Marathon Monday: Weeks 13 & 14

I don’t know what happened last week, but I never got my weekly wrap-up finished to put online. I was going to do it Saturday, but decided it just made more sense to combine the past two weeks. If you want to read about previous weeks in my training plan, check them out here: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4,Week 5,Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10, Week 11, and Week 12.

Week 13

This was a great week, with my longest run to-date! 🙂

Monday I went cycling around town. I didn’t have too much time, I just wanted to get out and move my legs a little bit after the trail marathon the day before. I ended up only riding for about 25 minutes, and did 6.3 miles.

Tuesday I ran 5 miles after a full day of activities. I went out around 8 and was soon reminded that it is not summer anymore…it completely dark by the time I finished! I love Fall, but I will miss the long days of sunshine.

Wednesday was 8 miles knocked out in the morning. I’m lucky that as a student, I have a rather flexible schedule, so I left for this run a little before 8 am, and then made it to campus by 10 for a review session. I constantly remind myself how lucky I am that I don’t have to wake up at 5 am to run, because I am seriously not functional that early in the morning. 😐

Thursday I did not get up early enough to run before my 9 am class, so I ended up having to wait until after my community band practice from 7-9 pm until I could go. Luckily, campus is pretty well lit, so I am not too worried about running in the dark. Bonus: it was cool with no humidity, so I felt like I was flying.

Feeling happy after finishing up my run in the dark. 🙂

I wasn’t that much faster, but finished a little over 5 miles at a 10:25 pace, while still keeping my HR in the aerobic zone. I’ve been closer to a 10:50 pace recently if I try to keep my HR where it should be, so I was happy to get to go a little faster. 🙂 Also, I tried doing my hair a little differently, and I liked it for the run!

Braided pigtails into one single braid at the bottom.

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday had 5 pace miles on the schedule. I ended up running 4 miles at 9:08 pace, and then a 1 mile cool down at 10:06. I know 9:08 is a little faster than I should be running for marathon pace runs, but I just wanted to see how fast I could run the 4 miles since I’ve been running so slow lately. I know that running with your HR in the aerobic zone is really great for improvement, but it means I log some rather slow (for me) paces, which I find very boring. It’s nice to get to speed it up once in awhile to remind myself that I still can run fast. 🙂 We watched a friend’s dog over the weekend, so most of Saturday was spent with 4 eyes watching me.

Our friend’s dog, Zea, on the left, and our dog, Nova, on the right

Sunday was the big day. The day I had been waiting for since I started this plan 13 weeks ago. A twenty. mile. run. Wow. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I tried as hard as I could to not think about it too much prior to going out, because I didn’t want to psych myself out. I didn’t even really plan a route, because I knew it would stress me out to think about exactly where I had to go before I finished.

I planned to wake up around 7, and leave the house by 7:30. However, Dustin’s alarm went off at 5 am (what, on a Sunday? Why, you ask? I have no idea…), and I was wide awake. At first I was annoyed, but then I realized it would be great to get an earlier start, so I got out of bed and started making some breakfast. After eating and deciding on an outfit to wear, plus choosing what I wanted to bring with me, I left right at 6 am. It was still dark, so I bought a headlamp, and figured I’d swing back past our house at some point to drop it off.

Running in the dark was awesome. I have run in the dark at night a lot, and while I don’t mind it, I usually am a little nervous. For some reason, running in the dark of the morning was totally different. I felt like I was the only one awake in the whole city, and I was so happy to just be running. A great start. 🙂 The sun started to come up around mile 4, and didn’t fully come up (i.e. sun beating down on me) until around mile 8. I stopped several times for water, but overall felt pretty great. I stopped at home around mile 12 where I had a water bottle stashed in the mailbox along with half a banana. I happily ate/drank, and left my headlamp which I was getting rather tired of carrying. I still felt good, which was very reassuring.

I kept running, and at some point, I decided to run towards campus, and I knew I would hit 20 miles before I got back home. I texted Dustin and asked if he could come pick me up at 10 am on campus, and he immediately responded that that would be fine. That gave me a solid goal to think about, and meant I didn’t have to run back up the hill home. 🙂 My legs started to feel very tired around 18, but other than that, I was still feeling strong. At mile 19, I decided to speed up a little bit to finish up the run. I can’t believe it, but I finished that 20 mile run feeling great! What a relief!

So happy (and sweaty) to have finished 20 miles!

I ended up with a 10:57 pace, which I am pretty happy with because all of my splits were rather even, except for miles 8 and 9 which were mysteriously at 10:29 and 10:27. Mostly I was right above or right below 11 minutes/mile the entire time.

Proof! 🙂

Afterwards, we went to a wedding, and besides feeling a little sick to my stomach at one point, I felt fine! I’m glad that not only did I finish the 20 miles feeling good, but I also wasn’t completely wrecked afterwards.

Overall, I’m so happy with Week 13. Finishing that 20 miles was such a relief, and now I finally feel like I might actually be able to run a whole marathon. 🙂 I still have another 20 miler on the schedule (which I may cut slightly, we’ll see), but getting this one out of the way was such a huge milestone. I finished with 43 miles for the week–another 40+ mile week which I used to think was impossible! It feels good to see improvements. 🙂

Week 14

This week was a slight cut back week, most likely to recover from the 20 mile run at the end of week 13.

Monday I had cross training scheduled, but it just did not happen. It was Labor Day, so we had the day off, but we spent the day catching up on things. We cleaned a lot, mowed the lawn, I made some bread, and then my parents came over for dinner. I had a community band concert in the evening, which was a fun event.

Tuesday I went to class in the morning, then had family come into town to get a tour of Purdue. 🙂 They were here from California, so I had offered to show them around. We ended up walking quite a bit, and I think we showed them a good time. 🙂 It got warm again on Tuesday, so I waited until the evening to go for my run. I ran the first mile with Nova, then dropped her off, and did a 4 mile loop from our house to get to 5 miles. 10:59 pace, and I definitely felt my heavy legs from the long run a couple days before.

In other exciting news, I took part in a Reddit Running Gift Exchange, and got the nicest gifts from my ‘Secret Santa’. I had mentioned that I was running the Chicago marathon, so he got me running tights that say “Chicago 26.2” and a nice new running tank. I was so happy!

What a thoughtful/nice gift!

Wednesday I ran 5.25 miles at a 10:37 pace. I was surprised to still have slightly sore legs. I guess this is what they mean by cumulative fatigue during marathon training!

Thursday I had 5 miles scheduled. I went to class in the morning, and then went to a career fair to talk to Fitbit afterwards. I have been hoping to get an internship with them, so when I found out they were coming to campus, I was excited to get to talk to them face-to-face. We’ll see what happens with that, but I was excited to get some new socks!

Fitbit socks! 🙂

The entire afternoon was filled with meetings, and then around 6, Dustin asked if I wanted to go to a nice restaurant for dinner. Of course I’m not going to turn that down, so I ended up skipping my run. I guess I can just say that I swapped my rest day this week, so it was Thursday instead of Friday.  🙂

Friday morning I set out and ran my 5 miles. Nothing too exciting except humidity was back up (literally 100%), so I felt a little bit like I was swimming. Luckily, it wasn’t too warm by the time I went out, so I didn’t get the dread heat/humidity combination. When I got home, I popped the rest of the bread dough into the oven, and got a perfect looking loaf!

Yummm! We usually devour the whole loaf the day I make it because it’s so good.

Saturday I woke up at 8:30 to the sound of rain. We had lunch and dinner plans, so I knew that I had to run in the morning, or it might not happen. I immediately checked the weather and I saw ‘Light Rain’ on the forecast for the next 2 hours. 😐 I decided to suck it up and just go. I wore a lot of 2Toms (anti-chafing!) and a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. It rained for the first 6 miles of the run. I actually didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would–it kept me cool, and since it wasn’t hitting my face, it wasn’t actively annoying me. 🙂 It stopped raining for my last 2 miles, and then was so humid that I wished for the rain to start up again! Overall I finished 8 miles at a 10:46 pace.

Sunday was a shorter long run than I have been used to, “only” 12 miles. I have a test on Tuesday, so I spent most the day studying, then went out for my run around 6 pm. I didn’t bring any fuel, just to see how 12 miles would go with only water breaks. It went well! I was a little thirsty around mile 10, which probably means I wasn’t drinking quite as much water as I should have been, but overall, I felt good. I averaged a 10:46 pace.

Overall this was another good week. I’m now less than a month out from the marathon, and I am super excited (although still slightly terrified!). I ran 35 miles this week, prepping me for the last of the 40+ mileage weeks next week. I think I am going to actually miss marathon training! I like continually breaking new personal records (longest run, most weekly mileage, etc), and the feeling of accomplishment from staying on track with my training. I know there is a lot of value in having time not in training, but I think I do well when on a plan. 🙂

Do you enjoy being on a training plan, or do you like to just go with the flow?
Do you have any big races coming up?

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6 thoughts on “Marathon Monday: Weeks 13 & 14

  1. CONGRATS on your 20 miler! That's such an exciting achievement and will be such a confidence booster on race morning!

    Do you have the Garmin 235? I'm thinking about upgrading to that model for the built in heart rate monitor. Anything you don't like about the watch?

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  2. Thanks! I do have the 235 and I absolutely love it! It honestly is the perfect watch for me although I do have one complaint…it doesn't seem to track pace well on trails. I did a trail half a few weekends ago and it got slightly off on mileage (although, it didn't seem to be getting more off as time went on, so it may have just been adjusting initially), and then yesterday I ran down a trail, and I was flying, but it said I was running at 11:00 pace. I would guess I was closer to 9! There is an option on there to use an additional GPS system (GLONASS), which I haven't tried, so maybe it would help! I would definitely recommend the watch though, I have worn it almost 24/7 since I got it and it has been great!

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  3. Congratulations on your 20-mile run! That's so awesome! How do you like your Garmin so far? I really need to replace my way but there seem to be so many options out there.

    That is cool that you got to run by BOA stadium in Charlotte! I live very close to there and enjoy running/cycling by there. I agree with you though that it's hard to run downtown because of the traffic lights. Running on a Saturday or Sunday morning down there is perfect because there's no traffic at all!

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  4. I like my Garmin a lot. There are certainly so many options for GPS watches out there..it is very overwhelming. I love the 235, but it is a little on the expensive side. Charlotte was really neat to run through! I went super early so the lights weren't even that bad, I just am used to running a paved trail loop that doesn't cross any streets, so doesn't have any stops…I forgot how much time stopping at lights adds! 🙂

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  5. Congrats on your first 20 miler! I still remember the feeling when I hit the “stop” button on my watch after my first. It's such a great milestone!

    You had a great couple weeks of training and it sounds like everything is going well for you. I feel like a lot of this could have been written by me two years ago when I was training for my first. It is such a fun and exciting time – glad you are enjoying it!

    I'm someone who thrives on structure, so I typically enjoy being on a training plan and progressing toward a goal. But, it gets to be a bit much after a while. I think you have to make sure not to take running so seriously, otherwise the training begins to suck the fun out of everything and having to stick to a plan can feel more like a chore than an adventure. That's kind of where I'm at now, actually. I'm looking forward next year to trying to “train” to stay in shape rather than always trying to improve or hit time goals. We'll see how it goes!

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  6. Yes, I definitely don't think I'll forget actually finishing the 20 miles and getting to hit “stop” on my watch. What a great feeling!

    I think I'm probably similar to you about structure. I have been following your blog for awhile, and I could totally relate to you getting burned out on constantly following a training plan. However, I think I'd feel a little lost and like I wasn't improving as much as I should be (or at least as efficiently as I should be). I think after the marathon, I'll struggle to decide what to do!

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