Road to BQ: Marathon Training Weeks 7-8

Two weeks in one post! Lucky day! Lucky you! Lucky me!

My marathon is less than two weeks away.  Wow.  That happened really fast.  The past two weeks have been great and encouraging and make me feel like I might actually do this.  There's no doubt I'm getting stronger and faster.  

Week 7: 4:45:38 hours

Swam:  0 minutes or yards
Biked:  0 minutes or miles
Ran:  4:45:38 hours (32.9 miles)


Monday: 30 minute easy run
Tuesday:  35 minute easy run
Wednesday:  Aqua jog Rest Day
Thursday:  Speedwork
Friday: 20 minute easy run
Saturday:  Aqua jog Rest Day
Sunday:  Race! Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon with 5 mile easy warm-up

My Monday and Tuesday runs were fine.  I was coming off of a long run the Sunday before, so for both runs, I wore my compression sleeves.

Some people love compression socks or sleeves for long runs.  I do not.  I always feel they are way too "compression-y" once I get past the half marathon mark. But I love them for recovery runs.  I'm a big fan of the sleeves vs. the socks.  The sleeves are like leg warmers, and I can use my regular socks.  My feet are far too finicky.

If not already obvious above and below, I have gone rogue and bagged any of the aqua jogs.  I can't.  Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to miss the workouts: back to school night or too much going on with the kids. But sometimes, I just can't.

My Thursday speedwork this week was *terrible*. The workout says to do it on a track.  Instead, I went to a park near the kids' school that has a one mile loop. I thought it would be fine. It wasn't.  First, I hate running here.  I really do.  Second, it's not a track - there are hills (and while they're not bad hills, they are hills).  Third, it was hot.  The combination meant I bagged the workout early.  I was so mad.  And demoralized.

But the week ended strong! I had a great PR at the Philly Rock & Roll Half Marathon with an easy, super easy 5 mile warm up.  And ... quite possibly the worst/best race photo ever.

In my defense: here is what happened.  This was mile 2 and I was feeling ah-maz-ing.  I saw the photographer and decided to smile and as soon as I did it and passed him and saw that he snapped the shot I was like "rut roh.  that may have been a bit too much.  it's either going to be a great race photo or ... not."  But hey, I was having fun.  Obviously.  Note: i have stalked the racer next to me to make sure I am not in his race photos.  thankfully I am not.  

Week 8: 8:26:37 hours

Swam:  0 minutes or yards
Biked:  3:17:59 hours (46.1 miles)
Ran:  5:08:38 hours (36.2 miles)


Monday: 30 minute easy run
Tuesday:  Aqua jog Rest Day
Wednesday:  Speedwork
Thursday:  35 minute easy run
Friday: Aqua jog Rest Day
Saturday:  Easy bike - MS City to Shore Bike Ride (45 mile route)
Sunday:  Long run: 21.5 miles

Week 8 was much better than Week 7.  Now, again, I skipped my aqua jogs.  My coach told me I could take a rest day on Monday, but I was feeling good, so I ran on Monday and swapped my rest day to Tuesday, which just so happened to accidentally on purpose be an aqua jog day.

Wednesday.  Speedwork.  Time to get it.  This time, I went to the track and I did it.  I ran hard and I did the workout, which was 20 minute endurance + 2 x 2 miles at 7:30-7:45 pace + 2 minute endurance recovery + 10 minute endurance.  I am happy to report I did the workout and hit my paces and felt great.  This is my "yeah speedwork, I am your boss!" look.

Thursday was an easy run, but it was a rainy morning. The good and bad thing about doing Ironman in the lightning and monsoon is I have zero excuse to not do a workout on account of rain now.  So I got all big and bad and put on my rain gear and ran.

Oh and the light up singlet is back too.  So that's good.  This run was eventful in that some dude did a rolling stop and I yelled at him to watch it and he kind of skidded and stopped.  I maintained my composure and did not yell any obscenities or make any inappropriate gestures.  

Saturday was the MS City to Shore bike ride.  I am my Firm's team captain, so I was on board.  My coach was not thrilled with my decision to ride, but he understood. So we agreed I would do the 45 mile course (instead of my planned 75 mile course) and stop at every rest stop and take it super easy - like well below my endurance power zone.  Mission accomplished.  I averaged 14 miles per hour (I did about 15 mph at IMLP ... in the mountains ... for 112 miles), and my power was 72 watts (my usual endurance power is about 100-110).  So, yeah.  It was a fun day and even I had fun on the bike.

The worst part? My butt!  It has been 2 months without riding and I've already lost the ability to spend hours in the saddle without discomfort.  Oh, the second worst part is I didn't wear sunscreen and am rocking the Worst Farmer's Burn Ever on my arms.

Sunday.  Oh Sunday's long run.  It was terrific.  So good. So good in every single way.  The plan was thus: 4 miles endurance pace + 8 x 1 mile 8:20 pace & 1 mile endurance pace + 1.5 miles endurance pace.  That's 21.5 miles.  Now, I have run a bunch of marathons at this point and I have never done more than a 20 mile long run for my longest run.  So this was uncharted territory.  I was also a little worried about my stomach after the week before and Rock & Roll.  First of all, my tummy was fine.  My coach made me eat the blandest breakfast ever (plain oatmeal to which I added some mashed banana thank God per the advice of my friend Heather and a plain bagel - nothing on it).  And it worked. NO tummy issues. Yay.

Second of all, LOOK AT THIS WATCH:

First, I know.  1978 calories burned.  Yeah!  But more than that ... 8:36 average pace for 21.5 miles.  That's just 3 seconds per mile slower than I need for a BQ.  And I felt great.  And I could have kept on going.  I was able to hit all of my paces and only ventured into the 9:00 miles at the very end when I had to climb a hill for 1/4 mile.  The weirdest thing on this run was around mile 20 - I was running and saw a man and woman with a baby stroller.  I passed it and a dog barked loudly.  They were pushing their dog.  In a stroller.  I ... speechless.  I screamed and then was afraid I was having a heart attack and then I laughed and shook my head.  It was insane.

When I saw my stats, I totally geeked out and high fived myself in the parking lot.  It's possible. I did it.  I didn't care.  Here I am stretching out my hamstrings and looking a lot fiercer than I actually am.

Because on the inside, I felt like this:

So there you go.  2 more weeks in the books and only 2 to go.  Holy moly cow! 

See you swoon,

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