MarathonMaiden's Blog

August 12, 2011

Another Week Goes By….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:22

…and no post.  I meant to post during the week but (and this is one of my transitions, I’ll try to give them all a separate post — unfortunately it might be late next week– because I want to talk about my workout today) this week was my last week at the clinic.  I can’t believe that my year with VISTA is over! And since last post I don’t have anything exciting on the workout front.

So needless to say, I’ve been swamped.  Not with work per se.  More so with the “let’s spend 8 hours applying to jobs” and “let’s go drinking with friends at night” swamped. Tough life, no?

Well yes.  Because tough = mile repeats = pain.

Granted I was out way to late last night and woke up still drunk this morning.  But, that said, I’ve had spectacular sessions before after such nights.  This was not the case and I think my liver is finally realizing that it’s not 21 anymore. I’m still in the process of convincing it otherwise.

Thanks google images.

Anyway I headed out to the track this afternoon to “bang out some mile repeats”. Step one of running fast is the outfit and I rocked my booty spandex and sports bra and sunglasses. (Step two is not chickening out — see below and my pre-1 repeat)

Last week I was excited about them (and by them I mean the 800s).  This week I knew I had to run twice the distance and about the same pace.  Last fall I was able to do 6 X 1 mile @ ~6:30.  Based on last week’s workout I wanted to do 4 X 1 mile @ 7:30.

Now, as I’m just getting back into speed work I have ZERO idea what I should be running these things in.  But 7:30 is what I’d ideally call a tempo pace, and did last fall  (and I just cheated and looked at McMillian based on my PW marathon time and mile repeats should be at 7:21-7:43 with tempo runs being 7:53-8:13 and tempo intervals being 7:46-8:03 for whatever that info is worth)

I’m very glad I didn’t know that information until just now though.  Just because.  I think that with the hiatus I’ve taken I should just go.

And go I did.

Workout: 4 X 1 mile with 800m recovery jog

  1. 4:10 + 4:01 = 8:11. F@#$. <– Thought in my head.  I debated nixing the whole workout but figured that anything faster than the 9:40 easy paces I’ve been doing should be beneficial.  Fact: I stopped this first repeat at the 200m line. Gave myself a HTFU pep talk, walked back to the start and then ran in
  2. 4:06 + 4:04 = 8:10 Seriously?!?
  3. 4:05 + 4:00 = 8:05 Better I guess.
  4. 4:05 + 4:00 = 8:05 Dayyyyyyyyyum

So clearly I’ve fallen from last fall.  Like last week, I never felt like I was going fast.  And yet I know I could not have gone faster.  It was upsetting to a degree. Funny how last week I wrote about being okay because I was getting back into it and, while I’d never have admitted it beforehand, I was hoping to really bounce back fast. I shouldn’t (and am not) be surprised just because after last Friday’s session my legs were wiped for days after.  I’m not sure if it’s even possible BUT I don’t think my legs were recovered today!

I was just complaining to a friend about how “out of shape I clearly am” and he disagreed.  Mostly because he know I run a lot and that equals being in shape.  At the time I didn’t have a retort.

Now I do: I am out of racing shape.  I can bang out 100+ mile weeks with the best of them but that doesn’t mean I’m going fast.  I really don’t think I could have run faster if Jack the Ripper was behind me today.

thanks google images

And since I love racing (I know I don’t race often but I do love it) that’s frustrating. I guess this means that if I want to start seriously contemplating a fall race (not a marathon but maybe a half or 10k or anything!) I need to cut back on the miles and let myself ride out this period of awkward “hey-what-the-hell-am-I-doing?!?” phase of getting into Fasty McFast shape.

Note: I’m not upset over this in an “I’m-going-to-agonize-over-it” way.  I’m just annoyed that I’m not in my Fall 2010 Racing Shape. The workout wasn’t a complete disaster because I fell in the “tempo interval” range as noted above. I’m sure I’ll reap some benefit from this, no? And, as I mentioned last week, there’s room for improvement. I need to focus on that excitement.

I also hope this post is coherent.  I’m running on little sleep.  Time for a quick nap and then time to go out and celebrate with my friends (they’re 2nd year med students and this week is the 1st year’s orientation.  I’m an honorary med student this week hahah!)

October 2, 2010

It’s Really Fall. And It’s Really Time To Run Fast.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:34

Thanks so much for the kind words about my bailing on the speed session yesterday. It made me feel (slightly) better knowing that many of you have “postponed” workouts before.

I also got a few comments about taking the iron pills — which I should have expected and clarified yesterday.  This wasn’t just one bad run and I jumped to a conclusion.  Yes I’ve been telling you all the good stuff with my running and life (with the exception of the weather!) but my overall energy was suffering and if you want to see what the symptoms are for iron deficiency anemia you can on Wikipedia (LOVE that site).  I have a few of them and coupled with me having gone through this before I think a few days of iron is what I need.  I’m not going on something long term and my plan is to do two or three more days of one pill then MAKE SURE I take my multi-vitamin daily (I’ve been slacking hardcore since last winter or so).  Someone also asked if I knew what the root cause is and for me is likely menstruation with no intake of high iron sources to replace it.

And don’t worry: if this persists much longer I will make an appointment with my doctor.

Despite many of you saying that you’d nix a hard workout for the rest of the week (and I didn’t get any of those messages until after I did this morning’s workout! Oops!) I wanted a do-over.  Yes I know there are no such things as do-overs in life but whatever. I can try.

Yesterday’s rain was only that: rain.  No storm and no blowing over of houses.  Bummer.  But what it DID do was give New England the fall that it should be having at the moment.  When I awoke this morning (after SOUND sleeping. YAY) it was about 53* and 56% humidity.  Talk about weather quickly changing! Very nice to sleep in and very nice to run in as well.  I debated putting off the run until after getting something to eat in me but decided against it because I didn’t want my brain to do any negative or doubt-y talk.  So I laced up my shoes and off I went.

While I know I said yesterday that I was going to not think about doing mile repeats (which had been on the docket yesterday) that was what I wanted to do.  Yes I am crazy and a glutton for punishment.  And I knew that I wanted to do them on an actual track.  This made the warm up (and down after) a bit longer than I’d have ideally liked but I knew that going to the track would really help my mental game.

How can you not channel them when you're on the track? (and all images in this post are google images)

It was also a bit scary because I used the TM for pretty much all the Boston training speed work I did.  So I was off on my own and, in my mind, flying blind!


  • Warm up (~3.7 miles)
  • 4 X 1 mile (target pace 7:00) with ~1/2 mile recovery
  • 1 X 400 m (unknown target pace because I haven’t done these in forever! Maybe close to 6:00 pace?) with 400m recovery
  • Warm down (~3.7 miles)

THE ACTUAL WORKOUT (dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn):

Warm up: 3.7 miles @ 9:24

Ouch.  I knew that my pace was slow and I’m glad that I didn’t do any mental math to figure out HOW slow I was.  I think I’d have bailed on the workout again

Mile 1: 6:43 (recovery = 4:56)

SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.  At least that’s how it felt.  I thought I was doing a 7:30 or even closer to 8:00 pace.  When I finished and saw sub-7, my first thought was I skipped out on the last lap! This did not feel as fast as I’d have thought a 6:45 to be.

Mile 2: 6:38 (4:45)

Starting this repeat I had the doubt that I missed a lap during mile 1 so I checked the split at the 800m mark and it was 3:19.  Yep I am fast.  This was exciting but sooooooo scary to see. I’m not used to seeing those times on my own on the track!

Mile 3: 6:43 (4:50)

I now had the boost of two good solid fast repeats under my belt and since I was on #3 out of 4, I was half way there! My legs did sort of wax and wane a bit but I stayed strong.

During this mile’s recovery a girl who, I’m guessing here, was on the high school XC team (there was some kind of team practicing on the track) was doing her own recovery going the opposite was as me.  And as she passed me, she looked at me shyly and said “you’re a really good runner“.  This absolutely MELTED my heart and I squeaked out a thank you.

Mile 4: 6:49 (4:50)

I had thought the girl’s comment would put some pep in my step but this ended up being the slowest mile.  My legs were pretty fatigued at this point.

400m: 85.63 seconds, which is a 5:41 pace (2:29)

Death. Vomit. Hamstrings very weak.  But I did check the split at the 200m mark and it was 44 seconds.  Meaning I negative splitted a 400m sprint.  Impressive? Maybe. I’ve always been told that the goal of a 400m is to go out hard and try to hold on.  Not progress like I did.  But I was happy with it because it HURT but felt AMAZING.

I don’t know if only doing one of them was worthwhile. I think I mostly did it as a mental thing.  It would have been nice if I could have done another 2 or 3 after.  But I didn’t want to!

Warm down: 3.9 miles @ 9:07

Decent. The beginning miles were uphill (GAH) and were no faster than a walk despite having warmed down for a quarter mile after the 400m.  I ended up finishing up the run on the pathway which was a nice way to end the hard workout I just completed.


Or not.

Success? I think so.  I’m a bit perplexed at the “easiness” of the mile repeats though as I was never close to the target of 7:00. I’m not truly complaining here as I’ve always targeted 7:00 – 7:15 pace as acceptable.  It’s kind of exciting to be sub that, although I did just check what McMillian (which is what I’ve based my paces off in the past) says about mile repeats when I plug in my recent 5k time: 6:15-6:30 for middle distance runners and 6:23-6:37 for long distance.  I was hovering above that today.

That said, I checked the 800m splits for #2,3,4 and they were all slower than the second 800m.  Not by much (I’d still say I did a pretty even pacing job) but I never bombed in the second half.  Encouraging. Although next time I might have to push a little harder 😉

But for the 400m sprint I did McMillian says that for mid-distance runners the target is 86-89 seconds and for long distance runners the target is 87-92 seconds.  And I was under that.  I’m not quite sure what that says about me as a runner.  I’ve always thought that my strength was the looooooong stuff.  But maybe the shorter stuff is just more familiar to me so I really go at it (I’m a sprinter by training: 100m and 200m in high school).

Interesting too is the fact that, based on my 5k time — which isn’t always the most accurate at all in predicting marathon time — McMillian says I can run a 3:14 marathon. HA (although this time give a 1:32 half time which is really close to my current pr).  With my recent half pr I can run a 3:18. HA again. Although it makes me want to sign up for one now 🙂

Regardless this was a great boost for me! I’m going to do another speed workout sometime next week.  Nothing as hard as the hills of this week or the mile repeats of today but just something to keep it in my head that I am FAST and STRONG and AMAZING.

That is all.

Hope everyone has a great rest of your Saturday! I have a friend who is coming into the city later this afternoon and this evening to hang out with me.  And possibly do a short run with me (<4 miles) too. Hopefully I can find the time to lounge for the rest of the day (not too hard with SUN and FALL WEATHER and a GREAT BOOK on the BALCONY!)  If we do end up running I’ll very likely take the day off tomorrow as I can tell my miles for this week are pretty high already!

October 28, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 09:04

Just because I’m cutting back the miles doesn’t mean I have to cut back on intensity, right? Right.  That was my theory this morning as I geared up for some mile repeats.

I actually woke up 4 minutes before my alarm which actually felt really good.  I was having a really strange dream (but since when do dreams that you remember make any sense?) about running a marathon in Paris and China with a kid that I barely know.  Weird.  My bed was incredibly comfy too (the moment where your sheets and covers just smother you in amazingness) so I only got up 1 minute before the alarm just so I didn’t have to listen to it go off ha.

I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do today when I got up / when I was thinking about it last night.  I definitely didn’t want to do another easy run.  Even though I’ve been enjoying them, the reason I love training schedules is because there’s a variety to the workouts.  So my thoughts then went to speedwork.  I mulled over various possibilities and the one that made my stomach actually knot up was mile repeats.  Well, actually doing quarters or halfs were the worst, but mile repeats were a close second.  And I have a perverse love of mile repeats.

The warm up mile is always the worst. The place where my mind says, “Are you crazy? This pace is hard, how can I do anything at a faster pace?!?”  It’s also the mile that just drags.  I want so badly to just jump into the workout but my body needs it.  Luckily a mile is a mile so it was over fairly quickly and I was off to the races.

Since I’m in a cutback mode I knew I was only going to do 3 repeats.  Not the 5-6 that I’ve pulled off somehow in the past. 3 is a good number because by the last one you know if the first 2 were flukes or not.  It allows for some consistency that 2 repeats don’t.  Of course I would have loved to do more (as I tell my stats students, the more data you have going into an average, the less one particular point “counts”) but 3 worked.

Here are the splits:

  1. 6:56
  2. 6:54
  3. 6:45

Yeah that last one just about killed me haha.  Well not really as I think I had some gas left in the tank.  I need to trust myself that I’m not going to blow up and die if I go faster.  I just get so worried that I’m not going to be able to finish a workout if I go out too fast (a valid concern I think) that I end up being a tad conservative.  Not that I’m complaining about the splits. They’re fantastic! First time ever that every. single. one has been sub-7.  A most excellent accomplishment. And they felt like my lower body was powering away while my upper body was just floating.  I definitely thought to myself that this is awesome!

My recovery for each repeat was a half mile.  I toyed with the idea of going to a quarter mile just to cut out some miles but decided against it. Recovery from the intervals is important, although in hindsight I wonder if less recovery between intervals would help me in the long run by making my muscles work harder when more tired.

My overall miles for today is 6.  Since my last interval had a recovery portion after that I included that into my warm down and only did an extra half mile after the recovery (if that train of thought makes sense).  I was mighty tempted to not do this and have a full mile in the books as a cool down, as what’s one half mile? But that thinking is dangerous, as a half mile leads to a miles leads to more than I want.  I also figured that the intensity of this workout pushed me hard enough during this recovery period.

Although, and this may be TMI, I have never experienced the laxative power of running more intensely today.  I think it was how hard I was running but after the last repeat I had to sprint to the bathroom.  I almost didn’t think I was going to make it and prolly have NEVER run so fast in my life haha.  Sheesh!

Just a quick update on that marathon I was talking about forever ago: my plans fell through.  I had a feeling this would happen as it was kind of absurd to think that I could tag along on a company marathon trip. But it was to DISNEY so I felt I had to pursue an opportunity.  It ends up being way to expensive for me to sign up, travel, lodge etc.  I’m slightly disappointed but it’s okay.  It gives me this time to rest before Boston training starts.  But having this plan in the back of my head for Disney was partly why my miles were so high because this marathon is 10(?) weeks away.

And to start of your Wednesday I give you…the Facts of Life (I don’t know what I’m going to do when I run out!)

36. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

37. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

38. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem….

39. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

40. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.

September 16, 2009

Good Golly Molly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:32

OK, so I don’t have a friend named Molly.  But I’m a sucker for anything that rhymes. Consider the title, however, as an exclamation of  something good.  Because something good happened this morning.

When my alarm went off this morning (and yes lately my alarm has been waking me up. Maybe I should go to bed earlier?) I debated whether or not to hit the gym.  And no, it’s not because of the weather; it was 55* and partly cloudy.  Perfecto. I have this self-doubt complex where I don’t think my body can handle doing any speed work on it’s on.  It needs the TM as a crutch.  Which I know is stupid because I just did a couple really good tempos where I questioned my potential a few weeks ago. But there you go: mental roadblock.

After berating myself for trying to wimp out and head for the gym I told myself that I needed the mental toughness, if nothing else.  I was originally going to do a ladder-type workout with more shorter stuff but since my campus is small I took advantage of the one lap = one mile.  Or so I thought.

After the warmup I noted that it took me a little longer than I thought it should but shook it off as I was just tired and not warmed up.  So first mile: 8 minutes.

WTF?! I definitely was going a hell of a lot faster than that! Well, maybe my legs weren’t warm for the first part of that lap

Mile 2: 737.  Eh, better but not where I want to be. Same with Mile 3: 737.  Both of these miles I chalked up to noticing a slow down, catch myself, speed up routine.

Mile 4: Going to go balls to the walls.  728. UGH. Not where I want to be.

Now I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.  Apparently the one lap = one mile is not for the way I ran it. There’s no real concise way to explain it so I’m not going to but the way I was running my lap made one lap = 1.1(5) miles (I’m so conservative when it comes to distances that even though mapping the lap online says 1.15 I rounded down to 1.1). So when I converted my pace to min/mile they were:

  1. 716
  2. 655
  3. 655
  4. 647

Much much better because my target paces were 700-715.  Now I know I’m not as speedy as some of you who read this (Matt, Jess and LARunner come to mind immediately) but I was so elated when I realized that my splits were fast!

As a couple of you pointed out, I might have been better off with shorter repeats, most common advice was 400s and 100s, but I really needed this for a mental boost. Rest assured that I had a serious internal debate and took all of the advice to heart — well not so internal as I wrote out a pro / con list! And major thanks for go-to 5k training work, I have another one (well tentatively) in early November that I will definitely incorporate this stuff into.

I now need to remember to A) warm up hardcore before the race (I was thinking running the course leisurely) and B) keep my mind of the race.  Too often I find my mind wandering and BAM my pace is shot.

So I’m still pretty nervous about the race, simply because it’s my first.  But I should be ok.  Provided that my legs recover in time.  Heh, kind of funny. Except not.

And like many of you told me: HAVE FUN.  Now tell me you can’t watch / see/ imagine this and tell me that it is not the most joyous occasion on Earth. I get giddy listening to that music and my friends and I are definitely planning a major trip.

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