Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 14

Remember how I used to post more than training recaps? Yeah, sorry about the lack of anything else lately. I’ve been both busy and uninspired… my life is not that exciting, really; I just work and run, and I can’t blog about my job because blogging about your job as a teacher is a good way to not have a job as a teacher anymore. But we’ve got one more week until Spring Break, so hopefully I’ll get a big dose of inspiration and have the time to write then.

Anyway, on to yet another training recap. This was a peak mileage week, and I felt good and strong on almost every run. That’s a good sign.

Monday: 

AM: Strength training at the gym for 45ish minutes

PM: 8.1 miles easy. I had a meeting that ran longer than I thought it would, so I rescheduled the 90-105 minute run that my schedule said to do.

Tuesday: 

Tempo intervals: 4 x 2 miles with 4-minute recovery. This was a tough workout, but the wind played nice and didn’t blow a billion miles an hour while I ran, so that was good. 11.4 miles total, including warm-up and cool-down

Wednesday: 

9 miles easy. This was one of those runs that just felt good… probably because I needed to burn off a significant amount of standardized test stress. I followed the run with a quick core workout at home.
photo 3 (3)
It had rained off and on all day, and the sky was gorgeous by my evening run. My little iPhone camera couldn’t really do it justice.

Thursday: 

AM: Strength training, again! At the gym! I’m on a roll…

PM: 12.5 miles. This was the run I switched with Monday’s.
photo 2 (4)
Still working on the running selfie. Still struggling.

Friday: 

8 miles easy. My legs were pretty tired from Thursday’s two workouts, so I took it nice and slow, then did some core, foam rolling, and Sticking after the run.

Saturday: 

23 miles. I normally cap my long run at 22, but I wanted to run one that would have me on my feet longer (time-wise) than the marathon. So 23 it was.
photo 1 (6)
I
 headed out to my favorite hilly country roads for part of the loop. Everyone who knows me knows I don’t love living on the plains, but days like yesterday remind me that the plains can be pretty, too.

Sunday: 

Rest. I didn’t even do yoga. I cleaned my house and graded instead. (See, not exciting.)

Totals: 72 miles, about 2 hours core and stretch

Just two more hard weeks, and then it’s taper time. I can hardly even believe it.

Is your life exciting (or more exciting than mine…)?

What’s your favorite long run loop like?

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Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 13

Wow, week 13 of training is already over. That means just six weeks to race day. Gulp. Last week was a stressful and frustrating one (for reasons that shouldn’t be discussed in detail on the interwebs), so my training was as much therapy and sanity-saver as it was solid marathon training. Luckily, those goals overlapped nicely. Here’s how it went:

Monday: 

AM: Strength training at the gym

PM: 8.4 miles of fartleks (and warm-up and cool down). It was suuuper windy, so the fartleks were based on effort, not pace.
photo 1 (5)
Does anyone else love the “intervals finished” song that Garmins play?

Tuesday: 

8.2 miles easy. Windy again.

Wednesday:

10 miles with 5 at tempo. The wind played nice and didn’t blow a billion miles per hour, which made for a much less frustrating tempo.

Thursday: 

9.1 miles easy. I had planned to get up and lift in the morning, but I was so. stinking. tired. So I slept.

Friday: 

8 miles at recovery pace

Saturday: 

16.4 miles, the first 10 at easy pace, the last 6 progressively faster. If you’ve followed my blog through other training cycles, then you probably know that fast-finish long runs are my nemesis. I struggle every time. So I’m thrilled to let you know that while this one was certainly tough, I hit all the splits I was hoping for. Score!
photo 3 (2)
This is my “Yay! A good run!” face.

After I ran, we got our taxes done and had to pay a bunch of money. So, at least one part of the morning was good.

Sunday:

Rest day. I did this horrible 30-minute yoga video I found on Amazon Prime Instant Video… yeah, it was bad.

Total: 60.1 miles.

I definitely slacked on strength and core work and stretching last week, so I’m making that a priority this week. With six weeks until race day, I can’t afford to slack off. This week will be another stressful one (again, I won’t get too into it, but it starts with a P and ends with an ARCC), and it will also involve a bunch more running in the wind, because that’s what spring does around here. But since I’m training for a May marathon in Nebraska, I suppose a windy race day isn’t out of the question, so I’d better train for it.

How do you feel about running in the wind? 

I’ve been a slacker in the blog world lately. What have I missed?

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 12

Twelve weeks in, and I finally had a training week that felt great. My legs felt good, my guts felt better than they have in a long time (yay restrictive diet!), and the weather was absolutely amazing. Here’s how it went.

Monday: 

AM: I finally decided to be less of a bum and get to the gym to lift for 45 minutes.

PM: 12 miles easy in the beautiful sunshine.
photo 1 (4)
Like my new sunglasses? I finally broke down and bought decent ones.

Tuesday:

Parent-teacher conferences in the evening meant a morning treadmill run. Whomp whomp. 8 easy miles and some quick core work.

Wednesday:

Another easy 8-miler, outside this time, followed by some core work and stretching. I’m trying to learn to take mid-run selfies like you legit bloggers. It’s not going so well.
photo 2 (2)
Yep, that looks natural.

Thursday: 

Another day of conferences meant another treadmill run — Yasso 800s this time. I know it’s not quite the same on the treadmill, but I hit my pace on all of them and didn’t feel like death, so I’m counting that as a win! I ended up cutting my cool-down (super)short because of the whole “having to go to work” bit and ended up with 8.2 miles for the day.

Friday: 

To make up for the two nights of conferences, we had Friday off, which was sweet. In the middle of the day (because I could), I ran 8 miles, stopped at the gym to lift, and ran another mile home. It was glorious.

"Maybe if I take the picture on this side of the pond, it'll work better!" Nope.
“Maybe if I take the picture on this side of the pond, it’ll work better!” Nope.

Saturday: 

22 miles. It felt downright hot outside. My body’s not used to this “warmth” business yet!
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Here’s a me-less picture, since you’re probably getting tired of looking at my awkward mug.

Sunday:

Rest day, but way too nice out to stay inside. My pal Sarah came over, and she and J and I walked for about an hour. It was 80 degrees out. 80.

Total: 67.2 miles. That’s a nice number. I feel good about that.

Is it feeling springy where you are?

Do you take mid-workout selfies? HOW?

VFuel: The Best Gel for Sensitive Stomachs

When I trained for and ran my first six marathons, I exclusively used GU for fuel. It tasted fine and usually didn’t upset my stomach. Then, in the midst of training for marathon #7, my body decided it didn’t like GU any longer. Taking even half of one started making me nauseous and gaggy (that’s a word) — not how I wanted to feel in the middle of a training run or, especially, a race.

As the race approached, I went on a desperate quest to find new fuel. I tried Hammer, and Powerbar, and Clif chews, and several others, but nothing seemed to work. (Now I know that I was also dealing with IBS, which certainly didn’t help anything and ended up ruining my race anyway). Then one day, Jordan went to a running store and came home with little silver packets labelled “VFuel.”  A  love affair was born.

Sample Pack

Disclaimer: VFuel isn’t sponsoring this post or compensating me in any way. I’m sure the company doesn’t even know I exist. I’m just thrilled to have finally found a gel that works for my freaky guts, and I wanted to spread the word.
Also, all the images in this post are borrowed from VFuel’s website

VFuel is a Colorado company, started by ultra runners in Estes Park, so before I’d even tried the product, I liked that aspect, at least. Then I tried the gel and used it in my training, and now I’ve determined that it’s the best gel on the market, especially for those of us with sensitive stomachs. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently been diagnosed with IBS, and I’m learning about how different sugars affect my system. Fructose is hard for me to digest, and, as it turns out, is also hard for many people to digest, not just those with IBS –and especially while participating in endurance activities. The makers of VFuel know this, so they don’t use fructose in their gels, instead using dextrose and other easily-digestible ingredients.

VFuel

Knowing that VFuel is easy on the GI system is a major selling point for me, but the taste of the gels is important, too: I don’t want to be gagging while trying to take in fuel. VFuel also delivers on the taste front. My favorite flavor is the Mountain Berry, but they’re all pretty tasty (except the Maple Bacon. Meat-flavor ranks pretty high on my list of things I don’t want on a run. But if that’s what you’re in to, go for it).

Mountain Berry

Though I’d never heard of VFuel until last summer, I was late to the party: several of my favorite athletes are featured on VFuel’s website. Folks like Sage Canaday, Timothy Olson, Reese Ruland, and other total badass ultrarunners are apparently VFuel users. Of course, that’s not why I use VFuel, but I’m going to pretend that it will make me wicked-fast and tough like those guys.

VFuel is, by far, the best gel I’ve tried, and the only one that doesn’t upset my stomach. I’ve used it on numerous runs this training cycle, and it’s never made me nauseous or worse. I highly recommend it, especially if you, too, have a sensitive stomach. Go check it out!

Have you ever tried VFuel? 

What’s your go-to gel/chew/whatever?

Which athlete most inspires you?

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 11

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME IS OVER!

If the capital letters weren’t enough to clue you in, let me just tell you: I’m excited. And check out the saucy temperatures coming up this week:
photo (1)

Tuesday and Thursday are parent-teacher conference days, which means no enjoying that glorious sunshine, but you’d better believe that the rest of the week, I’ll be soaking it up.

In the meantime, let’s review what I hope was my last treadmill-heavy week of this training cycle. I mentioned last weekend that this was kind of an awkward cutback week: even though my training plan weeks are Monday-Sunday, this cutback started with last Saturday’s “long run” and went until this Friday. Here’s how it went:

Monday: 

AM: Body-weight strength training in the basement. I need to get back to the gym, but it sure is  easier to just go downstairs.

PM: Tempo intervals: 5 x 2000m with 400m recoveries; 10 miles total including warm-up and cool-down. This was the first speed workout this whole cycle that I’ve felt really good. I hope that’s a good sign.

Tuesday: 

6 miles easy, core work, and stretching

Wednesday: 

7 miles of fartleks followed by core work. And fruit loop socks, because this was a morning run and fruit loop socks make mornings happier.
photo 1 (3)

Thursday: 

AM: The same strength workout as Monday

PM: 6 miles easy

Friday: 

5 easy miles

Saturday: 

20-mile long run. J had a meeting (and thus a hotel room) in Denver Friday through Saturday, so I tagged along and got to enjoy my long run in the Mile High City.
photo 2 (1)
This picture is from the top of the little hill in Cheesman Park, which feels not-so-little at mile 9ish of the half at Rock ‘n Roll Denver (it’s mile 9 of the full, too, but feels a lot less brutal when you’re running the full).

Sunday: 

Rest. I didn’t even do yoga today. I took a walk instead, because the weather was gorgeous and I needed my vitamin D fix.

Total: 54 miles

And that’s the week in a nutshell. I will get back to the gym this week. I will. Maybe.

Daylight savings: Love it or hate it?

Favorite at-home strength move? I’ve been doing pistol squats. I love/hate them.

Spring Fever

Just a few more days, and it’ll officially be spring. Around here, of course, “spring” means wind and snow, especially in the early weeks, but we also get more than a few gorgeous sunny days thrown in that give me major spring fever. And what better to feed that fever than a list of the spring things I’m most excited about?

  • The time change. I know my morning runner friends despise the time change, but starting next week, I’ll be able to do all my evening runs outside again. Even if those runs are cold and windy (and a lot of them will be), at least I’ll be outside!
  • State testing. HAHAHA I made a funny.
  • Flower planting. Oh, how I love planting flowers. I always buy way too many, and then have to buy more pots. But they’re so pretty and happy that I just can’t stop buying them.
    Picture2 269
  • Yarding. (Yes, I made that a verb. If Shakespeare can invent words, so can I.) We’re FINALLY getting our yard started, after living here for nearly three years. I can’t wait to have grass and a garden and things besides sticker-weeds growing in our backyard!
  • Marathoning. May 3, it’s going down in Lincoln. And please go tell Natalie that she definitely wants to run the half there so we can meet.
  • Strawberries. One of the few fruits I can still eat, strawberries are coming into season again. Nom nom.
  • Blooms. I’m fortunate to not suffer from allergies, so I thoroughly enjoy the trees and bushes that will start popping out flowers and pretty smells soon.
    photo 3
  • Spring cleaning.  Okay, so I’m not really excited to do a good, deep house cleaning, but I’m excited to have it done.

  • New office! We’ve had an empty room in our house since we bought it, and we finally decided to turn it into an office for me. Our spring break plan is getting it painted and set up. I’m looking for a DIY standing desk idea that will work in there, since real standing desks are waaaay out of my budget but sitting all day (in the summer, when I’m working on curriculum and such) is not an option. Any ideas?

Yes, spring brings many exciting things. Bring it on, March!

What spring things are you most looking forward to?

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 10

I like to believe that I’ll post more each week than my training recaps. But then I remember that I teach English and essays don’t just grade themselves. The good news is that Matt from No Meat Athlete and his sister are doing another #writeandrun31 challenge this month. I got some decent writing out of the January challenge, so I’m looking forward to this one. I’m committing to 10 minutes per day of writing, which is what I did in January. It’s not much, but it gets the juices flowing and I usually end up writing longer. Plus, it’s easy to convince myself to do even if it’s bedtime.

I hope I’ll have some interesting, non-training log stuff for you to read soon, but until then, let’s take a look at this week, the first on my new plan.

Monday: 

AM: 45 minutes of strength training, done in the basement because driving on icy roads before 5 a.m. sounded just plain awful.

PM: 10 miles easy

Tuesday: 

8 miles easy — layered up for 4 outside, then finished with 4 inside once the sun went down, followed by enough core work and stretching to get to a good stopping point in The Bachelor. 
photo 1 (1)

Wednesday: 

Cruise intervals: 10 x 1000m. With the warm-up and a too-short cool-down, I hit an even 10.

Thursday: 

AM: Strength training in the basement again, this time for only 30 minutes. I love sleep.

PM: 8-mile easy run. I didn’t get home in time to make layering up for a couple of outside miles worth it, so I stuck to the tready.

Friday: 

7 easy miles, core, and stretching

Saturday: 

I spent Saturday decorating for and chaperoning a dance, and while I thought I’d probably have time to run between decorating and heading back to let in the DJ, I didn’t want to risk running out of time. Decorating always takes longer than I think it will. Who knew that hanging gossamer was such a time-consuming task? Anyway, I decided to run before decorating, which meant starting at dark o’clock, which meant treadmill.
photo
Luckily, this plan has kind of an awkward cutback week — it started with Saturday’s shorter progression run, and this coming week’s runs are shorter, but this Saturday’s long run will be back to 20. I won’t complain, because that 11-mile progression run fit perfectly into the time I had on Saturday, AND I had a little time in the afternoon to squeeze in a catnap before this grandma had to stay up until midnight.

Sunday: 

30 minutes of yoga.

Totals: 54.1 miles, a little over 2 hours strength, stretch, etc.

In other news, I’ve had “The Wobble” playing in my head all. day. long. Darn you, dance.

Which would you choose for a strength workout: bodyweight and dumbbells at home, or an early-morning drive to the gym? I prefer home, but sometimes I go to the gym since I don’t have all the weights.

What was your favorite song to dance to in high school?