Marathon Training: Week 18

Weeks until Mountains 2 Beach Marathon: 3!

This past week was my highest mileage training week, and my legs and body really felt it. I had been super tired mentally and physically all week, but thankfully that went away for my 20-mile run yesterday, which restored the confidence I lost during my really tough 15 miles last weekend. I’ve been sleeping pretty well, just waking up a couple times during the night. I feel like the actual time I’m sleeping is different though – I normally don’t sleep so hard. I’m sure it’s my body just trying to recover, and it’s doing a pretty good job.

It’s now May, which means my marathon is THIS MONTH. I’m getting really excited and the feelings of fear are beginning to diminish. Now that I’m done with my 20-miler, I just want the race to be here so I can go out and crush it. But I know I must taper, and I’m also looking forward to that. I’m not one of those people that gets antsy or sad that I can’t run as much; I fully welcome the lower mileage and extra rest days. There will be no taper tantrums here.

The M2B race director sent out the info packet, and unless I’m reading it wrong it said there will be free race photos including a finish line picture, which is really awesome. I’m so glad more and more races are starting to do this. I wouldn’t mind paying for race pictures if they were 10-15 dollars, but normally they’re like 45-50 which is insane, especially after the high race registration prices.

I ended up with 137.25 miles for April, which is a little less than March, but I feel like it was a strong month and I’m still proud of my 13-minute PR at the Chardonnay 10-Miler in Santa Barbara.Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.47.47 AM

Here’s a look at the past week of training:

Monday – 7 miles easy @ 9:51

This run was anything but easy – legs felt like lead and it was a struggle almost the whole time.

Tuesday – 6.21 miles (2 mile warm-up, 4 x 800m w/ 400m easy jog between, 1 mile cool-down)

I messed this speed workout up and I didn’t realize until I got home I was supposed to do 8 800m repeats instead of 6, but my legs felt better today and my times for the 800m repeats were 3:59, 3:56, 3:49, and 3:57. I ran at the wonderfully flat Echo Park Lake and had to stop to let some little goslings cross my path. There are baby ducks and geese everywhere at the lake, and it’s been fun to watch them get bigger week by week. The mama geese are super protective of their young and I’m kind of convinced they’re going to go after me one of these days. I saw one charge at a Great Dane that was completely unfazed.

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Wednesday – November Project + running 

I haven’t been going to NP lately and with good reason. I think it was a mistake to go this time, and I’m not going to go back until after the race. There’s always some sprinting and crazy body exercises involved, and it’s just too risky. It’s also really hard to not do the exercises while everyone else is doing them, so it’s safer if I just stay away. I did some running and a couple sprints and some burpees and an army crawl, then was sore for the next couple days. I ran a few miles afterward to make it 5 for the day.

The group is getting so big!

The group is getting so big!

Thursday – 7 miles easy @ 9:57

Once again, not so easy… but my body warmed up a few miles into it.

Friday – glorious rest day

Saturday – 20 miles @ 9:58

I’m so proud of this run! I was pretty nervous about it ever since it showed up on my training plan, but when I woke up yesterday and started getting ready, I felt no nerves at all and just felt ready to get it started. I think this made a big difference mentally – not psyching myself out and thinking about the fact that I was about to run 20 miles and let the pressure get to me. I decided to drive to Marina Del Rey because whenever I do a long run around where I live it ends up hilly, challenging, and sucky. This was definitely a good decision, even though it adds like an hour and a half onto the whole ordeal because of driving out there and traffic. I normally always do out and back runs, but this time I decided to park in Marina Del Rey, run 5 miles north to Venice Beach and back, then 5 miles south toward Manhattan Beach and back. It seemed to be a good idea at first, breaking it up into 5 mile segments. And overall I do think it was beneficial, but passing my car and knowing I still had 10 miles to go was a little tough.

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The first 5 miles went by fast, but I got kind of a late start and the tourists had already begun filling the sidewalks in Venice Beach. There’s always really good people watching and distractions, but there’s also a lot of weaving and secondhand pot smoke to get through, not to mention trying not to get hit by bicycles and Segway Tours. I also almost got hit by a soccer ball but it hit a girl on a Segway instead, so I guess they do serve some kind of purpose. One guy came up and ran next to me for a bit, asking about the knee bands I was wearing. He had just started running and already had pain in his knees. I tried to give him good advice and he seemed to appreciate it.

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Quiet Marina Del Rey, before the craziness of the Venice Beach boardwalk.

I was glad to turn around and go in the other direction, which is much quieter and less populated. I ran along the Marvin Braude bike Trail that borders the Ballona Creek Wetlands, which was really cool, then turns into a bike path through the sand along the ocean. There were bad headwinds at this point, but I just kept thinking about how they would be helpful tailwinds on the way back.

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At one point, I saw a lady fall off her bike because two huge dead sea lions were in the sand right next to the path and it startled her. I stopped to see if she needed help, but the person she was with said she was ok and they had a phone if they needed to call someone, so I kept going. On my way back, I saw that there were ambulances and she was on the ground getting her arm put in a sling. The worst part is that she had to sit next to the dead sea lions the whole time that smelled so bad and everyone was covering their mouths and it was all a big weird ordeal.

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Still working on my taking-pictures-while-running technique.

By the time I had a couple miles left, I still felt like I had a lot left in the tank, so I sped up. My hips started getting tight around mile 17 or so, but it wasn’t too bad and seemed to go away when I started speeding up. The last two miles were the fastest, with the last being an 8:54 pace. If I’m being honest, I felt like such a badass when I finished.

Side note: I got some different tank tops last week for potential marathon shirts, and I wore the one I thought would be the winner – well I hated it and felt like it didn’t breathe at all and it was too tight. So it’s a good thing I tested it out! But now I’m still on the hunt and have to find a shirt in enough time to have a good amount of practice runs with it. I think I’m going to go with a bright color of a Lululemon tank I already have that I like a lot. Seems like a safe bet, and I want to wear a bright shirt so people can see me.

For fuel, I ate an entire packet of fruit smoothie Honey Stinger Chews, which is the most I’ve ever eaten on a run. I love these so much better than any other fuel I’ve had, they are easy to eat and small and so easy on my stomach. I ate them here and there throughout the whole run, starting at about mile 6. The whole packet only has 160 calories in it which doesn’t seem like enough, but it was fine for me and I never felt low energy. I also filled my water bottle up three or four times, which is a pain but at least I know I won’t have to do this with all the water stops during the marathon where I can just grab cups as I run by.

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I ate a Clif Bar when I got back to my car and then wasn’t really hungry the rest of the day, but I made myself some eggs and toast and avocado for lunch. Jeremy and I ended up going to a Dodgers game with some friends, where I ate garlic fries, half a churro, some Cracker Jacks, soft pretzel, and some white wine… not exactly good fuel for my body, but we had a good time and I’ll make up for it today.

churro cheers

churro cheers

Our first Dodgers game!

Our first Dodgers game!

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Later today I’m thinking about going to a yoga class since I haven’t been very good about stretching lately, and I’ll fit in a few shake out miles also. Let the taper begin!

19 comments

  1. “where I ate garlic fries, half a churro, some Cracker Jacks, soft pretzel, and some white wine…”
    Yikes, is this the same vegan-inclined health-food aficionado Lily?
    Well, okay, after a 20-mile run you probably “deserve” it, but really, why not go all out with a Dodger Dog?

    1. Pretty sure it’s the law that you have to eat that stuff when you’re at a baseball game. Just trying to follow the rules, dad.

  2. Congrats on the 20-miler!! You are all ready now! This is the month!!! I can’t believe how fast your training cycle has flown by. I welcome the taper too and was SO HAPPY to hit it last fall, haha.

    What a bad morning for the poor woman who fell off her bike and had to lay near the sea lions. Such a disturbing experience I’m sure 😦

    1. Eek thanks!! I can’t believe it’s almost here! I know, I felt so bad for her. She was a tourist; not the way you want to spend your vacation 😦

  3. So glad your 20 went great. I use the Honey Stingers Chews too. On a full marathon, starting at mile 4, I chew 2 every even mile from 4 to 22. Which is two packs worth. That way it is 320 calories, but still not much for a full marathon. However, that is about all I can get down and keep down. Plus I find eating just two at a time is better than 5 or 10 (like some people do) for me.

    1. That’s a good idea! Yeah I eat no more than two at a time, and I like to space it out a little. Thanks for the advice 🙂

  4. That’s a great week, Lily. I think you’re smart to take a break from November Project workouts until after the race. Your body needs some rest. And way to go on the fast finish long run!

    So those dead sea lions… What happened?! Why were there two dead together? That seems odd. And that poor woman!

    Finally, you’re a smart lady for testing out the tank tops before you run the marathon in one. See why the no-new-things rule exists? 🙂

    1. Yeah I don’t know it was so weird… the sea lions were far from the ocean too, kind of covered by sand and had cones around them. So I’m assuming they were going to be taken away soon, but I do wonder why there were two of them. Poor guys! And poor woman 😦

      And yes I definitely see now why, I hope I’ll be able to find the perfect marathon tank top before my race! If not at least I can always wear a tried and true one I already own. But it’s not as exciting…

  5. Congrats on the awesome 20 miler!! That time is amazing. Sorry about the whole dead sea lion/ lady falling thing though. That’s not something you want to see on your run. All the game food sounds pretty dang yummy.

    1. Thanks Fallon! Yeah it was definitely a weird thing to see on my run… I feel like I always see something interesting. I forgot to mention that I also saw a rap music video being made on the sand and there was a huge throne and dancers and stuff!

  6. Nice job on your workouts, especially your awesome 20 miler! I’m with you – bring on the taper! I don’t get antsy at all and look forward to that. Don’t get me wrong – I love the high mileage and intensity – but I know that the taper period will soon be over and I’ll be back at it!

    1. Thanks so much! Exactly, I love being in peak training mode, but it’s been five months of it and I’m so ready for a little break! Then I can get excited about the next training period.

  7. Enjoy the taper–you deserve it! It sounds like you had quite the people watching experience that people go to the beach for! The poor woman with the broken arm…
    The best thing about marathon training is the food you can devour after a long run!

  8. Congrats on making it to the taper! Dead sea lions sound like a really terrible sight, but I’m glad you had a good, confidence-boosting 20 miler. I think it’s smart to avoid strength training and crazy sprints with NP until after the race.

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