5

What I learned from running the worst race of my life

As if I haven’t spoken about this enough on Twitter and in my race recap, I had an awful marathon last Sunday. This was, by far, the worst race I’ve ever run. However, it’s in these moments of failure where we truly learn the most. There are probably thousands of clichés I could drop in here, but that doesn’t make this any less true of a statement. And here’s the thing, I walked away from this race even more in love with the marathon and running than ever before.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my race and trying to find every takeaway there is from the experience. This started the moment I finally gave up on my C goal way back in mile 15 of my race. I knew it wasn’t going to be my day and, even though I was super bummed and sort of wanted to just pull over and collapse into a ball of tears on the side of the course, I started looking forward to the next race. When would I give it another shot? What happened today and what could I do between now and next time to be better?

So far, this is what I’ve come up with…

Always take a moment to appreciate the positives

This one is the most important and this is why it’s first (the others are in no order).

Guys, I ran my sixth marathon! Come on, that’s awesome! Even if it didn’t go anywhere near how I wanted it to, I still got my ass across that finish line. As a distance runner, it’s easy to lose sight of how few people actually complete marathon in their lifetime, let alone come back for more. When a large portion of your life is spent talking to other runners and talking about running, it’s easy to forget this isn’t a common thing.

And even though I’m chalking this entire race up as a disaster and my worst performance ever, I was still just 3.5 minutes off my time from last November in Richmond, which I considered to be a great race with almost perfect race day execution. I think that says a lot about how much stronger of a runner I am now than I was five and a half months ago. My training wasn’t for nothing.

I also proved to myself that, even though I can’t run nearly as fast as I used to before transitioning, I still have a lot of room to push myself and improve.

I’m strong and determined

Very little of this race went well for me. At mile 6, I was starting to have doubts. At mile 8, I was about 90% sure it wasn’t my day. By mile 10 or 11, I was 100% sure. It’s tough when such a long race goes south so quickly, but quitting was never an option to me. As upset as I was by how crappy my race was going, I stayed strong and resolved to finish the race instead of just giving up. I showed up to run a marathon, not to quit when it didn’t go according to plan.

I learned that I have it in me to keep that attitude going and use it as motivation to get to the finish. In the marathon, this kind of willpower is essential.

Spring marathons can kill you with the weather

As we’re all aware, this past winter sucked in the Northeast. I trained through it all and if this race had been on a day when it was 35º out I would have probably rocked it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the reality of the situation. Winter rather abruptly turned itself off at the very end of March and left little time to adjust to the warmer temperatures. I’m used to running fall marathons which result in weather conditions that are generally more favorable than training conditions were. With this being a spring race, it was the opposite. I didn’t have enough time at the end of training to get used to the weather I’d be running in.

My last two long runs and a few of the medium long runs at the end of training were rough. I had to stop a couple times because of dehydration and just feeling worn out. This should have been a bigger red flag to me, but I ignored it and told myself I’d be okay by race day. I wasn’t.

I’m not sure what can be done about this kind of thing. Really, there isn’t much. I suppose I could do a run or two a week at the gym on the treadmill since it’s always warm and a little humid in there. Better than nothing.

Don’t rely on the pace groups to keep you on track

You need to take responsibility for your own race. I like to run with the pacers for my goal time to help keep me in check. In Richmond, this worked out perfectly and the pacers were dead on the entire race. In New Jersey, they were about 5-10 seconds/mile fast while I was with them. That may not seem like a lot, but when you’re already planning to run at pretty much your max ability, it’s enough.

I forgot to look at the clock as I crossed the start so I didn’t know how much time to subtract from the clocks at each mile. I had no way to do the math in my head while I was running to even know I just a little too fast.

The pace groups can be a great tool to use when they’re on point, but you can’t put your race in their hands. It’s your race and no one else’s. That makes it your responsibility.

If the pacers are supposed to keep you in check, who keeps the pacers in check?

I’ll likely still run with a pace group next, but I’ll be more cognizant of what pace we’re running and adjust accordingly.

It’s important to start slower

This ties in with the last point about the group starting out fast. In previous races, the groups have started 10-15 seconds/mile slower for the first couple miles before bringing the pace down. This always felt like it worked well for me and mirrored the way I train. That’s really the point here, your training should reflect the way you plan to run the race. And even besides that, you should always start out a little slower for the first couple miles and ease your body into race pace anyway.

Practice your race hydration plan on long runs

I follow the same plan every marathon when it comes to fueling and hydration and it’s never failed me before. A vanilla energy gel every five miles and water at every stop in the first ten miles and whichever sports drink they’re giving out after that. In training, I don’t practice the hydration part, only the gel part. Actually, I don’t hydrate at all during my long runs, even when the weather is warm/hot. Normally, none of this is a problem.

Unfortunately, last Sunday, it became a problem. Because it was the warmest marathon I’ve ever raced (I’ve done “fun” marathons in warmer temps), I ended up switching to Powerade (or was it Gatorade? I don’t remember) a couple miles earlier than normal. It could have just been because I was off all-around, but I could feel it sloshing uncomfortably in my stomach. It didn’t feel right at all. At points, I even felt nauseous to the point of fearing I may end up puking on the side of the course.

Take nothing for granted

Going into the race I kept saying all I needed for a BQ was to not have a terrible day. Anything better than terrible and that BQ was mine, even if my goal of 3:30 was going to require nothing short of a great day. So what happened? I had a terrible day.

It’s good to have confidence in yourself and believe you can achieve your goal, but remember that anything can happen. Don’t assume that anything is owed to you–which, to be perfectly honest, is not the attitude I had. I say it over and over about the marathon, but anything can happen and it’s true. Nothing is guaranteed until after it’s in your hands.

Don’t pack your backup goals too closely together

My A, B, and C goals were all within a five-minute window and I think this plays off the last point very well. I shouldn’t have taken 3:35 as being so “in the bag” as to make it my C goal. 3:35 should have been my B goal and C should have been to simply PR. When things went to crap and I blew through all my goals within the span of a few miles, I had nothing left to fight for. Nothing mattered to me except finishing because I had already gone into the race with the mindset that slower than 3:35 was a failure, even if it was still a PR. If I’d already failed, why bother trying? I was making up new goals on-the-fly, but none of them really meant anything to me.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to takeaway here and I have no doubt, as I continue to reflect on the race, I’ll find more. Some of my mistakes were new and others I repeatedly make. While no single one of these is to blame for my bad race and even all of them together may still not cover it all, they didn’t help matters any.

I’ll never run a perfect race and that’s good. It means I can always be improving and growing. Even if I fix all of these things for the next time, I’ll make other mistakes. That’s what life is, making mistakes and learning from them.

I just want to always be moving forward and improving.

28

New Jersey Marathon – 3:48:25

2014 New Jersey Marathon medal

Some races are great, some are just good, and some are bad. Then, there are the ones that are just straight up terrible, even comically bad. That was my day at the New Jersey Marathon yesterday. I’m not even going to beat around the bush here, this was the worst race I’ve ever run, performance wise. Some days are just off days and some races are just off races. It happens. I can accept that.

The marathon is a beast of a race and it’s nothing to take lightly, you have to respect it.  It can humble you in so many ways and simply kick your ass. As a distance runner, you have to accept this and you have to be able to live with that. And after yesterday, have to live with that.

Pre-race

Surprisingly, I had no trouble getting to bed at 8:15pm on Saturday to give myself a solid 8.5 hours of sleep before waking up at 4:45 am for the race. When I woke up, I felt good and prepared.

Transgender pride nails

A little transgender pride going on with my nails for the race!

Flat Amy New Jersey Marathon

Flat Amy is ready to go!

Pre-race was like most races, I peed a couple times and drank some water. Did a little bit of a warmup and mostly just tried to stay warm. I was relatively calm. For as nervous as I’ve been the last few days about this, my nerves were under control yesterday morning. The highlight pre-race was meeting Adam, the Boring Runner.

Entirely Amelia and The Boring Runner

After we snapped the above photo together, we walked over the corrals and wished each other luck. A few minutes later, the race was underway.

The Race

I started out with the 3:30 pace group, just like I said I was going to. Unfortunately, the pacers were running slightly fast, closer to 7:55 rather than the 8:00 we were supposed to. According to my phone, which I do take with a grain of salt, a lot of miles seemed to even be around 7:50. Definitely too fast for where I am right now. I stayed with the group and used them to draft when there was a headwind, but it was mostly fine early on. Problem was, by mile six, I already knew I wasn’t going to have a good day. My legs didn’t feel like they had it, my lungs couldn’t keep up, I was feeling nauseous, and I was also fighting some dehydration. I didn’t feel like I was particularly working too hard, but my legs were already starting to feel it a little. Not good at all. I knew the day wasn’t going to be easy, nor did I want it to be, and I’d have to give everything, but this was just too early to start feeling the pace.

By mile eight, I knew the deal for the day. There was no convincing myself that I was going to be able to keep this up all race, but I stuck with the group and stuck to my race day plan for a while still. I knew my wife was going to be cheering at mile 11 so I just focused on getting to her. One step at a time, right? She was right where she said she’d be and, as I went by, I gave her a big thumbs down. Sometimes, when runners do this, it’s not really an indication of how things are really going, but she seemed to be able to tell this was a serious.

New Jersey Marathon

Not sure when this is, but I think it’s pretty late in the race.

Somewhere not too long after that, I can’t remember exactly, maybe around mile 12, I kissed my 3:30 A goal goodbye and dropped back from the pace group a tad. I slowed down heavily through a water stop and didn’t pick it back up to get to them. For a while, I ran not too far back from them, but I was feeling awful. My wonderful wife actually took the time to come down the course and see me at mile 16 with the help of Running Bun Ashley driving her. I wasn’t expecting her again until mile 24, but there she was. She knew I needed the support. She hopped out on the course and ran with me a bit while giving me a little pep talk. Still, this race continued to head south for me quickly. I didn’t have a plan or strategy for this kind of a race. Not long after seeing my wife, I started having to walk. At this point, I knew any sort of a BQ was out the door. To make matters worse, I couldn’t really control my pace the way I wanted either. My legs were stuck in a certain rhythm for an 8 minute/mile and I couldn’t get them to run another pace no matter how hard I tried. So I’d run a bit at this pace and then walk and then run again. Over and over. It was awful.

Throughout the rest of the race, things continued about the same with the walking bits getting longer and the running bits getting shorter. I got a lot of support from other runners though, mostly other female runners. A few really pushed me to run with them. It was much appreciated and I had the chance to thank one of them after the race. I was really grateful for that. This is one of my favorite things about running, the community is so so so supportive and awesome. It was also really nice to get lots of “looking good, girl,” “you got this, girl,” and other bits of motivation addressing me as “girl” from both spectators and other runners. To be honest, this was probably the only real positive of the race today. Nice and affirming of how others see me, especially when I’m running and don’t look much like a woman.

Somewhere around mile 17 or 18, the 3:35 pace group passed me and, after that, I lost all real will to try anymore. My BQ was gone, not that I didn’t already know that, and it just didn’t matter to me anymore. Maybe I could just save my legs at this point? I kept fighting through the course, running and walking, but I watched goal after goal pass me by. I had blown through my A, B, and C goals and kept making new ones as each one faded away. I think I ended up finishing with something like my K goal.

Miles 17 to 24 had a lot of walking. Eventually the 3:45 group passed me and…that was tough. I ran a 3:44 in my last race so knowing I was still miles from the finish and already on pace for a personal worst marathon time (if we’re only counting marathons I’ve raced and not the “fun” ones I’ve done in Disney during the Goofy Challenge). And sure, I’ve only run one marathon since transition and the ones before that don’t really count anymore, but you get the point I’m making here. This was the going to be the worst time I’ve ever raced a marathon in. The only bit of determination I could put together at this point was to not let the 3:50 group pass me. Though, I was still fearing a finish over four hours might be possible.

I saw my wife again not long before mile 22, another surprise. I was walking at the time and she again came with me to talk to me and see how I was doing. She asked if I wanted to stop. It was more of a “where are you at with this? Do you want to save your legs for another day?” type of thing than encouragement to quit. I told her there was “no fucking way” I was quitting. I was going to cross that finish line no matter how I felt. Shortly after that, a little past the 22nd mile marker, I started running again and saw my parents. I was really glad to be running when I saw them and not walking. I fought through a bit more before walking again.

New Jersey Marathon mile 24?

I *think* this is later in the race, like mile 24ish? At least I *look* good here!

Somewhere earlier in the 24th mile, I made the promise to myself that I was going to run the rest of the race with no more walking. I picked myself up and pushed my way along. I passed runner after runner, but I hated how I felt. Just before mile 25, the course curved onto the boardwalk and I started giving what I had left. Then I heard my wife again yell out my name and she came bounding up alongside me to run with me. She gave me some encouragement before sending me on my way and I pushed with all I had. I passed as many runners as I could, but I was really hurting. This final stretch of the race felt FOREVER long. I didn’t know exactly where the finish was, but it was a lot further than I thought it was. This last bit was painful and a never-ending hell, but I held on and got across the finish. I took a few steps past the finish line, moved off to the side, and immediately bent over for a few seconds to cry. Then I stood up and accepted my defeat.

Just to show how much of a mess this race was, here are my splits (FYI, my phone measured 26.58 miles, so there’s a little extra in there somewhere). Warning, these are really a mess!!

Mile 1: 8:00 (a little fast to start, but exactly my target pace)
Mile 2: 7:45 (uh oh)
Mile 3: 7:56 (okay, not bad)
Mile 4: 7:49 (wait a second here)
Mile 5: 7:51
Mile 6: 7:46 (yeah, and I’m surprised this race didn’t go well?!)
Mile 7: 7:49
Mile 8: 7:50 (come on here!!)
Mile 9: 7:56
Mile 10: 7:52
Mile 11: 7:53
Mile 12: 7:49 (STILL going too fast)
Mile 13: 7:56
Mile 14: 7:58 (well, this looks better)
Mile 15: 8:30 (and it begins)
Mile 16: 8:59 (uh, yeah, wasn’t supposed to slow down this much)
Mile 17: 8:24
Mile 18: 8:52
Mile 19: 9:56
Mile 20: 10:14
Mile 21: 10:19
Mile 22: 11:19 (really?! really.)
Mile 23: 9:02
Mile 24: 11:06
Mile 25: 8:43 (oh hey, running. I remember that)
Mile 26: 8:13 (close to a BQ pace…if I did this every mile)
Mile 26.2: 7:56 pace

Finish time: 3:48:25

2014 New Jersey Marathon medal

Sweet medal!

Thoughts

This race sucked. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I got my ass kicked. Not much else could have gone wrong for me to still been able to finish. I knew all I needed to at least BQ was to not have a terrible race. Unfortunately, I had didn’t just have a terrible race, I had the worst race I’ve ever run. I’m not going to make excuses for it, it simply wasn’t my day. This race was not at all an indication of my training and the effort I put in. This is not the level of marathoner that I am. I mean, I’ve already proved that before. On a faster course and with much better training, I ran a few minutes slower than I did in Richmond five months ago. That should not be.

While, I do chalk this up mostly to just being a bad day, there are a few things I can point at as contributors. My legs were not as rested as I would have liked after last weekend and cheering the day before at my wife’s half marathon, but they also weren’t super tired either. The wind that I was so worried about was pretty much a non-issue for me. Early in the race, it was light and I had no trouble drafting other runners in the pace group. By the time I left the group and was running mostly alone for the rest of the race, the wind just wasn’t that bad. It was mostly a crosswind, with only a couple spots where there were heavy head-on winds. The temperature was probably the biggest problem on the day, to be honest. It wasn’t as warm as it could have been, but the course has pretty much zero shade so you’re out there in the beating sun the whole time. And following up this brutal winter, it was a little too much. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, there simply wasn’t enough time to adjust to the warm weather before taper. The winter was almost never-ending; when it finally did end, there were only a couple weeks left in training before taper. Not enough time to adjust. I should have taken the fact that both my 21-milers were rough and required stopping a bunch as a bigger indication that the temperature might be a problem.  Lastly, I can also look at the fact that I don’t think I ran enough miles at marathon goal pace or faster. I certainly ran enough miles overall, but I think having more of them be faster would have gone a long way.

Combining all of this explains still only a small part of my day though. At the least, I should have been able to come away with a small PR. I have to just accept it wasn’t a good day. And you know, I can accept this. I can accept that just had a bad day and a bad race. This race did defeat me, but I am not defeated as a runner and I will not be defeated. I will recover and then work even harder to ensure that next time I do hit my goal. I won’t feel sorry for myself. My wife was surprised by how well I took it, but when a race goes this bad, you just have to laugh, right? There are some things to learn here and some adjustments I can make. I don’t run marathons because they are easy, I run them specifically because they are hard.

Right now, I’m a bit sore, but easily the least sore I’ve ever been after a marathon. I feel more like I had a really hard long run than having raced a marathon. Yesterday, I was still able to walk and go up and down stairs just fine. The walk back to the car was over a mile and that wasn’t even an issue. After we got home, I went for an almost two mile walk just to keep lose. No problem. In fact, the most pain I felt was actually the chafing in my armpits. Today, I feel the soreness more, but I can move fine. That’s a pretty clear indication of how off everything was and just how much I walked. I’m hoping to recover quickly and do some more work so I can make another attempt soon. I’m not giving up on Boston 2015 just yet. And I think I deserve a race worthy of the effort and training that I put in.

I don’t know exactly what my plan going forward is, but I’m going to take a complete week of from running and gauge how I feel, but I’m looking at another attempt before Boston registration opens. Possibly Eugene in three months?

I’ve been quoting Shalane a lot with this, but I really feel like it’s apt for all of life. “I don’t wish it were easier, I just wish I were better.”

And some thoughts on the New Jersey Marathon itself

This is basically my home marathon so I was really excited to run it. I’ve cheered at the race before, so I kind of knew what the deal was. The course wasn’t quite as flat as I expected, but it was mostly fine. There weren’t really hills so much it it just being typical Jersey and not being exactly flat either.

I like the size of the  race, it’s not too big at all, but that did mean I spent a lot of time running mostly alone. This also meant getting my checked bag at the end of the race was quick and easy. The biggest complaint I have is that the crowd support is really light through large sections of the course. The last mile or so is pretty good, but the middle of the race was a bit quiet.

But the finish with the ocean to your right is really great and the medal is a rather awesome spinner medal!

9

New Jersey Marathon training recap and race goals!

NJ Marathon TrainingWelp, my marathon is just about here! Even though I’ve been training literally the entire year for this race, it kind of feels like it snuck up right up on me, to be honest!

Training recap

Looking back at my training, I’d said it was solid overall. I ran a lot more miles than I ever have before. I broke my weekly and monthly training distance records with 60 and 213 miles, respectively, and I  put myself on pace for a whole lot of miles in 2014. I also  got in two 20-milers and two 21-milers. I think that’s pretty damn huge. I’ve only ever gotten up to two 20-milers before so I’m hoping the addition of the two 21-milers helps me stay strong late in the race when I’ll need it most.

The only thing I’m worried about from my training is the lack of consistent speed work. That was my biggest goal for training, but too many things got in the way (see below) to make it much of a possibility. I did some fartleks here and there and got in some tempo runs, but I’m a bit concerned that I didn’t push my paces enough in training to be able to sustain my goal pace. Though, to be fair, I didn’t do any less than I ever do and my overall paces were a lot faster than they were for Richmond Marathon training last summer/fall. While my 21-mile runs were a lot slower than I would have liked at 8:39 and 8:37 paces, my second 20-mile run was on target at 8:20. My first 20-miler was actually just about at goal marathon pace and included a 20k race (at a blazing 7:37 pace!) after 6.1 “warmup” miles.

This training cycle threw just about everything possible at me: tons of snow, ice, freezing rain, slush, sub-zero temperatures, high winds, a knee injury, and international travel. This winter was absolutely brutal and pretty much turned New Jersey into little more than a frozen hellscape, but I was out there six days a week running in whatever the weather could throw at me. It wasn’t easy and it made most of my speed work impossible, but I have to feel good about sticking with it and not letting the weather beat me. For a while, the only thing keeping me going was keeping the streak of not letting the weather stop me from running alive. It wasn’t until my knee injury back in the middle of training that I had to miss a couple runs. Luckily, I was able to bounce back from the injury quickly and get back into without too much of a hit thanks to treating it very aggressively.

After a week and a half of taper, I feel like I haven’t been running at all. My last long run feels soooo long ago! And my normal pre-race phantom pains everywhere have kicked into full effect.

Race day

2014 New Jersey Marathon Course MapThe only thing I care about right now is getting my BQ. It’s that or bust, as far as I’m concerned. Being up in Boston to cheer for the marathon earlier this week made it even more important to me to nail this race and get up there for 2015. Nothing. Else. Matters.

My BQ time is 3:35, but I’m setting my “A” goal at sub-3:30:00. This is what I’ve been training for all year. This will mean an 8:00 min/mile pace. I think this is possible and a reasonable place to set my goal, but it’s not going to be easy. McMillan predicts 3:30:29 based on my 20k time. While I take that kind of stuff with a grain of salt, it does put me close to where I want to be. My “B” goal is a not-much-slower 3:33:00. This is basically just fast enough to give me a good shot of actually getting into the race, but it doesn’t leave much room for a fast field of qualifying runners. And, lastly, I don’t really have much of a “C” goal, but I guess 3:40 would be about right. I ran a 3:44:55 on a tough and very rainy course in November, so I damn well better do better on a dry and super flat course now!

My race strategy is roughly the same as it was in Richmond and Chicago, I’m going to stick with the pace group through most of the race. I like that it cuts out the variable of having to keep myself on pace and keeps me honest when I say I’m not going start too fast. I plan to stick with the 3:30 group until at least mile 20. At mile 20, I’ll start to evaluate how I feel and whether or not it’s a good idea to pick it up. If I’m feeling really, really good, I’ll pick it up at 20, but if I’m still unsure, I may wait until 22 or 23. I’d be great to have a fast, strong finish, but I don’t want to run a great race and then blow it at the end. I’ll stay conservative here, I think, but once I hit 24 or 25, I plan to push with everything else I have left. Hopefully, I’ll be doing that in front of the pace group and not from behind!

I’ll do what I normally do and have a bagel, apple, and Picky Bar for breakfast and then a vanilla Clif Shot gel while waiting at the start. Then I’ll take another vanilla gel every five miles through mile 20. It looks like the temperature could be hitting 60 by the end of the race so I’ll take water at every stop and probably switch to Powerade/Gatorade at mile 10 or so.

Outlook

I have a habit of really working myself up before a big race and this one is no different. I’m super nervous about it, possibly even more so than I’ve ever been before. I’m actually nervous like I’ve never done a marathon before, which is silly. I’ve done five marathons and I’m better trained for this one than any before, but I’m still a bit of a wreck. What if I don’t have the resolve to fight through the pain late in the race? Will my lack of consistent speed work become an issue? What about the 15-20 mph winds predicted? Is a high of 60 on race day going to be too warm? Why are my calves so tight right now? Did I make a mistake being on my feet so much this past weekend while in Boston? The list of worries goes on and on.

I’m trying to stay positive about it. I know I put in a lot of work and did the absolute best I could given the weather this winter, but I just fear it’s not enough. I keep reminding myself it’s not the end of the world if I don’t hit my goal. There will be other races. I will get to Boston. And I also kept telling myself that this is a much easier course than Richmond was and I nailed that race in the heavy rain with shoes that were soggy and soaked through before the race even started.

If I don’t BQ this time, I’m not sure if I’ll try again in the fall or not. I’ve got a lot going on this fall and this will be my second 100% effort marathon in five months so I should probably not throw my body into a third-straight hardcore training cycle without a break.

If I do hit my goal, I’m planning to take it easy this fall. I plan to run more races, but do them for fun. I’d like to do two fall marathons at an easy effort and just enjoy them. I’ve already got the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon scheduled for November and I’d like to add another half in there somewhere. I’m also planning to do the Goofy Challenge for the third time in January. All that’s going to be a lot, but I’m not planning to race any of it. Though, I would like to race a few 5ks. I’ve already decided that I don’t want to race Boston either. I see that as a reward and when I run it, whatever year it may be when I finally get there, I want to do it for fun. I want to just take in the experience and enjoy it.

So, I guess that’s about it! The race is two days away and I’m going to try to rest my legs as much as possible and continue eating piles of bagels! I went to Target yesterday to refill my hormones and grab a few high-carb snacks. Instead, I just bought a bunch of candy. Oops!

BmA4rrCIUAADEiH.jpg-largeLastly, thanks to everyone who provided much-needed support over the last sixteen weeks! Your tweets and blog comments were greatly appreciated! If you want to track me on race day, my bib number is 1217.

 

 

1

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 14

Taper is here! Taper is here! Wooo!

Last week was a repeat of the previous week’s 60-mile schedule and it was no less grueling. My nine mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday were tough, but the paces were decent. Wednesday’s thirteen miles were a bit of a struggle, but I got them done. My legs are just so damn tired all the time now.

The wife and I before our long run on the towpath

The wife and I before our long run on the towpath

I moved my long run to Saturday so I could go out for an early birthday celebration with some friends at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn in Staten Island. I knew I’d want to drink a bit and didn’t want to have to worry about a long run the next morning. Though, in the process of moving that run, I unwittingly ended up running 77 miles over the course of 7 consecutive days. That would probably explain why Saturday’s 21 miles were awful. Probably also didn’t help that the temperature broke 70º. Even with a water break halfway through, I ended up sickeningly dehydrated by mile 16.

Anyway, I’m so glad to be vacationing in Taper Town right now. My body really needs it!

My favorite Picky Bar flavor!

My favorite Picky Bar flavor!

3

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 13

20140407-164126.jpgSixty.

That’s how many miles I ran last week! Whhaaaa?!?!

I’ve never run that many miles in a week before and I’m actually slightly shocked I pulled it off.

Tuesday’s nine miles were extremely solid. I wasn’t expecting that. My legs were still exhausted from the week before’s training, but somehow this run really came together nicely for a sub-goal-marathon pace run. Wednesday was a huge struggle though. I didn’t have anything to give and it felt really pathetic to have to stop a few times to catch my breath. I didn’t let it get to me too much though, my overall pace was still about where it should have been. By Thursday, I wanted nothing more than my bed; I could barely even make it up the stairs to change after work. The first half of that nine-miler was pretty blah, but something really clicked for the last three miles and I started to feel great. All of a sudden, I felt strong and fast. It was a huge pick-me-up after expecting an awful run.

On Saturday, I decided to head into NYC to hang out with my friend Zoey for a bit. We went to Dutch Boy Burger in Brooklyn and I got the jalapeno burger with smoked gouda from the specials and we split an order of chili cheese fries. It was very delicious. Then, somehow, we convinced ourselves that we needed Chipotle two hours later and gorged on that. I was solidly disgusted with myself after all that! Seriously, who eats a burger, chili cheese friends, and Chipotle in the span of two hours?! This girl, that’s who!

I finally made it out to the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath for my long run on Sunday. My first ever 21 mile training run. The weather was nice, sunny and in the 50s. Unfortunately, the run wasn’t all that great. My pace was a little slower than I was shooting for—I was hoping for 8:15ish, but reality was 8:39. I just wasn’t quite feeling it. Plus, there were two jackasses on bikes who were completely annoying. Somehow they kept getting behind me and when they’d come up to pass, they’d pass as closely as possibly and not say anything to indicate they were coming up on me. At one point, one of the kids came within inches of running me over and slammed his brakes just behind my heels. I had four or five encounters with them and it put me in a really bad mood.

Despite the fact that Wednesday’s and Sunday’s runs weren’t as good as I would have liked, I’m not down about it. I know my overall training is at least close to where I need it.

With last week done, there’s just one more week of training before a glorious two-week stay in Taper Town, USA. This week is a repeat of last week’s. 60 miles with a 21-mile long run. I can do this. I think.

2

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 12

photo

Look how excited Leela is to take a photo with me to show off my new Oiselle lux side zip!

Really? Twelve weeks down already? DAMN! training is flying by!

Last week was a small step-back week with 48 miles—following an intense 57 the week before—and I was glad to have it. My legs were pretty tired through most of my mid-week runs, but they held up reasonably well, I guess.

Monday was an easy 4-mile recovery run and Tuesday was a rest day. Wednesday’s twelve miles might have been the most painful run of my life. The wind was fierce, 30mph with 40+mph gusts, and kicked my ass. Hard. When I finally finished, I came to a complete stop in front of a random house, doubled over in pain, and started crying. It was awful. My lungs hurt like all hell and I had a horrible side stitch. I felt like I was working twice as hard as I did during the Miles for Music 20k a few days prior, but ran 50 sec/mile slower. Just brutal. Luckily, Thursday’s eight miles were a ton easier.

My second twenty miler, on Saturday, was a little tougher than I would have liked. It was 17 sec/mile slower than last week’s with an overall pace of 8:20 and I worked a bit harder at the end for it. Though, this run was in the rain and with a bunch of hills so I think that evens it out. The plan was to get up early and beat the rain so we could run on the nice and flat Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. Instead, the wife and I decided to sleep in and snuggle in bed. By the time we got up, it was already raining and there were heavy rains predicted for the rest of the day. There was even a flood warning. With that in mind, we knew our chance to run on a path that’s literally between a canal and a river had passed us. It was no longer a safe idea. So, we were left to running from our house and dealing with the hills. We did the first twelve miles together before the wife broke off to finish her 15-miler with some speed work. I kept trucking on even though I wasn’t feeling it, but I was able to put together a decent negative split and run my last four miles at or below marathon goal pace. I’ll take it!

So that just about wraps up March which was easily my most intense training month of all time! I crushed my monthly PDR with 231 miles (I’m throwing tonight’s four miles in there)! That’s a 28 mile increase over my previous best! And I’ll also hit 536 miles on the year so far which is unbelievable for just the first quarter.

I’m really psyched about running right now and that’s good because this week and next week are my peak weeks with 60 miles. SIXTY! WTF!

3

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 11

Oh, you know, just jumping around a bit before my run!

Oh, you know, just jumping around a bit before my run!

All I have to say about last week’s training is that it was EPIC! Literally my best week of training ever! EVER! I broke my weekly distance record by four miles with 57 on the week! And I nailed my first 20-miler this cycle.

I started off the week with an easy five-mile recovery run, but by Tuesday, I was ready to put in the work and push myself. I had eight miles planned and wanted to do 8×1′ fartleks in the middle. I started out the run with the wife who is a faster runner than I am so she really got me moving. I ended up treating the whole run as a tempo run thanks to the quick start, but I didn’t forget about my fartleks; I nailed them too. In the end, this ended up being my first sub-8 minute pace training run since transition at any distance. I felt great.

Wednesday was another solid run with a negative split. Twelve wonderful miles. On Thursday, my legs felt tired, but they didn’t want to listen to me when I told them to slow down. I ended up pushing out an 8:15 pace for eight miles.

On Saturday, the wife and I were talking about where I was going to tackle Sunday’s 20-miler. I said I was planning to run on the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. She told me I may need to start at a different place on the path because the park I typically start in was holding the Miles for Music 20k and parking may be difficult. After a couple minutes of back-and-forth about it, we both decided it would be an excellent idea for me to run the 20k. It would change things up a bit and give me a chance to push myself some to get a measure of where I am at in my training.

After deciding to run the race, we ran a quick four miles together and I threw in 6×10″ hill sprints in the middle. I haven’t done them in a while, but I always enjoy them.

hill sprints for marathon training

Hill sprinting! I feel kind of badass in this photo!

I was a little skeptical that I’d actually wake up for the race at 6am when my alarm when off on Sunday, but I surprised myself and got right up without the normal fight. We made it out the door quickly and stopped along the way so wifey could get Starbucks since she’d be out there cheering for me. We got to the park nice and early and I knocked out an easy and relaxed 6.1 miles on the towpath. I made my way back to the car with 20 minutes to prepare for the race. My wife took care of registering me while I was running so I pinned my bib on and we headed over to the start.

Since I already wrote a race recap, I won’t go into detail, but it turned out to be a great race! I’m beyond psyched with my performance. I was pretty tired after the race, but I had enough left in me for an easy 1.5 mile cooldown run around the park to put my daily total at 20 miles.

Looking back over the whole week, there really isn’t anything I can complain about. I nailed everything. I got in some hard, fast runs. I racked up 57 miles in 6 days of running for a new weekly PDR! I rocked my first-ever 20k about 30 sec/mile faster than planned.

I’ve got five weeks until the New Jersey Marathon and I’m starting to feel good about things. This training cycle has had a lot of ups and downs, but I feel like I’m on track again. My mileage is great, higher than it’s ever been before, and now my pace seems like it’s starting to get closer to where I want it. Yesterday’s 20 miles were at an 8:03 average and I’m looking to run 8:01 on race day. I have to feel good about that!

This week is scheduled as a slight step back with 5 days of running and 48 miles and then there are two peak weeks before taper. Even though it’s over a month away, it feels like it’s coming up soon!!

9

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 10 and Shamrock Marathon weekend

Last week was supposed to be the week I got back to running six days a week and got myself fully on schedule again after my knee issues. Unfortunately, my knee still didn’t feel up to it on Monday so I ended up with just five days of running instead.

On Tuesday, I threw 5×1′ fartleks into my eight mile run for my first bit of speed work in a while. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so I busted out some booty shorts. I’ve never worn them while it was still light out before on account of having a serious case of the trans, but they worked out pretty well and were very comfortable. I get why people wear them now! The other great thing about the weather was there were a ton of other runners out after work! My normal route is typically light on other runners so I decided to change things up a bit and turn the other direction out of my development so I could run where the other runners were. It was nice being out there with my people; it’s been a while! It was also nice putting faces to all the fair-weather runners who only come out when the weather is nice. 🙂

Wednesday was supposed to be twelve miles, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I went out there with every intention to get it done, but a mix of rain, 95% humidity, high winds, super tired legs, GI issues, and some rare inner thigh chaffing pretty much killed any chance of that happening. I had to quit at nine miles and head home to bury my sorrows in this incredible Mexican tortilla pizza I made:

MexicanTortillaPizza

Mexican tortilla pizza with salsa, jalapeño, green pepper, onion, black beans, ghost pepper sauce, and a Mexican cheese blend on a tortilla

On Thursday, my legs weren’t feeling any less tired, but I was determined to make up the miles I missed the night before. The temperature had dropped to 24º with 20-30mph winds and 40mph gusts for a “feels like” of 6º. It wasn’t pleasant out, but I rocked all eleven miles (up from the scheduled eight). Though, at one point, I was running into a gust of wind so strong I was literally running in place.

Friday was my scheduled rest day, but I swapped that with Saturday’s four miles to simplify my weekend slightly. I woke up super early before work and knocked out a slow and easy five miles.

Saturday was mostly spent in the car driving down to Virginia Beach for Sunday’s Shamrock Half Marathon, which the wife was running. We made good time on the way down, just 5:39 with two pee stops–pretty good for someone on Spironolactone! After checking into the hotel, the wife went for a quick three mile shakeout run and then it was off to dinner! Since Danielle (the wife!) is part of the team, we met up with the huge group of Oiselle runners in town for the races for the obligatory pasta dinner. And because dessert is awesome, we followed up dinner by getting gelato with Ellen, Allie, and Allison. Very yummy! Oh, and, at dinner, I finally got to meet Eat Pray Run Courtney!

EntirelyAmelia and FoodosaurusRex in the car

Almost there!

EntirelyAmelia on beach at Virginia Beach

Enjoying the beautiful weather on the beach!

VirginiaBeachSunrise

Look at that sunrise over Virginia Beach!

We got up at 5am for the third day in a row on Sunday and I walked with Danielle to the start of the race. Unfortunately, it was windy as heck and rather chilly, so as soon as she shed her pre-race clothes I through some of them on as extra layers. After I wished her luck, I made my way up the course a bit to try to snap an early race photo of her. I didn’t end up catching her in the crowd, but I did get this great shot of Hollie about a third of a mile into the race.

FueledByLOLZ_ShamrockHalfMarathon-002

FueledByLOLZ looking relaxed at the start

After walking up and down the half marathon course a couple times, I finally decided to stake out a spot near the finish to catch Danielle as she went by, but not before grabbing another shot of Hollie at mile 12.

FueledByLOLZ_ShamrockHalfMarathon_Mile12-001

Kicking ass!

After snapping this awesome photo of the wife, I made my way over to meet her and congratulate her on an amazing new PR of 1:41:39! Frakking awesome!

FoodosaurusRex_ShamrockHalfMarathon_Mile13-001

Look how relaxed Danielle looks as she cruises to a new PR!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay and hang out long because I had my own run to do. I had 19 miles scheduled! Woof! I had been really struggling to figure out where I was going to put those miles in with the race going on. There wasn’t exactly enough road to do them all without clashing with the marathon course. Luckily, Twitter friend Kara lives in the area and was at the race to cheer and was able to help out. We met up on my walk back to the hotel and then she walked me over to First Landing State Park which so happens to be her favorite place to run. It turned out to be a great suggestion! The trail was very similar to the tow path I run on sometimes at home and it was a nice change of pace from my typical road running.

I was dreading this run though. I had walked between five and six miles and been on my feet or five hours before even getting changed to run and my legs and feet were already feeling really tired and sore. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it. I just figured I’d go out and give it what I had. I was pleasantly surprised to find my legs were up to the challenge though! My pace was a little slower than I would have liked, but I felt like it was respectable enough considering everything else I had going on before getting out there.

After cleaning myself up, Danielle and I picked up Paulette at her hotel and went over to Rockafeller’s Restaurant for dinner. We all ended up getting the chargrilled tuna with mango salsa special, hushpuppies, and an O’Connor Brewing Co. Great Dismal Black IPA. Everything was delicious!

Rockafeller's Restaurant

Chargrilled tuna with mango salsa

By the time we made it back to the hotel, I was BEAT! I couldn’t even keep my eyes open past 9pm. So after crashing hard, we woke up early today, grabbed a great breakfast at Pocahontas Pancakes, and made our way home. We weren’t sure what to expect for the drive. It seemed like everything between there and home had gotten slammed with six or more inches of snow last night and early this morning. I expected the drive to be hell, but we were really lucky and everything was totally fine! We actually made it home faster (5;23) than it took to get there! Though, part of that was probably due to not having to stop at all to pee (did I remember to take my spiro this morning?!?!).

All-in-all, it was an AMAZING weekend filled with all kinds of awesomeness! I had a blast, met some awesome new people, met a few Twitter friends, watched Danielle score a new PR, ate some great food, and knocked out a decent 19-miler. No complaints! And just as awesome as the weekend itself was having a semi-solid week of training. I knocked out five runs and 51 miles!

1

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 9 (and other things)

Ready to run!

WHAT A WEEK! Holy crap, last week was busy as hell!

Monday

I started off with a rest day on Monday. I had five miles on the schedule, but I wanted to give my knee an extra rest day after 29 miles across the previous three days. The plan was to get back to my training plan on Tuesday, but without the speed work, which I would start back up with again this week.

Tuesday

Because of a bonkers schedule for the rest of the week, this was going to be the last night my wife and I were going to see each other until Sunday so we decided to get up early before work and run so we could have a date night for sushi. I got myself out of bed at 5am, somehow, and knocked out an easy-ish eight miles. With it taking me an hour and a half to go from having run to being ready to leave the house for work, this is seems to be the maximum number of pre-work miles I can do.

Wednesday

This is when things really started to get out of control. I worked from home and knocked out an eleven-mile run during (an extended) lunch. Then I made my way into NYC after work to meet my friend Zoey for Thai and the Lawrence Arms/The Copyrights show at Gramercy Theatre. Of course, this ended up being a pretty late night and I didn’t get to bed until about 1:30am.

Lawrence Arms at Gramery Theatre

The Lawrence Arms!

Thursday

I woke up at 6:30am like normal and worked from home again. Lunch was another RUNch with seven speedy miles miles on a tired body. After work, it was time to head on down to South Jersey to meet up with one of my oldest friends, Joe, for pizza and my second of three straight nights seeing The Lawrence Arms and The Copyrights. This time, the show was in Philly at the TLA where I had to deal with this little exchange while being patted down before entering the venue:

Female bouncer: I can take you over here ma’am!
Female bouncer: *pats me down, above the waist only*
Female bouncer: YOU’RE NOT A MA’AM!
Me: Um…yes…I am.

…15 minutes go by and I go back to say something…

Me (extremely angry): I just want to let you know that was really fucking embarrassing and upsetting before.
Female bouncer: I’m so sorry!! I should have known better! I can’t believe I said that! I feel horrible!
Me: You really need to think before you talk next time.
Female bouncer: Two of my friends are trans, I know how hard it is. I should have known better! I went up to my boss right after that and said “I need to have my guts ripped out of me.” I’m so sorry! Is there anything I can do?
Me: Just fucking think time.
Female bouncer: Again, I’m so sorry. You’re doing a great job! Can I give you a hug?

I forgave her and agreed to “hug it out.” It was obvious it was a mistake and she knew that, there wasn’t anything else to do here. I don’t think it’s healthy to hold onto unnecessary anger.

Though, one interesting thing I was left with was feeling a bit uncomfortable with being told I’m “doing a great job.” When people say this, I know their intentions are the absolute best and it’s sincere. I know they’re trying to compliment me and say either I’m (close to) “passing” or maybe even pretty, but it doesn’t really feel like a compliment. The thing is, unless you know me somewhat well, you probably don’t know what exactly it is I’m going for. I’m not trying to “pass,” I’m trying to be myself. That’s really about it. I just want to be true to who I am. This isn’t really something anyone else is in a position to be able to evaluate. It just doesn’t feel like a compliment to be told this. It feels like they’re actually saying “You’re not quite a woman, but you’re almost there!!” It feels like they see me as different from other women.

Anyway! The show was awesome other than that. On the way out, I ran into my friend Kendall whom I haven’t seen in years and lives in Canada now. She mentioned she was at the NYC show as well and was going to the Friday show. Since I was going to that one alone, we made plans to meetup.

The Lawrence Arms at the TLA in Philly

The Lawrence Arms in Philly

After the show, I crashed at Joe’s house since there was actually a bed there for me, unlike at my parents’ house. Still, it was another late night.

Friday

I woke up around 7 and just got right to work from my friend’s guest bed. Once everyone (The Copyrights crashed at my friend’s house too) woke up, I moved myself out to the living room to be social, but I kept on working. Sometimes being able to work remotely is really great. Then I met Hollie for lunch at the Silver Diner. I got the huevos rancheros and they were awesome! From there, I drove over to my parents’ house to work from there for the afternoon. My mom greeted me with an awesome red velvet cupcake as soon as I walked in the door. Then we had this little exchange:

Mom: I just can’t believe you’re mine.
Me: Um?
Mom: I was always happy with you and you brother, but I always wanted a daughter.
Me: I know, you told me that every day growing up. Turns out, you had one the damn time!
Mom: Well, either way, you just keep getting more beautiful!

Oh geez, mom! Still, this made my smile and reminded me how lucky I am to have an awesome family that completely accepts and loves me. That can be rare for transgender people. And it was a nice departure from the previous night’s trans-induced conversation.

Huevos Rancheros at the Silver Diner

Huevos Rancheros!

Finally, it was time to drive up to Asbury Park for the final Lawrence Arms show. I met up with Kendall and her husband for some great pizza from Porta’s and then it was time for the show! This time, the show was at a smaller, more intimate venue so it was a whole different vibe. And, I got to bring my camera in with me so I’ve got a few photos to post tomorrow. Fucking great time!

Walking back to my car, my phone battery died thanks to a group Google Hangout that kept lighting up the screen all night with notifications while my phone was in my pocket. I ended up having to sit there for fifteen minutes before my phone charged up enough to turn on and give me directions home.

I think it was about 2:30 by the time I got to close my eyes. Oof!

#CoffeeADay at Silver Diner

My #CoffeeADay photo for Hollie!

Saturday

I was pretty beat from the intensity of the last few days so I just hung out on the couch all morning and then knocked out a quick four-miler in the afternoon. I told myself to take it easy since my whole body was exhausted and I had an 18-miler the next day. Instead, I ran an 8:08 pace. Oops.

Dinner was the Man vs Food Boli from Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick. Delicious!

Man vs Food boli at Stuff Yer Face

Man vs Food Boli

Sunday

I procrastinated for a bit before finally giving into this run. I just didn’t feel like moving, let alone doing eighteen miles. I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and ran out the door, but I had to swing back after a half mile for some arm warmers and to pee. I felt dead most of this run and really couldn’t see myself continuing it as I finished my first nine-mile lap, but I was determined to push on. As I was coming up on thirteen miles, I tripped coming off of a curb while stepping into the street. I ended up going down…all the way down. It was hard too. I scraped up the heels of my hands a little and banged my shoulder and hip. Luckily, it was mostly, it was my ego that was bruised. In six years of distance running, this was the first time I’ve ever fallen. After yelling “fuck” pretty loudly, I quickly got up and continued my run in shame, but I guess the adrenaline of the fall gave me an added boost because I picked up the pace a bit after that.

Overall, I ended up running an 8:34 average with my last mile at 7:43 (whoa!). I haven’t seen a 7:43 mile in training in…a year?

Ready to run!

F’ing ready for these 18 miles!

Now, for the important question, how does my knee feel? Well, not great. It felt mostly okay yesterday while running, but it hurts now. I was hoping this would be the week I return to running six days a week and start doing speed work again, but I’m thinking I need to make today a rest day. Ugh

I hit 48 miles last week which I was pretty happy with. I had 53 scheduled, but I was at least pretty close to that.

  • Mon: rest
  • Tue: 8 miles in 1:14:03 (9:14 pace)
  • Wed: 11 miles in 1:37:21 (8:50 pace)
  • Thu: 7 miles in 1:01:04 (8:42 pace)
  • Fri: rest
  • Sat: 4 miles in 33:01 (8:08 pace)
  • Sun: 18 miles in 2:34:20 (8:33 pace)

Well, this got long! Longest training update ever? Did I even really talk much about training?

How was your week? What’s your training looking like? 

4

New Jersey Marathon training update: Week 8

New Balance 1600 running shoe

I took my seventh pair of New Balance 1600s out for their first run this week. Can you tell I like these shoes?

I think I might be turning this thing around! I started the week off really down about training. I was still in pain and close to writing it all off and changing my plans. Still, I kept with what I had been doing to recover and brought my mileage up a little while still staying under what was scheduled. By mid-week, the knee pain was starting to lessen and by my weekend runs it was significantly reduced. I’m still not entirely pain-free, but I’m headed in the right direction!

Last week marked one of the best weeks in terms of weather so far this training cycle. No real snow, ice, rain, or slush and the temperatures were mostly tolerable. We even got a lot of the snow still on the ground to melt! Definitely awesome!

On Tuesday, I made an appointment for a deep tissue massage. I’ve never really had one before so I didn’t know what to expect. When I was on the phone, I was very clear about what I wanted and why I was getting it. When I showed up, I again went over exactly what I wanted focused on and what my reason for being there was. I was very clear. Unfortunately, what I asked for isn’t what I got. The massage was focused on my back and barely even touched my legs, despite my asking for them to be the focus. I probably should have spoken up during the massage, but, again, I’d never had one before so I didn’t really know how it was supposed to work. When you’re laying there in the dimly lit room with the soothing music and having your body massaged, you have little concept of time so it’s difficult to really gauge how much time is being spent in one place versus another. So basically, I went for a deep tissue massage, asked for a deep tissue massage focused on my legs, and got a full-body “relaxation” massage. Blah!

On Wednesday, I pushed out a nine mile run that wasn’t too bad. The pace was good and my knee was starting to show signs of recovery. Thursday, I was invited to a happy hour after work at the last minute so I decided to move my run to Friday to simplify my evening. I think the extra rest day helped a lot and I banged out seven very encouraging miles, a few of which were entirely pain free. Saturday’s easy four miles were at a way too fast 8:31 pace, but it felt incredibly controlled and easy. I think all the rest helped my legs feel nice and fresh.

Sunday, I was supposed to run the E Todd Murray Half Marathon and then add on an extra five miles for a total of eighteen. I was planning two before the race and three afterwards. Unfortunately, the wife pulled a muscle in her back during a freak shoe-tying incident on Saturday and ended up spending the whole day immobile on the couch. When the alarm went off at 5:15 am on Sunday morning, she rolled over and said she thought she was still in too much pain to run so we decided to skip the race and sleep in instead.

After waking up, I took a couple hours to just relax before putting on the sneaks and heading out for my eighteen miles. I truly had no idea what to expect from my run. I told the wife I’d be out there for anywhere from “1 to 18 miles depending on the knee.” I was mostly hoping to hit 15 miles, but I wanted to still shoot for my scheduled 18. The first few miles went by pretty easy with no problems. I didn’t want to get too excited that I was almost entirely pain-free, but I was feeling good. Just after I completed the eighth mile, I started to feel a little pain, but I noticed it was only when going up or down hills and was mostly fine on level ground. Based on the low intensity of the pain, I decided to swing around and start my second nine mile lap. By mile thirteen, the pain had gone away to never return. Pretty awesome! I picked up the pace a little in the fifteenth mile and pushed it down close to goal marathon pace for the last two. The last mile was tough to push out, which isn’t surprising since I skipped last week’s long run and the two previous long runs were only fifteen miles.

Totaled up, I got 43 miles in last week. I was hoping for 40 so I did better than expected. I was scheduled for 53 so I think that’s pretty good.

So, it seems I might be able to get this thing back on track. I’m taking a rest day today instead of doing my five miler. I figured that I’d have to change something since I ran Friday and I didn’t want to end up running seven days straight and today made sense since it was my shortest run. Tomorrow, I’m planning to get back to my schedule and see how it goes. If I’m feeling good by the end of this week, I’ll start doing speed work again next week. I know I’m far from being in the clear, but I think I’m headed in the right direction again. Just need to stay on top of it all!

So with training halfway done, I really don’t know where I’m at. I’ve got reason to be hopeful again, but I did miss two weeks of solid training.