Sunday, September 9: 90 minutes cross training (35 minutes stability/flexibility + 55 minutes bike)
Sunday’s workout was my longest cross training session of the season. I don’t want to phone it in too much during peak week, but I will admit that I took the easy route on this workout, starting off with Runner Flexibility (basically just 15 minutes of stretching) and Runner Stability from the NTC app before hopping on the bike. My primary objective on the bike was getting through as much of my book as possible (I slacked off on reading big time during week 14), so biking intensity took a back seat to reading intensity. Getting things off to a great start in the “not phoning it in” department 😛
Monday, September 10: Strength training – legs (AM) + 10 miles in 1:48:15 for a 10:49 pace
Monday morning was a much better example of me trying to not phone it in during peak week. This is the last week I expect to challenge myself to use heavier weights than I’ve used in previous weeks, and unsurprisingly, that made my workout a bit tougher than sometimes! I was able to get through everything, but I did have to spend more time recovering than some other weeks.
I logged my last weekday 10 miler of this training cycle Monday afternoon. The weather was substantially nicer than it’s been for most of marathon season, which helped me run a bit quicker than usual. I’m glad I was able to put in 10 miles at close to marathon pace without feeling like I was putting in too much effort. That helped my confidence a little. The last mile was a bit tough, though, and something about this run in general was just draining. I had a lot on my mind, which I’m sure didn’t help, but when I got home I felt way more exhausted and sore than I expected (or wanted) to feel.
Monday’s Mid-Run Bird Watching Report: I saw my second-ever Red-breasted Nuthatch searching for an early supper about two miles into my run. The only other place I’ve ever seen a Red-breasted Nuthatch was at the Grand Canyon (or at least, that’s the only other place I’ve seen one and been aware of it), so that was a huge and very exciting surprise! I stopped to take terrible iPhone pictures, but if you’d like to see what the bird actually looks like, I recommend my post about the aforementioned spotting at the Grand Canyon, or All About Birds.
Tuesday, September 11: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
Tuesday’s strength training workout had me doing more reps than I’m used to, which made the workout a bit challenging. I wasn’t able to up the weights like I wanted to due to the higher reps, which bummed me out even though it shouldn’t have, because I’m sure it all more or less evens out (lower weight + higher reps vs. higher weight + lower reps), especially since my goal is to build overall strength to help carry me through 26.2 miles, not get ripped.
We lost one person from dance, which now brings our grand total down to four. After class, the only remaining new person asked my teacher if there was a beginner class option, to which he was like, “…this is the beginner class,” so we’ll see how long we stay at four people. I don’t blame her for asking, though: the combo we learned on Tuesday was NUTS. It moves really fast and, to complicate things further, reverted to my teacher’s preferred method of choreography, which is using movement to highlight subtle sounds in the music rather than sticking to normal eight counts. I get why he does that, but it is SO much harder to learn choreography (for me, at least) to “move when this noise happens” rather than “move on four.” I had a hard time keeping up, so I’m not at all surprised that someone who’s never taken a hip hop class before had a hard time keeping up. I’m also getting to the time of year when I worry at all times that I’m going to hurt myself in dance and not be able to do the marathon, further impeding my ability to learn.
Wednesday, September 12: 5.82 miles in 1:00:56 for a 10:28 pace
I did my longest tempo run of training on Wednesday, and I think it went fairly well. It’s hard to know for sure, since my watch had no idea what was going on (it thought I ran a 3:36 first mile. Okay.). I felt like I did a good job of gradually increasing my pace to the middle of the run, and I know I did a good job of gradually decreasing my pace after the middle of the run, since my GPS was working by that point.
Wednesday’s Mid-Run Bird Watching Report: I briefly stopped during the second half of my fastest part of the run because I spotted an American Coot! Oh man, was that exciting! I had never seen an American Coot before, which means I’ve now added TWO birds to my life list in less than a week (the Sanderlings from last Saturday’s long run being the other birds). American Coots are super interesting birds. You might think it’s a duck–the family with a small child along the lakefront sure did, as they kept calling “Duck! Come here, duck!” an in effort to get it to swim closer–but it’s not. They don’t even have webbed feet! Their feet really are something, and I definitely recommend looking up a picture if you’re interested. In case that wasn’t all fascinating enough, American Coots literally run on water to get airborne. There’s a good picture of it on All About Birds (linked above). How crazy!! Anyway, I do not in the least bit regret taking a short break during what should’ve been the hardest effort of my run to see this bird. I would 100 percent stop during the marathon to check out a bird if I thought it was a new one for my life list, even if it meant sacrificing my time goals. Birds first, running second. ALSO, there have only been two other American Coot sightings in Chicago all migration season, according to eBird, AND both eBird and Merlin said that American Coots are “uncommon” for this location at this time of year. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT! A! FIND!!
Thursday, September 13: Strength training – legs (AM) + 60 minutes bike (PM)
I had barbell squats on my list of to-dos for Thursday, but when I got to the gym, the trainer was using the barbell for his Thursday morning client. Instead of using dumbbells like I normally would’ve done, I rearranged my exercises to do other ones first, and when I finished those, was a big girl and actually asked the trainer if he was done using it so I could use it. Only took 13 weeks of showing up at the gym three mornings per week to finally work up the confidence to ask others about using equipment they appeared to be using, haha. (His client still had one more round on the barbell, so I did planks until they were done.) Shout out to my determination to get in three solid strength training workouts during peak week for trumping my usual desire to not bother anyone at the gym.
I returned to the gym Thursday afternoon for an hour long bike ride. I wrapped up my latest library book (My Antonia, which I read because I felt like it was one of those books I was supposed to have been required to read somewhere along my English major but never was. I ended up loving it! I thought it was so beautifully written and was quite disappointed that it had to end.) and then dove into Let Your Mind Run, which I bought with some pre-birthday money that had been earmarked specifically for that purpose (lesson learned: complain loudly enough to the right people close to your birthday about the fact that you won’t be able to get a library book you desperately want to read prior to the marathon, and you might just get money to buy said book. Ha.). I’m enjoying it so far, and it was a helpful way to stay motivated on the bike.
Friday, September 14: Rest
Saturday, September 15: Rest
Technically, peak week isn’t over yet. As of this writing (on Friday), I still have a 20 miler to complete. Peak week not only brings the highest mileage of training, but also magically makes a week last eight days instead of seven 😛 I am happy with how this part of peak week went, at least. I change my mind on how I plan to approach the 20 miler every time I think about it, and the forecast is only okay, so I don’t really know what to expect out of the run on Sunday. Hilariously, a 3:37 20 miler works out to a 10:51 pace, and I am all about those 3:37 20 milers (in case you don’t remember, which I don’t expect that you would, my first three 20 milers were all done in 3:37), so who knows! Maybe I’ll return to my 3:37 20 miler ways, end up logging a 20 miler at marathon goal pace, and walk away 100 percent convinced that I can do a 4:45 marathon. I’m not really counting on it, but crazier things have happened (like, you know, running a 3:37 20 miler three years in a row), so we’ll see how Sunday shakes out.