Sunday, October 28, 2012

CIM Training Week #7 - The Calm Before The Storm

This week training went pretty smoothly.  I also got to enjoy much of my running with company.  71 miles total.  A quick recap:

Monday - REST!  No really, I did.  For the first time in 11 days.
Tuesday - 15 BEFORE I started teaching.  I can't believe I actually did it - the mid week long run.  I found this group online called "Moms Run This Town" and they were meeting at 5am for 7 miles.... so I set my alarm for 4:30am, was out the door by 4:40, ran with them for 7, ran back home, another few in my neighborood, showered and got the kids ready for school, and then finished up with 2.5 with the boys running club I coach.
Wednesday - 7 recovery.  I did 4 with my neighbor and finished up on my own.  Entire run was finished by 6:30am.
Thursday - I did three in the morning with the running club (and paced a speedy little 5th grader for the last mile to figure out a goal pace for his 5K.  He did an 8 minute mile for his last mile, after already doing 2.5 --I'm not sure I'll be able to pace him for the actual 5K, which is a week after the marathon!)  Then I did a 9 mile tempo run on the W&OD with Brittany.  Our goal was to hold half marathon pace for 7 miles, with a 1 mile warm up and cool down.  Our average was about 7:35 for the tempo miles, but we did stop a couple of times to drink/ Gu/ complain that the last 3.5 miles were uphill.  So we sort of did a tempo run, and vowed that next time we will only stop once.  And then the next time we won't stop at all.  Ya know... we gotta build up to being real runners.  Who follow real plans.
Friday - 6 recovery miles with an awesome co-worker right after work.
Saturday - 22 miles with Tuan and Brittany at 6am.  We were supposed to pick up the pace at the end.   The first 16 miles were between 8:45 - 9:10 (aside from one ridiculously slow mile right at the beginning.), and the last 6 were between 8:22 (that was the fastest one) and 8:40.  So the last 6 were all within 30 second of marathon pace.  Booyah.  (However, I am not sure I could have held actual marathon pace for those last six miles...  within 30 seconds was hard enough.)
Sunday - This was my first year to spectate at the Marine Corps Marathon.  My friend Michelle was trying to break 4:30 and I said I'd meet her at The Wall (AKA Mile 20) and push her til she wanted to punch me in the face.  Which I did.  And she finished in 4:25 -- PR of about 20 minutes!  I ran to the metro and up and down the 14th Bridge -- got in a total of about 9 miles.

I greatly enjoyed being a spectator.  We held up this sign:

The real runners totally got it.  Some of them even asked us what their Paul Ryan Projected Finish time was.  But some people thought were there supporting the Romney/ Ryan ticket -- I guess I should have work the shirt I wore to MCM 2008:

(Sidenote:  Yes, that's a pregnant tummy, and no I didn't run the whole marathon in 2008 -- only the 10K.)

So there is a HURRICANE on the way and I have no idea what that's going to do to next week's mileage, which is supposed to be another peak week.  I may have to rest on Tuesday since that's when we're supposed to have monsoons and 50-60mph winds.  And possibly power outages.  Ugh.  I'm already worried about the food in my freezer.  They have called off school for the next two days.  I think I may need to get out and run just to keep my sanity - two kids and a house with likely no electricity is going to be... interesting.

At least my massage therapist called and said she will be doing massages by candlelight tomorrow as long as we can get there.   :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CIM Training Week 6 - We Are Halfway There

Really?  I'm halfway through training? Three more weeks of 70 plus miles and then three weeks of taper.  And then I put my body to the ultimate test.

I've already decided I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself.  If I don't sub 3:40, I'll sign up for a spring marathon and try again.  Maybe I'll have to try again and again and again.  My half marathon time says I have the ability to meet the goal.  But it was a race with ideal conditions where pretty much everything went right.  Races are unpredictable.

My week in a review:
Monday - 6 recovery miles before work and 4 at 10pm (no I didn't want 10pm.  Susanna wouldn't sleep.)  Legs were still pretty tight from the race the day before.
Tuesday- Rest (although I did two with the boys running club I coach -- Tuesday is not a good day to choose "rest" because those boys won't let me.)
Wednesday- GA (general aerobic) pace 9 before work, 6 after.
Thursday- 3 with the running club before work and then insane speedwork -- .75 mile repeats at a 6:45 pace with .25 jog recoveries plus warm up and cool down.  So 8 more miles.
Friday- 6 recovery miles in the morning, 2 in the afternoon
Saturday- 17 at 8:45ish pace
Sunday- 9 recovery miles
Total mileage:  72.  Another record.

Tomorrow is rest. WHAT?  I have run for 11 days straight, and my mind is having trouble grasping this concept of rest.  I have a feeling the taper is going to be very, very itchy come November.

A couple things I learned this week:

1.  I can't run at 5am every morning.  I need a couple mornings a week where I can relax and not feel rushed and sleep in a bit longer.  I also hate speedwork in the mornings.  So it looks like Thursdays will be my "Run After Work Day."

2. Though all these solo runs are great for mental toughness, I really enjoy running with others.  Saturday long runs I always do with the DSG folks.  These past two weeks I've met up with Brittany once outside of DSG to do a run.   I also started doing my Wednesday moring recovery runs with a neighbor.  It's hard to fit in a social life with two kids and a full time job (and, er, running 70 mile a week) -- this helps.

This week Brittany and I are meeting up for speedwork on Thursday.  We are somehow supposed to hold half marathon pace (about 7:40) for 7 miles, sandwiched between a mile warm up and cool down.  I have no idea how I'm supposed to run that fast if I don't have a timing chip on and someone to chase down, but we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

CIM Training Week 5 + Heritage Half Race Report

This was a recovery week and oh did I need it.  After giving blood and running 71 miles last week, I was happy to cut back my mileage to 50 to mini-taper for my half marathon tune up race.  I didn't have a lot going on in the evenings, Monday was a holiday, and so I also didn't get up early to run -- I figured I could catch up on some much needed sleep.

So.... Monday was 9 on the Accotink Trail - ran from the gym while the kids were in daycare and Jamie was on the treadmill, then we all did family swim.  Tuesday I did 2 with the Guys on the Go team I coach (3rd - 6th grade boys... wasn't sure if I should count these miles in my training since I usually do them super slow and stop a lot to motivate the kiddos, but hey why not?) and 6 at the Tysons Running Store, Wednesday I rested for the first time in 11 days, Thursday was 2 with the Guys on the Go plus 3 miles of speed training after work, Friday I ran 6 with Brittany right after work from the marina before heading off to Pentagon City to get a new iphone (note to all:  do not put your brand new iphone in your running jacket, then throw all your sweaty clothes in the laundry without checking your pockets...) -- it is SO nice to run with someone else who is my pace, wish she lived closer -- and then Saturday was insane and all I could manage was to run home from swim lessons before jumping in the car and heading to an inservice for work.  At any rate, I felt pretty tapered for the race today.

Brittany (who was NOT tapered as she decided to run 14 miles yesterday) picked me up at 5:30am and we headed off to Gainesville.  The weather was pretty perfect for running -- 50 degrees, no wind.  We picked up our bibs and did a warm-up lap around the track, then I went to the bathroom (for the record, I went to the bathroom 5 times before the race started.  Yes, that is five times between 6:15am and 7:00am.  I am always terrified I'm going to have to lose precious seconds during the race in a port-a-potty, but I think Brittany thought this was a bit ridiculous by the 4th time....)  Then I drank a bottle of Gatorade, did one more lap, (visited the ladies room a few more times), and got in line for the race.

My goal for the race was to try to keep the same pace I did for the ten miler in June - 1:17:13, so a 7:43 pace.  I figured, hey, it's only three miles longer, I can do it, right?  So I took off at what I thought was somewhere around 7:40.  The Garmin buzzed and I looked down.  7:22.  Oops.  Anyhow, whatever. I didn't feel like I was pushing it and figured I'd settle back into a groove once the first mile adrenaline wore off.  Sure enough mile 2 was 7:44.  Then 7:42, 7:46, 7:55, -- these were all downhill and I was feeling great til I quickly realized this was going to be UPHILL on this out and back course and that the UPHILL would come when I was much more tired, AURGH - 7:44, 7:48 7:42, (and here comes that downhill-now-backwards-meaning-the-devil-uphill) 8:02, -- despite the fact that my 10th mile was the slowest of them all, I was thrilled that I crossed it right at 1:17, so I was on top of my goal - 7:59, 7:55, 8:03 (completely uphill! - elevation here if you are curious:, AND finally we are at the last 1.1 -- no more hills, and there was a girl who looked like she might be in my age group within sight of me... I tried to catch her, and as we made it onto the track for the last 400 meters, I ran past her.  I was a pretty good distance ahead and had my music blaring, looked back at the curb and thought I had her. My Garmin said I was running towards the finish at about a 6:50 pace... and then as I got to the last straightaway she somehow managed to kick it up to like a 4 minute/ mile pace, I swear, and she blew ahead of me by like 5 seconds.  I felt like I was going to throw up, but only for the last .15 miles.  I did the last 1.1 in 7:29, I think.... my watch and and my official time were not in agreement.  Final chip time was 1:41:05.  7:42 pace = Goal Met.

Last year the 3rd place winner in my AG was 1:43 so I decided to stick around for the results.  Brittany is in the next AG down so we were not competing, but she had finished around the same time I did.  We waited and waited in the cold for the race to end.... then we got in her car... then we got back out and waited some more.  Finally about an hour and 15 minutes later they posted preliminary results.  I was 6th in my AG and Brittany was 7th in hers.... oh well.  Guess they had a speedier field (or perhaps better race conditions) this year.

Overall I'm happy -- that was a PR by 3:49.  See happy photo:

My schedule called for 18 miles today with 12 at race pace... I counted our .5 mile warm-up, then ran from my house to Firehouse Subs when I got home to get in another 4.5.  Jamie met me there with the kiddos.  It was a slog - 10:20 pace (I walked up Pickett Hill) - but I knew if I didn't do the run right when I got home it wasn't going to happen.

Next week the training plan is back to insanity, and my week is kind of ridiculous as well.  My tenth anniversary is Tuesday so I don't think I can really run after work.... we will see how/if I get in all 70 miles on the schedule.....

Saturday, October 6, 2012

CIM Training Week #4 - A Lesson Learned in Blood Donation Timing

Giving blood is good.  Giving blood when your marathon training plan calls for the heaviest volume you have ever done in your life may not be so good.  And giving blood two weeks before a key race -- definitely not the brightest idea.

You would think I would have learned my lesson after last year's 5K debacle.    The Inova Blood Center has been calling me since I was eligible in July, but I had so many races over the summer, plus the Ironman training was pretty intense, so I promised them I would give when the Ironman was over.  I meant to give mid-September before the training volume got too heavy but then work got busy and I kept putting it off.  After the 5th voicemail (Hello Mrs. Lynch, we have noted that you said you would give after August 26th... we have a shortage and you are the universal donor... please call us and make an appointment.) the guilt really hit. So after my 18 miler last weekend, I scheduled a donation.  I figured since Sunday was a rest day, I could relax and I remembered I felt pretty recovered (despite the horrible 5K) by Wednesday the last time around.  However,  last April I wasn't doing much that was high intensity, I wasn't running as much and I definitely wasn't running as far.

Monday I had 13 miles scheduled - 9 in the morning and 4 after work.  I headed out at 5am and noticed my "steady" pace was considerably slower than it normally is.  I was annoyed with myself the whole run, but I couldn't get my pace under 8:50 without feeling like I was pushing it.  The afternoon pace was no better.  The next day was even worse - 9:20 pace in the morning and so pathetic after work that I turned off my Garmin (the fact that Susanna was in the stroller didn't help matters.) Wednesday was a recovery day so I have no idea what the pace was.  Thursday was my tempo run.  I left my house at 5:20am and did a two mile warm-up without looking at the pace, then I shot off at what I thought was my Lactate Threshold.... I figured my first mile was about 7:25 based on my effort.  The Garmin clicked off and I glanced down -- 8:19.  !?!?!?!?!  I started running harder and assumed the next mile would be at least 7:50.  When the watch buzzed again, it said 8:09.  Seriously?  I decided to bag the tempo at that point and just ran to the 4.5 mile halfway point.  I glanced at my watch and saw that it was already 6:04am.  Uh oh.  How in the world did it take me that long to get that far?   I had exactly 41 minutes to run 4.5 miles and get to my front door.  Of course then I realized that I had to go to the bathroom.  I zoomed into the Exxon station, waved to the attendant (we've become 6am friends), and then booked it as fast as I could. Luckily the elevation on my 9 mile route is uphill out, downhill back.  Somehow I made it to my door exactly at my deadline (Jamie was waiting by the window.)

So how long was it going to take me to recover?  As I made the kids' breakfast, I googled "Blood Donation and Marathon Training."  Here's what I found:

When you donate blood, you give up a pint of fluid containing mostly water along with various proteins and cells in solution. During high-intensity endurance activities however, it is hemoglobin, found within our red blood cells, that is most important.  Hemoglobin delivers oxygen to our tissues, and when we exercise our muscles require increased amounts of oxygen. If we lack sufficient hemoglobin, anaerobic, or without oxygen, metabolism will ensue (producing lactic acid) at even seemingly moderate levels of intensity. Donating a pint (450cc) of blood results in a depletion of about 10 percent of your total blood volume. Of that, only about 160cc are red blood cells. The fluid component, the remaining 290cc, is replaced within hours, but the red blood cell replacement takes about two months, (which is why you may not donate more often than every two months). What then are the lasting effects of this red blood cell loss?  Assuming that your cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart) remains constant, a drop in hemoglobin concentration associated with donating blood will reduce your oxygen delivery to working muscles by 10 percent. Still, when you are at rest, or even during moderate levels of exercise, oxygen delivery, even at this decreased capacity, far outpaces demand. However, once you reach a heart rate that is around 5 to 10 percent below your usual anaerobic threshold, your body's demand for oxygen will outpace its supply. For example, if your metabolism typically becomes anaerobic at a heart rate of 170, then after donating blood you will become anaerobic at a heart rate of between 157 and 164 beats per minute. 

Well, that explains why my Lactate Threshold run felt like Death-On-Toast.

I decided to take it easy the rest of the week.  Friday was a recovery day and I did 4 miles after work at about a 10 minute pace (just guessing as I left work at 4:20 and got back at 5.)  Today, luckily, was a Long Slow Distance run -- 18 miles at 60-90 seconds above planned race pace.  I didn't look at my watch at all, told Tuan to run without me (he was being SO kind and going at my plodding pace, but since his BQ requires a 7:23 pace, I told him to run with Fast-Ethiopian-Jake.)  I could make new friends.  I met a guy visiting from Arizona who was training for his first Ironman and ran with him for awhile.  I finished the 18 miles in 2:53 - almost 20 minutes slower than last week.  Which is fine because last week was a pace run (2/3 of the run at Marathon Pace - 8:12.)  9:38 is still within that 60-90 second window, so overall not a bad run.

Weekly totals:  66 miles in 6 days.  That's definitely a record for me.

Next week is a recovery week - a drop back to about 45 miles and culminating in a half marathon race on Sunday.  And this is why I am SOOO mad at myself for the timing of this blood donation.  This race was supposed to be my crystal ball into what pace I should run on December 2.   Missing my red blood cells is not going to give me the ability to race to my full potential so the race isn't really going to tell me anything.  Apparently they have tested hemoglobin levels of those who donate blood on a regular basis and it takes anywhere from 20 to 56 days for it to be back to normal (with 36 days being the average.)  The more you weigh and the more athletic you are, the faster the recovery time.  So I've got the fitness on my side, but at 127 lbs (speaking of which, the scale did not budge this week) I lost a larger percentage of my blood volume than a 180 lb athlete such as my husband.

Don't get me wrong.  I am glad I gave blood.  If people didn't donate, the hospitals couldn't save lives.  However - I should have donated THREE WEEKS AGO!!!!

On another note, my husband also ran 18 miles today.  In 2:20.  Somehow I think he is still going to hold the Lynch Marathon Record in 2012.  Just like he did in 2011.  And 2010.  And 2009....  Sigh.... no matter how many more miles I run, he will always be faster than me.