Sunday, September 6, 2015

Marathon Training Week 7: Ring of Fire

Coming off that great week of fast runs and cooler temps, I headed into week 7 feeling strong and ready to tackle the rest of my training. With the return of high temps and humidity in the forecast, I hoped to be able to draw on that confidence building week and push through my training strong!

Monday morning I had an 8 mile run at MP on the plan. Grateful that I had had a long bike ride as opposed to a long run the day before, I set my alarm for 4:30. When I woke up, not only was it dark, but it was also very foggy. I put on my Petzl Tikka headlamp and headed out. The LED light was so bright that all I could see is the foggy mist coming at me. It was hard to see the road. About a block from my home, I smelled a skunk and when I looked over, there was one right next to me, rearing up on its front legs. That could only mean one thing. That was the charge I needed to move it, and move it I did. When I got to the path, I saw that there were other runners there, wearing headlamps too. I started to relax, but a creepy cyclist who stared at me every time he passed me kept me on alert. I aimed my headlamp at his face, hoping to blind him. I'm not sure if it worked. I was pleased and surprised when I saw my pace on the Garmin: 8:35 miles in 1:11 for an average pace of 8:33 min/mile.


Tuesday: I headed to CrossFit for a MetCon session with Becky. When I woke up, I was really dizzy, and I considered cancelling with her. Turns out, she wasn't feeling well either. I pushed through intervals of rowing with 4 different activities: waiters lunges, box jumps, sumo deadlifts, and kettlebell swings. I drank a ton of water and Nuun. But when I got home and stepped out of the shower, the room kept spinning and I felt really nauseous. I hated to do it, but I called off work and spent the day on the couch. I felt like crap all day. Was it a virus that I picked up in the clinic? A migraine? Or those intervals? Hey, at least I got my workout in, right?
Made my heart pound!
Wednesday was yoga. Kathy's theme for the class was the breath. She led the class through a challenging series of poses, always emphasizing moving on the breath. All this yoga breathing really translates well to the road. At the end of the class we did some backbending, including wheel pose.

Thursday I had speed work on the plan, 2 mile repeats x3. I wanted to get out early, but my youngest son was struggling with his asthma and allergies, and I needed to get him settled before I headed out. When I got to the path, it was already 77 degrees. Add in the humidity, and it was really uncomfortable. The first 2 miles went pretty well, and I thought to myself that maybe, I got this heat thing! Miles 3 and 4 were tough. Before I started on my last interval, I gave myself a little more walking time, and stopped at the drinking fountain for lots of water. I considered stopping after 4, because I knew I couldn't maintain the split times I had for the first 2. I felt pretty sick. I finally talked myself into just running the last 2, and I did, this split one minute slower than the previous one. Because of that slow last interval, I didn't feel really victorious until I recovered and thought about staying mentally tough and not giving up. I still hit my goal pace, for an average of 8:17min/mile. And when I got in the car to go home, guess what song was playing on the radio? Yep, Don't Stop Belivin'. Coincidence? I think not...

Speedwork done. Splits: 15:59, 16:21, 17:22. Don't even stop believin'.
After I had breakfast, I headed to see Becky at CrossFit. She had me do back squats, with progressively heavier weights and CHAINS, yes chains, dangling from the barbell. The purpose of the chains was for me to keep control of the bar. When I squatted, the bar wanted to pull me back. This is great for hip stability, and also for the glutes. In between sets, she had me push the prowler. Outside. 


Friday was a rest day. After all the hard work I do during marathon training, I always look forward to my rest days. But by the end of my work day, I was really needing a run. The day was incredibly stressful and overwhelming. I was near tears by the end of the day. I won't go into details, but just suffice it to say that there was no run, but lots of wine for me when I got home.

Saturday, I had a 5 miler on the plan. No pace, no plan for this run. Just a run. My legs still felt heavy from Thursday's workout, and I had to stop after mile 1 to stretch my calves. But as I watched the sunrise, I started to loosen up. Inspired by the beautiful morning sky, I stopped to strike a pose in the park. And another. I finished this run with a smile on my face. And somehow, managed to eake out an MP run: 8:47 min/mile.

Warrior one. Feeling stronger as the run went on.
Greeting the sun.
Sunday: I woke up early to beat the heat for my 12 miler, and was out the door by 6:45. The temp was already 75, with 70% humidity, and I took it slow. I had to do a lot of tough self talk to push through those first 3 miles. 
My brain: "It's too hot. Go home. Give up.". 
Me: "I need this run. If I can do this run, I can do this marathon. I can't quit. It's only 12 miles. " 

About mile 4, my brain gave up, and the run became much easier. I chugged up the big-for-me hill without stopping. And made it to the gas station at mile 5.5 for a pit stop. When I came out, there was a sweaty but very attractive male runner buying gatorade. We made small talk, and I headed back out the door, a little peppier for that interaction. Hey, I may be old, but I'm not dead yet! I turned around at mile 6, and headed back the way I came. Luckily, the path is pretty shady. There was also a nice breeze. I started to struggle again, about mile 9, and those final 3 miles were a battle between my brain, which was again doing its best to make me quit, and my will to finish this thing on my terms. Which I did, 12. 09 miles in 1:51:10. In the interest of full disclosure, I did stop a few times, and my Garmin stops when I do. Hey, it's a training run...

I was so happy to be done with this run.
Even though we were back in the blast furnace, I'm really happy with this week of training. Yes, the heat and humidity made it really hard to push through all my workouts, but I got them all done without quitting. And that tenacity will pay off on the marathon course when I want to quit. Training is not always about paces and mile splits. The so-called experts say that running is 90% mental, and these tough runs in the heat and humidity were all about mental toughness. I'll need to dig deep in the last 10k of the marathon, and I'll have these runs to draw on. This upcoming week, I'm looking forward to cooler temps and a half marathon next weekend.

So what song captured this week of training? There were so many good ones, but I picked Social Distortion's Ring of Fire. Considering the conditions so many of us have been subjected to this summer, I found it fitting. "Cause it burns, burns, burns...." I sang along with it on my long run today. By the way, I do love the original by Johnny Cash, but the version by Social Distortion is a little more uptempo.



Tell me about your week! How did your training go? Anything along the road put a little pep in your step?  Any songs that made your run go faster?

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin' for their weekly wrap!


67 comments :

  1. Wendy, great job as usual. I've really been enjoying your yoga pics, as well. I also love that social distortion version of ring of fire. I haven't listened to it recently, think it needs to make its way into a workout playlist :) Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

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    1. I like that version of Ring of Fire, it makes me go! And it sure fits for this weather.

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  2. Oh my, a skunk would certainly make me run faster! Glad you didn't get sprayed. I used to love early morning runs, only now they're early morning dog walks.

    You certainly had a week & really pushed through a lot. It's going to pay off; I know it will.

    My long run yesterday went really well & we picked up the pace miles 5-7, then deliberately slowed down the last 2 miles. I was getting very tired, but that was mostly lack of sleep, I think. And that's where company is a beautiful thing, too! I know I would have got it done on my own, but I'm pretty sure it would have been slower.

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  3. As always, awesome job on all the grit-work! My week went well...well, that early Wednesday morning track thing kinda kicked my buttocks (and my aching buttocks felt it for the rest of the day). I don't especially LOVE the heat and humidity, but I don't mind running in it. I'll take the oppressive weather over the treadmill, any day.

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    1. Oh, I'd take the heat and humidity any day over a run on the treadmill!

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  4. You had a heck of a tough week all around, Wendy. Kudos to you for sticking it out. Having followed your journey for some time now, I'm not one bit surprised. I hope the wine helped. Here's a hug {{{ }}}.

    I almost never stop to walk (about half dozen times in nearly four years of running), but this week because of unexpected glitches with my i-pod and Hip-Sister (I put it on backward, yeah it was that kind of week), I had to. I could not believe the difference those brief pauses made. It pointed out to me the wisdom of my decision to walk a minute for each mile after 10K while training. I don't feel one bit guilty about it, either. In my humble and non-professional estimation, it all counts. My training is going apace (pun intended). This week was brutal up in Rhode Island, too, but today was perfect, just what I needed to give me a shot of confidence. We expect another heat wave mid-week, three days in the nineties. I worried that I might lose a week, but I figured a way around it. If I can manage one two-mile run Wednesday (90 predicted), I'll even be able to get all four runs in.

    Running across other folks running, walking by themselves or with their dogs, shooting a friendly greeting always puts a pep in my step. On a beautiful Sunday morning, there was plenty of that to be had. Today, Melissa Ethridge's "Must Be Crazy About Me" has me moving. I love it when that happens.

    My wish for you is that this week is cooler and each day is smoother for you, in training, in life, at work.

    I hope you are considering framing "Greeting the Sun." It's a stunning portrait.

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    1. Looks like you're doing great with your training! I'm glad I have running to keep me going. Friday at work was tough, and I felt pretty anxious. I haven't felt like that for a long time. But wine (yes!) and a run the next morning put everything back in order for me. I'm going to take care of one big stressor, my student, when I get back to work this week.

      Thanks as always for your support!

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  5. I love both the Johnny Cash and Social Distortion versions of Ring of Fire! Great job getting through those hot runs and I FIRMLY believe those hot runs make is even more prepared for our races in cooler temps.

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    1. I agree and that's why I pushed myself so hard to finish!

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  6. Awesome work this week, Wendy! Glad you got in some good workouts. I am so ready for that cool weather to come back. I think it's supposed to be cooler starting Wednesday--can't wait!

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    1. Me too! I've got a half next weekend, and cooler weather would give me a lift!

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  7. I love the head lamp....I don't usually run in the dark, but maybe if I get one then sometimes I will. Sorry Friday was a bad day....seems like hopefully things have turned around....Your pink shirt in the picture with the big weights...I'm trying to make out exactly what it says on the back but can't....something about boys and girls.....what does it say and where can I get one????

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    1. LOL! That shirt says "deadlifts bring all the boys to the yard"...kind of funny for me to wear, considering my age....my CrossFit gym sells some pretty sassy shirts!

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    2. So funny....maybe I can try to find it online:)

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    3. I can see if they have them anymore at my CrossFit, but I think not--it's from last year...

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  8. Looks like you're doing a great job! I ran my longest run ever on Friday (17 miles) in training for my first marathon! Have not tried CrossFit before (I'm more of a barre girl) but my friends love it!

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    1. I've heard a lot of good things about barre! I think any kind of cross training is good for runners. Good luck on your marathon!

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  9. I think the only ring of fire I don't love is the weather one we've been experiencing. Blech. Nice training week as usual. I've been testing a heart rate monitor that syncs to Runkeeper and it doesn't stop for anything. I especially hate that I have to turn it on then fumble with getting my phone back in the holder so the first pace and heartrate numbers are slow and throw the averages off.

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    1. I don't think I'd like that either. I'm all about keeping it real on my training runs, but they are, after all, training runs. So the data I want is my moving pace.

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  10. wow you get up at 4:30 to run?! still waiting for the cooler temps to arrive here but I have had better runs this week so that's a positive right. Just taking it slow so my PF doesn't flare up again. Have a great week!

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  11. You are doing awesome in your training! Squats with chains? You are amazing! That picture with the chains just shows your awesome strength! Love it! Great job!

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    1. That was my response. "Squats with chains?" LOL! She's very creative!

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  12. You'd think you'd get to a point in the summer when it would finally cool off and the humidity would go away. It's hot and humid here too. Nice job on getting your training done in spite of the challenges.

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    1. It's supposed to cool down this week. I can tell you that everyone is looking forward to that.

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  13. What a week! You had it all, hot weather, skunk, creepy guy on bicycle, hot guy at the curb store, and the yoga poses! The greeting the sun picture is amazing! You will have to share your tips on how you get all these great shots! Happy Labor day!

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    1. It's all about the self timer! And the instagram filters help.

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  14. Sometimes I feel like I should be running more but for now I’m loving perfectly balanced weeks of workouts and it feels amazing! Body Pump, HIIT and yoga makes for a very happy body.

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    1. I'm starting to question my sanity...but I always do at this point in my training. There comes a point, tho, when it may be too much...

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  15. I'm laughing about the little chat, I feel like you do, I'm a bit older than most runners, however my engine is race ready (hahahahah). My only run of the week was a painful mile followed by me limping home. I'm having some sort of calf muscle issue. Have a great Labor Day
    Bakingrunner.blogspot.com

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  16. Way to push through a tough week Wendy. No, it's not always about paces (at least that's what I tell myself-ha ha). I think my long run this week was more for my mental training than anything else. I'm glad your sickness was short lived. I have to say, I've never encountered a skunk on a run. I'll be getting out of there fast! I'm listening to your song. I've always like Johnny Cash's version and this one is good too! Thanks for linking up with us today!

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    1. Oh, we are overtaken by skunks around here. I'm not sure why--everyone says there are no natural predators, but who would want to go after a skunk?

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  17. A skunk certainly would get me moving! Ugh on the cyclist, but if he wasn't up to no good I'm not sure blinding him was the best idea!

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  18. OMG the skunk! I would have freaked. I'm not a trail runner. Great job getting those tough workouts done in the heat. We are still in the thick of summer heat here in Miami so I thought it was nice to have temps in the 80s for my long run. Of course, I had to run in the dark to get that ... but still.

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    1. I can't imagine training in that Florida heat and humidity! I shouldn't even complain about ours. It's going away hopefully this week.

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  19. What a great training week with lots of great paces. Good for you. You are such a strong girl!

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    1. I'm really happy with my runs this week in spite of the crummy weather conditions, for sure!

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  20. Great week of training! I'm so glad you did not get sprayed by that skunk! That was close. My dogs have been sprayed a couple of times, and my husband has been sprayed once at work, and it is the worst. I think you did a lot of great mental training this week - that's going to pay off on race day!

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    1. My dog has been sprayed a few times, and we've had a couple close calls this week. I see them run through my yard at night. I'm terrified of her being sprayed again.

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  21. I admire you for running in the dark and fog. I would be so scared. But then again, it might be better than all that humidity... good for you for pushing through. Hope the temps are better this week !

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    1. It's supposed to cool off, but looks like I'll have one more steamy dark run tomorrow morning...

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  22. Can I ask, what training plan are you using? I am searching again for one, and am not sure what to choose.
    Great job on your runs this week. I've never run in fog like that before...and to find a skunk next to you too!

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    1. My coach made the plan for me. It's a lower mileage plan with lots of cross training. She's a CrossFit coach; I needed to add some strength training to my regimen and I started working with her. It's been very effective!

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  23. Nicely done on all of your training this week! I'm so over this hot and steamy business. I ran 8 today and the last two were just awful. (And I don't pause the garmin pretty much ever, so I had one really slow mile where I filled up my water bottle and drank a ton of water. I'm ready to be back to able to do my long runs with one bottle.

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    1. Yep. Right there with you on the hot and steamy. Unless it's a cute guy at the gas station..

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  24. Great job this week! Fog in the early morning definitely creeps me out. It's crazy that its still dark out for most of my runs and I've had to wear a headlamp most days now. Hopefully some cooler fall temps are right around the corner!

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    1. I've got a hot steamy run tomorrow morning, and then hopefully the rest of the week will be cooler!

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  25. What an awesome week of training!! Way to stick with it despite the heat and humidity (and skunks! Crazy!!) You look so strong doing those back squats!! My therapist wants me to start doing those too.
    All the hard work will pay off in the marathon Wendy!! Woo hoo!!

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    1. I hope so! Physically, I'm ready. It's always the mental piece that I have to work on!

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  26. So proud of you for killing it. We are both killing our training which is awesome, but I'm still worried about mine. I've been running in a climate controlled setting (not by choice sadly) and am definitely afraid that I won't be able to cut it outside.....school starts for the little guy next week, so hopefully I can get outside for some of my runs. But I won't be able to run until 9:30am and if it's still super hot out? Ugggh, I don't know what's going to happen. Great job lady! I can't wait to see how Chicago goes!!

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    1. I"m not worried about my training, but I've got some mama drama (as usual) and some work drama that keep me on edge. So as usual, I'm working on my mental toughness. It's all part of the fun right? We are for sure in this together, Sue!

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  27. Wow, another great week of training, Wendy! Keep up the incredible work! And kudos to you for not giving up on your long run. Running is definitely just as much mental as it is physical.

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    1. This weather really makes it tough to stay the course!

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  28. yuck to creepy biker. but yay to such solid training. the weather this past week was BRUTAL. i'm so impressed w/your training, per usual :)

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    1. A change is a-comin'....cooler temps starting tomorrow. I can't wait.

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  29. Sounds like a great training week for you! Way to go in the heat and humidity you have! Also, love your pics!

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  30. Congratulations on having a great week. I am a big fan of Johnny Cash and Social Distortion. But i still dont have the courage for hot runs. you are truly amazing.

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    1. If I had to choose, I wouldn't run in those conditions. But I'm committed to running this thing, so I don't have much of a choice!

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  31. Way to push through those tough runs, you are right they will be the confidence you need in your marathon! You won over your brain this week for sure! Still love to see what you do in cross-fit! Squats with chains, oh my your strength is so impressive! I'm playing catch up from my half and long weekend! It's back to work for me today and supposed to be Week #1 Marathon training, but I believe I'll take it easy and start next week, lol. Have a great week Wendy and thank you for joining us this week! :)

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    1. I'm waiting for our temps to cool off...enough already of this mental toughness training!

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  32. What a week it was right? That heat was unbearable. I was recovering from a cough so I also struggled to run.

    The raccoon would have freaked me out along with the cyclist.

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    1. We have a lot of wildlife around here. No natural predators.

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