Sunday, September 18, 2016

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week 10

I am a morning person.  I like waking up around the time the sunrises, but I don't like to do anything other than drink coffee. As much as I'd like to be a morning runner, it just isn't in the cards. I know that morning running would allow for more time to free up, but for now - I have the time. I don't have children, my job hours are early, and my dog runs with me. Time isn't my issue, its commitment. I've been guilty for 'running out of time' when really my priorities were different. Sometimes for the right reasons (choosing time with my parents before they leave to go back home) sometimes just because. This week I was determined to make marathon training a priority. I managed to do so and still avoid having to run in the morning.

I kicked ass this week. I didn't miss any workouts. I am exhausted. But also feel the best I've felt in years. 

Planned: Easy 5 miles
Actual: 5 miles @ 11:31

A photo posted by Christine (@albanywayfarer) on

This run started out quite rough. Sure I was tired from the 15 miles the day before, but what really got me, was how tight my sneakers felt. My feet have been at a pretty steady swollen state. Not so much that anyone but me would notice, but I can tell. Between teaching all day and running (almost) every day my feet don't have much of a chance. I was angry at every commuter that I felt was driving too fast and just a plain grump. I'm glad I ran alone.

Planned: 1 mile warm up // 5 * 1k w/400 recovery // 1 mile cool down
Actual: Same

I wasn't sure how this run would go. Past me would never even consider a speed workout 2 days after a long run. But 4 weeks into speed work, it seems quite normal. I've still been using 27 5k PR as my guide which had me running the kilometer (.62) in 5:24. Similar to previous track workouts, I kept my goal to be around or faster than the pace set out for me from my Hansons book. Again like the past few weeks, I had no trouble beating that goal. I am curious to know if I could set a new 5k PR right now, but I am keeping my eye on the marathon prize, so 5ks will have to wait.

Planned: Rest
Actual: Rest!

I had considered avoiding a rest day, just incase my weekend filled up like it had the past 2 weeks.  But as my schedule would have it,  I had back to school night and was at school until quite late.  

Planned: 6 miles
Actual: 6 miles @ 10:45 

After work I headed straight over to Fleet Feet to find myself new sneakers. I couldn't stomach the idea of putting my new balance 880s back on. While I love my topo athletic,  I just can't maintain the build in mileage with a minimal shoe. So for now, my topo have been moved to track workouts.  Although I know that I wear a 5.5 /6 in most women shoes - my foot was close enough to a 6 that it was safe for me to buy a 6.5 ( a whole size bigger than my new balance!!)  I was really excited to find that the Nike Pegasus have redone their shoe and the wide are now wide enough again.  I did try two other shoes but while I don't believe in second chances in real love relationships, I do with shoes and I am happy to be reunited with the Pegasus.

Anyhow, having new shoes does help with motivation to getting out for a run.  I grabbed Marcy dog and headed over to SUNY. I've lost count how many miles I've done running around SUNY Albany,  I've been considering adding it up and donating towards the University.

Planned: 1 mile warm up // 8 miles @ tempo // 1 mile cool down
Actual:  Same!

The official Hansons plan has the tempo run on Thursdays, but I knew that it would be very challenging for me to knock out a 10 mile run after school & turn around and be back at work. Most likely for the remainder of training tempo runs will be on Friday. This tempo run was 3 miles more than the previous week. ( 3 miles!!!)  

While I've been following the paces for a 4:30 marathon (which I would be thrilled with...) almost all of my paces have lined up perfectly with a goal closer to 4:15  ( the book only gives those two - I suspect 4:20 is actually the right fit.)  I went into this tempo run, hoping to maintain a 10:18 (4:30 goal) or faster. I had to work for it, but maintained a pretty even splits. 

I've identified myself as a runner for years, but I really felt it while knocking out a 10 mile on a Friday evening. 

Planned: 5 miles
Actual: 5 miles @ 11:55

My quads were screaming at me when I woke up on Saturday. I went about my usual Saturday chores ( cleaning, laundry, and finally mowing my lawn) before taking a nap.  It wasn't until 5pm that I finally laced up and headed out for a run. There was a possibility of some social activities, but nothing had materialized, which helped since I was so determined to hit all of the workouts this week. Marcy dog and I headed to the Mohawk Hudson Bike Path.  I knew it'd be slow, so I brought along my phone to work on hatching some pokemon (yep, I'm still playing...)  it took a bit, but my legs did remember what to do, slower than most of the runs this week, but still moving forward. 

Planned: 10 miles
Actual: 11 miles @ 10:53

I made plans to meet up with some of the ladies from ARE at SUNY for the Suny + state campus loop.  We went back and forth a bunch about timing, but eventually settled around 11am.  A later start than initially planned for, but it had been raining.  By the time we started running, the rain had stopped but man was it humid. My legs felt much better than they had the day before, and slowly but surely I'm understanding this 'active recovery' idea. I ran my first loop with the group before readjusting to head out for the second loop solo. The split run is my ideal, I like to social aspect and being able to chat / be distracted.  I also like some time to let my brain go. Although 10 was on the schedule, I decided to add one more mile so that it would be true 'long run' and longer than the tempo workout on Friday. 

43 miles for the week! (highest ever!)*

What I've learned this week is that I obviously have the time to commit to training. I also see a serious need to plan my food out for the week & to replenish my gels to begin practicing fueling while running. After 10 solid weeks, I have now trained for more weeks than I have left until the Philadelphia Marathon. 

This upcoming week will be interesting, I'll be traveling to Montreal on Saturday to run Rock n Roll Montreal 1/2 Marathon.  I'll end up using it as a long run & my tempo, but still plan a midweek 10 mile run.  I am not expecting a PR or anything fancy to happen, just looking forward to course support and to finally earn a heavy metal from the Rock N Roll series of events (bucket list goal!)

* I ran more this week than the entire month of March, May or June. BAM! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week 9

School officially started this week, but we were on a modified schedule that we call "phase in"  it allows the students to come just a few hours each day before jumping right into it. It's really important for the youngest children to be eased into school, but its a weird week for returning students and staff - we are ready to go!  

I started the week off strong, but fell apart by the end. I did end up missing 2 runs this week - mostly due to poor planning. But still hit the SOS (something of substance runs). This upcoming week I am determined to do all the easy/recovery runs in the morning before school - to avoid the conflicts that have popped up over the past 2 weeks.  (I've also learned how to use my auto function on the coffee maker, which may help..)

Anyhow, week 9 in review.

Planned: 6 miles
Actual: 6 miles @ 10:39

A photo posted by Christine (@albanywayfarer) on

Since I had Labor Day off, I didn't follow through with the whole - running in the morning thing just yet. I'm not entirely sure what I did all day, but finally around 6pm I headed to the Mohawk Bike path. I needed a change of scenery from my tried and true of SUNY Albany. It was a nice run and I felt great considering I had my first double digit run in months 2 days before and an additional 6 miles the previous day.

Planned: 1 mile warm up // 6 x 800 w 400 recovery // 1 mile cool down
Actual : Same 

After my first day with students, I was tired. Although my athletic endurance is strong, my teaching endurance is really low right now.  I took a nap after work and eventually pulled myself together to head to the SUNY Albany track.  I got there just as my running club (Albany Running Exchange) was closing up their track workout, I saw some familiar faces, but I didn't make any effort to be social. For 800s I was using a 5k PR time of roughly 27 minutes.  This would have me completing my 800 repeats in 4:25.  I kept it as a goal to be around or faster than that each time. Which, surprisingly to me, wasn't an issue at all.  

1. 4:08
2. 4:11
3. 4:06
4: 4:02
5: 4:16
6: 4:04

I didn't feel like I was killing myself to hit those paces, and even felt that I could do more repeats.  I'll continue to use my 27 minute 5k time and my rough goal of 4:30 marathon as I finish out the speedwork outs, but for the past 3 weeks I've come in faster without dying. We'll see how the rest of the training plays out!

Planned: Rest
Actual: rest!

After 4 days of running, I was looking forward to my day of rest hooray!

Planned: 6 miles
Actual: off

I stuck at work late on Thursday so that I could facetime with Joe.  I ate my lunch around 4 pm and wasn't in a huge hurry to get home.  I forgot about the magic window for missing traffic when leaving my school and it took an extra 40 minutes to be reunited with Marcy dog. Once home I was slowly making progress to head out for a run when the sky got dark. I pulled open the radar and saw that lovely orange and red was headed my way.  I have canceled my gym membership, so I didn't have many options.  Green I would have still run in - yellow & red is a bit unnecessary.  Instead I hungout & read my book and enjoyed an adult beverage.

Planned: 1 mile warm up // 5 miles tempo // 1 mile cool down
Actual: Same

Through a series of group text, a few of us had decided to run at the track Friday evening.  We all had different plans/workouts, but figured it would allow for a bit of a social time - even if we were doing our own thing.  Social it was, but it took a while until it became more productive.  I was way more interested in hanging out with some of the ladies I hadn't seen for most of summer but eventually got it done. Like Tuesday, I used my current marathon goal of 4:30 to dictate my tempo pace - this would have been 10:18. Also like Tuesday, I didn't have any trouble running faster. 

Planned 6 miles
Actual: off

When I woke up it was a lovely cool temperature, humid but lovely.  I was starving and knew that I couldn't knock out 6 miles until I had eaten anything. I started doing some neglected chores (laundry mostly) and made breakfast.  After I started tackling the disaster that is my home. I had plans to meet my mom at 1pm, so I was hustling around the house.  Once it was mostly put back in order, I had lost my window to run. Since it was heating up, I decided an evening run would be better anyhow. After a few false starts ( the Stockade art show was postponed) we ended up in Saratoga for lunch and some shopping.  It was a really great afternoon.  I dropped my Mom back at home and hung out with her and my Dad for a bit before finally heading back to my house.  By then it was 8:15.  It was more humid than it was earlier and dark.  (again the not having a gym membership bit me)  I don't mind running in the dark, but preferably losing light, not the entire time. 

I was annoyed with myself for allowing scheduling conflicts to get in the way again this week.  I am also considering switching my Wednesday rest day with an easy run - next week and potentially have a roving rest day to accommodate change a bit easier.  I am also determined to become a morning runner. One of those changes will happen.  

Planned: 15 Miles
Actual 15 miles @ 10:53

During the same series of texts that lead to the track workout - came with 3 other ladies looking to get some double digit mileage in this weekend.  I had planned to return to SUNY Albany & State campus loop to make up the total of 15.  Now, officially for Hansons, this week should have been another 10 miler, but after looking at my schedule for the fall ( two half marathons, and a trip to Colorado and a trip to Mexico) - moving the first 15 miler up a week, would alleviate some of the clusters ( half marathons were on 10 mile long run weeks and while I know I can get 10 in colorado - Mexico might be tough and I'd rather be short a few miles rather than a lot) 
I was a bit worried since I would be jumping from an 11 mile long run last week to 15 so I was thankful that I'd have company to get over the mental jump. The weather was a bit wonky at first, but the storm that passed through brought on a beautiful day.  We jogged along chatting about random things and found that the first loop went quite quick. We spaced out a bit for the second loop - but Karen and I stuck together.  After our second loop, I had decided I would do just a SUNY loop to get the final 4 miles which inspired Karen to go for a new personal distance record and join me.  It felt a lot rougher, but we didn't vary in pace much.  Overall a really great run.  

I was suppose to hit 40 miles this week, which would have been epic for me! ( I have many many months where 40 is the most I'll do)  But it didn't happen.  I'm frustrated enough with myself to ensure that this upcoming week is better.  Plus, phase in at work is over & we are all in for the rest of the 16-17 school year. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week 8

My first week back at work wasn't as seamless for running as I would have hoped. I still managed to run 32 miles this week - but it should have been 38. Overall I'm still quite happy with how the week went & how I felt. The challenge with running 6 days a week is that when scheduling conflicts occur, there really is no way to make it up. Lesson learned.

Week 8:

Planned: 4 miles
Actual: 4 miles @ 11:32

Monday was a bit of a mess. Last week I had hit a nasty pothole, a few days later I noticed my tire was nearly flat. I filled it and hoped that it was just a fluke ( I knew it wasn't) the following day I discovered a bludge in the tire. (google tells me that the tire will blowout, just a matter of time) so my dad helped me bring the car to the local tire shop and I go on my merry way to work. Like most car issues, the tire place calls to inform me that I also blew out the strut and there is liquid everywhere. (I honestly had no idea what a strut was or that it contained liquid until then) I end up leaving work on the earlier side, bring my car to my cousins who confirm the diagnoses and fix it. All of this ties in because I had secretly made it my goal to run before work. With having to get a ride to work & the car issue, it didn't happen but I did eventually make it to SUNY for 4 miles.

I am hoping to do all of my Monday runs in the AM to give my legs more time between runs - since Tuesdays are track workouts but we'll see. I really really like my bed in the morning.

Planned: 1 mile warm up// 8 x 600 w400 recovery // 1 mile cooldown
Actual: Off

To keep the cluster of the week going, I had a doctors appointment at 3:45 on Tuesday. The plan was to go from the DR to the track and get my workout done. Now, I have really terrible health insurance, which means I rarely go to the doctor and when I do, its often a clinic setting. I love the fact that these clinics exist, really I do. But I was there for 2 hours. 2 hours ! I was SO cold and hungry while I waited and waited and waited. By the time I was released it was 6. I needed food before I could go for a run, so I went home and made a quick dinner. I was still determined to get my workout in, but decided to go to the Guilderland Track, so that I could stop at CVS and the grocery store to grab dog food. The guilderland track is a bit further of a drive, but often quiet - I drive out there to discover that its being worked on. Track Closed. By now, its 8pm, the sun has set and I don't have a gym membership. I decide to cash in my chips, get a starbucks hot chocolate and go home to read my book.

There are a few ways I could have avoided this: 1) having food with me so I could have had a snack. 2) schedule all future appointments for Wednesdays - which are my off days.

Planned: rest
Actual: 1 mile warm up// 8 x 600 w 400 recovery // 1 mile cooldown
(7 miles @ 9:44)

After the previous two day debacles, I was excited to have a normal day on Wednesday. I had packed my gear and drove directly to the SUNY Albany track. When I got there, I realized it was roughly the same time that the track (or xc team) was also doing some workouts. I stayed on the outside lane of the track and no one seemed to mind that I was there. 600s were hard mentally - I still had to do a lot of them (8) and they seemed to take forever (roughly 3- 3:15 each) Otherwise I felt good.

Planned: 1 mile warm up// 5 miles tempo // 1 mile cool down
Actual: 4 miles @ 13:02 ( trails)

The book hansons plan encourages either an easy effort run or a rest day in between the speed and tempo workouts - so I opted to switch Friday to thursday with the plan of completing my tempo on Friday. I had wanted to go to the ARE trail run, but Marcy has been SO bored with me being back at work, that it wasn't really an option. She needed some exercise and I don't bring her to large group runs (unless they're at suny) so we took off on the trails in the neighborhood. My legs were dead. I could not get them to turnover. It took everything to keep moving forward. It was an ugly ugly run, but got it done.

Planned: 4 miles
Actual: Rest

Another day & and another scheduling conflict. I ended up staying at school a bit later than I had anticipated (mostly using the internet since I no longer have it at home) My folks had called inviting me to dinner for 5:30 (I figured I could eat dinner with them and still go to the track around 8 to do a well lit Friday night tempo run) But their scheduled changed a bit and we didn't end up meeting for dinner until 7. My parents are only in NY for another few weeks, so I don't regret joining them for dinner.

Planned: 10 miles
Actual: 11 miles @ 10:22

My friend Amanda is training for the MCM and was in town from Denver for the weekend. Since I too had a long run, we were able to join up and knock out some miles together. Normally I would have run this much slower, but since 1) i didn't do a tempo run this week and 2) Amanda had planned to run hers at goal pace. We did the ever exciting SUNY & State campus loops, but man do those miles go by faster with people! She knocked out 12 and I stopped at 11. This was my first time at double digits since Syracuse Half Marathon in April !

Planned: 6 miles
Actual: 6 miles @ 11:13

I didn't get an early start on Sunday. I woke up prepared some food for the week ( bread making, hummus making, and soup making - even though it'll be 90 later this week) and did some very much needed yoga. I also played 9 holes of golf with my Dad. Eventually, after a nap, I made my way out for a run. My shins were both sore for the first quarter mile, but then loosened up and otherwise I felt quite good. I ran the same loop as the day before ( but only once) since I knew I'd be gambling with daylight near the end.

Overall a solid week. Last year I think I was able to hit 30 miles once during my training for half marathon PRs - here I am feeling quite good and having done it 3 times in the first 8 weeks of training. I need to do some pre-hab on my shins but am otherwise feeling good & looking forward to week 9 (and phase in of students !)

Friday, September 2, 2016

2016 Goals - August Review

  • Run more miles than 2015 (490/695) 
Wowza, August was a great month for running.  It was a bit of a slow start with a hiking trip thrown in - but was able to hit the pavement (and trails and track) enough for my highest mileage month ever!  By no means was it a fast month. I've found that to up my mileage so much, it means that I need to take recovery runs as real recovery runs.  Thankfully the heat and humidity of summer made that pretty easy.  It wasn't until the last 2 weeks that I started to incorporate some speed and tempo, both of which were exciting to see that I haven't lost speed despite doing many of my miles at a comfortable pace.  So long as I continue following the Hansons Marathon Method, my mileage will be up & I'll definitely reach my goal of more miles in 2016! 

Log 100 Hours of Volunteering (52/100) 
I spent a few hours on the trails this month and volunteered at one race.  I enjoy being able to be at the races that I am not participating in this year.  It seems unlikely that I'll reach 100, but last year I barely logged any volunteer hours, so I'm content with  my community involvement so far.

  • Read 39 Books (31/39) 

August was another great month for reading.  I had read The National Parks as apart of a book group this summer, which I found very interesting as I was able to visit a few parks & monuments.  Running with the kenyans was another book group (although we never ended up discussing it...)  In the Time of the Butterflies stuck with me those most - mostly since it was far different from most books I've read.  I'm slowly trying to diversify my reading, I have a habit of reading about white middle class people doing white middle class things, I live in a bit of an universe bubble here in Albany, so my small step at broadening my circle is by reading more diverse literature (  suggestions welcomed)

  • Practice Yoga 78 times (43/78) 
Weak Yoga month. My favorite yoga class is on Tuesday nights, which is also when I've been doing my speed workouts -  I need to arrange my time better, or to go to a different class.  I canceled my gym membership, so my only options are at Good Karma (where I have a handful of free classes left) or Yoga Studio App
  • Hike 1 mountain a month (11/12) 
Huge huge month for hiking.  When Joe was back in town, we did a camping trip up near Saranac in attempts to hike all of the Saranac 6.  We ended up hiking 4, but deciding we'd rather enjoy our limited time together than to be on death marches to hike all of the mountains.  I intend to hike the remaining two before the year runs out, but as my running schedule intensifies - its on the back burner ideally we'll get a chance to hike both around Thanksgiving when Joe is back &  I'll have completed the Philadelphia Marathon.
4 mountains climbed
  • Complete 12 Bucket List Items (2/12)
The only progress towards any bucket list items would be hiking the 4 mountains of Saranac 6. My main focus right now is on training for Philly - so most others are taking a backseat.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Philly Marathon Training Week 7

If you're looking for weeks 1-6, good luck, because I never wrote them . As I mentioned earlier, the first 6 weeks were all easy effort, base building runs. With the heat and humidity we've had all summer, they were uneventful and uninspiring. Now that I've built a strong base, it's time to get to work and my week 7 included speed work and a tempo(MP) run.

Last week was my last week of summer vacation. Although I am still very glad that my marathon is in late November and that the bulk of my training won't be done in summer heat, I am curious to see how I pull it all off with work & travel.
This past week, due to Ragnar Trail, I modified my weekend just a bit, but otherwise hit all of my runs and paces). I hit my highest weekly mileage ever (34) and am now at my highest monthly mileage ever (111).

Overall I feel great -- I'm still eager to take on each run and am loving that Hansons tells me exactly what I need to do each day. I do hope to incorporate more stretching and some basic strengthening work, but am giving myself one last transition week as working adult to find the time.

anyhow, on we go

Planned: easy 4 miles
actual: easy 4.26 (11:28 pace)

After a beyond hellish drive to my sisters house in long island on Sunday ( it was SO bad, I couldn't even tweet about it - it took me 5 hours to get to the other side of NYC - normally a 2- 2.5 hour drive) My drive was so awful, that I gave up just barely on Long Island and slept in a hotel. I arrived mid morning to hang out with my sister and her family. Around 6pm I snuck away from the kiddos and went for a run on the ever so scenic Montauk highway (note not really scenic). The road has a great bike lane, which makes it easy enough to run on. Otherwise it was just one foot in front of the other.

Planned: 1 mile warm up// 12x400 w/400 recovery// 1 mile cool down
Acutal: Same

I had a fun filled morning with my brother in law and nephew while my sister was visiting her friends. I'm so lucky to have a brother in law who is an ironman and a sister who also respects my need to get runs in - we were able to plan our evening early enough that left me with enough time to head to the track. I had run at the East Hampton High School track once before but I honestly can't remember what the workout would have been. But on Tuesday I did 12 x 400. I had taken the time to program my watch before I left Albany, only to discover that I had only programmed 2 repeats, not 12. Instead I closed out that workout and opened a new one, manually lapping each lap. I was a bit worried I wouldn't be able to keep pace without the watch yelling at me, but it turns out I was within a few seconds of my goal each time.

Planned: Rest
Actual: Rest

Fun day with my sister and the kiddos and a delicious meal with my sisters friends. It felt like I had all the free time in the world without having to prepare for a run.

Planned 1 mile warm up // 5 miles tempo ( @10:18) // 1 mile cool down
Actual: 1 mile warm up // 5 miles tempo (9:45) // ` mile cool down

I wasn't sure if I'd run at my sisters house or wait until I made it back home, but after the amount of food and wine we enjoyed the evening before, running in the morning wasn't high on my list. I got a fairly early start back to Albany - but still was on the road until about 4:30. After some cuddling with Marcy dog, I made my way to the track. The humidity was at 90% so even out the effort a touch i chose the track rather than the road for this tempo run. (next week I plan to do it on the road) I felt surprisingly great. I'm still learning about my watch and was a bit bummed to see that it didn't show my separate 5 mile paces ( I had programmed it so that I knew I was staying in target paces) But My average was 9:45 so I'm not too worried! I suspect when I do the next tempo on road I'll end up slowing some, but this workout was a good confidence booster for me.

Planned: easy 4 miles
Actual: 4.9 ragnar trail miles

This trail was no joke. I run on the pine bush trail in my neighborhood a few days a week, but that had absolutely nothing on this trail. But got it done !

Planned: easy 8 miles
Actual: AM: Ragnar Trail 3 miles
PM: Ragnar Trail 7.3 miles

The hardest part about Ragnar races is the lack of rest & the downtime in between legs. I would be able to conquer the total mileage far easier in one shot than cool down and start again, but I suppose its what makes it a challenge. My last leg, I felt great. The mountain still kicked my butt, but was able to pick up some speed during the downhills.


Planned: 8 miles
Actual: Rest // walking/ volunteering at Thatcher Park Running Festival
I knew all along I wasn't going to knock out 8 miles after the previous 15. My hope was to make up the missed 4 miles that would get my weekly total to 39. My legs felt surprisingly okay, so I could have, but with being so early in Marathon training, I decided to ease up for the day. I have faith that I will still build the cumulative fatigue I need to have a successful marathon in November.

Overall I'm damn excited about how the week went. It helps to have a family that understands and respects your hobbies. I will need to negotiate my life schedule as I get into the school year, however since I am on a very strict budget this academic year, training may be what helps keep me in check financially!