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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tune-up time

I'm still in recovery mode from the marathon, so I decided to pop in to see a sports chiropractor for a little post-race tune-up. There's nothing hurting or wrong, but, um, I wanted a massage my insurance would pay for! This office does myofacial release and sports massage and bills my insurance. Woo hoo! That was a nice post-race treat. He also did some more aggressive stretching than I've done since the race, or really all summer, and it reminded me of just how tight my muscles are. I need to do better with that. Other than that, I had some inflamed areas on both shins and right below my knees, on the pes anserine tendon (which I've been noticing). He just massaged it - hopefully that will help.

I also got back out running today, for three easy miles. This lazy phase can't last, though: I need to buckle down and look at my race calendar and come up with schedule: I don't get much down time. Besides some shorter distances, I have to think about a Spring marathon!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Which marathon should I run?

Well, I'm in a pickle.
Right after RnR New Orleans this year, I registered early for just $50 to run it again in 2017. Great deal, right? But then at a race this summer, David won an entry to the Louisiana Marathon. We held off using it, because I thought David might want to use it, but now he says he doesn't.
This leaves me with many options!
1. Run both fulls, about three weeks apart
2. Run Louisiana full and drop down to the half for RnR
3. Run Louisiana half and the RnR full (this probably makes the most sense, as timelines go)
4. Run RnR full and persuade David to run the Louisiana half

Thoughts? Advice?

I can haz fall?

Please, NOLA. I don't think I can take anymore!

We broke another record with a high of 92 on October 19th, and we haven't had a high temp under 80 since May 6th. I really cannot take this anymore. I just want ONE DAY OF FALL, please!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hi, football!

After the fall school session from hell, I'm taking a break until Spring. Our travel plans conflict with classes, and guess what? I'm a grown-up getting an MBA for absolutely no reason, so I can skip a semester in favor of vacation if I want. So I am.

My return to normal life means that I finally lifted my bleary eyes to the television, and lo and behold: I have a 2-3 fantasy team and a 2-3 NFL team. Sounds par for the course.
We went over to our neighbor's house to watch the Saints game Sunday, and it was the first game I'd watched in its entirety all season. And what a game! As usual, the Saints crumbled in the third quarter, barely eking out a win, leaving us to stress-chug champagne and shout "Who Dat!" with hoarse voices.

I was so glad we went over to our neighbor's: he's been inviting us to his Saints parties every Sunday for years, and we've never been. Not only was his house beautiful (like so many New Orleans houses, the interior is an elegant hodgepodge of carved wood, high ceilings, chandeliers, and mantelpieces), we met more of our neighbors and bonded over common Uptown woes, like bad parking, parade traffic, construction, and no grocery stores. It's good to know people nearby, because you never know when a hurricane might hit and you need someone who returned to town early to check on your house! Plus, since most of our immediate neighbors are college students, we only have close relationships with a few of them - the students come and go. Our friend lives on the cross street, and this group is a little less transient. I value knowing your neighbors, so it was a fun and profitable afternoon.

Are you friends with your neighbors? Do you socialize with them, or just wave while getting in and out of your car?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hanson's marathon method: my thoughts

After a long, hot summer of Hanson's, here are my thoughts.

How I did:
  • My goal was 3:10 - 3:15 and I ran 3:12.
What I didn't do:
  • I didn't complete the entire plan, as I started several weeks in due to illness - I cut it to 14 weeks. I also used shorter warm-ups and cool-downs for most of the plan - one mile rather than several - for the sake of time. 
  • I took in slightly fewer calories on race day than recommended.
  • I didn't keep up with strength nearly as well as I should have throughout the program. There is a chapter on strength, but once MBA classes got tough? All that fell by the wayside.
What the plan entails: 
  • The plan is based on cumulative fatigue, so you never fully let your legs recover. 
  • Each week includes speed work, a tempo run, and a long run. The long runs, famously, never exceed 16 miles (and you only get three 16-milers). 
  • Halfway through the plan you switch from "speed" (5k pace) to "strength" (more like 10k to half marathon pace) on the speed work days, and the intervals get longer. 
  • The tempos are marathon pace runs. The longest is ten miles. 
Miles I ran: 
  • 726 total miles over 14 weeks, excluding the race itself
  • Average 51.9 miles per week
  • Highest mileage was 61 miles
  • I ran three weeks at or over 60 miles
  • I ran eleven weeks at or over 50 miles (which is insane to me. I normally break 50 maybe three times during marathon training).
  • Most of my runs were at "easy A" or "easy B" pace, which gave me a range of 8:03 to 8:49, depending on fatigue. I'll be honest, though - some post-tempo days were in the 9's! 
  • Speed work is pretty slow - 5k to a bit slower than 10k pace. I gave myself a range of paces and hit within range on almost everything except some of the early 5k-pace assignments. I was a tad slow on those. 
  • Tempos are marathon pace and - eh. I sucked at this. These were incredibly challenging for me in the heat. I HAD to allow myself to drink water, and even then, I would be dehydrated and cramping all day after I ran. Many of these were completed in downright dangerous conditions - usually in the 90's with sky-high humidity. So to allow water stops, I'd run my miles too fast, and then "catch up" the pace at the water fountains. I think this was a kind of terrible plan, since the whole point is to run more marathon-pace miles! I should have figured out a hand-held situation. Nonetheless, I was usually in my pace range even for the miles I ran. I always determine pace based on a 26.3 mile race, because I know I'll pick up some extra mileage due to turns or just Garmin error - so while that makes my training paces "fast", it allows me to rely on my Garmin average pace during the race and not be surprised and disappointed at the end (didn't help this time, since my Garmin was way off, but oh well). 
  • Long runs were around 7:40's to 7:50's - again, I gave myself a range based on my goal range. They were surprisingly tough to complete: that's that cumulative fatigue, I suppose! 
Botched runs:
  • I tried to stick to the training plan like GLUE, but I messed up two runs: both tempos. On one, I hit the wall. It was just like the end of a marathon. I wrapped it up and went straight home, then took another day off. It was terrible! The other one was supposed to be a 10-mile tempo, but I cut it short at eight because I ran out of time. I'd slept in. So I had two messed up runs and one unplanned day off the whole cycle. 
  • Hanson's discourages races during training, so I didn't do many.
  • I ran a 4-mile race week one, which was dreadful. 
  • I ran a 2-mile race a week before the marathon, which was great. 
  • I also did the all-comers track meet and the Summer Series 2-miler, both in July. The all-comers track meet REALLY showed me how tired my legs were, and is probably why racing during this plan is a bad idea! 
  • ZERO. I didn't even lose a toenail. This is astonishing to me. I thought that I would get hurt increasing mileage rather drastically (I'm usually low to mid forties, but including weeks and days off I probably average more like mid-30's over time), but I didn't. Perhaps this is because most runs are at moderate to slow paces. 
  • I did develop some annoying tendonitis under both knees. It is noticeable when I extend my foot behind me, but it goes away when I warm up. I actually think this is from wearing the NB Zantes: it's only there the day after I run in them. 
What I liked:
  • I kind of hate long runs, so I was glad the furthest I went was 16 miles. I didn't miss the twenty-milers at all on race day, so I am totally on board with that aspect of the plan! I know some people modify Hanson's to work in 18 or 20 miles, but I loved only having to go 16 miles. For some reason, I find 20-mile runs incredibly daunting. 
  • I didn't get injured. 
  • I got comfortable with longer weeks. I'm no 50 mpw runner usually, but I did it!
  • I was never truly exhausted post-run. Tired, yes. Beat up and miserable? No, not really. Not like after a 22-miler. 
  • You get out what you put in. I trained for a 3:10 to a 3:15. I got a 3:12:02. I think this is a plan with a good built-in predictor. If you hit all your miles and paces, you can hit your goal.
  • I didn't hit the wall. I slowed down 2 minutes in the second half, but I do believe that that is my smallest positive split ever. And while I tired, it wasn't the wall: it was really sore legs trying to run up and down hills and hurting a lot.
  • I survived the long hill in the second half. I loosely followed a pace chart put together by the race directors, and it calls for a slowish start, a faster middle, and an allowance for slowing down on the long hills section at miles 20-23. I planned to run 8:15s over these miles, but I actually never exceeded 8 minutes, with my slowest mile a 7:50 on the last mile of the hill. 
  • I finished pretty strong. Look at those passing numbers! In the final five miles, I passed 107 people, and just 15 passed me. And that was including at least two miles of uphill, and I am a terrible hill runner, because I live in the flattest place on the planet. So that impresses me. I'm not bragging - I don't mean that impress me, I mean that Hanson's impresses me: if it can get a non-hill runner to pass people going uphill at the end of a marathon, it's a plan that means business! 

Felt like I had nails hammered into my quads. Still passed net 92 people in the last 5 miles.

What I disliked: 
  • This is a time-consuming plan. Not only was I running more, I was running more before work (since weekends aren't such heavy mileage like most plans), and I was running at a slower pace. 
  • I kind of feel like, for the effort I put in, I should have gotten more out. I know that sounds silly, since I trained for the pace I ran, but I guess I wanted an end-of-marathon miracle. I ran 29 mpw this winter and ran a 3:18, so to run 3:12 (in better weather, although a harder course) on 48 mpw seems like a lot of work for an unspectacular result. 
  • I got bored using this plan. Now, I've never actually used a marathon training plan before (I've tried. I've written my own, which I've used as loose guides, but ended up not really following, and I tried The Run Faster plan and got epically injured, which cured me of training plans for awhile. In fact, it cured me of running for awhile). So maybe I'd get bored doing any plan. But the repetitive, cookie-cutter weeks got dull, and the speed work is really boring. 
  • Hanson's barely tapers. After a final tempo (12 miles) on Thursday, you still have 49 miles to run over the next ten days before your race. A ten-day taper is pretty short, and that's a lot of miles in the week and a half before a marathon! 
  • I think that the very sore muscles I experienced (during and post-race) might be partly due to not running over 16 miles. 
Would I do it again?
  • Yes. Despite the many long miles in heavy, humid air; the sweat-soaked shoes; the boring weeks; the mediocre finish time; and the mornings I had to skip breakfast with my honey just to make it to work on time, I'd do Hanson's again.
  • Why? Well, mostly for two things: I finished strong, and I didn't get injured. 
  • Not getting hurt is a big priority for me now, and I am very happy with my injury-free summer. In the past, mileage creeping over 50 almost always lead to injury, and more than one hard day per week ALWAYS lead to injury. But this cycle, I combined speed work, tempo runs, and over 50 miles almost every week, and I didn't get hurt. Now, I wonder if I should phase the tempo run out at all, or shorten and intensify it. I think it strengthened me and actually might have prevented harm.
  • And finishing strong? Well, who doesn't want to feel good finishing a race? It's not like I wasn't in pain. My legs were on fire. But I kept cranking out the miles, only slowing a little. I like how that feels. Sure, I didn't run a perfect race. But I ran a good race, and I think I could do even better next time. 
Have you run Hanson's? What are your thoughts? Any questions about this training cycle?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Recovery for fools

It happens after every race: the weekend after, I'm itching to run long and a little too fast. Yesterday was 10 at 7:32 pace. It was 8 at something like 7:25 pace before it got insanely hot out (80F with 79% humidity: will summer never end?!) and suddenly last week's marathon hit me like a load of bricks. 
I shouldn't do these things. But I always have a little tiny bit of racing left. 
Now, back to my scheduled recovery...Iron Strength workout today! I'm all strength-building for the next few weeks! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Odds and ends from my race weekend

I'm still writing my review of Hanson's marathon method, but I did want to tie up some loose ends from my marathon weekend.
What a sky! 

  • My cold: I think I actually beat it. It was better on Saturday night and I didn't even think about it on Sunday, except a mild sore throat. Hooray!
  • Nutrition: I should have eaten more the day before the race, but oh well. It's hard to travel and race. And I actually ended up doing just four gels - my usual amount - during the race. I was aiming for five per the Hanson's calorie calculator, but once I unpacked and saw how many gels I brought home with me, I realized that I only ate four. I must have gotten off schedule when the water-stop frequency increased later in the race. So I can't report on that aspect of Hanson's.
They call this sky color "Medtronic blue"
  • Shoes: My shoes hit 400 miles at the end of the race. They felt fine, though. I tried to change to a new pair the week of the race, but they felt oddly tight and I didn't want to risk it. I ran in my Saucony Kinvaras. I am still wearing the New Balance Zante, but I don't think I will buy another pair - they allow too much foot movement. 
  • My recovery: I usually try to do something active the night of the race or the next day to prevent terrible stiffness, but I dropped the ball on that one. I haven't done any running yet - all I've done is some hip PT. But it's gorgeous weather so I hope my quads are up to running this weekend! 
  • Injuries: None, knock on wood. Post-race I had one blood blister and a bloody toe, and my hips were quite stiff, but I feel much better now. I had some below-the-knee tendonitis before the race that I hope goes away completely with rest. 
  • Soreness: I am more sore after this race than any I've ever run. I think the fact that the more difficult part of the race is late, run on tired legs, damages your muscles a little more. This is the first time I have struggled to go down stairs post-race. I'm so glad I didn't end up running to catch any flights on the way home!
  • Video: Want to see bad running form? Watch my finish here! Please ignore the woman finishing right in front of me, whom I did not catch. 
  • Live tracker: It didn't work! Lisa tried to use it to plan her spectating, and got one text at mile 18; David also got a text at 18, then got a text saying I had finished in 3 hours and 18 minutes. But it was only 11:13 when he got the text, so he knew that was wrong since the race started at 11! 
  • Stomach: Oh, man. My stomach was a mess this race. It hurt during the race, but the cramping afterward was the real problem. I was miserable! I did more Powerade than usual, so that could be the culprit, but I also had much less practice using fuel since my long runs capped at 16 miles.