OK, so I realized in retrospect that I was a bit melodramatic last week. One thing I’ve forgotten about marathon training is that it can be an emotional roller coaster — one minute things look dire, but then before you know it, you’re riding high again. I’m happy to report that this was a very positive week in MCM training. Here’s how it all went down (“planned” workout in green/“actual” in bold):
Monday: Rest or cross-training/physical therapy exercises. Time to get back to balance and strengthening exercises!
Tues: 3/3.2. I decided to incorporate butt kicks, as described in this post by Angela. Her post resonated with me because I have a lot of the same issues — overworked/tight hip flexors and quads, weak hamstrings, and weak glutes. So I thought I’d try interspersing butt kicks — basically, using my glutes and hamstrings to lift my calf so that they’re parallel to the ground. Since this takes a considerable amount of effort, and because I wanted to keep most of my runs at an easy/moderate level this week, I only did butt kicks for about 30 seconds at a time, about 6-10 times throughout the run.
Wed: 7/7. Again with butt kicks at random intervals.
Thurs: 3/3.1. Butt kicks through mile 2 and at random intervals in mile 3.
Fri: Rest or cross-training/yoga. Two sessions of 20 minute Yoga Download podcast: Qi Yoga for runners and Hatha Flow for hips. These sessions were a little short for my liking, so that’s why I did 2.
Sat: 7/6. I volunteered to help out at Brazen Racing’s Bad Bass 5K/10K/Half and I was assigned 2 tasks — one was to help out at an aid station, and the other was to sweep the 10K and 5K courses. I awoke bright and early at 5am (PSA: THANK YOUR RACE VOLUNTEERS!) to get to Lake Chabot by 6am. We were lucky to have 6 people at our aid station, which made things flow a lot more smoothly. After my aid station duties were over, I ran 3+ miles back to the start (we were at the turnaround for the 10K) to collect all of the ribbons and mile markers. This was a fun and relatively easy job for the most part, as many of the ribbons were attached to tree branches via clothespins. The ones tied on required more work, but nothing too bad. I clipped the ribbons to my backpack and looked like a crazy ribbon monster! At least I provided some amusement to the people I passed on the trail. I think one of the Brazen photographers took pictures of me, so when those are uploaded, I’ll be sure to post them.
After I got back to the start/finish area, I dropped off the ribbons, picked up my volunteer shirt, and went out for another 3 miles. (Sidenote: I LOVE Brazen’s cotton shirts. The women’s shirts are v-neck, fitted – but not too tight, and soft. They run small, so I’d advise going one size up.) I stopped at aid station 4 to talk to Laura and her fellow volunteers, who had been working for almost 6 hours at that point and were patiently waiting for the half marathon sweeper to come through so they could pack up and leave. Again: THANK YOUR VOLUNTEERS.
I didn’t feel too badly about cutting my run short by a mile since I was already really tired from waking up so early, not to mention that one more mile on trails is substantially more difficult than on paved roads. My hamstrings were really sore too — possibly from the butt kicks, but more likely from yoga on Friday. And finally, I had 14 miles to look forward to on Sunday, so I thought I’d save my strength for that.
Sun: 14/14. What a world of difference compared to last week’s long run! This was one of my most consistent long runs ever in terms of pacing, effort, and fueling/energy. I ran on the Bay Trail and “mixed it up” by parking halfway between Emeryville and Berkeley. I know, I’m so wild and crazy! 😉 I think one key to this run was exploring some new paths — I was starting to get a little bored with the same route and it was good to change things up. It also helped that the weather was cool and cloudy. When I completed 14 miles, I actually felt like I could’ve kept going, which was a real confidence booster. Even better was not feeling completely dead afterwards — a huge leap forward from my CIM long runs. Progress!
Wrap-Up: 34 miles/33.3 total. This was my 2nd highest mileage week EVER, the highest being CIM marathon week at 34 miles. I’m so happy and relieved to have made it through this week feeling healthier and happier than last week. Taking my runs slowly helped a lot, as did the almost daily sessions of stretching and rolling. And let’s not forget sleep! I tried my best to go to bed earlier than I have been to make sure I get ample rest. I’m also glad to be back on the cross-training wagon; I hope to keep that up. This upcoming week will be challenging, as I have a big interview on Wednesday (wish me luck!) and a 10K on Saturday. Luckily, it’s also a cut-back week, so hopefully things will work themselves out just fine. Hope y’all have a great week!