Boston Marathon Training Week 5 Update

Boston Marathon Training (2)Week 5 of Boston Marathon training is done. Since this is an 18-week plan, that means I’m almost 1/3 of the way to the big day. It feels so close and yet so far away.

Fundraising News!

I wanted to do something to raise money that would be fun and interactive, so I set up a Super Bowl Squares fundraiser for my Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge fund. Right now about a third of the squares have sold. With two weeks left before the big game, there’s plenty of time to buy your square ($20 each) and take a chance at winning some cash. Not into football? A great way to make the Super Bowl more exciting is the knowledge you could win some money.

Monday

It rained on Monday, which is not necessarily a bummer for running in June, but bodes pretty badly for January. I procrastinated my run until the late afternoon because I felt so chilled inside the house. I was wearing a cozy sweatshirt and drinking hot beverages but still couldn’t shake the feeling of cold. I was surprised when I finally got out that the weather was oddly nice. Yes, it was raining, but lightly, and it was not freezing cold. The air actually felt great on my sore throat (leftover from last week’s sickness). I ran 6.67 miles, a little slow, but felt good and enjoyed the moisture in the air.

Tuesday

IMG_2468I was traveling for work with a morning flight, so I took an early Flywheel class. Honestly, I felt exhausted throughout the class and a few times just simply couldn’t hit the recommended RPM on the bike. I think the combination of having run late the day before and getting over a sickness left me feeling tired. Nonetheless, I eked out a decent score (260) on the Torqboard and felt glad that I managed to get a workout in before I left, because there was no way it was happening Tuesday evening.

Wednesday

Wednesday I was in New Brunswick for work. I travel here a lot so know the area decently well, and the hotel where I stay has a recommended running route that goes through a pretty nice park and part of the Rutgers campus. The route is about 3.75 miles long, which is exactly what my training plan called for.

After my cold run in NB, my iPhone gave me THIS error message. Can I smash it, please?
After my cold run in NB, my iPhone gave me THIS error message. Can I smash it, please?

So two fun things about this run: First, I woke up at 6, but it was still pitch black outside. Since the run goes through a park, I was surely not going before the sun rose. I waited almost an hour for the light to be high enough that I felt safe. Second, it was COLD, and I had not packed appropriately. I think I got it in my head that New Jersey is south of Boston and south = warmer, so I brought stuff for maybe 35 degrees instead of the 15 it actually was. I made the fashionable decision to wear my sleep t-shirt over my base layer and under my coat for a little extra warmth.

Thursday

The TRX room at Turnstyle Cycle.
The TRX room at Turnstyle Cycle.

Cross-training day: TRX time! I had a fitness breakthrough at this class when the instructor corrected my push-up form. I have never been able to do a full push-up no matter how fit I am, and now I think it’s because I’ve never had the form right. Subtle change, big difference.

After TRX, I did something crazy and went on a short 1.25 mile run just because I really wanted to. The air was cold but pleasant, there was some snow on the ground, and I was already sweaty. I didn’t run super fast (and obviously not super far) but it felt really good to be moving outside. This may be the closest I’ve ever gotten to intrinsic motivation for exercise.

Friday

All of that white is the snow-covered Charles.
All of that white is the snow-covered Charles.

Friday morning I did a 5.1 mile run outdoors. It seemed like the weather might be taking a turn for the warmer when I went running; I actually felt overdressed and there were spots where the unshoveled snow had already melted away. The chill was mild enough that I stopped to take a photo of the beautiful, frozen, snow-covered Charles River.

After work on Friday, I hit up yoga class (which led to me discovering the temperature had dropped a LOT, just in time for my Saturday long run). The focus of the class was hip opening–yuck. I have pretty tight hips so this is not a favorite of mine. I was glad I went, though, because I can always feel a positive effect on my muscles right away. Even before the class was over I had a significant improvement in range of motion as my hamstrings loosened up.

Saturday

This weather is a joke, right?
This weather is a joke, right?

Another Saturday, another organized long run with Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. This week was a step-back week, meaning you run slightly less than your maximum long run to give your body a chance to adjust and recover. I’m merging two running plans, but this week they agreed that I should run about 12.

Unfortunately for me, the route plotted by the DFMC folks disagreed. Our headquarters for the run was the Greater Boston Running Company in Newton Center, and the route was billed as 6-16 miles through the hills of Newton, including a good chunk of mileage on the actual Boston Marathon course. The easiest set of landmarks for me to use was the two DFMC volunteer water/fuel stations, which meant I ran 13.1 miles instead of my intended 12. Not really a big deal, but let’s look at the elevation on those miles:

Oh boy, I have to run these at least one more time!
Oh boy, I have to run these at least one more time!

The temperature was as cold as advertised, so I broke out my very warmest running stuff, including my quilted Lululemon buttwarmer that has the dual distinction of being the only Lululemon item I own AND the only dedicated butt-warming item I own:

It matches my jacket!
It matches my jacket!

Given the weather, the volunteers who stood outside for hours to keep us hydrated and fed deserve an extra-big shout out. They are awesome. One of the volunteers also gave us some extra motivation with her photos of Tom Brady signing a photo of a cancer patient she supports alongside the sugary (instant fuel) snacks:

As my teammate said, my fantasy football team is just Tom Brady.
As my teammate said, my fantasy football team is just Tom Brady.

The run was hard, no doubt. I think I was a little dehydrated (despite behaving myself Friday night), plus the hills were challenging. I kept reminding myself that every time I run them now will make them feel that much easier on marathon Monday. The other thing making the run hard was that it was f$!*& cold. In addition to the pure discomfort of it, my sweat kept freezing. I had to break a literal icicle off my eyebrow/eyelash area at one point. And here is my hair immediately after the run:

No! No no no! So cold!
No! No no no! So cold!

My ponytail is staying tucked under my hat on future runs through Arctic temperatures.

One of the rewarding aspects of the group runs is that they always begin with a reminder of why we are all doing this: To support the cancer patients being treated through Dana-Farber, as well as future cancer patients everywhere who can benefit from the research done at Dana-Farber. Today we heard about one of the research projects funded by the Marathon Challenge team, and had the chance to sign a banner for a current cancer patient who was a member of last year’s team. She was diagnosed during training and had to begin treatment before the marathon, but still managed to put in a few miles on the course with the team. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge leaders asked us to sign a banner wishing her well as we train to help eradicate her disease.

Shout outs for Teresa.
Shout outs for Teresa.