16 weeks: 1 down, 15 to go

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My 16 week training plan (click to enlarge). Daunting? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely!

I’m looking 16 weeks of rigorous marathon training straight between the eyes.  I’m pretty sure it’s mocking me as it looks back. It’s not going to be easy, but I got this.  Each week, I have three key runs to get in (those are based on the “Run Less, Run Faster/FIRST training plan).  Throw in a couple creative cross training days and some intervals with my MOTR (Moms on the Run) buddies for good measure, and a little less than four months from now I should be in the best shape of my life right before I turn 40.  I can live with that, and as much as I’d rather not stare down that milestone…if there’s not much I can do to avoid it, I might as well rock through my impending mid-life crisis.  I’ll apologize to anyone that I have a conversation with over the next four months…as I’m sure I’ll find a way to work running and marathon training into just about every discussion (even though the majority of people I talk with probably don’t really care!).  Just humor me and be patient with me…October will be here and gone before you know it!

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My training plan is not really about easing yourself in slowly – you’re quite literally hitting the ground running with the very first workout.  One of the key runs is speed work – a track workout.  It remains to be seen if I will ever make it to an actual track for a track workout, but between having an approximate 400m loop of paved trail conveniently around a play structure at the park and being able to set my watch for distance intervals and run on the straight paths out my back door…I’ll get the miles in.  After finishing the first of 16 of these, I also know they won’t be easy.  I’ve been running intervals for a couple years now (and they work – I have gotten faster!), but these particular intervals in my training plan are going to push me.  Speedwork had me just a bit nauseous on this run earlier this week!  BUT – intervals also make me feel strong (once they’re done…they have the paradoxical ability to also make me feel weak when I’m trying to power through the tough ones), and they’re good for me.  Like Brussels sprouts. So I guess I’ll take a healthy helping of speedwork and clean my plate. This week’s result?  Speedwork – check! 10min warmup (9:52), 3x1600m (target 7:47, actual 7:45, 7:48 and 7:54) with 400m rest (9:40ish), then 10min cooldown (8:47). Poor planning on my part put the last mile interval against the wind, and it was HARD!

The second obligatory run each week is a tempo run. I didn’t even know what a tempo run was the last go-around with marathon training!  Basically, you start out at a nice easy, conversational pace and to the first segment as a “wamup”, then you run the middle segment at a “faster-than-normal-but-still-tolerable” pace, and finish with a nice and easy cooldown segment as well.  I ran the first of many tempo runs with one of my BRFs (who’s not really training for anything in particular, but is amazingly wonderful – especially considering our run started at 5:15am – at getting me through the tempo miles at faster-than-target pace! THANK YOU, SHAUN!!) earlier this week.  The sunrise was beautiful and the company was fantastic.  This week’s result?  Tempo run – check! 2mi easy (8:56, 8:45), 2mi tempo (target 8:19, actual 8:10, 7:58), 2mi easy (8:59, 8:50).

The third non-optional run is the long, slow, distance run.  These are actually my favorite runs.  Lately I’ve been chunking these up and running them in segments, some by myself, some with friends, sometimes incorporating intervals if I have a MOTR class that day too (not ideal, I know, but sometimes a girls’ gotta do what a girl’s gotta do).  This week’s result?  Long run – check! Ran this one in chunks (that seems to be my MO lately). (1) Run to the Lakes (3.55mi), (2) Intervals with MOTR Beginners (3.28mi), and (3) One more loop around the lake and run home (6.27mi). Great to run it with Kristen this week – that doesn’t happen often enough!

Then there’s cross training.  According to my training plan, it’s supposed to be cycling, swimming, or rowing.  I’m taking a more unconventional and liberal approach to my cross training.  If it makes my muscles work and elevates my heart rate, I’m counting it!  Therefore, you’ll see reports of sand volleyball, gardening, playing with my kids…in addition to the more conventional and traditional forms of cross training specified by my training plan.  This week’s result? Cross training – check!  Sand volleyball earlier this week (there were only 4 of us, and we worked hard to win 2 out of 3), and I’ve got plans to work something in before the day’s over today, too.

So…let’s get this party started.  I’m ready.

However, I don’t want to forget why I’m doing this in the first place.  This one’s for my Dad.  He really should be here still…poking fun at me for all the running and training I’m doing.  In his lawn chair with his Diet Pepsi at Mile 17 of the marathon course (see The Dream with the Purple Balloon for the rest of that story).  I want to honor his memory and make a difference by helping others coping with Alzheimer’s Disease.  That’s what my Dad would want me to do…the “helping others” part anyway – he was a pretty humble guy.  I don’t know how many miles I’ll run over the next few months or how much money I’ll raise for the Alzheimer’s Association, but I’ll be doing my darndest to rack up the totals for both – and I’ll certainly keep you posted.  I would love it if you’d think of my Dad (if you were lucky enough to know him), someone you know and love who’s dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, or someone you’d like to see never develop that ugly, ugly disease that steals away the people you love — and invest in my journey to make a difference (here’s the link to my fundraising page)

And since I’m a numbers kind of girl, here’s a few to share:

Miles run so far in 2013: 529

Miles run so far in marathon training: 28.1

Fundraising total: $365 (goal is $2000 – please help me!)

Days until Twin Cities Marathon: 105

Thanks for coming on this journey with me.  Together we can make a world of difference.

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