TCM Training: Week 7

Relentless[ly trying to hold it together]
This week started with enthusiasm, but was derailed a bit by some unexpected, last-minute travel to Indianapolis for the funeral of my uncle’s mom. In addition to my mom/aunt’s side of the family, our holidays for the last 30+ years have involved my uncle’s side of the family, too. While she may not have been my biological grandma, I still got bright red lipstick on my cheeks just like her grandkids (my cousins) did, and could always count on her sunny smile to tell me how beautiful I looked and how proud she was of my accomplishments. As my uncle stated in her eulogy, Mary never met a stranger; she lit up every room she entered. He urged us to leave that day and take a little of her brightness home with us and to share it with those we meet. I was really glad to be there to support my uncle and family, but the travel caused me to shift around some workouts to accommodate Thursday night travel and a weekend relocation.

Day Planned Actual
Monday: 5 + plyos 5 – no plyos
Tuesday: 1-2 up/down + 6×800 [7.25] 1.5 up + 6×800 + 1 down [6.8]
Wednesday: Rest 3.5 easy
Thursday: 8 @ MP Rest [INDY]
Friday:  6 + strength 2 – no strength [INDY]
Saturday: 14 6 hills [INDY]
Sunday: 6 14 [INDY]
Total Mileage  46  37

Week’s Theme: Bend Not Break

The funeral service was on Friday morning, so we left after work on Thursday for the 3.5 hour road trip to Indianapolis. Because my training incorporates several workout days, the rest/easy miles are plugged in at strategic points, making it a little more difficult to rearrange things than if it were all interchangeable mileage. Despite some serious failures to launch on Wednesday (cranky legs that desperately needed that rest day) and Friday (after the funeral – I almost passed out after 2 miles. T had to retrieve the car and pick me up), I felt pretty good about how I adjusted things. And, despite the nature of the trip, it was nice to catch up with my family and run some different routes for a change.

New This Week: Trails!

Fort Harrison is a great state park near my parents’ house that hosts some awesome running trails (from paved to packed dirt single track), and these days, I will always choose that option over flat pavement when it’s available. We found a great ~4.5mi loop last year (Lawrence Creek Trail) that is full of switchbacks and river bed crossings, so when we realized we needed a ~6mi run, this was a no brainer. We took a wrong turn and accidentally tacked on a secondary loop (in blue), but that actually helped us with adding the necessary mileage. Indy has gotten a ton of rain lately, so while the trail itself was in pretty good shape, the little streams were high. Most had foot bridges, but the final one was without crossing, and I almost bit it when I tried to jump across, skating on the heel of one foot like a true Olympian. My legs felt springy and light on this run (last time was the complete opposite), and despite the stillness/humidity, the effort felt solid but conversational. T was decidedly not feeling conversational, so our chatting was relegated to the occasional “SQUISH!” I shouted when the upcoming trail was wet. One of these days, we’ll both feel awesome on this run at the same time. #goals

Track Workout: 6×800 @ 3:35  [1.5 up + ~3:4X(?), 3:45, 3:42, 3:35, 3:33, 3:32 + 1 down]

Unfortunately, this “track” workout was done on the treadmill again this week due to some nasty storms, but it was successful nonetheless! Track workouts on the treadmill are tricky in that I generally rely on the timing of my GPS lap function, and the distance on the actual treadmill (I don’t have a foot pod, and my watch’s indoor distance calculations are notoriously long). This means I’m upping the speed on the treadmill, hitting my lap button once full-speed, doing distance math using the treadmill display, hitting the lap button when done, and then quickly hopping off the belt while I crank the speed down to the recovery pace. IT’S A LOT AND I’M CONSTANTLY IN FEAR OF DYING.


Doing anything shorter than an 800 on the treadmill is super annoying, and I’d much prefer to do these on a track/the street, but you do what you have to do to make it work. On the first interval of this workout, I accidentally pressed the start/stop button on my watch instead of the lap button, so I had to guess on the time (based on same speed settings as the following interval). In order to get my brain used to finding another gear, I sometimes like to push the second-to-last interval like it’s my last, forcing myself to find another gear on the actual  last lap. The recovery time is just enough to boost me back up for another go, and the mental benefits of drawing from those workouts when shit gets hard is worth the momentary feeling of vomit.


Long Run: 14 miles easy  

[10:12 avg (miles 1-5 @ 10:4X; 6-9 @ 10:3X; 10-12 @ 9:45-10; 13 @ 8:55; 14 @ 8:35)]

I decided to run my long run in Indy to avoid the dreaded “3.5 hours in a car and then workout!” thing. This meant another long run on the Monon Trail – a similar route as last time, just a little longer. It was hot and humid in Indy (I missed some beautiful Chicago running weather, apparently!), and we got a later start than planned (shocking). Most of our route was shaded, which helped, and we had both focused on hydrating the night before in anticipation. In fact, we might have OVER-hydrated; we both spent the first three miles of this run desperately seeking restrooms. After creeping around the State Fairgrounds and successfully finding clean, indoor facilities, we were refreshed and ready for the rest of our journey.

Todd peeled off after 10 miles, after which I picked up the pace a bit. I ran into a woman at a water fountain with 3ish miles to go; she used me to pull her along for about half of a mile, after which I let her pull me along for another half a mile, after which I decided to throw some tempo paces into the last 1.5-2 miles and passed her again. I was able to squeeze on the last 1.5mi and avg’d around 8:20-40 (feeling really strong and happy) with some final strides/surges to round out the last 0.25mi. As I grabbed some water from a nearby fountain , I saw my new workout partner was also pulling in for a drink. I sent her on her way with a high-five, she thanked me for letting her use me as a rabbit, and I yelled “GET IT!” as she cruised past to finish her final mile. (#newfriends) While I love the lakefront trail, it’s crowded, and people don’t generally acknowledge each other (and that’s ok!). I’ve found that the folks who use the Monon (bike or run) are super friendly, nice people. It’s kind of a nice change to smile and greet people on a long run!

For this run, I continued my fueling experimentation with some new options: namely sport beans and some new cliff block flavors. I took in some fuel every 3-4mi and that felt really good on my stomach, though the beans are hard to handle in their packaging. I may play around with repacking them in some way to make it more race friendly. I’m still not opposed to my Power Gels, but they’re hard to find in stores, and I want to make sure I’ve got options that work for me during race efforts.

Final Thoughts:

I’m still bad about the “extras” in this training cycle. I’m not stretching or foam rolling like I should be, and I’m not always great about getting the sleep/nutrition that my body really needs to function well at higher mileage. That being said, I’m proud of my ability to remain fairly flexible this week while still getting the majority of my workouts in. I’d love to be able to log a few weeks with successful pacing and long runs, as I think that would really help my confidence. I’d be lying if I said those workouts didn’t intimidate me a bit, in part because they haven’t consistently been part of my training yet. Looking over my training log reminds me that I’ve successfully done several pacing workouts (in different forms) at this point in my training, and that the idea only *feels* scary until I actually start doing it.

Do you tend to interact with people on your runs? I felt so weird realizing that it’s not a normal Chicago phenomenon to greet people. 

What workouts scare you? Has that changed over time? I’ve found that my love/fear has completely flipped between long runs and speed workouts this time around.

One Comment

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  1. Everyone thinks New Yorkers are jerks but I give and get quite a few runner’s nods every time I’m out!


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