Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 5

I like to start these with some sort of summary thoughts, but this week I got nothing. It was a good week, overall. Here's the recap:

Monday: Family Day (aka the 'sorry winter is so long' statutory holiday). I took advantage of the day off to bank some miles for the week. Normally I take Mondays as a rest day, but it made more sense to get in my midweek longish run with hills on a day I didn't have to go to work. Headed to Northshore stupidly early and did every hill twice - tough workout! 14k total.

For the record, it was insanely cold AGAIN. Really, mother nature, I cannot handle these -20C days. Enough. Please.

Tuesday: Rest day from running. Woke up to a pile of fresh snow, slipped and fell on my ass on the way to the car. Thanks to the fresh snow I only got a wet butt, not injured. Then my car got stuck in the street, so I gave up on the day and decided to work at home. It was just that kind of day!

Then the snowplow dumped this across my driveway. The 30 minutes it took to dig out (and help my neighbour with theirs) was totally my strength workout for the day.
Wednesday: 8k easy. Beautiful, warm day! Overdressed because I have no idea what to wear when it's PLUS SIX DEGREES. Awesome easy run.

Thursday: Oh, hello, an 8k tempo run on the schedule. First speed work in ages. 1k warmup, 5k comfortably hard, 2k cooldown. Ran based on perceived effort, and mostly ignored my watch, because I was curious where my pace would end up if I focused on running a hard effort instead of on specific numbers. Answer? 5:13, 5:10, 5:15, 5:10, 5:07 (more or less - that's what my watch says, although Strava and Runkeeper both take the exact same file and come up with slightly different numbers).

So that put a huge grin on my face. A) I haven't forgotten how to run fast and B) I really felt like I could have held that pace a lot longer. At least for another 10k. Possibly to 21.1k. Which has me thinking about what I want to do for the Chilly half next weekend. I'd been planning to treat it as a somewhat faster than usual training run, but now I'm wondering if maybe I should just go all out and see what happens? Decisions, decisions.

Friday: Rest day. It rained overnight Thursday, which meant waking up to this mess:


Ugh. Ice everywhere. Makes it hard to find safe places to run.

Saturday: 28k long run. Met Patty and Sam early at Dundurn Castle to run the old Around the Bay route (minus a couple of km). Super worried going in about the road conditions - how bad would the ice be? Turns out I should have been more worried about the stupid wind, because the roads in Hamilton were absolutely fine (not so much on Northshore, c'mon, get it together Burlington!). When we reached the lift bridge at around 15k the wind picked up out of nowhere and then we had a horrible headwind for the rest of the run. There was a lot of cursing and I think the last 10k took longer than the first 15k, what with all the stopping to rest and complain (Northshore hills + headwind = NO THANK YOU). I can't remember the last time I was so happy for a run to be over.

The lazy winter runner's ice bath. Yeah, I sat in a snowbank for like 5 minutes. It felt amazing.
Left achilles was a bit bothersome Saturday afternoon, so I iced it.

Sunday: 8k recovery run. Street was quiet and ice free and the wind had died off, thank god. The achilles was a bit twingy at the beginning, though, so I'm going to have to keep an eye on that. I'll be taking Monday as a rest day and then will see how it feels Tuesday.

Sunny! Warm! I am in complete denial about the weather forecast for the upcoming week!

Weekly summary: 67km run. Go me. Longest week since...well I'm not sure when, my records are kind of messed up. There's a week back in 2012 that was supposedly 72k, but I'm not sure I believe that. Definitely my longest week in the last year.

This next week will be a bit of a mileage drop so I can do a small taper before the Chilly half on Sunday. I still have to decide how I'm going to approach the race, which is going to depend on three things:

1) Weather
2) How I feel physically (including that achilles thing)
3) How I feel mentally

I was checking the forecast for Sunday and is the Weather Network drunk? I think the Weather Network might be drunk.
Assuming cooperative (non exploding) weather and healthy body, do I go all out for a new PB and risk a spectacular crash and burn? Run it moderately hard but not all out? Treat it as an LSD? Marathon pace test? At this point I really don't know, and probably won't make a decision until the morning of the race. That said, I am very excited for the start of spring race season! Chilly, Around the Bay, Mississauga Marathon, Sulphur Springs, here I come!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 4

This week felt like a post vacation hangover. It took a while to really get back into the groove of things like going to work and getting the kids ready and off to school every day. But the running went well!

Monday: Travel day, getting home from the Disney trip. I could have used a few days of vacation after that vacation...

Tuesday: Back to work. Back to running at lunch. Back to snow. Blah. Ran 7k. It was cold.

Boo, snow. Boo.

Wednesday: Due to various complications (like meetings and my husband traveling again - yes, he had to leave again 2 days after our vacation), I had to split my run up, for my first ever double. Up early for a very slow 6k on the snow covered sidewalks. Thank goodness for yaktrax.

Then another 6k at lunch. Surprisingly it didn't feel too bad. A bit sluggish, which might have been because of the double but also could have been the vacation sleep deprivation catching up to me.

Also my body is very confused by the reintroduction of these things called 'vegetables'. We didn't exactly eat a healthy diet while we were away.

Thursday: 8k of hills at lunch. 5 repeats on the harder hill. I can count on the hill near work being relatively snow and ice free, thank goodness. Honestly if the paths around the university where I work weren't so well taken care of I'd have had to buy a treadmill by now. So many of my running friends have moved at least some of their workouts to the treadmill. Man this winter has suuuuuuuuucked.

At least the temperature has warmed up a bit. I can deal with -5C. I like -5! Just please no more -20. I can't face many more of those runs.
Kettle bells/TRX in the evening. Nothing too fancy, just 20 minutes of the basics to remember what strength training feels like. And trash my legs completely in advance of Friday's rest day. 

Friday: Rest day! Also some sort of romantic hallmark holiday, which we basically ignored because we are those people who are too cool for Valentine's Day. Nothing says romance like going to bed at 9 pm because you both have 20k+ long runs planned in the morning.

Saturday: 25k long run with Patty, Sam, and Nicole. Longest run since last year's Around the Bay, I believe. Wow. I'm glad I ran it with the girls, since my mind was a bit scattered. My legs felt great, but things just weren't clicking right mentally. Still, got it done, and I'll take the great feeling legs!

Oh COME ON, Runkeeper. That was 25k and you know it.
Wore compression socks all afternoon because this winter has been rough on my calves. Running on snowy/icy surfaces is working them a lot more than usual. I dunno if the socks helped, but they felt good.
Sunday: Recovery run, 8k. Nice and slow, partially for recovery and partially because there was just enough snow to hide the ice patches and I didn't want to risk a fall.

Brrrrrrr. Cold run! Lift bridge from the ATB route in the background.

Weekly total: 61km run, for my biggest week since September - more longer weeks to come! And one strength workout. I'm very pleased with how overall strong and healthy I'm feeling right now, so here's hoping that continues!

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 3

Late posting because most of last week was spent at Disney World! To say various members of my household were excited about this vacation would be a massive understatement. Five and eight year old girls getting to be flower girls at their aunt's Disney World wedding? Yeah. They talked of nothing else for weeks in advance.

Monday: Worked at home because I had to fit in an emergency dentist appointment (thanks, improperly done root canal! I guess I appreciate that you decided to act up before we left on vacation, and not during?). On the plus side that let me slip out to join Amy for part of her long run. 12k around the neighbourhood, with a lot of downhill runninng to start and a whole lot of gradual uphill to finish. So nice to have the company and catch up with Amy - I would for sure have called it a day after 8k if I'd been alone.

Ugh. Not fun to run on (so we ran on the road).
 Tuesday: Travel day. Lots of walking around airports. Then lots of walking around Hollywood Studios. In the sun. And the heat. And the NO SNOW. YAY!

Stupid bus getting in the way of my sign shot. But check out the lack of snow and the blue sky!

Wednesday: I thought about getting up early and getting in a quick 5k before hitting the theme parks. But I didn't. Magic Kingdom during the morning, then swimming, then Epcot in the evening. So much walking - when I went to bed my legs had that tired long run feeling, even though I didn't run.

I did check out the description of the running trail! While the Epcot resorts have a nice loop around the 'lake', it's only about 1.1 km long, so it got a bit tedious after a few km. You can add on by also running to Hollywood Studios, but that's still only another 2k or so.
 Thursday: Left the kids with one of their uncles and the husband and I did 6k around the resort area, including a quick trip past the not yet open Hollywood Studios. Fun! Followed up by a trip to Legoland with yet more walking.

Kind of weird when it's empty instead of full of people.

Friday: Epcot. Walk walk walk walk walk.

Saturday: long run. Ran 6k with my husband and then another 10 solo. Explored some random side trails that didn't really go anywhere, but managed to get in the full 16k without dying of boredom. Then, you guessed it, more walking because we went to Epcot in the afternoon and Magic Kingdom at night.

Our hotel at the top; Tower of Terror in the background on the bottom. Pleasantly cool and rainy morning, great for a long run. And the rain kept the crowds down a bit at Epcot later in the day.

Sunday: Slept in because Sunday was the day of the Big Wedding. The wedding was pretty damn amazing, and, dare I say it, totally magical.

Oh, you know, just Mickey and Minnie coming to dance with the bride and groom and kids, no big deal.

Weekly summary: 34k run, and a ton of uncounted walking (those theme parks are huge). So while technically it was a cutback week, it wasn't exactly restful! Also sitting in the super uncomfortable plane seats on the way home seems to have aggravated my sciatica a bit.

Back to building mileage in the land of ice and snow. Ugh. Wish I'd been able to pack the sunshine to bring home with me...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mississauage Marathon Training: Week 2

This week had some challenges; specifically my husband was away on a business trip for most of it. New year means new travel budget which means he's going to be gone a lot more over the next few months, and I have to pull out the SuperMom cape to juggle the kids and work. And since said kids are too young to be left unsupervised, getting out for training runs takes advance planning.

Fortunately I have a job where it's no problem to head out for a run on my lunch hour, and there's lots of great running routes near work. I'm not sure if my coworkers admire my dedication or just think I'm crazy, but either way, I'm happy I can still train!

Monday: TRX class. I can take my kids to this class with me because the trainer's daughter is friends with my eldest and the kids all hang out together while we get our sweat on. Works out nicely for me! Killer class for legs and abs. Turns out you can make TRX pikes and mountain climbers even worse by adding a bosu ball for the arms. Kinda wanted to kill the trainer but too tired by the end.

Kid two demonstrates some unconventional TRX moves.
Tuesday: 9k lunch run. Usually I look forward to lunch runs because they provide an awesome and energizing break in the day, but I was dreading this one because the temp was minus a billion and the windchill was worse. My office was freezing, too, so I was cold even before I left the building! Fortunately once I got moving I warmed up quickly and the run went well. Still, I am pretty over this polar vortex extreme cold stuff.

New Buff-esque neck warmer (not an actual Buff - my husband got it for me at SAIL, not sure of the brand name). It's fully fleece lined and great on extra cold days for face protection.

Wednesday: 8k lunch run. Again. In the cold. Again. SENSING A THEME HERE. Except it was windier and therefore felt colder, which was just fantastic. /sarcasm

Anyone want to give me a treadmill? I loathe running on treadmills, but at this point I'd be happy to have the option!

Oh, and supermom over here managed to burn dinner ("It's called 'blackened chicken', kids. What, the smoke detectors? Oh, I was just testing those..."). Also it was ready 45 minutes late because the potatoes wouldn't cook. Not a winner of a day, that's for sure.

Thursday: 8k with hill repeats. My legs were pretty dead at the start so I wussed out and ran 3 repeats of the easy hill near work, rather than the planned 5 or 6 repeats on the hard hill. It was marginally warmer and less windy than Wednesday, so that was a plus. Still pretty cranky about this crappy winter, though.

Partway down the hill. It's not very steep, hence, wussy.
Thought about doing some strength training. Thinking about it is pretty much the same thing as actually doing it, right? No? Damn.

Friday: REST! Odd how I often wake up just bursting with energy on rest days and wishing for a run. Always want what we can't have.

Saturday: 23k with Patty. We started early because the forecast said it would snow all day and we were hoping to be done before the snow started to accumulate. Success! By the time we were finished the snow was starting to stick on the path, but we had clear conditions for the majority of the run. Felt amazing to run on clear pavement with no wind for an entire long run. The luxury.
Started in the dark, then the lake trail.
Taking pleasure in the little things, like a perfectly brewed cup of post-long run tea. It always tastes that much better after a winter long run!

Sunday:  8k recovery run. Turned into 9k because I felt so energized and was loving the run. Conditions were super slushy with lots of ice patches. I'm just so happy that's back. Sigh. I knew that clear pavement on Saturday was just a tease. My feet were soaked by the end of the run, but even with that nuisance the run felt fantastic. I love it when it all just clicks and you feel like you could go on forever.

Ran on part of the Around the Bay route, finally remembered to snap pics of some of the permanent mile markers! I love those. Wish they'd replace the faded ones.

Weekly stats: 57.8 km run, 1 TRX class. Great running week! Feeling good; getting that weekly mileage (km-erage?) back up towards 60 and no aches or pains or anything worrying like that. This next week will be a bit of a cutback/rest week due to travel (escaping the snow, YAY!), so we'll have to see just how many miles I'm able to squeeze in around theme park fun. Since 58k is the most I've done in a week since September, it's probably a good time to have a bit of break to let my body adjust.