half of the run was drizzly with wind, but the rain let up to a light mist around mile 7 or so.  I felt pretty good. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was all the traffic lights…they added quite a few stops for me.  Mile 9 took me by the Childrens Hospital which always makes me feel sad and grateful.

Halfway done! The smiles went away shortly after this picture.

Halfway done! The smiles went away shortly after this picture.

Around mile 11 I just started getting really fatigued.  The hills were really bad here and I felt like I had been running forever.  I really was struggling during miles 12 and 13.  Mile 13 took me close to the house and I had a few fleeting thoughts of just stopping but pushed through it.  During mile 13 I got a low battery warning on my iPod and almost cried.  I remembered my mantra and just kept pushing.  Later, I looked at the elevation and realized I wasn’t imagining it – miles 12 and 13 had a net elevation gain of 175 feet.  Whew!

Elevation chart from my run.

Elevation chart from my run.

Once I got done with mile 14 it got better since I knew I was almost done.  Poor planning meant the last 1.5 miles I was running up and down the main road by my house to try to finish the miles.  My legs were completely trashed and and I was exhausted…but so, so proud for pulling myself through it.  That’s what I wanted.  The marathon is not easy and there are definitely times where you have to pull yourself through – it’s just as much mental as physical.  I took comfort in reminding myself that I set myself up to have a challenging run and I pushed through.  Whew.

Also, my pace was pretty consistent over the run, and I wasn’t looking at my pace during this run.  A few miles were a little quick, but those miles were almost exclusively down hill.  I’m getting better about running a consistent pace by feel.

For fueling, I stuck to what had been working that I’ve talked about in previous posts.  I do think I should have adjusted timing of the gels though, since I had to stop so much for traffic lights.  I still did these every 4 miles and I think I could have taken my last one a bit earlier.  I also brought some pretzels with me but ended up only having a few of them.

I had started a pot roast with potatoes in the crock pot before I left the house and let me tell you, that really hit the spot when I was showered and sitting on the couch later.  I’m already planning what I’m going to make in the crock pot for next week’s long run, and I’m considering making potato soup!  I spent the rest of the day recovering on the couch with Brian.

Sunday: Planned – 3 recovery miles.  Actual – 3 miles @ 12:27 pace.

I really didn’t want to do this run.  My body was fatigued and my throat wasn’t feeling good….plus it was dreary outside, AGAIN.  Honestly, I really hate these recovery runs.  Not only are they hard but then I find myself thinking about the next day I have off of running which isn’t until after speedwork…ugh.  I put on my favorite leopard-print running tights and went out.  I really tried hard to go as slow as possible and I think I was successful.  The cloud cover and breeze made for a cool run.

Sunday Runday

Sunday Runday

Brian is in Boston for work for the week, so I took my friend Skye to the Falcons game.   Can we talk for a second about how the Falcons are 4-0? We had a great halftime show by the biggest high school marching band I’ve ever seen…there were 18 tubas!!!

The marching bad during the halftime show made a bold prediction!

The marching band during the halftime show made a bold prediction!

I’m glad that the Falcons completely blew out the Texans so I didn’t feel bad leaving in the 4th quarter.  I’m tired and feel like I’m coming down with something.  I am looking forward to a bath and bed!

Total miles for the week: 35

What went well: Getting all my workouts in! Planning ahead really helped.  I’m also really proud of myself for tackling my long run solo and not giving in to the urge to walk or cut my run short.

What didn’t: Ugh, nutrition.  I’m so hit or miss on this.  I’ve been really craving fatty food recently as I’ve been so hungry, and have been giving in to the cravings.  I literally just ate pizza for dinner. It’s such a struggle.

Focus for next week: Maintaining focus on the little things.  I have my first 20 miler of this cycle on Saturday and I want to be sure my body is ready to tackle it.  I have a few more weeks at similar mileage and then the taper will begin! Only 41 days til race day….!

How was your week? How do you stay on track with nutrition? How do you like my new blog layout???

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  1. Way to go on getting through a hard long run. We all have the ones that feel miserable. Conquering those is a huge victory. You can always replace a recovery run with active recovery, or even rest if your body is screaming for it. Keep up the good work! xoxo

    • Thanks Jes! I figured out the thing my body was coming down with. It’s that same thing that comes every month….haha 🙂

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