Sunday, March 9, 2014

If It Looks Like Marathon Training...

98 miles
4 doubles
3 workouts
20.5 mile-long run

82 miles
4 doubles
2 workouts
19-mile long run

If last week represented my first tentative steps onto the big-girl diving board, then this week was the headfirst plunge into the mileage abyss. Not only did I complete three workouts (well, one of those was a mini-workout--more on that in a minute) and a 20+ mile long run, but I actually felt strong and healthy and pretty darn good the entire week.

The week started out strong (and chilly) bright and early on Tuesday morning with another near-single digit road workout with Larissa. I was a bit apprehensive about this, both due to the temperature and the fact that I'd completed my longest run in months less than 48 hours prior, but we somehow managed to stay warm and positive enough to take care of business. (At least until my body temperature plummeted on the aptly named cooldown, rendering my extremities totally numb and my fingers incapable of even grasping and inserting my housekey into the door without Larissa's assistance.)

Workout #1: 2x1.5 mile progression w/2 min. jog, each 800m @3:10, 3:00, 2:50; 4x600m @5:20 pace (2:00) w/2 min. jog = 9 miles total

My next (mini-)workout took place during Thursday's lunch hour with my boss and two coworkers. They're all training for a late spring marathon and had 6x800m on tap at 5k pace. The problem is, they're fairly new runners and rarely race 5k's, so the pace was approximated to be 6:30 although I suspected they could go faster. Sure enough:

Workout #2: 6x800m w/3 mins. jog in 3:10, 3:10, 3:07, 3:07, 3:00, 2:59 = 7 miles total

From my perspective, it felt great to open up the legs a little bit without being too taxing, and I loved helping my comrades achieve the feeling of triumph that comes with exceeding your expectations and physical limitations. (Seriously, when's the last time you thought, "Well golly, I just couldn't seem to run slow enough during that workout!" Yeah, me neither. But I'm happy that such a euphoria apparently exists for others.)

But without a doubt, and like a true American weekend warrior, my two biggest days of the week took place on Saturday and Sunday. I'd planned well in advance for a long run on Sunday with Sarah Cummings, who was making a quick trip to Boston, and then I somehow found myself getting roped into (read: eagerly volunteering for) Sarah Bard's lengthy Saturday workout as well. On an unseasonably warm morning (or perhaps only unseasonable relative to the rest of the week/month/year), Sarah and I joined Kevin and another BAA male escort whose name escapes me for some 4-3-2-1 mile action on the Charles.

Workout #3: 4 mile (6:03, 6:02, 6:05, 6:08), 3:30 jog, 3 mile (6:00, 6:07, 5:57), 2:30 jog, 2 mile (5:50, 5:45), 1:30 jog, 1 mile (5:43) = 16 miles total

Takeaways from this workout were:

1. Sarah is really fit.
2. There may be hope for me yet.
3. I love seeing happy, active people enjoying the river on a Saturday morning--except when they're in my way.
4. 50 degrees is, indeed, warm enough to comfortably slam a post-run Frappuccino.

Though I questioned my weary body's ability to move, I somehow managed to remain bipedal and reasonably functional for an "easy" 20-miler (2:30 and 20.66 miles to be exact, not that I am enslaved to my new Garmin or anything) with the Sarahs and a few different male BAA escorts on Sunday. During that time we saw over half the Boston course and a 60-year-old man running shirtless wearing khaki pants and oven mitts, so I can't help but consider it a win.

Will I be able to walk tomorrow? Debatable. Am I officially training for some sort of spring marathon? It sure looks that way... 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Being a Runner is Funner with Friends

This entry could've more boringly been titled "February in Review." (Yes, that's how far I've fallen with my blogging; I now find it totally acceptable to lump an entire month into one succinct entry.) But I do love me some alliteration AND assonance (God bless my freshman English teacher), and more importantly I really do feel like the opportunities I've had to run and workout with other people comprise the only legitimate training I can claim for the month. In addition to a weekend in the Southeast with Jeannette and some solid miles on the Boston course with Sarah, there's been another exciting development: a new training partner right here on the North Shore! (Oh, and for the record, my weekly mileage for February was: 70, 74, 80, 82. Booooring.)

As many of you know, other than Jordan (when he's in town) and Abbey D (when she's spending a few days at home in between winning national titles), I don't really have any training companions in the Salem-Beverly-Marblehead area who I can logistically run with every day. Driving into Boston and back before work simply isn't feasible, and going there in the evening is usually the last thing I want to do after a long day at the office. Last Sunday, at the 10-miler in Amherst, I ran into Larissa Park at the awards ceremony. I'm not sure if we'd ever been formally introduced, but we were familiar with each other from local races and from her trouncing me at the Beverly Homecoming 5k this past summer. When she told me that she and her husband had recently relocated to Marblehead from Somerville, I was more than pleasantly surprised. She was so close by that we could run to meet each other! She would actually ensure that I got up when my alarm went off in the morning! We immediately took advantage of this newfound proximity by meeting up three separate times last week: on Wednesday morning for a speed workout devised by her coach (in 15 degree-weather), on Friday morning with Jordan for a 10-mile progression run (which was inconceivably even colder than Wednesday), and on Sunday with Jordan and Sarah for some long leisurely miles through Marblehead and Salem. In the span of one week, I'd already done more quality mileage with Larissa than the treadmill slogging I would've suffered through in her absence. If this is a sign of things to come, I think my spring training could finally be looking up!

This happened on Friday morning...

...and, as a result, so did this. #sweatsicles