Category Archives: patience

Week in Review 4.3.17 to 4.9.17

Monday: Kicked my own rear. 1.5 miles at tempo up the UVM Bike Path, 1 mile at T on the track and 2 by 200 all out (ha!) on the track. Did this full body lift and loved it!

Tuesday: 4 mile recovery run in the torrential rain. Quite miserable.

Wednesday: 2 miles easy plus round robin lift.

Thursday: Off day. Didn’t totally intend to do an actual off day but exhausted from my first week back in the ICU.

Friday: 3 mile shakeout run with 5 by 1 at MP, 5 by 1 at T Pace.

Saturday: 2 mile warmup then Half Unplugged at Steady State pace. Finished in 1:31:54. Super happy with my ability to do my workout and not overdo it despite two early miles that were probably too aggressive.

Sunday: 5.25 mile recovery run in 60 degree weather. Amazing!

Total Miles: 37.6

Quite pleased with this week. I started up in the SICU again this week (read, dead legs from all day standings) and still managed to get some reasonable training in including a huge workout yesterday at Unplugged. It was mentally challenging not to press as hard as I could but I was really happy to get a controlled tough effort in and am especially happy today as I’m tired but not trashed.

What I’m most excited about, however, is that I am much more interested in training again! I don’t know if it’s the weather or getting something like Unplugged under my belt, but I’m ready to get back into workouts and start the improvement cycle.

One thing I did differently this week was run after work. I have to be in by 5:30 and with our current schedules, it’s hard to go to bed early enough to get good sleep in time to get up at 3:30. Even with compression on, my legs were miserable but at least I got some runs done in the light! For this week, I’m going to try am workouts and see if it’s better.

One thing I didn’t do well at this week was hydration. It’s hard to drink enough water in the ICU because we can’t have water on our work stations and we spend a lot of time running around trying to keep critically ill patients safe. Every day this week, I would come home completely parched and realize that the only water I’d had was in my coffee. I need to prioritize drinking more water this week so I’m not so miserable by 6 pm.

 

It Ain’t About How Hard You Hit (Olympic Trials 2020)

It ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. 

I’ve talked about it here before although not in great detail, but Philly 2015 and my failure to make the Olympic Trials or even break 1:20 did significant damage to my running soul. I’m still not sure I’ve recovered as evidenced by my lack of…caring during races but I’m starting to feel a bit more life since the 2020 Standards were released this past weekend. The full standard will be 2:45 and opens September 1, 2017, which is what it was relaxed to at the end of the window this past year. The half standard was lowered to 1:13 and doesn’t open til 2018. Aka, I’ll be going for the full standard.

When I asked Will on Sunday if I had a chance, he didn’t miss a beat and said, “without a doubt.” He’s generally pretty honest, so I allowed myself a little hope and even decided that I’ll run the New Bedford Half Marathon this spring as part of an extended build-up. My goal isn’t to PR but to start getting some long distance specificity back. I can’t pick a goal race or even a window yet until I know 1) where I’m doing residency and 2) what my schedule looks like for PGY 1 and 2 but I’m officially putting it out there as a big, scary goal.

Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come in the marathon amidst some disappointments, but here’s my trajectory AND what I’ll need to qualify.

  • City of Oaks 2008 3:17:35 (7:32)
  • Rock’nRoll 2009 Las Vegas 3:15:51 (7:28)
  • Boston Marathon 2011 3:11:18 (7:18)
  • Vermont City Marathon 2012 3:05:33 (7:04)
  • Vermont City Marathon 2013 2:58:28 (6:48)
  • Mohawk Hudson River Marathon 2014 2:54:38 (6:39)
  • Olympic Trials 2020 Standard 2:45 (6:17)

6 marathons, 23 minutes off and a drop in pace of 57 seconds. For a 2:44:30, I’ll need to drop 10 more minutes and 23 seconds per mile. It seems wholly insurmountable now, but we all have to start somewhere, right? I don’t anticipate doing it all in one bite; it seems more realistic to aim to get under 2:50 first and then take the final stab after that.

Week in Review: 6.27.16 to 7.3.16

Monday: Had to get drug tested for a couple of the hospitals I’m visiting this year so didn’t get to the Illinois Prarie Path until 11 when it was already 90 and full sun. Promised myself I’d just do the workout on effort and happily executed 5 by mile at tempo pace (6:52, 6:53, 6:51, 6:53, 6:48) in the heat. Legs after.

Tuesday: Forced myself to take a prorated off day of 7 miles. Too tempting to jam in running with my more open schedule.

Wednesday: 9.2 miles on the CalSag with strides afterward. Legs totally cooked from working.

Thursday: 9 mile interval workout. 2 by 800, 600, 400, 200. Pace progressed through the workout and finished with a 37 second 200. Legs after.

Friday: Hour run around the neighborhood.

Saturday: 12.2 mile long run. Felt horrible for all of this because I ate WAY too close to running but just took it a minute at a time.

Sunday: Hour run with mile of ins/outs on the track. Arms after.

Total Miles: 60.4

The theme of the week was tired legs. I had a big block of work this week and my legs let me know it, with stinging and aching galore. Despite that, I got solid running in and am starting to feel some fitness come back under the fatigue. The opportunity that this presented, however, to practice working on effort rather than prescribed paces was an awesome one and I’m proud that I was able to do this successfully for both of my workouts and my long run.

This will be my last “up” week before I cut back for the half. I have a continuous tempo on the docket for today, minute hard/minute easy later in the week and a 2 hour long run before my 50% week.

An 18 Month Check In

18 months ago, I put my goals out there for all to see, judge and watch me strive for from behind their computer screens. Since some were on an 18 month time frame, it’s time to check in on how things are going.

18 Month Goals

PR in the marathon. Done, 2:54 at Mohawk Hudson in 2014. 

Break 1:20 in the half and 37 in the 10K. Not so much, although the first is possible at Philly. 

Get a shiny new 5K PR. Done, 18:44 at Champlain Classic in 2015. 

Someday

Win a marathon. Nope, was 2nd by 20 minutes last fall. 

Win a national title. Nope. 

Run a beer mile. Nope.

Break 2:45 in the marathon, 1:18 in the half, 36 in the 10K and 17:30 in the 5K. Nope, nope, nope, nope. 

Run a trail marathon. Nope. I forgot I even had this as a goal. I actually loathe trail running. 

Transition to an excellent masters career. We can give me credit for this, as it’s a process of staying uninjured and stacking cycle on cycle. 

Pie in the Sky

OTQ. Not yet. 

Elite Women’s Start at Boston. Nope.

Get invited to the USA Running Circuit. Hoping this happens in 2016 after a great Philly. 

Get a mention on Let’s Run or Running Times. Nope, but I did post my first ever comment on Let’s Run recently. Does that count?

In all honesty, I’m actually pretty happy with the way I’m progressing towards these goals despite the fact that I haven’t met all my 18 month goals yet. I named those goals less than 6 months out from foot surgery and at the end of my first year of medical school before I knew what my recovery would look like, what studying for the Boards would mean and what clerkship hours would feel like. Despite all that, I’ve made continual forward progress and continue to chip away at these goals.

For the next 18 months (which terrifyingly takes me up to my graduation from medical school and beginning of residency), my goals are to:

Break 1:20 in the half. Breaking 1:18 at Philly would be my A+ day goal.

Break 18:00 in the 5K.

Run a trail marathon.

Win a marathon (perhaps VCM 2017 before we leave Burlington for a while).

What are you short term goals? Long term goals? How often do you check in on them?

No Body’s Perfect

At first blush, running seems like it should be easy. After all, we’ve been doing it since we were running away from wooly mammoths and the like. Spend fifteen minutes at a race, however, and you’ll note that although there are many different ways to “run,” they are not all equivalent in terms of efficiency or speed. As a result, running form is a constant focus of coaches and athletes alike. We spend time doing drills, striders and looking through video and pictures to assess the progression in form from the first 400 to the finishing stretch.

Despite knowing that my running form needs work, I haven’t spent a lot of time on it in recent years. Some of that is just from my schedule but some of it is stubbornness; my knees haven’t driven for almost 32 years, why would they start now?! However, behind this stubbornness, I know that if I want to get to the next level, I can’t fight my forward progress with low knees and a twisting upper body.

A skips. My face tells you how hard this is for me...

A skips. My face tells you how hard this is for me…

Now that I have the luxury of more time, I’m starting and ending every run with a routine of hip swings, cycle steps and skips to enforce good form and practicing good form in spurts throughout my easy runs. During my striders, I’m focused on driving knees and open arm swing. Finally, I’m lifting daily to make sure my muscles are strong enough to support all these new patterns of motion.

A physical reminder to stand tall.

A physical reminder to stand tall.

As a team, we are also working on posture this year. As most of us tire through a run or a race, we tend to collapse our shoulders inward which impedes our breathing and collapses our pelvis. Our taping project is the brain child of a team parent who is a PT. The tape (KT Tape) is placed such that you get a small tug on your lower back when you start to collapse inward. It definitely helps with running but I even notice its benefit when I’m just standing around and start to get lazy.

What parts of your form are you working on? Are you open to change or stubborn about your form? What drills do you do regularly?

Week in Review: 9.22.14 to 9.28.14

Taper has begun and par for the course, I’m now terrified that I’m going to break an ankle, get pneumonia or get hit by a rogue biker. The last item was close to reality on my long run today, as the bike path was packed with people taking advantage of unseasonably warm temps to evidently learn how to bike.

Monday: 7.2 miles with the team at mostly recovery pace with a few hills at a faster pace. Feeling pretty good from the workout.

Tuesday: 11 miles that was supposed to be easy and became less easy when I got totally and utterly lost in Starbird. Beach abs afterward.

Wednesday: 12.7 mile tempo run. Warmup, 3 by 10 minutes at T pace then 5 by 30 seconds hard and cooldown.

Thursday: Official beginning of taper. 7 mile recovery run.

Friday: 8.3 miles with 4 striders on the track.

Saturday: 5 miles at Manchester Invitational. Stood in the hot sun all day, which wasn’t optimal but the girls ran SO well, who could care.

They insisted on the porto-potty pose. I love them.

They insisted on the porto-potty pose. I love them.

Sunday: 14.75 miles. 3 mile warm up, 40 minutes at T pace (6:35 today) and cooldown to the 2 hour mark. Can’t believe this is it. Total body lift afterward.

Total Miles: 66

Besides some short tempo efforts and striders, all the hard work is over. Now all I can do is drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep and work on getting my mind ready for 26.2.

Number of Weather Checks: 1 (For the record, low of 37 the night before and high of 62 and cloudy for race day. I’ll take that.)

What’s the Point?

No, I’m not having a runner tantrum or questioning the meaning of life. Training is going really well and I’m looking forward to a solid Phase III. Asking “what’s the point” however, is one of the most critical questions an athlete can ask of a coach and of themselves.

Every run should have a purpose. As such, every run has an appropriate length and pace and (spoiler alert) as hard as you can doesn’t count. I just came out of Phase II, where I was focused on getting my long run to 2:30 and on building the strength to do some big workouts in Phase III. This strength came from a steady diet of intervals with 90% rest, tempo runs and most importantly, recovery runs. Early on in Phase II, I almost derailed myself because I started to push the pace on my easy runs. I should know better but my foot called me out on the behavior and I’m back to running my easy runs somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 pace. Yup. I race over two minutes per mile faster than I do most of my mileage.

One of the biggest challenges as a coach is convincing athletes to slow down on their recovery runs. People want to push, want to rush the acquisition of fitness or recovery from an injury. They get about two weeks out of this approach, three if they’re lucky. Think I’m being dramatic? Just read a few running blogs and look for the trend. People celebrate the return from an injury or pick a goal race, pop up their mileage way beyond the 10% rule, start hammering workouts and low and behold, just don’t know what happened when they are totally out again three weeks later.

Last year, I decided to start telling my girls about the point of each workout and run and found that in so doing, I was able to alleviate anxiety. I think we have a natural tendency to assume that a particular run or workout “determines” our future success. In reality, a goal race depends on workout stacked on workout stacked on workout and showing up every day and asking ourselves what we’re aiming to accomplish that day and then executing that. One run does not a training cycle make.

How do you make sure that all of your runs have purpose? How do you structure training cycles? What are your tricks for not pushing it too far, too soon?

 

207 Miles for April!!!

I was so excited to see that I cracked 200 miles for April, something I haven’t done since September 2013. A year ago at this time, I was running 275 miles a month, so it’s amazing to be “that” close to normal again.

Weeeeee

Weeeeee

For May, the goal is to keep building while adding in more intensity as race season has officially started. I’m considering adding in an open track mile race next weekend, just to mix things up and then it’s onward to the half at VCM and a bunch of June races. My hope is to hit about 225 miles and just get used to race pain again.

Upward we go!

How many miles did you get in during April? What was your last mile race?

Bricks in the Foundation

I’m almost 4 months out from surgery. When stated that way, it makes it seem like I should be back to normal, cranking along at mileage and handling speed workouts. I’m at about 50 miles a week but workouts are casual and recovery is long.

I’m only 4 months out from surgery. Stated this way, it seems like I should still be rebuilding and resting between hard efforts. In the context that I haven’t even regained 50% of my tensile strength, this is probably a better way to phrase things. I’m having a flawless *knockonfuckingwood* recovery. I ran on time. I’ve been able to build my miles with minimal pain. My ankle looks good. My scar looks good.

I’m still thinking about things from the perspective of the first sentence. I’m getting frustrated when easy days aren’t easy. I feel left behind as friends and competitors get faster and faster. I’m anxious about racing in a week and a half when I haven’t done anything more than striders and progression runs.

Katherine and I have adopted a new phrase this spring. After suffering a fairly significant injury last April, Kath is finally back on the roads again which was perfect timing for me. We started with 4 mile jogs, plodding around through slush and snow at almost 10 minutes a mile. In the last 6 weeks, however, we’ve progressed to 8 mile regular runs and 12 mile long runs at about 8 minute pace. As we are prone to do, we occasionally whine about not being faster and the other is responsible for uttering the phrase “bricks in the foundation” or “today is just another brick.” It’s our way of reminding the other that this is a long game and that every day we’re out there running, we’re closer to our goals. And we’re right. Success in running requires extraordinary patience and doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over months and years of base mileage, of lifting in the gym, of stretching after runs, of fueling oneself with good food, of sleeping enough.

Build on.

How do you encourage yourself when you’re rebuilding?

What are you hoping to add to your running foundation this year?

Week in Review 3.17 to 3.23

Monday: 6.2 Miles with Kath

Tuesday: 5.2 Miles with Will and legs in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Off Day

Thursday: 6.75 Miles with Kath

Friday: Progression Run! Well, sort of. Worked my way up throughout the workout. Frustrating/humbling to not even hit marathon pace and be tired…Arms afterward with some new exercises.

Saturday: 8 Miles. Wanted to do 10 to 12, but with the ice and jumping, my legs just didn’t feel good.

Sunday: Off, just a walk with the dogs. Can’t get ahead of myself and no reason to hit 40 so soon. Working on the whole patience thing.

Total: 34 Miles

Reflection: I ran a lot this week (all this being relative post-surgery), so that’s a huge positive. I managed to get my two lifting sessions in as well. I didn’t improve on getting core in and did zero extra cross training, so those are two areas to try and focus on during the coming week. Our schedule felt insane this week and I just never made it to the pool. Aiming for 40 miles this coming week and at least a few pool sessions with JoJo.