Marine Corps Marathon Week 4

And just when everything was going so well…

Well, folks, this was the week where at least one wheel fell off the proverbial wagon. Since I started running last year, my body hasn’t quite adapted to more than 1 session of speedwork a week, so I knew I was tempting fate by doing 2 speedy-ish workouts in the middle of 4 straight running days last week. Then I went for a hilly trail run last Sunday, which probably didn’t help matters, but what’s done is done. Despite my desire to set a 10K PR on August 3rd, the real goal I need to focus on is to getting to the start line at MCM healthy. So, with that in mind, I threw all plans for speedwork out the window and even cut some runs short this week.

Another small wrench that got thrown into this week’s training was a somewhat last-minute trip to the Sierra Foothills with the Gypsy Runner’s family. After I was relieved of jury duty on Thursday, the Gypsy Runner and I jumped into the car and spent 3 days and 2 nights lounging about, eating, drinking, playing games, swimming, etc. It was a lot of fun, but definitely not effective marathon training – especially the nutritional aspect. Not surprisingly, all of the junk caught up to me by Sunday’s (today’s) long run. I don’t regret it, but at the same time, it was a good reminder to be better about my diet from now on. I’m marathon training, after all!

Here’s what happened this week (“planned” workout in green/“actual” in bold):

Monday: Rest or cross-training/rest. And much needed at that!
Tues: 3/3.2 + bike commute (7.5 miles roundtrip). Super easy run, followed by an easy bike ride to work. It’s considerably less easy on the way back, with more left turns and a strong headwind.
Wed: 6/6 @ moderate effort. I stubbornly (and stupidly?) refused to run this at an easy effort.
Thurs: 3/3.2. Easy.
Fri: Rest or cross-training/rest… unless you count playing ping-pong, splashing around in a pool, drinking beer, and eating corn dogs and ice cream cross-training.

Sat: 6 @ MP/3.2 @ easy pace with 370′ elevation gain. In addition to my achy left hip, my right ankle had started to bug me between Thursday and Friday. I debated whether to run at all, and decided on a compromise of 3 miles. Fortunately, neither my ankle nor hip really bothered me while I ran, but I still decided to err on the side of caution and run back to the cabin after 1.6 miles. It was a good thing, because the road I was running on was downhill the whole way out, and what goes down must come up! I felt proud of myself for running on vacation and for being smart about babying my injuries, but at the same time, I felt bad about cutting my run so significantly. Whomp whomp!

Sun: 13/12.5 with 700′ elevation gain. The plan was to run with bt and her friend F at Lake Chabot. Before meeting up with them, I ran ~4 miles solo, then we ran 1 lap around the Lake together. I knew from the start that this was going to be a painfully slow day. I was feeling really sluggish and the effects of the beer and junk food were catching up to me. I ended up walking every single hill and my heart rate and breathing were out of control. I was so grateful for company; bt and F kept me going when all I wanted to do was stop and lie down on the trail. The important thing is that I finished the run, even if I didn’t get to 13 miles.

After the run, I had to race home and get to a baby shower for some dear friends. It was more like a regular party with BBQ and beer than a traditional shower — i.e., my kind of baby shower! The mom-to-be is an endurance athlete, so there was a sporting theme to the shower, which I thought was so adorable and appropriate. It was a fun party, but after filling up on beer and brats (do I ever learn??), I headed home for a much-needed nap.

"Swim. Bike. Run. Drool." Love it!

“Swim. Bike. Run. Drool.” And check out the onesie cookies/favors. Love it!

Wrap-Up: 31 miles/28.1 total. I’m SO ready for a new week so I can start fresh. Here’s to new beginnings!


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in MCM, random, Training
21 comments on “Marine Corps Marathon Week 4
  1. Your week didn’t look too bad to me! You are getting out there and getting some serious miles in. The baby shower theme is adorable!

    • Jen says:

      I guess I was more disappointed in the quality, not the quantity of my runs, but you’re right — at least I got out and racked up some miles.

  2. BT says:

    I gotta say, sometimes, just gettin’ it done is the hard part and friends that help you do it are the best. I’m super impressed that you managed to string 13 together this AM, and (from a purely selfish perspective) guided me through 8.5 – 9 (we’ll just count the walk to the cars) when I otherwise would have totally settled for 6. THANK YOU!

  3. Mike says:

    I think when Scott Jurek titled his book “Eat and Run,” those two things were supposed to work together… ;). In any case, you’re absolutely right that your most important priority is getting to the MCM start line healthy, and you still have plenty of time for training ahead. I just finished another 10/20 weekend like you have on your schedule, and ain’t no joke. And do consider giving your body a much-deserved day off after speedy-ish work. That said, I’d vote that a trip to the Foothills makes the whole week worthwhile!

    • Jen says:

      Good idea on resting after a speed day. I am *dreading* the 10/20 weekends, and now that you’ve said that they’re no joke… I’m even more scared! I have a 21 mile weekend coming up (7/14) and that’s plenty daunting, even though it’s just the beginning. Maybe it’s time to downgrade to Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 plan? 😉

  4. I’m beginning to learn that this whole marathon training thing is a COMPLETE lifestyle change. The effect of alcohol can make or break a run the following day.Those fries or BBQ can weigh you down, and unless sacrifices are made, your social life becomes pretty non-existent. Sorry about your injuries BUT good for you for recognizing them and laying low for a bit. Nothing would be worse than putting all this effort in and not being able to run in October due to injury. We’ll get there!

    • Jen says:

      You know, I was getting away with a glass of wine (or 2!) almost every night for the first few weeks of marathon training, but I guess it’s finally caught up to me. I have a feeling I’ll need more sleep soon too. Here’s hoping that we both get to the MCM start line healthy and injury free!

  5. Cathryn says:

    Fantastic mileage this week! Fab work! And oh the baby shower stuff…so cute! Where did you go in the foothills? I love it up there.

  6. Dominick S. says:

    Oh these weeks will happen…by your intro I thought you were going to conclude with some sort of diagnosed injury. These are bumps in the road that are to be expected. I am treating my Saturdays as serious but at the same time, if I ever feel uncomfortable with them, I plan on bouncing them on any given week. The mileage will get pretty hefty and I think I can handle it mentally and physically but I am not about to sacrifice the end goal for ego. Great week and I completely agree with the diet thing, I destroyed my body on Sunday and felt the effects yesterday, thankfully my run this morning was ok!

    • Jen says:

      Yeah, you’re totally right. I also think of Saturday runs as bonus, but for some reason it was harder to let go than I thought. Eyes on the prize!

      • Dominick S. says:

        Definitely, I can already see myself not wanting to give up a Saturday run because ultimately I will feel like I failed my training…but we shouldn’t be looking at it that way…at least not in such an absolute way.

        • Jen says:

          We need some sort of mantra to remind us of this… or a support group. Or you and I can just remind each other that it’s OK to miss Saturday runs for good reasons!

  7. Angela says:

    I say not too shabby!!

  8. Amy says:

    I was looking for the really bad part of your training that you eluded to, but I think you’re doing great! I can absolutely understand not feeling like you’re getting in “quality” runs though, and I’m one to have a break down if everything doesn’t go perfect, but from an outsider’s perspective, I think that losing a couple of miles won’t hurt that much in the long run (hehe), especially if you are erring on the side of caution in not getting injured.

    • Jen says:

      Yeah, looking back on it, I feel a bit sheepish about being so dramatic about things, but at the time (Sunday), I seriously felt like it was the beginning of a downward spiral. (oh the drama!!) I also felt like it was too early in the cycle to start cutting back mileage or to have such a low-quality week. But like you and others have mentioned, at least there wasn’t a real serious injury to worry about — I just have to keep chugging along and be a bit smarter about things. Thanks for the encouragement!

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