Pittsburgh Marathon Training Weeks 12 AND 13!

Well, hello there!! As I was getting ready to write up my Week 13 recap…I realized I never posted a 12 recap! Oopsies!  So you get a 2 for 1 deal! Week 12 was a step back week, and I was still feeling less than 100% so I scaled it waaaaaay back and my body was really happy with that.

A quick rundown of Week  12 before moving onto PEAK WEEK (eep!)

Monday Rest.

Tuesday4 miles. I was starting to feel a little better, but was still pretty tired so when I saw that for a step back week I was supposed to run 38 miles, I cut back on a few days.

Wednesday – Rest.

Thursday – Rest.

Friday6 rainy miles. I had the day off of work, and after 2 rest days I decided to give it a try. Not too terrible…just rainy.

Saturday – I met Jen for our long run at North Park. I was supposed to run 15 miles, but the night before Tall One suggested that I cut back to 12 so that I wasn’t running by myself in case I started to not feel well. I told him I’d think about it, but in my mind I was still planning to do all 15. When I met up with Jen, she also thought it was a good idea if I stuck with 12 instead of pushing it; I realized that they were both right and that I should maybe try being responsible for a change. We ran all 12 together along our favorite Hill Hell route. I felt…OK. We both agreed to keep the pace super easy and that was a big help! I could have done 15, but I’m really glad that I played it smart and stayed with 12.

Sunday – 6 miles. I felt SO good! Not tired. No pain. I even managed to crank out a smidge of speed. BOOM.


WEEK 12!

Peak.Week. I wasn’t sure how this would go. I’ve got part of my “issues” under control – the fatigue is slowly going away thanks to my B12 and Iron supplements, but I’m still dealing with stomach pains and have a few more tests to undergo. I decided to take this one run at a time and adjust when and where I needed to.

Monday – Rest.

Tuesday6 STRONG miles. I felt really good about this run and it gave me some hope going into the rest of the week.

Wednesday – Strength! I was feeling OK, so I decided to bring back my NROLFW work. This was not the best of ideas; it’s been several weeks since I’ve lifted anything so my legs were on FIRE after this. Oops.

Thursday – My legs were tight and sore and normal walking hurt so I did not have high hopes for this run. My first two steps told me that this was going to be looooooong 6 or 7 miles – legs were not happy and my stomach was not on board either…it was really hurting. Luckily, Mother Nature intervened with a wicked thunderstorm that sent me scurrying back to my house after only 1.5 miles. I was not even a little upset about it, and I figured that I could try a few miles Friday.

Friday – My legs were still a little sore, but I knew that I needed to get a run in. I decided against all 6-7 miles since I was running 22 the next day. I went with 5, and instead of pushing it I tried to take it a little easier to conserve energy for Saturday.

Saturday – My LAST 20+ miler! I decided to do the 20 mile course preview run with SCRR to work out any of the last minute kinks/nerves that I have about the 2nd half of the course.  That was the plan, anyway. I left this run 100% doubting myself and questioning whether or not I can/should/WILL run this marathon.  Let me explain…you might want to get comfortable for this one. I parked on the river trail and ran over for a 1.5 mile warmup, got checked in and hung out with Jen and Shaun. I WAS FREEZING!!! I knew that I would eventually warm up (I did) but omfg, standing around in the shadows and wind had me so cold I couldn’t feel my fingers!  I started out with the 12:00 pacer, but after a couple of miles decided to move ahead with the 11:30 group. At first, that seemed great – we were cruising right along and all was fantastic. Then we started to speed up. Not just a little bit, but a lot a bit. Some miles came in at 11:07…one came in at 10:50. I started to wonder if I accidentally joined the wrong group, so I didn’t say anything. Someone else finally spoke up and mentioned that we were going too fast. I (think) she was one of the pacers, but the other guy pacing didn’t seem too concerned by this. I really didn’t want to get left behind, so I tried to make sure I kept up with the group, despite some miles being at race pace or better and I know that caused me to fatigue earlier than I should. Some people weren’t able to, but we would stop at the crosswalks and make sure that we were all together before continuing on.  Have I mentioned how much I HATE crosswalks and city running in general??? I never know if I should be stopping my watch, and then if I do I half the time forget to restart it…I HATE stopping and starting so much (even though I know there isn’t anything we can do)…I just don’t like it. This soured my mood very quickly and I was not happy. At the first water stop in Station Square (that was OUT of water), I considered bailing and going back home but didn’t. I didn’t want to have to find my way back to Market Square to check out (not that it mattered…which I’ll explain later) so I stuck with it. My stomach was also hurting, which had me upset. I put my headphones in for a bit to try to drown out some of the negativity and that helped a bit. We continued on through the South Side, across the Birmingham Bridge and up the big, scary hill into Oakland. We stopped partway up to let the rest of the group catch up and for once I was reeeally happy we stopped. I could have kept going, but my heartrate was through the roof and my breathing was really labored. We continued on through Oakland and I found myself praying that we would hit a light so I could re-catch my breath. This makes me incredibly nervous that I am going to be wishing for these stops on race day. We made it to the next water stop at True Runner and it felt like we were there for forever. Some people wanted to use the bathroom, and everyone seemed content to just stand around and chat which was so strange to me….I was there to RUN. I understand that you can’t leave anyone behind, and I could have gone off of my own (hahahaha!! If I did that I’d STILL be wondering around Shadyside) so maybe that’s on me, but that SERIOUSLY added to our time.  So, I really have no idea what our true pace was, especially because I suck at managing my Garmin; my mileage is way off because I constantly forgot to restart it.  My stomach was killing me and I think, to an extent, the stopping and starting wasn’t helping. It was getting sunnier and warmer, and I found myself constantly draining my water bottle which is unusual for me. We kept trucking along, and despite how much my stomach was hurting I really enjoyed my group! They were a lot of fun and so encouraging to each other…I loved it! We got to the 15 mile water stop and once again…there was NO water. Just about everyone was out, it was hot…and we were thirsty. We went another mile and decided to stop at a grocery store in Lawrenceville to buy water. I brought some cash and my debit card just in case something happened and I’m so glad I did…we would have been so thirsty otherwise! With only 4 miles to go, I was starting to fade. Even though my watch said 3 hours and some change, with all of the stops I knew we were well past 4 hours of being out there. I tried to suck it up and push through but the pain in my stomach had me nearly doubled over. It was seriously uncomfortable. We finally (mercifully) started down the stretch of Liberty Ave for our last 3 miles, and I could absolutely see how people can come unglued on this part of the course, despite how close you are to the finish. It is BRUTAL. No shade, flat, desolate…it can really eff with your mind.  At some point, I decided to just put my head down and go.  Part of the group had split up, and were a bit in front of my but two other women stayed with me and together we covered the last 2 miles really quickly all things considered.

Somehow we still ended up with an 11:36 average. It's a miracle.

Somehow we still ended up with an 11:36 average. It’s a miracle.

When we finally arrived back in Market Square (to check out) everyone was gone already! The tent was taken down and the only people left were the ones still finishing! I could have bailed back in Station Square and no one would have known or cared whether I finished it or not.  All in all…this run took over 5+ hours. I got back to my car, was tired, hurting, cranky and sunburned!  While I really appreciate the effort it takes to put this run on, I don’t think that I would do it again. As I drove home, I started to wonder if I can run this marathon at all. I tried to figure out if the it was the starting and stopping that hurt, but the more I think about it…the more I wonder if it’s the gels and water. I’m already having tummy issues, and I’m wondering if asking it to digest all of these gels is a little too much? 

Sunday – After a craptastic Saturday, I wasn’t sure how this 10 miler would go. Energy wise, I felt great but I was terrified that my stomach would rebel. I got started and after few miles, I was fine. No pain, no discomfort…nothing!! That made me really happy, and also made me wonder if it really is the gels? I didn’t have any gels or water this time and was fine.  That also has me nervous – how am I going to run this marathon if I can’t take my fuel? I could try a different method but I think that no matter what I put in there would cause discomfort.   I have two more long runs to test this theory, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Goody.

All in all, peak week wasn’t awful but it didn’t leave me overflowing with the confidence that I hoped it would. Now it’s time to trust the process, respect the taper and hope that I can show up ready on race day! 

I’m also hoping to get back into the swing of blogging and reading/responding to everyone’s blogs – it’s not because I don’t love you guys, I just truly have not had the energy to read/comprehend/respond to posts. It sounds ridiculous, but it was bad. I’ve also been pretty stressed as we try to figure out what exactly is wrong and I’ve just really had to focus on getting better first. I have some fun posts about staying busy during the taper that I want to post soon, and have SO many cat pictures to share!

How are you feeling heading into the taper?

How do you boost your confidence when it’s shaken before a big race?


12 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Training Weeks 12 AND 13!

  1. Girl I have the same issues with gels hurting my stomach. It’s so bad sometimes and I always worried about racing and not being in pain. You should try honey stingers on a run. They’re made with honey and really thin so it digests easier for me.

    • I haven’t tried honey stinger gels yet, mostly because I can’t find them in any stores that are close to me. Where do you get yours?
      The thing is, I’ve never really had this trouble before! I started having stomach trouble about a month ago (not during my runs) and now it’s carrying over into my runs which is frustrating. I’m going to see what happens this weekend, and if the Gus still give me trouble I might see if I can find the honey stingers – thanks for the suggestion! 😀

      • I can only find them at true runner or Amazon. The same happened to me!! Last year out of no where I started getting really bad cramps during races and actually literally threw up during races twice. Other times I had to seriously slow down to avoid it. So weird! I’m thinking it could be caused by nerves or stress so I’ve been signing up for more races to try to get over it and hope it helps. Saltstick caps also help my nausea!!

      • I found the Acai Pomegranate ones at Dick’s in Robinson and OMG are they delicious!! I combined your suggestion, and Nichole’s and alternated my Roctane’s and Honey Stingers (and hydrated wellish) and didn’t have any problems during Sunday’s long run, so that was awesome! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will have the same luck on Race Day!

  2. Congratulations on surviving your peak week! It sounds like you did really well during it despite all the obstacles. I’m surprised that they were out of water at the stop on Carson Street. I figured you would have been there before me, but even if we were there before you, you couldn’t have been far behind and they had a bunch of water when I was there. Five hours is a really long time to be out for a training run, so I can see why you were cranky. I cringe to think that you had to do it all while being in pain. 😦 The stomach pain could have been because of a number of things; you’re right that’s so hard to really pinpoint. It’s good that you have some time to experiment with fueling. You’ll get it figured out!

    • Thanks 🙂 Looking back, the week wasn’t as bad as I thought it was but it was still discouraging to have such a bad last 20 miler! I do know that there was someone driving around that came back to refill the water on Carson St, but I guess they never made it back to the stop at mile 15 (no idea what street that was, lol!). My stomach has been feeling better in general lately, so I’m hoping that by the race time rolls around everything is back to normal…fingers crossed!!!

  3. Oh my girl, what an adventure! I feel so bad you had a shitty final 20… I cannot believe the water situation. Just wow. And I’m with you on the start/stop thing – I just want to GO! I think our group hung out at True Runner for like 10-15 minutes or so waiting on bathroom lines, pictures, and shooting the breeze. Seriously, my Garmin shows that there was nearly an extra HALF HOUR in total time for all the stopping. Big pet peeve of mine. I’m glad to hear that you are starting to feel a bit better as of late. Hopefully things stay on the up & up and you sail through to race day – and beyond!

    On the fueling: I know you love Cherry Lime (skittles, right?!) Roctane as I do. Do you use those exclusively? If so, it might be the proprietary blend in them that’s giving you fits. For me, I can handle 1, maybe 2 Roctane during a run. Any more than that and it feels like I have a boulder in my gut that I can’t shake. So I use a combination of “regular” Gu and Hammer Gels with it. Just an idea – I’m definitely no expert.

    • Ugh, we were at True Runner for at least that long too! I’m pretty sure our stops added at lest 45 – 60+ minutes to our day. That’s just not my style of running! BUT I did like the practice of running along the course, so I can’t complain too much! I think a big part of my shitty mood was just because I wasn’t feeling well.
      I do looooove my Roctanes (YAY SKITTLES!!!!!)…this is the first training cycle that I’m trying them, and hadn’t been having trouble with them until my everyday stomach trouble started (does that even make sense??). When I did my 2nd 20 miler, I had a blackberry Gu, then a Roctane and had trouble then too. Maybe I’ll try it this week and see what happens. If I still have trouble I’ll give the Honey Stingers that Gretchen mentioned a try and combine them with the roctanes. ANYTHING to get me across that finish line!! Thanks for the suggestion!! 😀

  4. As someone who has an iron-storage disorder (thanks, genetics!) and some gluten/IBS issues I feel your pain allll too welll! My suggestions would be to try and “reset” yourself a bit. I notice that my stomach issues get worse throughout a training cycle (dehydrated? Underfueld? Who knows!) So if I take a few days and suck it up and eat super boring foods it seems to level out :-p

    I also always take a 1/2 dose (1 pill) of pepto bismol before a long run…I think it helps!!

    • Oh my!! Now I feel really bad complaining for something so minor 😦

      I’ve heard people that take Immodium before long runs to keep things calm, and I’ve considered that too. After looking at my notes and training logs, I think that the sudden, major, increase in temps played more of a factor than I realized. I’m hoping it’s as simple as that!! I could also really benefit from more water and a reset in my eating!! Thanks for the advice 😀

  5. Well congrats first on making through your peak week and congrats on hitting all your long runs.
    I recently have been dealing with the confidence issues and I tried everything from new courses, listening to music on runs and even added a race. Funny though because it was none of those that really got my confidence back. It was me finally realizing I am ready and I know what I am capable of. Don’t doubt yourself at all you put in the time and rocked the shit out of that training cycle.

    • Thanks!! 😀 I’m trying so hard to stay positive but I’m struggling. I know I shouldn’t, but I just keep worrying about the things that are beyond my control – the weather (so help me God, if it’s anything like this past Saturday I will throw a full blown temper tantrum…complete with tears), stomach troubles, etc. Jen and I talked about this on Sunday and you guys are both right; regardless of what happens duringthe race, I can walk away knowing that I had a great training cycle AND did something that I never imagined that I would be able to do – train for and run the Pittsburgh Marathon. If I can keep THAT attitude and forget about the other shit then I know I will be A-OK!!

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