So much has happened these last several weeks, so I will attempt to quickly hit the highlights.
|My 5 a.m. running crew. |
They are up to running12 milers!
2. I am getting fit. After spending 12 weeks on the injured reserve list, I was not sure how much fitness I had lost. I didn't completely stop running during that period, but not being able to run longer than 4-6 miles at a time takes a toll. These past four weeks, I have been able to execute my plan as written and it has not been easy! Whereas at the beginning of the month, I couldn't run over 8 miles, this month I've run four, 12+ mile runs! So, exciting. Two of those runs had 10 miles of marathon pace (MP) in the middle. I was nervous about these workouts given how little longer running I had done in the preceding 3 months. I was shocked when I ran the first 10-mile MP workout in 1:04:30. It felt awesome and my heart rate was well within the marathon zone (for me, anyway). Last weekend, I ran 13 miles with 10 miles at MP and was thrilled to run that in 1:03:10 for the 10 miles with the same average heart rate as the workout two weeks before. My interval workouts are becoming speedier as well each week. Clearly, I didn't lose much fitness during the time I was injured. I wonder about this since my mileage was so low, AND I decided not to cross train. This was a big change for me. I typically work my butt off cross training when injured, but I ran across a video of Coach Jack Daniels discussing cross training during injury, and it resonated with me. Of course being able to do some running and being able to do speed work were huge factors keeping me from going crazy. So, not cross training was palatable. Oh, and my Garmin 620 is a dream. Last time I mentioned that it was not quite reporting accurate VO2Max results, but that changed this month. As of today, my VO2Max is now at 59! That's actually pretty darn close to where I think it should be given my workouts and heart rates, though it might be a bit on the high side.
3. Next Marathon? Right now, I am running ~50 miles per week with a long run of 12-13 miles. I am signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 2nd. The math reveals that I have about eight weeks to go before that race. It's hard for me to picture a world where I can be ready to run sub-2:43 in eight weeks given where I am now. I actually feel really confident about my fitness, especially after running 10 miles at very close to goal marathon pace last week. However, I am not used to having so little weekly mileage and long run mileage under my belt at this point in a training cycle. On one hand, I feel like I should take advantage of the fitness leaps I'm making and just see how far I can get in the next month or so. I will absolutely not push my training to a point that will injure me, but maybe I don't need all the mileage and long runs. Could I run a marathon PR off of a max of 70 mpw and few if any 20 milers? My friend Jen reminded me that I have years of endurance under my belt and maybe I don't really need to work on that aspect of my training for this next race. It is a leap of faith. I have toyed with the idea of pushing my next marathon race to the Modesto Marathon, 3 weeks later, or even Boston in April. With Boston, I am waiting to hear whether I can gain entry into the elite women's field. The cut off is 2:48 for masters runners and I ran 2:48:50 in Eugene. They will give the remaining elite entries to those not meeting the standard, but I have been told they won't reveal this list until late January at the earliest and early March at the latest. Maybe a little too late for planning purposes.
4. Coaching. I recently jumped in the USATF Level 1 Coaches' training because it was being taught locally, and I wanted to be credentialed, officially. It was a serious time commitment, but I decided it was well worth it since I really enjoy coaching. I actually learned a ton from this course even though it was very focused on youth and track and field events. My coaching side business is soaring right now and I am having so much fun with the athletes that I help. I am learning so much from them and am grateful to have the time to be able to work with them. I have pretty much reached my limit in terms of number of athletes I can handle at this point. I might be slightly over, but that just means I sleep a little less.
The Coaches' training also gave me a goal for 2014. There was much talk about the pistol squat being this magical exercise that every athlete should be able to do. When I asked the trainers to demonstrate, not really knowing what it was, they looked at me sheepishly and pointed at someone else to demo the move. Once I saw what it entailed, I realized why they couldn't demonstrate it. It's hard! There are so many aspects of strength and flexibility needed to do this move. So, I decided it would become my strength-training focus for 2014. I am doing progressive training to get there, but it is going to happen! The Genius thinks I'll have it in a few months but my big limiting factor is my ankle flexibility. I will work on that and be pistol squatting to impress the masses soon enough. Here's a video of some knucklehead doing pistol squats, but it's really the most impressive example I could find.
Happy New Year Everyone!