Colorado Fall Classic Marathon Training, Week 4

I can’t believe I’m already four weeks into this training cycle.  This was an interesting week of training, seriously lacking in strength training, stretching and foam rolling. J and I sanded and re-stained our deck, which turned out to be one of those jobs that you think will take a day or two and takes an entire week, so most of my afternoons were filled with deck work and not strength training. By the time we finished each evening, we were hot, tired, and filthy, and I just wanted a shower, not another workout. Oh well. I got all my running in, at least.


AM: 11 miles. My schedule said 80-90 minutes with the last 20 minutes getting progressively faster. I was cruising a little quicker than 5k pace, 30 seconds from being done with the fast part… and my foot slipped on some mud (or probably on nothing, but mud at least sounds like an excuse) and I fell. Sidewalks are evil.
photo (10)I gimped through enough of a cool-down to make it 11 miles and called it good. I was thankful that my only wound was a knee scab and not any real injury.

PM: 45 minutes of strength training. And thus ended my only double day this week.

9.1 miles easy and a quick core workout

16 x 400m repeats with equal recoveries, 11 miles total with warm-up and cool-down. I did half the repeats on a downhill slope, but I got sick of running up and down the same street, so I moved to the flat. Not the best training decision, probably, but a better sanity decision.

9 miles “easy” that didn’t feel easy at all, quick core work.

Friday: 7 miles slow and easy, then some core work

This was our anniversary (6 years! Hooray!). We wanted to get away for the weekend but didn’t want to spend a bunch of money, so we spent it in Colorado Springs. J’s aunt and uncle live there and are always happy to have us stay, and we hadn’t seen them in quite a while, so visiting them on our anniversary weekend was perfect.

I’d asked Aimee, who lives in Springs, to recommend a downhill run for me so I could start prepping for this marathon. She recommended the Santa Fe Trail, a rail trail that runs parallel to the mountains. It was a fantastic recommendation, as the trail was beautiful and the elevation profile was very similar to the marathon’s. I started way too fast for a long run, so the last few miles were a slog. I know I’m at risk of doing that in the race, too, so I’m hoping I learned my lesson here and will pace myself better next time.My iPhone doesn't come close to doing justice to the beauty of these mountains.

My iPhone doesn’t come close to doing justice to the beauty of these mountains.

J is an awesome husband; he got up super early, drove me to the trailhead at Palmer Lake, killed a couple of hours, and picked up my gross sweatiness 17.3 miles later. That is love, folks.

After my run, I cleaned up in a Panera bathroom (classy, right?), ate some food, and rehydrated, and then we headed to Garden of the Gods. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and J hadn’t ever been, so it was a new experience for both of us. We had a great time. Garden of the Gods is stunning.

No filter needed for that Colorado sky.
No filter needed for that Colorado sky.

We didn’t want to fight the crowds in the main part of the park for very long, so we ventured off on some side trails — fantastic choice. We saw just a handful of other people but plenty of scenery on our 4.5-mile hike.
photo 3 (5) photo 4 (2) After Garden of the Gods, we grabbed some lunch and spent the afternoon wandering around Old Colorado City (a fun little tourist trap near Garden of the Gods) before heading back to clean up for real (as opposed to Panera-bathroom style) and go out for a nice dinner. And then we went to bed early because I was friggin’ tired. Not a bad way to spend an anniversary!

J’s aunt and I have talked about doing the infamous Manitou Incline together for years, but we had never done it. We decided Sunday was the day, and since J is a good sport, he agreed to do it, too. And then he saw this, and questioned his sanity (and his love for us):
photo (12)

The Incline is that little line going up that mountain: a trail that climbs 2050 feet in .92 miles. The whole trail is made of steps like these:Aunt Jan reaching the summit!

Aunt Jan reaching the summit!

It was definitely a challenge. Some people run the thing, which is insane to me. Today was supposed to be my rest day, so I didn’t even try to run. The view from the top is definitely worth the hike… it’s gorgeous! You can see the entire city.
photo 1 (5)The trail back down is longer but considerably less steep (and less treacherous), but I still didn’t run because of the whole “rest day” thing. The whole hike made for another fun morning in the great outdoors. If I lived in Colorado Springs, I’d definitely be a regular up here… it’s a great challenge, and I’d want to see how fast I could eventually do it.

So the week ended up with 64.4 miles of running, minimal strength training, and a whole lot of outdoor fun. Overall, I’m okay with that, but I definitely need to get my strength training, foam rolling, etc., back on track this week.

Ever fallen like an idiot on a run? Please tell me about it so I know I’m not the only one.

What’s the weirdest place you’ve cleaned up post-workout?

Have you ever (or would you ever) done the Incline?

17 thoughts on “Colorado Fall Classic Marathon Training, Week 4”

  1. You did the incline! YAY! I think that makes 4 out of our team of 5 who have done it this spring. So fun. And that is great that you were able to run a downhill trail that is similar to your marathon. You are going to rock that race!

  2. It looks like you had a fabulous weekend! Happy Anniversary!!!! 🙂
    It seems like your training is going well! How long of a training plan do you have? I think mine was 20 weeks or so.
    I have tripped while running and was gushing blood. I was only about a half mile into my run, but kept running anyways. I also tripped in front of someone. I don’t know why I tripped because I ran the route every day! Ah well, it happens 🙂

    1. My training plan is only 15 weeks; I made it that way so I could start it after vacation, but I definitely did a lot of base training and mileage building before that. I just didn’t call it marathon training yet, even though it pretty much was. 🙂

      My fall was on a route I run all the time, too! I have no idea why I tripped this time.

    1. Yes, and the scab left from the bloody fall looked really sexy peeking out from my nice anniversary dinner dress. 🙂 We should do the Incline together sometime and see how fast we can do it!

  3. Happy anniversary! It looks like you had an amazing one! I have decided I need to go to Colorado as soon as possible. Those mountains look divine. I have wanted to do the Incline ever since I saw it in a magazine a few years ago. I guess that’s a good excuse as any to head a few states over.

  4. Yikes! I fell this week too! I work downtown Denver at the capitol building and fell down right in front of it (for all to see)! It was one of those slow motion falls, where you think you’ll catch yourself, but end up looking even more ridiculous. It was during my lunch break too, so I returned to work looking like I fought a mountain lion in downtown Denver. Sounds like you guys had a fabulous anniversary weekend after that though :-)!

  5. I’m so jealous that you go to do the incline! I’ve been to Colorado once and I got to run the Pikes Peak Ascent (which was also very cool) but I really want to do the incline. I guess I’ll have to take another trip! I love Garden of the Gods – your pictures are great!

    1. I would love to do the Ascent someday, but I need to live a little closer to the mountains first so I can train at altitude. I can just see myself passing out halfway up Pikes Peak. 🙂

      1. ha! funny you mention that – I totally bonked at 12,000 feet and the last three miles of the race took me forever… but it was still an amazing experience!

  6. Don’t you love it when husbands are super supportive and will take the time to make training that much better and more manageable? My husband waited on me the other day at the track, when he could have been doing a hundred other things. I actually got changed and cleaned up (baby wipes) in the high school parking lot with my husband holding a towel up for coverage. Haha. I honestly can’t believe how much you run each week. Now that I’m doing triathlons, I only run 3 or 4 times a week, which feels like a lot! You are sure packing on the miles! Someday I definitely want to do that climb.

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