Marathon Training Week 10 Recap

Another strong week is in the books!

To recap:

Monday: Rest day, also known as the best day.

Tuesday: 3 miles. I have no idea how long this run actually took because my watch never loaded. But I know we ran it a little faster than usual. This is my last three mile run for a while. 😦 Next week these runs bump up to 4 miles.

Wednesday: 7 miles. To prepare for this run, I made sure to drink tons of water and eat a few extra carbs on Tuesday. I also woke up a little earlier than I needed to (4:15 a.m., ugh) and ate a piece of bread and downed some more water. All of this translated into a much better mid-week run. I felt strong and actually enjoyed myself. Each run got progressively faster and we got the last mile in at 9:26, fast for me in these days of tired legs and humidity. I was super happy with this run and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. It also made me want to eat way more than normal throughout the day.

Thursday: 4 miles. This is usually the day the running starts to catch up to your legs. My pace on these 4 miles was slower than my pace on the 7.

Friday: Rest day. I used my rest day to drink lots of water, load up on the carbs and plan our running route. I had Tortino again (the linguine, my favorite) since it’s now my long run good luck charm.

Saturday: 15 miles. This was really daunting. It’s the furthest distance I’ve ever attempted. I woke up at 5:30 to eat some peanut butter toast and drink some water. We finally got out the door around 6:20 in order to beat the heat. I had decided on a trail that was going to give us some hill work since running in D.C. usually means flat courses. Some of the miles were actually on the course for the marathon, which has its biggest hills in the early miles. We ran toward Lincoln, but I had to stop to pee less than two miles in. We ran into some guys who also were out training for the marathon. They were doing 10 to 12 miles, which I was a little jealous of, but I always find motivation in seeing other runners out early to get their training in.

Thankfully, once it got lighter, it was still really overcast. Having the sun beat down on you on a run can be miserable so I was so happy for this. We crossed the Memorial Bridge, went down onto the Mount Vernon Trail and then took a new-to-us route. Instead of taking the Key Bridge into Georgetown, we crossed over the highway and got on the Custis Trail. As soon as you get on the trail, the hills start. It was pretty much a progressive uphill climb between miles five and 7.5. There were a few downhills, but not as many to match some of the steep uphills we had to attack. But that meant one good thing: a lot of downhills on the return. The trail wasn’t the prettiest since it runs right next to 66, but it provided new views for us and it was less crowded than the Mount Vernon Trail. And if you live in that part of Virginia, it’s a great path for running or biking into the city.

Our turnaround came up faster than I expected, near Ballston. I felt really good, despite the hills. We still took quick (about a minute) walking breaks every two miles. After about mile six, we used these breaks to fuel (Peanut Butter Gu this time) and drink water. We hit the Mount Vernon Trail again very quickly (thanks downhills!) and that’s when I realized that I really could run 15 miles. At mile 12, I decided to pull out my music for the last 3 miles. My body was starting to feel a little tired so I needed the distraction. The bottoms of my feet were sore and my calves were getting a little tight, even with compression socks on. I remember looking at my watch and realizing that I could hit my fastest half-marathon time ever if I kept going at the pace we were going at. That provided a little motivation. I ended up beating my best half marathon time by about three minutes.

And then it got hard. The last two miles were ROUGH. I just wanted to be done. I thought I was going to skip the walking break at mile 14, but I didn’t. I needed it. But I did force myself to run again after the walking break. I was SO relieved when we hit mile 15 and we could stop. It’s funny how the second you stop, your body starts to hurt. My legs felt heavy and they were sore, but we got it done with just short one-minute walking breaks, which I hope will mimic the water stops on the course. We finished in 2:46:07, for an average pace of 11:04, one second faster than our pace on last week’s 10 miler. (Let me say something about pace here to remind my future self because I get annoyed when my pace seems slower to me. My body has been through a lot of miles at this point and heat and humidity slow you down. Also, long runs are supposed to be at a pace 60 to 90 seconds slower than your goal pace.  I don’t necessarily have a goal pace, but I guess I’d like to keep it under 11 in hopes of finishing in sub-5 hours. I also hope that this pace in heat and humidity will translate into a faster pace in the cooler late-October weather.) That 15-mile time was almost the same as my first half-marathon time. All of this leaves me hope that I will PR at my half marathon in a couple of weeks.


Our route map

Elevation chart of our run. Hey, look! There are actual bumps on this map, unlike most of our D.C. runs.

Elevation chart of our run. Hey, look! There are actual bumps on this map, unlike most of our D.C. runs.

We hit up CVS after our run because I wanted a Coke bad (I always crave a cold Coke after a long, sweaty run) and Joe wanted some fruit. We came home and stretched. This is something I’ve gotten much better about and it’s made a huge difference in how quickly my body recovers and how it feels on the next run. Then we ate some fruit and turkey bacon, hopped in the shower and took a long nap. Lately, thanks to following them on Facebook, I had been craving Roy Rogers. We headed down to Alexandria for a post-run treat. It was delicious and by about 3 p.m., I was pretty hungry. We spend the rest of the day watching college football and then I fell asleep before 10 p.m.

Sunday: This is supposed to be my cross training day and I usually just walk. Yesterday we went to Cunningham Falls State Park so I thought my cross training would be hiking. We grabbed a picnic table near the lake and spent a lot of time laying out, reading and eating. Our plan was to hike to the falls before we left but we got hit with a storm instead. No falls for us. Since we were fairly close to the outlets at Hagerstown, we headed over there for some shopping. I got a new pair of running shoes (black Nike Lunarglide 5s, which are pretty similar to my beloved Nike Pegasus 30s, of which I have two pairs) and bright yellow running shorts from New Balance for $5. I’m hoping to take both of these for a spin this week.

Total miles this week: 29. August was my highest mileage month ever at 98 miles. Yikes.

Now on to week 11. I’m hoping these strong runs continue but I’m already nervous for next week’s 16 miler, which I’ll have to do alone since Joe will be drilling with the Reserves. Eeek!