2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 9

2017 Eugene Marathon - Week 9 Infographic

I did a lot of steady running this week in an attempt to recovery a bit.  It’s amazing how cutting back just a little can make a huge difference. I got my mojo back!

Training Schedule
Week 9: February 12th – February 18th

Sunday: Recovery run. 8 miles + sprints
Monday: Medium run.  12 miles.  5 miles easy + 7 miles @ MP+5-10%
Tuesday: Interval run.  4 x 10 minutes @ half marathon pace w/4 minute active recoveries
Wednesday: Recovery run. 5 miles + pick-ups
Thursday: Tempo Run. 15 miles w/9 miles @ MP
Friday: Recovery run. 6 miles
Saturday: Long Run.  20 miles steady + 2 mi @ HM

Mileage Total: ~75 Miles

Adaptations. After last week, I tried to take things down a notch.  Tuesday’s interval workout was at half marathon pace instead of 5-10K pace.  But, to get a little leg turnover, I did “pick-ups” to easy pace on Wednesday’s recovery run.  I decided to scrap the MP miles on Thursday.

Goal.  Do a traditional tempo run.  Outcome: Fail!   I didn’t feel confident enough to try running that kind of sustained pace.

Workout Details

Medium Run. 12 miles.  3.5 miles easy + 7 miles @ MP+5-10% + 1.5 miles recovery [Log Details]

DCA Observed Weather - 02132017

DCA Observed Weather – 02132017. Are 30-40 mph wind gusts “breezy”?

It was a windy morning.  A couple of weeks ago, I would have thought, “It can be windy on race day, so you need to push it!”  Humbled by last week, though, I ratcheted things down.  I ran an out-and-back on the W&OD Trail and could feel the wind pushing me back with every stride!  In fact, I turned around early when I realized running a half mile more didn’t matter.  I immediately felt the difference in effort with the wind at my back!  I knew as long as I keep my legs moving, I would fly down the W&OD to end the workout.

It’s hard to know what to think about this run since it was so windy.

Overall pace=9:15.

Interval Run 4 x 10 minutes @ half marathon pace w/4 minute active recoveries [Log Details].

14th Street Bridge - 02142017

14th Street Bridge – 02142017

I had a good warm-up and the first repetition felt pretty easy.  I told myself to relax and not press too hard.  The second repetition felt hard but not stressful.  My legs felt a little heavy during the third repetition but I told myself, “Tomorrow’s an easy day, you need to push!”  I was thankful that my workout partners came back for me during the recovery.  It gave me confidence that I wasn’t struggling as much as I thought I was.  By the fourth repetition, my legs felt like tree trunks.  But, I powered on.  I felt completed wiped but was inspired when a random runner passed me and said, “Go get it!”  I finished with a respectable split.

As I shuffled though my cool-down, I felt proud that I completed the workout.

Split paces=7:22, 7:28, 7:28, 7:32.  Average=7:28.

Tempo Run15 miles w/9 miles @ MP 14 miles w/10 miles @ goal marathon pace+20 seconds [Log Details].

I programmed my Garmin based on my run from a few weeks ago before the run and it was good to have pace ranges – particularly in the early miles – to stop me from going out too hard.  The first 7 miles flew by.  And then, I usually have a let-down during the upper part of the Mount Vernon Trail.  I focused on my music to take my mind off of it and… it worked!  My Garmin was warning me that I was running too fast rather than too slow!  By then, a light snow was falling and it made the landscape beautiful.  I thought I should stop to take a picture but I was running so well that I didn’t want to!  Around then, I started to get pain in my toe pad – as if the spot of my blister was tearing.  But, I managed to hold on.

I was pretty happy with the run.  It was a good distance but I didn’t feel exhausted at the end.

MP+20 seconds pace=8:21.  Overall pace=8:39.

Capitol Building - 02172017

Capitol Building – 02172017

Long Run.  20 miles steady + 2 mi @ HM [Log Details].

During the warm-up, I tried to just keep a steady pace.  When I hit the Mount Vernon Trail, I picked things up a bit, though.  I was running low 8-minute pace, which is fast, but it didn’t feel “hard”.  After 50 minutes, I took in a Crank Sport e-Gel and then stopped at the water fountain by National Airport to wash it down and refill the Nathan handheld I’d been carrying.  The next few miles were pretty uneventful.  The temperature was in the 30s at the start of the run but with it felt much warmer as the miles ticked off.

During the Lee Highway uphill on the Custis Trail, I switched from thinking about pace to keeping my heart rate out of the “maximum” zone.  I ate my second gel at the 1:50 mark.

Crocuses - 02182017

Crocuses – 02182017

I decided to hammer the last two downhill miles on the W&OD Trail and ran sub-8:00 pace!

I felt pretty great after the run.  It was great finishing a run strong instead of exhausted.

Half marathon segment pace=7:48.  Overall pace=8:32.


Injuries. My piriformis was a little irritated at the start of the week but nothing close to pain.  I’m still seeing my chiropractor once a week, though.  The blister on my right foot pad hurt a little but nothing I couldn’t run through.

Weight. My weight dropped again over the weekend and stayed in the mid-120s for most of the week.  I carbo-loaded at the end of the week for Thursday’s medium run and Saturday’s long run.

Sleep.  I didn’t have problems with my sleep this week.  I just didn’t get enough of it most nights.


It was consistently cold – 30 to 40 degrees – all week.  On Monday, the winds were around 20 mph with 40 mph gusts!  Thursday’s run had some surprise snow flurries.  It warmed up today, though.  I ran in shorts!

Racing Schedule

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Do you schedule recovery weeks or do you take them when you think you need them?

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Training Supplement – February 15, 2017

Training Supplement Banner - 021517

I retired two pairs of Mizuno Wave Rider 20s during the past two weeks and tried some new, lighter running shoes.  I also caught up on podcasts and otherwise tried to stay motivated after a rough week.

Clothing & Gear

Shoes.  Both pairs of my Mizuno Wave Rider (WR) 20s were closing in on 300 miles.  I decided to try some lighter shoes (according to the website, the Mizuno 20s are 8.3 ounces) since I have a half marathon and 10 miler coming up soon.

Brooks Launch 4.  Of the new shoes I purchased, I’ve been happiest with these so far.  Weighing in at 7.5 ounces, they’re slightly lighter than the Mizuno 20s.  But, they seemed cushioned enough for high mileage marathon training.  I worried about the heel-to-toe drop and I did experience some pain in my right calf breaking them in, but I think that will dissipate.

Saucony Ride 9.  These shoes are the same weight as the Mizuno WR 20s but I think they feel slightly lighter and more flexible.  Which is why I don’t understand why I don’t like them!  I’ve worn them three times and the ride feels flat for some reason.  I thought it was comparable to the Brooks Ghost.

Brooks Pureflow 6.  I bought these shoes for speed workout.  I’ve worn them in the past, so I felt like they’re a known entity.  I wore them during today’s recovery run and thought the toe box was a little big but I’ll see how they feel after a few more runs.  They are 7.5 ounces and have a 4 mm drop, which was very noticeable relative to the Mizuno 20s.

New Shoes - February 2017

New Shoes – February 2017 – Brooks Launch 4, Saucony Ride 9, Brooks Pureflow 6.

First aidBrave Soldier Antiseptic Healing Ointment.  I got a blister last Wednesday night from walking in heels all day.  On Thursday morning, I scavenged my Stridebox product pile for something to treat them.  I tried this ointment because the labeling said it helped with pain relief.  I’ve applied it every other day and it seemed to help a little.  I also used it on a sore spot from my heart rate monitor and it definitely felt better the next day.  The only downside is the noticeable menthol smell.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Stridebox.  My February box arrived. 

Stridebox - February 2017

Stridebox – February 2017

The massager was a welcomed gift!  I thought the previous product I tried from Buff Bake was too sweet and a protein cookie called “Birthday Cake” had me worried.  The other products seemed promising, though.

Electrolytes. First Endurance EFS Electrolyte Drink Powder.  I was dragging a little last week and drank this thinking maybe it would help.  But, it tasted pretty bad.  It was fruit punch flavor but nothing about it reminded me of fruit except the sweetness.


Water Fountains.  I don’t understand the water fountain at National Airport.  During my long run on January 4th, it was off.  The next week, it was on!  Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to play this roulette because it’s better than no hope at all.  But, it seems as though something is triggering it to operate on some days and not on others.  But, maybe it’s me…

Media & Motivation

Music. Somebody Told Me,” by The Killers.  I was in a bit of a slump and needed a tried and true up-tempo song to get me through some runs.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts. “Clam Chowder Concern (Centros),” by Pace the Nation.  This episode featured Matt Centrowitz Sr. and Jr promoting a new book about their running life.  But, I was fixated on the clam chowder the night before a race.  When I’m training for a marathon, there are certain foods I avoid and dairy is high on the list.

Super Size Apple Pie (Chris Bridner),” by Pace the Nation.  I’ve enjoyed learning more about his organization and, now that I know about it, I’m looking forward to following the RWB flag race across the country this year.

Moonshot,” by The Runner’s World Show.  I thought this was an interesting concept – chronicling a recreational runner’s attempt at an elusive Boston qualifying time while reporting on the sub-2 hour marathon attempt.  I hoped he would choose the Eugene Marathon for his attempt but he chose the Bayshore Marathon instead.

NewsWorld Marathon Challenge – 7 Marathons on Continents in 7 Days.  I didn’t follow this event each day but was proud to see local runner Michael Wardian set another endurance record – averaging 2:45:57 for each race.  Incredible!

Motivation. “Dream big and dare to fail.” – Norman Vaughan

After several weeks of running well, I struggled a little this past week.  During this rough patch, I’ve been trying to remind myself that when you set big goals for yourself, it’s going to be a struggle.

Do you have training shoes and racing shoes?  If so, what is the difference between the two?

Are there foods you avoid during marathon training or just the night before a race?

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2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 8

2017 Eugene - Week 8 Infographic

Lately, I’ve been crushing my workouts but this week was the complete opposite. Missed goal paces, disrupted sleep, a blister… And skipped workouts! On the bright side, I made a regional runner ranking in my age group for 2016.

Training Schedule
Week 8: February 5th – February 11th

Sunday: Recovery run. 7 miles + strides
Monday: Medium run. 12 miles w/2 miles @ half marathon pace + 3 x 1200m @ 10K pace + 2 x 800m @ 10K pace
Tuesday: Interval run. 7 miles w/3 miles @ 5K pace
Wednesday: Recovery run. 4 miles + hill repeats
Thursday: Tempo run. 14 miles w/9 miles @ marathon pace
Friday: Recovery run. 6 miles
Saturday: Long Run. 18 miles w/6 miles @ MP+5%

Mileage Total: ~68 Miles

Adaptations. On Tuesday morning, I knew I was too tired for an interval workout after the grueling workout the day before, so I slept in and ran in the afternoon.  On Thursday morning, I woke up tired and with a blister on my right foot, so I opted for rest.  The first workout I skipped in this training cycle!

Goal.  Include some mileage at 10K pace.  Outcome: Fail!  I couldn’t get down to that pace during Monday’s attempt.

Workout Details

Medium Run. 12 miles w/4 x 1 mile @ 10K pace 12 miles w/2 miles @ half marathon pace + 3 x 1200m @ 10K pace + 2 x 800m @ 10K pace [Log Details].

This run did not go well.   I felt fine during the warm-up but during the half marathon pace segment, even though I increased my effort, it wasn’t showing up as speed.  I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t get close to 10K pace during the first interval, which was downhill!  The desire to quit took over and I stopped near Roosevelt Island to gather myself.  I continued but then stopped again by the George Washington Parkway crossing that would take me home.  I didn’t think I could run another step I thought, Just keep going and see what happens.  I forged on just running harder than a shuffle for the intervals.

I felt utterly destroyed at the end of the workout.  I knew I had pushed my body too far.

Splits=8:04 (2 miles @ half marathon pace); 7:30, 8:13, 8:16 (1200m @ 10K pace); 8:16, 8:26 (800m @ 10K pace).

WWI Memorial - 02072017

WWI Memorial – 02072017

Easy Run + Hill Repeats. [Log Details].

Walter Reed Hill

Usually, I only write about workouts but since I skipped the interval workout on Tuesday, I thought I’d write about the easy run followed by hill repeats I’d been doing.

I live in a neighborhood with “Heights” in the name, so I have quite a few options for hills.  But, Walter Reed Drive between Four Mile Run and S. Pollard Street is steep and has fewer intersections than other options.  It’s a favorite for runners in south Arlington County.  A few weeks ago, I encountered an elite doing multiple repetitions of the hill.

Each quarter mile repetition took about 2:45.  I’d rest a little after each one and then jog downhill.  The rests were about 3 minutes.

I felt a little ashamed that three repetitions was all I could do.  But, hills are not my strength at all!

Split paces=11:02, 11:03, 11:12.

Long Run18 miles w/6 miles @ MP+5% 18 miles easy to steady [Log Details].

I thought about making up the tempo run and doing my long run on Sunday.  But, I decided to listen to my body and just run easy as scheduled on Friday.

I felt better on Saturday morning but not great.  I didn’t understand why I was still feeling so flat when I hadn’t run hard since Monday.  I didn’t think I’d be able to run very hard and left the house with low expectations.

I didn’t feel terrible during the uphill sections of the W&OD and Custis trails.  I ran those 7 miles at about 8:50 pace.  But, I was grateful for the rest before hitting the Mount Vernon Trail.  At 9.2 miles – about the midway point – I took a picture.

Mount Vernon Trail - 02112017

Mount Vernon Trail – 02112017

From then on, I stopped every 15 minutes under the guise of drinking fluids but in truth, I was already sapped.  I was also running into the wind at this point, which didn’t help.  Strangely, my legs felt spry.  I just didn’t have any energy.

I never want to do that again,” I thought.  Not good when you’re not even mid-way through a marathon training cycle.

Overall pace=8:53.


Injuries. My piriformis issue is becoming a distant memory.  However, I’m still seeing my chiropractor once a week.  I woke up to a nickle-sized blister on the pad of my right foot on Thursday!  I popped and drained it.  It felt fine the next day.

Weight. Initially, I was happy with my three pound weight loss but quickly realized it was a sign that I was over-training.  After getting some rest, my weight was back to normal by the end of the week.

Sleep. Even though I was exhaust after Monday’s workout, I had trouble sleeping over the next few days.  I stayed out late at my running club’s annual meeting on Wednesday night and was too tired for Thursday’s workout.  I took Friday off from work to rest.


The week started cold but not terrible – 30 to 40 degrees.  On Tuesday, I took advantage of the higher than normal temperatures and ran during lunch in shorts.  The temperatures dropped by the end of the week and it was windy.

Racing Schedule

Runner RankingsBest of 2016 Runner Rankings, from Potomac River Runners.  I was pleased to see I made 16th in my age group in this regional runner ranking.  Up 5 slots from last year!

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)  I finally registered this week!

When was the last time you “crashed and burned” during a workout?  How did you bounce back?

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2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 7

2017 Eugene - Week 7 Infographic

I’m back, baby!  Well, maybe not completely but I ran a repetition during Tuesday’s interval workout at PR 5K pace and today’s long run going clock-wise on the Arlington Loop was my second fastest ever!  Snow made Monday’s run beautiful.  No piriformis pain this week, so life is good.

Training Schedule
Week 7: January 29th – February 4th

Sunday: Recovery run. 8 mi. recovery + strides.
Monday: Medium run. 14 miles w/5 miles @ half marathon pace.
Tuesday: Interval run. 9 miles w/2.5 miles @ 5K pace.
Wednesday: Recovery run. 6 miles + hill repeats.
Thursday: Tempo run. 14 miles w/5 x (0.25 mile @ marathon pace – 5%, 1 mile @ marathon pace + 5%).
Friday: Recovery run. 6 miles recovery.
Saturday: Long Run. 18 miles w/5 miles @ marathon pace.

Mileage Total: ~72 Miles

Adaptations.  I didn’t finalize my schedule on Saturday so I made a lot of changes during the week.  In the end, I didn’t have enough faster than marathon pace “stuff” in the schedule.

I went back and read The Science of Running and realized I misunderstood what the author wrote about threshold pace.  Rather than being slower than marathon pace, it’s faster!  That’s a significant difference! I feel stupid for messing that up, but glad that I caught it relatively early in this training cycle.

Have you been wrong about a running concept? How did you figure it out?

Goal. None. Outcome: Fail!

Workout Details

Medium Run 14 miles w/5 miles @ half marathon pace 14 miles w/10 miles @ MP+10 seconds [Log Details].

When I woke up, I thought, “Nope” to the idea of running anything faster than marathon pace.  I decided running “steady” was enough.  It snowed overnight and it made for a beautiful run.

I was pretty speedy on the uphill to the Custis Trail about 10 seconds/mile faster than I went last Thursday.  I stayed strong through the rollers but was thankful to rest a little waiting to cross over to the Mount Vernon Trail.

MVT by Roosevelt Bridge – 01302017

Over the next few miles, I settled into a true steady pace.

Washington Monument – 01302017

I knew I went out a little fast but it was still a good effort.  In the end, I was ran about 20 seconds/mile slower than Thursday.

Overall paces=8:38.

Interval Run. 9 miles w/2.5 miles @ 5K pace 5 x 1K @ 5K pace w/2 minute recoveries [Log Details].

I ran with a club for intervals this week.  It took all my will to get out the door and I was late to the meet-up point, which meant I had to start a workout immediately!  Without a rest, I gasped for air after the first two 1Ks.  I caught my breath and although the pace felt easier, I still struggled to hold it for the distance.  After the fourth repetition, I was surprised that it was my fastest yet!  During the final interval, I forced myself to push rather than striding out.

Gravelly Point - 01312017

Gravelly Point – 01312017

When it was done, I was happy with the workout since I thought each repetition faster than the one before it.  But, I was shocked to see I ran the last one at my 5K PR pace!

Split paces=7:02, 7:13, 6:58, 6:48, 6:39.  Mean=6:56.

What defines a good interval workout for you?

Tempo Run 14 miles w/5 x (0.25 mi. @ half marathon pace, 1 mile @ marathon pace + 5% [Log Details].

I did this workout last week and loved it.  I needed to do it as a run commute since I slept in late.

I did a rather long “warm up” across town to Alexandria.  I started the sets in Potomac Yards, which was a nice even stretch but slightly into the wind.  The fast part of the second set was right before I reached the Mount Vernon Trail.  The workout felt easier than last week and my splits were faster.  I noticed I wasn’t slowing as much transitioning from the quarters to the miles, which seemed like a good thing.  Unfortunately, the quarters came on hilly sections of the trail – north of the marina and the airport overpass near Crystal City.

Another great run!  I was impressed that I could do this considering how tired I was.

Split paces=7:06/8:14 (set 1), 7:45/8:19 (set 2), 7:37/8:25 (set 3), 7:27/8:13 (set 4), 7:32/8:25 (set 5).  Mean=7:32/8:19.

Long Run. 18 miles w/5 miles @ marathon pace [Log Details].

From here on out, I’ll move away from mere time on my feet and work in more quality miles during my long runs.  I didn’t bring any food but had a half bagel before the run.

I ran the uphill portion of the W&OD Trail faster than I would have expected.  I was surprised my pace was in the mid-8:00.  I stopped briefly at the junction for the Custis Trail for water.  I starred the marathon pace segment around Lee Highway.  The miles flew by and I was surprised my Garmin was telling me I was running too fast.  Those faster miles ended at Gravelly Point and I slowed down.  But, my pace was still pretty steady until I hit the Four Mile Run Trail and felt the wind in my face.  Still, I didn’t fade too badly.

Boom!  I’m back, baby!  Second fastest time for this route ever.  The next fastest time – two months before my marathon PR…

Marathon pace segment=7:43.  Overall pace=8:20.


Injuries.  I’m down to visiting my chiropractor one day a week!  The timing is perfect – I didn’t have any severe pain in my left hip this week.

Have you tried chiropractic treatments for a running problem?  How did it go?

Weight.  My weight fluctuated a bit this week.  I didn’t focus much on what I was eating, but I’m running well right now, so that’s all that matters.

Sleep.  My sleep wasn’t disrupted this week but there wasn’t enough of it!  I stayed up late Tuesday and Wednesday night.  During Friday’s “recovery” run, I was so tired I thought of Ragnar.


The air temperature was consistently in the 30s this week.  It snowed Sunday night but it was cold enough that the roads weren’t slick.  It was relatively warm on Thursday, but temperatures dropped again.

Racing Schedule

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Training Supplement – January 31, 2017

Training Supplement Banner - 013117

I tried some nutritional products from my Strideboxes but didn’t love any of them.  I bought some socks to cover my ankles during the winter weather.  I also ordered some shoes that should arrive in a few days.

Clothing & Gear

Socks.  Feetures Elite Merino+ Cushion Quarter ($16.99).  All of my socks are low cut.  After the sub-freezing temperature days, I thought some coverage for my ankles would be nice.  I bought the right size – medium since my shoe size is 8 – but they fit a little big.  They didn’t feel much warmer, though.  I also purchased the Merino+ Light Cushion Quarter, which seems to be out of stock, in small.  They were snug but fine.  And, they actually did feel a little warmer.

Are you picky about your socks?

Shoes.  I purchased a few pair of shoes this weekend after feeling like my feet were beat up during last Saturday’s long run – Brooks Pure Flow 6, Brooks Launch 4, and Saucony Ride 9.  They should arrive in the next few days and I can’t wait to try them out.

Visibility wear. Nathan Mag Strobe.  Much like the StrobeLight LED Clip, I can clip this on whatever clothing I’m wearing on a run.  The regular strobe flops around a bit when clipped to the back of a jacket collar, but this stays flat.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration

Nutrition. Sports Beans Extreme.  I received two packets of Sports Beans in my October 2016 Stridebox.  I ate them on a recent medium run.  They were tasty but I could tell there was a lot of caffeine in them.  They had the tale-tell chalky and bitter taste that distinguished them from true jelly beans.  The package has 50mg of caffeine, which was too much for me – I had a major crash after my run – but it might be fine for some.

Gu Chews.  I got these in my December 2016 Stridebox.  I grabbed them for my long run a couple weeks ago.  They were fine.  I didn’t think they were any better or worse than other chews I’ve had.  It’s 90 calories per sleeve.

Post-workout NutritionPR Bar.  Two of these bars came in my January 2017 Stridebox.  I ate one of them after a run when I didn’t have time to make a good breakfast.  I enjoyed it.  The bar has 15g of protein and is all natural.


Custis One Lane - 01282017

Custis One Lane – 01282017

Hazards.  It’s been a cornucopia of running headaches lately.  In addition to road closures on Hains Point during The Inauguration and downtown for the Women’s March, I’ve navigated around the ongoing construction on the Four Mile Run Trail and a brief project on the Custis Trail this past week.







Media & Motivation

Music. Play That Song,” by Train.  It’s been a while since I purchased any new music.  I bought this one on Saturday and have been listening to it almost non-stop since then.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

PodcastsLanni Marchant – Your Body is Your Equipment, RunnersConnect.  This episode was an interesting discussion of female athletes and body image.  Listening to it, I wondered how pervasive this issue is and felt fortunate that I came to the sport as an adult.

Motivation.  “To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.” – Picabo Street

I pushed myself beyond what I thought was possible during several workouts these past few weeks.

Have you pushed your limits recently?  How did it go?

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2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 6

2017 Eugene - Week 6 Infographic

This was the final week of my base building phase!  Once again, I hit all my pace and mileage goals.  Feeling fit, fast, and fierce!  (In that order.)  Now, I’ll work on developing some speed endurance through longer workouts just slower than marathon pace.

Training Schedule
Week 6: January 22nd – January 28th

Sunday: Easy run. 6 miles.
Monday: Aerobic run. 12 miles w/4 miles @ half marathon pace & 4 miles & threshold pace.
Tuesday: Interval run. 4 x 1200m @ 10K pace + 6 x 800m @ 5K pace.
Wednesday: Recovery run. 6 miles + hill sprints.
Thursday: Tempo run. 14 miles w/10 miles @ marathon pace.
Friday: Recovery run. 6 miles.
Saturday: Long Run. 22 miles easy.

Mileage Total: ~75 Miles

Adaptations.  Sunday’s recovery run turned into an easy run and I added strides.  Then, I ran with a club on Tuesday and did their workout.  I didn’t feel great on Wednesday morning so I cut that workout short.  And, I only did 9 miles @ marathon pace on Thursday.  Looking back at my plan, I’m pretty close to where I wanted to be.

Goal. Complete a 22 miler.  Outcome: Success if 21.87 miles counts.

Workout Details

Aerobic Run 12 miles w/4 miles @ half marathon pace & 4 miles & threshold pace 11 miles w/5 x (0.25 mi. @ half marathon pace, 1 mile @ threshold pace) [Log Details].

I was introduced to “alteration workouts” by a fellow runner from RunningAhead.  In short, the workout involves alternating intervals of running slightly faster than lactate threshold pace and slightly slower.  For this workout, I planned to do repetitions of running a quarter mile @ half marathon pace (7:20-7:35) followed by a mile @ threshold pace (8:05-8:25).

What’s your favorite unconventional workout?

It was raining and extremely windy – steady at 22-28 mph w/33-40 mph gusts!  I started the workout in the city and therefore couldn’t run very fast due to pedestrians and cars.  Plus, it was dark and I couldn’t see my watch to gauge my speed.  Once I was on the deserted Mount Vernon Trail, during the threshold part of the second set, I settled into the run.  Still, I ran by effort and mostly stayed on pace.

I enjoyed this workout.  It was challenging but not impossible.  I think I’ll do a longer version as my tempo run as I entered the next phase of my training.

Split paces=7:12/8:10 (set 1), 9:04/8:14 (set 2), 7:33/8:25 (set 3), 7:40/8:17 (set 4), 7:36/8:31 (set 5).  Mean=7:37/8:19.

Interval Run. 4 x 1200m @ 10K pace + 6 x 800m @ 5K pace 6 x 800m @ 5K pace [Log Details].

Encouraged by my ability to hang on last week, I ran with a club again for my interval workout this week.

During the workout, I didn’t know what pace we were running the repeats and tried to stay just behind the two women who were ahead of me last week.  The first three were fine.  But on the fourth, we ran into the wind on the southwest side of Hains Point.  Heading back, the fifth interval was more like the others.  I didn’t have much left for the last repetition.

Sunburst - 012417

Sunburst – 012417

I didn’t have strong feelings about this workout.  But, the splits weren’t bad considering I wasn’t targeting a specific pace.

Split paces=7:15, 6:47, 6:44, 7:06, 6:44, 7:01.  Mean=6:55.

Tempo Run.  [Log Details].

Recovery Advisor - 012617

Recovery Advisor – 012617

For this week’s tempo run, I decided to do the same workout as last week.  I felt terrible when I woke up but the 50 degree temperature motivated me to get out of bed.

I ran a relaxed warmup.  The marathon pace segments started on rolling hills and my Garmin was telling me I was slow.  I wasn’t discouraged, though.  I thought, “This is about how much you slowed on the hills in Boston.”  I ate a few Sports Beans while I waited at the “Intersection of Doom”.  I wanted the energy but not the post-run caffeine crash.  Once I was on the flat Mount Vernon Trail, my pace settled around 7:50.  It was slower than last week but I felt like I was running “better”.

Marathon segment pace=7:59.  Overall pace=8:28.

Washington Monument - 012717

Washington Monument – 012717

Long Run. 22 miles easy [Log Details].

The warm-up was pretty swift.  I bought some new songs on iTunes before the run and “Play That Song,” by Train was adding some pep to my step.

Have you listened to a song over and over again during a run?  If so, what song?

I switched to a podcast to slow myself down.  The damage was already done, though, because I started fading around National Airport.  I stopped for water – the fountain was on today.  “This is way too early to feel this bad,” I thought.  But, I just kept plugging along.  By the time I was on the upper part of the Mount Vernon Trail, my gait was really just a shuffle.

On the Custis Trail, I was seriously slogging during the rolling hill section.  I stopped at the water fountain, even though it was turned off, under the guise of switching my iPod to music.  But, I also needed to convince myself that I needed to get over whatever was going on here.  Sure enough, once I reached the W&OD Trail, I felt a second wind and found I was running just as fast as when I started.

My base is built!  On to the next stage – focusing a more on speed.

Overall pace=8:49.


Injuries.  This week, I had my chiropractor appointments on Wednesday and Friday.  I asked about cutting my appointments down to once a week and the doctor was fine with that.  Hooray!  And, my piriformis didn’t really hurt during or after Thursday’s tempo run or Saturday’s long run.

Weight.  My goal was to weigh 126 pounds by the end of the base period.  This morning, I was 128.8 pounds.  That’s only a half-pound weight loss in 6 weeks.  Whatever.  I’m feeling fit and running well so I’m not going to worry about that number.


My run on Monday was miserable – rain and sustained 22-28 mph winds with 33-40 mph gusts!  On Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures were around 40 degrees.  By Thursday, it was warm enough to run in shorts!  But, the weather chilled by the end of the week.  In general, it’s been a mild winter so far.

Racing Schedule

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)  I heard on the radio that the start for the half marathon has moved to 8:30am.  The marathoners might feel lonelier than usual.

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2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 5

2017 Eugene - Week 5 Infographic

I hit all my goal paces during my workouts and ran some pretty good mileage!  It would be greedy to ask for more.  One more week of base building to go…

Training Schedule
Week 5: January 15th – January 21st

Sunday: Recovery run. 6 miles.
Monday: Threshold run. 10 miles easy w/6 miles @ threshold pace.
Tuesday: Interval run. 3 x 1 mile @ 10K pace + 10 x 400m @ 5K pace.
Wednesday: Easy run. 7 miles + hill sprints.
Thursday: Tempo Run.  13 miles w/9 miles @ marathon pace.
Friday: Recovery run. 7 miles.
Saturday: Long Run. 20 miles w/6 miles steady.

Mileage Total: ~73 Miles

Adaptations. I ran with a club on Tuesday but otherwise stayed on schedule.

Goal.  I forgot to set a goal for this week, so… Outcome: Fail!

Workout Details

Dyke Marsh - 01152017

Dyke Marsh – 01152017

Threshold Run 10 miles easy w/6 miles @ threshold pace [Log Details].

I didn’t think it would go well since I was still sore from Saturday’s long run.  But, I felt inspired to push myself to dig a little deeper since it was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  I ran a 10 mile loop that took me though some of the rolling hills on the Custis Trail but the downhill of the W&OD Trail.

I was pretty happy with the effort considering how tired I felt yesterday.  My Garmin recovery advisory said I needed 51 hours of recovery, though!

Threshold segment pace=8:12.  Overall pace=8:31.

Interval Run 3 x 1 mile @ 10K pace + 10 x 400m @ 5K pace 2x(10x400m @ 5K-10K pace w/1:00 recoveries) + full recovery between sets [Log Details].

I finally felt in good enough shape to run intervals with a group and not get dropped off the back.  I parked in Gravelly Point and jogged downtown to meet up with a group.


The first two repetitions were slow as I settled into the rhythm of the intervals and the group.  In the middle off the third repetition, we reached a gate that locked off the rest of Hains Point!  We went around it but then headed back during the fourth rep.  We ran the rest of the workout on the same quarter-mile stretch, but I didn’t mind it.

Did the Inauguration of women’s march impact your running?

One downside of being the slower runner in a group is that you get less recovery between repetitions.  But, my base is solid so I felt like I handled it well.  In fact, I was talking during the repetitions!

I was pretty happy that I was able to hang with the group and took it as a sign that I’m pretty fit right now!

400m splits=1:51, 1:44, 1:48, 1:40, 1:39, 1:41, 1:40, 1:42, 1:42, 1:42 (set 1); 1:41, 1:43, 1:41, 1:42, 1:41, 1:40, 1:37, 1:37, 1:38, 1:38 (set 2). Mean=1:41 or ~6:48 pace.

Tempo Run. 13 miles w/9 miles @ marathon pace [Log Details].

I was still sore from Tuesday’s super intense interval workout.  I thought about breaking this workout into 2 or 3 mile segments but I thought about how I’ve been surprising myself with how much I can do and went for it.

I ran slow during the uphill warmup on my way to the Custis Trail.  The marathon pace (7:40-8:00) segment started on the streets, though, so I was still climbing.  When I reached the trail, the climb continued but I was running under 8:00 pace and that was great.

It was a nice day – mid 40s and sunny.  I ate some Sports Beans with Caffeine in Rosslyn before joining the Mount Vernon Trail.  I was cranking out the miles – expecting a fade at any moment but rallying myself to keep plugging away.  At Gravelly Point, which about 2 miles to go, I thought I was completely done.  I slowed but managed to stay in pace range until the end.

I finished the cool down and felt completely exhausted.  Back home, I showered and had to lie down for about an hour before I could think about moving or eating.  Thank goodness I was teleworking and didn’t have to commute.

Marathon segment pace=7:54.  Overall pace=8:27.

Long Run. 20 miles w/6 miles steady [Log Details].

It was Inauguration weekend.  I thought about running closer to downtown to see the Women’s March on Washington but decided to do an out-and-back on the W&OD Trail instead.

I took the first few miles easy and I felt great heading out to Dunn Loring/Vienna.  I snacked on Gu Chews (Blackberry Pomegranate) and water to keep my energy and hydration in check.

20 Miler Selfie - 01212017

20 Miler Selfie – 01212017

I started the steady (8:25-8:45) segment fast – my pace was in the 8:00-8:10 range!  I slowed down after a couple of miles and then felt myself fading unintentionally.  Soon, my pace had dropped to 8:25-8:30, which was the right range but a sign I’d gone out too fast.

“Let this be a lesson to you for race day!  Do not go out too fast if you feel good!”

My pace slipped a few seconds a mile slower.  It was hard to get my legs to turn over and my hips/butt ached.  I was probably running closer to 9:00 pace by the end of the steady segment.

When I finished the run, I collapsed on a bench for a minute and just let my body feel exhausted.  My base is solid.  One more long run and then I can focus more on getting faster.

Steady segment pace=8:33.  Overall pace=8:46.


Injuries. I had my chiropractor appointments on Monday and Friday.  My piriformis felt find during my interval workout on Tuesday but sore after.  It also hurt some during the marathon pace run.  I noticed it was most painful on the uphills.  It was achy on my long run but not terrible.

Weight.  My weight isn’t budging.  It hovered around 128 pounds all week.


The week started mild with sunshine and 40 degree temperatures.  It pretty much stayed in that temperature range the entire week but with overcast skies and some light drizzle on some days.

Racing Schedule

2017 New York City Marathon - Guaranteed Entry

Future races. I claimed my guaranteed entry for the 2017 New York City Marathon this week!  I know many recreational runners shoot for a Boston Qualifying time, but qualifying for the New York City Marathon is what motivates me.

Are you planning (or hoping) to run the 2017 New York City Marathon?

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Broken Links

1/21/2017 Update:  The links are fixed!

Ack!  I made a change to how URLs are generated for this blog and unintentionally changed the existing links!  I’m working to fix all the broken links on the site.  I hope to finish by this weekend.  My apologies if you visited the site these past few weeks and encountered broken links.

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Training Supplement – January 15, 2017

Training Supplement Banner - 011517

It’s dark during my morning runs these days, so I invested in some visibility gear this month.  I’m pretty sure the Runners Connect podcast with Jared Ward will be one of my favorites of the year.  And, I cleared out a bunch of Stridebox products.

Site Administration: I decided to do the supplements bi-monthly this year instead of weekly.

Clothing & Gear

Dark Trail - 01062017

Dark Trail – 01062017

Visibility gear.  It’s dark in the morning these days.  I bought a lot of additional visibility gear this month to better ensure motorists, cyclists, and walkers see me out there.  (Update: I already owned a few items.  See my Clothes & Gear page for information on those items.)

Nathan Zephyr Fire 300 ($59.99).  I ran with this for an early morning run early in the month. Aiding my sight while also making me visible to cars led me to immediately appreciate this product.  It was sealed once I realized it also made it easier to warm walkers that I was coming up behind them.  The downside: it’s hard to run with it when you’re wearing mittens or wearing mittens.

Nathan LightSpur RX LED Foot Light ($29.99).  Last December, I got an LED shoe heel in a Stridebox.  I like the idea of this product.  It’s a simple way to add visibility – attach it to your heel and turn it on before a run.  However, I lost mine during a run, so I bought the Nathan model.  Given the price, I’ll be very upset if this one falls off.

Nathan StrobeLight LED Clip ($9.99).  I already owned one of this clip lights but I bought a couple more.  It’s easy to just attach one on my hat, collar, water bottle…  It’s an easy way to make myself more visible.

Water-Resistant Silicone LED Armband ($12.99). I thought this was a neat product but it didn’t fit around my arm. I wore it on my calf but I think there there are better products out there.

How are you staying visible in the winter?

Stridebox.  This month’s Stridebox has instructions on how to put screws in the bottom of your running shoes for better traction in the winter.

Stridebox - January 2017

Stridebox – January 2017

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Caffeine. Run Gum.  I had great expectations for this product.  I’ve seen and hear a lot of  advertisements and testimonials for it over the years.  I had three packets from previous Strideboxes and finally tried it this month.  It’s some of the toughest gum I’ve ever chewed.  I woke up with a sore jaw the next day and realized it was from gnawing on this gum.  And, insult to injury, I didn’t feel any kick from the caffeine.

Stridebox. I decided I didn’t want to take so many unused products into the New Year.  I buckled down and tried, stored away, or just plain got rid of some of the items languishing from previous boxes.

The good…

Prince of Peace Ginger Candy. This was one of my favorite product.  The candies were very tasty.  I’m just not sure it’s something I’d eat all the time even though it has some great benefits.

Bell Plantation PB2 Thins. These didn’t quite taste like crackers to me – more like mini cookies.  It was hard for me to think of them as health food.

Foods Alive Lemon Chia-Crunch Power Crackers. These weren’t bad I didn’t quite like the lemon flavor.

The bad…

Buff Bake Red Velvet Protein Peanut Spread.  I tried this on toast and it was way too sweet for me.  I think it’s because I’m used to eating peanut butter without added sugar.

Evoke Athlete Fuel Organic Muesli.  The package said this could be oatmeal but it was very bland.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any brown sugar or honey to mix into it.

The ugly…

Protes Protein Snacks.  These protein chips are made from pea protein in nacho flavor.  They were not good.

Beet Boost. I hate beets.


Trails. This weekend, I deviated from my normal running routes.  Generally, I like loops so I don’t see the same sights twice.  But, I decided to do an out-and-back on the W&OD trail on Saturday, which took me outside the Beltway.

W&OD Beltway Overpass – 01142017

And then today, I drove to the southern section of the Mount Vernon Trail for my recovery run.

Dyke Marsh - 01152017

Dyke Marsh – 01152017

Trail Signage – 01072017

Safety. Kudos to the local groups who posted signs on the Custis and W&OD Trail reminding bicyclists, runners, and walkers about good trail etiquette.








Media & Motivation

Music. Freedom,” by Wham!  Another legend died in 2016.  This has been my favorite running song featuring George Michael.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts. “Jared Ward,” by RunnersConnect. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen to this podcast right now. This was an excellent interview with the 6th place male finisher at the 2016 Olympics.  The, “I should feel different, but I feel the same” moment that I think is the true feeling of a confident, well-grounded person.  I took away two things: 1) I need to get back to running my true marathon pace – not a goal pace and not the pace of those running around me, and 2) I want to just get fit by May and let everything else fall into place.

Breaking the 2-Hour Marathon,” by The Runner’s World Show. I read “Two Hours,” by Ed Caesar last year, so I was interested in hearing more after this story broke late in the year.  I’ll be following but put me down as someone who doubts it’ll be done next year.

Websites and BlogsEugene Marathon Race Report, by Sweat Once a Day.  I started looking for insider information on Eugene and was happy to find this race report (from a local, no less!)  I don’t hope to do as well but I was heartened to read about her huge PR.

Motivation. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills 

I’m trying to pay more attention to the “little things” this training cycle.  I’m seeing a chiropractor about my left hip, monitoring my sleep, and trying to get down to my ideal racing weight.

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2017 Eugene Marathon Training – Week 4

My first 20 miler of the training cycle is done. I missed some speed work but ran a lot of miles that should help me in a marathon.  My mantra was, Get fit!

Training Schedule
Week 4: January 8th – January 14th

Sunday: Recovery run. 6 miles.
Monday: Threshold run. 6 miles @ threshold pace.
Tuesday: Interval run. 4 miles @ half marathon pace + 10 x 400m @ 5K pace.
Wednesday: Recovery run. 7 miles.
Thursday: Tempo run.  8 miles @ marathon pace.
Friday: Aerobic run. 7 miles easy to steady.
Saturday: Long Run. 18 miles easy.

Mileage Total: ~71 Miles

Adaptations. I realized I couldn’t do a threshold run before my chiropractic appointment on Monday, so despite running long on Saturday, I ran it on Sunday. Then, I couldn’t muster the effort for 400m repetitions after the half marathon pace miles on Tuesday. On Saturday, I ran 22 miles instead of 18 so I would feel better about hitting 22 by the end of this base building period.

Goal. Run the 18 mile route from last week 10 seconds/mile faster. Outcome: Fail!  But I’m sure it was only because I ran longer instead.

Workout Details

Threshold Run. 6 miles @ threshold pace [Log Details].

This workout was scheduled for Monday, but I realized I had a chiropractor appointment at 8am. Even though I ran long the day before, I thought I would try to move it up.

It was also cold – barely 20 degrees with 20 mph winds and 30 mph gusts! I worried there might be slick spots from yesterday’s snow but when I reached the Custis Trail, it was clean!

For the threshold pace segment, the wind was at my back and I was flying! I looked at my Garmin for the first time about 2 miles into it and I was around 8:10 pace. Despite feeling I was running at the same effort, the pace kept dropping. Soon, I was running close to 8 minutes flat!

I was surprised I ran so well.  I thought, You can do so much more than you think you can.

Threshold pace segment=8:04.

Interval Run. 4 miles @ half marathon pace + 10 x 400m @ 5K pace [Log Details].

I decided it was time to work some half marathon pace miles into my schedule since I thought that would truly be speedwork for the marathon.

Route 50 Bridge - 01102017

Route 50 Bridge – 01102017

I started running at half marathon pace on Mount Vernon Trail in Rosslyn.  It was a little slick on the wooden bridges by the Roosevelt Bridge but I was running about 7:33 pace.  My pace stayed pretty consistent even though I was fighting. I kept telling myself, You can do this!, even though I felt like I could stop at any moment.

After that segment, I rested a bit and then tried to run the 400m intervals.  You’re done, I told myself.  I just didn’t have the energy to do more.

Honestly, that effort was closer to 10K.  I was happy I completed the workout but wasn’t going to kid myself about how hard that workout felt.

Half marathon pace segment=7:36.

Tempo Run. 8 miles @ marathon pace [Log Details].

Mount Vernon Trail - 01122017

Mount Vernon Trail – 01122017

The “fast club” I ran with before the 2016 New York City Marathon was doing the same workout but in the end, I decided to run on my own to ensure I would run my goal pace.

My legs felt incredibly uninspired during the warm-up.

Once I started the marathon pace miles, I felt the urge to fight for the pace.  I thought about a podcast with Jared Ward that I listened to recently.  I told myself that this workout will help me get fit and getting fit will help me finish the marathon.  Over the course of the segment, I shortened that thought into, Get fit!


What running mantras get you through hard workouts?

I finished in my desired pace range.  (I lost the shoe clip I got in a Stridebox a while back, though.)

Marathon pace segment=7:59, 7:57, 7:36, 7:43, 7:53, 7:53, 7:50, 8:17.  Average=7:54.

Long Run. [Log Details].

I realized if I really wanted to run 22 miles in three weeks, I should probably throw down a 20 miler this week.  I decided to do an out and back on the W&OD Trail.  Strangely, I think I’ve only done that once.

It was cold and rainy when I started.  I listened to a podcast so I would keep the pace easy.  I felt pretty good through the first hour and had a Crank Sport e-Gel for energy. There was a guy running maybe 20 feet behind me for a while.  He was running so close that he had to dart to the left to avoid running into me when I stopped at Gallows Road!

W&OD Beltway Overpass – 01142017

At the turnaround, I tried to pick up the pace but my legs wouldn’t drive any harder. I had an Accel Gel two-hours into the run but it didn’t help.  I stopped my watch at Lee Highway to wait for the light and accidentally hit the “Save” key.  Ugh!  Now, my workout would be two files.  I was annoyed but reminded myself that it didn’t matter.

I was too tired and cold to feel anything but relief at the end of the run.  My first 20 miler of the training cycle was complete!

Overall pace=8:56.


Injuries. I had a chiropractor appointment on Monday and Friday this week. My piriformis continued to improve but flared up during Thursdays marathon pace run.  At this stage, I would say I mostly feel mild to moderate dull irritation on some runs but not pain.

Weight.  Despite knowing that losing weight while marathon training is hard, I didn’t think I’d have trouble losing a few pounds during this base cycle!  I buckled down and my weight dropped a little.


It was 22 degrees on Sunday but with 20+ mph winds and 30+ mph gusts!  The winds calmed down on Monday and Tuesday, but the air temperature was still sub-freezing. Then, the temperature warmed up considerably.  I ran in shorts on Friday!  But, Saturday’s long run was miserably cold and rainy.

How did you cope with this week’s cold weather?

Racing Schedule

Next race: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll DC Half Marathon on March 11th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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