Saturday, March 25, 2017

Post Marathon

Post Marathon Training Analysis

I'm pretty happy with my marathon training cycle this time around. Compared to training for my first marathon last year, I ran:

2017 Marathon Training (2016 numbers in parenthesis)

  • 17 weeks training (16 weeks in 2016)
  • 74 runs (40)
  • 540.5 miles (299.5)
  • 127 hours (73)
  • 18,544 feet of elevation gain (4,531)
  • Average 31.79 miles per week (17.62)
  • Average 4.4 runs per week (2.4)
  • Average 7.3 miles per run (7.49)
  • Average 1 hour 42 minutes per run (1 hour 49 minutes)
  • Average pace 14:06/mi (14:38/mi)
Annoyingly, these numbers include warm up and cool down because I pulled them from SportTracks' online reporting that doesn't allow reporting by active vs resting laps. But they still show a significant difference from last year to this year.

Due to injury, I didn't run at all in the 2 weeks leading up to the 2017 marathon, so I basically stopped the training at 17 weeks instead of the initial 19 scheduled.

I was much more consistent in my training numbers and my pace this cycle and it paid off with a more consistent performance in the marathon.

Post Marathon Aches and Pains

I was way more sore after this marathon than I was last year. Maybe because I pushed through when I wanted to quit and walk the rest of the way. The day after the marathon in 2016, I felt relatively fine with only minor soreness. This year, it was Friday, 5 days later before I felt that way.

This year, I had an ankle injury about 3 weeks before the marathon and only ran twice in that time period. My ankle did bother me some in the marathon, but not enough to quit. In January, I injured my right elbow carrying a heavy hand-held water bottle on the outside of my arm for 9 miles of a tempo run. It never occurred to me to switch hands. Duh.

My ankle and elbow didn't bother me enough during the marathon to quit, but a week after the marathon, both were still bothering me after the residual soreness had worn off. So I went to an orthopedic surgeon to get x-rays and an opinion on both.

The verdict? Arthritis in my left ankle, along with a small bone spur. The bone spur is likely the cause of the pre-marathon injury. I broke this ankle in 2008 during a horseback riding accident and was subsequently plated and had 3 surgeries on it. The arthritis is not necessarily surprising.

Tendinitis in my elbow. The cream they gave me for my elbow reminded me of somebody putting my arm in a fire or on a hot radiator (looking at the brothers here...). But I gritted through that pain because after the cream dried, my elbow felt 100%! Unfortunately, after 3 or 4 uses (2 days), the skin on my elbow looked like it had been burned. I discontinued the medication. I'm debating going back for something else or just wait it out. Not sure where to go from here.

Post Marathon Rest

I put my self on a mandatory 2 week rest period and when I saw my doctor, I was given another 2 weeks of no running. So I'll likely start back running sometime this week or maybe next.

Sasha grazing after a 19 mile training ride.

In the meantime, I've been having fun with my endurance horse, Sasha. She has been off work for about 5 1/2 months due to her having an issue at a ride in September, then Tanna getting hurt and taking up a lot of my time and marathon training taking up a lot of my time. I also manage to hold down a full time job.

But, now that I'm not running as much, I've started riding Sasha regularly again and having fun with that.

Next up?

Well, I need to start back doing some easy running. I have a half marathon in mid-April that I may or may not get to. It has a generous time limit of 4 hours, so I could go do it and just lolly-gag around the course. Then I need to figure out a 10k training program for my July 4th 10k. Looking even further ahead, I'll do a 1/2 this fall and then back to training for another marathon for next March. I've signed up for the 2018 Asheville Marathon that is run on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. More about that as time goes on.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

2017 Chattanooga Marathon Recap

Going to get my packet first thing in the morning.

My alarm rang at 5:30 AM. I got up, showered, dressed and left my hotel room a little after six. I headed to the elevator banks. I was wearing my 2017 Chattanooga Marathon hoodie I'd purchased online over a short sleeve shirt and a pair of blue jeans. The other occupant of the elevator noticed my jacket and asked what job I was doing for the marathon. I smiled and said I was running it; just had to go get my packet since the Expo closed at 5 PM on Saturday night instead of 7 PM like last year.

Since he mistook me for a volunteer, I decided he must be one, so asked his job. He said he was going out to check the course markings to be sure we were not going to have a repeat of the slightly short marathon from last year. I thanked him for that and we parted ways as the elevator opened.

Me in my comfy hoodie before getting ready for the run.

I stepped out into the cool, dark morning on the streets of Chattanooga. I walked the 1/4 mile or so to the Expo where they were giving out race packets. I got my green backpack bag that held a bunch of Chattanooga information and pamphlets, a gray T-shirt and my race number: 151.

I went back to my hotel room and finished getting dressed for the race. I had gone back on forth on wearing capris or shorts, but with the help of a friend and the fact that it wasn't terribly cold on my walk to get my race packet, I chose the shorts. The news was saying it was 36° outside, but it just didn't feel like it to me. I added arm sleeves (men's dress socks that had the toe cut out) to my short sleeve shirt, a knit hat, knit gloves. 

I removed the extra material from the bottom of my race bib (meal ticket, bag drop ticket and some other ticket I don't remember now). I had a moment of panic when I realized there were no safety pins! I hadn't remembered to look on the table at the Expo and there were none anywhere in my packet. I did have my Running Buddy Bib Clips in my suitcase though! Yay! I attached my bib to the front of my shirt.

Next came my Flip Belt. I added lip stuff, my ID, a credit card, and my truck key to the zippered pocket. Then a zip lock bag with a couple of individually wrapped wipes, a couple of blister band-aids and an extra set of ear buds in case my bluetooth ones decided to stop working. Finally, a picky bar, a pack of cliff shot bloks and a gel. All in the Flip Belt. I flipped it over to secure the openings. I slid my cell phone into the left thigh pocket of my shorts, another picky bar, pack of cliff shot bloks and 2 gels in the other thigh pocket.

Finally, I pulled on a sweat shirt I'd picked up new that week off a sale rack.

Me ready to run!

And it was time to go! I left the hotel and went to the nearest city bike rack and rode the mile or so to the start line. The bike rack I was planning to return my bike to was full, so I headed to the next closest one and was able to leave it there.

My legs were COLD while I was riding the bike, but after that, I wasn't cold at all. I jogged back to the start line and joined the line for the porta potties. 20 minutes until start time.

Waiting in the the porta potty line

I like the way people tend to line up for porta potties with 3 or 4 lines spread semi-equi-distant apart and people just go to the next available one between the lines of people on either side of them. Works well and most of the lines go down quickly. I spent my time in line stretching out a bit and fidgeting from excitement.

I got to the starting corral about 10 minutes before the start and stood a bit back from the 12:00 pace sign. The marathon and half marathon runners were all starting at the same time. 3 minutes before the start, I removed my sweatshirt and hung it on the corral fence for them to pick up and donate.

I had a nice chat with a lady doing her second marathon since 1999. She'd done over 20 though before that! She was very nice.

And we were off! Of course, I walked the first minute or 2 with the rest of the crowd. As I approached the start line, I begin running and started my GPS watches.

Shortly after the start, I realized I had not taken my pre-race gel, so I pulled it out and did that, veering off course slightly to toss the empty pack into a nearby trash can.

We passed a bank that had 48° on its sign. Yeah, happy to have the shorts instead of the heavier capris.

The first mile went pretty well. I was actually a little concerned because I was having no trouble keeping slow enough to keep pace. Usually the excitement of a race pegs my HR and I go too fast. I was worried that wasn't happening. I settled immediately into my 12:30/mi pace. I decided to go with my usual long run routine. Run 12:30/mi pace for 4.5 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Walk uphills, cruise downhill.

During the second mile, the half marathoners turned right while the marathon course continued under I-24. The field thinned considerably to just the 450 or so marathoners and the marathon relay runners. By the way, that number was down from 2016's numbers of around 575 teams (single or relay).

Running toward I-24; suddenly alone

I ran the 3rd mile 50 seconds too fast and dialed it back for the next 2 miles. The course was the same as last year through mile 4, but in the St Elmo neighborhood instead of veering off to Virginia Avenue, the course continued south on Tennessee Avenue before looping back and running back north on Virginia Avenue instead of Alabama Avenue, which was last year.

The St Elmo neighborhood had 2 places where streamers were set up across the road for us to run through with people hanging out by them, clapping, cheering with music playing. Very festive. I found it hard to not run too fast with all the encouragement!

Just before the 8 mile marker, the course moved to the Tennessee Riverwalk at the South Broad Trailhead. This was a nice change from last year's section up Broadway. For one thing, by moving to the Riverwalk, we avoided having to run just south of the finish line at mile 9! I did not enjoy doing that last year. Seemed a bit cruel to see the half marathon runners finishing and hearing the cheering and knowing I still had 17+ miles to go!

Entering the Riverwalk

Around this mile also, I began to see the same runners I would see during the remainder of the marathon. In particular, this one guy that was walking. He was going about my average pace of 13:30/mi, but walking the entire thing. So two thoughts went through my head on that score. Good for him! And, boy, I run so slow, people can walk just as fast. :-/ Oh well, keep going! I would run past him and he'd catch me up on my walking breaks. We exchanged a couple of pleasantries, but pretty much lived in our own worlds.

By now, it had warmed up nicely. I had dropped my knit hat at the mile 2 aid station and my gloves at the mile 4 aid station. I still had my arm sleeves on, but was starting to move them down my upper arm to expose more skin.

I was feeling pretty good at this point. Keeping to my plan. Eating on time. I'd even taken a Snickers bar at mile 4 and a Twix at mile 10. No real issues to complain about. A beautiful day, great volunteers, a perfect day for a run.

Approaching the aquarium

We stayed on the Riverwalk until the Aquarium, then ran around on the parkway and Battery Place to pop out on Veteran's Bridge. The mile 12 aid station was just before the bridge. I dumped my arm
sleeves there, so just running in shorts and a t-shirt. It felt great.

The dedication plaque

Crossing over the bridge, we continued into the hills. This is when the hills really started in earnest. Or at least when I really started feeling them. The course went north on Barton Avenue and then looped back by the Chattanooga Country Club and curved under Veteran's Bridge.

View of the Country Club golf course from the top of a hill.

At the mile 16 aid station, I paused at the aid station and about fell over! Suddenly stopping made me feel like I'd just gotten off a ship I'd been on for days. But I managed to not fall down. I took a Snickers bar and continued on. But this time, my stomach said NO to the Snickers. I had to spit half of it out. I managed to keep the rest down, but nope, not planning on eating Snickers in the latter part of a run anymore. I was a little worried the next time I was due for a gel, but my regular Caramel Machiatto Gu went down without a hitch.

Even though I walked the hills and ran down them, they were starting to take their toll. That or just the cumulative mileage. I was experiencing some leg and foot pain by mile 15. Not debilitating, but not comfortable either. I paused and stretched every 3 or so miles from here on out.

View from Walnut Street Bridge

The course crossed back to the south side of the Tennessee River over the pedestrian Walnut Street Bridge, then through the University of Tennessee campus, where there was a live band. By this time, I'm at mile 19 and wondering if I'll finish at all, but still hitting my paces, even with my bathroom and aid station breaks. By mile 15 last year, I was already letting my paces slip, with only 2 miles out of the last 11 hitting my pace.

Me at mile 21.

After mile 21, though, I had something else to think about since the course was different. Instead of running up by the zoo and then running by the Chattanooga National Cemetery along Holtzclaw, we ran along Kirby Avenue and south on Highland Park Avenue.

Finally, I came out on Main Street, headed west. Mile 24. 2.2 miles left. I was fighting for every running segment. Almost crying when I'd walk and dreading the next running section. I flipped my GPS to show me how long I had to run before I could walk again and then flipped it away because I really didn't want to know. I just listened for that beep. Each time I walked, I wasn't sure I would run again. I kept thinking, I can just walk now. I've already done better than last year. It's ok, just walk. But somehow I reached down and ran when it was time to run. But it hurt. My music really helped me here. I could run to the beat. My training really helped me here because when I ran, I was running my 12:30/mi pace. Because I'd run that so much in training it was automatic.

Finally, I turned off Main Street to swing up to 13th Street and to the final turn of the marathon.

Approaching the last turn; about 1/2 mile from the finish.

I turned the corner. I could see the finish line. And yet, I could not run. I could not convince my legs to run. I picked out landmarks and said, ok, start running here. And I didn't. So picked another one. And didn't run.

Finally, though, I saw the 13 mile sign for the half marathon. Only a tenth of a mile to go. I can do that. So I did. I began to run again. There was a cop at the end of the finish chute and he high fived me and encouraged me on. So I ran. The announcer announced my name and as he did I raised my hands above my head and yelled in victory. Just a few more steps and across the finish line. Whooohoooo!!! Second marathon down in 5 hours 54 minutes and 45 seconds (official chip time). A 20 minute PR.

GPS time and completely AWESOME medal!!

And it hurt. It hurt a lot. I got my medal and a bottle of water and headed back toward my hotel, whimpering with every step. My legs were hurting, my arms were hurting, my back hurt. But I had that cool medal! And I was done!

I reached my hotel and decided to take the stairs because they were closer to my room. And was shocked at how much my quads hurt when I tried to climb those stairs. I paused and thought but decided, yes, up the stairs. I grabbed the railing and hauled myself up the stairs with every painful step. Yes, yes, I do this for fun...??? Or maybe just to see how tough I really am, or am not.

But I did it! I finished and finished fairly strong, the walking during the last 1/2 mile aside. All but 2 of my mile splits were no slower than 20 seconds off my target pace. And those 2 were 14-minute miles and both of those were miles with restroom breaks. My splits were fairly consistent which makes me happy. I trained for consistency and that's what I got.

Runner's T-shirt

This was a great course this year. I was super happy to get a PR, but the course was interesting as well. The volunteers were top-notch with lots of cheerleaders, even in the later part of the course for me as a slower runner. The weather was perfect for me as well. The shirts are great and the medal is very cool.

During the run and for the first 2-3 days after, I was thinking I wouldn't do another marathon. Now, I'm thinking maybe I will. I don't know that I'll get faster. I'm just not fast at all. It's a lot to run for almost 6 hours. It's a lot of training to be able to do so. I don't know. I have a couple of marathons in mind for 2018. I can't do both because they are only a week or two apart. So I will probably train for the harder one and have the easier one as a back up if my training goes badly.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy the feeling of having completed marathons! And turn my attention to my endurance mare, Sasha, and get her ready for her own distance events.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2.5 Days Pre Marathon!

The weather for this year's Chattanooga Marathon is looking very much like the weather last year. High 30s for the start, warming into the low 60s by the finish.

I have tentatively picked out the clothes I will wear and have packed them. I also packed a pair of shorts and a pair of winter tights just in case the weather changes at the last minute. I have confirmed my hotel reservation. I have packed the gear and food I will use during the race.

Last year, I used an Amphipod hydration belt with a couple of water bottles. This year, I'm going with my trusty Nathan soft flask hand held and a FlipBelt with a zipper pocket for my phone. And, of course, I'll be running with my Forerunner 630 and Forerunner 620 watches.

Before I tweaked my ankle, I had a different race strategy. Now my strategy is to get through it. I'm going to approach it like any other long run, with a long run pace instead of my marathon pace. Walk the uphills. I'll be thrilled with a finish. A strong finish without having to only walk the last 2 miles would be even better.

I'm excited to see how it goes.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Marathon Countdown - T - 10 Days

10 days until the Chattanooga marathon! And what does that mean exactly?? Time to obsessively monitor the long range forecast for Chattanooga, of course!

Right now, the forecast for Sunday, March 5, is Partly Cloudy with a high of 65°, low of 47° the night before. 20% chance of rain and a mild breeze. That would be wonderful!! Shorts and a T-shirt with sheddable arm sleeves and gloves for the start. I won't get too excited though. Those things change on an hourly basis, hence the obsessive monitoring that will occur between now and then!

On the ankle front, I have been doing PT exercises I learned when I broke my ankle in 2008. This seems to be helping; at least it's giving me something to do! I'm doing forearm strengthening exercises in the form of various bicep curls; one legged squats to keep my glute muscles strong and engaged; and deadlifts to help my hamstrings.

I don't plan to run again before the marathon. I might do some walking next week, but the risk of starting back too soon and reinjuring or further injuring my ankle tendon is high. I think it's higher than the conditioning I might retain by running.

So I'll go and see what happens.

Because I don't have any running pictures from this week, enjoy this picture of my injured horse, Tanna, reaching over his stall wall to steal a bite of hay from his hay net that I haven't hung in his stall yet.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Marathon Training Week 17 - In Which I Don't Run Much

Last week during my tempo run, I tweaked my left ankle. I waited 8 days before I ran again. I ran an easy 2 miles on the treadmill with no ill effects. So on Friday, I ran 4 miles at the same easy pace. I didn't feel the intense pain I had before, but I did feel a slightly elevated low level pain in the ankle after a few hours. SO. I am going to take it easy and wait a few more days before I run again.

View of the hill that I often run for my hill runs. And Sasha's cute ears!

I'm going to ride my horse when I can. That will help keep my legs and core in shape without the concussion of running. It's not going to help my cardiovascular system much. So I will definitely be losing some conditioning between now and the marathon. I'm not happy about that, but it is what it is and I'll just adjust from here.

What I don't want to do is get to the marathon and be hobbling at mile 13 and have to quit. I'd rather be slower and finish than quit. The marathon is in 2 weeks! I'm not sure how much more running I'll get in between now and then. Have to cross my fingers and hope my base doesn't whittle away too much.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Marathon Training Week 16 - Oops I Did It Again

Early in this training cycle, I hurt my right leg and had to take a few days off running. Since then, I've had niggling issues here and there, including strengthening and babying my right leg, but nothing major. Hopefully, nothing major this time, but I did end up only running 3 days this week.

Sunday - 14 Miles Cross Training

Looking over the steeplechase course.

I went to Percy Warner Park and rode Sasha! She was great, only a couple bucking fits to express her annoyance at me not letting her run pel mel the entire time. We had the trails to ourselves during our first loop. We went back to the trailer for a few minutes and then went out and did the loop in the opposite direction. Sasha was a firecracker and a lot of fun to ride. We got some good gallops in, especially the first loop when no other horses were on trail. A world of good for her and me!

Sasha after our ride. Still very animated; not at all tired.

Monday - 10 miles @ 13:29

I got up super early and banged out the miles on the treadmill before heading to work. I did my iFit workout with each mile consisting of a flat 1/4 mile, faster downhill 1/2 mile and final 1/4 mile walking uphill. It was kinda hard to do the 10:00/mi downhills for the first 3 or 4 miles until I finally actually woke up. I was happy I didn't fall off the treadmill!

I had no breakfast before my run. I took a gel during my warm-up, then 2 shot bloks at 3, 6 and 8 miles. I followed my run with a chocolate strawberry protein shake (real strawberries). Worked out ok, but not something I want to do all the time.

No issues during this run or after.

Tuesday - 4 miles @ 14:03

Just an easy run on the treadmill. I did the ease-into workout where I start at 1/4 mile jog, short walk and then extend the intervals by 10% each time. I actually had sore legs after this workout! That was very odd. Generally these workouts are harder on my brain during the workout than they are on my body.

I wore cotton underwear during this run. I was too lazy to change into running underwear. Fortunately no rubs, but ugh, very uncomfortable!

Wednesday - 11 miles @ 12:07 (12:38)

I went to River Park to run my tempo run. I decided to run the exact same route I ran last week. Down to Smith Park, back up Raintree Parkway and into the back of Crockett Park. It's a very nice run with bathrooms/water positioned at mile ~2.5, 4.5 and 10. Only one major road crossing at Raintree Parkway and Crockett Road and that's a 4-way stop, so it's pretty easy to pay attention and get across the street safely.

It was absolutely wonderful running weather for me. Overcast, 55° and a very light breeze. I wore my Althleta Relay 2.0 capris and my inknburn shady shirt. I got the shirt on a rare sale. When it first came out, I didn't really like the pictures, so I didn't buy one. But when they put it on 1/2 price, I decided it was worth $25. Well, I have to say, I really like this shirt! It's not as pop-y, vibrant as my rose shirt, but it's very calming and flattering.

I was fairly comfortable for the entire run. The capris were a tad hot, but shorts would not have been enough coverage for me on this run. I like to be warm.

I didn't get to listen to any podcasts on this run. I didn't have any new ones so I just listened to music.

I started out the run too fast. I tried to rein it in, but my first mile was 15 seconds too fast. I did a little better the 2nd mile (still too fast), but my 3rd mile was 30 seconds too fast! Well, you see where this is going. I only had 2 miles out of 11 that were at/near my target pace of 12:36/mi! Every other mile was too fast.

Entering the Raintree Forest Community

I stopped at Smith Park and Crocket Park for bathroom/water breaks. 5 minutes 34 seconds of stopped time during my 2 breaks.

I fueled well for this run. Last week I screwed up my fuel, but not this time. I had a gel during the first mile, then every 33 minutes after that I ate 2 shot bloks or another gel. I need to be very consistent with my fueling during the marathon; it definitely makes a difference.

My last mile I ran in 11 minutes 12 seconds. I struggled to try to keep my pace under control. This was the last mile and flat, so I should have done it. But I finally abandoned all pretense of control and flat out ran the last 1/4 mile. It was so much fun!! I was flying (for me) and having a blast doing it.

Stretching after the run.

But...yeah, there's a but. After I got done and cooled down, I began to have acute pain in a tendon in my left ankle when making certain movements during walking. This pain repeated itself often, so I decided to rest and treat the ankle. So my fun tempo run was my last run of the week.

Weekly Stats

Training mileage: 25 miles
Training time: 5 hours 24 minutes

Total Mileage*: 26.6 miles
Total Time*: 6 hours
Elevation Gain:  1,109 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

What's Next?

Well, I think I've started my taper early. This upcoming week was supposed to be my last big week. Last long run, last long tempo run, last 30+ mile week. But I don't think I'll do the long run. And once I get back to running, if I can even run this week, it'll be easy runs only. I really hope I didn't blow my marathon for 5 minutes of fun. :-/

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Marathon Training Week 15 - In Which I Discover Podcasts

This hasn't really been a memorable week. Just another week of running. It is one of my higher mileage weeks at 41 miles, but neither my long run nor my tempo run was the longest I've done this training cycle. I do think this is the last 40+ mile week I'll run before the marathon.

Sunday - 16 miles @ 13:13 (13:44)

An empty parking lot is a sign of a crazy runner!

I hadn't been to the Murfreesboro Greenway in about 4 weeks, so I was happy to go there for my 16 miler.

I parked near the General Bragg Trailhead. I ran up to the Stones River National Battlefield. It had rained a bit during the past week and I wasn't sure about running the trail there, but when I checked it out, it was fine, so I ran the trail to the Visitor's Center. I love the visitor's center. Nice bathrooms, nice water fountain and open on Sunday AM.

It rained on me for about a mile before I reached the visitor's center. At first it was just a light rain, but by the time I got there, it was raining pretty good. I was wearing my PreCip rain jacket, but I didn't have the hood up. I really should have stopped to get my hood up when it started raining. I put it up before I left the visitor's center, but I was already wet, which wasn't the best idea since I was only 5 miles into my run.

I ran back through the battlefield back to the General Bragg Trailhead bathrooms for another quick break and a water refill. I should have stopped at my truck and switched out my wet half-zip for a tech T-shirt and a dry jacket to go under my PreCip jacket, but that didn't occur to me until I was done with the run, home and showered! Nice example of the brain just not kicking in sometimes.

Rain/Sleet/Snow clouds

Then I ran through Gateway Island, pausing to see if their bathrooms were open. The water fountains were shut off, but the women's bathroom was open. I didn't use the facilities, I was just checking them out since I didn't realize there were bathrooms there.

There are several geese and ducks that hang out at the Gateway Island water. A goose was just a few feet off the path, so I slowed to a walk to get a look at him. I started to pull out my phone to get a picture when he began advancing toward me with his mouth open. I didn't know if he was begging for food or in an aggressive posture. I don't speak "geese." I decided I'd leave him alone and left without my picture.

Slippery bridge! Can't tell in the pic, but it was sleeting at the time. I walked this bridge for safety.

I ran out to Medical Center Parkway and hooked back into the Greenway at the Searcy Street Trailhead and continued south along the Greenway. I ran out to the Cannonsburgh Village Trailhead. They were shut up tight for the winter.

I was pretty cold as the weather was rain, sleet or snow off and on. But I was enjoying looking at things along the trail, both nature and man-made. I did feel a bit crazy for being out there, but it was a good experience and taught me that I really should put my hood up sooner when it's raining in the winter!

A heron in a creek near Cannonsburgh Village

When I ended up at the Old Fort restrooms, I only had 3 more miles to go. I paused to refill my water bottle and make use of the facilities, then ran another 1/2 mile further south before turning around and heading back to my truck via the Fortress Rosecrans Trailhead and stayed on the Greenway all the way back. I did briefly consider extending the run to 18 miles, but I had been cold for the entire run and after my 22 miler a couple weeks before, I had nothing to prove to myself.

Bundled up and still cold!

Definitely a winding route, but fairly interesting. My last 4 miles were a struggle but I pushed myself to keep pace so much that my last 4 miles were 30-40 seconds per mile faster than my long run pace was supposed to be.

I had 3 breaks that totaled 8 minutes 23 seconds. My average without the breaks was 13:13/mi. Adding in the break time, my average was 13:44/mi. I hope I won't stop so much in the actual marathon! I probably won't. My last 1/2 I didn't take a single pit stop break, although I wanted to, there just weren't any facilities after the 4 mile mark.

I was pretty sore after this run. Especially my quads. Apparently being cold for several hours while running isn't really all that good for my leg muscles. Who knew? (that's sarcasm, folks)

Monday - 4 miles @ 14:03

This was a first thing in the morning run before work and breakfast. After how tight my legs were after the 16 miles, I thought I'd have more trouble, but other than just tired legs, it wasn't too bad. I did grumble and complain during the entire 4 miles. Not a good run from a mental perspective, but physically, it was fine.

Tuesday - 6 miles Hill Run

Me in a bright shirt since I ran on the road.

I haven't actually done a specific hill run for almost 2 months. This was for 2 reasons. I started having issues with my right hamstring brought on by too much uphill running too fast. And I started incorporating some elevation into my weekly long and tempo runs. My goal is to get at least 1000 ft of climb in a week of runs. Most of the time that ends up being during my long run or split between my long run and my tempo run. Running at the Nashville Stones River Greenway gives me some good elevation to work with and helps mimic, at least partially, the elevation I'll see at the marathon next month.

The Murfreesboro Greenway doesn't have much in the way of elevation change, so I needed something to bump my numbers, so back to the hill workout.

This time I added a little more to my run to get a full 6 miles in. My last run of this route clocked in at 5.5 miles. This route runs up over a hill and down the other side. What I do is turn around at the bottom on the other side and run up the hill, and just keep running the same side of the hill until I get my mileage in and then finish up and go back. So the route, except for about 1/4 mile at the start/finish is all up or down. I ended up climbing the hill 4 1/2 times.

View from the top of the hill

I'm still being careful of my hamstrings and building up really slowly, so I only did short 15 second run 45 seconds walk intervals up one of the hills. All the other uphill was walking. So my average pace was fairly low, even with jogging downhill.

I was pretty tired for this run, so I didn't get as much of a pace boost from running downhill as I usually do.

As a side note, I wore my marathon shoes for this run. I've been training my long and tempo runs in a blue pair of Altra Paradigm 2 shoes. Those now have some 180 miles on them, including my 22 miler from a couple weeks ago. I have a purple pair of the same model that have 60 miles on them now and those are the shoes I'll wear on the marathon. I just wanted to be sure there was nothing funky about them and they still will work for the marathon.

Thursday - 11 miles @ 12:22 (12:51)

This was my tempo run. I went super early to River Park to run a loop down to Smith Park and back via Raintree Parkway and Crockett Park. I did the same run last week, but this time I actually made the turn off Green Hill Blvd correctly, so didn't add an extra mile to my run. If I skip the stop at Smith Park, I can make it a 10 miler, but I like the rest stop at Smith Park to refill my water bottle and use the restroom. Means I don't have to carry my larger water bottle, I can make do with my Nathan soft flask.

This was another cold run at 38° with a cold breeze. Running to Smith Park, the wind was at my back. I was wearing my UA half zip and my PreCip jacket. I also had inknburn arm sleeves on under my half zip. Running with the wind at my back, I was a little warm, so I had my half zip completely unzipped and my PreCip jacket unzipped half-way. I was regretting bringing the PreCip jacket, but when I started running into the wind after my Smith Park break, I was so happy I had it. I zipped everything back up and was fairly comfortable for the entire run.

My tempo runs this past month or so have been mostly negative splits with me running the last 3 or 4 miles 30-45 seconds faster than marathon pace. But I was tired for this run and screwed up my fueling so those 2 things resulted in not being able to push my pace.

I usually eat a gel right before my run or in the first mile, but I didn't take my first gel until I'd gone almost 2 miles. Then I had 3 shot bloks at mile 4.5 and 3 more at mile 7. Then I didn't take another gel because I figured I was almost done, but I would have been better off taking one at mile 9, even with only 2 miles to go.

I only had the one stop at Smith Park, but that was 90 seconds longer than it should have been. I just wasn't moving very fast overall.

I did manage to maintain my pace when I was actually running. Every mile was at target pace or less than 10 seconds faster. It was just hard to keep churning out the miles. Fatigued legs. I could have gone further, but I was happy not to. I had a 12:22/mi average pace without the break. 12:51/mi average with.

Friday - 4 miles @ 14:03

This was not a hard run. A little hard mentally getting through the first mile, but watching a show on Hulu made the time pass easier. I toyed with the idea of not running this easy run, but doing so would pop me over the 40 mile mark for the week and it's still a bit new to me to say I ran over 40 miles this week, so that was enough motivation to get me on the treadmill!

New Podcasts

Normally when I run outside, I listen to songs. I have a specific running playlist, but I subscribe to Google Play Music and I'll listen to various radio stations to pass the time and mix up what I hear. I only listen to stuff that my phone has downloaded on wi-fi, so it's not using up my cell data.

This week, I decided to try a couple podcasts that I've never listened to before.

On Sunday, during my long run, I listened to Embrace Running. This is a podcast by Mark and Elena. I got to listen to their 2016 goals wrap up and their 2017 new goals podcasts. I also got to hear a trail race recap. I quite enjoyed listening to them chat about running and fully intend to keep listening.

On Thursday, during my tempo run, I listened to Tina Muir on the Runners Connect Run to the Top podcast. I got to listen to Tina interview triathlon coach Rob Wilby. This was a great intro to triathlons for runners. It "almost" made me want to try a triathlon. Almost.

I also got to listen to Tina interview Hannah Smith, an amazing woman that beat cancer and runs and is training for a triathlon after having 2/3rds of her stomach and esophagus removed! Her outlook is amazing and inspirational. I highly recommend this particular podcast episode.

All in all, definitely a success in listening to podcasts while running. Any others I should try? I would love recommendations.

Weekly Stats

Training mileage: 41 miles
Training time: 9 hours 7 minutes

Total Mileage*: 43.75 miles
Total Time*: 10 hours 11 minutes
Elevation Gain:  1,784 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

What's Next?

What a great question. What's next? I get to this portion of the post every week and I have to pause and think, really, what IS next? I get so focused on just the next workout and just this week that I really don't think about next week until I get here. Good thing I have a training schedule around here somewhere. I take a look at it and tweak it based on my previous performance.

Looks like this week I have 5 days of running on the schedule. A lighter long run of only 10 or 12 miles and a tempo run of the same length. Then easy runs to round out my mileage.