My Running Hiatus

My Running Hiatus

The Hyner 25k was just over one month ago and ever since then my running has been off. My weekly mileage hasn’t exceeded 17 miles. Actually, it’s been a struggle for me to reach a total of 17 miles.  I took off my normal amount of time for post-race recovery and, instead of running, I started cycling more both on and off the trails to maintain some fitness.  The runs I did complete were typically 3-4 mile runs at a sluggishly slow pace. On my runs, my mind would often wander to a desire to stop running and just walk or find a bicycle to ride back to my house instead (both of which I never actually did).  As much as I wanted to take off from running and try to maintain my fitness through cross-training instead, I kept trying to go out and run in hopes that during one of these runs I would feel less sluggish. That feeling never came.  Despite the short distance of my runs, 3 miles started to feel like an eternity. I would get to my half-way turn-a-round point and think “I really have to go all the way back now??“. A few weeks before I’d completed 16 miles up and down mountains and now a 3 mile run on a flat trail became a challenge unlike Hyner View Challenge itself.  Maybe I was physically broken down from the 25k.  I know I felt unmotivated because I didn’t have anything to train; I didn’t have a race to look forward to.  I know I felt lonely on my runs because my running partners either weren’t able to run because of injury or had moved 2,000 miles away (you know who you are).  Maybe I was going through race withdrawal.  Actually…maybe I was going through mountain withdrawal.  Regardless of this list of retrospective excuses, I tried to get over these boundaries.  People told me to take more time off. I felt like I was indeed taking time off by running low and slow mileage but my body ultimately won the battle. I needed more time. I needed to stop running completely.  So this is my running hiatus.  I will probably run a few miles at tonight’s group run because I am obligated to as the shop owner’s daughter. I assure you that it won’t be fast and it won’t be strenuous in any capacity. I will ease back in to running as I prepare to start training for my fall ultra. I hope that I’ve given my body an appropriate amount of time to recoup itself. I hope that I return to running with some new found motivation. What ever the case may be, I now understand the importance of ample race recovery. Even though I didn’t run a marathon or ultra, my body was so strained by the race and the three months of training leading up to the race that it needed a break.   It needed a hiatus.
Higher mileage, happier runner

Higher mileage, happier runner

Here is another weekly ultra training recap, as told in as few words as possible:

Monday – birthday run, group run, still sick, slower pace, 6.1 miles

Tuesday – sickness completely gone, 4 miles with my 4-legged running buddy

Wednesday – no watch, warmth, felt great, 6 miles

Thursday – 12 mile bike ride to the group run, SparklySoul, 7:35 mile, great weather, good company, gossiping, Angela, average 7:52 pace, 7 miles, socializing

Friday – 3 mile walk, long run part 1, Angela, more gossip, warm weather, average 8:18 pace, 10 miles, foam rolling

Saturday – early morning, chilly morning, long run part 2, getting lost, talking, good company, hills, slow trail pace, 10 miles, hunger

Sunday – 1st mountain bike ride in 10 years, need improvement, easy run home, 3.5 miles

Week in review:  awesome, higher mileage, happier runner, great company, loving running, 46.6 miles

 

Ultra Training Update

Ultra Training Update

This week has been my highest weekly mileage of my ultra training thus far.  The weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL which made me happier, more motivated, and more energetic.  The week ended with day light savings which I am extremely excited about because now it will be lighter out later in the day.  This instantly makes me happier.  We survived winter!  As for training, I had a great week of running, biking, and spending time outside with my dogs.  Here we go:

Monday:  Today I ran 5 easy miles with Gwin (my dog).  No watch, just running.

Tuesday:  Tuesdays are usually my rest days but because I took a rest day on Sunday due to a schedule conflict, I opted to take an easy day of mileage instead of resting again.  I ran 4 miles with one of my best friends at an average of 8:37 pace.  I then walked the dogs to the post office which was 0.75 miles total.  It was a beautiful day outside so I wanted to stay outside as long as possible before going to work.

Wednesday:  I ran early this day because my internship and work schedule overlapped and left me with no time in between to get home and run a reasonable distance.  So I ran 6.2 miles in the early morning with my dad.  It was warm and I was content.  I also walked 3 miles in the afternoon and discovered new trails and a scenic lake!

Thursday:  This was the group run night at my dad’s running/biking store.  I decided to ride my bike to the group run – it’s 12 miles away from my house.  It was a very windy day but I was happy to have my mom biking alongside me.  The group run was 6.2 miles.  I was the only female in the group and all the guys are faster than me so it turned into a tempo run for me.  We averaged 7:51 pace (8:10, 7:41, 7:44, 7:40, 7:54, 8:00).  The last two miles were slower because I can’t run at 7:40 pace and have a conversation with someone simultaneously.  Overall, it was a great run with great company!  Running with fast people will only make me faster!  Also, this night felt like summer and I loved it!  I had to run to the nearby elementary school after the run to meet my dad who was teaching children the importance of bike helmets so I tacked on a mile cool-down at the end of the night.  Today’s bike total: 12 miles.  Today’s running total: 7.2 miles.

Friday:  Today I ran 7 miles with Angela.  Our pace varied throughout our run because we got slightly lost on the trails.  My legs felt dead by the end of the run which I blame on the biking and tempo run from the day before.  It was a good run nonetheless and the weather was PERFECT!

Saturday:  This morning I biked 19 miles during our group ride that leaves from my dad’s running/bike store.  Although we probably averaged 14-15mph pace, I enjoyed the bike ride and it was nice to spend a morning outside cross-training.  Immediately after finishing the bike ride, I went for a quick three miles.  My legs felt like they wanted to continue spinning in circles as if I were on a bike but they needed to run!  I didn’t look at my watch during the run so I was completely shocked at the end of my run when my Garmin Forerunner 10 told me that I averaged 8:18 pace.  And the funniest part of this whole situation is that it also turned into an unintentional three mile progression run (8:28, 8:17, 8:06).  Considering how crappy I felt during the entire run, I was utterly appalled at how quick my splits were – especially since I physically felt like I was running at 10-minute pace.  It was yet another great day of training!

20160313_101220Sunday:  Sundays are my favorite because it’s long run day!  Angela and I followed my dad and our trail-running friend through the ups and downs of Brandywine. We were at Brandywine one month ago and it was only 8 degrees out.  Today, it was a cool 53 degrees which made it perfect for two hours out on the trails. Because my dad and our friend are training for the Hyner View Challenge that is in a month and a half they wanted to run as many hills as possible today.  Angela and I basically just had to suffer through the torture; however, the hills will make us stronger runners too!  We ran 11.5 miles with 1500 feet of elevation – this is significant elevation for a run in Delaware!  It was a great morning out on the trails and it was an awesome ending to this week.

This week was jam-packed with running, cross-training, and pure enjoyment of the great outdoors! There’s one more week of winter and then I’m hoping the earth will bless us with a warm and perfect spring!

20160313_170931

 

Thoughts during a 16 mile training run:

Thoughts during a 16 mile training run:

Yesterday I had my longest marathon training run since starting training way back in September.  I had a 12-15 mile run scheduled for the day but I ended up over-estimating my figure-8ish loop so it ended up being 16 miles instead.   And I don’t regret that extra mile whatsoever.  I also told myself when I first started running that I would only look at my watch every 3 miles.  This actually was the best idea I had for this long run because I ended up running by feel of the run rather than pace.  And it went by sooooo much faster because I just focused on waiting for every 3rd beep to look at my watch.  Let me share some thoughts I can remember during this run:

mile 1 (9:21) – since I somehow lost my gloves somewhere between leaving my apartment and driving to my starting point, I started my run with freezing cold hands due to the fact that it was about 35 degrees out when I started.  All I kept thinking is “ohmygosh I can’t feel my hands…this is going to a horrible run because my hands are going to go numb”.

mile 2 (8:43) – “ok, try covering your hands with your sleeves……nope that’s not working….I still can’t feel my fingers”

mile 3 (1st time I looked at my watch – 8:30) – “hey, look other runners! At least I’m not the only crazy one out here”…and “hmmm 8:30 mile split….maybe I should slow down…after all, I have like 12 miles to go”

mile 4 (8:15) – “I’m running through the empty fairgrounds parking lot woohoooo!  Oh look they’re having a dog show….that’s cool…I miss Hope and Gwin”

mile 5 (8:23) – “don’t get hit by a car….you’re almost to the trail and then you won’t have any cars to worry about for a very long time”

mile 6 (2nd time looking at my watch – 8:23) – “hey look more runners!…I wonder how long they’ve been running…I wonder what they’re training for!….and hmmm still maintaining a solid pace….I feel great!”

mile 7 (8:30) – “I can’t believe I’m already at mile 7…it feels like its only been like 30 minutes!…this is great!”

mile 8 (8:35) – “ok, time to make some calculations….I’m now just 4 miles from my car, but I need to run out farther so I can get back to my car at 15 miles….so I’ll run to 10 miles then turn around….no, 10.5 miles….no wait, 11 miles then I’ll turn around…no, because then I’ll be at 16 miles….just turn around at 10..that’s an easy number to remember.”

mile 9 (3rd time I looked at my watch – 8:50) – “ok, that was a slower mile…there was a big hill….but on my way back I get to run down that hill…just focus on getting to 10 miles then you can turn around….stay focused”

mile 9.5 – “ok, run faster because those dogs just started running toward you…I hope they go inside when I have to come back past their house…or I’ll just pepperspray them with my pepperspray…but then their owners might track me down and yell at me for pepperspraying their dogs…I don’t want to be mean to the dogs….don’t worry about it now…keep running”

mile 10 (8:26) – “you can turn around now….this is where you tripped on the sidewalk last week….focus on your feet…look at the sidewalk…don’t fall….be in control of your legs”

mile 11 (8:46) – “the fire station alarms are going off…I hope there’s not a bad fire…what if the firetrucks come down this road?…I hope they don’t run me over….you’re almost to an awesome downhill…just get up this gradual hill”

mile 12 (4th time I checked my watch – 8:13) – “THIS IS GREAT!!!!  THE TREES LOOK SO PRETTY….THE VIEW AT THE TOP IS ALWAYS WORTH THE CLIMB…WOW I LOVE RUNNING….THIS IS A GREAT RUN….I LOVE LIIIIIIIFE!!!”

mile 13 (8:34) – “ok, back on the trail….don’t trip on any rocks or roots or all these leaves…pick up your feet….oh, I can actually feel my hands now…they’re not cold now….go figure.”

mile 14 (8:30) – “a guy with a dog….I need to make sure he hears me coming up behind him so he can control his dog…*cough*…ok, he knows I’m here now….”

mile 15 (5th time checking my watch – 8:29) – “wow, this is gonna be a great average pace for this run….I need to avoid going up that hill…the only way to avoid it is to extend the run….oh well, what’s an extra mile at this point….just gotta cross this road….why are there so many cars right now?…my legs are not gonna wanna move when I have to run across the road”

mile 16 (8:34) – “ok, finish strong….conquer these gradual hills…don’t trip on the sidewalk now…I probably look like a crazy person right now….that old couple is probably amused with the music coming from my iPod….almost done…just wait for the beep telling you to stop”

and then my watch beeped and I stopped running….2 hours 17 minutes later…..average pace: 8:34.

I LOVE LONG RUNS ❤

Marathon Training – Week 1 & Half of Week 2

Marathon Training – Week 1 & Half of Week 2

The training plan for my first marathon started just a mere 9 days ago and I’m already loving everything about it. Granted, I’m just starting to rebuild a solid conditioning base but I’m really enjoying all the training runs thus far. Due to my class schedule and the heat (at least this week with temperatures averaging in the high-80s), I’ve been running very early in the morning before the sun has even crested over the moutanintops.  This morning I was out the door by 6 AM to run an easy 5 miles.  Since I’m back at school, the majority of my runs include rolling hills. This makes maintaining a consistent pace rather challenging.  I am braking on the steep downhills and merely chugging along on the long uphills.  If I decide to run in town, the entire first mile is completely downhill; therefore, the entire last mile is completely uphill.  This makes warming-up my muscles and cooling down to bring my heart rate down a struggle, but I’m adapting.  Training here is actually extremely beneficial because transitioning to flat makes running seem a thousand times easier.  I trained for the Broad St 10 miler on these hills and my finishing time (a HUGE 7-minute PR) was the result of training on such challenging “terrain”.  As much as I enjoy running on flat, I know that my training is augmented ten-fold because of the hills.  I couldn’t ask for better training conditions.  I know that the marathon will be a challenge in a whole different way so a little hill challenge throughout the training months is just mentally and physically preparing me for race day.

marathon training

I now think of every run as a blessing because I get to wake up on a brand new day, start it with the one consistent thing in my life that I can depend on, and reflect on the training with my dad and other running friends.  I am grateful for the support of family members and other friends who are also training for their 1st marathon.  The running community is an extensive network of people who understand the ups and downs of running and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of it.

Tomorrow morning will be my second workout day of my training schedule (a quick and easy 3 mile tempo with a mile warm-up and mile cool-down).  Cheers to many more training runs and more blog posts about it leading up to race! Happy running, my friends!