working out through illness and marathon training week 3 y’all.

So, turns out that traveling on 4 planes in 5 days, two 4 a.m. workouts, temperatures ranging between 20 degrees and 75 degrees and being stuck in a conference room the size of a small closet with a very sick client will lead to illness.  Who’d of thunk it.  Clearly not me.  When I got back to New Jersey on Monday, I was 50 shades of sick. I didn’t feel good.  I didn’t want to move.  I was just exhausted.  Did I mention with all of those variables, I also ran a half marathon that Sunday?  Immune system was at an all time low.  I ended up taking Monday off from working out and focused on hydrating and trying not to die.

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By Tuesday, I was feeling a little bit better, so I headed to the gym for an easy run and kept it casual.  The run actually felt very very good.  It was nice to get my legs pumping and on the move after basically sitting all day on Monday.  I did teach spin too, but I am working (semi-successfully, but I’m a glutton for sweaty punishment) on toning down the intensity in my teaching so that I don’t expend energy I could use on these harder runs on my cross-training.  But this little lady loves to teach, so I’m not giving it up haha.

Wednesday was a doozy.  I was ill, but my workout needed me to not be because we were doing 800 repeats y’all. Somehow, some crazy way I laced up my shoes and got 4×800 in a 6:57 pace.  I was sweating like crazy, but for some odd reason was sold on doing this.  Crazy person table of one.  I spent the rest of the day being sick and pretending that I wasn’t. Next.

Thursday was two spin classes, both that were extremely fun to teach but left me so. tired. at the end of the day.  I am very happy to report that Thursday I slept in and it made all the difference I think  I felt a little more refreshed and I actually lasted to the end of the day, another win! By Friday, I decided that after I finished my workout I was calling it.  I woke up early, got my miles in, crawled back home and vegged and it was GLORIOUS.  That evening was probably the best I’ve felt all week.

Now I know a lot of people say that you shouldn’t workout when you’re sick and I generally believe them, but I think a lot of time “being sick” is more of a mental thing than a physical thing.  I try to follow the rule that if anything is bothering my from the neck down, I’m taking the day off.  Since my illness was primarily only in my sinuses and a sore throat, I said game on and got my runs in as best I could.

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I wrapped up the weekend with a crazy run.  I had 10 miles on my agenda, but 10 seemed like a lot to do at one time having just run 13 the week before.  I decided that I was going to split it up into two.  4 miles in the early morning and then 6 with the local run club I had just joined.  The first 4 were painful.  Not painful like “ow that hurt, make it stop” painful like they slogged on and there was seemingly no end in sight.  I started wondering how possible and feasible the other 6 were actually going to be.  When I got to run club, it was about 40 degrees and sunny, so pretty optimal running outside weather.  I had forgone gloves (ugh, why, I love gloves, why did I do this to my hands?) and almost wore a tanktop because the humidity was making it feel just a little bit warmer than what was the case.  The run started and we were off.  When I had joined last time, we stuck to a pretty even and consistent 8:40 pace, which would have been perfect for the recovery run I was aiming for.  Today apparently the group was feeling ambitious because we took off at an 8 flat pace.  I kept repeating in my head “the way to get faster is to run with faster runners”.  It was a challenging run, much less flat than some I’m used to, but it flew by.  I had great company the entire time and was reminded that talking with other runners about running is just fun.  By the time we finished up our loop of Rutgers campus, my Garmin beeped 6.8 miles.  Because I’m a crazy person/stickler for even mileage, I jogged my sorry, freezing butt to my car to finish the .2 remaining.

My ankle felt good after the run, but weirdly my knee on my opposite leg felt tight.  Like achey right above it, almost in my quad area.  I iced and elevated for the rest of the day and reveled in the fact that my dreaded 10 miler turned into 11.  My knee has been slightly bothering my since on and off, but I don’t think it’s anything too serious yet, so I’m just going to watch it and see what happens.  I have an appointment to see a chiropractor about Active Release Therapy on Wednesday, so I will have an update then.  I did 5 easy miles this morning with no problemos, so let’s just hop it’s an ache and pain because this broad is aging.

Week 3 Marathon Mileage:

Monday-Rest

Tuesday-4 Easy Miles, Spinz

Wednesday-5 Miles (1 mile w/u, 4X800 @ 6:57 pace, 1 mile c/d)

Thursday-Double Spin Action

Friday-5 Mile tempo (1 mile w/u, 3 miles @ 7:39 pace, 1 mile c/d)

Saturday-11 miles (4 @ 8:57 on treadmill, 7 @ 8:12 with run club.)

Total: 25 miles and miles of smiles.

More travel later this week and an impending 13 miler on Saturday is going to make for some oh such fun times.

-sj

week 2 of marathon training and a recap from the houston aramco half marathon!

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What an awesome race weekend.  I signed up for the Houston Aramco Half Marathon back in May after my stint at the Philly Love Run.  I knew I wanted to do another and having lived in Houston for years both in college and out of college, I decided to go back to my old stomping grounds.  Plus, my college roommate was also planning on running so it was perfect.  When I made the decision that I wanted to run a full marathon, racing this one wasn’t in the cards, but I knew it would serve as a solid training run and I’d be able to test my fitness and judge how truly difficult some of these longer runs were going to be.

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I flew into Houston late Friday night after spending a couple of days in Memphis for a work trip.  I hadn’t slept well on Wednesday or Thursday, so I was making a point of really getting in some solid sleep on Friday night.  A lot of the readings I’ve done on running and from my own personal experience, I can say that the sleep the night before the night before a race is just as important if not more so than the night before a race.  I went to bed at almost 11 and got up at 8:30 so a solid 9 hours was just perfect.

Saturday was spent walking around downtown Houston and exploring the expo for the race at George R. Brown Convention Center.  I chose this race because I love Houston.  It’s a quirky city, but it’s one that I know well and spending some time visiting old locals was nothing but a good time.   The expo was massive and very well organized.  In comparison to the Philly Love Run, which is a much smaller race, it blew it out of the park.  I received a packet with my bib, a Houston Half Marathon sticker, and some pamphlets as well as a pre-race day shirt.  I liked this because even if you didn’t finish, you still got something for your $100+ sign-up fee.

The expo consisted of all kinds of vendors, some I had heard of and others that were completely foreign to me.  There were running stores that all had booths, Clif was passing out tons of samples of all of their new products, there was a both for compression gear, massages, races coming up in the future, a spot where you could meet Meb (a famous American long distance runner), and also a little booth for a book I started reading recently called Run the World which was written by a fellow Rice alum who is currently an elite marathoner (she came in 3rd in the Houston race.  Super. Human.)  and the book is about her year spent on the Watson Fellowship where she traveled around the world learning about and running with other cultures.  The book is already fascinating and I’m just a couple of chapters in.

After the expo, I spent the rest of the day trying to stay off my feet and to keep hydrated.  I have to say, I did a bang up job haha.  I even got to have a pre-race meal at one of my favorite Houston eateries, the Hobbit Café.

My friend, Emily, who I was running the race with and I went to bed pretty early after pinning our bibs to our shirts and laying them out with our shoes for the next morning.  The alarm went off bright and early at a cool 4:15am.  I was up, dressed and ready to call an uber by 4:30.  We wanted to get into the city early so there was no room for error and I’m pretty happy we did.  Her parents were staying in a hotel a couple blocks from the starting line, so we met up with them to rest a little bit, wake-up some more and have some pre-race fuel.  I had a Honey Stinger Waffle and a whole lot of water and felt pretty good.  We walked over to the race with my friend’s uncle who was joining us at about 6:15 so we could stake out a good starting spot and get ready to go.  My bib and his bib both had corral A on it because of our previous times, but her’s was for corral B.  We all wanted to start together, so we after a little finagling and being sneaky, we popped into corral B.  The race started right on time and by the time our group got to the starting line, we were about 7 minutes behind the clock.

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The course was flat.  Pancake flat.  And I was all for it.  It was also shockingly well attended.  There was only one stretch of land right where the marathoners split from the half marathoners around mile 8 that was silent.  Other than that, there were people all over trying to hand out everything from beer to tacos to gummy bears.  I loved the energy and even though it was a super humid, overcast day the supporters still came out in droves.  It made the race even more fun and made the time go by even more quickly.

This race was just fun.  I’m going to be honest.  I went at paces that are much slower than what I normally train, so I was able to talk the whole time and my legs felt good.  I didn’t listen to music once because I just ran with my friend and we swapped stories about places we passed and memories we had from each place.  The time went by much faster than expected and I couldn’t be mad about it at all.

Here are my splits:

  1. 9:22
  2. 9:23
  3. 8:58
  4. 9:23
  5. 9:11
  6. 9:13
  7. 9:24
  8. 9:28
  9. 9:26
  10. 9:39
  11. 9:30
  12. 8:30
  13. 6:43

The other .36 was in 8:36 time and included my finish and walking to the expo after crossing the finish line before I remembered watches were a thing.

Total: 2:00:35

We were at about mile 10 when a friend from Rice came running up behind us and asked me if I was trying to go “sub-2” aka finish the half in under 2 hours.  Honestly, I didn’t have a single time goal, I just wanted to eventually finish it and get brunch, so I said no and that I was just running it with my bud, Emily.  He kept going and I watched his blue compression calf sleeves trot away and then I couldn’t get it out of my head.  “are you going sub-2”.  At mile 11, Emily was slowing down a little bit, but I felt really good.  Like, I can’t believe I have already run 11 miles how is this possible good, and she told me that if I wanted to pick up the pace and leave her I could.  I asked and made sure that was okay and she said it was perfectly fine.  So I gunned it.  At 11.5 I decided to finish this baby strong and see how many people I could pick off.  My 11 mile split was 8:30 and my mile 12 split was 6:43. I told you I gunned it.  I finished in 2:00:35, 36 seconds away from sub two which is more than fine with me since I wasn’t running for time at all.  The best part?  I beat the kid in the blue calf compression sleeves by 5 seconds.

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If you’re thinking about running Houston, here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s flat. That’s awesome.
  • Even though it’s flat, all parts of the road are not created equal. Stay towards the middle because the sides slant down for water drainage and this will eat up your legs if you stick to only one side.
  • The Houston crowd is constant and SO helpful
  • Houston weather is unpredictable at best. It was about 30 degrees warmer this year than it was last year.  The humidity was 96% so it was no joke.  But it stayed nice and dry until after I was off the course.  The marathoners weren’t as lucky.
  • Houston is a sprawling city, make sure you know where you’re staying in relation to the start and book your hotel early because there are not that many downtown.
  • Have fun. Where else can you run a pancake flat course in warm weather in January?!
  • It’s not particularly scenic, but it is well attended and a larger race. If people get you pumped, this is for you.

I would recommend the Houston Half to anyone.  It’s a smoothly run race on a very flat, fast course.

The half rounded out my training for this week which consisted of 25 miles total:

  • Monday: 5 miles tempo. 1 mile w/u 3 miles at 7:40 pace 1 mile cooldown
  • Tuesday: SPIN
  • Wednesday: 4 miles at 8:09 pace
  • Thursday: Crosstraining, elliptical for 55 minutes
  • Friday: 3 miles at 9:12 pace
  • Saturday: REST
  • Sunday: 13.1 in 2:00:35
  • Total: 25.1

love

sj