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Marathon Training Week 6 Recap – The Need For Speed

T0.3 by Connor Burton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

T0.3 by Connor Burton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Maybe it’s because I wanted to push myself or maybe it’s because I’m impatient, but whatever the reason, I did speed work with all my runs this week.

Monday: I hit the ground running this week – at least on work. No workout  scheduled for today, though I’m starting to see a network of veins beneath my skin. I feel stronger and I’ve definitely noticed an increase in my muscle tone.

Tuesday: Tuesday is my official speed work day when I run on the treadmill – aka the human hamster wheel. I ran 4.5 miles in 37.5 minutes. Running on the treadmill is so boring, even with the most entertaining podcast in my ears. It’s only redeeming quality is it’s faster than running on the street. I knocked out my first 100 push-ups for the week: 5 sets of 16 and 1 set of 20. I like seeing the veins pop out of my arms as I’m getting stronger.

Wednesday: One of the benefits of running in October is it’s cooler in the morning. The downside is it’s also dark. I think it’s time to bust out my reflective belt so cars can more easily see me. I’d wear a headlamp if it were more comfortable – I don’t like running as much when I can’t fully see where I’m going.  I had a good 6.5-mile run today. I did speed work by making myself run 200 steps at the beginning of each song that played on my iPod, plus an extra 100 running steps when I had to stop at stoplights.

Thursday: I tried a new 4.5-mile route today (with my snazzy reflective belt) that had a turn-around in the middle of the Mill Ave. Bridge. I hope I turned around at the right spot. I used the same plan for speed work as the previous day. Around mile 1.5 I felt a twinge of pain in my butt with the giggle of each step that was replaced by the intensity I felt in my quads around mile 3. When I got back I finished my push-ups for the week: 5 sets of 17 and 1 set of 15.

Friday: Rest day!

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

Saturday: I listen to Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz during my long runs on Saturdays. It’s an awesome podcast about movies that features a different actor or director each week. Each  segment of the show is named after a movie, i.e., “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “First Blood,” “Quiz Show,” etc. My plan was to do speed work at the beginning of each segment, but I realized I can’t count my steps and listen to these two geek out over movies simultaneously, so I just tried to pick up the pace at the beginning of each segment. I had a bit of shin pain even before I started today’s run that didn’t get worse over the hour. I started getting pain in my right hip around mile 5 (of a 7.2-mile run). I’ll have to keep an eye on that. When I tried to train for a marathon a few years ago, I had to downgrade to the half when I experienced intense hip pain in my longer runs.  I hope my strength work and stretching will keep this under control.

Sunday: I challenged myself to ride the hill on McDowell Road between 52nd St and 64th St – by Papago Park – during today’s 19-mile bike ride.  This is a steep hill when I drive it so I knew it would be hard on my bike. I told myself that I’m doing my legs more good on this one hill than I’ve ever done on the elliptical in aggregate. I’m glad it was at the beginning of my ride.

I’m officially 1/3 through my marathon training. If memory serves, I was living in KT Tape six weeks into half marathon training the last time I trained for a big race. (I was also running with really bad form back then.) I’m really pleased with how my legs are holding up so far.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 22.7 miles
Biking: 19 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Minimalism in 90 Days Update – What Got Unpacked the First Week

When I read about Ryan Nicodemus’ “packing party” and 21-day minimalism project, I was curious to know what got unpacked during those 21 days. In case anyone is curious about what I’ve unpacked since moving into the condo, I thought I’d share what I unpacked in the first week.

The number of boxes has remained unchanged but the amount in each box is dropping.

The number of boxes has remained unchanged but the amount in each box is slowly dropping.

Day 1 – October 11th

  • Nail kit (I broke a nail unloading groceries)
  • Bath towel, hand towel, wash cloth, bathmat
  • Mattress pad, sheets, comforter, pillows
  • Phone charger and extension cord
  • Rosie’s bowls, Kong toy, scoop, and food
  • My prescription pills and check sheet
  • Paper towels
  • Swiss Army knife (This is stored in my utility box under my bed so everything that was in that box is under my bed now)
  • My dirty laundry and laundry basket
  • Keychain for my mailbox key
  • 3-hole punch (I had to file a receipt. I treat my file cabinets and files like furniture so they were already in place)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Laptop, cool pad, power strip
  • Measuring cup, spoon, soup mug, food storage containers, cutting board, knife, cup
  • T-shirt, sandals, hoodie, pajamas
  • “If you’re not fucking up, you’re not in the game” sign and 2 magnets
  • Sponge, hand soap
  • Coffee pot
  • Library book
  • Everyday toiletries
  • Night guard

Day 2 – October 12th

  • Sugar bowl and canister
  • Coffee mug, 2 spoons, cup, knives, bowl, baking sheet, plate, fork, pot holders, glasses,
  • Blender
  • Camelbak and bike lock
  • Rosie’s travel bag, car harness, ear wash, and nail trimmer
  • Bear figurine (dust collector but I like it)
  • Scanner
  • Mug to keep pens in
  • Sunglasses, shorts, t-shirt, cycling clothes
  • Family photo
  • Boombox and cassette (b/c I’m old-school like that)

Day 3 – October 13th

  • Knife, bowl, 3 spoons, measuring cup, food storage container, and sandwich bags
  • Zippy, t-shirt, socks, and underwear
  • iPod, headphones, and webcam
  • Backpack
  • Highlighter
  • 10-pound weights and resistance band

Day 4 – October 14th

  • Running clothes, zippy, t-shirt, underwear, socks, jeans, Converse sneakers, and tank top
  • Knife
  • Stapler and scissors

Day 5 – October 15th

  • Mug, 2 spoons, bowl, plate, salt and pepper, fork, can opener
  • Running clothes, pants, tank top
  • Painters tape, printer ink, shredder

Day 6 – October 16th

  • Spoon, food storage container, plate, fork, kitchen towel, and cup
  • Safety pin
  • Running clothes, pants, 2 tank tops, dress shirt, underwear, heels, bra, and jacket
  • Hand lotion, eyeliner, and lipstick

Day 7 – October 17th

  • Spoon, knife, plate, fork
  • T-shirt, socks, underwear
  • Calculator, stamps, and file folders
  • Gift certificate for trapeze lessons
  • Swiffer
  • Toothpaste
  • Rosie’s extra blanket
  • Hand towel

So basically at this point most of what I unpack day-to-day is related to food consumption and clothes. I’m getting better at remembering where each box is and what’s in it (thankfully they’re well-labeled) but I still feel like a fumbling idiot when I’m in that corner of the condo looking for something.

I did laundry and ran the dishwasher last weekend so now the closet and cupboards are starting to look like a person lives here.

Marathon Training Week 5 Recap – First Double-Digit Run

Quick Question: Do you like this format better where I break down my training by day or do summaries of running, biking, and push-ups like I did last week?

5 by rosemary from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

5 by rosemary from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Week 5 of 18 of marathon training was my first 10-mile run. I haven’t a run this far since my last half marathon in 2013. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go but was remarkably pleased with how it went. This was also my first week of training while living in my new condo so I’m trying new running and cycling routes.

Monday: My weekend ended with car trouble so this week started out with a trip to the car dealership for repairs. I walked a total of 4.5 miles to and from the dealership. This distance doesn’t count for anything but I want to document that I was moving. My left shin hurt a bit in the process which reminded me of my physical therapist who said that running is easier on my body than powerwalking (which is what I calling walking). I also cranked out 100 push-ups – 5 sets of 14 and 2 sets of 15 – with no problems.

Tuesday: My complex has a gym so I’m taking advantage of it to do some speed work by running on the treadmill once a week. I ran 4.5 miles in 38 minutes. The speed was set between 7 and 7.6 mph. I felt like I was on the ultimate human hamster wheel. The most painful thing about this run was how bored I got. I listened to an old podcast featuring Gary Vaynerchuk from when Crush It came out, but even that barely took the edge off how boring it is to run nowhere.

Wednesday: I did a 6.5-mile run today at sunrise. I opted not to use my iPod so I could get a better sense of the route. I was already running with glasses or contacts so I dind’t want to dull all my senses. I purposely picked a route that I can easily extend for longer distances and one that has some hills. I heard the marathon route for Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona has a hill around Mile 20 so I want to make sure I’m ready for it. I also finished my push-ups for the week: 5 sets of 15, 1 set 13, and 1 set 12. I’m looking forward to getting up to 5 sets of 20 in the next week or 2.

Thursday: I made the mistake of running towards downtown Phoenix for my 4.5-mile run and ended up in a somewhat sleazy part of town. I suspect it was a good neighborhood to look for meth or a hooker. Thankfully it was early enough in the morning that few people were out and about. Apart from my surroundings for the last half mile before my turn-around spot, it was nice run.

Friday: Friday was my rest day. I enjoyed not getting super sweaty before breakfast.

Saturday: Today was my 10-mile run. I think I ran a little slower than 10-minute miles and that was just fine with me. I just wanted to finish without too much pain – and I did that. The best part of my run was the podcast I listened to – Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz. It’s a podcast about movies and this week’s episode featured the work of John Hughes. I loved listening to them talk about films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club. What made the show extra special (and extra long!) was they had awesome interviews with Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, and Judd Nelson.

Felt good at the time, by lunchtime my quads were sore – didn’t have time to stretch right after my run b/c parents were on their way over.

Sunday: I hopped on my bike for a 19.5-mile ride for cross training this week. I checked out the Grand Canal, which is a good route if you’re trying to get to central Phoenix near Indian School Road or Camelback Road. There were far fewer people on the canal than what I see on the Arizona canal – my preferred canal for riding and it made me sad to ride through poorer neighborhoods were I saw more homeless camps, stray dogs, and trash. I was amused, though, when my route took me past the parking lot for one of the Phoenix bathhouses. I was surprised so many cars were there at 8am. The last half mile of the ride was uphill. I was up out of the saddle pumping as hard as my legs could while telling myself, “This is going to make my legs look awesome!”

My quads are sore from this weekend’s workouts and I’m looking forward to a mellower Week 6. The long run is only 7 miles.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 25.5 miles
Biking: 19.5 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Please leave me a comment below and tell me if you prefer this format or this format for my marathon training posts.

Minimalism in 90 Days Update – First Days in the Condo

My minimalism project has been in full swing for the past five days since I moved in to my new condo.  When I moved, with the exception of a few pieces of furniture and my bike, all my stuff fit in to 27 banker boxes, a handful of other plastic bins and boxes, three suitcases, and a backpack. I told the movers just to leave them stacked up in what’s supposed to be the dining area of the condo. They said it was the fastest move they’ve ever done.

I’m sticking with the program of only taking things out of boxes as I need them. Living this way reminds me of the scene from Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams’ character is talking about his new apartment: “I was going kind of a refugee motif. You know, ‘fleeing my homeland’ kind of thing.” It was very unsettling at first because following the rules meant I couldn’t make the place feel like a home by unpacking everything. On the flip side, it’s made me think about what makes me feel comfortable in space.

The Boxes in my Condo - 10-15-2014

The Boxes in my Condo – 10-15-2014

I will say that everything takes a bit longer when what you need isn’t in a drawer or on a shelf. My first meal at the condo was soup out of a can. Just to make this simple meal, I had to locate a glass measuring cup, my soup mug, and a spoon. Even with well-labeled boxes, this was a disorienting experience.

Over the last five days, I’m managed to empty four of my banker boxes. There is a notebook that lives on the kitchen counter and I’m diligently recording each item as I unpack and use it. On the first day, the number of things I unpacked filled the front and back side of a page. It included things like my bedding, some towels, Rosie’s (my basset hound’s) bowls, my Swiss Army knife, my coffeepot, my laptop, and my pajamas. On the second day, the things I unpacked only filled one side of a page. For the last three days, I’ve only filled about half a page and it’s mostly items related to food preparation and consumption, clothing, and office supplies.

I’ve also done a bit of shopping for the condo – mostly cleaning supplies and food storage items like ziploc bags and tin foil and food. I’m not limiting any of my activities in an attempt to limit the number of items I use. It is surprising how little I need to be comfortable and to start to feel settled.

To be nice to myself this week, I laid out clothes on top of my dresser that I know I’ll need this week – 5 pairs of underwear and 4 sets of workout clothes. I get up early in the morning and it seemed like a form of torture to make myself fumble around when I’m half-awake to get dressed.

I also created a rule that if I unpack something that is part of a set, I have the option to unpack the whole set. So if I need salt, I can unpack my salt and pepper. If I want to watch one of my Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVDs, I can put the whole box set on the shelf.

For now, I’ve purchased all the furniture I expect to get for a while, but I might get a few more pieces during this process. If I do, it will be about creating a comfortable functional home, not about keeping up with the Joneses or getting things just to fill the space. I’m loving having so much open space to move about.

Marathon Training Week 4 Recap – More Strength More Pain

Fence Number 4 by Ze'ev Barkan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Fence Number 4 by Ze’ev Barkan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I ran into quite a bit of pain this week as my miles are increasing, but it seems to have calmed down this weekend. I basically lived in KT tape the last time I trained for a half marathon. I put on fresh tape every Sunday and I’d wear it until after my run the following Thursday. I’m curious if that will happen with this training cycle.

Running
This week I ran 4.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, 6.5 miles on Wednesday, and 9 miles on Friday. The 9 mile run was scheduled for Saturday but I moved this past weekend so I knocked it out early. I had quite a bit of pain in my shins and my right hip. My physical therapist told me that a lot of runners get hip pain from lack of strength so I’m trying to keep my strong by doing lateral walks (side stepping) with a resistance band.

I ran my 9 miles on the canal where I ran on dirt most of the time. The pain was much less than running on pavement. So my trail-running friends were right about that. I just wish there was an easy way to keep the little rocks out of my shoes.  The 9-mile run did a lot of good for taking the edge of my shin and hip pain.

The miles increase pretty fast during marathon training. When I did the half marathon, the longest run I did was a 10-mile run during Week 11 of a 12-week training program. The fact that I’m already at 9 miles and doing fine makes me feel more confident about this race. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t increase you miles more than 10% week to week, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing more than that with this program some weeks but I don’t think there’s any getting around that.

Cycling
I moved this past weekend so now I have to figure out all new running and cycling routes. I thought about riding to Changing Hands bookstore which is about 9 miles away from the condo so round-trip would be 18 miles. I didn’t read my directions carefully and I don’t know that area of Tempe very well. I didn’t get lost but I didn’t know exactly where I was. Moving is stressful for me so my appetite has been non-existent so I opted to ride until I started getting tired and turned around.

I checked my mileage when I got back and saw I only did 12 miles, but it was fun to ride on the awesome bike lanes in Tempe. I’ve spent plenty of time in Tempe, but this is the first time I’ve had the chance to see it from my bike.

Push-ups
Push-ups were awesome this week – 100 push-ups on Monday and 100 on Wednesday – 8 sets of 12 or 13 each time. I think this week I want to do 100 and 100 again and start increasing a few sets to 14 to start building myself up to doing 4 sets of 25 push-ups.

I can tell I’m getting stronger legs too. There’s more definition in my quad muscles. I’m glad they’re not as sore this week as last week, except when I have to climb stairs.

Week 4 Totals
Running: 24.5 miles
Cycling: 12 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Minimalism in 90 Days – The Pre-Move In

For those of you who missed it, I moved from a 1800 square foot furnished townhouse to a 895 square foot condo. Since my life was going into boxes, I decided to create my own variation of Ryan Nicodemus’ Packing Party. I decided to move myself to the new place but not unpack anything until I needed it to see how much stuff I actually use and what I truly need to function and feel comfortable.

I closed on the condo on September 29th but I won’t move in until October 11th. I needed time to buy some basic furniture, pack up my life, and get it moved to the new place.

Let me start by saying, Ryan’s Packing Party is a lot easier than mine. Moving sucks. I feel like my life for the last week has been hijacked by furniture stores, delivery people, utility people, and movers.

I’m really glad I did a major clean-out of my life last year. I still had more to get rid of in this move, but it’s a lot less than what I’ve already parted with to date.

I’m writing this post from new condo on the eve of the official move-in, at my new standing desk from Ikea, while I’m waiting for the furniture guys to arrive to exchange the damaged box spring they delivered earlier this week with an un-damaged one.

The only furniture that belonged to me in the townhouse was a bookcase and my mattress so I had to go furniture shopping. Here’s what I’ve purchased so far furniture-wise for the condo: bed, box spring, 2 bedside tables, dresser, desk, desk chair, coffee table, 2 end tables, entertainment table (for the TV), and 5 lamps. The fact that I made this many selections without crying is a miracle. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m hellaciously indecisive. I have trouble ordering a sandwich. I purchased a couch too but it won’t be ready for a few more weeks so I’m sitting on a camping chair for now.

My Living Room - October 10, 2014

My Living Room – October 10, 2014

Some people may be wondering if I’m a minimalist if I’m buying this much furniture. To me, minimalism isn’t about having as little as possible. It’s about limiting myself to the things that add value to my life. It’s ok to be comfortable.

In the back and forths from the townhouse to the condo, I’ve brought over a few boxes, some oversized items that didn’t fit into a bankers box, and a few garments that I’d rather keep on hangers instead of folding them and getting them wrinkled. I brought over all my empty hangers in my laundry basket. It seemed dumb to have 3 boxes just for hangers. I cleaned out the freezer and realized the freezer at my new place is a lot smaller than the one I’m used to. I also went shopping for a few items that I knew I would need early on like a new comforter and toilet paper.

This is supposed to be the dining area, but for now it's where the boxes are going to be.

This is supposed to be the dining area, but for now it’s where the boxes are going to be.

Here’s how unpacking is going to work. The movers are going to bring my things to the condo. Everything will be placed in the great room and nothing will be unpacked until I need it. (I expect this will be the fastest move they’ve ever done.) Once an item is unpacked, it can’t go back in its box. It has to be put away, given away, or thrown away. Today, I had to unpack a notebook so I could leave a friendly note on the windshield of the truck that’s been parking in my space.  Now I need to decide where notebooks are going to be stored.

For the most part it’s been fun creating my new living space but I’m at the point now where I can’t wait to be settled in.

Marathon Training Week 3 Recap – Getting Better

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

By the end of this week, I can say my body is adjusting to training pretty well. I feel stronger and I’m noticing more muscle definition in my quads and shoulders. And I’m not going to lie – one of the benefits of training for a race like this is I get to look better naked.

Speaking of how I look naked, I spent the last week with a gash on my arm from my fall during week 2. It’s still healing and showing significant improvement in the last few days. Up until Friday it looked pretty gross while my arm was trying to regrow my skin and the bruises got darker and more yellow each day. We’ll see if there’s going to be a scar. I hope not.

Here’s a quick recap of each aspect of my training from the last week.

1005141834Running
I had four runs this week – 4.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and 6.5 miles on Wednesday and Saturday. This was the first week I ran the full distance of what I thought I’d been running for the last month. My left quad let me know it could tell the difference in the distance – not pain, just a little sore. Sometime this week I noticed how comfortable I’ve become with my new running posture. I’m averaging about 10 min/mile without pushing myself that hard (though I was inspired to kick it up a notch when I was passed by another running this week) and my pain is still minimal and transient.

It’s a well-known fact that I’m not a fan of stretching. It’s a necessary evil in my world. I stretch before and after each run, but not so much when I ride my bike. I can definitely tell on my Tuesday run that I didn’t stretch on Sunday. My lower legs were more sore than the other days of the week.

So far, I prefer to listen to podcasts when I run. This week I listened to the Dr. Drew Podcast, three episodes of The Mistake Podcast with Peter Shankman and Peter Keller, an old episode of Evo at 11 featuring Joe Holt, and the latest episode of Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz. The conversations on the shows keep my brain more stimulated and distracted than music. The one downside is I don’t like fussing with my iPod to flip between shows if I finish the show before I finish my run. I have a 20-mile run coming up in December. I really want to convince my friend Evo Terra to have our friends over to sit in ShEvo Studios, drink beer, and record a 200-minute podcast of their standard nothing-and-everything conversations to keep me entertained.

Biking
I had an awesome 18-mile bike ride at sunrise this week. (I also learned that I need to replace the batteries in my bike light because it was looking a little dim.) I still get a little tired towards the end but I my stamina and leg strength are increasing. I love my padded butt shorts. I feel bad that Rosie the basset hound hasn’t figured out that when I put these shorts on, it means I’m going out and she’s not coming with me. I’m moving next weekend so I’ll be changing up my route and beginning to explore Papago Park.

Push-Ups
The push-ups are going well. It doesn’t hurt to put my arms up anymore. I did 6 sets of 12 on Monday, 6 sets of 13 on Saturday, and finished up with 4 sets on Sunday alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set. This week the plan is to do my 200 push-ups over two days instead of three, doing 8 sets each day, alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 22 Miles
Biking: 18 Miles
Push-ups: 200

Marathon Training Week 2 Recap – Annoying Things

Giant Number 2 by Ruth Hartnup from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Giant Number 2 by Ruth Hartnup from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Another week of training is in the books! This week of training was a success on the whole but had a lot of annoying moments in it.

  • I realized when I was mapping my long run the week that the run that I thought was 6.5 miles is only 5.25 miles – Eww! (So that means I only ran 19.5 miles last week, not 22.)
  • I’ve had intermittent problems with plantar fasciitis (arch pain) for most of my life. Keeping my shoes loosely tied helps because it allows enough space for my feet to swell when I run. That also means they’re loose enough to let little rocks in.  I don’t stop to shake them out unless they’re causing pain.
  • My Scraped Up Arm - 35 Hours After the Fall

    My Scraped Up Arm – 35 Hours After the Fall

    I dislike having to fuss with my iPod during my run. I prefer podcasts that are as long as my run. This could be more of a challenge as my runs get longer.

  • There is a strange truth about gymnasts – we have balance and grace in the gym but once you put us in the real world, we turn into complete klutzes. I caught my toe on a raised portion of the sidewalk 2.75 miles into my 7-mile run on Saturday. I got a bruise on my knee and a big scrape on my arm. I hope it’s not going to scar. I still have scars on my elbow from falling off my bike last year.
  • I know I’m a bit rigid and controlling. I planned to do an 18-mile bike ride on Sunday but unfortunately the storm on Saturday resulted in downed power lines across the canal. I had to turn back and finish my miles in other direction. It turns out I did 20.25 miles instead of 18 – the last two were with a head wind.

My friend is training for his first Ironman in November. He said he’s at a point in his training where he doesn’t get sore anymore. Although I have a lot less pain on my runs in general, I’m definitely not there yet. My quads are definitely sore from this week’s ride.

Care Label on my Cycling Shorts. Who Irons Spandex?

Care Label on my Cycling Shorts. Who Irons Spandex?

Padded Butt Shorts
As I climbed into bed after my first long ride, the base of my butt was sore. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get some padded cycling shorts. So that was my birthday present to myself this year. I opted for the $50 gel padded shorts instead of the $40 foam padded shorts because I think I’ll crush the foam faster than the gel will wear out.

I had a good ride this week. I was used to wearing cotton bike shorts and I hadn’t worn spandex shorts since my gymnastics days. It felt good to be in slide-y shorts again and the butt padding was awesome. I had no gluteal discomfort during or after the ride. I thought it was funny when I changed out of my riding clothes and I noticed that the care instructions mentioned that I can iron my shorts.

Push-ups Update
I got through my 200 push-ups – split out over three days: 50 on Monday, 80 on Friday, and 70 on Sunday. I’m doing 10-12 push-ups in each set. My chest and arms still feel like they’re getting a workout throughout the week but it doesn’t hurt to sneeze or lift my arms anymore. I’ll probably split my push-ups out over three days again next week before bumping it up to doing 100 push-ups, two times a week.

Week 2 Totals:
Running: 21.25 miles
Biking: 20.25 miles
Push-ups: 200

Marathon Training – Week 1 Recap

Week One of marathon training is in the books! I’m pleased with how it’s going so far and I encountered an unexpected challenge with my strength training.

20130324-024-of-365 by Wilson Hui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

20130324-024-of-365 by Wilson Hui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I was a gymnast for 17 years and I consider myself to be relatively strong. When I trained for the half marathon, strength training was on my calendar twice a week. The best upper body and core workout I know is push-ups. So I thought for the marathon I’d do 100 push-ups, 3 times a week.  That seemed easy enough.

And then Monday came. I made myself do 100 push-ups – taking as many sets as I needed and lowering down almost to the floor with each one.  It took 7 sets but it got done. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

By Tuesday I was sore. I ran my usual 4.5 mile while listening to the Invisible Office Hours Podcast. My legs have been doing well with running. I typically get a little bit of soreness in my shins or feet, but nothing worse than a 3 on a 10-point pain scale. The rest of my body was a different story. My triceps, chest, and abs were so sore that I felt like I was running with bruises all over my body. My abs hurt every time I sneezed.

Wednesday was a long run at 6.5 miles. It was sprinkling just hard enough that I didn’t want to bring my iPod. Only the diehards and people who don’t have treadmills seemed to be out on the trail. It was a nice run. When I got home I tried to do push-ups, but I couldn’t get into a push-up position without screaming pain radiating through my arms and chest. That’s when I remembered that my half marathon training only had strength work twice a week so I decided that I should do the same for marathon training and decrease my push-ups from three times a week to only twice a week.

I was a still sore on Thursday for a couple of reasons. I ran 4.5 miles and I could tell my body wasn’t used to running 3 days in a row. All summer I was running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. For this race I have training runs scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and cross training on Sunday. My quad muscles could feel the difference – not exactly soreness but awareness of not getting as much rest between runs. I was surprised by how much my chest and arms still hurt from Monday.

Friday was a rest day and Saturday is my long run of the week – 6.5 miles this week. It was an easy 54-minute run. My new favorite movie podcast, Profiles with Malone and Mantz, kept me entertained. When I got back, I decided to split my 100 push-ups for the weekend over 2 days and do 5 sets of 10 each day. I still can’t go as low as I could on Monday but they got done. I’m thinking I should do 50 push-ups a day for 4 days each week until I get a bit stronger.

Sunday was my cross training day. I plan to ride my bike for most of my cross training days. I really don’t ride my bike enough; I love it. I did an 18-mile ride along the Arizona Canal. It was harder than I expected but it really shouldn’t have been since it’s been a few months since my last ride. One thing that’s nice about riding is I get to read everyone’s shirts. When I go running I usually don’t take the time to put in contacts so my world is blurry but they’re a requirement for riding. It was fun to see everyone’s shirts from past races. My ride took about 100 minutes and I knocked out my last 50 push-ups for the week when I got home.

I’d say it’s an excellent start to training for the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon.

Week 1 Totals:
Running Miles: 22
Bike Miles: 18
Push-ups:  200

Marathon Training for the RnRAz 2015

My training program for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon 2015 begins this week. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon every year for four years (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013), (PR: 1:52:04), but then I had to sit out 2014 due to shin splints. Now that I’ve finished physical therapy and learned a new running posture, I’m ready to do another long race.

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2013 - Pre-Race with my Uncle and Cousin

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2013 – Pre-Race with my Uncle and Cousin

I will be using one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training programs for the next 18 weeks. I’ve used his half marathon training program for my previous races with a lot of success. It’s easy to lock in to his program of how far to run on what day. I’m a little worried about how fast the mileage climbs on the long run days.  I’ll be running 10 miles by week 5. In his novice half marathon program, 10 miles is the longest run you do before the race and that’s in week 11 of a 12-week program. I hope my legs and feet can handle the stress.

I am grateful to be in the best running shape I’ve ever been in heading into a training cycle. I’ve been consistently running and stretching since March as part of the rehab from my injuries. I’m currently running 22 miles a week (2 4.5-mile runs, 2 6.5-mile runs). For previous races I was barely working out so the first 3-mile run of training was painful.

Since I’ve been running so much, I’m slightly modifying Hal’s program for the first 13 weeks. If the run in Hal’s program is less than what I would have run on my own, I’ll run the longer distance. For example, the first run in Hal’s program is 3 miles. I’d normally run 4.5 miles that day so I’ll do that distance instead.

I’ve also heard that the route for Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon has a decent hill around Mile 20. So right when I expect to really hate myself, I have to climb a hill. (This will be awesome for a masochist like me.) My training will definitely include some hill work to prepare for this. There was a small hill in the last Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon I did and I could easily tell whose training included hills and who only trained on flat ground.

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

Hal’s program adds 1 day of cross training to the mix. I’ll probably bike 12-20 miles on those days but there may be some hiking and other fun on those days. I think I also want to add some upper body and core strength training by doing push-ups 3 days a week – just push-ups, not the 100 Push-ups Challenge.

The real challenge in doing a race is staying dedicated to the training program. I don’t know if non-runners appreciate how much time and dedication goes into preparing for a race. The race itself is filled with excitement, fanfare, and comradery with your fellow racers. Race day is easy – if nothing else you have adrenaline to get you through it. The training is hard – long hours of pounding pavement rain or shine (most likely by yourself), scheduling your life around your runs, potentially living with perpetually sore muscles, and taking care of minor injuries. (I literally lived in KT Tape my last two training cycles.)

I’m looking forward to training for my first full marathon and being able to share the journey with you.