Monday, March 30, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 14

Okay, folks, it’s getting to be that time. Last week was my last high mileage week and since the marathon to end all marathons (at least for me) is less than four weeks away, I really don’t have any more time to fool around. So I’m just going to give it to you straight. Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is I got all my scheduled miles in this week, all 54 miles of them. Wahoo! The bad….well, you’re just going to have to read ‘til the end to find out!

Week #14 (3/23-3/29)

What I Planned:

Marathon Paced Run: 14 miles at 6:52 pace
Recovery Run: 6 miles at easy pace
Tempo Run: 9 total miles with 6 miles at 6:22 pace
Weekend Long Run: 21 miles at long run pace
Recovery Run: 4 miles at easy pace
Total week 14 distance planned: 54 miles

What I Ran:

Tues – Marathon Paced Run: 13.1 miles at 6:49 pace
Tues – Cooldown Jog: 1.6 miles at 7:23 pace
Wed – Recovery Run: 7.7 miles at 7:00 pace
Thu – Treadmill Tempo Run: 9.1 miles with 6 miles at 6:19 pace
Sat – Weekend Long Run: 21.2 miles at 7:37 pace
Sun – Recovery Run: 3.0 miles at 7:11 pace
Total week 14 distance: 55.7 miles; avg pace – 7:10 min/mi

How I Ran:

Well, if you remember from where we left off last (If you don’t, I can’t blame you, I had to look back a few times myself because even though it was only a week ago, it seems so very long ago in retrospect), I had just come back from an injury-plaqued week to run a PR in a 15K race almost unintentionally. Although I was not bothered at all that day by my tight right hammy, it was still fresh on my mind as I set on Tuesday for my marathon-paced long workout Unfortunately, I made 2 mistakes that day that destroyed my run. The first was that I had a late greasy lunch and headed out almost immediately after. The second was that because I was so anxious to test out my hammy and set a good pace early on, I ran way too fast in the first downhill mile. My breathing became labored, I developed stomach cramps and it became a physical struggle just to get through the workout. Eventually, I ended up at 1:29:41 (avg 6:49 pace) for 13.1 miles, which is a far cry from the 1:28:13 (avg 6:43 pace) I had done for the same distance 12 days prior. I was somewhat disappointed by this result but sought solace in the fact that my right hammy strain was really a non-factor throughout.

After a late night recovery run the next day necessitated by another patient emergency at 4pm (Why do these always seem to happen in late afternoons?) where I found myself at one point racing a raccoon down Harlem Hill, it was again time for another hard speedy Thursday workout. If you notice, this was my third straight run in as many days, which is something I really don’t advocate but because this was high mileage week, I really had no choice. My right knee felt a bit gimpy over the past couple of days (perhaps from overcompensating for that pulled hamstring) so I was a bit relieved to see that it was actually raining all day, meaning my tempo run would be done on the treadmill instead. of on the road. Although the human hamster wheel totally chewed me up and spat me out that night, grossing out all the unsuspecting ladies doing their pretend light cardio on the machines next to me, I still hit my paces dead on and successfully completed the workout.

The 21 miler on Saturday was really a combination of two runs for me. Because I wanted to prevent further injury and run a bit slower that day, I decided to at least start the run with my running group, the NY Flyers. Unfortunately, less than a half mile into the run, when I dropped back to take a quick bathroom break, I prompted lost everyone and couldn’t find them again. Luckily, because the group leader had handed out pre-printed directions just in case of that exact scenario, I was able to find my own way and eventually found them again up in the depths of Inwood, about 8 miles into the run. For the next four miles, I ran with different people within the group, all running paces that were much slower than mine. I sacrificed a lot of speed during this stretch for the social aspect of running which I like. Unfortunately, this was also my last long run before Boston, so I really didn’t want to run so slowly for the full duration. So after I caught up a bit with everyone and made plans with several to meet up for brunch after the run, I sped up and found my own way back to the park. By the time I got back to the Boathouse in Central Park, I had done 12.2 miles with the group at 8:05 average pace and 8.9 miles on my own at 7:00 average pace. I was extremely sore after the run but was glad just to have finished strong.

The real damage from everything didn’t hit me until the day after, when I woke up Sunday with deep searing pain in my left lower calf. Ah yes, I nodded to myself. It was the reappearance of an old friend whose personality I’ve come to know well. After palpating and confirming that yes, it was indeed the old familiar Achilles’ tendonitis rearing it’s ugly head, I got up, limped around and went about my chores for the morning. I figured a little movement would ease the tension and satisfy the cry for attention, but by the time the early afternoon came and my calf still hadn’t resolved its differences with the Achilles, I wondered if even a slow recovery run would prove beneficial. So I waited and waited. Yes, I should go, it’d help. No, I shouldn’t, it’d wouldn’t help. Yes, I should because I’m 2 miles short of my goal. No, I shouldn’t because I have a speed workout planned for tomorrow. I was locked in a mental tug-of-war for several long hours. Eventually, by the late afternoon, while perusing around some running blogs, I saw this, and the decision was made for me.

Honestly, if you even remotely identify yourself as a runner, can you watch this and NOT run? Even if it’s not Kara Goucher, who I’ve met, and is from Queens just like I am, and who ran NYCM ’08 just like I did, and who will be running in BM ’09 just like I will, and who loves to run and compete just like I do (oh yeah, and do I have to mention she’s super cute!)…even if it wasn’t her or you're not a fan, can someone watch this and not believe in the run? Nope, not me. So I did three slow ones close by, up and back down the East River Drive. Despite it being windy and cold, my Achilles held up okay. I didn’t push it at all and slipped it into a bucket of ice the moment I got back. It is still quite sore this morning so I’m probably going to have to take another couple of days off. It’s alright though because it’s taper time! Wahoo! I’m so excited that I’ve made it this far! Now I have every reason to pig out, run just a little and get ready for the biggest and longest block party in the Northeast! Yeah, can you tell I’m bubbling right now! I can hardly wait.

Oh, and by the way, don’t worry about my Achilles. I’m not. It’s an old friend so I know its temperaments well. It will heal itself in due time. Everything will be fine by Boston time. Have a great week everyone!


carpeviam said...

Hey, rest up those aches and pains before our big race. We're tapering, so ease up and don't even let the "phantom pains" get you down...not that you sound down, just saying. Put on your Boston jacket (ugh,I can't believe I just wrote that!), but don't go out in public. Just wear it around the house. You'll be fine. ;)

Running and living said...

Hm, you got me worries a bit, glad for the happy ending. I am learning that aches and pains toward the end of a marathon are normal and expected. I have a few questions for you:
1) How do you carbo load (I an a newbe, I have never carbo loaded before)?
2) Any suggestions as to what my pace should be for the marathon given that my last 20.4 miler was at an average 8:29 with negative splits and even pace on the hills?
Thanks much! Ana-Maria

Sun Runner said...

What was that treadmill-like contraption Kara was running on?

Glad to hear your late-in-the-game injury doesn't appear to be overly serious. Enjoy the taper!!

Nitmos said...

Getting close now! You are going to rock out Boston.

Spike said...

nice work getting out there and hitting all of your mileage, and excellent strong finish on your long run.

you have plenty of time to heal and carbo load (cheesy bacon French fries and pop-tarts every day)

X-Country2 said...

Make sure to take care of yourself in the home stretch.

Ms. V. said...

She looks amazing.

You have three should be fine, right?

aron said...

i want to go run now!!! i have 7 hours to go though :-/

great job on another week!! hope that achellies feels better, i am sure its just ready for taper time!! taper always seems to come around at the perfect time, i think the body knows :)

boston here you come!!!!

Chic Runner said...

Great job on another week. Don't go too bonkers with taper. :)

Vava said...

Glad to hear you know this Achilles condition well, or it might be very worrisome indeed. All the best!

lindsay said...

something happens to me between reading about everyone's awesome long runs and me going out and attempting something longer than 7... loved hearing about your week with the great mileage and strong paces. sounds like it was a good last-long-run before boston with a little camaraderie and a little focus. hope the achilles quiets back down and stays there!

Brian Morrissey said...

sounds like you're more than ready to go. i'm in awe of your pace during training runs. you have the ability to run well under three hours at those times.

one piece of boston advice that you'll hear over and over but bears repeating: try to contain yourself early. the first few miles are downhill and faster than you think. your quads pay for it later. i went there a few years back after doing a 3:02 to qualify. i got caught up in the excitement and my own confidence and had a miserable last, oh, 14 miles.

other than that, enjoy. it's a great race.

Cowboy Hazel said...

Sounds like you had a good week. Good luck starting the taper.

J said...

Thanks for including that video. It was just what I needed after a rough day!

Michelle said...

I believe in the run AND I believe in you!

Your going to rock Boston!!!

Jamie said...

Nice job on the last week before taper! Rest up and heal the old friend.

The Happy Runner said...

So, in other words, you and Kara -- separated at birth???

Glad you aren't worried about the AT but I certainly hope it feels better!!!

joyRuN said...

Too funny that your super-slow 8:05 pace is my 800m-can't-run-anymore pace :)

Good thing you're familiar with your achilles' quirks.

Happy taper!

nwgdc said...

Wow, that's a great video! And even beyond the fact I've got a sweet spot for Kara, what really stole the show was that treadmill! How sweet was that?
As for your training, you're going to rock Boston. You're exact with your goals and, as Mel Gibson said in "The Patriot," Aim Small, Miss Small. Odd reference, I know.
I never thought the pace of 6:52 would mean so much to's not even a nice even number like 6:50 or 6:55, but it's so much MORE THAN THAT! YOU GOT IT!

Run For Life said...

I need to not watch clips like that when I can't head out for a run right after. (Thanks for sharing, btw.)

Whoohooo you made it to taper city! Tell your achilles to suck it up and behave.

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