Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 7

Week 7 is done, and Mother Nature just keeps throwing us curve-balls. I think at this point, we are all complaining about it, so I don’t even feel bad anymore.  This training week was pretty decent, even though I cut a run short, and (once again) missed out on one of my two strength training days. I also had a pretty fantastic 10 mile race, so that more than made up for the cut/missed workouts!  I’ve said this before, but the moral of the story is that I just need to haul my buns out of bed early in the AM so this doesn’t keep happening. That should be REALLY fun next week after we lose an hour of sleep. Oh well, it is what it is and it needs to be done.

Monday – Rest day. Also grocery shopping day; it is AMAZING how much money I save when I leave a certain Tall person at home. Yes, I like the company while shopping; and yes, I enjoy the help loading the bags in the car. BUT I also enjoy saving 50+ dollars on my trips.

Tuesday – 4 miles. It was cold, but there was this strange, large burning orb in the sky. It was strange, so I took a picture of it…just in case.

What is it?!

What is it?!

And then my phone died from the cold. Balls.  Overall, this was a good run. I felt good, kept it at an easy effort and was once again pleasantly surprised that this pace felt that good. Progress, yo! 4 miles 42:50 (10:42 pace)

WednesdayStrength! I skipped a workout last week, so I picked up again where I left off. I really like my ‘B’ days, because it’s things that I don’t normally do. Deadlifts are slowly becoming my favorite! In most people’s eyes, I take these way too light but I’m also terrified of hurting my back in some way so I err on the side of caution and go light.

No pictures of weights, but just thought I’d let you know that my cats are still addicted to the iPad. I’m a horrible parent.

Thursday – Should have been speed day, and I must’ve gone harder on the deadlifts than I thought because my legs HURT so good!! I totally forgot that I was on Weiner Dog duty that night so I didn’t get my run in. It was no biggie though since I took Friday off work – I would just do it first thing in the morning. Heh. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Friday – I woke up and it.was.COLD. I think the feels like was -9 or 10; BUT the sun was shining so I thought it wouldn’t be so terrible.  I went outside and discovered there was also a light coating of snow on the roads. Wonderful. It was juuust enough to be a nuisance and to cause some slipping and sliding, especially on the downhills. Plus, it was freezing; the sun did not help like I had anticipated. My legs were still incredibly sore, and somewhere in the first mile I remembered I was racing 10 miles the next day. I made a deal with myself that I would run at least 3 miles to try to shake out the soreness in my legs and to treat this like a shake out run before the race. I wanted my legs to feel as fresh as possible for Saturday so at 3.5 miles I called it a day and went home…to the warmth! 3.5 miles 42:00 (12:01 pace) I had my typical pre-long run/pre-race dinner of mushroom ravioli and garlic bread (delish!) and got to bed early.  Luckily, when I woke up Saturday the soreness was gone and my legs were ready to RUN!

Saturday – Race Day! My recap is here, but I have a few things that didn’t make it that should be noted.

– First and most important – a huge THANK YOU to the volunteers!! From the people that helped us get checked in/registered, to the troopers out there handing out water and Gatorade, plus the police controlling traffic…they were the best! It was effing cold, and they were absolute rockstars manning the water stations, cheering for us,etc. I know how cold I was running, so I can’t imagine how they must have felt. I tried to thank as many as I could but if you were a volunteer or know someone who was volunteering please let them know how much it was appreciated! 

Saturday was Tall One’s birthday, and I completely forgot to wish him Happy Birthday. I didn’t remember until I was sitting in the parking lot at the race! Oops! We both laughed about it, but I did feel really bad that it took me 3 hours to remember that. 

-The race swag was awesome! This was the first year that they handed out medals and they were so stinkin’ cute; we also got hats that are super warm and soft. I’m actually very excited to rock this bad boy out and about.  Elite really puts on nice races! This is second race of theirs that I’ve run (the first was the Frigid Five) and they are just great. The registration process/packet pickup is easy; they always have great volunteers, the post race party is clutch (pancakes after the Frigid Five, and soup + pizza after the Spring Thaw!) AND the money always goes to a great cause. I’m happy to continue supporting these races!

Love the hat!

Love the hat!


Sunday – 16 mile long run. I knew going into this one that it was going to be nice and slow and I was 100% OK with that. This would be the 3rd day in a row, and I put a hard effort in the day before so I should have no problem keeping the pace in the 11:50s or slower. Little did I know what lay waiting for me outside. I had no idea that we were getting any snow until Jen mentioned it the day before, and even after watching the news I didn’t think it would be much of anything. I was so wrong (as usual!). I walked out my door and promptly sunk into at least 3 inches of snow. Fabulous. I tried the cemetery and it was just as bad…even worse because I knew that no one would be around to clear them. I still gave them a shot and started on what has become my weekend loop – lap through the cemey, up the hill to the plan of homes and up and down each side street. I’ve done that for my mid distances (7-9 miles) but never for my long run. I was going to have to double that distance in less than ideal conditions. Luckily, the plow truck was just heading into the plan as I arrived – the driver and I are pretty much besties now since I see him practically every Saturday or Sunday while I’m out. He even told me that I was nuts; I told him he wasn’t wrong, but I preferred to think of it as ‘dedicated’. He laughed and said he would get things cleared up for me! Awesome! While he was working, I still had to take it easy on the streets – the downhill was extra slippy, and it was just as hard to get traction on the uphill. I need to re-invest in snow spikes or Yak-Tracks, but I keep putting it off because I’m holding out hope that this time will be the last snow. Yeah, sure.  After the second pass through the cemetery, I had to call it quits in there.  I was expending so much effort trying to plod through the snow, and was doing this weird shuffle trying to kick the snow away to clear a path (thank GOD I was smart and wore 2 pairs of socks this time); I could feel my calves and Achilles screaming at me and knew I was going to pay dearly for this one. I decided to stick to the side streets and hope for the best. I just kept going up and down, and up and down and up and….holy shit was this boring. I was starting to lose it, and every little thing was pissing me off. A car drove by too fast and sprayed with me slush – they got the stink eye and a “SLOW THE F DOWN!’; people went too slow…they got the stink eye too “suuuuuuure. Go a little slower so I can keep waiting for you to get the F outta the way”. Nothing would make me happy. I reached my breaking point when I saw a guy on the corner, clearing his driveway with a snowblower into the freshly cleared street, and he nearly hit me with snow in the process. Just typing this is giving me all of the ragey feelings again. I stopped, looked at him, threw my hands up and said “REALLY?! They don’t plow and salt the streets for YOU to redeposit your shit in them”. I was met with some unkind words that I couldn’t make out over the snow blower and my music, so I ran down the street before they could chase me with more snow.  Not my finest moment, but that was icing on the cake and really? That’s a dick move anyway, not to mention a total traffic hazard since it’s on a hill, and  at a Stop sign but, whatever. I’m over it (not really. Not even close). Since that street is right in the middle of the loop and I would be passing it frequently I decided that route was burned and I headed into the cemetery for the last 3.  It was insanely hard with  how deep the snow was, but I was determined NOT to cut another run short. My heart rate felt like it was through the roof and my legs were screaming at me. I sort of felt like Rocky Balboa when he’s training for his fight again Ivan Drago in the Russian wilderness.

Pretty much me

Pretty much me

For some reason I thought this was hysterical and that helped the last 3 miles pass a little “faster” (as fast as they can at a 15 min pace). FINALLY I was done, and went back to the house where I promptly iced my calves to try to delay the inevitable pain, and enjoyed an almond milk hot chocolate and kitty snuggles.   This run wiped.me.out. I was useless for the rest of the day  – SO tired! I basically was a lump on the couch with ice packs, cats and Pinterest.

I spent the next 8 hours like this

I spent the next 8 hours like this

  I should have caught up on some blogging, but that sounded exhausting. Even after a nap and lunch, I didn’t want to do anything. Long runs don’t normally do that to me – after a nap I am ready to go, but throwing in the elements wore me out.  I woke up Monday and my legs were on fire!! It reminded me of the dreaded tendonitis pain that I battled for the better part of last year, and that terrifies me! I am icing, stretching, compressing the shout out of them so hopefully this goes away ASAP! I finally downloaded the data off of my Garmin and was surprised at my pace; I expected to it be much slower. I had been hoping to keep things around a 12:30 so this wasn’t bad at all.  16 miles 3:30 (13:09 pace).

We are heading into the 2nd half of training and after a quick step back week, I am ready to WORK! That mean several 20 and 22 milers to get me prepped for the big dance. My goal for those runs is typical – run them strong and controlled and try to nail down my race fueling.  Pre race fuel, and race fuel…especially the timing and combinations of what gels I use. That’s going to have a big impact on my performance so I need to get started!


8 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 7

  1. I love the medals and hats from this year! The past years when I’ve done it we’ve gotten pretty cheap hats and gloves. I just did it as a training run, so I didn’t really mind and just saved them for yard work or walking dogs. These are awesome though and I might have to sign up next year! I also love the events Elite puts on. I like to support the races that they time rather than always doing Run High races, so it’s great that they put so much effort in!

    P.S. that’s a great picture you took! The orb looks so familiar…but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it!

  2. I just want to give you a virtual high five, fist bump and a “holy shit you are a badass” for that 16 mile run the day after Spring Thaw. You ran over three hours in all that snow! Wow, Rocky indeed! And yeah, I would have been rage-y too – especially at snowblower guy. Awesome, awesome week all around.
    I wore my Spring Thaw hat on yesterdays morning run. It is very warm!

    • THANKS!! Coming from the person who eats 14 milers for breakfast (on a Wednesday, no less) that means a lot!! 😀
      I’m not sure that I can handle one more run in the snow, though. This is getting out of hand!

  3. 16 miles the day after a race!!! Beast mode, your training is going really good. I am a bit jealous now that I saw the swag from the race. As for the weather I don’t even know what to say except lets just keep hoping for the best. Hopefully I will run into you at North Park this weekend.

    • Thanks – if someone had been handing out medals for that I totally would have taken one!! Even though I felt hardcore, it was probably not the smartest idea! It’s taken my legs a little longer to recover from this than I anticipated! Hopefully this was the last time. because if I catch snow blower guy snow blowing his shit into the street again…you might see me on the news, lol! Kidding. Kind of. 😉

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