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April in Review

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SIbbetson

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April 2019 in Review

Total mileage for the month:  333.0

  • April 1-7:  68.3 (strength training 2:07)
  • April 8-14:  78.6 (strength training 2:05)
  • April 15-21:  67.0 (strength training 2:15)
  • April 22-28:  93.4 (strength training 1:56) - new weekly mileage PR!
  • April 29-May 5: projected at 86

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Airplane April

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Miles of smiles

Races:

  • April 13Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in 1:23:35 for 4th overall female, a state of Missouri single age state record for age 38, and a good step in what I hope I will someday look back on as a comeback.

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An area trail I rarely make it to has a lot

of new artwork since I last ran there!

Workouts:

  • April 3:  3 mile fartlek of 2' on/1' off/1' on/30" off/30" on/30" off (3 miles warm up, 3 miles cool down).  My push paces (GAP in abbreviations) were 5:46 (5:52), 5:52 (5:43), 5:31 (5:15), 5:57 (5:56), 6:01 (5:47), 5:22 (5:29), 5:51 (5:53), 5:49 (5:40), 5:52 (5:49), 5:57 (5:51).  I ran the flattest route I can from my house, but the run still had 356 feet elevation gain - the story of living in the Ozarks!  I tried to really milk the recoveries since they were so short, and I felt like I was going 9:00 pace on them, but almost all of them were 7:20-7:40, which actually makes me doubt the accuracy of any of these splits, haha!  But!  What matters is that this was a fast workout to get my legs turning over without fatiguing me.  I have never done anything with only 30 seconds recovery before - even when running strides I do 20 second strides then 40 seconds walk - and 30 seconds is quite short!  Anything sub-6:00 is also quite fast for this marathoner.
  • April 9:  5 x 800 m + 4 x 200 m in 2:57, 2:56, 2:55, 2:55, 2:58 + all 0:40, with 2:00 jog recoveries (3.1 warm up, 3 cool down).  Back to the track after over 6 months apart!  I would have been really happy with the 800s if I could have run the last one in 2:54, but I faded a bit.  My paces on the 2:00 jogs also got progressively slower, which doesn't matter but was humorous.  I was pleasantly surprised to average 2:56 on these since I hadn't run anything sub-6:00 in ages, except the fartlek the previous week.  They also felt good, which was even more exciting (I've had many speed workouts where I felt like I was dying every step!).  Speed is certainly not my strength, but I supposed it's better to work on your weaknesses than to ignore them.  :-)
  • April 16:  2 x 2.5 mile tempo + 1 x 1.5 mile tempo with 6:00 recoveries in 6:11, 6:12, 3:05 / 6:12, 6:09, 3:02 / 6:04, 2:56 (2 warm up, 1 cool down).  Every single mile of this workout was the fastest I'd done for a mile in training post-injury, so to say I was happy with this workout is an understatement!  When I saw this on my schedule the week prior, I thought I'd aim to start at 6:30 pace and work down, but after Rock the Parkway my coach and I decided that 6:10-6:15 was a better target, and that ended up being perfect!  It's crazy what a difference a week can make in perception; one week before this workout I would not have believed I could do it.  I felt strong and smooth throughout.  This is my kind of workout!
  • April 24:  2 x 3.25 mile tempos with 1 mile recoveries in 6:12, 6:10, 6:04, 1:32 / 6:15, 6:09, 6:07, 1:30 (3.1 mile warm up, 3.2 mile cool down). After my tempo workout the previous week went well I was ready for this one!  The 3.25 distance seems somewhat random, I know, but it was supposed to be 2 x 20:00.  I did it this way so I'd have my miles splits and because I'm really used to running tempos by miles.  They were almost 20:00 exactly though!  I hoped to do about 6:15, 6:10, 6:05 for paces for each segment, making them slightly progressive, and I was close to that.  I'm not used to having a full mile of recovery, and the first mile after the recovery was definitely the hardest of the workout - getting back into the tempo groove after slowing down for 7:40 was challenging.  I loved this workout, and with the volume of it plus a double I had an 18 mile day on a work day - also the biggest mileage day I've ever had on a day that wasn't my long run!
  • April 30:  6 x 1,000 m descending with 2:00 recoveries in 3:48, 3:47, 3:46, 3:43, 3:39, 3:38. (3 warm up, 4.7 cool down).  The goal of this workout was to start around 3:50 and drop to 3:40 or below, and I executed it well.  I really liked it (for a track workout) because the first 4 reps felt more like a tempo run.  I had to dig for the final 2 but they were do-able!  It was 66 degrees with 90% humidity for this workout, and I worried that would affect me but it didn't seem to.  I had to cool down to 12 miles total, and the area that we park and run to the track from is quite hilly, so I was really ready to stop climbing hills by the end of that (then I had to do plyos, oy!).  Rebecca, Missy, and Danielle all came out to the track with me, and ran similar workouts to what I did, which was very helpful!  I feel so blessed to have friends who will meet me at 5:15 a.m. and run a track workout that's been written for me.  All of my other workouts were solo this month.
  • Doubles on April 1, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, 22, 24, 25, 28, 30
  • Strides on April 12, 15
  • Surges on April 18
  • Hill Sprints on April 5
  • Favorite workout:  I loved both the tempo workouts - those are my kind of workouts!

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After my first fartlek in forever!

Long Runs:

  • April 6:  15.5 miles (7:35).  This was just a nice solo long run!  I ran a 12 mile loop I run often, planning to add on a little 1.5 mile "tail" to make it a 15 mile course.  I ended up finding a road I'd never run down before instead of the originally planned tail, and it ended up taking me into the outskirts of a nearby town.  I could see the Taco Bell on the edge of town that my husband always goes to when he works out that way, so I ran to the Taco Bell before turning around just so I could tell him I ran to the Rogersville Taco Bell, making it a half mile longer than planned.  My daughter was disappointed I did not bring home any tacos!
  • April 13:  17.3 miles total, with Rock the Parkway Half Marathon plus warm up and cool down.
  • April 20:  18.2 miles of hills, with the first 9 around 7:45 pace and the second 9 around 7:15 pace (7:29 average).  I ran several roads that I usually avoid due to the elevation, and came away with 1024 ft gain.  I was supposed to run this by heart rate, but this was the first run I wore a (borrowed) heart rate chest strap for, and after 3 miles of pretty much staring at my watch trying to hit my heart rate goal (130 for the first 9, 140-148 for the second 9), I just gave up and ran the paces that my coach and I had discussed before I borrowed the chest strap.  I learned that I am much better at zeroing in on a specific pace than zoning in on a heart rate, which is really no surprise since I've never trained by heart rate!  The plus of the chest strap was that my readings from it were consistent with my wrist heart rate, with data from both landing on 143 average heart rate for the entire run, so maybe I don't need the chest strap to get accurate data after all - which is my hope since it chafed.  I ran this alone and it went by very quickly!
  • April 27:  22 miles (7:30).  I paced a friend in a local marathon, with the race director's permission.  I jumped in around mile 2 on the out-and-back course, and finished around mile 24.  My friend requested 7:30 pace with a negative split and I delivered precisely!  The race started late due to a storm delay, so it was almost 11:00 a.m. by the time I finished this run.  The temperature had climbed to 73 degrees, which is a rude awakening when you're used to running in 50 degree temps and finishing runs before 7:00 a.m.!  I felt fine (although quite thirsty!) running easy, but I was sure glad I wasn't racing or running a workout, and I could tell the run took more out of me than it would have in cooler weather.  I enjoy pacing so it was a fun way to get in this long one!  The race was on a smooth gravel trail, so it was also a softer surface that was probably good for me to run on.
  • Favorite long run:  I felt the best on the hilly 18, but 22 is 22 so it's a tie!

Highlights/thoughts/randomness:

  • I had a coaching change. After coaching myself (not very successfully, I might add!) for most of my running career, I worked with Marshall from July 2015 through my my injury in September 2018.  I have nothing but great things to say about him, and he took me from a 3:03 to a 2:47 marathoner, and from a 1:27 to 1:20 half marathoner.  However, I needed some time away from being coached during and post-injury.  I self-coached again in October through December 2018 and in February through March 2019, with a one month return to Marshall in January 2019.  I planned to continue self-coaching for my next marathon build for Grandma's Marathon in June, but me asking my friend Nichole to look at my self-made plan led (thorough a series of steps) to her writing my Grandma's plan!  In a way, things are coming full circle, as she and I ran the first 5 miles of Grandma's together in 2018 - she is mentioned in my race report here, and I am in her's here.  I think Marshall is a fantastic coach, and I learned a great deal from him and really grew as a runner while working with him, but at this point I think I need a female coach.  Nicole is also chasing a 2:45:00 marathon before the mid-January cut-off!  I plan to do another post about how my training has changed and how it has stayed the same since starting with her.
  • I recovered well from the Chisholm Trail Marathon.  Nicole held me back from doing too much mileage the second week back, which I needed (left to my own devices I would have probably run an 80+ mile week with a long workout).  I could still feel the marathon on my legs during my April 6 long run, but by the week of April 8-14 I was feeling pretty much back to normal.
  • I tested my wrist heart rate monitor vs. a chest strap heart rate monitor on several runs this month.  I expected the wrist to be completely inaccurate, but I learned that if it is tight and I keep the sensor clean, it is quite consistent with the chest strap measure!  This was really good news for me, because I hated wearing the chest strap.  The wrist would sometimes record higher "blips" that the chest strap didn't, but the averages were often exactly the same and never more than 2 beats per minute different.
  • I ran my second ever week in the 90s for mileage!  I hope to see my third in a couple of weeks.  Technically I ran exactly the same mileage (93.5) on a rolling 7 days in March; I didn't think to look at that total until the following day (whomp whomp), but this was my highest Monday through Sunday total ever.  I'll make sure to do 93.6 next time!  
    • I am also now confident in my ability to do a 100 mile week; I could simply run 1 more mile each day in a week like this, or run the same week with a 24 mile long run and another 5 mile double.  I hope to make that happen in the fall!
  • The evening of Rock the Parkway, I read on my friend Liz's blog that Strava was doing an April challenge called The Last Mile where they would donate $10 to charity if you finished the final mile of your half or full marathon with the fastest split of your race.  Since I'd done that at Rock the Parkway, I immediately signed up for the challenge.  I wasn't sure if I was actually signed up since I'd already run the race and because I didn't take the free trial of Strava Summit that was tied to it, but towards the end of the month I got an email telling me I completed it!

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April 1 and 2 were my final two morning runs

in temperatures in the 20s - & the sun came up

during my runs again!

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Chest strap on right, wrist HR on left, post split tempo workout

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New weekly mileage PR!

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The Last Mile for Strava

Life events:

  • We did lots of garden prep!
  • We took a day trip to Barnett, Missouri (tiny town with a garden/farm store Jon was dying to visit) and Lake of the Ozarks (tourist town).
  • I got to watch my 16-year-old niece run the 1600 m in Kansas City the evening before Rock the Parkway!  I also got to visit my sister and her family between working in Kansas City and the race.
  • We stayed home for Easter this year, and did several family fun activities with just us 3, and Easter Sunday services at our home church.  He has risen!
 
 

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Not everywhere you go offers horse & buggy parking spots

 

 

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Lake of the Ozarks

 

 

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My niece finishing the 1600 m.

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This duck was great

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I find most Easter bunnies creepy, & this one

was no exception

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We both wore running gear to this event

 
 

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Easter kitty

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Outtakes

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Egg project (I ate all of these color hard-boiled eggs the next week)

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Love this!

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Gardening

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She ate all of this, plus a carton of cherry tomatoes!

 
 

Books this month:

  • I Might Regret This:  Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff by Abbi Jacobson
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  • Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
  • South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
  • There are No Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman
  • Us Against You by Fredrick Backman
  • The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - this is a must-read!
  • The Fever by Megan Abbott

Theme of the month:

Building.  I am building back to fitness (I think!), and building a little confidence.

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So happy to see you at full health and training again. Looking good for Grandma's.

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Love reading your recaps - a fun way to look at the month as a whole and get a bigger picture of what's happening. Seriously impressed by you squeezing 9 books into that month as well!! 

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You've been getting in some great training and great race results!

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Another amazing month of running!  Good job!  I have 2 questions:  Does running that far on gravel irritate your feet?  I've read that the watch heart rate monitor is accurate over a long period of time, but that it doesn't catch up or slow down as fast as a heart rate strap does.  Did you notice anything like that?  I guess it doesn't matter if you aren't running intervals.

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7 hours ago, Slow_Running said:

Another amazing month of running!  Good job!  I have 2 questions:  Does running that far on gravel irritate your feet?  I've read that the watch heart rate monitor is accurate over a long period of time, but that it doesn't catch up or slow down as fast as a heart rate strap does.  Did you notice anything like that?  I guess it doesn't matter if you aren't running intervals.

The answers to both is no.  The gravel didn't irritate my feet (or anything else for that matter).  On the wrist vs. chest strap heart rate, I was really just focusing on the averages so I didn't notice that, but it certainly could have happened!  I can see how that would be an issue if you were doing recoveries by heart rate, but I never did.  Interesting tidbit though!

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Heart rate training is an entirely different beast than regular training. I try to do it on days where my legs feel really beat and I need a nice, easy run. For me, it's required a lot of humility and being okay with walking recoveries to get that heart rate down, but I think overall it has advanced my fitness. Not sure it's something that would be helpful for you while you are marathon training, though. I suppose it really depends on what the goal is. I personally think it's most useful as an off-season conditioning tool. 

In any case, you are definitely on a comeback trail, and I for one am wicked excited to see what happens in June.  

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On 5/7/2019 at 3:07 PM, eliz83 said:

Heart rate training is an entirely different beast than regular training. I try to do it on days where my legs feel really beat and I need a nice, easy run. For me, it's required a lot of humility and being okay with walking recoveries to get that heart rate down, but I think overall it has advanced my fitness. Not sure it's something that would be helpful for you while you are marathon training, though. I suppose it really depends on what the goal is. I personally think it's most useful as an off-season conditioning tool. 

In any case, you are definitely on a comeback trail, and I for one am wicked excited to see what happens in June.  

It IS a different beast!  I think it is very beneficial for any type of training, although I am not using it currently except to keep my HR low on my second runs on double days.  I have been looking at it for data but not running by it.  At some point I might use it for tempos and other workouts, because it is a more accurate training tool than pace, but I sure don't want to give up pace based workouts at this point!

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