Can you believe August is almost over? It feels like this is my first blog post in forever. The month of August has just been that crazy. There’s not been much (if any) time for blogging. Life has thrown a bunch of curve balls at my and my family in an already busy month. We’ve had the nieces, nephew and brother in law out here from Houston, celebrated my 8 year wedding anniversary, Colton started up in a new day care this week, my wife started as a lead teacher for the first time since Colton’s arrival this week, I had jury duty last week, and an interview for a job that would mean a promotion at work. Also, my wife had her birthday on Monday. Add to that, my Honda Civic had its transmission give me problems leading to a major repair bill. It was such a large bill that it was for more than the value of the car. So, I’ve spent a lot of my last two weeks searching for a new car. On Sunday, we finally got that new car. I’ll share a pic at the close of this post.
In the past three weeks, I have put in a few training runs. My streak of two mid-week training runs ran out in all the craziness. However, I got in one mid-week run three weeks ago. That came on the Thursday of that week. You’ll probably notice that I’m not showing a Garmin generated stat in the above pic. That’s because, before my car went out on me, my Garmin Vivo Fit HR Active watch went out on me while swimming. I thought those things were good in the water. Oh well, I went with my Nike Plus app instead. Since I noticed that my previous mid-week run, the Nike Plus App registered 4.08 miles (while the Garmin registered 4.00). So, 4.08 is what I ran.
With my previous long run being 11 miles, I knew that I’d be slow on this run. Also, at 75 degrees, this was the warmest early morning run I’ve faced in this training cycle. With the warm temps, I took this run slow on purpose. Mile 1 was a little fast for where I wanted to be. Even though mile 2 was my fastest mile, it felt comfortable. So, it’s okay that I was faster. However, I could feel myself getting slower in mile 3 and that continued through mile 4. My goal on this run was merely to finish and not over exert myself. Mission accomplished! While this time is slow, it was perfect for what I needed it to be.
The big run for that week was my 13 miler on Sunday. After running 11 miles the week before at the beach, I knew I needed hills. After all, the NYC Marathon is not a flat and fast race. With summer temps in the forecast, I was up at 4:30 to beat the heat. The plan was to run 30, walk 90 seconds the whole way. It was my first run back in the hills of South Pasadena and Pasadena. So, I had no idea what to expect. Plus, there is plenty of time to improve. No need to kill myself on this run.
This run couldn’t have been better if I had wanted it to be. I knew miles 1 and 2 would be the easiest of the day and they were. I had a fueling strategy that worked to perfection. I’d take on Gator Aide every 2 miles and a Cliff Shot Blok every 30 minutes (followed by water immediately). I’m proud to report that I made every single run interval on the schedule….even on the hill coming out of the Rose Bowl to finish mile 11! I was slightly slower at the end of mile 11 than the previous week. However, that was to be expected given the addition of hills. Still, at 2:26:20, I was only around 3 and a half minutes slower over 11 miles. So, it wasn’t all bad. What I was most thrilled about is that I finished 13 miles in 2:54:07! This is my fastest 13 miles as a running dad! So, I had to make this run into a full half marathon. My finish time at 2:55:32 is easily the fastest half marathon distance I’ve run as a running dad! Needless to say, I felt very victorious at the end of this run.
I knew a trap week was before me. After all, I had finished two double-digit long runs on consecutive weekends and the next weekend called for a recovery 6 miles. I had no idea, however, that my car would go out on me Monday of this week and all the chaos that would follow. Plus, there was family in town. Unfortunately, I did not make a single mid-week run. On Saturday morning, I decided to finish my schedule 6 miles. Even though, I hadn’t run all week long. After my half marathon victory the week before, I wanted to alter my run/walk intervals for this run. However, with all the missed runs, I stuck with the run 30, walk 90 seconds all the way through.
As you can see, this is also my first run with my new Garmin 235 watch! I loved it! The temps on this run were perfect from start to finish. My first two miles were fantastic! I’ve been faster on this route over the first 2 miles. However, I’ve also been slower. So, the fact that I was using the 90 second walk intervals made my time of 24:26 okay with me. Miles 3, 4 and 5 are a gradual incline. The elevation loss in the chart above for mile 3 was in the first 0.2 miles of that mile. From there, it went up. As I look back at the times, this run was pretty much on point with my half marathon the week before. Through 5 miles (with a different GPS device), I was 5 seconds faster. Of course, the incline I faced in miles 3-5 weren’t as severe as I faced the week before (on the same miles). But, it’s nice to see consistency. Also, by the end of 6 miles, I was 59 seconds faster than the week before! Now, I have run this route faster. But, I’ve also run it slower. So, I was reasonably happy with the result.
Since I missed my mid-week runs, I decided to head out on the Sunday after my 6 miler to make up one of the missed 4 mile runs. My goal with this run was to switch up my run/walk intervals for miles 2 and 3 to a 60 second walk break and see what would happen.
As you can see, there is a huge improvement over the 4 miler I recorded the week prior. The difference was those two miles where I walked 60 seconds vs. 90 seconds in miles 1 and 4. Y’all, this run felt AMAZING! I felt pretty comfortable with the 60 seconds walk breaks. As a matter of fact, I felt so comfortable that I considered continuing 60 second walk breaks in mile 4. However, I reminded myself that the marathon was still a few months away. So, I didn’t need to break any speed records on this day. Getting to the end of mile 3 in 35:46 was thrilling! I mean, I had 2 sub 12 minute miles on this run! In mile 4, I did my best to limit my losses and it worked out pretty well. Finishing 14 seconds over a 12 minute par mile average pace was absolutely perfect!
Sadly, the stresses of this month finally caught up with me. Last week was a real up and down week filled with uncertainty over things like jury duty, when I’d get a job interview, and finalizing the purchase of my new car. So, training went out the window for the week. I had a 15 miler scheduled on Saturday. However, I honestly needed a break. Also, this 15 mile distance has become a real mental barrier for me. Since becoming a dad, I’ve missed this distance each and every time it’s come up. It was missing this distances 3 times in a row that caused me to pull out of the LA Marathon earlier this year. Therefore, I need to heed the words of Jedi Master Yoda and complete my training. In order to do that, I need to get back on the horse this week and continue moving forward. On the NYC Marathon Runners group I’m part of on Facebook, someone posted this recently…
Getting stressed about your marathon training? Feeling behind on your training schedule?
We know that things go wrong. We know that life interferes. We know that we fall behind. We know we may feel undertrained.
Don’t try to correct that by overtraining. Don’t push yourself too hard. Especially towards the end. You can’t fix it by skipping rest days or by doubling up on workouts.
You’ll burn yourself out. You’ll risk injury.
So be careful.
Here’s an analogy I heard at one of my Triathlon training sessions that helped keep me calm. Maybe it will help ease your nerves too.
Training is like baking cookies.
Nobody likes a burnt cookie. And once that cookie is burned there is no fixing it. It’s already overdone. You don’t want to leave it in the oven for too long.
But, everyone likes a cookie that is a little underdone. So, while it may not be perfect, it is still good to go. So it is okay to pull it out of the oven a little early.
That really helped me because I had starting panicking right before the end.
And, really, I do love an underdone cookie.
Words to live by…
By the way, here’s the new family car! It’s a 2016 Honda Accord EX-L. It’s one sweet ride and I’m so grateful for how it all worked out that I would get such a great car! Adding car payments to the budget will suck. However, I can make the payments I’ve set up. So, after a lot of stress and work, it’s all good!