Boston Marathon Training Week 4 Update

Boston Marathon TrainingThe themes of my Week 4 training were “Damn, it’s cold,” and “Damn technology.” The weather finally became truly winter-like here in New England last week, which didn’t stop me from squeezing in some outdoor runs but did make me shuffle the days of my runs a bit. If I can avoid being outdoors for a prolonged period of time when it’s zero degrees, I will. This girl is no fool.

As for technology, I had two separate instances this week where my tech tools didn’t operate as expected. This didn’t really impact the quality of my workouts, but it hurt my data-nerd soul.

Short Runs

I ran three times during the week: 5 miles on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, and 3.3 on Wednesday. I would have done more, but it was really cold:

Freezing with an emphasis on the capital F.
Freezing with an emphasis on the capital F.
Ready to take on the elements.
Ready to take on the elements.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Monday was temperate. That high temperature was from midnight, and the temps dropped steadily all day. When I ran it was super windy and NOT WARM. Fortunately, I spent the last week accumulating warmer running gear to get me through the winter, so I was outfitted not only in my snuggly new jacket but also new Brooks running pants that are rated for colder weather (they helped a little but did not exactly make me warm). I also wore a hat, an ear warmer, and gloves, and as the week wore on, ditched the running gloves for some ultra-padded snow gloves.


Have I mentioned the weather was cold last week?

Wednesday. No no no no!
Wednesday. No no no no!

Given the cold weather and brisk winds, I was particularly excited about my indoor cross-training this week.

On Tuesday night I did a 45 minute TRX class at Turnstyle. This is a strength-training class using the TRX system of pulleys hanging from the ceiling to let you lift your body weight. It’s a full-body workout with bursts of cardio built in. I actually really love the upper body workout with TRX for some reason I can’t articulate, but struggle with the core piece. I know part of that is needing to strengthen my core, but part of it is also my terrible balance. I end up spending at least part of every core exercise flopping on the floor like a fish on land.

Thursday was Flywheel (spinning). Originally I had signed up for an early class, but an unfortunate cold kept me awake most of the night. I woke up on time to go to the class but between my dripping nose and burning eyes decided to cancel. Instead I attended an afternoon class once I’d had a chance to take some quality cold meds.

The art at Flywheel last week reflected the cold, cold weather outside.
The art at Flywheel last week reflected the cold, cold weather outside.

Unfortunately, the studio at Flywheel was all messed up when I went. There was some kind of electrical work going on in an adjacent area, and they had industrial fans set up throughout the studio. My bike’s stats didn’t transmit to the Torqboard, so I wasn’t able to truly compete (my favorite part). I think I did really well relatively speaking, but I don’t know if the scores that did show were correct either. Not having the Torqboard work was a huge bummer. Damn technology!

Ommmm. My setup in yoga class. Tight hamstrings means you gotta have those props.
Ommmm. My setup in yoga class. Tight hamstrings means you gotta have those props.

I capped off the week with some Friday night yoga at Back Bay Yoga. The flows for the week featured a lot of twisting, and although I’m not sure it was a focus of the routine, I felt like the class did a lot to loosen my hamstrings–perfect for the next day’s long run.

Long Run with DFMC

My weather app greeted me with awesome temperature news on Saturday morning.
My weather app greeted me with awesome temperature news on Saturday morning.

This week’s organized long run with Dana-Farber was based at the Waltham location of the Boston Sports Club. So first of all, this was a freaking beautiful facility. The suburb-dwellers definitely get a superior version of BSC to us city folks! It was almost enough to make me consider moving (not really).

The long run had options this week depending on your training plan. I’ve been cobbling together my plan between Hal Higdon’s Novice 2, which recommends an 11 mile long run this week, and the DFMC intermediate plan, which says 14-16 (yikes!). The options on the planned course were 10, 12, 13, or 15 miles, so my group and I decided on the 13 mile one.

The long run crew. I'm in the front holding the sign.
The long run crew. I’m in the front holding the sign.

This course was HILLY. We never encountered a major hill, but we were also very rarely on flat ground. The route wended through Waltham and Lincoln along rolling rural roads. I was really grateful for the group this week, because if I had been running alone I probably would have walked some of those hills, or at least stopped for a rest. Instead, we made it straight through, stopping only at the DFMC rest stops.

Damn technology, part 2: I was bummed because I stopped my watch briefly at our turnaround point and forgot to turn it back on. So, I didn’t record my full run time. One of the other women in my group said she’d give me the stats from her GPS, since we ran together pretty much the whole way, but then her phone died before we got back to BSC! So I have only a guess at how long the run took me. I also mapped out the course we ran myself on MapMyRun and got about 12.7 miles, versus 13, but my friend with the GPS had us above that before we arrived back at BSC. So distance is also approximate. Oh well. I know I ran a lot of miles on a lot of hills and that will have to be good enough.

I have to take a minute to gush about the DFMC support on these long runs. There are people who actually stand in the cold with tables of water and Gatorade and snacks and hand warmers for us runners. They ring cowbells and cheer and bring posters of Dana-Farber patients to remind us of the cause we’re supporting. These people are incredible, and I really appreciate them.

Post-run Reynaud's fingers on the left, and partially warmed on the right.
Post-run Reynaud’s fingers on the left, and partially warmed on the right.

After the run, my carpool buddies kindly dropped me at my apartment, which was more necessary than I’d thought because the Reynaud’s had hit me bad. My fingers were ok during most of the run, but once I stopped, they froze up again, even though I was indoors. By the time I got home, they were so useless I had to have my husband open a pack of Dayquil for me.

In better news, I wasn’t sore from the hilly long run the next day, which I take as positive feedback on my current fitness level.

Fundraising Update

My fundraising is going great, thanks to the generosity and support of friends, family, coworkers, and even an acquaintance or two. I’ve been incredibly touched by how many people have donated to my run. As of Sunday, I had exceeded $9000 raised, which is awesome.

I have set a fundraising goal above $12,000, both as a personal challenge and as a statement of how much I believe in the work Dana-Farber does. So even though my fundraising has gone well, I would still very much appreciate any donations you’re willing to give. You can click here to donate at my Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge page.