I’m very proud of this past week. I got in 66 total miles (!), including two speed workouts and my first 20 miler of the season. Plus teaching 3 hours of Pilates.
Side note: people frequently asked how I have time to do “all that.” The honest answer is, I really don’t do much else. I work, I run, I exercise. We don’t have kids, we don’t have pets. We watch sports, I read, I do some freelance writing on the side. But in general, about 10 hours of exercise a week fits in my schedule.
Monday I actually ran from my office after work. I had to coordinate an event at 7 p.m., and I office is too far away to really go anywhere else in between. The weather was beautiful, and coach had given me 6 to 8 miles to do for the day. I wasn’t sure how far I would want to go, but once I got out there it was so nice that I did all 8. I saw some goats and some deer, but that was about it.
The weather was conspiring against me this week, though. It rained on all three of my harder days. And cold rain, too, plus lots of wind.
So on Tuesday I was on the treadmill for a ladder workout. I think it would’ve been a little faster outside, but still pretty happy with how it went. The workout was 200 m, 2 x 400 m, 800 m, 1600 m, 800 m, 2 x 400 m, 200 m. Recovery was 400 m after each, which seems like eternity on the early ones, but hurts a lot on the middle three longer intervals. 10 miles total for the day. I also taught a mini Pilates session that morning at work.
Unfortunately, another work meeting necessitated a super early run Wednesday. Less than 12 hours turnaround between the workout and the next run. Needless to say, Wednesday’s run was nothing to write home about. Just sloggy recovery miles, in the cold, windy dark. Then I taught an hour of Pilates that night.
Thursday was the second workout of the week, but not as intense. My legs were feeling kind of stiff all day, but I’ve learned that that’s not really an indicator for how they will feel once I actually start running. Coach had given me some flexibility on overall run and workout length. I knew if things didn’t feel great, I could opt for the shorter version. As it turns out, I didn’t. Pat on the back for me! I was back on the treadmill, but that was okay — I needed to catch up on Just Jillian anyway.
The workout portion of this run was 4 miles at about marathon pace, with 30-second surges at about 5K pace on the half-mile marks. I’ve done this workout before and I like it a lot. The surges help break it up without making it feel too hard. Another 10 mile day, and then I taught Pilates Strength after that. That’s probably my toughest day. A longer workout followed by the strength class, which involves a lot of squats and lunges.
Friday I took a personal day off work, because my husband was on vacation. So I was able to run a little later in the morning which was great. Just more easy miles in the bank, keeping it nice and relaxed knowing I had 20 scheduled for Saturday.
Yeah. Saturday. First 20 miler of the year. For once, I didn’t feel intimidated. I did 18 two weeks ago and felt like I could’ve easily gone longer, especially since technically I did. I stopped my watch at 18, but my friend still had about 1200m to go. I ran it in with her but I didn’t time it.
The trick here, though, is that I teach Pilates at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. That means for an early wake up call! (Although I love being done so early.)
They were also calling for rain — cold rain — in the morning, although the timing kept moving around. The gym doesn’t open until 7, but I knew I needed to start at 6 so I made myself a deal. Run the first hour outside, and if it’s raining or is going to be raining when that hour is over, I could go to the treadmill. Running in the rain is tolerable for an hour, even if it’s not for 20 miles. And that would get me down to 13 miles or so on the treadmill, which is totally doable. Heck, I had already run 10 miles on it twice that week.
Temperatures were around 35 at the start, but dropped a couple of degrees while I was out there. I felt like I had so much stuff on to start the run. Headlamp, hat, ear warmer. Vest. Capris. Gels. Blinking light.
I was running from the gym, which I do pretty often. I would say at least five days a week on average I run from there. I’ve got easy access to good facilities, like the locker room and bathroom. Plus, most of the time I’m there for a class anyway. On a day like Saturday where I’m pressed for time, it just makes sense to run from there so I’m not spending time driving from place-to-place. It also affords me several options: first, it’s not far from Seneca Park, the usual meet-up spot. If I’m meeting others, I can run straight there and get in 3 miles or so first. Second, though, if I’m not — I have a solid 7-mile loop near the gym that’s a great first piece of a long run. Eats up a lot of miles without feeling like I’ve gone very far, which is mentally reassuring.
I started with that loop and planned to come back by the car for water, to grab my second gel and drop my headlamp. I had trouble finding a groove on that first lap, in part because it was dark. You have to pay so much more attention to everything and it’s hard to just relax. I kept the pace easy and just focused on running the first hour.
The nice thing about running in the dark is that it feels like it never happened once the sun comes up.
It misted a little when I first started and I reassured myself that I could bail to the treadmill after an hour if necessary. I had brought a full change of clothes (shorts, tank), shoes and socks just in case. (Better than the time when I wrung my wet clothes in the swimsuit spinner then put them back on and hopped on the treadmill.)
But, by the time I got back to my car, it hadn’t rained at all. I made a pit stop by the bathroom at Milestone — a way better option than a park bathroom — took my first gel, got some water, dropped Spot and kept going. I was pleased that I made it through 7.5 miles in the first hour, because it put me on track for an early finish that would give me plenty of time before class.
Now that the sun was up — well, sort of; it was cloudy the whole time — I decided to basically just run the same loop again. It’s not like I saw it the first time, and then only having 5 or 6 miles to do would be easy.
I was mentally breaking the run into four sets of 5 miles, and once I hit the half-way point I was feeling good. I still wasn’t running super-fast, but coach had called for a relaxed pace with a low heart rate, so I wasn’t worried about pace anyway. But after the 10 mile marker, I fell into a comfortable pace around 7:50 per mile. I grabbed water and took my second gel at about 14 miles, then headed towards Seneca Park. It worked out perfectly — I grabbed water again at the park and headed back.
I started picking up the pace and pushing more at the 15 mile marker, wanting to test the legs and finish faster. I’m a big fan of fast-finish long runs, and you can read a post my coach wrote that talks about them here. (A great read on long runs in general.)
And as I was leaving the park … it started to rain. Rats. It was cold, too — about 32 degrees and raining good. I was glad I had hung on to my hat. It was good incentive to pick it up!
I ended up being a little long so I tacked on another half-mile and still made it back to Milestone by 9 a.m. I immediately had some chocolate Recoverite and foam rolled — I actually hit my head on the locker while foam rolling. Coordination. Then I stood in the shower for about 15 minutes to warm up. I also had half an almond butter sandwich before class and the other half after.
My Pilates class went well — they were treated to plenty of stretches that morning! It’s an intro/beginner class so a good one to have on my long run days. It almost serves as a long cool-down, plus some core work.
For lunch I had chili and a flatbread pizza — all the carbs!
I headed to The Parklands on Sunday to meet a couple of runner friends who had babies in the fall and are getting back in to running. They talk about how out of shape they are but they’re actually liars. When we set up this idea a couple of weeks ago, I expected to run 8:30s, which is fine for me on a Sunday. Last week we ran muddy trails so the pace was super slow but the last mile on pavement was around 8 minutes. This weekend was all roads because of the rain, and we ended up averaging 7:50 for the 4 miles I had them with me. It was a fun run, the sun was shining and the temperature perfect. I added on 2 more at the end because my legs felt fine and it was too nice not to.
That brought my total for the week to 66.5, plus 3 hours of Pilates teaching. Whee!
Less miles this week, 10k on Saturday.