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Monday, January 30, 2017

A last-minute Run on the Bayou 10k

On Saturday morning, I woke up to a gray, chilly day, temperatures still in the 40s; in short, perfect race weather. My marathon was the next week, but I grabbed some coffee, went downstairs, and discovered the Run on the Bayou 10k in nearby Westwego. I threw on clothes, grabbed my Garmin, and drove across the Huey P. Long bridge to race.
As it turns out, the race is in lovely Bayou Segnette park. I found it easily, parked, and registered (just $30 even on race day!). There were plenty of bathrooms, and I had enough to time to work in a warm up of a little over a mile. My knee has been bothering me, so I put a strap on to support the pes anserine tendon, and did my Myrtles before I started. It was a small race, and the course was really perfect - flat as a pancake, and mostly really pretty and really easy to run. There is a loop through an RV park that was slightly less scenic and a little treacherous thanks to a few errant RV drivers, but mostly it was along woods and a pretty bayou. I was sort of near the front at first, and after being passed by a gentleman in a hooded sweatshirt in mile 2, I hung behind him for most of the race. Although I was a little far behind, he was like a hook, and kept me moving! I saw at a turn-around that I was first female, and the second and third were far behind.

The cold weather was amazing, and I felt like I wasn't working terribly hard, but I had no speed at all. Just nothing. Also, my Garmin is trash. It's a 620, and I blamed crowded courses for its significant problems on my two recent marathons. But this was a small 10k, and that thing was off by almost a quarter of a mile! That really threw my pace calculations off, and I was distressed at the finish to see that my "keep it under 6:40" plan was not even close. I am most annoyed at this. What's the point of having a Garmin if I can't get some idea of pace?!
For once I remembered to actually lift my arms out of my own way at a finish.,,

Anyway. After the winner finished, the lead bike came back to get me, so I finished part of the last mile with a biker again. I could totally get used to this. I finished in 41:38 Garmin (the race does gun time for overall so it's no doubt quite a bit longer; I started well back to avoid sprinting out with the 5kers). It was a fun last minute little race, a rust-buster for next week, and again, a good omen! You know how I like to do well at a race the week before a marathon!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Art refresh

In the Arts and Crafts Market in Beijing, David and I wandered into a brush and ink store that sold finished art in a back room. While most of the art was framed, in the corner was a stack of well-thumbed pieces priced to sell - and easier to transport than framed art! We spent awhile looking through the art before choosing one. I immediately eliminated pieces that weren't a good size for my house (we have high ceilings, so small art gets lost) or would present framing difficulties. If art requires custom framing or a custom mat, I usually don't buy it. Then we started looking for art we liked. We narrowed it down to two pictures: Both had children, but one was a more classic rock-and-tree picture and the other, well, featured a goose. But I just thought it was charming, and against my more practical aesthetic judgment, we got the goose picture. I's a little odd: two large images compete for focal point status, and the composition is strange. That doesn't prevent me from liking it a lot, though!

It was high time for an art refresh in my dining room, so I swapped some art out and put my new picture on display. Love it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It's quality week!

The way my silly training plan (of two marathons three weeks apart) is going, this is my quality week. I had one week of much-needed recovery (my muscles were very sore post-race, thanks to taking in almost no nutrition for a day post-race when I had a stomach bug), then I'll have one week of taper, with this week of real work thrown in the middle. 
I took it easy on Monday anyway, running 5 miles easy with a group, so I wouldn't be too tired to go to the track ten hours later. But I was still tired at the track. 
Harrell Track

I ran 6x1 mile, and I was in the 6:50's the whole time. And it didn't feel effortless, either. I can definitely tell I'm still tired! You know when you have heavy legs? I had that even during the recovery portion. With 400 jogs, warm-up, and cool down, I hit 9 miles. 

Tomorrow I'll do a slow medium distance run, like ten maybe, and then actually attempt a tempo on Thursday. After that, workouts will drop in distance and intensity until the race WHICH BETTER NOT BE A MILLION DEGREES, DO YOU HEAR ME, BOB BRECK?*

After track today, I did active isolated stretches, form drills, and myrtles. I do the drills on the turf and just stretch in a lane, since the track is usually abandoned. Then I zipped over to the grocery store around the corner from the track and grabbed my mid-week fresh groceries (mostly fruits and veggies, but also snagged a warm-from-the-oven loaf of French bread we had for breakfast!). And when I got home, I did a long hip-strengthening workout. All before 7:30 am! 

Hopefully this week will all feel ok, but of course, the big test is the tempo. I'll check back after that attempt.

*My favorite, now-retired, weatherman

Monday, January 23, 2017

You can't cheat Hansons

Lesson learned from the Louisiana Marathon: You can't cheat Hansons Marathon Method. That's kind of what I set out to do, and as you know, that didn't produce the most spectacular results.
Heading to a slow finish

Heading into the race, I had high hopes, because my tempos and long runs had both been fast for me. But that speed didn't translate into a fast race. Why?

1. The tempos were on fresh legs. My tempos felt fast and easy because my legs weren't tired, not because I was in amazing shape. This summer, I struggled during every single tempo. But that was because I followed the training plan very closely. They were hard because I was tired, which is the whole point. In December, my tempos were fast because I was cutting corners. I only did the last four weeks of the training, and I cut the mileage in sneaky ways, like minimal warm up and cool down or shortened easy runs.
2. I never got to cumulative fatigue, because the training was too short. I mentioned that I had a solid 229 miles in December - a lot for me - but that November was 146 and October just 119. The only way Hansons allows you to get away with just a few long runs of just 16 miles is because you complete them on exhausted legs, tired from months of long miles daily. I totally skipped that part.
3. My long runs were too fast. I wanted to run more by feel this cycle, but that resulted in me started at long run moderate pace and ending much faster, faster than marathon pace for some long runs. I've been gravitating toward accidental progression runs lately, but that means that I'm faster than even Hansons allows (the book recommends 40 - 45 seconds slower than goal marathon pace). I do my pace calculations a little weird, since I base everything off a 26.3 mile marathon - something that I intend to change. I know that my Garmin readout is off, so I assume it will read at least 26.3 at the end of a race. But this new 620 is off even more than my 305, so that my last marathon I had 26.5 at the end! But anyway, using 26.3 as my distance, I'd need my Garmin to read 7:10, so I should be running long runs around 7:50. I had some down in the 7:40s or lower! Now, given my ACTUAL marathon finish, I should be closer to 8 minute pace....but hey, how was I to know. The point is, I cheated myself out of time on my feet with my faster long runs. And I think that time matters.

So what does this mean for my next race, fast approaching on February 5th? Probably another slightly undertrained race!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Recovery week and transitioning to the next race

It's Thursday, and I'm still sore. Actually, my recovery has been awful, with Tuesday being especially bad. My quads hurt so much on Tuesday that I had to bump down stairs on my rear. I'm not exaggerating.
Why so bad this time? Well, I think there are a few reasons:
1. I was undertrained (I mean, I hit the wall. I wasn't ready for the distance). I had 229 miles in December, but just 119 and 146 in October and November, respectively. I wasn't physically ready.
2. I didn't eat enough post-race. Usually I'm starving the day after a marathon, and eat plenty of carbs and protein to aid in muscle recover. But this time the worst thing that could happen, did: I caught a stomach bug. As soon as we got home from Baton Rouge, David started complaining that his head hurt. Then he was nauseated and throwing up. By bedtime, I had it, too - and you know it's hard to eat after a race, so I hadn't had that much yet. Normally it's the next day that I get my appetite back, but instead, I spent Monday taking Zofran and trying not to throw up. I had half a bagel all day. I think that made a huge difference in my recovery.

I do have to start thinking about my next race, though. It's February 5th - right around the corner! That means that I kind of have to run long this weekend - IF I'm feeling up to it. I think I will: the muscle pain is almost gone. But I am going to play it by ear. So here is my race-the-next-marathon plan:

If I feel good Saturday: 16 long this weekend.
Next week: back to speed, tempo, and 10-mile long run.
Race week: taper.

If I feel ok Saturday: 10 mile long run this weekend.
Next week: No speed on Tuesday, but do Thursday tempo, and 8-mile long run.
Race week: taper.

If I feel tired Saturday: 8 mile long run this weekend.
Next week: No speed on Tuesday, but Thursday tempo, and 8 mile long run.
Race week: taper.

The plan is to hopefully do one solid week to get back on track, then rest again for the next race. I'm sure this will be very interesting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Louisiana Marathon race report

Here's the detailed recap of how Sunday went down:

We got up before 4 am to make it to the start by 6 am. I was meeting a friend who'd picked my packet up for me. Only - they couldn't find my packet! Eventually they issued me a new bib and a new number, but I was disappointed not to have a personalized bib, because I'd asked for it to say "Captain Slow" as a nod to James May from Top Gear (this drama resurfaced later in the race, as anyone tracking me was using my published race number. They were getting results for it, too, just not my results, so apparently someone else was out there running with a "Captain Slow" bib!).

Visibility nil.
The drive up was dreadfully foggy, and the starting line so humid and foggy that visibility was  seriously impaired. I was nervous waiting for my friend - parking was nuts, but she finally got to the start at 6:40, leaving me just twenty minutes for the bathrooms, warm up, and corrals.
That's the start at the state capitol. Yeah. You can barely make the tower out! Incredible fog! 

My friend, saving the day by getting me ANY race bib after the race gave mine away! 
I scratched the warm up, but since the corrals were closed already, I had to start all the way from the back and work my way up. At the gun, I took a gel. I've never done that before, but I read it on the Hanson's blog and decided to try it out. Conclusion: bad idea for me. My blood sugar peaked (ran too fast!) and then plummeted in the space of ten minutes. From then on, I was playing catch-up with fuel.

The race start. This is what running in 100% humidity looks like.
Miles 1 - 6: From the beginning, my Garmin was way off again. This meant that my early miles all show as much faster than they were, until I once again turned off autolap. I finished this race with 26.47 on my Garmin, the furthest I've ever been off the distance! I definitely think my 305 was more accurate. But anyway. I have little to say about this portion, except that it's a gentle downhill grade, and we were all still sorting out. I was too fast for some of the first miles: 7:03, 7:03, 7:00, 7:11, 7:05, 7:12. Even in the jumble, I realized I was either third or near third. And too fast or not, I definitely didn't want to give up a potential podium spot.

Miles 7 - 10: By mile seven, I was definitely being accompanied by a biker with a "2" on his sign. Well. This was interesting. Of course I started thinking about the possibility of being first. But I was also already going too fast! What to do? I decided to risk it and go for a win. Maybe I'd crash and burn. But maybe everyone else would, too! And then in moments, I was up on top of the first female. She was already feeling the humidity and dialing back expectations. Not that I wasn't feeling it, too. I was having trouble breathing! 7:06, 7:09, 6:54, 7:04.

Miles 11 - 13: A glance back told me that there was a very strong woman firmly making her way through the pack towards me. By now I was SO far off the mile splits that I switched to manual lap (and promptly forgot to hit lap). I was enjoying the company of a fellow runner who was doing the half. We'd been chatting for awhile and I was coaxing him along. But in reality, his presence was a help to me, too. I sorely missed him when the half split off. 15:07 (for two miles - notice how off my Garmin already was!), 7:13. Immediately my mile splits were more reasonable.

Miles 14 - 18: Feeling lonely on the suddenly-empty full course, I tried to turn on my ipod. I messed it up royally. I kept accidentally turning it off, unplugging my headphones, hitting pause - finally I stopped and fixed it. I was really feeling the humidity now, and my clothes were damp and heavy. Lady number two was just seconds behind me now - six seconds, as I verified at a turnaround point. I was starting to feel the early speed. 7:18, 7:09. 7:17, 7:07, 7:14.

Miles 19 - 21: Suddenly I could sense the wall approaching. There was no stopping it. I was trying to take in fuel, but I couldn't correct the damage I'd done, and I couldn't do anything about the suffocating conditions. The sun mercilessly came out. My six-second lead shrunk to one or two, and finally the second woman passed me, looking strong and offering encouragement. No way I could stay with her. 7:20, 7:19, 7:25.

Not smiling. That's a grimace.

Basically dead.

Feel like crap.

Miles 22 - 26: Demoralized, exhausted, overheated, and shaky, I trudged on. My mile splits grew worse and worse, especially for the overpass (the only real hill on the course). I took some salt I'd brought with me, but to my horror the next water stop was...missing. How that happened I, and other runners I talked to, never figured out! My mouth just burned for miles. My biker told me that the third female wasn't even in sight. Miles 24 and 25 were pathetic. Then I turned the corner, finally, and there was the finish. I could hear friends cheering and, in downright agony, finally crossed the line. And then my legs turned to jelly and I had to get help to walk! I was dehydrated, overheated, and miserable. 7:31, 7:33, 7:51, 8:25, 7:49.
My legs quit

After I was done, I ran over to give David a kiss. He was completely surprised to see me, since the race app showed the leaderboard, and I wasn't on it. I'd briefly popped up as twelfth, then back off -  that's because I was listed under my original number! So he didn't expect to see me finish second.

Then I gave two short interviews for local news stations, while trying not to fall over.
Sure, I'll stand here for 5 minutes.

I met the first-place woman in the stretching tent, and she was super sweet. She's obviously usually much faster than today, but was quite gracious and kind. I was especially impressed with how strong she ran because she is from Vermont! You know this heat was a surprise to her! I also stayed to talk to many friends who also ran. It was so nice to receive both their congratulations and their commiseration. A non-runner friend will tell you congrats, expect you to be thrilled; a runner friend will be like, "Sorry your time was no faster than last race"!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Louisiana Marathon: Sometimes you have to take the risk

My race Sunday didn't go as planned at all. Of course, I already posted about the weather situation: warmer than expected, but worse, incredibly humid. After I got my hopes up Saturday when the temperature forecast dropped a little, I woke up to 100% humidity. Yes, that's right, 100%. At least up until 11 am, when it dropped to a cool 98%. What a relief, ha. It was 62 at the start, rapidly rising through the 60s and stabilizing, for the duration of my race at least, at about 68. So actually, cooler than I thought - but oh, dear me, the humidity was killer.

And then I threw my race plan out the window. Purposefully. Because sometimes, you just have to take big risks.

Early on, I knew I was one of the top women. As the pack sorted out, this biker was hanging out by me...I realized, I had a pace bike! It turns out I was third. But by mile 7, I was second. And by ten, I couldn't help but pass the woman in first, who was already fading in the humidity. I made the choice to try to go for the win, but in doing so, I gave up on running a manageable pace. I was feeling the humidity, but a strong, dogged woman was right behind me (she'd moved solidly up from fifth or sixth to hanging a few seconds behind me). It was a huge risk - I knew I was at a pace I couldn't maintain, so my only way to win was if the second woman faded as much as I probably would! But she was a better racer and runner than I. At mile 21, I hit the wall, and gave up first to fall back to second. I struggled terribly, dealing with the heat, humidity, and the hole I dug myself. I ended up missing both my time goal and the win, although I was very happy to take second place.

It was a rough way to race. I would do it again, though. The last few miles were really, really hard: the sun was out behind the sheets of fog, heating the course like a steam room; I dropped my gel; I was mentally drained (leading a race with close competition is TOUGH, hard work!); there was oddly one less water stop than I thought?!; and I was totally exhausted. Hitting the wall is the worst! But I had to respond to that chance. I ran 3:12:07, even slower than this fall, and a much more poorly-run race. Next time I take a risk like that, I want it to pay off!

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Tomorrow morning I run my second Louisiana Marathon. The first time I ran it I ran a 3:09, which crossed the big 3:10 barrier, and...I'll just say it...I think I can do that again! 
Yeah, conditions won't be ideal (humidity high 90's, one source saying 99%, and as of the time I'm writing this post, temps in the 60's to mid 70's). And my training was far from ideal, since I just wedged a few long runs in in the past few weeks. But my attempts to run "long run moderate" and "marathon pace tempo" have had really good paces (for me) lately, so I'm holding onto my hope to be under 3:10 tomorrow. After all, I ran 3:12 in the fall on a harder course (but perfect weather, so maybe that's not so predictive!). Regardless, I'm going to try to go for a 3:09, and if I blow up, oh well.
My training for the last few weeks

This was a really unusual training block for me, very last minute, very little planning. I tried to follow an abbreviated version of Hanson's, and it looked like this:
Week of 12/18:Training kicked off with a "long run" consisting of one of the worst races I've ever endured followed by a few bonus miles to make about 16. Despite this terrible run, the rest of my "first week" was just fine: I did a track workout on Tuesday (written by a friend, not Hanson's), and surprised myself with a nine-mile tempo at 7:06 pace that felt pretty good. I wrapped up the week with a 10 mile "long run" (shorter than my tempo with warm-up and cool down!).
Week of 12/25: My key workouts were 3x2 miles from the Hanson's plan (13:54, 13:31, 13:49), a Thursday tempo, and a Saturday long run. My tempo was less awesome this week: it was in 100% humidity, and I struggled, but still managed a 7:05 pace for nine miles. My long run was in gross, rainy weather: 16 miles at 7:37 pace. That's low-end of appropriate long run pace, but you know how I feel about long runs: I almost always finish significantly faster than I start, and I save easy pace (eight and nine minute miles) for my easy days. I don't look at my Garmin much while I run at all, and really never look at pace during long runs, but lately I've almost naturally developed a tendency to finish fast. My first several miles will usually be in the range of 7:55 to 8:10, and it drops from there.
Week of 1/1: Still sticking with workouts from Hanson's: 2x3 miles at 20:46 (6:55) and 20:24 (6:49). Then my BIG TEMPO, the ten miler: this was in cold weather, and I killed it! 7:03 pace, felt great. My long run was in much colder weather, 28 degrees, wind chill of 16 degrees. I took my poorly-clad self off to run this and it was miserable. I'm not sure of my pace, because I fumbled with my gloves adjusting my Garmin and accidentally stopped and saved it around mile five. So I have two separate records for the run, but I'm eyeballing it around 7:30.
This week: Sort of tapered: around 30 miles. All easy except 3x2 miles at 13:57, 13:52, 13:45 on Tuesday.

I'm not sick, so yay! And I hope to stay injury-free for this race. But you know how little niggles pop up the week of the race? Well, I have some. Under my right knee is a little inflamed again, and both hamstrings have been a little iffy lately (so strange that my hamstring tightness developed after my hip surgeries: my very flexible "hamstrings" was really hyperflexibility of a damaged joint! Now that my joint mobility is appropriate, my hamstrings move differently and tend to tighten). In fact, the slightly slower pace on my Tuesday intervals was due to complaining hamstrings. Luckily, running at or under 7-min pace kept them happy, and obviously I won't be running sub-7's tomorrow (ha, I wish).

Race plan: To be modified based on weather changes, but for now, I plan to go out at 3:09 pace, which is about 7:11, allowing variability of +5 seconds for the first few miles. I always calculate pace based on the 26.3 miles I'll probably actually run (if not more, depending on Garmin variability), which is why that is a tad fast. I'll try to hold on to this pace throughout the race, staying very close to proposed race pace, and if Hanson's works miracles, speed up for the last few miles. If the weather is super humid and I feel like I'm struggling, I'll drop down to the 7:15/7:20 range and just hope for a better race next time.
If the weather was better, I would go out faster. My tempo paces have me excited about my fitness - I think I'm actually in shape to run faster than 3:09, maybe even PR soon (my PR is 3:06)! But to do that, I need more time and perfect weather. So for tomorrow, I will cry tears of joy for a 3:09.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yep, weather still hates me!

Why, I ask you, is it going to be 74 degrees on Sunday?

Obviously, just because I'm running a marathon. I kind of just want a race that isn't summer weather!
P.S. Yes, I would have given my left arm for weather in the low 70's this summer, true. But I'm acclimated now!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On the Instagram!

I'm Audubonrunner.

Well, that's where I talk about running. I'm also at doodlesduringrounds, which is where I draw pictures on my phone while I'm supposed to be working. Follow me at either account!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Great tempo running

For this abbreviated training cycle, I've completed three tempo runs. I'm defining "tempo" like Hanson's does - marathon pace. The generous pace should make these tempos not too difficult, but this summer they nearly killed me. As I ran in record-breaking heat and humidity, I struggled. I couldn't stay hydrated without stopping for water, which kind of destroyed the whole concept of a tempo - a non-stop run. After getting home, I usually felt terrible for the rest of the day. Once, I bonked during a tempo, and struggled home at 8 and 9 minutes paces. And my paces were a mess. I tried to run within a range of paces matching up to my range of acceptable race results, but my moving pace was too fast, and my pace if you included the water stops was too slow. An average of the two paces - found by extensive analysis - was 7:19, however: EXACTLY my eventual race pace. So despite the struggle, I decided that the tempo was a valuable tool, and decided to use it this winter, too. The only difference is that I was committed to completing real, non-stop tempos - and chose to determine pace by feel. If it felt like marathon effort, it was a tempo!

My first tempo was nine miles, and boy - what a difference the temperature makes. I did make a water stop two miles in, but I just zipped by the fountain with my watch still running: no harm done, and my pace reflected the slight slowing, just like it would if I paused to drink during a race. I did one loop in the park followed by an out-and-back on the levee, and felt great the whole time. I kept zoned in on feel, and not pace. While my first miles were a little slower, I actually sped up as I went along, finishing with a mile under seven! 7:10, 7:18 (water break plus slowing for traffic crossing magazine), 6:58, 7:08, 7:08, 7:08, 7:02, 7:04, 6:55. My overall 7:06 pace surprised me - that's my marathon PR pace!

The next week was much more of a challenge: it was 100 humidity and 70 degrees. When I reached the turnaround on the levee, which is a tight turn, I was tempted to slow to a walk and take a break. But I stuck with it for nine miles at 7:05. I think this one was a little forced, though: I kept looking at my watch and trying to match the week before's pace. I probably should have taken it easy.

The last tempo was a ten-miler, and it was key. I can get a pretty good idea of my race fitness from a ten mile tempo. The weather was better, and I felt strong the whole time. No watch stopping, and only a sip of water to interrupt the running: 7:11, 7:09, 7:02, 7:09, 7:06, 7:02, 6:58, 7:01, 6:58, 6:54. That's ten miles at 7:03, and I felt great the whole time!

What does this mean for next week's race? Well, not much: despite the frigid cold today, next week is going to be in the 70's (possibly 80 degrees in New Orleans, but Baton Rouge should be spared) and the weather combined with my lack of long run buildup might make for a tougher race than I'd like. But still - those tempos give me great confidence.

What's your confidence-booster pre-race? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My car - under siege!

Usually my car is no trouble at all. It's a 2005 Scion, and until last week, it had never been repaired except for the few bits of body work when bad drivers hit my parked car ( I park in a garage, so that's more often than I'd like). In fact, that happened again a few weeks ago, and annoying as that it, at least the driver not only left her insurance, but called the Tulane police and filed a report herself. All well and good: a pain, but at least I'm not paying. But then a few days later, it wouldn't start. That was bad, because the battery is only a year old. David had vacuumed it earlier though, so I thought maybe he'd left the inside light on. We jumped it, I went to work, no biggie. Next, I headed to the grocery store, where I bought some beautiful shrimp... that leaked all over my boot. My car stinks now - despite multiple carpet shampoos and febreezing.

At this point, I was beginning to think my car was jinxed. What happened next persuaded me that it was: I heard a tow truck on the street, and ran out to see my car ticketed and hooked up to tow! David ran out and persuaded the driver to let him just move the car. To our baffled questions, the driver explained that someone had called to report that I was parked closer than three feet from his driveway. In other words, our NEIGHBOR called and asked for a tow rather than knocking on my door! Further, I was quite far from the drive, I thought - but the tow truck driver told me that I was "two feet, ten inches"! To add insult to injury, the driveway isn't really a driveway. It's half a driveway, and half an alleyway full of gas pipes and protected by large, yellow cement posts. So totally not parking space. And I was "too close" to that side. So my neighbor is a jerk, basically.

But were my car woes over? No. Not at all. That weekend, I picked up a nail in my tire. And while David gingerly drove it, he realized that it was pulling hard right. Whether or not this was related to the hit ( still unrepaired), we weren't sure, but when we brought it in to have the tire patched, we had an alignment done, too. That was my very first repair on this car, and it fixed the problem.

But in one last gesture of defiance, my car refused to start the very next morning. Annoyed, I hopped in the car with David and we car-pooled, since that would be faster than getting out the cables and jumping it. We got to work, and I grabbed the door handle... and snapped it in half. I actually broke the handle in two.

Apparently I have it out for these cars!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Condensed marathon training

Last week, I saw a Facebook post from some runners I know: "Last twenty miler done! Now it's taper time!" To my distress, I saw that they'd tagged the Louisiana Marathon.
You know, the race I'm running. 
The one I hadn't done a SINGLE long run for yet. 
So! In frantic-rectify mode, I did my first - of two - long runs Saturday I can do 16 miles next week, too, but then the week after that's the race! It definitely snuck up on me!

Luckily, this isn't a goal race - it's replacing a long run day in training for RnR New Orleans, and also luckily, I have been steadily increasing my miles since my hamstring started recovering. I did 229 miles in December, which is basically marathon mileage.

I've also been doing my speed work on Tuesdays, and have done two marathon-pace tempos on Thursdays, both of which went well. Am I ready to race on January 15th? Probably. It might be a little tough, but I think I'll survive.

What's your shortest marathon training cycle been?