A Sluggish Six

Two weeks away, and I cannot start questioning my training or my plan.   Today, I started comparing my plan to the one on the Hanson site, and yeah.  I’m on track to finish strong.

So, yesterday, after our weekly morning donut fest, and afternoon Easter brunch, I was simply going to skip my ten mile tempo run.  I looked into Harley Guy’s face and explained that maybe I’d do today’s run yesterday and switch it up.  He said nothing.  So, while he was getting ready to go home, I started getting my gear on for my run.  I secretly committed to doing the 10 miler.  At this point, 14 days away, I just didn’t want to mess with the plan.

I started out at 6pm, and went out west to hit the trail we have that gives me 4 miles before I get to my regular start.  The golf course was closed, so I added another half mile on, and found the trail.  This trail is fun to run on, but so gross.  It’s the sewage ponds.  A bug actually flew into my mouth.  I don’t even want to know where that bug had been.  I needed to hit a 12:04 pace.  When all was said and done, I nailed it, but I was hot, and I had eaten too much during the day.

This morning, 12 hours later, I had to do 6 miles.  My legs feel like lead.  I couldn’t get even a decent LSD pace going.  My quads hurt, my left hamstring was tight.  It was a very sluggish run.

I have no plans to go anywhere the next 13 days.  I am taking care of my ailing dog, my kids and I are on Spring Break, and I am heading to my TNT kickoff party on Wednesday.  This weekend will be very low key, as I leave next Thursday for Clovis & San Luis Obispo.

Today’s run was sluggish as hell.  I need 24 hours to rest the legs.   I’m ready, but I have a lotta runs left before Earth Day.

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It’s That Time Again.

There are two times in the Hanson training cycle that brings me to my knees.  One is about half way through…when you realize, holy shit I have a lot more miles to run.  Just as soon as you get through that, and you continue to ramp up the voluminous miles week after week, you sort of accept that you are just.  Running.   A lot.  You do your life, but you do the miles…over and over again.  It’s really not a problem…because you know you have to do them.

The second time, and I recognize this…is right before the steep taper that is Hanson.  Short and sweet.  Less miles but you are still running 6 days a week, right up until that last week.  It’s weird, because you’d think you’d go a little crazy DURING taper.  But, in this plan, it’s right before taper…when you can barely make one. more. training. run.

Take this week and compare it to last week.  Last week, my tempo 10 miler in the rain in Clovis, was perfect.  Spot on Marathon Pace.  Wednesday, I did 16 miles.  I was tired…after running 10, 6, 6, and then 16.  I recognize this, because the whole goal of Hanson is to have you run on tired legs.  Yes.  Always.  On tired legs.  So, that 16 on Wednesday, I finally remembered it was like running on 22 miles of work.  It was hard, but I did it.  Mightily.

After a rest day…truly 48 hours of nothing, I was ready to go.  This Sunday’s tempo slayed me.  Every mile was hard.  It was sunny and windy, and I erroneously thought if I went after noon in the chill, it might be easier.   Not so much.  The wind was like, a 30 miles an hour wind.  And, every corner I turned, I was running into the wind.  It was almost as if the gods moved the wind right into me just the moment I turned.

That ten miler was hard.  Yesterday’s 5 miler was hard.  FIVE?  Really?  Today’s 8 was hard.  It’s all hard right now.  I have  the rest of this week to look forward to.  10, 5, 6…and then rest.

Three weeks away, and what a normal taper looks like is not so much these days.

I remember it well.

Week 14 Thoughts.

I volunteered at the Modesto Marathon on Sunday.  I love volunteering.  Except when it gets in the way of my training.  I know.  That’s not politically correct.  However, I had a 9 mile tempo run, and by the time I got home, I was so sore from standing since 5:30am.

I didn’t run that day.  Monday, I ran a compromise of 7 tempo miles at MP.  Today I ran 8 miles at 11:34.  I feel amazing and strong.  At this point of Hanson marathon training, your quads are steel cylinders.  Seriously.  The best feeling in the world.

But, that’s it.  No more.  Nothing until marathon morning.  No more jacking the schedule, no matter what.  I have a few long runs scheduled during a week of testing, which means I will be up at 4am, or running at 10pm.  Neither of those sound good, except when you’re at Mile 18 going… “Shit!  I shouldn’t have dropped that run!!”  So.  There will be no more missed runs.

I am in the middle of week 14.  A week past from the dreaded, ugly 16 miler, with one more of those to go.  I ran 50 miles last week, and felt pretty damned good about myself.  The only target now is San Luis Obispo.

33 days and about 250 more miles to go.

50.

Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Cruise & Jodie Foster are all 50

People like to celebrate other people’s 50th birthday

Oh.  And I ran 50 miles this week.

  • 9 on Sunday.  A beautiful, perfect tempo run, 5 seconds faster than my time.
  • 6 on Monday. 
  • 6 on Tuesday.
  • 16 hellish, horrible miles of LSD on Wednesday
  • 7 miles of resistance on Thursday
  • 2×3 milers at strength pace, MP -:10 today.  11:50 & 11:51. 
After two days of foam rolling, old school (grandma’s wooden rolling pin), my legs finally felt alive and workable today.  Tomorrow, I rest…and 5 weeks left until SLO.  **breathing**

shaken.

I remember when I was a new runner.  I blogged about every. single. run.  The 3 milers, the 5 milers, all of them.  It’s been a long time since I did that, and hardly ever in this training cycle.

Today though.  Today simply must be acknowledged.  I had a 16 miler on the plan, and I had been doing some pretty decent runs since I recovered from the upper respiratory illness.  In fact, I’m still on antibiotics.  However, I am so not a fan of the long run.  I don’t care that they are important.  I dread them.

I carb loaded last night.  Like, a lot.  Not overkill, but I really wanted to nail this run.  My first step out the door should have been a huge sign to me.  I was slow.  Tired.  But.  Since this is a LSD run, I had no fear.  It’s supposed to be long.  Slow.

At mile 1, I stopped at the gym, where a long time friend…the friend who helped me see the truth in 2007…she was there and said “Oh My God…we need to catch up…LOTS going on…right?”  And honestly.  I’m happy.  It’s fine.  However, it’s not the way I wanted to start this run.

Mile 2 & 3 took me over the green bridge.  I was on my way to Modesto, and had planned to run 8 out and back.  At mile 4, at the end of the trail, there was a LOT of mud.  Or a huge puddle.  I chose to turn around and come back.

I was okay at mile 5 and had a restroom stop and was not in the mood to keep running.  I realized I was at that moment that you know you have a helluva long way to go to NOT be in the mood.  I ran through Spring Creek, and longed for the Garmin (hereby known as Nuke LaLoosh) to tell me I was in the single digits, but no.  On and on this went.  I weaved in and out of neighborhoods.

Did I mention it was raining and windy?  Like, the whole run?  At mile 7, it stopped, but started again at mile 7.5.  Wind, rain, bad music on the iPod.  More wind and cold.  My shirt was heavy with water.  My hat was dripping.  My gloves and arm sleeves were heavy.  It was ugly, people.

I got to Mistlin Park, and was just at halfway, and depressed.  My legs were lead already.  How did this happen?  This training cycle has been KICKASS and I have never felt better.  I took my second Clif Shot and was running on bricks, and it was here I stopped and stretched.  My legs were wooden boards, and I was hurting.  Plus.  Did I mention the rain?

I got to the truck stop, very slowly.  I smiled at one of those homeless dudes with a cardboard sign.  It was really my only contact with human life the whole run.  I got into town, resigned to 5+ more miles.  Trying to suck it up.  At the corner, I crossed with the light, just as a dude texting in his lap rolled into the intersection.  He nearly hit me.  I stopped, and raised my arms in disgust.  He slowly drove by me and flipped me off.  I stopped in the intersection as he burned out.  In the rain.  Total tool.

On and on this went.  Running.  Walking.  Drinking water.  on and on and on.  I got to the golf course, and started to cry when Dolly Parton’s, “I Will Always Love You.” came on the iPod.  This was the song that was playing the last time I saw my Granny.  Right before she died, I was looking into her eyes, and it was playing in the hospital, and I started crying and she held my hand and said “I love you Linny.”  So, I start crying right on the trail.  Wailing. I miss her.  And, in most marathons at about mile 20, I imagine she says to all her brothers, “Ok, get up and stop playing cards.  Linny needs us.”  And I imagine her with her broom and blowing me on my way.  Sorta like the wind.   It helps.

At one point, I thought about why I’m running.  I thought about my Grandpa.  How much I loved him.  I thought of all the people who are dealing with cancer…and you know what?  It didn’t help.  I was knee deep in self pity.

2.5 more miles to go and I want to cry.  Third Clif Shot.  This is misery.  My feet were numb and wet, and I was remembering the LA Marathon, and how the hell did I do that?  I  finally turn down my street.  I had been at a 13:25 pace for a little while, what with all the walking.  But.  With every training run in this cycle, I do two things.  I never walk hills, and I always sprint the last .2, just for that last push in a marathon.  You know.  When you see mile 26, there is still so much further (farther?) to go.

I nearly threw my Nuke LaLoosh in the garbage.  I could barely walk.  I pounded down a cup of chocolate milk, and made a Nuun.  A bowl of spaghetti later, a nice conversation and texts from friends…but the best of all…a text from Harley Guy.

Me:  ❤

Him: ❤ Back

Me:   Even though I’m a shit runner?

Him:  Baby, you are not a shit runner, but I would love you if you were.

I feel terribly shaken.  The only thing worse is knowing that I have to do 7 more miles tomorrow.  And the day after and the day after…I’m hoping my mood…and my legs improve.

I hesitate to do this.

A few minutes ago, I put my training plan on Facebook.

Then panicked.

Not because I put it out there, and thought in my head that I would be mocked for a 6 hour marathon…but because I actually am doing this again.

Then I looked at it, and I thought.

I don’t want a 6 hour marathon.  I mean, I’m okay with it, but honestly, is it too much to ask to get a 5:30 marathon?

Several months ago, I said I want a 5 hour marathon.  That was before the LA Marathon.

I am resigning myself to slowing down on regular training runs.  A whole minute per mile.

I am 52.  53, in February.

I know I don’t have the DNA to be a fast runner, but I do have the heart and desire to do better than I did.

So, the other day, I sat down with three running plans:  Higdon, Hanson, Runners World.  I loathe the 20 miler, and Higdon is famous for that.  Runners World seemed too focused on the long run.  Several 20 milers, and running 4 days a week.

So, why did I pick Hanson?

Is it the 5-6 days of running?  Is the lack of the 20 miler…topping out at the 16 miler?

Sorta.  I love Hanson training.  I didn’t get really sick of it before LA, until the last month…when it was 8,8,8,8,8, all the time.

I reflected on all my training plans.  For NIKE, my virgin marathon, I did TNT plan, which, in retrospect is really to get people across the finish line.  It still is my PR, at 5:57:xx.  LA Marathon, and MCM, I used a long distance coach.  In LA, I bonked at Mile 18 due to vertigo and dehydration, and at MCM, running with him, I mentally collapsed as soon as he complimented me.  I threw in the towel mentally around mile 14.  It wasn’t the plan, and it wasn’t him.  It was my head.  I used Higdon on my first half marathon, and simply didn’t like it.

Then.  LAMarathon in 2011, I told my coach I wanted to do Hanson, because I was dating Harley Guy, and was sick of traveling out of town to see him, then spending 3 hours running.  He set me up with a fantastic plan.  RUNNINGRUNNINGRUNNING all the time.

But, as I reflect on that marathon, the monsoon marathon, I remember that even at mile 22 or so, I knew my feet could handle it.  Winds whipping, pounding rain, and a chatty Kathy in my ear (thank you Shiloh!), I finished at 6:04, but I didn’t want to die, and I guess that’s been the defining factor.

I didn’t want to die.

I spent the rest of the year recovering mentally from that training schedule, but when I reflect, it’s the one that got me to the finish strongly.

So, I hesitate to do this, to call it, but here is the plan.  I spent one whole day crafting it, looking like a mad scientist with plans laid out all over my desk.

I start tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I don’t know if I will keep the plan the whole way through, because everyone manipulates plans due to life stuff, but here it is.

I have a few more races I want to add, and the Modesto Half Marathon, or pacing my pal Glenn in LA, but here it is.

I’m shooting for a 6 hour marathon where I don’t die.  Please don’t laugh. 🙂