Hartford Marathon Training – Week 3 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

After sharing my disappointment about last week’s training and concerns that this week may be just as busy and unpredictable I was presented with a different plan for the week which gave me the option between optimal and critical runs. If all was going well I could do all of the optimal runs, but if I ran into time constraints then I could just focus on the three critical runs.

Critical Runs

  • Tuesday, 8/25/15 – 6 miles with 4 miles at half marathon pace
  • Thursday, 8/27/15 – 90 minutes medium long run
  • Saturday, 8/29/15 – Long run at least 2 hours with 20 minutes at marathon pace

Monday, 8/24/15

  • Optimal – 45 to 60 minutes easy

I did 2.21 miles on the elliptical in 20 minutes followed by 40 minutes of strength training at the gym. My legs were a bit sore and I just wasn’t feeling like a run after the miserable run the day before.

Tuesday, 8/25/15

  • Optimal – 2 miles easy, 4 miles temp (1/2 marathon pace), 1 mile easy, 4×1 minute hard/1 minute easy, 1 mile cool down

I ran 6.05 miles in 1:00:17 (avg pace 9:58 min/mile). I woke up a little late and didn’t have enough time to do the entire tempo workout so I did the shorter critical version.

Wednesday, 8/26/15

  • Optimal – Cross training or yoga

I ran 9.70 miles in 1:40:07 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile). In looking at my schedule for the week I knew I needed to get the medium long run done before Thursday. I was scheduled to work at the hospital Wednesday into Thursday and didn’t want to push the run off too close to a long run. My legs were still sore from Monday’s strength training squat workout and I ran this run on a rather hilly route.

Thursday, 8/27/15

  • 90-100 minute medium long run

I took a short work break to shake off some stress. I ran 3.04 miles in 30:31 (avg pace 10:04 min/mile). It was really hot and humid and also about 3pm. I ran up to the park to meet my friend who had taken Carlos and her kids to the spray park there. Note to self: Ludlow Road hill is killer.

Friday, 8/28/15

  • 45-60 minute recovery run

I was really dying to do the full tempo run from Tuesday so I ran 9.15 miles in 1:30:11 (avg pace 9:51 min/mile). I like these runs for some reason. I felt as though I really pushed it on mile six and my split was the slowest of all 4 tempo miles. Kind of annoyed by that, but overall a really good run.

Saturday, 8/29/15

  • 150 minute long run with last 20-30 minutes at marathon pace

I hiked with Carlos and his friend for about 45 minutes and then went on a solo 6.38 mile bike ride. Carlos’ friend slept over and Orlando had to work so I already knew I would be pushing my long run to Sunday. I didn’t want to run the day before a long run. I ate carefully throughout the day. I prepped by pre-run fuel for the morning, got my water pack ready and went to bed by 10:30. I was determined to have a great run.

Sunday, 8/30/15

  • Cross training or yoga

I ran 17.51 miles in 3:00:20 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile); last three miles were 10:26, 9:47, 9:48. This was a much better long run than last week. I felt better although not as great as I would like to feel. It’s the extra weight I’m carrying. I know it is. I also tried out a new pair of wireless headphones. Not a great idea. The ear buds were popping out of my ears about 5 minutes in and the charge died 2 hours in. I pushed it on the last 3 miles as prescribed which was challenging without music. I was hoping to keep them all under 10 minutes. I am not sure why the first of the three was 10:26, but the last 2 miles were my fastest miles throughout the entire run. I finished with a smile!

Total running miles = 45.45

Total miles = 54.04


It was a great week. I think having the option of focusing only on the critical runs took the pressure off of me. It was the last week of Carlos’ school vacation. I kept my workload light so I could enjoy as much of him as possible. Plus Orlando and I both celebrate a birthday during the last week of August. It was a busy but fun week. Carlos’ summer vacation culminated with a day at the beach with friends, a sleep over, and the first soccer game of the season.

Hammonasset Beach
Buried!

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 5 – Phase 2

My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 2 is a 5 week block. Phase 2 of training is also preparation for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th. This phase went by very quickly.

  • Monday, 8/3 – Warm up 10 minutes, long hill repeats: find a 3-5 minute climb, run up 4-5 times, jog back down (the side street Chapel Hill Drive is a good on for this)

I chose to sleep a little longer rather than get up early to run because we got home much later than expected from Pennsylvania. Therefore I had to sneak this run in just before picking Carlos up from camp. It was blazing hot, about 92 degrees, and extremely humid. I did the warmup and then headed over to Chapel Hill Drive. Holy hell that hill was ridiculous. I ran it 5 times. On my last trip up a friend drove by and told me to pop over for a glass of ice water. I stopped and chatted for a bit. I didn’t bother to shut off Map My Run so my pause is reflected in my overall time. I ran 5.04 miles in 54:08 (avg pace 10:45 min/mile).

  • Tuesday, 8/4 – 45 to 60 minute Easy Run

I ran 4.80 miles in 50:25 (avg pace 10:29 min/mile). This was a horrible run. I felt sluggish and weighed down. My legs were heavy. I just wasn’t feeling great on this run.

  • Wednesday, 8/5 – Warm up 10 minutes, 8-10 by 1:30 minute hard running/30 seconds easy running. Get the legs moving and work on a rolling hill course to prep for the ups and downs of the first couple of miles of Bridge of Flowers.

I ran 5.30 miles in 50:11 (avg pace 9:27 min/mile). Now this was a great run. I felt so much. What a difference a day makes! Later in the evening I did a leisurely jog with my friend while our boys were at their cross country practice. We did 2.22 miles in 34:31.

  • Thursday, 8/6 – Cross train or Yoga

I took the day off. I was insanely busy with multiple work issues. I also worked the night before at the hospital. That always throws me off kilter. It’s much different working a night shift and coming home to work all day than when I used to only work nights. I actually miss doing nights full time.

  • Friday, 8/7 – 30 to 40 minute Easy Run

After being up for almost 2 days before finally going to bed Thursday night, the last thing I wanted to do was get up at 4:30 in the morning so I didn’t. My friend brought Carlos and her son to camp in the morning so I went for a quick run as soon as they left. I ran 3.2 miles in 30:21 (avg pace 9:19 min/mile). This run was quite a surprise. I wasn’t planning on moving that quickly, but apparently my legs were.

  • Saturday, 8/8 – Bridge of Flowers 10K

This is my favorite race and favorite weekend of the summer. Prior to last summer when I was out of commission with the Achilles injury, I had run this race for 4 consecutive years.

Bridge of Flowers 2010 – no blog post as I hadn’t started the blog yet. Time – 1:07:36 (10:52 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2011 – Time – 1:04:16 (10:21 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2012 – Time – 1:01:53 (9:58 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2013 – Time – 56:01 (9:01 pace) **Currently my 10K PR

The weekend of Bridge of Flowers it has become tradition for my close friend and former UMass Amherst college roommate, Colleen to come for a visit. She has been one of my biggest supporters since I embarked on this running journey. She is a two time Boston Marathoner and avid runner and hiker. She has been unable to run until recently due to knee issues, but she is beginning to build up her mileage and hopes to join me for BOF 10K next year. The beautiful photos below from Shelburne Falls, MA are compliments of Colleen.

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Orlando and I both ran the race while Colleen and Carlos spectated. Initially Orlando was planning to pace me to a sub-1 hour finish. I wasn’t shooting for a PR, but I was really hopeful that I could finish the race in under an hour despite the mega hill at mile 2. Orlando took off and I lost sight of him at mile 1! I could tell he was itching to move at his own pace  and honestly it was ok. I knew from the moment the race started I had to run this race myself, my way.

I know this course and I was well prepared for the race. The weather was ideal, sunny in the 70s and blessedly not humid. I started out at a steady pace, but I knew I had to go a little faster in the first two miles because I would lose time on the hill. Crittendon Hill is impossible for most to run because it’s so steep. The hill comes after mile 2 and it climbs sharply until just before mile 3. I power walked up the hill as fast as I possibly could and as I neared the mile 3 marker my time was a little over 31 minutes. If I was going to finish in under an hour I knew I had to attack the downhill. Fortunately the downhill is not as sharp as the uphill. It’s a shaded dirt road and it is a steady decline that levels a bit here and there which is not too hard on the knees so I let myself fly!

Heading into the last mile I was on target for a sub-1 hour finish as long as I didn’t ease up on my pace. Thankfully the back half of this race is mostly flat with just a few rolling hills. The spectators are awesome at the end of the Bridge of Flowers 10K and that got my engines revved up. Running over the iron bridge to the finish line never gets old. My eyes welled up as I saw the 59:30 on the time clock. I picked up the pace determined to sneak in under an hour.

Official time: 58:51!!! (avg pace 9:29 min/mile)

Orlando ran an incredible race especially considering he hasn’t run in months. He finished in 50:59. I am really proud of him, but admittedly a little jealous that he can just jump into a fairly challenging course and run it in a very respectable time with absolutely no training. Some things in life are simply unfair!!!

Looking all happy before BOF 10K!
My favorite race spectator
Handsome guys!
  • Sunday 8/9 – 150 minutes long run

I  was still riding the high of my race the day before. I got up very early and hit the road for my long run. Despite the energy my legs were tired. I ran 14.52 miles in 2:31:40 (avg pace 10:26 min/mile)

Later in the morning Colleen, Carlos and I went for a great hike up Mt. Holyoke. The Summit House was open and they were offering a tour just as we reached the summit. It was so interesting. We learned that it used to operate as a hotel and was once the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in North America behind Niagra Falls. It was a spectacular day and the views were stunning.

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Overall it was a great training week. Total mileage for the week = 41.28

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 3 – Phase 2

Anyone else feeling like this lately?

Anyone else feeling like this lately?

My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 2 is a 5 week block. Phase 2 of training is also preparation for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th.

  • Monday, 7/20– 45 t0 60 minute Recovery Run

I ran 6.01 miles in 1:01:21 (avg pace 10:12 min/mile). I ran at Mount Holyoke College for a change of scenery. It was very humid, but I felt good despite the heavy mileage over the weekend.

  • Tuesday, 7/21– 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at steady state pace in the middle of the run (up Skinner Mountain for example)

It was a very frustrating work day. I only had about 50 minutes before picking up Carlos at camp. I slammed the computer shut, drove the 15 or so minutes to Skinner and tore up the mountain as fast as could. I ran 3.64 miles in 36:22 (avg pace 9:58 min/mile). 

  • Wednesday, 7/22 – Cross Train or Yoga

I did nothing. 

  • Thursday, 7/23 – Speed work: 10 minute warmup, 10 by 1 minute hard/1 minute easy, 10-15 minute cool down.

I love these workouts. I ran 4.92 miles in 48:44 (avg pace 9:54 min/mile).

  • Friday, 7/24 – Cross train or Yoga

I did a short run and a little hill work with two friends at lunch time. We ran 2.82 miles in 38:38 (avg pace 13:43 min/mile). 

  • Saturday, 7/25 – 120 minutes long run with last 3 miles pushing the pace

I  ran 12.20 miles in 2:00:40 (avg pace 9:53 min/mile). This was a really strong run for me. I literally ran 120 minutes away from my house and had my husband pick me up after. Towards the end of my run I was treated to this gorgeous sight. 

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  • Sunday, 7/26– Cross train or yoga

I enjoyed a fun afternoon biking with Carlos and our friends. We rode 15.29 miles along the bike trail in Northampton. I also did some stretching and foam rolling.

Not a perfect training week, but not a bad week either.

Hartford Marathon Training Week 1

I really appreciate the comments about my last post. I think getting all that off my chest helped me feel a little relief. I also had a great phone conversation with my boss on Friday. While this may not be my dream job she helped me understand how to make it work for me and my life. She encouraged me to call her anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Despite the stress I was feeling, I had a great first week of marathon training.

A note on the paces: Goal paces for now (you can go by feel here and just notice how you match up to the paces suggested)!

Recover runs: 10:00-11:00 pace

Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace

Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)

Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/8 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or cross train

I ran 6.02 miles in 1:01:43 for an average pace of 10:15 min/mile. I also did a short lunchtime run with my friend. We ran 2.04 mile at an average pace of 15:07 min/mile.

  • Tuesday, 6/9 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

It was a very hot and humid run. I ran 6.41 miles in 1:15:09 at an average pace of 11:44 min/mile. I did a warm up 2 miles or so before running up Skinner Mountain. I wandered around for a few minutes at the top and then ran down and continued on for a mile and a half cool down. Later in the evening while our boys were in Karate, Kate and I ran 1.86 miles at an average pace of 14:48 min/mile.

  • Wednesday, 6/10 – Off or Yoga

I really wanted to do a nice 30-45 minutes of yoga, but a late start to a busy day made for a late night. I managed a few sun salutations and that’s about it.

  • Thursday, 6/11 – 40 to 50 minute Easy Run

I ran 4.56 miles in 46.51 min at an average pace of 10:17 min/mile. 

  • Friday, 6/12 – 50 to 70 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 12 to times 25 seconds starting at 5K and progressing down to Mile race effort with 1 minute recovery jog between

6.36 mile run in 1:3:35. Average pace means nothing here because I was interrupted by 2 phone calls before I started running the strides. I also forgot my Garmin to keep track of my pace during the strides. I loved doing the stride work though. I am determined to train treadmill free so this was my first attempt at any kind of speed work off the treadmill. It was actually kind of fun. 

  • Saturday, 6/13 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or cross train

I worked Friday into Saturday and then held a yard sale most of the day. NEVER AGAIN! I made $40 and ended up donating most of it to the Goodwill. What the Goodwill wouldn’t take I left on the front yard and all but two things were taken. It was a ton of work, but the best part is that my basement is almost all cleared out.

Afterwards my friend and I then took the kids strawberry picking. Needless to say I was in bed by 7! No run, no workout unless you call lifting bins and furniture and then doing squats to pick strawberries. I’m calling it a cross training day!

  • Sunday, 6/14 – Lake Wyola Road Race

Some things just don’t work out the way you plan. At the last minute I had no one to watch Carlos during the Lake Wyola Road Race (totally my mistake), but I was minutes away from picking up my three friends who were also running. So Carlos and I became spectators. We actually went on a short hike across from the starting area and then chilled at the finish line cheering for everyone coming through. I’m never disappointed by time spent with Carlos. He was such a good sport about the day. The girls did an awesome job running Wyola. It is a challenging race. It’s a 4.8 mile race around the lake. There is a short flat start that quickly turns into 3 miles of uphill before finally heading down gentle rolling downhills. It’s one of my favorite races. I’m not sure my friends are quite so enamored with the race, but they did it! I last ran Lake Wyola in 2013 and hope to return next year.

I set out for a run later in the evening when Orlando came home from working. I got a bit lost in my thoughts and 10.05 miles later I returned home. I ran 10.05 miles in 1:43:57 at an average pace of 10:20 min/mile.

I opted for a Monday through Sunday plan. I think it’s easier to start my training week on a Monday which allows me the flexibility to do my long run on either Saturday or Sunday. I’m enjoying running a lot right now. I’m eating in a way that makes me feel good. I’m still working on getting back into the groove of an early morning routine. I’m not really as focused on my pace as it might seem, though I am making an effort to build it up again. I’m very curious to see how I improve over the course of the training. Overall I was very pleased with the running I did this week.