Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hartford Marathon training. Week 14: All done

I had hoped to find the time to knock out a weekly blog post for the past 6 weeks. Clearly that has not happened. It seems that the first thing to go when I am quite busy is the blog! That was indeed the case in this situation.

How do I condense a 14 week (YES, FOURTEEN week!!) training cycle into one blog post without turning it into a 10,000 page novel. I'm not entirely sure.
*for those of you new to the blog: know that, for me, a 14 week block of structured running is nothing short of a miracle. Previously (for Boston 2016) I managed 13 which was quite good, and I was very fit at the beginning of that 13 week period.  This one started at a lower base fitness level because June was my recovery month, where I ran 80 miles, did strength work and got rid of some minor muscular issues so that I could stay healthy all summer. I have been known to run a 9 week cycle which is indeed insane.*

So how did it go, training through the hot hot summer??
(prepare to get REALLY sick of hearing about the weather. Now that is is basically winter running seems like nbd. Just last week it was like, 86 though. Remember that..!!)

Thank heavens for Eric and his bike/portable water stop
There were many days where it was jarringly hot and/or humid. There was a stretch of time in September that certainly was cooler than the 95 degree days of July but was SO incredibly humid. I have never sweat so much! I was lucky to have Eric join me on his bike on a few of my longer/hotter excursions. Having a few extra bottles of water made my life much more enjoyable (and the company was pretty good too!)

The dark line is most certainly sweat.

There was structure to my running but flexibility as well.
My weekly goal was to have a hill workout, a speed workout, a run that was part easy and part base pace (which would progress towards MP as time marched on), a long run and a recovery run.
According to my training log I actually managed to do this. I always plan on one "slacker" week where things are allowed to go downhill but with the exception of that week I was right on track.
I am quite flexible on what days my workouts fall on, I might have a plan going into the week but with the ever changing conditions of my job flexibility is key. For me, it is never a disaster to have to swap things around. As long as it is all done at the end of the week I am happy!

I ran 114 miles in July.
193 in August.
208 in September.
*and now I quit!!*

My hardest workout was on September 7th and was HM pace 6x1 mile repeats, in absolutely brutal humidity. I made the lovely discovery on this particular day that, when you sweat like a pig no matter HOW much body glide you use your shorts will STILL chafe you until you bleed. Mmmmm.

It was a good workout, but VERY hot. And chafed.
My best workout was the Lake Auburn Half- a day where 13.1 miles at MP was remarkably comfortable, especially considering (MORE) cloying, dripping humidity.
The nice thing was, at that point in time I was extremely well adjusted to bullshit weather so it didn't cause a single problem. There was even a huge thunderstorm! It was really quite exciting.
I felt excellent throughout and the pace felt great. It was a good day.

Lake Auburn Half, 1:45 felt easy
My WORST workout was my final 20 miler. I was exhausted, I could not get my GI system to cooperate and to add insult to injury I fell down face first at mile 14 like a total spaz.
Eric came to rescue me at the end and the car promptly died.
WT actual F.
(thanks to my Dad for coming to the rescue. and then, to the car for starting right up as soon as he got there, no jump start needed. my car fears the dad wrath perhaps...)

At the beginning of this training cycle most of my long runs were pushed off to the end of the day because of the (previously mentioned....) hot weather. It is a beautiful thing to head out in 86 degrees and feel it plummet like a night on Mt Everest to a frigid 79. :-)
What REALLY is nice is finishing up around 8:30 or so and still having daylight.

8:30PM, August
My "early season" long runs were slow and (guess what!) hot. I was happy simply to struggle through them and finish. Sometimes completion is better than style....
By late August I had gained both fitness and acceptance of dying a horrible heat related death and knocked off a few totally decent longs. The days were getting shorter though....

7:15PM, early September
With the exception of the Lake Auburn race (plus extra miles) my last few long runs have been less than fantastic. Really not special at all.
(ok. looking back they weren't ALL bad but my last 2 have been downright ghastly and that's all I can remember right now!!!!)
I think the cumulative fatigue that comes at the end of a training cycle, plus 5 days of insane horse showing, plus a variety of other small issues gave me that less than fresh feeling. Add to that the inability to get my stomach to behave and there has been some genuine misery. Luckily, the misery only lasts as long as the run does because I feel fine after and am not one to mope over a bad run.
Oh, I also lost my daylight over the past 2 weeks. It's now dark all day.

Sunset: 6:20PM
So what has been good about this training cycle?
I learned to wear spandex on really hot days to avoid the bloody chafing. This is a good tip as clearly I am a newbie runner.....

I was consistent af. I chugged along and got it done. I might not regard this cycle with the reverence that I still have for my Boston training plan- which I felt was perfect- but I worked hard. (and despite my truly shitty, in so many ways, final log runs I did continue to enjoy running even through the summer quagmire.)

I tried to have a fridge full of amazing beers at all times. (I am OUT now. Hint hint beer loving friends, beer mail would be most appreciated!! (doug. jeff. I'm talking to you ;-))
Be still, my beer loving heart....
Despite my protestations about high mileage weeks in my last (long ago) blog post they happened very organically. My highest mileage week was 54 and I had 3 weeks of solid 50's and a few more in the mid/upper 40's.
I'm basically Shalane Flanagan.
(at half her speed and half her mileage but honestly, WHATEVER.)

I did not get hurt, I did not throw up, I did not quit running. (all good things to avoid.)

I got to see pretty things.
So idyllic.
Much nature. 
It really is one of my fav views though.
I hatched a metric fuck ton of pokemon eggs.
I love pokemon. If you say you don't then you are missing out!

Oh look a stupid zubat in the yard.
I also did not have to run in the dark at all and I did not see any bobcat.

In the midst of all this I also had a wonderful season of work, a successful show season for several people in my barn and (just last week) I got my own horse into the FEI arena (international level). A big accomplishment that took a lot of work and patience and which I am tremendously proud of.
I'm also beyond thrilled for my young rider student who walked away with a giant 6th place ribbon in her Regional Finals class- in a stacked division of beautiful riders on gorgeous horses! (lucky for her, she is also a beautiful rider on a glorious horse and she has a damn good work ethic which is more important than anything.)
Anyway. All of this was very good.

My fresh little FEI horse!
With 6 days remaining until Marathon day all I have to do now is chill.
I put in some good work and I am hopeful for good results, decent weather (who am I kidding?) and a cooperative stomach as I really don't want to have to run from porta-potty to porta-potty...
Fingers crossed.



  1. Hartford is one of my favorite marathons!! (and I lived in the town next door for 21 years before moving to Maine). Enjoy it's a great one!

    1. This is good to know!
      I have actually never been to Hartford unless you count driving through it 20,000 times! So I am looking forward to it :-)

  2. No bobcat but any other wildlife sightings?

    1. Many turkeys.
      A small porcupine.
      Gigantic crickets that rattle the puckerbrush like SNAKES.
      Small orange lizards.
      One Scarlett tangier

    2. Autocorrect....
      Scarlett tanager.... gahd....