TC Marathon Training – Week 17

As I type, we’re one week from Twin Cities Marathon! It’s actually kind of hard to believe — it felt so far away when I started this journey.

The past week has been more tapering to continue resting and recovering before the big day.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 6.02 mile run (10:04/mile pace)

I wanted to get this 6 mile run in earlier in the week since I knew I had some evening plans later in the week.

Wednesday – rest

Had a lovely visit catching up with a couple of friends — even though we had to wait a really long time for our pizza to arrive. Luckily, we got free pizzas out of it to use another time.

Thursday – 35 minute elliptical

I made myself get up early to get in a workout before work. It was a gloomy morning and I was ok with swapping a run for cross-training during the week, so I opted for the elliptical.

Thursday evening I headed to the MN Twins game. I hadn’t been to a game since early in the summer so it was fun to go. Would’ve been better if they’d won, but oh well. 🙂

twins

Friday – 3 mile run (10:08/mile pace)

I ran a quick errand after work and then headed out for a 3 mile run. It was a gorgeous evening to run along the river.

Saturday – 30 minute elliptical, 32 minute walk 

I did my cross-training in the morning so I could get some stuff done and prep for a costume/birthday party that night. Some friends through an annual Halloween party, but they moved it up a couple of weeks this year to coincide with celebrating a birthday. I had been Googling easy costume ideas because I didn’t want to just fall back on cowgirl — I’ve done that too many times. I landed on Rosie the Riveter and it turned out really well!

rosie

Since the weather was still nice, we were able to grill out, play some yard games and get a bonfire going.

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Sunday – 8.05 mile run (10:02/mile pace)

I headed over to Lake Nokomis for my last long run before the marathon. I haven’t been able to get to Lake Nokomis at all this summer, so I was excited for a nice day to do this run.

nokomis

I did 3 loops around the lake to get in 8 miles. Nothing too spectacular about this run. My calf started to get a bit tight around mile 6, which was a little uncomfortable, but finished strong.

8mile

I’ve already started laying out some of the gear I know I’ll need on race day. I’m keeping an eye on the forecast, though I know it’ll change about 100 times between now and next Sunday. The day is almost here, and I’m amazingly feeling pretty ready for this!

What are some things you do the week before a race?

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TC Marathon Training – Week 16

I’m officially two weeks away from the Twin Cities Marathon. Eeek! I can’t believe it’s so close. It’s nerve-racking, but I’ll also be glad when the day is finally here.

Many of last week’s workouts and training runs were done while I was on vacation. I didn’t get to run on the beach as much as I would’ve liked to because high tide was falling right at the time of the morning that I wanted to run. Hitting the streets wasn’t too bad though, and I got to relax on the beach after!

Monday – 14.51 miles (10:14/mile avg pace)

The weather was fantastic at the beach with lots of days in the low to mid 80s. The first couple of days that I was there were hotter and more humid, but the temps got a bit cooler by Monday, so I felt good about heading out for a 14 mile run.

I got up early to get the run in so I had plenty of beach time and to avoid lots of sun while running. Running in the neighborhoods provided some nice shade for most of the run. It took me a little bit to get warmed up, but I’m kind of used to that by now. Finally my legs woke up and carried me even a little farther than 14 miles when all was said and done. I took a few minutes to dip my tired feet in the pool after my run. 🙂

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Tuesday – 4.13 mile walk

Took a nice, long walk with my family in the morning before heading back to the beach for the afternoon.

Wednesday – rest

Thursday – 5.09 mile run (10:03/mile avg pace)

I made myself get up to do one more run while on vacation. We had a few hours in the early afternoon to sit on the beach before having to get packed up and head to the airport. Sad to have to leave my Happy Place, but it was the perfect way to wrap up the summer. I think I’m ready for fall now.

flying

Friday – 8.09 mile run (10:05/mile avg pace)

I got back late Thursday night, but still had Friday off of work, so I was able to do a mid-day run as the temps were definitely feeling like fall in the 60s.

Saturday – 35 minute elliptical and 1.3 mile walk

Doing my 20 mile and 14 mile runs on Mondays was kind of throwing off my training schedule. Not too bad, but I wanted to get it back on track for the last couple of weeks. I opted for some good cross-training instead of a 4 mile run on Saturday morning.

In the afternoon I met up with my sister and some friends to check out Street Pub with Deschutes Brewery. They closed down a couple blocks in downtown Minneapolis for this pop-up street pub with beer, food, and music. All of the proceeds get donated to Second Harvest Heartland. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be outside sipping a beer for a good cause!

streetpub

Sunday – 12.18 mile run (10:01/mile avg pace)

When my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I knew I was not ready to get up yet. I reset it for 7 a.m. and went back to sleep. Luckily, it was a nice, cool morning so starting my run at 8:30 wasn’t a big deal.

I ventured over to Summit Ave. for this 12 mile run. Summit Ave. is the road the covers the last 5 miles of the marathon course. I parked near where the finish line will be and ran West on Summit until I hit East River Rd. I ran on East River Rd. for about a mile and then turned around. I did this on purpose. There’s an infamous hill on East River Rd. that leads the marathon course onto Summit Ave. It’s not a huge hill, but when any hill comes at mile 21 of a marathon, it’s a bad hill. I wanted to run that hill and then make my way back up Summit towards the finish line just to get a taste of it before the actual day.

Summit is a beautiful street full of trees and old homes. You pass the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral just before the finish line.

cathedral

Overall, a pretty nice run to get ready for TCM!

12miles

I spent most of the afternoon relaxing, but then ran a few errands, and embraced the fall weather by cooking up a hot meal. I made this Spinach and mushroom quinoa recipe that I found on Pinterest and roasted some sweet potato. Doesn’t get more fall than that!

quinoa

Are you ready for fall?

TC Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

Ok, trying to get caught up on the recaps! It’s been a busy couple of weeks with work which makes getting training done a bit tougher, but I’ve still managed to do a pretty good job of fitting it all in. I have still swapped a couple of runs for cross training to give the Achilles a break and continue to take care of it so it’s good on marathon day.

Week 14

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 4.03 miles (9:59/mile pace)

This was technically supposed to be a 5 mile run, but I started to feel my Achilles a little in mile 4 and it was just gross out. It was hot and humid. I got done running and it literally looked like I dumped a bucket of water on myself.

sweat

Wednesday – 4.01 miles (9:53/mile pace)

I met up with a friend for a run after work. The weather wasn’t as bad as the day before, but it was still pretty steamy. Despite that, we had a great time catching up on our run!

Thursday – 36 minute stationary bike

After a long work day, I decided to do cross training instead of a longer run.

Friday – 35 minute elliptical

I hopped on the elliptical for a quick workout after work.

Later that night, I headed out to meet some friends for a night of dancing at First Avenue. The theme of the music was “Forever Young” and they played all the classic 90s-2000s dance and hip hop songs. I’m talking NSYNC, Nelly, Beyonce and so many more.

Dancing could be counted as some cross training – right? 😉

firstave

Saturday – rest

Sunday – 3.07 miles (10:16/mile pace)

I had planned to do my 20 mile run on Sunday, but had been watching the weather because it kept changing and eventually said rain would be coming in early and it was supposed to be pretty hot and humid.

Sure enough, when I woke up before 6 a.m. it was storming. I waited it out and the rain finally let up, so I headed out (about an hour later than I wanted to) and drove to Lake Harriet. Of course it started raining again when I was halfway there. But, it had pretty much stopped when I arrived.

I decided to take a lap around Lake Harriet and see how it went. I could already feel the heat and humidity starting up and I wasn’t sure if 20 was going to happen, so I decided to keep it at 3 easy miles and postpone the 20 for the following day when the weather was supposed to be a lot better.

Week 15

Monday – 20.02 miles (10:06/mile pace)

Ah, the infamous 20 mile run. The longest training run in my plan. The game plan was to do 2 laps around each of the 3 lakes. I was feeling pretty good and confident as I got started at Lake Harriet. I made sure to start early to take advantage of the cooler morning temps. It was going to be warm that day but not as bad as the day before.

Harriet20

I did my usual loop around the lake and then made my way towards Lake Calhoun. I ran along Calhoin until I reached the path to Lake of the Isles and headed that way. As I made my first loop around this lake I could feel my Achilles a little, so I paid attention to make sure I wouldn’t need to head back early. By the time I got around once I wasn’t feeling it anymore and went into the second loop. This pic below is one of my favorite spots on Lake of the Isles since the path is right up by the water.

isles20

After 2 laps, I headed back to Calhoun to complete 2 laps there. At this point I was still doing pretty good. The end of the second lap was when I noticed that I was getting really tired. Of course, I still had about 5 miles to go. It was a little discouraging to be feeling like my legs were about done and knowing I had that far to go. When my legs have felt like that on other runs, I’ve usually only had like 2 miles left.

calhoun20

So now, it was a mental test. I had to do anything I could to keep myself distracted and just keep running.

I got back to Lake Harriet and was still struggling at mile 17.5 when I started chatting with a fellow runner who was doing the same pace as me. I came to refer to him as my running angel because of the boost our conversation had for me. The last mile I ran without him was still really tough, but I was determined to hit 20.

As soon as my watch beeped, exhaled, started to walk, and about broke into tears. I was surprised by how emotional I was. (Lord only knows what I’ll be like on marathon day!) I think it was a mix of pure relief to be done and sheer amazement that I actually conquered 20 miles.

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I totally get what people mean when they talk about hitting the wall. I hope it’s not that bad on marathon day, but this was probably a good mental test.

Tuesday – rest 

Tuesday was all about rest, ice, compression, and elevation whenever I could to help my sore muscles!

Wednesday – 20 minute stationary bike and 25 minute elliptical

I needed to do a workout before work, so I opted for cross training to slowly ease back into running after the 20 mile run. I got in a solid 45 minutes to start the day.

Thursday – 35 minute walk

I had to get up really really early but it’s because I was going on vacation, so it was ok with me. I had a 2 hour layover and decided to use some of that time to get in a walk around the airport.

Friday – 8.16 miles (10:01/mile pace)

I got up early to beat the heat and was glad I did.

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Saturday – 3 miles (10:00/mile pace)

It was a dreary, rainy day so I hit the workout room for a short run before we headed out to do some shopping.

Sunday – rest

It was a gorgeous day on the beach with the high around 80 degrees. We sat on the beach for awhile in the morning and the. Walked the couple blocked to an Irish Pub that had football on so we could watch the Packers and have lunch.

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Then it was back to the beach for the rest of the day!

Running Angels

I know I’m behind a week on my recaps, so you’ll get a double recap soon. But in the meantime, I did want to share a unique experience I had during my big 20 mile run this past Monday.

I had a moment where I met what I’m calling a running angel. Around mile 15-16 of my 20 mile run, I was fading. I’m not gonna like–it was hard. I was already exhausted and my legs were about done, but I knew I still had 4-5 miles to go.

Around mile 17.5, I started running alongside a fellow runner. We were keeping the same pace, so naturally started talking. Turns out he was on mile 15 of his 20 mile run training for the Chicago Marathon. The last few miles were tough for him too, but as a 4-time marathoner he had some great words of advice and encouragement for a novice. He talked about good training advice he’s been given, how great the crowd support at the end of the TC Marathon is, and he said I seemed well prepared for my first marathon – he wished he had been as well prepared.

Given my recent aches and pains with my Achilles and having to skip a couple of runs, I’ve started to feel a little doubt creep in. That doubt started to get a bit louder as those last several miles were getting really hard. His words and encouragement couldn’t have come at a better time. We just ran about a mile together before our routes parted ways, but that mile provided a much-needed distraction. It also reminded me why I love runners. Amazing how a complete stranger can boost your confidence and help you push through a rough patch.

I’m grateful for each experience (good and bad) that I’ve had through this training process. They’ve made me stronger–physically and mentally–and taught me a lot about myself. It has been a blessing.

So, thank you to my running angel for showing up when I needed it most!

Harriet20

Do you believe in running angels?