What??? When did I get to the halfway point of all of this?? I really can’t believe I’m already finished with week 9. I was truly terrified of this training plan in week 1. I can honestly say, 9 weeks later, that I love it and I’m enjoying running more than ever. I really mean when I say that I feel like I’ve already achieved my goal. Yes, I still have my goal marathon pace and would LOVE to see a new marathon PR, but it truly is just the icing on the cake at this point. I feel good running. I’m enjoying running – even if it means I have to be on a treadmill, which is unheard of! Of course I’ve always enjoyed running – I mean, I’ve been doing it for 8 years – but I was truly feeling overwhelmed and burned out after the fall. I need to do a whole review of the Hansons plan because I could keep going on and on about it. I can’t thank Colby enough for sharing her experience, because I would have never given Hansons a second glance before reading that.
While I did just say I am enjoying treadmill running, I got my fill of it again this week. I did my track workout on the good old mill because it was snowing on Track Tuesday (as I’ve affectionately named them), but I also did my tempo run there too. I want to be outside for my tempo, but the last time I was on one of the rail trails, there was still just enough snow to make it tough. With holding a faster pace, I also want to run somewhere with no traffic so I don’t have to be to cognizant of anything but myself and my tempo run. I think by next week I should be able to get back on the Plainfield trail. I hope so. In a few weeks, when my track workouts turn to long strength workouts, I will be moving those to the roads.
And then, the weekend happened and this was the special weather statement for my area:
So, yeah. I’m just going to say it: I’m being a huge baby about the cold this year. I am usually not like this. Part of the problem is, I’ve been having an issue with cold weather running post run. I’m sitting here typing this to you under a heap of blankets, with a huge hot cup of coffee and a million layers post run, and I am still absolutely shivering. Even when I change my clothing IMMEDIATELY after (like I will straight up strip down in my car, no shame), if I run in the cold I am absolutely chilled to the bone for hours after the run. A hot shower doesn’t fix it. It helps, until I use all of the hot water up and have to get out. I don’t mind running in the cold or the wind at all – I ski in it all of the time – but the whole post run situation is really weird. It’s like the worst, bone chilling cold I’ve ever felt. Does that ever happen to you guys?
Anyway, I digress. Back to the miles. Here’s the pace guide I’m using:
Marathon Goal – 3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs – 7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42
Monday, 2/8: 8 Mile Easy Run+ Strength/Yoga+ Pole Fitness
The most I’ve ever run before work was 7 miles, so getting an 8 miler in and being at my desk by 7:09 was definitely a new thing for me. I was glad I did it, and it wasn’t too terrible outside. I felt decent. I did some abs over my prep period since I knew I was teaching a yoga class immediately after school. I haven’t actually practiced yoga in some time lately, but I had a blast teaching it to some co-workers in our Biggest Loser program. I headed to pole class but had a pretty rough time. I think my arms were still sore from my marathon pole session the weekend before.
Tuesday, 2/9: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 6×800 w/400 meter recoveries (11 miles) + Strength Training
We got out of work early for an impending snow storm, so I headed right to the gym. Track workout on the treadmill again, and had to do my 800s at a 3:05 pace. My times: 3:03, 3:04, 3:03, 3:02, 3:01, 3:01. As I hit my cool down, I was ready to be done but didn’t feel awful. After it was done, I did core, MYRTLs, and a workout from my Nike Training Club App called “Runner’s Strength and Balance”. I did this workout last week too and really like it. It will be a regular in my schedule for sure, and pairs well with my track workouts.
Wednesday, 2/10: Elliptical, 60 min + Barre Strength + Skiing
We had a two hour delay (did I mention this was the best week ever?), but they called it when I was already almost at the gym. It was 5am so I figured it wasn’t worth turning around. I ran a few errands, grabbed a cup of coffee and was on the elliptical by 5:45. I was on the elliptical for an hour before I was bored to tears (I don’t love it, but it gets my legs moving the day after a track workout without the impact of running). I did abs, and found a great Barre workout in my Nike Training Club app. My gym had all of the equipment for me to try it. It was SO hard! I loved this workout. I’m thinking it will be part of my regular Wednesday schedule.
We skied for a few hours after work since it was a ski club night, and conditions were great:
It’s definitely a different winter than last winter (there was awesome snow/conditions and I was skiing allll the time) but we finally got in some good skiing.
Thursday, 2/11: 13 miles w/8 at Marathon Pace + Pole Fitness + Abs/MYRTLs
The cold beat me up the night before, so I slept as long as I possibly could. I was so nervous for this run and I knew all week that I was looking at doing it on the treadmill, which isn’t ideal but it is what it is. For me, a tempo run on the treadmill scares me way more than a tempo run outside. I don’t know why, but it feels so much harder on the treadmill.
Let me give you some background here: In 2014 (my golden year), I always think about a super snowy day where I had a random tempo run that I took to the treadmill. I looked it up in my logs – it was February 6, 2014. At that time, goal marathon pace was anything sub-8. I remember putting on a movie, setting the treadmill at 7:30 pace (which was UNHEARD of for me at that time) and going. I remember that it didn’t feel quite effortless, but it didn’t feel hard. It was the good kind of hard. Where you felt like you were working, but you knew that you could do it. That was the year that I ended my season with my 3:06. I’ve been chasing that day – the day where I run marathon pace in a training run and it feels awesome – since that snowy day in February.
Fast forward to 2016: I’ve done a few tempos on the treadmill since beginning the Hansons plan. The first one was a disaster – I had to hold marathon pace for 6 miles, and I couldn’t TOUCH it that day. That day, I was happy when I was holding a 7:24 and not feeling like I was going to fly off the treadmill. In the following weeks, I was able to get down to my goal pace of 7:03 but it wasn’t without a struggle. It took a good, outside run on the Plainfield trail about three weeks ago where I had to hold seven at marathon pace to make me feel like a 3:05 marathon was in the realm of my capabilities. It was still hard, I still struggled, but I hit my pace that day and got it done.
When the blizzard hit a few weeks ago, I had to do another tempo on the treadmill. I set it at a 7:03 pace and I cranked it out, but I felt like I was on the verge of flying off the treadmill and it really kicked my ass. It was still too fast and felt like I was working much too hard for a pace that I wanted to hold for 26.2 miles. After that run, my stomach was jacked up and I felt dizzy for the rest of the night. Once again, I was uncertain of my goal.
So my fear of increasing my tempo to eight miles at marathon pace scared the shit out of me, and rightfully so. I went to bed early on Wednesday night and slept in on Thursday morning for as long as I could – no pre-work workouts, just as much rest as possible. I packed my food for the day that morning and added in some extra calories – a Siggi’s vanila yogurt for some extra protein in lieu of my usual snack of baby carrots, a banana instead of an apple, and a packet of Salted Watermelon Gu. Gu. When did I forget about fueling? I used one packet on my last long run, but why wouldn’t I use it on a 13 mile tempo run?
I warmed up slowly for three miles, and queued up a movie on Netflix. After the third mile, I bit the bullet and cranked it up to a 7:03 pace. As usual, it felt comfortably uncomfortable at first. My goal was to make it to mile 7 in the run and then reset the treadmill (it goes into cool down mode), grab a drink of my water, and take my GU. That would put me more than halfway through the run, and halfway through the tempo miles (3 mile warmup + 8 @ MP + 2 mile cooldown).
After the first tempo mile, I realized I felt…good. I had Netflix going, and I was just watching my movie and running. Before I knew it, I was at mile 7 and happily cruising along. I realized I could make it two more miles before the treadmill would need to be reset, took my GU, but I didn’t stop. I made it to mile 9 and then I absolutely had to reset the tread mill. I hit “stop” and “quick start” immediately so I could just keep cranking out the miles. I’m scared to admit this, but I felt awesome. Marathon pace felt awesome. It felt like February 6, 2014. Maybe better. Definitely better.
I was on cloud nine, and I think I still am! I went to pole class afterward, and while I wasn’t super productive, I got to work on some of my routine. I went home and did core and MYRTLs. I was so tired!
Friday, 2/12: 9 Mile Recovery Run + Core+ Pole Fitness
I had an in-service at work that day so I had a little extra time that morning and squeezed in a 9 miler, but again – it was on the treadmill. It was cold, dark and 12 degrees and like I said, I’m being a baby.
I headed to pole fitness after work, and did abs at the studio and practiced my competition piece. I put up a little clip on Instagram – I was playing around with some spins and that is one of the little combos I’ll be using in my piece. It’s nothing super fancy, and it ends up in a move called a Meat Hook. Terrible name, and it was a move that gave me such a hard time but now that I can do it, I love it. You feel like you are just laying on the pole and flying!
Saturday, 2/13: 8 Mile Run + Pole Fitness + Core/MYRTLs
Arctic air with sub zero wind chills made me take my run to the treadmill…again. I need to stop being such a baby! I just don’t feel like dealing with it this year. Or maybe I should give up watching Netflix while running for Lent. That makes treadmill running so much more bearable, but it’s also made it easier for me to decide to run on it lately.
I took both the 9am and the 10:15 pole classes to work on my competition piece. I completely changed the whole beginning, and I love it. Since I am the furthest thing from sexy or a dancer, I’m using my yoga background to help with all of the floorwork. It would be impossible to stay on the pole doing aerial tricks for four minutes, so it’s inevitable that I have to do something other than pole tricks. In yoga, I was always really good with backbends and inversions – headstands, forearm stands, handstands – so what I have off the pole is pretty cool. Since it’s something I’ve done my whole life, it’s actually easier than the spins/floorwork I’d initially come up with, but looks so much harder. Here are some shots from my routine. I’ll post some videos after I clean the whole thing up. Don’t be alarmed by the bruises. This process is beating the crap out of me:
So it needs work, but it’s getting there.
After pole, I went home and did MYRTLs and core while watching the Olympic Trials to make sure I got in my 15 minutes for our StrongBody Streak ❤ Also, my sister in law gave me another one of her famous gel manis for Valentine’s Day! Don’t mind my dry, cracked hands. Pole class is really tearing them up and making it way worse this year!
Sunday: 2/14: Long Run, 16 miles + Core/MYRTLs
The first of many 16 milers I will be doing fell on the coldest day of the year so far. It was zero degrees when I woke up, with negative wind chills. I had a pounding headache and just wanted to cry. I sat on my couch for awhile, procrastinating with coffee while trying to decide what to do. Outside? Treadmill? Both ideas sounded terrible. Skipping it and sitting on my couch with junk food sounded like the best option.
But the sun was shining, and once 10am hit we were at 9 degrees. There was almost no wind at this point so I said, “screw it, I’m doing this” and bundled up – I wore lots of my skiing gear to keep warm. I needed to quit being a little bitch baby about the cold and get on some hills already, because I was starting to worry about my lack of hill training lately. It ended up feeling great, and ohhhhh did I get on some hills. 1,000 feet of climbing over my 16 miles, with the big climbs at the end of my run:
I went by myself, and normally I find it challenging to push myself to run my long run pace. My long runs aren’t out of the question fast (supposed to be 7:42 pace), but I often feel the most comfortable between 7:45-8 when I go by myself. 7:42 is only a touch faster, but when I’m solo I just don’t want to work that hard. But on Sunday, I felt myself cruising comfortably in the 7:30s for most miles, except for miles 8 and 10 (which would be about 60 minutes and 72ish minutes into the run, and if you look at the elevation above you can see why that might be, ha!). I averaged 7:38 pace for the whole run and felt great. I had icicles on my eyelashes when I was done.
When I was running, I went over a footbridge that I posted a picture of last spring, when it was in full bloom and gorgeous. It was snow covered and gorgeous in the winter too, so I went back post run for a picture:
After my run, I went home and did my core and MYRTLs for our streak. I have to say, this whole strength streak is really helping me out! I would have used the excuse that I had a great run and it was Valentine’s Day to skip core before, but I just went home and did my 15 minutes before I could talk myself out of it. I did my own planks, bridges, hip drops and leg raises, and a Nike Training Club “Core Strength” workout. Besides, I needed to make sure I burned enough calories for our dinner. We cooked together, and made Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese:
Followed up by individual Baked Alaskas. This was actually inspired by the Girl Scout cookies in my house. I used crushed up “Thanks A Lots” mixed with melted butter, pressed into ramekins and baked to make a cookie crust. Then, I made homemade Speculoos ice cream (you know, that amazing cookie butter you see in the peanut butter section at the grocery store? I used a whole jar of that in the batter). When I was churning the ice cream, I chopped up an entire box of Caramel Delights and churned them in the ice cream. For the topping, you make a stove top meringue that you torch at the end of the process. It was just egg whites, sugar, vanilla (I am stuck on vanilla bean paste right now) and some cream of tartar. The ice cream gets scooped on the cookie crust, topped with meringue and torched:
Sometimes we go out for Valentine’s Day, but this year we opted to stay in and cook together. We have been so busy lately – my husband has been renovating our kitchen and working so hard to get the room ready for our cabinets. I’ve been so busy with work, training for Boston and the pole competition that we decided to stay in our pajamas, cook together and spend the night in. It was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.
How was your week? I’m sorry I’ve been sucking at reading blogs lately. Hoping to have a better handle on life this week!
Swim: 0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥ Run: 66 miles