Week 18 & 17 – the countdown begins!

2 weeks in review:

Week 18, the start of the Fargo Marathon cycle:
Goal: 80-85 miles with 1 day off
Actual: 80 miles, 1 day off.
2 “workouts” on Treadmill: 5 miles progressively faster inside a 10 mile run, and 5 miles hard hill segment at end of a 19 miler.

I had that good “fatigue around the edges of your quads” feeling that I always get at the start of a training cycle part way through the week.  A rest day cured that, and then felt like I was better able to handle the miles, recover quicker, etc!

The first 5 mile progressive run wasn’t stellar.  I think I averaged about 6:50 or so (starting at 7:40 and working down to 6:00).  My HR was near max at the end, and my body and lungs didn’t know how to handle the shock of running so hard :).  I had to run to the bathroom immediately afterwards and felt sick the rest of the night.  Ohhh, I forgot this feeling :).  But good to shock the system and start working hard!!

Week 17:
Goal: 96 miles, no days off
Two workouts: 5x1000m, 6×400
and a 2×3 mile tempo run inside of an 18 miler

Actual: 96 miles.  Workouts were interesting, as you’ll see.

I shuffled my training plan this week due to the cold (Tuesday’s air temp was -3 for a high, and Monday’s windchill dropped to -20 or below).  Wednesday was supposed to be a little warmer, so decided to attempt my track workout for the week.  I had 3 other brave souls meet me up there, including Claire, who I’m helping train, her husband Jake, and Matt, a friend who is about my speed (yeah!!).  We started the track work around 4:30.  It was quickly apparent that the 10-15 mph winds were going to challenge our goal times.

Which they did :).  My goal for these was 3:22, which should be doable since 2 weeks ago I did them around that speed.  The first one we came through in 3:32, the second in 3:40.  At that point, I gave Matt a helpless look.  Is this doing any good?  I literally could not drive into the wind any harder, so couldn’t get my lungs to burn like they needed to.  When you hit the wind, you could see all of us pull up our buffs/balaclavas to cover most of our faces :).  The only problem with my buff was that Nate has used it one too many times so it doesn’t stay up.  Also, when I grabbed it to bring it up over my face, I’d sometimes grab 3 layers of cloth, causing some fun “gasping for air” sounds.  Ohh, to have watched us from afar!  We must have looked crazy. No, I take that back.  We ABSOLUTELY looked crazy out there.  This is hard core dedication, people.

I wondered what else I could do to make this workout harder.  Guess I could scrap this and run to the YMCA and hit up the treadmills there… but that seemed silly.  Just finish the workout.  Just run as hard as you can despite the wind and cold.  This workout might not be “helping” as much as it was supposed to (due to slow times), but it certainly isn’t hurting.

We muscled through the next 3 in 3:28, 3:33, and 3:33. Matt and I came up with a plan for him to take the first lap and for me to take the second (even though I’m a terrible wind block :)). I couldn’t ever catch him, though, but it was fun to have something to chase after – helped to push harder than I thought I could.

The 400s were fun – either chasing Claire or paced by Jake.  So fun to be with friends!! The inside of my nose was freezing on the last two.  Definitely getting colder out!

As Jake and I headed out for the cool down, I suddenly realized my hands and cheeks weren’t warming up, despite blowing into my hands, trying to warm my cheeks with my hands, stuffing my hands down my pants.  I was embarrassed to have to ask Jake to turn back… we ran inside to the hockey rink and called for a ride home :(.  I have never been more thankful for the help, but also ashamed that I didn’t plan appropriately for the cold that comes post-dark (and the wind that was forecasted to increase).  I also HATE missing miles that are scheduled on the plan, no matter what the reason.

Turns out, the windchill when I got back was -18.  Once I unthawed, there were also two small raised white patches on my right cheek.  So I guess I can’t be too hard on myself for stopping and seeking help back.  But I have to be smarter about this! 

We all decided that this was a workout we’d remember in the summer when we thought we were hurting. Also, we may call ourselves team HC from now on (Hard Core!) – but we’re still leaving that open to other, more clever or catchy, suggestions 🙂

Second workout of the week was a long tempo workout.  I did the tempo miles inside and was surprised how poorly I handled the paces.  I started the first 3 mile segment at 6:20 pace and dropped to 6:00 by .5 miles.  The goal pace for these is sub 6 (eventually 5:40 when I’m stronger/more fit), but I found myself gasping for air at the end of a mile.  I hit stop on the TM, leaning over the bars, lungs heaving.  The lady next to me looked at me quizzically.  I apologized and told her what I was trying to do :).  She then cheered me on, which was awesome :).  I decided to take these miles 1 at a time and make them as hard as possible.  The next two I was able to hit in about 6:05.  That’s pretty slow, considering that’s my goal marathon pace…

Then 8 miles easy and another 3 miles tempo.  I did this one at 6:10s, stopping just once briefly.  I handled this one better, for whatever reason.  Nate suggested I just needed 14 miles to warm up 🙂  I think TM running is just different for me, and it takes a little getting used to.  I’m obviously not at the paces I’d like to be at, but they aren’t terrible (tempos at 6:00 just 1.5 years ago would have been great!) – and I know I’ll improve quickly once my legs and lungs get back into the training cycle.

Overall, a great first two weeks.  I have a LOT of work to do, but I’m super excited to get after it! 

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  1. I cannot even fathom negative temps. This past week I ran in 21 and after four miles I stoppe back in my house to defrost my hands, the wind was so painful! You have earned the term Team HC for sure! Thank you for sharing your workouts. I always enjoy reading them.

  2. You all are too kind! I felt so bad calling it quits before the workout was "done" – you probably know the feeling :).

    Kristen – where do you live? Maybe I'll have to plan a visit 🙂

    And Katherine, I'm excited to try your low carb protein pancakes! I have yet to find a recipe that I love – so here's hoping!!

  3. In the winter I often come back with white patches on my cheeks, which I know is not a good sign. Even when I dress the way I should, my body does not do well at temps under 10*F. It is predicted to be -14*F tomorrow morning, so we shall see how long I will last outside.

  4. Hi Nichole, thanks for sharing your workouts with us, and even bigger thanks for sharing your struggles with them. It's comforting to know that even elites can have a hard time hitting paces at the beginning of training cycles.

    1. Hi, Suzanne – thanks for the comment! It's sometimes hard for me to write about those workouts that don't go well… mostly because I want to nail them and tell the world how great they went! But, I've come to realize that these workouts are written as the "ideal" and I should expect to not be able to hit them all the time. Jerry specifically (I think) suggests paces that are above what I "can" do, just so that I'm pushing harder than I otherwise would. If you're not pushing yourself to the max, challenging paces, and "failing" (not really, but you know what I mean), then you're not improving, right? 🙂 At least that's what I'm telling myself now 🙂

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