Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pollen in the piney woods, and 80 miles

A 26 year streak ends, on the same day, I finished my first ever, 80 mile week.  

For 26 years, (senior year of high school, until March 2012) I've been at the Azalea Trail Run 10K,  in Mobile, AL on this day.  This year, I decided the streak would end. 

Let me back up and start with Monday of this week.  My goal for this week was to hit a new personal record of 80 miles this week.   I planned to do 23-24 miles, on Monday.  (4 weeks out from Boston).  I've been practicing late start, long runs, because my start time in Boston will be 10:40.  The high on Monday was said to be in the low 80s, but that was scheduled to happen until around 3-4PM.  No problem, I thought, I'll be done before it get's too hot.  I started the run at 10:40, and head out on a challenging hilly run,  in prep. for Boston.   I had no goal pace, covering the distance was my only goal.   A couple of hours in, and it's getting rough.  I still had some major hills ahead.  By 18,  I called it a day.  I battled the decision for several miles, but finally, what I believe was the smart choice,  prevailed.    Bummed, mostly because, I know I have to make up the miles to reach my 80 mile goal.  I had originally planned 24 on Monday, and 7 on Tues.,  for recovery.  Good-bye recovery day!   As I get in the car to drive home, I see that it's 84 degrees.  NO WONDER !  In addition, the pollen is thick, and the humidity is high.   I immediately understand the day, AND I'm HAPPY with the decision that I made.  It's the first hot run of the year, and I'm not acclimated for a hot long run yet.  Could I have pushed through?  maybe, but I believe it would have been more damaging than beneficial.   It's taken me years to learn this, and I still battle these decisions each time they come up.  What is smart, and what is caving?   The last couple of years, I've tried to be on the cautious side, rather than pushing through no matter what.  It's always a tough call !  

Tues - the 7 changes to a 13 mile, 5:15 AM,  run with friends.  Terri had an early morning run planned and I decided with 18 on Monday, and 13 on Tues., I definitely want company.  Tues. - check !

Wed - split run - 3 miles am,  solo, and 7 miles,  PM with Terri

Thurs.  - I had yassos (10 X 800) on the schedule, but the pollen is taking it's toll.  I woke up with a cough.  I didn't feel bad, but it makes me nervous with Boston around the corner.  A crazy work day, and the fear of illness, I decided to cancel the yassos, but get the miles.  I knock out 12 miles at 9:40 avg. - solo run.

Fri - I decide to go to the doc for a celestone shot.  The 80 mile week has me sucking in pine pollen for 2-3 hours each day, not good.  Lucky me, my peak training week coincides with peak pollen in our area - ha!   Terri and I planned to meet and run some flat miles on the paved trail.  She knocked out 18,  and I hit 14 miles @ 9:30 avg.  Checking another run off !     A friend recommended the Neti pot for the pollen hack.  She also recommended  gargling with salt water or Listerine, after every run, to clear the pollen from the throat.  ok, I'll try it ! 

Sat - the Azalea Trail - I decided to cancel my 27th running of this race.    I didn't want to go & risk exposing my Mom to illness, and I didn't feel the extra 2 hour travel time, one way, was a good thing after the max'ed out work week, max. miles, and possible illness (pollen hack).    In a small way,  I'm sad that I missed it,  and the streak ends at 26, but all good things must come to an end,  and this one did today.   
 After all,  26 is one of my favorite numbers (or 26.2). 

Sat. morning, I'm feeling fine, and I  woke up with a little less coughing.  I had preregistered for the local,  Cancer Fighting Fool 5k.  My company printed the shirts for the race, so I preregistered to support the race, as they had supported my business.    So I decided to get in some miles with friends.  I decided to run it as a tempo run.  No "racing" for me today,  I decide to continue with caution.  I decided breathing in at my 5k respiration rate wouldn't be beneficial.    I ended up winning the female master's (24:12 ??) and scoring a $20.00 gift certificate to Chesterfields (a local yummy).  Paid $12 to enter, and go home with $20.00.  Score !  Several friends were running their 1st 5k today.    It's so much fun to see the joy of a 1st time, 5k finishers.  We headed to breakfast to celebrate the victories of the day.   I had the Topher's omelet,  and then I head home.  At this point, I have 7 more miles to complete the 80.  After the week I've had, 7 miles seems really simple.  Shortly after arriving home, I decide to head out,  and get it done so that no running is required on Sunday.  Check ! Sunday - recovery !

80 miles DONE !  
Really, it's a silly goal, but I still feel great about it.
It was a personal goal that I wanted to achieve during my years of marathon training.   
I'm truly blessed, fortunate,  and thankful to be able to do it.

(previous high was 75 miles,  a couple of years ago)

Early in the wk, it seemed hard, but I decided to focus on the miles for "the day",  not the miles I had remaining for the week.  Later in the week, I was CONFIDENT that I would reach the goal.  I kept expecting to hit a wall, late in the week, but reminded myself that I've been building up to this, and it's only the last 8 miles that was new territory this spring.  2 week ago, I had a 72 mile wk, and then a step- back/recovery week to get ready for the 80 mile attempt.    I actually felt strong at the end of the week.  I did miss my quality work-out with work, and fearing illness (the yassos), but that's ok.  

(thinking, and hoping,  the AM hack is truly just an allergy/pollen thing, and hoping to continue to improve - thankful that I haven't felt bad, I just sound bad)

what's next?  
bring on the next week,  with some quality workouts !

Saturday, March 9, 2013

still running for numbers at 45

This week,  I turned 45 !     


No worries, no fears!  I still have big goals.   

Five years ago, when I turned the BIG 40, I made it my 40th year goal to run PRs (personal records) in all of my race distances.  I like to race, so my goal included the 2 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon.  I was able to achieve that goal at 40 (2008) and since,  have continued to run PRs after my 40th year was long gone.  I'm blessed ! 

Being the "realist" that I am, I know running PRs at 50 will be unrealistic.  I've been training "hard" on this passion since 2005 (& running for many years prior to that).  I've read that "most people" have an 8-10 year window to max-out on your best running performance.   This assumes your training fairly hard during this window.  Well, train hard,  I HAVE.   I believe this estimate will hold true for me, give or take.  

WAIT !  I'm not finished yet !    While I know realistically, I will come to the end of my PR capability, I also KNOW, I'm not "there" yet.   So,  my 45th year goal ,  is to run PRs in all of the race distances again.  I'm in GREAT shape currently.  I have a motivated training partner who also has a big goal this year.  She is on her way to a BQ this year (at 32 or 33).  We both have BIG goals for 2013-2014 and we ARE GOING AFTER THEM WITH PASSION. 

TRAIN, we will !  Goals -  we will achieve!

I haven't updated in a while - so here's the bullet point update.

** Boston training is in HIGH gear.  I have an 11 mile run today and will end the wk with 72 miles, 1 yoga class, and 2 (maybe 3) days in the gym

**Dec. - Feb - I've been in the gym consistently 3-4 times per wk working on running specific weight workouts.  March & April will be more like 2-3 times per wk as my run mileage increases.

**I've continued with yoga - 1 x per wk, most wks.

**I've continued this winter/spring with a custom McMillan running plan.  2nd time to "pay" for a running plan - it's working for me.  I've been doing similar training for years (track, hills, tempo,  long, and step-back weeks), but the phases,  and the way the program is designed has proven to be an asset for me personally.  Well worth the $$s invested.  

**In Feb.,  3 friends and I rode the train from Hattiesburg to Birmingham for the Mercedes half marathon.  All four of us had GREAT races.  The weather was "race perfect" for me (29-ish at the start).  The course is a rolling hills course, but the downhills are sweet.  I ran a PR half - 1:43.   My previous half PR was 1:46, which was at the Stennis half,  in Nov. 2012.   However, Stennis is a FLAT, FLAT race,  and Mercedes has some hills.  (McMillan is working)

**this week I had a 21 mile long run on hills - ♥ (most of my running is on hills, with a few, flat run, recovery days)

**next week is a step-back week,  in mileage

** the following week (March 18th),  I will run 80 miles.  this will be a new high for me (previous high - 75 miles a couple of years ago).  this will be "peak week" before Boston.  I also have Yasso's this week.  ♥ Yasso's too ! 

That's it !  
I hope your spring is nice,  and all of your goals in running & life are achieved.