Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Akron Marathon Training Update

No, I have not fallen off of the face of the Earth!  However, a time of year for teachers that is slightly less hectic that September to May turned into a flurry of unexpected surprises both good and bad.  To keep things simple, I figured I'd give a "cliff notes" version of the ups and downs from the past two months.

July was one of those months when my training just clicked.  I felt great and was hitting mileage numbers I never imagined year ago I could have accomplished.  At the same time, the major hurdle I had to overcome during these weeks was the heat.  Wow has it been hot and humid!  I found myself either have to go out early in the morning or just prior to sunset in order to avoid the sweltering sunshine.  I made the mistake once of starting a long run too late and has to abandon it before even reaching the halfway point.  It was a great lesson in humility and recognizing that "pushing through" has its limits.

While July was a full, strong month of training, August was a completely different story.  The month started out with some IT band issues that sidelined me for four days.  My first run back from the minor injury was a local race - a 5K that became a 6K after getting lost on the course.  I still placed second (woohoo!) and got to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while.

Following this race, running was placed on hold for a week due to an unexpected event - our daughter decided to come a few weeks early!  She is perfect in every way (I'm a little biased!) and has brought so much joy to our lives in the few weeks since she was born.  While I know life will never be the same, I'm excited for what is to come next.

Now, as you can imagine or know from personal experience, sleep with an infant is at a premium.  Add on to this the fact that I knew that I had to get in a few miles to get myself back on track for marathon training.  So, in a slightly sleep-deprived stupor, I laced up my Brooks for a 4 mile easy run.  I don't know if it was "new dad" endorphin or what but the workout felt amazing!  The sporadic-ness of my August running may have been just what my body needed to recover for the final weeks of training.

In less than a month, I will be meeting the Blue Line and 26.2 for the first time.  Excitement and nervousness are taking turns occupying my thoughts.  Either way, the race will be here soon enough, so I am going to make the most of the time I have left whatever may come!

Happy running!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Akron Marathon Training: Week 6

While the past five weeks were relatively predictable regarding training, this week was an odd one.  The reason for this is fairly simple - I joined my students on a mission trip building houses, feeding those people in need, and having fun.  The days were long and sleep was in short demand, but I wouldn't have changed a thing!

Monday: 5.5 Miles - A number of the students who attended the mission trip are on the school's cross country team and were adamant about needing to run during the week.  In being in an area that is not necessarily safe as well as relatively unknown to them, I told the students they could only do their workouts if I joined them.  Dang was it hard, but I loved it!  The guys kept pushing the pace, which was made even harder by the fact that any direction we ran was either uphill or downhill.  Even though I was pretty sleep-deprived, the endorphins woke me up and kept me going throughout the day.

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 6 Miles - Though we had two hard days of work in, our numbers for this run actually grew!  Weaving up and down various streets, we remained relatively close to our housing to prevent getting lost.  While the pace was slightly slower during this workout, we trudged on at a decent clip.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 3.5 Miles - By this day, I think we were all worn out.  Where on Wednesday, we had 7 or 8 people out running, for this final workout of the mission trip the number dropped to two (the student in charge of waking everyone accidentally shut off his alarm - whoops!).  I was really proud of the one student who pushed on through the miles even though she isn't on the cross country team.  While the opportunity to run with my students is rare, I'm always glad to share my joy of the sport with them.

Saturday: 5 Miles - To say I was tired while running this workout would be an understatement.  After arriving home in the early afternoon, I knew I still wanted to get a run in.  My only goal during these miles was to finish them, so mission accomplished.  I figured after a good night's sleep, I'd be back to my old self.

Sunday: 10 Miles - Though I knew I was not fully recovered from the mission trip, I still took on the long run for the week.  I'm not sure what caused it, but I was flying during this run.  I looked at my watch at one point and realized I was actually running my marathon pace - guess I know I can do it!  I was sore by the end of the workout, but invigorated at how well I handled the mileage increase this week.

At this point, I'm a third of the way done with my training cycle.  Only 12 more weeks and I'll be running the Blue Line in Akron.  I know that some much longer runs await me, but here I come!

Happy running!