Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hansons Marathon Method: Week Nine

This is it, I've made it halfway through training! This is a bit disingenuous, considering the mileage in the second half is going to be significantly higher than the first half, but, hey, it makes me feel good to pretend. Don't crush my dreams.

I had big plans to get up early on the weekend days to fit my runs in around the duties for a wedding I was the Maid of Honor in, but I slept horribly all week (and hadn't been sleeping all that good for a few weeks before that), and I was just plain exhausted. I tried to not feel too bad since sleep is as an important component of training as anything else.

Luckily I've started sleeping much better (and have been napping like a small child in a desperate attempt to catch back up), so hopefully after this next weekend, which will include some epic dream time, I'll be right as rain.

Wednesday, July 23

I don't really remember what I did...I think I napped. Seriously, don't mess with my rest day nap.


Thursday, July 24
1 mi WU
8 mi @ 9:52 min/mile
1 mi CD
10 mi total

I was really nervous for this tempo run, since it required me to run three more miles at tempo pace than I have been. I knew this would be one of the biggest hurdles of training, and even the book admits this. (After this, whenever my tempo distance increases, it will only be one mile, thank goodness.) I knew right from the beginning that 9:44 min/mile pace was not happening for eight miles, so I dropped it back a little. I was absolutely wiped and pushing to the limit on that last mile, so I think I paced it perfectly.

I also switched up the route to a loop instead of my usual out-and-back, and this made a huge difference mentally! It was so much easier to focus on holding the pace until each turn rather than to the halfway point. Traffic was not an issue at all on the loop I created, so I'll happily use it again.

Friday, July 25
rest (unplanned)

I had big plans to take some vacation time in the morning to fit my run in, since I had to leave work a few hours early to be at the wedding rehearsal. I even successfully dragged myself out of bed and dressed, but my legs had that horrible blah feeling that tells me I'm not properly recovered, so I opted to skip. I didn't feel too guilty because it would've meant running 16 miles in less than 24 hours, and I don't think I'm ready for that kind of mileage yet.


Saturday, July 26
rest (unplanned)

Again, maybe some will see it as an excuse, but I was exhausted from a late rehearsal dinner the night before and had my hair appointment at 9 (meaning I would've needed to be showered with my hair dried by 8:45), which was not happening, considering I would be up until at least midnight. My legs were a bit sore from the end of the night from all the standing, oddly enough.

I also had the pleasure of waking up at 5:30 AM with a terrible charlie horse in my right calf.

Sunday, July 27
rest (unplanned)

Sunday was supposed to be a 15 mile long run (a five mile jump from what I have been doing), and I would've been nervous anyway, but I was wired from the wedding and didn't sleep well, plus I had to drive back home. I was physically and mentally exhausted, so I gave myself a mental health day from running and cuddled with Faramir while watching Netflix instead. I figured with nine more weeks to go, skipping one workout wasn't going to make or break me.


This time, 5:30 AM meant it was time for a charlie horse in my left calf. As tired as my legs get from following Hansons, it appears my body gets really angry when I suddenly stop.

Monday, July 28
7 mi easy, 12 min/mile
core work

It felt really good to get back in the saddle. My legs were really tired towards the end of the run, but I knew I needed to suck it up. I also had to make my first emergency pit stop on the trail, but at least now I know the perfect spot.... I felt more like "me" as soon as I got going, and I enjoyed just zoning out with my Tolkien podcast.

I also saw the chiro before my run, and we discussed the compartment syndrome in my lower legs some more. Basically, no one can figure out what causes it - I drink the recommended amount of water for my body weight, I stretch daily, I haven't suddenly increased my mileage, my shoes only have 250 miles on them, and I haven't suddenly started running inclines.

If you Google Image "mystery injury," just about every other picture is of a soccer player flopping.
The only thing I've ever noticed that causes the issue is cold temperatures - this is the first time it's bothered me in warm weather. In any event, it doesn't bother me when I'm actually running, and it responded well enough to treatment two weeks ago that I can finally tolerate ART on it, which helped so so much.

Tuesday, July 29
1 mi WU
4x1200s (6:38, 6:39, 6:40, 6:37) w/ 400 jogs
1 mi CD
6 mi total

I found the pacing a bit tricky on the 1200s and ended up a touch slow on each one, but it was hard for me to get to the proper pace on the first lap without feeling like I was going to explode halfway through. Speed workouts are just not my forte. The good news is this was my last one! Next week strength workouts begin - I know these will still be hard, but it's a hard I'm much more comfortable with.

Total Miles: 23 mi (womp womp womp)
Total Time: 4:12:00

This week marks a major turning point in my training. I will be, like I said above, switching from speed to strength runs on Tuesday and will begin alternating between 10 and 16 mile long runs until taper comes. It's hard to believe how fast the first half flew by, and I'm really looking forward to the second half.

Does that mean I can just believe and skip the second part of training?
I know others who have used Hansons said the fatigue really begins to grow at this point, but I know that's all part of being successful. I think I'm going to feel relatively confident going into the workouts from now on (though the first 16 miler might be a bit scary....)

I think all I need now is some new podcasts to fill the extra time on my feet. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hansons Marathon Method: Week Eight

I'm not going to lie, this was the hardest week of training so far, based on how I felt physically. Some coworkers invited me to go to salsa dancing lessons with them Monday, and I said I couldn't because my legs felt done. I have a bit of a reputation as a fuddy duddy at work (when really I'm just the only introvert), so I don't think they believed me, but I honestly think I would've just sat on the floor whimpering in pain if I had tried.


I'm not sure what caused the trouble. I'm holding at around the same mileage I've been at the past two weeks and didn't really do any new workouts. I'm going to blame the heat, because it has certainly come back in full force after our brief flirtation with the polar vortex last week.

At this point I'm counting down the days until fall. I want to be able to sleep in a bit, go for my run mid-morning without melting, and then watch college football on the couch the rest of the day. Just the way God intended.



Not running related, but I decided to watch Prince of Egypt after rediscovering how good the music is. I honestly can't believe my mom let me see it in theaters when I was in elementary school. I totally understand why my only real memory of it was that it was super scary.

1 mi WU
5 mi @ 9:43 min/mile
1 mi CD
7 mi total

I ate my words from last week when I said the tempo run didn't feel that hard. I don't know if it was increased fatigue or what, but my perceived rate of exertion on this run was incredibly high the whole time. I did manage to blast through the last mile at tempo pace, so it was probably more mental than physical.

5 mi easy, 12:02 min/mile
core work

My legs felt pretty wiped on this run. They did loosen up after about three miles.


6 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

My legs were still tired but significantly better than Friday. I'm really starting to feel the cumulative fatigue, and, boy, is it rough! I know it will be worth it though.

10 min long, 10:30 min/mile

I delayed my run even later than I really should have, and it was still extremely hot and humid out. I was glad to have my new fuel pack with much more capacity, because I was draining water like crazy. I hope this heat training really pays off too!


5 mi easy, 11:59 min/mile
core work

The first mile of this run was awful, but then I settled into my pace. Again, the heat and humidity was absolutely killer. When I was finishing my core work, I noticed how exhausted I felt and thought it didn't bode well for my track workout. Turns out I was right.

1 mi WU
5x1ks (5:28, 5:29, 5:39, 5:46, 5:53) w/ 400 jogs
1 mi CD
6.4 mi total

My goal pace for each repeat was supposed to be 5:24, but I knew right away from the first one that it was not going to happen. I tried not to beat myself up since it was literally 30 degrees hotter for this track workout than last week's. I feel much better when I calculated my average pace for the repeats was still 9:09 min/mile, since I had somehow convinced myself it was over 10 min/mile. I suck at mental math.


Total Miles: 39.4 mi
Total Time: 7:12:04

The hunger monster is finally back in full force. I'm at the point where I'm eating something healthy and filling every two hours, but I'm about ready to gnaw my arm off at about an hour and a half. We just got a new kitchen at work, and it's been so tempting every day to go buy an extra snack. (There are quite a few new healthy options, it's just so expensive I can only justify in extreme situations.)

I'm very being doing really well at eating whole foods, but I think I might have to break down and buy a few processed things just to get more calories in, namely these delicious rice packets that are $1 a pop. I could happily subsist on those. It's weird, but I tend to realize I'm not getting enough calories when I start intensely craving fast food. Maybe my brain knows that it is delicious calorie dense?


I'm also going to start taking my iron supplements again. I've been having some side cramp issues that my doctor once postulated were iron related (they did get better with the supplements, but there were also some confounding variables, so I'm not positive that was it). Hopefully between these two things I will feel noticeably better on my runs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an entire pantry to eat.

The other 1% I'm considering what I'm currently eating.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hansons Marathon Method: Week Seven

Week Seven was a doozy...three different workouts! I felt confident for the tempo run and track workout, and I ended up surprising myself with the long run. I'm still feeling pretty motivated on a daily basis, which is nice. I'm committed to my goal, so I'll gut it out if I have to, but it's nice to look forward to my run every day. Other than wishing I had a bit more time for Faramir snuggles, this week went great.

Because who can resist this face?
Wednesday, July 9

Thursday, July 10
1 mi WU
5 mi @ 9:43 min/mile
1 mi CD
7 mi total

My mindset coming into this tempo run was massively more positive than last week's. I had done this workout before with no problem, and I knew I could do it again. I did a much better job pacing, only getting tripped up when I overcompensated for a headwind after the turn-around. Honestly, this pace feels slightly too easy, in that I'm only mildly uncomfortable, rather than moderately. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune when the tempo distance bumps up to eight miles in two weeks.


Friday, July 11
4 mi easy, 12:02 min/mile
core work

I met a friend for froyo in the evening, and like the lazy butt I am opted to take a nap beforehand, so I ended up doing this run at dusk. The moon was huge, and I saw a couple of bats, which always make me happy. Especially because I've been covered in dead bugs when I get home these days. Blech.

Saturday, July 12
6 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

I'm always amazed by the fact no one is out running or cycling on Saturday evenings, so it was a nice and peaceful run. It was incredibly humid to the point that dense fog formed and reduced visibility to around a 1/4 mile, which oddly made the run go by faster.


Sunday, July 13
10 mi long, 10:28 min/mile

I'm not going to lie, Michael had to talk me off the ledge with this one. I'm used to other training plans that emphasize long runs should be significantly slower than goal pace, so I didn't know if I had it in me to hold this pace for that long outside of a race setting. (And I wonder why I wasn't getting any faster....)

I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but just like every other run on the plan so far, it was tough but doable. It honestly was mentally easier than a slower pace because I had to monitor my splits, and the miles went by much quicker (mentally and literally). My only wish is that I had gone out a little sooner, so that I could've basked in my runner's high for awhile rather than head straight to bed.


Monday, July 14
6 mi easy, 11:59 min/mile
core work

While I was looking forward to running at a very relaxing pace, the run was almost boring in how easy it was. I know this is part of the training, but it's hard to finally feel like a faster pace is normal and then have to slam on the brakes. I kept reminding myself that my legs would be much happier with me the next day if I did the right thing.

Tuesday, July 15
1 mi WU
6x800s (4:19, 4:26, 4:20, 4:23, 4:22, 4:22) w/ 400 jogs
1 mi CD
6.5 mi total

These 800s were tough, my brain kept asking why I couldn't stop at 600 M like last week. The polar vortex was back in Michigan today, and it was amazing to have temperatures in the low 60's, but it also brought a super strong wind. Of course the track I use is set up so that the homestretch is into the wind - I just try to tell myself it's good mental training!

But the workout wasn't nearly as enjoyable as I hoped because, once again, the stupid people were back, and they were being extra stupid. No, that's a long jump pit, not a sandbox; that's a steeple water obstacle, not a kiddie pool; this is a place where people come to run, not a place to have social hour across six lanes. And most importantly - it's not a place to let your child ride their bike, in the wrong direction, in lane one!

Maybe this sounds petty, but I use my runs as stress relief (even the really hard ones). I also can't stand people that blatantly disregard basic etiquette, no matter the situation. When you put these two things together, it makes me very stressed and irritable, exactly the opposite of what I want to achieve. It's especially frustrating on the track, where, as the only runner, I should have a clear lane to really be able to focus on hitting my splits. At least in a couple of weeks I'll transition to strength runs, which will be easy to do off the track.

Total Miles: 39.5 mi
Total Time: 7:11:21

I have to admit, I'm slightly disappointed that I was a 1/2 mile shy of hitting 40 miles, but I know that will come in time (ie next week). I really like the Hansons format of spreading out the miles so far; even though I sometimes wish I had a bit more free non-running time on work nights, it is nice to not have my weekends completely decimated by a long run.

I'm also really enjoying following the same plan as Michael. Since we live so far apart right now, it's nice to have something in common every day, so at least we're together in spirit. Maybe that sounds corny, but it floats my boat just fine.

It's like this, mostly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hansons Marathon Method: Week Six

It's hard to believe I've already completed week six of Hansons! My legs feel tired a lot of the time, but it's still very manageable. It doesn't bother me in my non-running life, and it just seems to take a couple miles for them to loosen up when I do run.

I finally sprung for some Pro Compression calf sleeves and have found they're comfy enough to sleep the whole night with, so I think that's making the difference. I'm also continually amazed how much better my running is when I consistently eat well. Carrots with hummus fuel me better than Cheeto puffs? Who knew!


I had some trepidation coming into this week because I had two speed workouts on the schedule - 5 mi at tempo pace and 8x600s. Not to spoil it, but I'm happy to report I hit or exceeded my goals for both!

This was a little fall from the wagon when I skipped my core workout two days when I was at my parents' house for the holidays, but I decided spending time with them was more important than doing some crunches.

Wednesday, July 2

Thursday, July 3
1 mi WU
5 mi @ 9:40 min/mile
1 mi CD
7 mi total

I was so nervous for this tempo run. It was right around the pace I had been doing my tempo runs at before my Colds of Death and quad injury. This was going to be a true test of my fitness - and I averaged 4 seconds per mile below my goal! It was a huge boost to my confidence (even more than the 400s two days before), and I finally feel like I'm back to my old self.


Friday, July 4
4 mi easy, 11:52 min/mile
core work

Wow. This was the first run where I could run two minutes per mile under goal pace, rather than one, and did it feel easy! I now see why people complain that some of the runs feel way too slow on the Hansons plan. I was actually supposed to run a bit slower, but I felt like I was crawling as it was. Before starting this training cycle, this pace could sometimes feel tough (womp womp), so it was another shot of confidence.

Saturday, July 5
8 mi easy, 11 min/mile
core work

Made the mistake yet again of running in the sun. (I seem to do this every Saturday without fail....) I stopped for some water and ice halfway through, which did help a bit. I was really nervous about holding my pace for twice as long as ever before, but I hit it right on the nose.

Sunday, July 6
8 mi easy, 11 min/mile
core work

Once again, I was nervous for a run, because I had run eight miles the day before, but I did just fine. I tried timing the run to give myself some extra rest, but it didn't seem to help much. It was mentally refreshing to go a little further on the rail trail than normal. My right Achilles was incredibly painful for several miles, so I made a mental note to have the chiro address it next week.

Two legos.
Monday, July 7
4 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

I rolled out my legs right before I ran, and I could tell a big difference in my calves. It was a huge relief to know it wasn't something more serious. (Knock on wood.)

Tuesday, July 8
1 mi WU
8x600s (3:11, 3:22, 3:17, 3:20, 3:17, 3:17, 3:16, 3:14) w/ 400 jogs
1 mi CD
7 mi total

Unlike last week's track workout, I was not dancing around all day like I had ants in my pants. It was the same distance's worth of speed, so I felt much more sure of myself. It still hurt quite a bit, but I was more positive from the start as I cranked the repeats.

Total Miles: 38 mi
Total Time: 6:52:29

Going into week seven, I'm a little nervous again. I have three workouts on the schedule - 5 miles at tempo pace, 10 miles long, and 6x800s. I keep reminding myself that so far every run that has felt hard has still been doable. They're all going to hurt in their own unique way, but I'm strong enough to face that hurt.

Plus they'll give me a great excuse to lounge on the couch the rest of the time watching Tour.

It's like NASCAR - you watch for the crashes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hansons Marathon Method: Week Five

Holy. Cow.

Running six days in a row was hard.

Doing my first true track workout ever was hard.

But I did it.

And I. Feel. Awesome!

And I also feel tired enough to draw rainbows with my hands too.
Maybe it's my melodramatic runner's high from this evening talking, but this week of training was great. I spent most of it worrying about the final workout of the week, but it went so much better than expected. 4:20 started off as my goal because a piece of paper said I could do. Now 4:20 is my goal because I say I can do it.

I've had some nagging doubts that my 4:56 PR is that best I could ever do, that I'm just too slow of a runner to hope for better. But so far the Hansons Marathon Method has been radically different from Hal Higdon and SmartCoach. What's that saying about having to do things differently to get different results? I think I finally get it now.

Wednesday, June 25

I tried to enjoy it while it lasted, since I knew my next rest day was a week away.

Thursday, June 26
4 mi easy, 10:57 min/mile
core work

My legs felt tight and heavy at first (they always seem to feel the tightest after a rest day because my body is dumb), but they loosened up after about a mile.

If by leg day, you mean lay on the couch day, then yes, that's me.
Friday, June 27
5 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

This was the first run of the training plan where I nailed my easy pace right away. I waited until pretty late in the evening to run, and that really reduced my perceived effort level.

Saturday, June 28
4 mi easy, 10:56 min/mile
core work

10 AM isn't that late they said, running in the sun is always nice after a long winter they said. Nope. I spent the entire time counting down the seconds until I was done.

Sunday, June 29
6 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

I actually might have finally learned my lesson from yesterday and waited until the evening to run. The timing gave me quite a bit of extra rest, and I felt awesome! This was a huge confidence booster and proved my fitness is finally coming back.

Monday, June 30
4 mi easy, 11:01 min/mile
core work

This run was a bit of a struggle, but I tried to remind myself that running a few hours after a chiro appointment is always hard. Speaking of the chiro, he flushed my Achilles and calves, and they felt so so so much better afterwards. Seriously, that man is a magician. He (recent transplant from Florida) also thought it was hilarious that I was complaining about the weather.

But I like having four real seasons, dammit.
Tuesday, July 1
1 mi WU (11:23)
12x400 (2:06, 2:19, 2:16, 2:12, 2:12, 2:13, 2:11, 2:12, 2:12, 2:11, 2:12, 2:13) w/ 400 jogs
1 mi CD (11:38)
8 mi total

I was so scared for this workout. I've done 400 repeats before, but never with a strict time goal (2:13/400) and never that many. I felt a bit off all day, and I was incredibly antsy right before I left to run to the track. (Side note - having a track exactly one mile from my apartment is amazing!)

Other than the first three when I was still learning what the pace would feel like and adjusting to running on a real track for the first time in eight years (God, that math is scary), I was right on target. I felt strong throughout despite my obvious leg fatigue. I never felt truly exhausted until the last repeat.

I wore my fuel belt to the track and left it in the infield, stopping after every other repeat to have a Sport Bean and some water. This made a huge difference in my performance. My blood sugar felt stable (read: I never got hangry), and I never got thirsty. The track is also adjacent to some forest, so I was in shade and/or cloud cover almost the whole time, plus the humidity finally went down, which was a nice treat.

Total Miles: 31 mi
Total Time: 5:38:11

Week Six is going to be a bit tricky. Thursday is going to be a killer day at work, and I have a two hour drive to my parents' that night, as well as a seven mile tempo run on the schedule. I'm contemplating doing something crazy and getting up early to get the run done. (I know, who am I?) I was really nervous for this run, since I haven't done tempo work in months, but today's track workout really boosted my confidence. I'm ready for the challenge.


Normally I would look forward to tomorrow's rest day too, but it's going to be crazy at work, plus I'm trying to clear my plate a bitfor Thursday, so I won't exactly be doing anything fun. Though I don't want to sound whiny - it will be really nice to just camp out at work until I'm ready to go without stressing about timing my dinner right or losing the light.

Now it's time to go bust out my Waddles name tag for tomorrow...because I think that nickname is going to be very apt. I'm sorry, quads, I swear I don't hate you.