The Ups and Downs of Boston Training

Hi!  Wow, it sure has been awhile.  When I first started this blog, I wasn’t taking classes and I wasn’t really training for anything in particular..I was just a teacher and an athlete that wanted to share my passion for running, crossfit and a healthy/balanced lifestyle.  Though I am still all of those and my passion is stronger than ever before, in the last few months I have added a lot more to my plate.  I have gone back to school to earn my CAGS in education administration, I have taken on more roles in the school and… I AM TRAINING FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON!!

P.S – Unpacking from my Disney Vacation for the Princess Challenge in February was on my to-do list up until last week so lets just say, blogging has been pretty far down the list.

That being said, I am busy but I am also realizing that much of my busy lifestyle is a result of my own choices.  I like to run or go to crossfit in the mornings and when I don’t have my evening class I like to go to Hot Yoga later in the day. I guess I can’t complain about my busy schedule because much of the things that are keeping me busy are things I choose to do and the only person making them feel mandatory or a ‘must do’ is me.  Taper week is around the corner and my plan is to take that time to settle down and prepare myself physically and mentally for Boston.

Speaking of Boston, it has been one heck of a training period.  I have had many long runs to reflect on why this marathon training has felt so darn long and sometimes draining.  It didn’t take long for me to find the answer.  This is the first time I have actually done marathon training the conventional way. *Gasp* Shocker!  My San Francisco marathon training looked a little like this..

  • I’ll sign up for the marathon but will probably just drop to the half because high mileage seems scary and staying inside my comfort zone is easiest.
  • Oh look,  I just ran 14 miles….maybe I actually can run more than a half marathon.
  • Well looks like I may run the FULL (…in a month and a half)
  • The following weekend…16…then 18….then 20….OH HEY LOOK ITS TAPER TIME.

Then we have the Philadelphia Marathon training schedule…

  • After running my first marathon, longs runs that are shorter than 15 miles feel so little so every Sunday I will just run around 14-16 miles.
  • Hmm….maybe I should just do a fall marathon since my training is pretty much there.
  • I’ll just cram in an 18 miler and then a 20 miler…OH HEY LOOK ITS TAPER TIME.

It is safe to say that although I successfully completed both marathons with Boston qualifying times, my training was unorganized and unconventional at best.  This time around, it has been significantly different and I am 100% experiencing the roller coaster of emotions associated with marathon training.

The Boston Marathon is special in so many ways.  The best and worst thing about this race is that it feels as though everyone is doing it.  Between Instagram, team emails, blogs and Facebook I see training runs posted daily.  Runners are hyper-focused on this race and I can’t help but feel as though I need to be that hyper-focused runner who is hitting training runs like everyone else. The thing is…I am not everyone else.  I am me. I have my unconventional running plans because I am not just a runner. I am equally passionate about crossfit and am not willing to give up that passion even for that amazing thing called…The Boston Marathon.  

My team has had long training runs every weekend since January and has also incorporated track workouts on Tuesdays.  In trying to fit the mold of the hardcore Boston Marathon runner, I have been doing the long runs, the track workouts and then stumbling into crossfit to fit in a WOD.  It took some mid-training reflecting for me to realize that in trying to do what needs to be done, I may just be doing exactly the opposite of what should be done.  On a solo 18-miler a couple weeks ago, I listened to a podcast by Alex Viadra called “The Hybrid Athlete”.  For 74 minutes I listened to him talk about balancing crossfit and marathon training…FINALLY, something I can relate to! When he mentioned that it is OK to not log as many miles as those around me because of the endurance embedded in crossfit, it felt as though a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  It was exactly what I needed to hear. As I move forward in my training and my mileage is higher than ever, I need to be smart.  If my legs are still tired from a 18-20 miler on Sunday then the track workout needs to be put on hold for the week and an easy 4-5 miler will do just fine.  Trying to cram everything in is not the way to go.  40-50 mile weeks are for some people but they are not for me and I don’t want them to be for me.  It may mean I will never break a sub 3 hour marathon but I am willing to sacrifice that for the sake of having freedom in my schedule and being multi-sport/activity athlete.

With all that said, let me take a step back and say that although these past couple months have had some mentally challenging moments, it has been SO FUN and more enjoyable than troublesome.  I can’t get over how lucky I have been with the weather this winter!  Even when there was snow on the ground, the roads were clear and I couldn’t resist taking on 2 more miles to my planned 18 miles.

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It also felt amazing to get back on the track for some speed!  I have been using crossfit for working my fast twitch muscles but I didn’t realize how much I missed the track until I went back. It’s exhausting, it’s painful but the speed in those final lap(s) of every set are so exhilarating.

image7The first time back at the track we did a ladder of 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400 which is definitely in my comfort level. I am all about those short and fast distances… because that is where I do best. The following Track Tuesday my coach threw in a mile in the mix and darnnnnnnn it hurt, so when the next track workout had 2 x mile I can’t say I was thrilled. But it was one of those moments where you just need to suck it up and realize that it is in these moments where we grow.  Doing the things that we struggle with are never enjoyable but is where we train our legs and our mind to persevere.

image3…and persevere I did.  I owe it to those 5:30am track workouts for last weekend’s 5k PR!

In addition to my early morning Track Tuesday workouts, I have been doing longer(ish) runs on Thursday mornings to end out my week of workouts.  I have class on Thursday evenings and rest on Fridays so I try to get in a final 7-9 mile run every Thursday morning.  After a long week of workouts, my legs aren’t always feeling fresh but I doubt they will feel fresh at mile 20 during my marathons so it is good practice.

image1 (1)

….and I can’t resist these peaceful winter mornings.  My Thursday morning runs started at about 6-7 miles and slowly began to increase to 8 …and then 9.  However my alarm clock has not changed in correlation with my mileage increase.  Resulting in this..

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Lovely greek yogurt, banana and granola at a red light on the way to work. Ha Ha.

It is time to close this blog post up with some final highlights in these past couple of months and a few exciting things to come!

Can’t forget about the annual Disney trip over February vacation with my mom!  This was our 3rd and (most likely) final year so we went all in and tackled the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon!

image422.4 miles later and 3 mornings of 3am wake-ups calls for $7 finish line Champagne! My mom killed her age group each race and I took 1st place in the 5k (my first ever ribbon breaking..is that what it is called?), 6th in the 10k and I forgot my half finish but it was much slower.image2 (1)It was another wonderful week spent with my mom in the sun and doing what we love but after 3 years, I think we are due for a location change.  LA Marathon maybe!?!?!

I ran my second 20 miler of the training plan this past Sunday and was overjoyed with how great it felt.

image1I ran 7 miles to meet up with some teammates, jumped into an 8 mile tempo run with a teammate and then ran 5 miles home.  It was perfect. Some alone time, some team time, some slow miles, some fast miles…I had it all!

This weekend I have a St.Patrick’s Day road race that I plan to run slow (P.S Mom, I wasn’t joking when I texted you saying I was running with you ;)…not that you’re slow!) and then I will heading to Eastern Mass for a half marathon on Sunday.  My plan is to run the weekend smart. Easy paced on Saturday and tempo on Sunday, nothing crazy.

Easter weekend I am heading to Hopkinton and running the first 21 miles of the marathon course with a random running group as my final long run of the training cycle!!  I am hoping I make some friends in those 21 miles!!….I also hope that when I texted some of my college friends who live in Boston about meeting up for breakfast after my run that they will not be mad at me when I casually ask them to drive me 21 miles back to my car…. 🙂

Glad to be back on here and I hope that I can get back in the groove once training slows down!

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