Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 9 and 10

Today’s post brought to you by Rainbows.

I wrote a draft for my weekly marathon training recap last Monday, and tried all week to make it sound less forlorn. I didn’t succeed.

I’ve been trying really hard this training cycle NOT to act as dramatic as a World Cup soccer player about every little thing that doesn’t go as planned, but last week I hit the point where I have just about had it with this stupid running thing and I wonder on a daily (hourly?) basis WHY THE HELL I’M DOING THIS. It happens every training cycle, but for some reason I thought Amy Sunshine would overcome the black cloud of training despair with happiness and rainbows this time around (we’re in monsoon season, so we have lots of rainbows..but also lots of clouds and dark skies).


But, with 2.5 weeks left until taper, I am exhausted all the time, hungry all the time, my body aches in all places all the time, and, especially early last week, I felt like a complete and total training failure because I wasn’t hitting paces and I wasn’t feeling strong, and the dumb calf issue that I’ve had since Chicago resurfaced, and I really just want to sleep in past 5:00 am during the weekend.

Someone please call the Waaaa-mbulance for me. Or, maybe the W(h)ine-bulance because wine sounds good. Play me that sad sad song on that little violin.

This guy will never be irrelevant.

But then, last Thursday, I was in the middle of a tempo run, 2 miles into the speedy part.  I was definitely pushing the leg turnover, but I was relaxed, breathing evenly, NOT feeling like death, and overall doing well which was a happy change from other recent runs.  Imagine my surprise when I looked down at my Garmin to see a 6:55 pace on the screen.  Surely this was some sort of mistake.   This training cycle, I’ve only been able to hit a sub 7 minute pace during track workouts, and thus far I’ve only been able to get one 800 repeat at that pace, so I wouldn’t say that sub-7 and I have gotten to become friends.  To see that pace in the middle of a run was a huge surprise. I didn’t hold it for the entire mile, but considering that I’ve had a hard time dipping under 7:40 this entire cycle, and especially after a discouraging week of training, seeing those numbers felt magical.

Unicorns and rainbows and happiness magical.

And then, on the last mile of Saturday’s longish (down week) run, I saw it again.  Only for a couple of seconds, but I saw it. 6:59

Somewhere in the sea of self-pity, I forgot a lesson that I’ve learned before.  TRUST YOUR TRAINING. Your body does not change overnight.  Training cycles are designed to get you to your peak right when you need it the most.  If you put in the work and bust your ass, your body will respond, even though you feel like progress isn’t being made.  It’s like those fad diet  “Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days” programs. Your body does not lose actual weight that fast.  Just like your body does not gain actual speed that fast.  But when you do it the right way, suddenly everything clicks into place.

Thank you, Glenda!

Please don’t judge me and my hippie moment.

2.5 WEEKS UNTIL TAPER! I am so exicted (until I get there, and then I’ll be likely complaining about Taper Madness…you just can’t win with me).


Monday: 4 Mile recovery run.

Tuesday: 4 miles at half marathon pace: I ran this with an average pace of 7:52 which includes an 8:22 warm-up mile.  Fastest mile was 7:34

Wednesday: We made the mistake of rearranging our week to avoid 4th of July Costco madness (an obvious priority since a crowded Costco can be a real mood dampener).  We did not do our run, but intended to make up for it on Thursday.

Thursday: Monsoon thunderstorms made us decide that we didn’t need a second recovery run this week, so we didn’t do it again.  FAIL.

Friday: Tempo Run: 4th of July! We DID finally run in the morning.  7:40 average for the tempo part, but I didn’t feel well for most of it.

Saturday: 20 Miler #1: It went great until it didn’t.  At mile 11.33, I felt a sharp pain to run down my shin.  When I first touched the bone, I thought it was broken, so I did the rational thing: kept running. For the next 5 miles I had to stop every 5 minutes or so to massage the surrounding muscles and then finally I was able to only have to stop every mile.  It obviously wasn’t broken, and I’m not sure what the issue was. I hate it when problems seem to surface out of nowhere.  9:24 average pace which is more than 30 seconds slower per mile than I want it to be.


20140716-131312-47592692.jpgMy message to Aaron to let him know I’d be later than expected. 

Sunday: In one of my more rational decisions, decided to sit this scheduled 10 miler out because of the shin issue.  I felt terrible about it, especially because of the missed 5 miler earlier in the week (a total of 15 miles that didn’t happen), but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t just being a weanie. I consoled myself by hanging out at the Santa Fe Wine Festival all afternoon.


Monday: 5 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 7×800.  It was ridiculously windy and there were high powered sprinklers that would cause me to hyperventilate whenever I ran through them (hyperventaliation isn’t useful when attempting to sprint). I was in such a bad mood and I couldn’t hit my paces.  Most were in the 3:32 range, but then there were some in the 3:47 range.

Wednesday: I attempted my first ever lunch time workout at the gym.  I managed 3 treadmill miles before my calf started bothering me (I was pretty much out of time anyway).  And I was kind of smelly the rest of the day.

Thursday: Tempo Run: The magical one.  7:43 tempo average.

Friday: REST!

Saturday: 12 miles. As a down week, our long run this weekend was a gloriously short 12 miles. Average pace: 9:29, but on a much hillier course than we’ve been using for long runs.  It is what it is.

Sunday: 6 miles at marathon pace: I managed to get 3 miles below marathon pace after it took 3 miles for me to warm-up.  I brought up to Aaron that I was concerned about the fact that it is taking me 3 slow miles to get warmed up, and he reminded me that during training, I have a lot of left over stiff and soreness to work off during each workout.  This problem will work itself out during the taper. Average pace: 8:48 (which is how fast I want to run my final 20 miler in 2.5 weeks).

This is the first week that I’ve really started to feel faster.  I’ve been hitting several miles at or faster than marathon pace, and even rest/recovery miles have gotten faster.  We’ll see soon if I’m fast enough to hit my sub 3:30 goals. This weekend, we have 20 miler #2.  Hoping for a less dramatic run this time around!


7 thoughts on “Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 9 and 10

  1. awww! hang in there. Tell yourself this “could” be your last one if you want it to be so just gotta get through it. “only 1 more 20 miler left- EVER”, etc. good luck! i’m rooting for you!

  2. Well, it is what it is! Glad that training is finally coming to fruition (somewhat), but it might be worthwhile to focus on the goals that aren’t time-based? It just seems like you’re very focused on specific paces, and then become really disappointed when you don’t hit them. Like, maybe you’d enjoy this process more if it wasn’t about that? I’m not trying to criticize you – in fact, I’ve been “guilty” of this same thing in the past. I’m just hoping that you come out of this training cycle a happy person.

    BTW, what are your plans for marathon weekend? I was thinking of coming up to spectate, but then I realized how freaking early the race starts… it really depends if I can get some people to come with me. Regardless, I really hope I get to meet you and Aaron at some point!

    • Haha! I think you’ve just provided some excellent insight into my brain and my level of obsessive compulsiveness!

      I think I’m so focused on time because the whole purpose of this marathon (and the 16 weeks leading up to it) is to qualify for Boston with enough leeway that I’m guaranteed a spot. I actually have to hit a certain pace on race day to accomplish this, and right now, I’m not sure I’m going to make it. I’ve already adjusted my goal from a 3:25 marathon to a 3:29 and at this point I can’t change it much more without losing sight of why I choose this marathon and this crazy summer time frame in the first place. Luckily, I only have 1 “serious” race per year. I don’t see me putting this same level of effort into training for my Disneyland race :). And truthfully, if I meet my goal on race day, then all the panic attacks right now will be worth it.

      The race DOES start super early! I think they changed it last year because they were anticipating a really hot race day. I’ll email you our tentative plans, but we’ll probably only spend one day in San Francisco (I’ll probably venture to the East Bay for a bit since that’s where most of my college friends live), and the rest of the time up in Santa Rosa. We’ll definitely try to work something out!

      • OK, the BQ thing totally makes sense. I also think you have the mental strength to push through on race day. You don’t give up as easily as I do, so I think focusing on a time goal is a more positive enforcement for you, whereas it totally deflates me.

        Let me know where you’ll be in the East Bay/SF. T and I live in Hayward now, but I can meet up with you and Aaron wherever.

  3. I think you also have to remember not to take too seriously how you feel during peak training, because duh, it sucks & everyone feels exhausted & awful & can’t hit paces. It’s both annoying & reassuring at the same time that you don’t get to find out what the training has REALLY done for you until you’re rested up & ready to race, but it is nice to get little glimpses occasionally. 🙂

    (Also, I am super paranoid about my shins as well. Most of my first marathon cycle involved a back-and-forth with my podiatrist that went, “I think have a tibial stress fracture.” “No you don’t.” “I’m pretty sure I do.” “Can you hop on one foot?” “Yes.” “Can you tap it without shrieking in pain?” “Yes.” “You don’t have a stress fracture.” Wash/rinse/repeat every other week.)

    • YES! And the stupid thing is, I do this every damn time. I forget that these few weeks are going to suck no matter what I do or what kind of attitude I have. I think having a husband who is in the exact same boat maybe doesn’t help things.

      The paranoia is fun too!

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