My thoughts towards marathon training have been all over the map lately. There's the part of me that says my body clearly does not want to handle the level of training that my mind says I can handle. There's also the part of me that says I am not a quitter and I'm not going to let anything get in my way.
Maybe I keep having setbacks because my goals are beyond what my body is capable of. Maybe I keep having setbacks because I am just too enthusiastic about training and I keep upping my mileage/pace too quickly. Maybe I keep having setbacks just because life happens and luck has not been on my side. It's probably a combination of all 3 scenarios...
Now that I've lost a full month of marathon training, I was seriously considering deferring my Pittsburgh Marathon entry for a year. Not because I think it is impossible for me to be ready for the race in May, but more just to take the self-induced pressure off myself for awhile. And also because I will be chaperoning a week-long field trip to Tybee Island/Savannah with my middle school students the week before the marathon and so I will already be exhausted when I hit the starting line. The timing of this field trip + marathon will not be kind to me. BUT, it turns out the Pittsburgh Marathon does not give you the option to defer entry for a year, like some races do. So, I'm going to run the race this year, but am currently working on convincing myself not to care about my finish time, but just to run the race for love of the run.
I know I still have plenty of time to prepare for the race and maybe I will magically manage to get adequate sleep on the field trip and arrive in Pittsburgh well-rested and ready to crush the race, but realistically that is unlikely.
After several weeks of just a few 3-4 mile runs per week, I have successfully run two 6 mile runs so far this week, and my foot seems to be doing ok. I have new orthotics to help take pressure off my tendonitis, and today I test-ran a new pair of Hokas that are nice and stiff to help reduce the bending in my foot as I run, which should also help. It's still too early to go back to planning long runs, but I'm starting to feel more optimistic about being able to resume training rather than needing to take a month completely off.
Today, I'm grateful for a fabulous test-run in my new Clifton 4s, with a last mile fast-finish of 6:56.
I'm also grateful for shorts weather twice in one week, in February.
And, of course, I'm grateful for my running buddies!
The pork : A 1.5 lb pork tenderloin, sprinkled with a generous amount of garlic powder, and baked for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
The potatoes : 5 small-medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft. Mash with 2 oz cream cheese, some milk, a dash of salt, a generous shake of garlic powder, and a small handful of shredded cheese (I used monterey).
The green beans : Chop 1/3 of an onion and saute with 3 pieces of chopped bacon. Add two 12 oz packages of frozen french cut green beans when the onions and bacon have reached the desired crispiness. Cover and steam, stirring occasionally. Chop 10 mushrooms, add them and a large handful of spinach when the beans are done. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted.
For each meal, I put in a large spoonful of mashed potatoes, filled half of the container with veggies, and added 2 slices of pork. I made 4 lunches because that is all the lunch containers I had at the moment, but had plenty of food left to portion out later in the week. I only needed 4 lunches anyway, because I have some leftover pasta & meatballs from last week.
I had this meal prepared Friday night, and then Saturday evening I went to church and discovered that Lent starts this week, which means no meat on Wednesday or Friday. So I got back in the kitchen on Sunday night and made some bacon-less green beans and some black bean salmon burgers.
Salmon burgers : 1 small can boneless/skinless salmon, 1/3 cup (ish) of black beans, bread crumbs, garlic powder, 1 egg. I mashed up the beans, beat the egg, and mixed everything together. I kept adding breadcrumbs until the mixture didn't seem to wet anymore. I shaped the mixture into 4 burgers, then I put a little bit of olive oil in a pan and cooked them for 3-5 minutes on each side.
This was the 15th circuit workout that I designed for my workout group at school. In the 16 weeks I've been doing the class, I've only repeated a previous workout once, and that was because we were coming back from vacation and it seemed like a good time to revisit the beginning! Each week when I design the workout, I do my best to find a new exercise to add, while also creating a good mix of previous exercises. Other than starting with jumping jacks and ending with plank, I try not to repeat any exercises too many weeks in a row. Gotta keep it interesting!
Each exercise was 50 seconds, except for the Side Plank which was 1:00, to allow 30 seconds on each side. The single-leg exercises were done 25 seconds on each leg (calf raises, lunge).
This week I had two new exercises and one modified exercise. The new exercises were the hammer curls and the side crunches, and the modified exercise was the lunge with balance : I added the weight.
Step backwards into the lunge, then drive back leg forward and up while raising the weight. Hold for a few seconds before stepping back into the lunge.
Pasta & Meatballs has always been one of my favorite meals! I remember it being my birthday meal of choice quite a few times when I was younger. I don't make meatballs too often anymore because they do take quite a bit of time to cook, but every now and then I start craving them and decide it's worth the time.
I'm sharing with a friend this week, so I made 10 lunches for the workweek.
Light amount of sauce for me, extra sauce for him.
The pasta : 1 lb penne rigate, cooked, and covered in sauce from the meatballs.
The meatballs : 1 lb 93/7 and 1 lb 90/10 ground beef, mixed with 2 eggs, 2 tbsp bread crumbs, garlic powder, 1 tbsp mustard, some basil and oregano. Shaped into 33 balls. Cooked in 48 oz of Prego Hearty Mushroom tomato sauce for about 1.5 hrs.
The veggies : 3 large crowns of broccoli and 5 small carrots. Chopped into bite-sized pieces and cooked in a skillet with some olive oil and garlic powder.
There was enough pasta left for a small meal, and 2 meatballs. (1 was eaten when I checked to see if they were done...)
Since I had a snow day today, this seems like a good time to share my winter-running go-tos! The day started out with a 2 hr delay, but I went to bed early last night and was wide awake around 5:30, so sleeping in was not going to happen. I got up and had breakfast, gave it some time to settle, and then headed out the door for a run. I was really glad we got the delay (which I had been expecting, due to the snow and ice accumulation forecasted for last night) because without the delay, I wouldn't have had time for exercise today! I finished my run and then shoveled off my sidewalk and began clearing the 2 inches of snow and thick ice off of my car...and then got the snow day message. I wanted to go run some more miles, but I'm trying really hard not to make my tendonitis any worse right now, so I'm limiting myself to 4-5 miles every other day until I get new orthotics on Monday. So no extra snow-day miles, but at least I didn't have to rush through my shower to get to work on time! And I had time this morning to get my taxes done, which was another bonus to a day off!
Not a whole lot of snow, but there was a thick crunchy layer of ice under what snow there was. Most of the trees were covered with a layer of snow that looked really pretty, especially with the morning sun shining on them.
Here are 5 things that I am currently
for cold weather running.
1) Hat with a hole for my ponytail, with an earband on top.
I find that most hats don't quite cover my ears the whole way, unless they also are so big that they cover my eyes. So I love a hat that keeps the warmth in my head, but is also thin enough to comfortably layer an earband over which takes care of my ears. This hat from Brooks has the added bonus of a hole for my ponytail to stick through, which is pretty awesome.
2) Fleece-lined shirt with a neck.
I LOVE my fleece-lined shirts. I got this one from Target many years ago, and it is still probably my favorite! I like the mock-neck, which comes up high enough to overlap with my buff and not let any heat escape my core. It's only downside is that it doesn't have thumb-holes, but the sleeves are nice and long. My other fleece-lined shirts are from Under Armour (thank you, Black Friday online sales) and have the thumb holes, but not the mock-neck. The fleece lining keeps me extra warm, and I've also found that this shirt can block some wind, which is an added bonus!
3) Thick wool socks.
My toes can get pretty cold on these frigid runs! I find a pair of normal thin running socks fits nicely under these wool socks, and the double socks keep my feet nice and toasty! This pair of socks was a gift from a girl I used to ride with West Virginia, and at the time I had no idea I would end up finding them so useful!
4) Ski mittens.
These mittens were a life-saver a few years ago when we had a really frigid winter in WV. I didn't dress properly for an April race one year, and ended up losing circulation from the elbow down for the first few miles. My hands were weird and tingly for several months afterwards, and though they eventually felt normal again, I've had trouble keeping circulation in them during cold runs ever since. When we had a winter in which sub-20 degrees was the norm, and single digits were frequent, I found I couldn't run much more than 2 miles before my hands hurt so bad I had to go home. I tried many different pairs of gloves, and none of them kept my hands warm enough. I found these mittens on Amazon for $19 and they turned out awesome! They keep my hands toasty warm no matter how cold it is (actually, they keep my hands sweaty no matter how cold it is, but sweaty is far preferable to frozen!), and they even have little zipper pockets that can fit my house key.
5) Fleece-lined Buff.
Fleece-lined everything is awesome. I also have non-fleece lined Buffs which are fine when it's not quite so cold out, but for the frigid temps I am in love with this thick fleecy Buff. It is thick enough that so far it doesn't freeze when it gets a little wet from my breath, like my thinner ones do. (When they freeze, they start to rub my face and that hurts!)
All bundled up for my run this morning!
This windbreaker from OneMoreMile is also very useful
as an outer layer to hold in heat and block the wind.
Well, January started out really strong, and ended really weak, but I at least managed to get 100+ miles in the bank and I'm still feeling strong even if I haven't been able to run much lately. Tendonitis pain came back in my left foot after Wytheville, and I've had to take it pretty easy. I've got an appointment to get new orthotics on the 5th, and until then I'm just trying to hold my foot together without completely quitting running. There's been a lot more time spent on the bike trainer than I would like, but oh well! I'm glad I have the trainer so that I have something to do other than run. I also went to the gym to use the rowing machine once, and that was a nice change of pace.
I like that the rowing machine is a full-body workout!
Week 1 : 1/1 - 1/7 : run 35.7 miles
What a week! I can't imagine a stronger start to a new year than this one! A nice easy New Year's Day run with a friend, a spectacular 4 mile tempo run paced by feel (all 4 tempo miles ended up under 7:00), an extra long wandering run around Bristol (8.8 solo, 6.5 with friends), an easy 5+ miler on tired and sore legs, and then finished out the week by running a few more easy miles with a friend. Somewhere in there I also tried a circuit workout with my balance discs for the first time and all I can say about that is ouch! Great workout, but I was feeling it all through my 15 mile run and the 5 mile shakeout.
There have been some very cold days this month!
Week 2 : 1/8 - 1/14 : run 35.5 miles
Another really solid week! Started off with a nice group 7 miler, had a great pick-up mile repeat session on the track at school after a circuit workout with co-workers, got introduced to a fun new hill, ran a mountainous half marathon and then kept going for 3 more miles to get a 16 mile long run, and finished out the week with a 2.5 mile shakeout.
Week 3 : 1/15 - 1/21 : run 23.5 miles, bike 20 miles
Started off with some easy group 6-8 mile runs, then had a snow day and did easy AM miles in the snow and then a short group run in the evening. By the end of that day, I knew my foot pain wasn't going to go away and I made the decision to take time off from running. The rest of the week involved 2 trainer rides, a TRX workout, and a hike.
Week 4 : 1/22 - 1/28 : run 13.3 miles, bike 25 miles
I started off the week with a trainer ride and a circuit workout, then tried a run. Meant to ease my way back into running but got overly excited to run after 6 days off, ran 3 days in a row, and then had to take more time off because clearly my tendonitis is back. Those three runs were each only 4-5 miles, and I tried to take them easy, but my foot started hurting about 3 miles into the first run. It didn't hurt the second day, perhaps because I was wearing my Hokas and they are more cushioned, but by the end of the third run I could tell it needed more time off. I finished out the week with the rowing machine, a flat photo-walk, and another trainer ride.
Not my favorite way to exercise, but grateful for the option!
Week 5 : 1/29 - 1/31 : run 9.3 miles, bike 10.2 miles
Now that I've made an appointment to get new orthotics, short runs every other day feel like an ok idea. So, easy run Monday, trainer Tuesday plus circuit workout, then an easy run on Wednesday. Didn't really feel any pain today so I may run tomorrow, especially since I know I won't have time for exercise on Friday.