False Start and Some Training Goals

While I’m a sucker for happy endings, I’ve always enjoyed the start of things more. Whether it be a movie, first day at a new job or a vacation, the first day is always full of possibilities and potential. Over the course of whatever it is there will certainly be ups and downs, but the start is filled with hope and anticipation. It shouldn’t come as a shock that this is also how I feel about my marathon-training schedule.

I woke up yesterday morning after a pretty rough night of sleep and hurried myself off to my first day as a full-time grad student. It all seemed so fitting: first day of school, first day of training, all my new beginnings rolled into one. I got to class with 30 seconds to spare, opened my planner to see how much mileage I’d be doing when I got home when I saw a note I never expected.

Yes, I have every run for the next 16 weeks written out. And non run days. Just to clarify.

Yes, I have every run for the next 16 weeks written out. And non run days. Just to clarify.

How I didn’t realize that I had created my schedule to have Monday rest days is a little beyond me, but somehow that fact had exited from my mind. A normal person may have thought “Perfect, first day of school and all I need to do is study. Great planning, Brittany.” All I thought was “No, this can’t be right!”.

There was something about starting everything at once that I was quite excited about. I slumped in my chair a little and reminded myself that it was still the first day of my training schedule and by resting I was abiding by the schedule. I didn’t like it but I agreed to it. Hmphf.

I’m pretty excited about taking on a new kind of training schedule, this one having two long runs each week. This weeks workouts look like this.

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- 3 miles with hills

Wednesday- 3 easy miles

Thursday- Rest

Friday- 3 miles at MGP

Saturday- 13.1 miles (Jamestown Half Marathon)

Sunday- 6 miles

I had to reverse the long runs this week to accommodate for the Jamestown Half being on Saturday rather than Sunday. Other than that, I think the run I’m most nervous for in Friday’s MGP miles. I think if I knew what my goal pace was I’d feel better but I’m still trying to figure that out. I guess I have until Friday to figure that out.

So while I didn’t get to run yesterday I did use the time wisely. I got to spend the afternoon with my dad who is currently down with a couple broken ribs thanks to a graceful fall from a ladder on the 4th of July. I swear the man is gifted in coming up with new ways to injure himself. There was one time when I was in high school and I came back from vacation to find my dad with 12 new stitches in his chin. Apparently when he got home from bringing me to the airport he went back into his bedroom, put one foot in the laundry basket and tumbled into his dresser. He went to work with a band-aid before a co-worker informed him he was still bleeding pretty profusely and may want to have that looked at. That’s my dad!

With my dad on college graduation day. His most recent stitches had just healed.

With my dad on college graduation day. His most recent stitches had just healed.

I also used the time to think about my training more than the actual race. I thought about my past few training sessions and where I could improve. I went through a lot of my old Nike+ data and came up with three goals for this training session.

  1. Every run will be outside. Every. Single. Run. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t predict the weather on race day. The only way to not stress out about that is to train in every possible condition so no matter what race day brings you can say “No biggie. Been there, done that”. So from here on out, there will be no treadmill love in my life.
  2. Cross train at least 3 days a week. I tend to focus solely on running when I start a training schedule. This time I want to make sure I’m not cutting out spin classes or Group Power just because I’m running a marathon in the fall. I love my cross training and I honestly believe my running is strongest when I’m hitting spin and yoga on a regular basis.
  3. Fuel my runs with real, healthy food. I tend to be the person that will eat a big bowl of pasta or a pizza the night before a long run and say “whatever, I’m running 17 miles in the morning!”, then wonder why I felt like crap 5 miles in. I’ve been cooking a lot more recently and coming up with some amazing healthy, fueling recipes that I can’t wait to share.
This is a frittata filled with veggies and healthy cheese. I'm unusually proud of myself.

This is a frittata filled with veggies and healthy cheese. I’m unusually proud of myself.

I know there will be good runs and bad runs. Some days I’ll wonder why the hell I signed up for this is the first place and want to sit on my couch with a bottle of wine and a plate of mozzarella sticks. And on days like that I’ll remember people like Ali, Jeff and the countless others who can’t run right now no matter how badly they want to. I’ll remember that on April 21, 2014 I’ll be back in Hopkinton getting my third chance at Boston. And then I’ll start.

What Fall races are you training for? Any training advice you’d like to share? Did your dad hurt himself in some ridiculous way too? I would like to hear all of your stories. Please and thank you. 

Cape Cod Marathon Chowder Challenge- Let the Training Begin!

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July! We had Jims family in town visiting last week and we did all of the tourist-y New England things that visitors think they should do. Overall, we had a great time and it was nice to have his family come see our lives out here and accept the east coast isn’t as bad as they thought it was. Jim also got to teach his nephew the glory he believes in Nintendo 64. From 1994. Yes, the real one.

His nephew is his mini-me. It's adorable.

His nephew is his mini-me. It’s adorable.

Other than the family time we stuck to our normal holiday traditions. The third was spent on a private beach with some of our best friends who are lucky enough to live on the cliff overlooking Manomet. Around 10:30 I could feel myself coming down with Jims sinus cold, so I went home and left him to drink his cold off with our friends. Surprisingly, I felt much better than he did yesterday. Who would have thought?

Happy Third!

Happy Third!

For the 4th, we spent the day with my family at my grandparents pool. It’s been a while since my whole family has been together and it was great to have so much love in one place. Of course, the kids were super excited for Jimmy to spend the day throwing them into the pool. I think he enjoyed it more than they did.

With all the quality family and friend time there hasn’t been much running the past few days. I’m more OK with it than normal because I’m taking advantage of the chance to re-charge my marathon-running-batteries before I start my 16-week training schedule for the Cape Cod Marathon on Monday. So while I wasn’t physically running, I used some of the down time to figure out how much running I’lI be doing for the rest of the summer.

like to do my research. I’m the type of student who will sit in the library from open-close when I have a term paper due printing 37 different articles, highlighting (always in yellow), cross-referencing and making sure I’ve approached the subject from every possible angle. The required page minimum is no issue. It’s the maximum that usually gets me in trouble.

The past few weeks I’ve taken the same approach to a training plan for the Cape Cod Marathon Chowder Challenge. I’ve never done a double race weekend before and I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to train for it. Add in the 5 half marathons, one 10K and one 7-miler I have before this weekend and I’m a little extra confused about the training approach.

There are a lot of training plans out there for races like this, specifically the famed Goofy Challenge the Disney World Marathon has every year. I think I’ve compared at least 10 plans and then compared the best of those to the official Cape Cod Marathon training plan. I knew up front a few adjustments would have to be made but I wanted a plan that I could make minimal changes to so I would fell like it was a real, tried and true plan. Earlier this week, I finally found one.

I have decided to go with Lee Hoedls Goofy Challenge plan. I like that it requires five days of running each week with two long runs back to back. I wanted a schedule that would still allow for the races I’m already signed up for in the 16-week time frame from now until I toe the Cape Cod starting line. Of course I will have to veer slightly a couple times, but overall the schedule works incredibly well with the goals I have for Cape Cod and the races in between.

Training officially starts on Monday for this 16-week program. One would think this is perfect timing, right? I get the holiday week to enjoy as I please and ease myself into a training schedule after my fun in the sun has passed. True, but there’s something else starting on Monday: Grad School. For the next 7 weeks I will be in class from 8am-2pm three days a week studying human biology. Then going to work. No big deal, right? Right. 

So for the rest of the weekend I’ll be analyzing every detail of the next 16 weeks of mileage and psyching myself up for the Chowdah Challenge. Ready…. Set…. Eeep!

What fall races are you in training for? Any tips for a double race weekend? Did you do anything over the top for the 4th? Let’s hear about it!

Getting Back to Normal

You may be wondering where I’ve been. To be honest, I was wondering that for a while too. Life has thrown more than a few curveballs in the past few months and while they all were leading to something pretty fantastic they certainly threw me off my game for a bit there.

From the time I was born I have not been known as one to seek out major life change. Arriving a month and a half past my due date (sorry, mom!) my family eventually admitted they should have taken that as a sign that I am content in routine and will change that routine in my own good time. So when I came home in October and broke the news to my family that Jim and I were buying a house 45 minutes away from them and I left my job to take a new position closer to the new house they were understandably a bit shell shocked. To be honest, I was too. At 27, I was finally ready for the much needed life change I had been craving for so long.

October feels like a world ago. The universe decided to have some fun with my little plan and challenged my Type A personality in a declaration of war type way. I’ll sum it up like this- if you can at all avoid it- do not buy a short sale house. We spent 5 months with our money and time sucked up into a home that fell through on closing day. I cried for days. I refused to see any silver lining in the situation and every time someone reached out to offer their sympathy about the situation I immediately had to hand Jim the phone while I had a mini breakdown in the corner. It wasn’t dramatic at all, I promise. However if you happen to know of any official “Boyfriend of the year who stayed with a woman clearly having a psychotic break” awards, please let me know. A friend of mine wants to nominate someone. Again, just asking for a friend here.

A few weeks later Jim told me he found a perfect rental for us while I mourned the resale of our dream first home. He reminded me that there will be a million other houses and that this was a great opportunity for us to take a year and live together in a setting outside of my moms house and do whatever we want. After all, we didn’t have a mortgage to worry about. We looked at the rental house, I cried again, and told Jim do whatever he wanted I would hate everything anyways. Again with the positive outlook on life. I’m a winner.

We moved in last month and I have to admit I couldn’t be happier. It’s a perfect house for just the two of us, located 5 minutes from my job and 10 minutes from his. Grad school is 25 minutes away. Oh, and this is our backyard.

 

 

This does not suck. In the least.

This does not suck. In the least.

Overall I’m adjusting pretty well and I think running has been a huge part of that. I’m such a creature of habit and as strange as it sounds, changing my morning routine was my biggest concern about moving. No longer would I have a Marylou’s Coffee shop where everyone not only knew my name but usually had my coffee made perfectly waiting for me by the time I walked through the door. I wouldn’t have a quick breakfast with my brother in the morning before we played musical cars for whoever had to leave first. For all the things I don’t have- I still have my run. It’s not at the same gym on treadmill days, it’s not in the cemetery on perfect weather mornings, but it’s still my run and that’s adjusting too.

These days every run is done with the end goal of a BQ at Boston 2014 in my head. It’s going to be tough. I’ve never really trained for speed before, I’ve only trained to finish. I’m excited for the challenge and ready to put in the work. Before Boston I have a slew of other races to get through, including my most ambitious race yet. In October I’ll be running the Cape Code Marathon Chowdah Challenge. Like the well known Goofy Challenge during the Disney World Marathon Race Weekend, it’s the half marathon on Saturday followed by the full 26.2 on Sunday. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I’m sore already.

If any of you nice folks have any advice on how to run a double race weekend and not die I’d love to hear it. Looking forward to more daily posts and getting back to the wonderful world of run blogs!