Spring has Sprung (sorta)

So much has happened in the last week!  I don’t know where to start.

This picture was taken on Friday at 4:29 PM.
This picture was taken on Friday at 4:29 PM obviously.  (Cell phone use at stop lights is still legal in Vermont thankyouverymuch.)

IT WAS 66 DEGREES ON FRIDAY!  I also left work 1 minute early due to aforementioned warm weather.  If you are reading this and you are my boss, hello!  Welcome!  Have I ever told you that you are the best boss ever?  I am beyond excited for warm temperatures and sunshine.  Not only because I am sick of running in cold/snowy/abysmal weather, but also because TRAILS.  I discovered the wonderful world of trail running late last summer and I am so excited to frolic through the woods with my trusty companion, Flash.  I even have my eye on a few trail races!

However, before can I break out the ole trail shoes, I have a marathon to run.  Onto Week 9…

Week 9

Monday – 6 miles w/ 3 speedy miles

Tuesday –  Spontaneous rest day

Wednesday – 4 mile repeats (7 miles total on ze treadmill) at lunch + 9 miles easy after work = 16 miles total

Thursday  – 6 miles easy

Friday – 5 miles easy

Saturday – 6 miles outside + 14 miles on ze treadmill = 20 miles total

Sunday – Rest

Total: 53 miles

As you may be able to garner based on the above summary, Week 9 was filled with many ups and downs and sideways.  I’ll start with the ups first because good news > bad news.  (Rocket scientist, right here.)

  • The best part of Week 9 is that for the first time in awhile, I finally felt like myself.  Despite feeling like a sleepy sloth on Ambien lethargic on Monday, I forced myself to get outside and run.  (Shout out to running life coach Emily who also encouraged me to suck it up.)  Oddly, I felt amazing as soon as I hit the mud pavement.  Without even meaning to, I ran 3 sub-8 miles.  Then on Wednesday, I easily pushed through 4 mile repeats at paces that would have felt unmanageable just a couple weeks ago.  While I am nowhere near as speedy as I would like to be 7 weeks before VCM, some progress is better than no progress.
  • I ran twice in one day this week, which I have not done since high school cross country camp prison.  After logging less than adequate mileage on Monday and Tuesday, I knew I needed to get in some major miles if I was going to meet my mileage goal for the week.  I started out with the aforementioned speed workout, totaling 7 miles.  Just 4-5 hours later, I headed out for an easy recovery run.  The first couple of miles felt rough, but I eventually loosened up and logged 9 miles at a surprisingly decent pace.  This run will also fall into the “bad news” category for reasons that will later become clear.  I ended the day with 16 pounds miles worth of spaghetti and meatballs.  Nom.
  • I finished my first 20 miler of this training cycle!  The run did not go quite as planned, but I got ‘er done.  I ended this run with 3 fast miles.  During the last 0.2 miles, I increased my pace to 6:40/mile and visualized the finish line at VCM.  I’m also pretty sure I threw my hands in the air while on the gym treadmill.
  • 53 miles total!  One of my highest mileage weeks ever.

Now for the downs and sideways of Week 9.

  • The week got off to a rough start and I paid for it later.  After not running as much as I had planned or at all on Monday and Tuesday, I logged 16 miles on Wednesday.  Four of those 16 miles were at a hard for me pace, and I averaged well under 9:00/mile for all 16.  While I felt amazing upon completion, my legs were sore on Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday.  Running 20 miles on sore legs is not my favorite activity in the world.
  • During the evening portion of Wednesday’s run, I was attacked by a very mean dog.  I survived without injury, but it was a bit traumatic.
This is an example of a dog.  This is not the dog that attacked me.
  • Despite beautiful weather late last week, I woke up on Saturday to cold temperatures, snow/freezing rain, and 25-30 mph winds.  I made a deal with myself that if I ran 10-12 miles outside, I could finish on the treadmill.  I only lasted 6 miles.  Apparently, I do not enjoy being pelted in the face with snow and ice and being nearly blown over by wind gusts.   After a quick costume change, I hopped on the treadmill for the remaining 14 miles.  Things I did not like about this run: (1) the weather, (2) the monotony of the treadmill, and (3) the fact that I had to take several short breaks to change, refill my water bottle etc.  As they say nowhere, lamesauce.
This is what I looked like after 20 miles.  Please send modeling contracts to my agent.
  • Finally, I have done exactly zero strength training this week.  Now that my mileage is creeping up, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make time for strength training.  Luckily, I have a plan to stop being a slacker.  It involves a spreadsheet and doing pushups and planks in my office while listening to Beyonce.

This upcoming week is a step-back week and mini-taper fun fest of joy because the Unplugged 1/2 marathon is on Saturday!  I am reluctant to state a time goal for this race because I honesty do not know what I’m capable of at the moment.  I will say that I will be super happy with anything under 1:45.  If I can run 1:45 or less after several weeks of hard training with only a mini-taper period, I will feel much more confident about my ability to BQ at VCM.  The course is a flat and fast point to point, and I know it like the back of my hand.  Of course, if I am forced to run into heavy wind the entire time, I will probably cry reassess my goals.  My biggest goal is to finish strong and healthy.

Last, but not least, I recovered like a champ this week.

Sometimes when I take ice baths I pretend that I am a happy penguin.  Jk I curse the entire time.
And then I erase the pain
It’s important to rehydrate after long runs.

Good luck to all of my fellow running friendsies running Unplugged!

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