MarathonMaiden's Blog

March 16, 2010

Oh Mr. Sun. And Some Paranoia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:14

Aww thanks guys for all the support and encouragement yesterday.  Obviously the whole situation is a positive one but still, I really was expecting a lot of “what are you thinking?” stuff.  Or maybe I was just worried that my plan of action wasn’t a good one and you guys wouldn’t let me b.s. it hahah.

Anyway.  I had another busy day on tap?! What is it with this week? I have yet to not wake up to an alarm.  I mean, yes it’s partly my own doing because I want to workout before I start my day but sheesh.  It’s spring break yo.  I hate that I go to school far enough away that I can’t space these kinds of appointments out over the semester.  Oh well.  One more half semester so I guess that it’s the last time I’ll be dealing with it. Scary.

But, yeah, I woke up before the sun again.  I didn’t place my alarm (aka my phone) where I normally do so when it went off I was all blurry eyed (hello 24 amazingness and staying up too late with my friend! So worth it though 🙂 ) because of little sleep so I couldn’t find the damn thing.  And this was pre-family getting up too so I was extra crazy because I didn’t want to wake anyone up (not that they would do the same for me…)

I hit up the TM again today (third day in a row!).  First it was pitch black and I just don’t feel safe running in 100% darkness.  I think, as a female, that too much paranoia runs through my mind.  Girls are just taught to be on the lookout for creepers more than boys growing up so I think that’s it.  I get paranoid at night too.

Second, even though the monsoon had stopped: the flooding? Yup still there.  So many roads are still closed and I would have been running in knee deep water at points.  No thanks.  When I was driving to my appointments later today I had to “ford the river” many many times.  Ugh. (Anyone with that reference? aha)

Third, I wanted a softer cushioning for my shin.  I mean, even though I’m not in pain, I do want to stay smart. And seeing as how I had intervals (hard enough for me to get outside because of point 2 but I shy away in general from doing intervals outside) the TM just was what I wanted.

I feel the need to list those reasons because it was (and still is) BEAUTIFUL outside. After downpours for 3+ days the sun was glorious to see. My mood perked up about a billion points. So now I feel a little guilty for not getting out there butttt when I had the chance to run this weather wasn’t there. Boo. Oh well.

On schedule for today was 1600m aka the mile.  I’m iffy towards this distance in general.  It’s obviously a longer interval and yet, as soon as I start to feel good in it, the damn thing is over.  But I grinned and beared it. Going into the session I was kind of scared.  I mean, yes the doctor said I could keep running but at this point it really does become a cost vs benefit deal.

Therefore I nixed the traditional hills portion of interval day.  In the 11 full weeks of Boston training I’ve only not done hills 2x.  That’s a lot of hills.  So even though one of those skipped days was last week I figured that it didn’t matter. Like a lot of you mentioned I’ve done so much work already this training.  And since the last time I did hills the shin was a little aggravated (and I’ve read that hills aggravate shin splints and tendinitis, my two possible diagnosis) I’m okay with my decision.  I am, however, going to try for hills next week and then have that be it for hills.  I figure it takes 3-4 weeks for a workout to show up and next week is T-4 weeks.

But here’s the workout. Kind of non-exciting because I didn’t do much adding or craziness haha:

  • 2 mile warm up
  • 6 X 1 mile (5 @ 7:13, 1 @ 7:03) with .4 mile recovery between
  • 3 mile warm down

Total time: 107 minutes
Total distance: 13.5 miles
Average pace: 7:56

Okay so I’m sure that many of you are scratching your heads and wondering how 13.5 miles can be considered lower-key (or maybe not if you’ve been reading for awhile hah) BUT it’s 4 miles less than last Tuesday.  A start to say the least.

The last time I did this workout was about a month ago and figured that I’d play it safe and keep it at 10k pace (current pr pace = 7:15).  I tend to like to increase pace every time I repeat a workout (especially if it’s 4+ weeks since the last time I did it) buttttt yeah.  I did go faster on the last one because I knew that if I kicked up the pace I could hit 8 miles in 60 minutes on the TM timer which was cool.  (I go warm up. Hit reset. Then start the intervals)

No shin pain.  Well no pain. During the warm down I could tell that my shin was getting fatigued which strengthened my resolve to nix the hills.  I tend to go wimpy brained during the beginnings of workouts when my body is adjusting and tell myself I can stop early and then by the end always want to add more. I probably would have done that today too if the shin didn’t tell me otherwise.  Again: NO PAIN.  But I was “listening to my body” and *wicked* paranoid about anything happening to my shin so I was hypervigilant is paying attention to it haha. Guess paranoia isn’t always a bad thing 😉

So all in all a great workout.  I’m happy with it and I felt really good afterward.  I always think how amazing it is that I always want to avoid these sessions before they begin but once I’m done I am so happy with myself. I just feel so accomplished. I’m sure that you guys know what I’m talking about 🙂

And yes I know this is a(nother) lengthy post. But I do want to write a bit about a “second opinion” I got re: my shin.  My sister is on the track team and, although I didn’t get along with the head T&F coach in HS, he is knowledgeable about distance running.  So I went to pick up my sister and chat with him for the last 15 minutes of their practice.

Basically I told him my situation (including going to the sports med clinic yesterday) and relayed my fears of going into a taper this far out.  He told me that even if I took a full week off (like this week) that I shouldn’t be worried about my fitness and the race. Although he agreed with the principle of going into taper now (and preventing a potential stress fracture) he said that what I’d likely be comfortable with is to back off this week, go up to 60 or 70 for one or two then hit the taper hard.

He also suggested pool running to be the best thing for me.  I agree but my access to a pool is non-existent.  Yes my school has a state-of-the-art facility but it’s only open to the public for 4 hours a day.  4 hours that I have commitments.  Boo. I can try to find a pool for this week but will likely pay through the nose for a daily, or even weekly, pass. I do have unlimited access to ellipticals and bikes though which I’m sure would be good if I really feel the need to hardcore nix more miles.

Beyond this week (which he did suggest to be cut back by 40-50%) he said the words of the cycle: play it by ear. But I left the school feeling better knowing that both the sports med doc and the coach said the same thing independently of each other.  The coach (which I am on a first name basis with but because this is the internet I’ll just keep calling him anonymous stuff like “the coach”) also said that I could email him if I had anymore questions (because I did pepper him with q’s for a half hour!!) or if things went arry.

Interestingly he told me that he would advise running marathons at my age.  Nothing against me or anything but he would have suggested that after Boston focusing on halfs and 10ks.  Speedier stuff. He said that it would be good for me to let my body mature more before plugging into such heavy mileage.  It totally wasn’t said in a negative way or anything like that but I thought it was an interesting point.  Maybe I’ll elaborate on my thoughts (because I wasn’t totally opposed to the idea and despite my wanting to run an ultra I have been thinking along those lines too).  But in the interest of the fact that this post is VERY long I won’t. 😉

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday! I’m going to try to have a low-key night and grab a glass of wine while watching NCIS and LOST.  A perfect way to unwind after running around all day!

[ And I apologize for any typos or sentence/grammatical mistakes.  I was gone all day and don’t want to proofread my novel haha!]



  1. awesome run today! I’m curious as to why he said that he did not advise running marathons at your age?

    Comment by Mary (Food Fit & Fun) — March 16, 2010 @ 19:40

  2. Okay, so I don’t think you need a week off, or anything drastic like that, but maybe one DAY off? You would hit 90 for the week, instead of 100? Or 100 instead of 110? Just an idea to keep you healthy AND sane. One day off would be a nice compromise.

    About your age, you’re what- 20? 21? 22? I think that’s perfectly fine for marathoning. I did my first one at age 21. I’ve done 20 since then, so too young, my tail.

    You’re going to be fine, okay? Just play it safe and smart.

    Comment by Rebecca — March 16, 2010 @ 19:59

  3. Yeah, I’ve heard over 18 years old for females is perfectly OK. That is interesting that he perscribed otherwise….

    Anyway, your break sounds like it is sooo busy! I hope you get some time to SLEEP and take some ‘you’ time! 🙂 sleep = the most important thing ever

    Comment by tmart — March 16, 2010 @ 20:18

  4. every single track coach i have ever talked to “doesn’t advise” marathons for girls college aged or younger!!!!!! that”s so crazy he said teh same thing. i think it is obviously a good fit for you… clearly. and a case by case basis makes more sense.

    jeeeeeeeeez SIX mile repeats!!! that’s awesome.w ay to go!! v. smart to run teh first 5 at fast/”conservative fast” and then hit the last one hard like you did. always good to end like that.

    glad you felt good, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Comment by Lacey — March 16, 2010 @ 21:55

  5. Aren’t you like 22? I think your body is pretty much matured! Don’t let someone tell you not to run marathons!

    Comment by Matt — March 16, 2010 @ 22:10

  6. i am totally the same as you with the mental games in workouts – as i’m getting into it being like “yup, i can definitely stop early..” and by the end it’s like woo! do i have to be done? guess that’s better than the reverse though. glad the workout went well and you didn’t have any shin issues. playing it by ear sounds like a great plan – too bad about the pool situation though! i remember the pool at my college had really awkward and short open hours too…what is up with that?

    i have heard things about not running marathons at college age, but i’ve also heard more along the lines of it being totally cool to run them when you’re younger, just to not expect to run your BEST one for quite a few years after that. guess that means we have something to look forward to, right?

    ps did you see that boston number assignments went up today?! i’m 16180. way too excited!!

    Comment by HurdlingHam — March 16, 2010 @ 22:12

  7. I’ve been a “lurker” for a few months now (I think I found your blog from the RWOL Boston forum back when I thought I was also going to be running it this year) but seeing as how I finally got around to starting my own blog I figured I’d come out and comment finally…

    I’m glad that your sports med appointment went relatively well. Last year, before my second marathon, I started to run A LOT more than I ever had before, putting in mileages over a few months similar to yours (though not quite as much). I felt new aches and pains on a daily basis, occasionally giving me pause for concern, and I did wind up having to take a little time off after my race but I got through the marathon itself alright. I basically did what everyone’s told you to do — play it by ear.

    What your coach said about backing off a little and then taking a week to train (not AS hard as you’ve been going, but increased intensity) and then tapering seems pretty sound. I don’t think you NEED to take a full week and not run — although 3 weeks before my marathon I did just that. I took 8 days of no running, just aquajogged and biked because I wasn’t happy with my ankle and wanted to get to the start line 100% even if it meant at somewhat lessened fitness. For ME, that was the best decision (and also the hardest one I’ve ever had to make training-wise). But I had put in the work already, building a base, doing the speedwork to that point, and you have too. So backing off for a week, IF you honestly feel like you need it, won’t be a bad thing. I know you say you don’t really have access to a pool, which would be my first recommendation, but spinning at a high cadence on a bike would be alright too as a supplement.

    As for the marathon comment, lots of people are of the opinion that runners should slowly build up to those sorts of race distances. Starting with 5/10ks and building speed and getting lots of miles on your legs before beginning to stretch it out to the half and eventually the full distance. I don’t think you HAVE to do it that way really. I ran my first at 22 and ran my first ultra last year at 24 and I’m fine (and intend to do many many more marathons and ultras in the notsodistant future) I’m sure you will be too, as long as you listen to your body.

    Jeez, I ended up writing a ramblingish novel. Helluva first comment here huh? In short (ha!) good luck with the rest of your training, I’m really looking forward to following the end game (and the race itself of course). Strong, healthy thoughts your way.

    Comment by runningmanz — March 16, 2010 @ 22:28

  8. I didn’t know there was an age limit to marathons…I’m not an expert in this whatsoever, though. I’ll probably listen to the coach’s advice…but I’m interested to hear your say on it too.

    Yay Lost! I get so excited over a new episode all the time. Hee.

    Comment by sophia — March 16, 2010 @ 22:47

  9. Sounds like a good workout, I’ve heard you’re not supposed to run marathons too young too, I don’t know why though, did he explain why? Just watched Lost 🙂 love it!

    Comment by Laura — March 17, 2010 @ 05:05

  10. Maybe he was referring to the female runners who hit their prime in their late 20s and 30s..Deena Kastor and that chick who won the gold medal in 2008 come to mind. However, and pardon if I’m being presumptive, but it doesn’t seem like right now you are pushing for the Olympics. There are also plenty of competitive young women running fast marathons in their early 20s. It seems like a blanket statement to me, like “Running ruins your knees!”

    Comment by sarah — March 17, 2010 @ 06:34

    • Very true about the potential for a blanket statement thing. I hate it when people say “running is bad for your knees” I fire back with the numerous studies that say how NOT running ruins the knees and sedentary people have more knee problems haha

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 17, 2010 @ 18:09

  11. I’ve actually heard women tend to “peak” for long distance events. Not that you can’t do them earlier, but that’s when our bones are strongest. I’m glad you didn’t take my pushy comment yesterday the wrong way. I’m glad you’ve had things validated by two people who actually know what they’re talking about. I think we (your commenters) are all so emotionally involved in seeing you get to Boston healthy that we just want to see you do what’s best.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — March 17, 2010 @ 12:56

  12. I think the track coach gave you solid advice. You probably don’t need to take an entire week off, but maybe you should cut your mileage and do just easy runs for a week. A lot of people get injured at this point in marathon training and that would be a shame after all your hard work.

    I opted not to do a marathon until several years after college. I actually thought I would never do one.

    Comment by runjess — March 17, 2010 @ 14:54

  13. You’ve got it all under control and know your body best, it seems to me. If you feel good, go for it. Lots of advice, google, coaches, etc, will tell you what they think is right but you are the one who knows ‘you’ best. Stay strong and feel good inside as the hard yards are already in the bank.

    Comment by Ian — March 17, 2010 @ 16:58

  14. Based on what my coach preaches, the T&F guy is 100% on point about you doing shorter stuff … see my comment from your more detailed discussion about whether you should be doing marathons, etc.

    Comment by a marathoner — March 17, 2010 @ 18:04

  15. Awesome run! That seems a little strange that you would be too young to run a marathon, how much are you really going to mature in the three months till you graduate college? But it is a really interesting point and I think I’m going to research it now.. haha

    Comment by BostonRunner — March 17, 2010 @ 19:43

  16. Playing it by ear is bascially my whole life and training plan lol! You really have to go with what you feel (I think i said that already). Great job on the mile repeats! I dont know if I could do that many in a row! I remember once in high school track I may have done 5 and it was crazy!

    Comment by J — March 17, 2010 @ 20:50

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