Thursday, February 28, 2019

No Fear February | Frosting February | February in Review

February 2019 in Review

Total mileage for the month:  245.0
  • Jan. 28-Feb. 3: 3 (2:06 strength training, 12:52 cross-training)
  • Feb. 4-10:  30.3 (2:00 strength training, 8:10 cross-training)
  • Feb. 11-17:  73.4 (1:57 strength training, 2:00 cross-training)
  • Feb. 18-24: 85.6 (2:35 strength training)
  • Feb. 25-March 3: 90.3 (2:40 strength training)
  • It's important to look at these totals within the bigger picture; before the off/light weeks from Jan. 28-Feb. 10 I'd been running mileage in the 70s-80s for 2 months straight, and I have a history of that kind of mileage for about a year now.  Normally one should never go from 3 to 30 to 73 and beyond!
 Frosting February!
  • Nope
  • Feb. 22 - 1 mile at tempo (6:16) within a 5 mile run...since workouts are what get me, I am either not running them or doing baby workouts for awhile!
  • Feb. 26 - 3 mile at tempo in 6:20 via 6:24, 6:25, 6:12 (3.5 warm up, 3.8 cool down).  Baby workout #2 down, and I never thought I'd be so happy to run 3 miles at 6:20 pace!  This was actually the best workout I've run since my injury in September, and it was the first workout I felt good during since September also.  When I attempted workouts in January, I was dying on every one, but I felt strong on this one even with 92 miles on my legs.  While the pace isn't where I want to be, I am feeling a lot better about working to get back to where I want to be.  This was only my fifth workout since September, and my first one in 5 weeks, so I think it could have been much worse!
  • Doubles on Feb. 12, 13, 19, 21, 25, 26, 28.
  • Strides on Feb. 14, 18, 20, 25.
  • Favorite workout:  I grew to really like strides this month, hah!  But I was happy enough with the one workout I did on Feb. 26.
Monthly KC meet up with Jessi
Long Runs:
  • Feb. 9 - 12 miles (8:08) solo with a 10:45 a.m. start.  I'm done with negative and single digit temperatures so I waited until the windchill was "only" 10 degrees to start.  When I left I told Jon I might run 3, I might run 6, or I might run 12.  I ran 12.  It was nice to be out in the sunshine but it also felt like I hadn't run double digits for 16 days (perhaps because I hadn't).  My pace was slower than usual but miles are miles!
  • Feb. 15 - 15 miles (7:41) for another episode of "running long a day early due to impending winter weather" -- I've done this a lot this winter.  Ice was supposed to start coming down about 2 hours after I finished this run, and it was expected to be so bad that school canceled on Friday before there was even anything on the ground.  Jack, a high schooler who has been training with our group, joined me for 5 miles in the middle, and the other 10 were by myself.  I felt MUCH better than the previous week's long run, and was thankful for that!  I started the run with the goal of going at least 12, so it was really nice to feel so good that I wanted to extend the distance.  I probably would have gone farther if I hadn't had to get to work!  I was able to run outside the weekend after this, but both days had to go in the afternoons because the roads were ice covered in the mornings (I ended up running 12.2 miles on Feb. 17, which we will call a medium long run).
  • Feb. 23 - 20.2 miles (7:33).  To make a long story short, once I began feeling good running again and was racking up mileage, I thought maybe I could run the Chisholm Trail Marathon after all (for about a month I'd decided I was definitely not running it).  I figured if I felt good I could run 18 on this day, then a 20 and 22, then taper.  I felt fantastic on this run and Rebecca was running a 20, so I went for it!  Certainly not a standard marathon build, but I'd run an 18 in January so it wasn't that crazy.
  • Favorite long run:  The 20 obviously - because it was 20 and I felt amazing!
  • Much like with my weekly mileage, it's important to look at my long runs within the bigger picture; a progression from 12 to 15 to 20 isn't ideal, but I'd done an 18 in January before I had to back off.  This marathon build certainly has been bumpy, but I think my history with marathons, long runs, and mileage has helped...ask me again after I attempt to run a marathon off of this crazy build, haha!
More #frostingfebruary
Amy & I had on matching shoes & headbands
on this day, & it is daylight when we finish now!
  • Check out my athlete page on the nuun website here!
  • I took 8 days total off (plus another light week), between the end of January and beginning of February, for a tendon that scared me.  While it was completely fine after those days, my confidence was not.  I was suddenly terrified of running!  My October-November calf injury was hard on me, but this little scare changed my outlook more.  I had quite the difficult time trusting running for a bit, and kept worrying that it would hurt me.  But at the same time I will always love it and I know that when it's good it's the best!  A fellow runner said, "It's like an abusive relationship!", and you know, it kind of is...  
  • After that my resolution was to run for enjoyment/stress relief and not for training.  I decided not to target any spring races, although that doesn't mean I won't jump in some for fun (e.g., the Chisholm Trail Marathon).  I love to chase PRs, but I also want to run consistently and I am just not sure I can do both right now, based on my recent experience. Putting goal races on the schedule means I will train hard no matter what, and I don't think that's the best thing for me at the moment.  I'm confident that taking those 8 days off recently saved me from needing 8 weeks off later, but during serious race focus mode I don't know if I'd have taken them.
  • Not worrying about mileage and workouts on bad weather days definitely reduced my stress level!  I didn't realize how anxious it was making me until I stopped following a training schedule and it was no longer an issue.  I was also getting worried about how I'd feel on each run and whether I could run what I was "supposed" to in January, especially because I was feeling like crap.  This month I just went into each day knowing that if the roads were bad I just wouldn't run, or if I felt like stopping after a few miles I'd just stop.  Then I ended up running an awful lot of miles during the second half of the month, but it was because I felt like it, not because I "needed" to.
  • On a related note, I set several rolling 7-day mileage PRs!  Between Feb. 21-27, I ran 93.1 miles!  On Feb. 19 my rolling 7 day total was 92.4, which was my first time over 90.  Prior to that, on Feb. 17 my rolling 7 was 88.7, and on Feb. 15 it was 88.3 (both PRs at the time), so I'd been creeping up on 90 for a bit.  I was really pumped about this milestone!  It was actually a lot easier than most of the weeks I've done in the 80s because I didn't run any significant workouts, but my goal is to get comfortable with the mileage now and add true workouts starting in April (in March I will do a few more baby workouts).
    Whoop whoop!
    Bandit was skeptical about frosting February
    Life events:
    • We dreamed of moving south!
    • Albani did some fun Valentines crafting, and gave her "Valentine" at school a gift.  She even asked me to curl her hair for school on Valentines day!
    • We played a lot of Uno and read a lot indoors.
    • I binge-watched Fuller House with my friend Amy while we put in hours of cross-training in her basement.  It is as cheesy as expected but very addicting, especially if you watched the original Full House as a kid.
    • I had a CARF survey at work, and my department did amazing, as did our whole company.
    • Albani had some fun events - an Awana talent show, a Valentine's tea party with some friends, and a field trip to try out different band instruments (she is interested in the clarinet).
    • Albani won 3rd place in our running club's 2018 Runners of the Year competition, and I won overall female.  We picked up our awards this month.
    Valentines construction
    Finished product
    Jon jokingly locked her out in the (little) snow
    We love our running club!
    Post-20 miler - Rebecca is running her first marathon in April!
    Books this month:
    • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
    • The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
    • Something Like Happy by Eva Woods
    • A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer
    • Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
    • Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
    • Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
    • Three Things About Elise by Joanna Cannon
    • The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
    • Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
    Theme of the month:

    Recovering.  I had the tendon scare, but I also had to dig myself out of a hole that started with a rainy 33* (22* windchill) 18 miler on Jan. 12 (advice:  do not run 18 miles in cold rain).  A sleet/rain/wind 10 miler the following week made it worse, and then a workout in feels like 2* on Jan. 21 really put the icing on the cake (#frostingfebruary, hah).  I pretty much felt like death from Jan. 22 through Feb. 12, but after that the pep in my step started returning, and the end of the month went pretty well.  I didn't realize quite how terrible I'd felt until I started feeling good again.  I was SO thankful for each good run after that.  While I hope to someday return to PR fitness, I've also made peace with the possibility that I won't, and I'm just really enjoying the miles.  How blessed am I that I get to do this!

    Friday, February 1, 2019

    Embracing the Struggle: January in Review

    January 2019 in Review

    Total mileage for the month: 262.7
    • Dec. 31-Jan. 6:  73.7 (2:42 strength training)
    • Jan. 7-13:  76.5 (2:46 strength training)
    • Jan. 14-20:  75.1 (2:29 strength training)
    • Jan. 21-27: 45.7 (1:52 strength training, 2:00 cardio cross-training)
    • Jan. 28-Feb. 3: 3 (2:06 strength training, 12:52 cross-training)
    • Not there yet!
    Amy makes winter running much better!
    • Jan. 1 - 3 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries in 6:12, 6:18, 6:18 (2.1 warm up, 1.3 cool down).  This was my first workout on my first official day back working with my coach; clearly he didn't hold back!  I left my Garmin account connected to his coaching platform when I was building mileage post-injury, so he knew what I'd been doing, and it was pretty clear that my endurance was solid but my leg turnover/speed was in dire need of help, so this was where we started.  The pace range he gave me for these was 6:11-6:18, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to do it but vowed to try.  I had to really work to keep the final one in range, but I made it!  Afterwards I told him he chose the perfect pace range for my current fitness, because this was challenging but do-able.  If I'd have been in charge of my own workouts, I certainly wouldn't have picked mile repeats, and if I did I would have aimed for more like 6:30 pace, so day 1 being coached again showed me that I need to be coached (even though he gave me a workout and double on New Years Day)!
    • Jan. 5 - fast finish long run, described below.
    • Jan. 9 - 6.3 mile 3'2'1' fartlek (recoveries equal to next push, 3.2 warm up, 2.5 cool down).  This was supposed to be 6 miles, but who is going to stop in the middle of a push?  My push paces were 5:45-6:36, but mostly 6:05-6:15.  It was very windy and I blame that for the inconsistency in pacing - the 6:36 was definitely all into the wind and the 5:45 was definitely all out of it!  My average pace for all 6.3 miles was 6:50; pre-injury I'd average more like 6:20 on this type of workout, so it was pretty consistent with everything I'm running right now being 30 seconds/mile slower than what I was doing at peak fitness.  I am choosing to be thankful for the opportunity to improve rather than upset about being slower, but sometimes not comparing is hard.
    • Jan. 15 - 3 mile tempo (3.3 warm up, 4 cool down) at 6:30 average via 6:27, 6:33, 6:29. I ran with Rebecca, and our Garmins were significantly discrepant (her's said 6:19 average), so I would rather claim that since my goal was 6:18!  We have had Garmin discrepancies on that course before, although not by that much and usually mine is the faster one, hah. We had very dense fog for this workout so it was also pretty much like running hard into a dark abyss, because headlamps are rendered nearly useless in fog (mine also iced over because it was 29 degrees!).  I gave it my best effort, but it was honestly very disheartening to be unable to maintain the pace I've run for several marathons for a mere 3 miles after being back to running for 7 weeks. 
    • Jan. 17 - 4 x 0.15 presses at the beginnings of miles 7-10 within in 10 miler.  This is just a tiny get-your-legs-moving/mix-it-up kind of workout, but it always serves as a good reminder that I actually can pick up the pace if I need to.  My press paces were 5:54, 5:37 (downhill), 6:01, and 6:20 (uphill).  This was run #3 of the month in cold rain, but at 42 degrees and no wind, it was fine, especially after my Jan. 12 long run, detailed below.
    • Jan. 21 - 5 x 1 mile tempos with 0.25 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down) in 6:27, 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, 6:33.  I had pretty low expectations for this workout since we were in a wind advisory and the windchill was 2 degrees, and I suppose I met those expectations.  I put forth my best effort and was consistent with my splits, which was really all I could have hoped for.  When I stopped my Garmin it said I needed 3.5 days to recover, which seemed about right, haha!
    • Doubles on Jan. 1, 7, 14, 21.
    • Strides on Jan. 10, 20, 24.
    • Favorite workout:  Weeellllll, I can truthfully say that I was thankful for all of them, but not satisfied with any of them.
    Long Runs:
    • Jan. 5 - 15.6 miles (7:27) with 3 progressive fast finish miles in 7:05, 6:52, 6:36.  We had a great group of 7 for this run, although about everyone was doing different distances.  Claudio was kind enough to fast finish with me, even though he kicked my tail on the final hill (without the hill, I'd have been in the 6:20s for my final mile, but even though my lack of fitness showed on the hill it was good for me to fight it).  Dying less every week though!
    • Jan. 12 - 18 miles (7:46) in 33 degrees and rain, with a windchill of 22.  I learned a lot of things on this run, the most important of which was that I am never running that far in these conditions again!  I ran a 5 miler in similar conditions the week before, and finished it toasty and dry, so I thought I would be there was really no alternative since it had been the exact same temperate with rain for about 36 hours straight and was supposed to continue the entire day until it changed to snow overnight.  I was afraid the roads would be a sheet of ice on Sunday so I didn't want to bump it a day (although in actuality they weren't too terrible and I ran outside the next day), and I couldn't wrap my head around running this on the treadmill.  I felt decent for the first 10 miles or so, but during a patch of heavy rain even the awesome rainproof jacket I'd borrowed didn't hold up, so I was just cold, soaked, and carrying what felt like 15 lbs of water in my jacket, tights, socks, and shoes.  We ran a big loop course to force us to commit to the distance (my idea, oy.), so there was no choice but to keep plodding along back to my car.  On the road back there was a lot of flooding and standing water, so my shoes ended up extremely soaked and heavy (at that point the only alternative routes would have added 2-4 miles to the run, so I ran through the flooding but remembered why we don't run that part of that road when it's rained a lot).  My only saving grace was that at the last minute before we started I grabbed plastic grocery bags out of my car's console and put them over my mittens, and with the way I had them tied up and gripped, my hands stayed dry.  That is the only reason I didn't stop at 16.2 miles when I passed my car! This run confirmed my suspicions that I would have been among the people who died off at Boston 2018, because I definitely slowed and struggled, and felt like I was shutting down.  I was with 3 friends, and Rebecca and Claudio went ahead and ran a beautiful negative split while I dragged my frozen self in.  My body definitely isn't made for cold rain.  Amy was also with us, and she ran Boston 2018 and said this run was colder but less windy (14 mph wind).  I came very close to crying during this run, but at the same time I was sure glad to say I gritted it out and always thankful to run!
    • Jan. 18 - 16.4 miles (7:37).  I ran this one a day early to avoid another cold rain/ice/snow fiasco.  I told my coach I had PTSD from the previous week's cold rain long run and wasn't doing that again!  Missy was kind enough to run most of it with me - I ran about 3 miles, picked her up and we did 10 together, then I ran back home.  I started at 4:44 a.m. because I had to be at work a little before 8:00, so it was still pitch dark even when I finished, but I was happy to have it knocked out to reduce weather-related stress!  It was actually really nice, around 36 degrees and light wind, which is very warm for that time of day in January in Missouri (last year I had many morning runs in below zero wind chills).
    • Jan. 26 - I skipped this one, because I learned from my September-November injury and the great tendon debacle of 2016.  More details to come, but I just knew that if I ran this my peroneal tendon was going to get seriously injured, so I stayed home.  I think my body hates winter.  Better 5-7 days off now than 8 weeks off later!
    • Favorite long run:  I felt the best on the January 5 one!  My body kind of went downhill after the Jan. 12 one...
    8 degrees & pitch dark
    • I started back working with my coach this month.  I think my rapid mileage increase post-injury made it clear that I need someone to save me from myself, and my avoidance of workouts in December also showed I needed a push.  He gave mile repeats and a double on New Years Day, hah.
    • This article about CIM really illustrates why I wanted to run it in 2018 and hope to return in 2019!  I have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, though.
    • I've been feeling discouraged about my paces, but I'm not sure what to do about it except to keep plugging along.
    • I remembered why winter training stresses me out: winter weather uncertainty and my inability to control it!  I also think my body responds poorly to winter weather (especially stupid cold morning lows); I recently realized that I have never had a good winter of outside morning running except in 2017, which was a very mild winter.  In 2018 I had a serious winter slump (slowed and became worn down - some details here and here but I was relatively quiet about it), in 2016 I got injured, in 2015 I did okay due to running almost all of my weekday runs on the treadmill (manageable since I was typically running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), 2012-2014 I wasn't running much, in 2011 I got injured, and before then I ran mostly at lunch when I was at a different job.
    Look at that resting heart rate of 32!  Average was more like 40.
    Life events:
    • I have never done a word/phrase of the year before, but one came to me for 2019: "Lead me".  I often question whether I'm making the right decisions, and what could be better than focusing on where God leads me? 
    • We had a pretty low key month; some weekends we didn't go anywhere except for church (and out running for me).  Jon enjoyed cheering for the Chiefs, and Albani watches the games with him because he gives her candy when they score or make a good play. 
    • Albani is learning to play the recorder and practices a lot, which is both a good and bad thing!
    Nature loving on a 62 degree January day!
    I had some thoughts this month about changing my sport to bowling!
    Crazy hair day on little notice
    Her hair is supposed to look like pouring soda
    We had a snow day on Jan. 30
    Recorder practice

    Books this month:
    • Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
    • The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
    • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
    • You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
    • The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
    • Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
    • Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
    • Clay Girl by Heather Tucker
    • A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
    • The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick
    Theme of the month:

    Struggling.  I came upon these verses at just the right time: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5

    I cannot run a 3 mile tempo at the pace I used to run for marathons, my mile repeats are at my goal marathon pace (or slower in bad weather), and my current all-out sprint is maybe my 10K PR pace...but I am sure thankful to be running regardless!  At least my mileage is solid.  I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong because I really haven't improved in the 10 weeks I've been back to running post-injury...  BUT!  I am SO THANKFUL to be running!  Especially after taking some time off with a little tendon scare from Jan. 26-Jan. 30, which was consistent with the struggling theme.