Thursday, January 31, 2019

Boston Marathon 2019: Week 4 of training (where I complain about winter)

Let's see. Week 4 of training. What happened... (I actually have no recollection, so I shall refer back to Strava.) Please feel free to follow me here. I'm brutally honest on Strave (and in real time!) about how the old workouts are progressing. So if this lame old blog isn't doing it for you (and it's crap, so it should not be!) follow me there.

So, going back to the 21st, I ran 5x1200 at a 7:36 pace. Arbitrarily, 7:36 has been deemed as the "speed work" speed this year, regardless of distance.

I had a couple mid week treadmill runs. The weather this winter has been disgusting, bizarre shit. As we all know, we had our first serious storm on October 27th, and the weather has been garbage ever since. (I have lucked out on a few of my long runs. Decent enough weather. But other than those workouts, NO bueno.) So anyway, if it is raining 3 inches (which it did) or a million degrees below zero (or like, 6 but whatever) and the roads are covered with DEATH (always) I'm just done. Nope. I can't take it!

I had a VERY rare workday last Friday which had be wrapping things up at 2:00. It was 34 degrees, and only moderately windy and weird. I got the fuck out and got 18 in.

Lee, Eric and Ellie met me at the pub (and Ellie met Winston, the bar dog!!) And then Linda (my mom) made us tacos at home, which were excellent.

Ellie loves this nonsense 
I was glad that I chose Friday for my long run, because Saturday was god damn freezing. We made poor Ellie go for a 0.2 mile walk, mostly to let her sniff around for ducks.

Ellie likes this less
I snagged my first round of downhill repeats on Sunday in slime city. It was 29, and all kinds of snowy and I was fairly convinced that I was going to take a spill. Somehow, I did not.

UGH Winter. I'm just done.
Yes, I prefer winter running to summer running for sure. But the wild fluctuations between -5 and 48, between snow and down pouring rain, and the fact that (to this point) 100% of the snowstorms have ended up being ice is beginning to piss me off. Not to mention that our power has gone off basically every time winter has looked at us crosseyed this season. ANNOYING.

At least the sun is starting to come up at like, 10AM.... (ok, ok it's not that bad. but close!)

But really winter. Go away. 
Mid winter classic is coming up on Feb 3rd.
I still have no idea if I want to run Hyannis, or if I am even remotely fit. What the fuck, 2019 training cycle?? Why do I have no gauge of where I am at? Maybe I'll wait and see the 10 day forecast, and then decide! (brilliant!)
I'd love to just crack out my 2020 BQ ASAP, so that I can go back to being a lazy slack ass. That's a fairly good motivator, when you are me. :-)

Mileage: 44.4
Long run: 18.2
Beer at pub: A mix of triple cream and double cream (AGAIN) 
Coldest day: Good question. Saturday was really cold. 
Snow days: None from school (miracle) 3" of rain. Bullshit. Also, some random snow at some point but not that much. 


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Boston Marathon 2019: Week 3 of training (in which I actually ran)

Week 3 was certainly better than week 2.
I felt better, managed to fit in speed work AND a long run.

And got a puppy, and proceeded to never, ever sleep again!

Ellen Charlotte Bradlowski

I ran 6x800 on Monday, at 7:36

I did some pretty basic, boring mid week stuff. A little up/down tempo stuff on the treadmill. (Which I was pretty much stuck on since I worked late every day....)

The forecast looked ominous.....

I did a really solid 16 to the pub on Saturday. It was chilly (upper teens) but the roads were dry and it was just fine.
We also introduced little Ellie to our Pub!!

Puppies and pub runs!!
So at this point, certainly well on track for Boston. Not so sure I can say the same about Hyannis but I have neither signed up, nor completely ruled it out. #undecided

Mileage: 39
Long run: 16
Beer at pub: A mix of triple cream and double cream, current favorite 
Coldest day: I think Monday was a high of 11, so not great....
Snow days: None from school (miracle) Gross Sunday storm. 


Boston Marathon 2019: Week 2 of training (the week that did not happen)

In 2018 I managed to pull off the impossible dream: avoid illness during my entire training cycle.

This year, not so lucky. I ended up catching a really bad cold which pretty much killed week two of training (January 7-13) I felt really horrible and gross.

If I was eyeing Boston as my only Spring race, this off week really would be of no concern. However, the timing of the crappy week may end up terminating my tentative Hyannis plans. We shall see)

I managed one 4 mile run, which was really pretty dreadful! That was the day I decided to back out of the rest of the week of training. (better to just back off than to push it and stay sick forever.) There were a variety of weather related challenges during the week, which would have compromised my plans anyway.

So. Week 2, you were dumb!

Mileage: 4
Long run: 4, hahahah ugh
Beer at pub: No pub run!
Colds caught: Dealing with the beast of the one I began to catch last week. 
Coldest day: Really cold. Like -3
Snow days: 2


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Winter Hiking: Mt Madison, January 6th 2019

Eric and I were not terribly excited when we saw the forecast for our hike last Sunday. It was expected to be a high of 15 degrees, 1-3inches of snow, and winds to 50 MPH.


So, we decided that we would mosey on up (knowing that 95% of Madison is below treeline) tag the hut, and get TF out. (or, alternately, we would bail the hell out at any time before then.)

Confusingly, it was about 33 degrees (and snowing a little) when we arrived at the trailhead around 9:00 (omg so late. I may have never seen the trailhead in the daylight!)

There seems to be a snowbank in the way
So, yes. It was a nice mile morning. The wind was NBD and trail conditions looked great. We got our winter gear together, and off we went.

Ready to depart!
Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the snow smoothing out the trails? Because I really do. Winter hiking is pure fucking magic.

We really had to strip down during the first mile- we had prepared for very cold and windy weather and it was anything but. (I mean, it was seriously cloudy and snowing lightly. but plenty warm enough for a winter day.) As we know, no matter how warm it is at the base, you are going to need Death on Mt. Everest attire as soon as you get above treeline, so we were happy to have it.

Down to the base layer, snapping the selfies
One of these days, we will go on a hiking adventure that does not require 300,000 outfit changes. Today was NOT that day (but it gave me time to snap a few pics!)

It occurred to us that we have never begun a hike up Madison in the daylight. It was a really pleasant experience, and it is such a pretty area. It was fun to come to the place on the trail that we normally see the sunrise (and see, what? clouds!)

"We usually see sunrise here! Today, we see clouds." (but it's still pretty.)

Not shockingly, as we gained elevation the temps began to drop. The weather was still solid though- barely any wind, still warm enough (20's) and steady light snow. We felt reasonably well equipped in micro spikes (the warm temps for the first mile caused us to pick up a number of snowballs- which is rather annoying.) There were several spots late in the ascent when we could have done with crampons due to some more significant ice, and the incline.

And, we are bundling back up.
We paused at the Oh Shit sign to really bundle back up. Even though we planned to speed very little time above treeline, we could hear the wind and we didn't like the sound of it. Let me tell you, getting into extra kit basically on the side of the mountain was not an easy feat. One occasionally forgets that the homestretch to get above treeline on Valley Way is basically a straight uphill pain in the ass. We were basically sideways, hauling ass.


We scurried to the hut. Tagged it's ass. Ran away. (well I paused to talk to a guy coming down from Adams, and he told us about the 90MPH gusts. Ummmm, no?)
It was pretty damn cold, and making the final stretch to the summit held no appeal to either of us. Visibility was pretty shit, and we just don't need to take any extra risks.

Hello Hut
As usual, right below treeline the conditions became more pleasant. Basically delightful.

Scurrying away from the cold
GRRRRRRR. I wrote a really excellent and witty descent half to this story, and it vanished into thin air. Ain't nobody got time.

So, to wrap up:

We saw exactly one bit of blue sky.

And it was lovely. And short lived.
Minus the pesky rocks of summer it was easy peasey, we faffed around while going down. Had snacks. Took layers on and off. Took photos.

Eric had beardcicles 
 We returned to the parking lot in the same weather we had started in. About 30 degrees and flurrying snow. Solid January day.


Time: 3 hours 55 minutes (according to Strava, this included about 40 minutes of stopped time. Considering how many times we had to pause to change clothing, this seems fairly accurate. And this total time includes the stopped time.)
Mileage: 7.3
Elevation gain: 3,647
Challenge level: Moderate/Challenging. The snow takes out some of the intensity, and much is safely below treeline. But this is a hike with some pretty steep sections that would be exhausting for a novice. No fiddly technical bits on this hike, and no major river crossings (although I believe there could be some damp spots in the Spring.) The lack of exposed time on Valley Way is what keeps this in the moderate zone for me- I find that the difficulty/danger is much higher when above treeline. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Boston Marathon 2019: Week one of training


Well. because time marches forward, and it is yet again January. Days are getting longer. Summer is coming. (this is the equivalent of people yelling "you're almost there!!" at mile 15 of a marathon. no, no you are not. but yes, you are closer than you were 15 miles ago..)

This is now at 3:50 instead of like, 1:45. So there's that.
So, while I have been easing back into running after my summer of sloth, last week was the first week that I called official (because that seems to be what I do every year.)

A reminder: I am not being cute about calling it a sloth summer. In September I ran a grand TOTAL of 12 miles (and since I buried my last fuck at some point, I could not have cared less.) Clearly, this was not going to be a return to running that brought me high mileage, or fast speeds early on. This is not my first rodeo kids, and I know not to be an idiot when it comes to training.

After my 12 mile September I had a whopping 33.8 mile October (apparently I was really determined to *ease* back into it!) November showed a logical increase to 92 miles. And December wrapped up with almost 130 miles, and my legs are beginning to feel like they are back in the swing of things.

Actually, getting back into it didn't feel bad at all. Probably because (as noted) I brought the mileage up slowly.

Eric and I have been doing long run Saturday since November 11th, beginning the routine many weeks ago with 8.8 miles, and progressing to a 17 miler last Saturday. (and at the very end of this 17 miler, I tripped on a curb, flew over the sidewalk and did a spread eagle belly flop into a snowbank. Traffic legit halted to watch my chaos. Probably because of my glow in the dark kit..?)

Can you see me??? Noxgear worn backwards for maximum running-towards-traffic safety
17 miles is somewhat ahead of the Boston training plan for long runs, but there is an outside chance that I might do a mid winter race to try to BQ for 2020 (being that Boston is usually a sweltering shit show, and I just don't cut it in the heat.) Plans TBA.

Mileage wise, I am exactly where I was at this point last year. Despite the lack of fall mileage, so go figure. My long runs have been excellent (although I certainly felt a little out of shape for the first few.) My concern about a mid winter marathon is my extreme lack of speedwork. There are numerous reasons that I am so far (and I mean, FAR) behind where I was last year. (the slow start to the season. multiple weather issues- including routine power outages that rule out treadmill work. scheduling challenges with work. on and on and on the excuses go.) Last year this week, I was cracking our 6x1200 @7:04 pace I believe, which sounds absolutely impossible at the moment. I managed 5x800 at 7:42 last week which is just not where I was at last year. Hey- New Year, new (slow) me, right??

While I am aging up for the 2020 season, it matters not. BAA adjusted the qualifying times last year to reflect no change in what pace I must run in order to qualify (So, I still need a 3:40. We will assume that means a 3:35 per the norm.) Yes, I was looking forward to gaining that extra 5 minutes this year but it doesn't really matter. I'll just have to kick up that speedwork and quit my crying. (I had a lot of people ask me about my feelings on this, and I really don't care. Too many people are qualifying, and something needed to be done. This was it.)

So let's see. Goals.
-To have a good training cycle. I like my winter training, so this is a good plan.
-Stay healthy (already blew it and caught a really nasty cold.....)
-Run a 2020 BQ at some point. Like, this winter because there AIN'T NO WAY I'm gonna train through the summer for a fall race. Nope. Uh-Uh.
-Have some solid pub runs, and hopefully make *the world at large* feel concerned for my health, as people really should never drink a beer after a run. duh.

Drinking beer after a run. Somehow surviving. 

Mileage: 38.2
Long run: 17 (in upper 30's weather- quality.)
Beer at pub: A mix of triple cream and double cream, which is excellent
Colds caught: 1 (on Saturday, but I felt fine until Monday. ok...)
Coldest day: Not cold enough to mention.
Oh, and mountains climbed: 1, Mt Madison (which I totally don't count for training....)