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October 11 2012 / Emily

Dual Weekly Recap: Falling Behind


Total = big. fat. zero.

Monday – zero
Tuesday – zero
Wednesday – 8 miles (including 6x100m strides)
Thursday – zero
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – 20 miles
Sunday – zero
Total = 32 miles

Okay I discussed it some in my last post but I’ve been in a bad place lately.  Pfitz sucked the fun right out of running for me.  Then I got sick and stopped and now I’m just so far behind.  I had some solid training but I need to work hard during this taper too.  Can’t just slack off like I usually allow myself during a taper.  Pfitzinger has plenty of challenging workouts left.  The intensity remains, but just less of it, if that makes sense.  I’ve worked hard at this and don’t want a poorly-timed break ruining everything.  I missed less than 10 days so per Pfitz, I can continue on without needing to adjust goals.  You know, goals I haven’t completely finalized anyway.

In the first week, I wasn’t feeling well.  Some sort of gross chest cold with lots of coughing and chest congestion.  I don’t think this had anything to do with the 61-mile week I just came off of.  I was actually already getting sickly during that week, I just didn’t succumb to it until after my birthday.  It was a challenge to breathe at times so I figured running might not be the best choice.  But then it was really nice to not be running.  When I finally got out in the second week, not yet better but realizing I had to get back to it, I hacked and wheezed my way through the sprint bits for the strides.  It was not pleasant.  Frankly, I’m still coughing and have decided I’ll probably never get better.  During my week+ away from running, I realized how nice it was to just sleep in, even if I woke myself up during the night with coughing spells.

I’m in the taper now, with less than three weeks to the marathon (and still have the cough and congestion hanging around, though in a reduced intensity).  I am going to take some time off after the race and allow myself to run when I want, how fast I want and how far I want.  The cooler weather we’re having now has really helped make the runs more pleasant, so that is good, but there were times in the heat of summer that Pfitz’s scheduled runs just made me feel like the biggest failure.  I mean, let’s talk the lactate threshold runs that were to be run at “15k to half marathon pace.”  So half marathon pace means I can run 13.1 miles at that pace.  Then why was I having trouble running 4-5 miles at that pace?  How defeating, how confidence-shattering.

I will say the VO2 runs have been a bit easier, which doesn’t really make much sense since I’m probably more of an endurance runner than a sprinter.  But running 600m at 5k pace just hasn’t been too challenging, even in quantity.  I’m sure there are reasons for the VO2 workouts but I imagine that distance workouts are better predictors toward marathon success than little intervals.  And yes, the Advanced Marathoning book that I got the training plan from probably explains all this, but I didn’t really read the book.  Just the plan.  Guilty as charged.  Oh well, I will save more thoughts on the Pfitz plan for closer to and/or after the marathon when I can reflect on how it helped prepare me.

A couple quotes have resonated with me in the past few weeks.  Each day I get an email from Runner’s World magazine with my “Daily Kick in the Butt” quote of the day.  They are sent in the wee hours of the mornings and sometimes waking up and reading the quote helps roll my sleepyhead out of bed.

“There is an expression among even the most advanced runners that getting your shoes on is the hardest part of any workout.” Kathrine Switzer (first woman to run the Boston Marathon, before women were allowed to enter)

My thoughts: for me, usually the hardest part of the workout is getting out of bed.  Hell, it’s getting into bed the night before.  I use my phone as my alarm clock and when I activate an alarm it tells me “the alarm is set for 5 hours and 6 minutes from now” or however similarly little amount of sleep I am going to get, just taunting me into remembering how tired I am going to be.  I just can’t seem to get into bed at a reasonable hour when the alarm is going to sound at like 4:30am.  I am already enjoying the current taper process where my runs are only 6-8 miles during the week.  So much easier to fit in – before or after work – than 12 miles.

“We all have bad days and bad workouts, when running gets ugly, when split times seem slow, when you wonder why you started.  It will pass.” -Hal Higdon

I’m hoping that I am in the “it will pass” stage of this now.  I’m trying to help myself get there mentally.  I mean I just wrote it a couple paragraphs ago, but this autumn weather really helps.  I’m reading about races and thinking about what I want to sign up for next.  I suppose I need to decide if I want to run races, or race races.  I enjoy participating in races a lot more than training, so I’m tempted to just run oodles of races, but I also want to improve, and I need to train harder to do that.  And my pockets aren’t bottomless so I can’t just do a marathon every weekend.


Best Eat of the Week: Both weekends covered in this post I attended weddings out of town.  So much good food and cake.  The second wedding had a buffet line instead of plated dinner, and the dish of mashed potatoes was replaced with a new one right before my turn in the line.  It’s like something I see in my best dreams: two foot by three foot of mashed potatoes.  Brilliant.

Worst Eat of the Week: Well… I waffle between “worst” as “least healthy” and “worst” as in “not delicious,” and my trip to the Dixie Classic Fair last week definitely resulted in a terrifically unhealthy but delicious range of foods.  I shared most of these with friends (we each had our own corn dog): fried mac & cheese, fried pickles, my first ever corn dog, pumpkin-pie funnel cake with cream cheese icing, and vanilla ice cream made by John Deere tractors.

yes, most people are baffled how I made it this long in life without a corndog.

Best Effort Eat of the Week: some fancy pants green bean dish my father made while I was home this past weekend.  Effort was an A+, but the result was a solid C.  I took photos throughout the process that I am sadly unable to share with you right now (see “Other” header below for more info on that).  He told me that in picking the recipe he was trying to make my blog!


No time for napping.  Well I am sure there was some sort of nap in there somewhere, I just hope it wasn’t during any of my drives back and forth and back and forth from NC to MD to NC to MD to NC.  No more weddings to attend for a few months!


Both wedding receptions were held at vineyards, and the wine was rather tasty from both: Bluemont Vineyards and Linganore Winecellars.  I guess my specific favorite was the Skipjack riesling from Linganore.


Please forgive my lack of blogging discipline.  I’m having major internet malfunctions at home and there is only so much I am willing to type on my phone, and that primarily consists of short dailymile updates and facebook posts.  The rest of my internet time is at the office and there’s only so much I can or should do from work!  This also explains the general lack of photos, as those are mostly on my home computer, which seems so darn worthless without internet.  I am just so thankful for the wonders of technology and smartphones and Verizon 4G service, and the few photos I took with my phone.


One Comment

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  1. Darrel Wells / Oct 12 2012 2:37 PM

    Glad you seem to be over the worst of your cold, Emily! I’m always terrified of getting sick during the peak of marathon training. All the mileage just seems to wear down the imune system. I carry hand sanitizer in case I have to shake hands with anybody! My chest colds often ha@ng around for 6 to 8 weeks, but they DO eventually fade away… Hang in there!

    I’ve wondered about the Pfitzinger plans – the little I’ve seen of them looks too intense for me. I’ve been using a modified version of a Higdon plan, and it’s been about all I can handle. You’re almost there, now; It’ll be interesting if this more-structured plan pays off!

    P.s. – Nice corn dog, BTW!

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