Week in Review: Dec 11, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 66 miles
  • 10M, while running hard up any uphills 
  • 11.3M MLR 
  • 16M with 7M @ 619/620/619/613/611/606/600
  • 1 lift session
  • 0 days off
  • 3 days in Carbondale, Illinois

I spent the first three days of the week in Southern Illinois, working remotely from my childhood home. It's always nostalgic to run on the roads where I first discovered my passion for running.  It's also quite...backcountry, er, rustic.   I went out for a run on Monday morning, feeling energized and motivated to hit up a trail near a secluded lake.  Even though the grass path is always mowed, the only time of year that you can actually enjoy it is in the winter.  This is because all the baby seed ticks die (or hide?) and there's no longer any risk of running through a nest of baby ticks and having hundreds of microscopic ticks crawling through your shoe and up your ankle.  Needless to say, I was pumped! Coming off a fun race at Club XC champs, I wanted more of the grass (a luxury item in California), and headed for the trail.

About 600 meters into the woods, near the tree that my family perched on for countless photos, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. My heart skipped a beat because it looked like the shape of a person, and I really didn't want to look.  I couldn't resist, and turned my head and saw a hunter with a bow and arrow, sitting on a deer stand.  His head was down in such a way that I thought he might be dead (of course he was not) and he did not stir when I bounded past.  Of course, I picked up the pace.  As I sped down the long, straight downhill, I had grotesque images of me being shot in the back with an arrow.  Okay, yes, it's a bit dramatic, but I really was concerned, and I just wasn't comfortable being near a deadly weapon.  I also was worried that maybe other hunters were out there and that they would shoot at a deer, miss, and hit me instead.

I did learn an important lesson on this run though.  Up until this run, I always got annoyed when my mom or dad asked me which route I planned to take.  I wanted my "heart to just decide" once I hit the end of the driveway and then make a decision of where to go.  Let's be real, I'm way too much of a planner to not actually have an idea of where I want to go on that run before I lace up my shoes.  And so, I learned that I need to answer my parents' questions, or Peter's questions when they ask me where I'm running.  Because I don't know what could happen on a run, and they're the people in the world who care the most about me.  They deserve to have at least some clue as to where to start looking for me if I don't come back within a reasonable time from a run.  Long story short, I'm sorry for being an asshole, mom and dad!  I promise I'll always tell you the route I'm planning on taking before I leave your house!

End of PSA. I promise.

Despite the winter chill, and the end of the farming season, my dad left a row of winter carrots in the ground so that he and I could dig them up together! It was so fun and, not to mention, incredibly rewarding since the carrots are seriously the best I've ever had. So sweet and crisp.  After pulling the carrots out of the ground, I pushed the wheelbarrow to the outdoor sink and washed all the mud off of them so we could make some pretty sweet organic carrot juice!  

After a nice trip home, I finished out the week with my trusty partner in crime, Jenna, and my other partner in crime, Jonah, who is finally back after taking a break.  Saturday's long run was special because it was the first time Jenna and I had run side-by-side for a workout in almost a year!  It was so great.  While I love all my guys, it's always really fun to pack it up with some strong women, and I was just so proud of Jenna for running so freaking fast just 3 months after having Ollie.  It will certainly be exciting to watch her train next year!

Week in Review: Dec 4, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 45 miles
  • 10M with 2 x (3min-2min-1min) with 90s rest b/w reps, 2min between sets, 3 x 60s strides
  • 4 days in CLT
  • 3 days in Kentucky / Ohio
  • 6K XC race in 20:54

Nothing like hitting up five states in one week! I kicked off Monday with a run and then a flight to Charlotte for a work trip.  Two states? Check!  Then Thursday, I flew to Kentucky for the Club XC Champs in Lexington.  Three states? Check!  Then Saturday, I drove to Cincinnati to see my nephew Eli.  Four states?  Check!  And finally on Sunday, I drove back to Illinois with my parents so that I could have some time with them before the holidays. Phew.  Five states! Check!  

Writing it all out makes it seem more exhausting than it really was.  Fortunately, I stayed in each place for 2 nights or more, which made it seem less chaotic.  It was so interesting heading back to Charlotte, because no one runs in uptown anymore!  Back when I used to live the queen city, it was an absolute guarantee there would be a group running from the YMCA every day.  Now, more and more folks moved out to the burbs, so it kind of felt like a ghost town.  Yet, I still was able to get some people out to run with me and was grateful for their company!

Then I headed to Kentucky, which is outlined in more detail here, and prepared for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships with the Strava Track Club.  The race went great and I had an absolute blast. I miss cross country a lot and have now vowed to do a cross country season in the bay area so I can experience the awesome ruggedness of cross country again!  

IMG_4702.JPG

The highlight of this week was seeing my nephew for the first time in over a year!  He's grown so much, loves getting raspberries on his belly and playing with dad (my brother!).  Eli brings so much joy to our lives and I do need to see him more often than every year.  We went to a fancy outdoor mall on Saturday night and they had all sorts of fun Christmas decorations, like a giant tree with a nativity in the middle of it and an outdoor train set that Eli circled about 27 times to watch it go "choo-choo".  

After our sleepover with Eli, my family packed up and headed home, where I was spoiled with organic veggies, homemade lip balm and snuggles from my cat, Cicero. Life is good!! 

Race Recap: 2017 USATF Club XC Champs

Goals:

  • Goal A:  Top 5 on Strava Track Club team
  • Goal B:  Place better than I did in 2010 (60th)
  • Goal C:  Run faster than i did in 2010 (21:19)

Actual:

  • 20:54 | 42nd overall | 4th Strava Track Club finisher | results here
  • Strava Track Club - 4th Place Overall Team!
  • Achieved all 3 goals
  • Splits:  526, 546, 527, 546 pace last .72M

I'm about 99.99% sure that yesterday in Kentucky I ran a 6k cross country lifetime PR by less than one second. 

So, I'm pretty happy about this performance. 

To be honest, I didn't really even know what sort of goals to set for this race.   I only just finished Chicago Marathon 8 weeks ago, and I've been running lower mileage in the mid-50s.  After other marathons in the past, I felt pretty crappy for at least 3 months.  But this time around was different; I felt pretty speedy.  For this reason, I didn't even sit down to write my goals out until the night before the race.  Not really having any idea of what kind of shape I was in, I started by looking at my results from the 2010 Club XC Champs and decided I had to run better than that.  Then, I asked myself why it was so important for me to come to Kentucky.  And the answer was that I wanted to run alongside some very talented, speedy and smart women that make up the Strava Track Club.  I also wanted to represent Strava Track Club and rabbit, my small way to express the gratitude for all that they do for us to make trips, like this one to Kentucky, possible.  

And so to Kentucky I went!  But first I had to work four days in Charlotte, NC for all-day planning sessions and some team dinners.  By the way, packing for both work and a race in freezing temps is an especially difficult task if trying to fit it all into a duffle, but I did it…with the help of caribiners!  Without any complications on Thursday I landed in horse country and checked in to the Residence Inn.  Somehow I won the room lottery and got a massive 2BD/2BA split-level apartment that would put any average apartment in the Bay Area to shame.  

Strack Track Club Men & Women

Strack Track Club Men & Women

The rest of the team was massively delayed at SFO and my roomie and all-around Stanford stud, Rebecca Mehra, arrived in our shared abode after I'd gone to bed.  On Friday, with Dena as our fearless leader, the men's and women's teams, all bundled up in layers of winter rabbit gear, headed to the course for a quick shakeout and course preview.  With temps in the mid-20s and a wind chill at 19 degrees, even those of us who used to live in the midwest (me!) were not used to the biting wind.  We didn't mess around too much at the course since it was freezing, so after strides and drills, we had a team lunch at Whole Foods, of course.

I spent the rest of the day hanging with Victoria and doing some work on my laptop.  Before I knew it, it was time to go to dinner, so that we could get a table at a local Italian joint that didn't take reservations.  While Dena dipped out to go to the technical meeting, the rest of the team split up into groups of 6 each in a booth and carbo-loaded our way to a (hopefully) good race.  The highlights of the pre-race activities were getting to know the girls better and also the team meeting in the room that Rebecca and I shared.  Full of positive vibes, Dena passed out our bibs and shared some anecdotes from past races, as well as the best team placement STC had ever placed at Club XC. 

After the men left, the ladies asked Dena to stay for some extra words of wisdom.  After telling us some of the more realistic team goals to consider, with the added disclaimer that it always depends on how the day goes, someone asked if we could all go around and share the goals we have for the race.  It was something so simple, yet so powerful; I wish we had done this more often in college!  I learned what place everyone was hoping to get and from there was able to craft a better race plan, which was mainly to keep Rebecca and Tori within a reasonable distance.  Throughout all of this, I was feeling so incredibly proud of these women, who had trained hard the entire fall together and who obviously all respected one another.  I felt like there was an electric buzz in the room; it was as if everyone knew that we could be a top five team, if we worked together and encouraged each other.  I felt pretty energized…or should I say synergized.  :-)

With such a late race start time (11:45), it meant that Rebecca and I didn't even have to set an alarm.  I woke up around the same time that Rebecca got back from a shakeout and we made our morning race breakfast together with Victoria, while covering some pretty awesome conversation topics. 

Just hanging in our sweet mini van pre-race

Just hanging in our sweet mini van pre-race

The ladies all piled into the minivan and made it to the course with an extra 30 minutes to spare before warmup. Of course Victoria would have a pre-race playlist for us to rock out to in the car….so great!  After a team warmup and strides, we had to corral all 8 of the ladies together into a tiny tent to do a uniform check.  Not surprisingly, trying to find 8 women before a race is pretty hard since everyone has a different routine.  But, in record time, all of us showed off our uniforms and got cleared.  I swear that we all didn't shed our clothes until there were just 2 minutes left in the race.  It was just that cold.  Without any time to really think about how cold I was, the gun went off. 

We were perfectly situated on the far left of the starting line, which meant that our team didn't really have to cut in at all for the first turn.  It also meant that 200+ women descended upon us after 300 meters.  I watched as 5 of the STC darted out ahead of me and just told myself to keep my pace controlled.  I came through the 1 mile mark around 5:26 (perfect!), and by that time the crowd had thinned out. 

I saw Tori and Rebecca coming back towards me and eventually passed them, urging them to come with me.  I was really hoping they'd latch on so we could work together.  After the first 3K loop, I knew that I could use the downhill and flat to keep the pace honest before the hills on the back half.  I stayed alert so that I could hear what place I was in, and around 3 miles heard someone shout 45th place to someone near me.  Keeping my eyes up, I laid my eyes on each girl in front of me and tried to dig deep to pass them decisively. The final 1000 meters were particularly rough because of a long uphill, and I found out later that Rebecca found a second gear to pick it back up to stay as close to me as possible!  On the long uphill towards the finish, only one girl passed me in the final 200 meters, and she passed me FAST.  I basically walked through the finish line, which I'm not exactly proud of, but I will make sure I don't do that next time I race.  Rebecca ended up finishing right behind me; she ran so great, especially coming back and hanging tough!  The difference in time between our first and fifth runners was just 11 seconds.  Insane! 

Women's Team 4th Place Finish

Women's Team 4th Place Finish

Strava Track Club Women's Finishers:

  • Natalie     |  31st   |  20:45
  • Ayla         |  37th   |  20:50
  • Maya        |  40th  |  20:52
  • Caitlin      |  42nd  |  20:54
  • Rebecca   |  43rd  |  20:55
  • Tori           |  62nd  |  21:10
  • Steph        |  79th  |  21:32
  • Victoria     | 107th  |  22:03

After bundling back up, Rebecca and I cooled down a little bit on the course so we could cheer for the men's team in the early parts of their race.  After battling cold wind on the course, we opted to cool down in a parking lot with some of the other girls.  At this point, I was able to connect with my dad and together we cheered for the men's team as they finished.  Ultimately, both the men's and women's team achieved best team place ever in club history, and Kris won the women's masters race, while our honorary member Neville won the men's masters race.  

I'm so glad I ran this race and am excited to come back next year!  I also experienced firsthand just how much these girls can push me.  I know that if I train more regularly with them, they'll help me get faster and help me break down barriers I never would have considered approaching!  #squadgoals #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

Week in Review: Nov 27, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 60 miles
  • 10M via 2 x (5min-3min-1min) with 90s rest, 4 x 40s fast
  • 90min MLR
  • 14M easy long run
  • 0 days off
  • 1 Surprise Birthday Party
  • CIM spectating, lots of PRs

Week in Review: Nov 20, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 57 miles
  • 10M with 2M @ 552/559
  • 9M with 5K Race in 17:13 with splits of 524/538/536/33
  • 13M MLR
  • 3 days in Kauai
  • 3 days with family in CA
  • 0 days off

So I was in Kauai for 6 days and then I flew back on Wednesday night and ran a 5K race the next morning.  I mean, how could I not resist?  I haven't run a 5k in freaking forever, so might as well bust the rust off now, before Club XCs in just a few weeks!  The was actually incredibly fun, even if I felt sleep deprived a tad jet-lagged.  In a crit style 4-loop course, I was able to watch all the really fast women take off while I hung on for dear life with Jenn Rhines.  She finished much stronger than me, but we basically battled it out on the streets of San Jose for the first 3.5 loops of the course, before she eventually pulled away.  

Had a blast cooling down with the STC ladies and meeting some of them for the very first time!  Afterwards, I drove to the SJC airport to pick up my parents before making our vegan Thanksgiving feast.  Had a great weekend with my parents and sister visiting and got lots of farmers market time with them.  

the Strava Track Club ladies kicked off Thanksgiving together at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot!  I was the last place person for the team - YEAH!!

the Strava Track Club ladies kicked off Thanksgiving together at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot!  I was the last place person for the team - YEAH!!

Week in Review: Nov 13, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 53 miles
  • 11M with mile @ 540 (2:27 rest), 2 x 800M @ 2:41 (2:16 rest), 2:38 (2:25 rest), mile @ 5:28 (3:12 rest), 4 x 400m @ 77-78 with 2:15 rest
  • 12M MLR
  • 9M with 3 x mile of 30s on/off with 400m jog rest between
  • 1 Day off
  • 4 Days in Kauai

I'm behind on my blog and am feeling lazy.  Here are some pictures from the first half of our Kauai trip - a much needed break from work!  Peter and I did part of a workout together in Princeville on Friday morning, which was really nice.  Then we did the things you're supposed to do on vacation, like sleep in, exercise, hike and eat yummy organic food!

 

Week in Review: Nov 6, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 49 miles
  • 10M with 6 x (3min on / 2 min off)
  • 12.4M Medium Long Run
  • 14.6M with 6 x (30s hard / 2:30 easy), 1M easy, 3M tempo 557/553/543
  • 1 day off
  • Weekend in Portland!

I approached this week with a bit of caution.  Going into the second week of workouts since Chicago Marathon, I still had some doubts about whether or not I had allowed my body enough time to recover, or if doing workouts so soon was a good idea.  After all, the marathon puts a lot of stress not only on your body, but also on your mind and soul.  However, after last week, I really started to feel like my legs were getting back to normal and trusted that perhaps the 12 days off had really helped me recover faster than I normally do.  In order to put my mind at ease, I decided to look back at what I've done the last 5 weeks post-Chicago:

  • Week 1:  Off, rock climbing 2x/week
  • Week 2:  11M, 2 short runs, climbing 3x + lifting 2x
  • Week 3:  44M, all easy + lifting & climbing 2x
  • Week 4:  53M, 1 moderate workout + lifting 2x
  • Week 5 (this week):  50M, 2 moderate workouts + lifting 2x

After looking at the raw numbers, I felt more confident in my plan to move forward with workouts, with the main caveat that I absolutely *must* listen to my body and hold back more than I normally would if I were later in a training cycle.  I don't want to get a case of overtraining syndrome, and I trust that this approach will help prevent that from happening. 

This week was a bit chaotic because I started the week off in Plano, where my hours are long and the schedule nonstop, and ended the week in Portland, where I ate lots of good food and ran very little.  It was the perfect combination!  While in Plano, I mustered the motivation to step out into the cold and wind, and battled the elements (and myself) for a fartlek around the Frito Lay employee path.  I didn't have the right watch on, so I wasn't 100% sure of my pace, but I'm guessing it was around 5:30 pace.  It certainly didn't feel easy, but coming off jetlag, I was really happy with it. 

As soon as I arrived back in California, Jenna and I immediately got back into our routine of running miles while chatting away.  We got in 90 minutes together on Thursday, and then another 15 or so on Friday, while helping Max and Howard with their marathon workout.  It was great to have some company for the 30 second pickups during the run, and then I took off for a 3 mile tempo purely on feel.  I didn't look at the paces, and just hoped I was running decently fast.  I was pretty excited to see my splits after the run.  I was really expecting that it would be much harder to run sub-6:00 pace for a tempo at this point.

With a holiday on Friday, I flew to Portland with Howard, Athena and Peter.  While the weather certainly wasn't anything to write home about, the vibe in Portland always steals my heart and I feel compelled  pack my stuff into my car and move to the Northwest.  I just love the economic diversity, food truck scene and complete acceptance to be "green." 

Week in Review: Oct 30, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 53 Miles
  • 10M with 4 x (4x400m) @ 83 - 77s with 60s rest in sets, 400m jog between sets 
  • 12M MLR
  • 2 Lift Sessions
  • 2 Climb Sessions

After just 10 days back into running, I decided to hop onto the track this week for the first workout post-marathon.  Without really any clue what was on tap for the Tuesday evening Strava Track Club workout, I showed up and found out that Victoria had some 400m repeats.  That sounded much more manageable for me, considering that I was coming back from the marathon and also battling a pretty terrible cold.  The other STC ladies were doing 1000m repeats.  I found out later that the speedsters ran 3:10 down to 3:00.  As much as I'd like to wish that I am that fast, I'm not...at least right now.  Regardless, it was so fun running circles  with Victoria. 

Dena is so well connected throughout Silicon Valley that it offers us the chance to take advantage of some really great benefits.  Not only do we get to run on the Stanford track in lane 1 with the lights on, but we also get to lift at Performance Gaines every week and to use the training room at Sports Medicine Institute.  Since I like working out in the morning, and also have work travel every other week, I don't make it to Strava workouts that often.  I want to give back to club in some way, so this was my tiny way of trying to make up for missing basically all the practices so far this year.  

I spent the rest of week filling in the days with easy runs, and completed my second long run in a week with Jenna.  My cold lingered much longer than I expected, so it was smart to keep all runs easy.   

 

Week in Review

This week's stats:

  • 44 Miles
  • 6 runs
  • 13.2M easy MLR
  • 1 day off
  • 2 Lift days
  • 3 days in Plano, TX for work travel
IMG_3997.PNG

Well, the first week coming back after 12 days off post Chicago Marathon was about as rough as you'd imagine.  My body felt like a foreign object that I had absolutely no control over.  But, I continued to put one step in front of the other for six days this week, slowly piecing together a week of decent mileage. 

The main motivator to get out the door was to connect with my friends.  Since I had not run with Jenna in over four months since she gave birth to sweet little Ollie, it was special to connect again through miles on the bay trail. 

During my time off, I had lofty goals.  I had a goal of starting a free one-week trial at Core Power Yoga.  I did not.  I had a goal to start lifting twice a week.  I did.  I had a goal of going to the Planet Granite ab class.  I did not.  So, I felt glad that I achieve one of those goals.  Anyways, taking time off post marathon is about relaxing and catching up on being lazy.  :-) 

2017 Chicago Marathon Race Recap

Goals:

Actual: 

I did it!  I sacrificed two toe nails to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon for the third time in a row.  It was worth it. I don’t need those nails right now anyways.  I may have run my second slowest marathon time ever, but I’m damn proud of my ability to push through when my body was having a negative reaction in the final 10k! 

This year’s race was different than last year’s Chicago Marathon.  Last year, I wanted to prove to myself that I can overcome anything; I had an intense emotional need to run fast after my divorce.  This year wasn’t about achieving a personal best time or proving anything to myself.  After all, this year has been different on so many levels.  My work schedule is chaotic, with some stress mixed in at all decision making points, and travel required to the sprawling plains of Texas, where running isn’t a thing.  My personal happiness is at perhaps an all-time high, and priorities have shifted to being less focused on running and more focused on being balanced in, well, life.  Running is definitely still a priority, and I trained my butt off for this cycle, but I also got some injuries along the way, forcing a much shorter marathon cycle of 8 weeks.  Ironically, such a short training block is totally preferable because I never felt overly exhausted or on the brink of injury.

For that reason, I came into this race with the goal to run 6:15 pace, even though I knew I was in shape for 6:11 pace.  Ironically, I ended up running 6:15 pace right on the dot, because I had to stop to use bathroom.  But, I’ll get to that later. 

At the start of the race, Michelle Lillienthal and I agreed to run together for as long as we could.  Turns out that if I hadn’t been with her, the first half would have likely been pretty lonely.  Aside from one Canadian tagging along behind us, it was mostly just the two of us running side-by-side through the streets of downtown Chicago.  Michelle kept me in check; it’s really hard to run a marathon at a slightly slower pace than you’re in shape for.  She kept us dialed in on our target pace, usually hitting around 610-615. 

After the halfway point, I dropped the pace slightly, and unknowingly dropped Michelle as well. I hoped that maybe she would kick it up to join me, but I wouldn’t see her again until the finish line.  The next 7 miles were very erratic.  I would catch up to a person and try to run with them, but then the split would be too slow, so then I’d run with a person who had just passed me, and then the split would be too fast.  I probably wasted some energy doing this, but I just wanted to latch onto someone for some much needed motivation to get through those final miles. 

A woman with a male pacer caught back up to me by mile 20 and I tried to draft off them because they told me that their goal was to “just qualify.”  However, as much as I wanted to run with them, my stomach had other plans and began to hurt. 

Uh-oh.  Not good.  I immediately knew that I needed to find a bathroom.  I let the woman (Alyssa Schneider) go by and hoped (prayed?) for a bathroom at the next aid station.

The first aid station came and went.  No bathroom.

The second aid station came and went. No bathroom.

At this point, I’d been running 19 minutes knowing that I needed to go.  I felt completely uncomfortable and my form was falling apart as my muscles were over-compensating to prevent the worst from happening.

My options were very limited, and I’ll refrain from outlining them here on this public blog.  My paces were 620/613/620 during this time, which clearly indicate the battle I was having with my mind against my body.  At mile 23.5, a red toilet sign finally appeared.  I sprinted into the porta-john, took care of business and darted back onto the course.  This slight detour likely added less than a minute to my overall time, but I didn’t take the split, because I really didn’t want to stress out over it. 

After all, my mind and body had already been stressing hard for the last 20 minutes.   I didn’t need one more thing to overanalyze.  I just needed to focus on finishing.   

The bad news about stopping, besides losing a ton of time, was that it actually didn't help that much; my stomach still felt wonky.  I tried to push the feeling aside.

I told myself:  Just finish.  You can do this. 

I focused on the positive:  I knew I had some wiggle room to come in under 2:45, so I just willed myself to keep pushing and finish the damn race. With my abs protesting the physical exertion, I gutted out the last 13 minutes of the race.  At the 25 mile marker, my coach screamed at me, “Caitlin, you have 8 minutes to get there!”  I thought to myself, “Well then, I’ll get to the finish line in 7 minutes then, hmpf.”  And that I did.  Seven minutes later, I put on my best version of “sprinting” in the final 200m to barely break 2:44 and finished just 8 seconds ahead of Michelle. 

Michelle and I both stumbled around in the finish chute, trying to put on fresh smiles for our loved ones.  I wanted to go over and give my support crew a huge hug, but I didn’t have the energy to walk ten feet over to the fence to at least interlace fingers with theirs. 

After chugging a bottle of water and clinging to my finish line escort like he was a paramedic, I eventually did find the energy to reunite with my family.  I wanted each of them – my mom, my dad, my brother, Peter and his sister – to know how grateful I was to have them there.  Together, we enjoyed some much needed beverages in the hospitality tent.  During the event, I just felt so grateful to be a Bank of America employee; I know how much work the team puts into this race to ensure it's one of the best marathons in the world.  I'm honored to be a part of it.

I limped away from this race feeling proud.  Proud to have set a big goal and put in the work necessary to achieve it.  Impressed with my patience while I searched for a bathroom for 3+ miles.     But, most importantly, content to have run this time.  I got the job done and now my reward is to take the focus off running; I'm going to take two weeks off. I’m not hungry to run another marathon any time soon, most definitely not in 18 months or more. And, I’m not even going to think about what I’m going to do in between then and now.  Because, I deserve a little time to just enjoy this little personal victory. 

Week in Review

This week's stats:

  • 55 Miles
  • 11M with 4M at 608 average, 7:00 jog, 3M in 614 average
  • 12M MLR
  • 13M with 5M progression via 628, 616, 618, 612, 606
  • 3 days in Plano
  • 1 day off
  • 2 climbing sessions
  • 2 lift sessions

It's beginning to feel a lot like TAPER TIME!  Taper can be tough because your mind can run wild thinking about the weather, the food, the travel.   Your legs might start to feel more sore than they were just two weeks ago.  Fortunately, if I had a crazy work week where I had to book a trip to Plano, Texas last minute, not leaving any time to overthink the "what-ifs."  I did come back from my trip on Wednesday this week with my calves feeling a tad tight, but that's nothing that Josh at Sports Medicine Institute couldn't fix in a one-hour massage.  

The hardest thing for me when traveling to Plano this time was battling the humidity and my own overall negative feelings towards running in Plano.  Honestly, if I just changed my mindset on how I view Plano as a running destination, I would probably see an improvement in my times here.  But, I haven't worked on that yet.  My final big workout going into the marathon had to be run in Plano.  2 x 4 miles at goal marathon pace.  The workout didn't go superbly, but it wasn't absolutely terrible either.  Did I feel particularly mentally tough in the workout?  Not at all.  But, did I finish (most) of it? Yes.  Did I have to stop and rest in the middle of the interval to accomplish that?  Yes. 

I am human.  I get tired.  My body is ready for 10 more days of taper.  That's all, end of story.

Needless to say, I was very excited to fly back to California, where my team of practitioners is here to keep me feeling fresh!  I got a massage, went rock climbing and slept a lot!  On Saturday, a group of us knocked out a five mile tempo together.  It's so much easier to wake up knowing that there are four other people ready to run with you.  I've got seven days until the Chicago Marathon and that's enough time to ensure my mind is ready to take on this challenge of physical strength and mental tenacity.  Calm confidence.  

 

Week in Review

This week's stats:

  • 70 Miles
  • 13.2M with 6 x mile via 602 (29s), 559 (44), 552 (58), 545 (71), 544 (87), 528
  • 13M MLR
  • 18M with 12M via 622, 611, 610, 614, 614, 610, 605, 600, 603, 604, 605, 608 
  • 0 days off
  • 2 rock climbing sessions

With just under 2 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, I'm feeling confident and ready to go.  With a speedy mile repeats workout on the track and then followed by a solid 12M marathon pace tempo, it's time to taper! 

Tuesday's track workout with Jay and Jonah was super fun.  We each settled into such a great groove, taking turns at leading on the inside of the track.  With the rest starting at just 30 seconds, and adding an additional 15 seconds after each rep, it was pretty easy at the beginning but more challenging at the end as the pace got progressively faster.  But, the challenge is what made this so much fun.  All three of us really opened up on the last mile repeat and we were all really surprised at how fast we closed.  It's always more enjoyable when all of us have a good workout. 

I know that I am a broken record when I write this for the fourth time, but I am so happy that Jay is a part of my training group.  Not only has he been key to some of my most important marathon workouts, but he has also connected us to the BURN running group, and that means more fast runners!  I mean, just check out this group from Saturday's long run.

IMG_3634.JPG

On Saturday, three groups joined forces to knock out a progression tempo at varying paces.  In my group, Jay, Jonah and I ran 12 miles at 608 average with Robin and Leon, two fast runners from BURN.  Howard ran with Ibet, Nicole and Emilee, all from West Valley Track Club, to complete an 18 mile progression.  It's teamwork like this that will enable each and every one of us to break our PRs in our fall races.   I felt really great during the tempo and especially strong in the final miles.  I've noticed that it takes me a couple of miles to find a rhythm.  As long as I stay patient and trust that I'll settle in, I end up running great.  On Saturday, I felt like my pace was fluctuating, but then I let my mind relax and I finished strong in the end.

With Peter's aid on the bike, I was able to try a new energy drink that will replace the Gatorade that I've always used in the past.  In an effort to start fueling using natural ingredients, I opted instead for an organic lemonade that has added salt.  Knowing that my fueling strategy worked and that I finished strong, I left this workout with a huge smile on my face and a renewed sense of calm.  I know that I'm ready for Chicago and to achieve my goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials.  Now, I hope the cards align and nothing too insane happens between now and then.  

Now the most important thing to do is to run less and rest more.  Going into this next week, my focus is on mental training and envisioning the race that I want to run in ideal conditions.  It's also critical that I envision the adjusted race strategy to employ if any factors that I cannot control, such as rain, wind or GI issues, come into play.  Just 15 more days.  Chicago, here I come!

Week in Review

This week’s stats

IMG_3464.JPG
  • 81 Miles
  • 15M with 3M-3M-2M at 606/606/608 (3:32 jog rest) 557/603/556 (3:31 jog rest) 600/601
  • 12M MLR
  • 24.1M Long Run with 4M of 30s hard / 2:30 moderate
  • 4 days in Seattle
  • 0 days off

 

Sometimes one workout doesn’t go as expected and then, just a couple days later, a long run goes better than expected.  I’ve always adhered to a rule of not fretting over a bad workout for more than 24 hours, because things change that quickly.  Let’s be real:  I work full time and my body gets tired. I’m human.  So, on Tuesday, after a tough 6 days of solid workouts, I hit the Stevens Creek Trail for another hard effort with Jay.  It’s not surprising that 1) I went out too fast and that 2) I was tired in the final set of intervals and that therefore 3) I cut the workout short.  Not only did my legs feel like garbage, but my stomach was also wrecked so completely that I was physically incapable of running one more mile fast.  So, I didn’t.  I tried running another 100 meter at 600 pace, and my stomach protested, so I cooled down.  Afterwards, I assessed my effort at a B+ and continued looking forward to the next one:  my 24 mile long run. 

Seattle is one of my favorite cities to run in!

Seattle is one of my favorite cities to run in!

Four days later, Heather and I laced up our shoes and traversed the Seattle streets for 16 miles together.  Joining in for some of her light workout (she’s running Twin Cities Marathon in just two weeks), we ran 12 miles easy together, before picking up the pace for 30 seconds, and running 630-640 pace for 2:30.  We did this for the next 4 miles, along with Josh and another guy.  It was really fun and the weather was great.  After 16, all of my company dropped off, and I was left to complete another hour of running solo.  Unlike last year’s “time on feet” long run, this year I felt fantastic in the final 20 minutes.  In the last mile, I even had enough energy left to finish in 6:40 pace.  These longer runs are what really help me prepare mentally for a marathon and I’m really glad that my stomach didn’t give me any trouble. 

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating Jessie and Ryan’s wedding, while also taking care of Bella, Heather’s sweet dog. Peter and I had so much fun exploring Seattle on foot together too, so it was a very successful weekend. 

 

Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 78 Miles
  • 90min MLR
  • 14.5M with 3 x 2.5M with 1st and 3rd intervals alternating 248/308 every 1/2 mile and 2nd interval at 556
  • 21M with 12M at 611 average: 617/611/617/610/613/611/610/609/611/607/605/558
  • 1 day off
  • 2 rock climbing sessions

With just under 4 weeks to go until the Chicago Marathon, things are really coming together.  I’m really grateful for Jay’s increased fitness and his fantastic pacing on my workouts.  With his goal race as the NYC Marathon, our workouts line up nicely for him to hopefully to achieve a new PR in November. 

With my trusty companion on Wednesday, Jay and I set off to run 3 x 2.5M together, with our paces alternating at each half mile mark.  With our Garmins set to auto-lap every half mile, I basically just let the Garmin tell me what to do and ran alongside Jay for extra motivation.  The fluctuation in pace made the workout seem a little bit more exciting than just running a continuous pace. I was really pleased with this workout and at how comfortable the paces felt.

Jay was having a lot more fun than me here....

Jay was having a lot more fun than me here....

On Saturday, Jay and I continued our normal pattern with a hard long run together.  With a 6 mile warmup starting at 600AM, I ran 3 miles solo on the Baylands Slough path in the dark before grabbing Jay.  I did not wear a headlamp, but the city lights, combined with the moon, lit the path up enough for me to not only see where I was going, but also to see all the jack rabbits scattering off, startled by my footsteps.   During this peaceful time, I was able to ready my mind about this workout, the second marathon pace above 10 miles in distance.

During the first four miles of the uptempo, settling into a consistent pace felt difficult to me.  Jay seemed much more relaxed than I was, and I felt like my pace was fluctuating, instead of just staying steady and even.  I really wanted to run 615-618 in the first 3 miles so that I could ensure I could finish 12 miles at pace.  After 4 miles, I finally found a rhythm that felt comfortable and familiar.  By settling into a pace within 2-3 seconds of 610, I finally was able to relax.  I was really grateful for Jay’s company and pace setting because while I didn't feel bad, I also did not feel like it was a walk in the park. I needed his presence to pull me along and to keep me mentally focused.  Even if 608 pace wasn't as easy as I would have hoped, I still pushed hard and was able to complete 12 miles at my target marathon pace.  There also weren’t any issues with taking honey stinger chews at miles 4, 11 and 16.  I did stop a couple of times for a few very quick sips of water.  It was a bit muggy out there!

Week in Review

IMG_3138.JPG

This Week's Stats

  • 74 Miles
  • 14M with 3M-2M-1M via 602/602/600 (3:29), 546/546 (3:31), 536
  • 12.6M MLR
  • 18M LR with 16M at 645-620 pace
  • 0 days off
  • 1 rock climbing session
  • 2 days camping at Bullard's Bar Reservoir

 

This week was nuts.  Not from a running or work perspective, but from a weather perspective.  I felt like I was tossed into Arizona for a couple of days there!  During the first half of the week my morning runs fooled me into thinking fall was here!  Crisp, cool temps in the mid-50s in the morning quickly dissipated into smothering temps in the 90s.   By the time Friday rolled around, it was 107 degrees in Mountain View.  The heat wave continued through the weekend, but we still survived the long run.

The good news was that the crisp and cool weather stuck around for Wednesday morning, when I did a workout.    Because Jonah and Tania were taking down weeks, and because Jay’s shin was sore, I had to tackle the 3-mile, 2-mile, 1-mile cut-down alone.  Howard and I warmed up together before going on our own for our respective workouts.  I felt really fantastic during this session.  It really helped that the weather was spectacular and that my legs weren’t too tired from lifting the day before.  I’m feeling really confident that I can achieve my goals going into Chicago.

The next hard effort was on Saturday, with a huge group of people from both my crew and the West Valley Track Club.  Nicole, Emilee, Ibet and Sean joined forces with me, Howard, Max and Max’s friend.  It was incredible that I was able to convince all these people to show up at my house for some very early morning miles.  Undoubtedly, since it was so hot on Saturday, no one seemed to mind that we met at 615am, when the sun was barely starting to break over the horizon.  I continue to be amazed at how people are willing to flock to my house for runs.  I guess the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon or running a new PR are pretty good incentives to drive to a meeting spot to run with people who can push you. 

My plan was to run 18 miles, which was a nice break from running 20+ miles.  Since the WVTC folks all have a goal of running around 645 pace at CIM in December, my steady state pace closely matched their own goal.  Of course, I ended up running faster than 645 pace and got lucky enough to meet Sean, who pushed me the entire time.  He dabbles in triathlons and ultras, so I was extremely impressed with his ability to not only keep up, but also to be able to talk without a problem! 

After the run, everyone hung out in my yard while I wished that I could have been making them pancakes instead of frantically packing for the camping trip. I hope that in the future I can continue building on this pattern of inclusivity and attract more runners to join our group.  I truly believe that the camaraderie and friendships we make during these runs are one of the main reasons why many of us have achieved new PRs over the last 12 months.  I'm really proud of how this group of runners has grown, and I know that the growth is because of the humility and openness we all share.  It should not be surprising that some days a 2:58 or 3:05 marathoner can push a 2:38 marathoner.  

Overall, this was a great week. It's hard to believe that I'm really just five weeks into marathon training and only have three more until taper begins.  I'm starting to think that a very much shortened marathon cycle is the way to go!  But, I won't fully believe it until I qualify for the Trials at Chicago. :)

(Eclipse) Week in Review

My mom showing off her name rabbit shorts!

My mom showing off her name rabbit shorts!

This Week's Stats

  • 80 Miles
  • 12M MLR
  • 15.5M with 3 x (4min-3min-2min-1min) with 90s jog rest (614 pace for 8.34M)
  • 12.4M MLR
  • 22M long run with 10M at 605 average
  • 0 days off
  • 1 Total Eclipse
  • 1 rock climbing session
  • 5 days in Southern Illinois

 

I was feeling so confident about last’s week high mileage that I just had to shoot for more this week.  And I came away so proud of myself.  Let’s set the stage.  I was in Carbondale, where there’s no one left to run with. You should all know by now that I’m a total wimp when it comes to running alone.  Also, the weather isn’t particularly the best for training for a marathon – with temps soaring above 100 and the humidity at 90%.  Honestly, I’m shaking my head in disbelief at my own mental tenacity. 

  • Reason #1:  I did almost 40 miles in 3 days, all by my lonesome. 
  • Reason #2:  As part of #1, I did a workout all by myself on the country roads in my hometown.  And, I didn’t run slow; I actually hit the paces!
  • Reason #3:  All my family members were sleeping in while I had to wake up early to get the run in before I had meetings.

Yet, after laying all these reasons out, I realize now that I found the real answer as to why I was able to run so strong: because I saw my first total solar eclipse!  The whole point of this trip to Illinois was to enjoy a view of the total solar eclipse from the comfort of my childhood home.  Nature, of course, did not disappoint…and, for that matter, neither did my mom’s cooking!  As the moon’s shadow began to cast its darkness over the sun, I wandered back and forth from our kitchen to our field.  This ensured that I could both eat and watch the partial eclipse move towards totality. 

IMG_2994.JPG

In the moment that the sun was completely blocked by the sun, everyone shouted to “remove your glasses.”  I gazed up towards the sun, and then twirled slowly around, marveling in the 360 views of a sunset.  For 2 minutes and 42 seconds, I listened as my family members and friends all gasped, cried out repeatedly “oh my god” and snapped photos of the phenomenon.  Probably the best part for me was absorbing the look of pure joy on my brother’s face:

We all left exulted, in awe of what we had just experienced, each wishing it could have lasted at least ten more minutes. 

Hopefully now you can understand how this eclipse inspired me to have such a great week of running, despite all of the factors going against me.  It was just aligned in the universe.  

Week in Review

This Week's Stats

  • 75 Miles
  • 14M with 9M tempo at 6:05 average via 557/611/611/557/610/608/554/609/605
  • 12M MLR
  • 21M long run with no water or gels
  • 0 days off
  • 2 rock climbing sessions
  • 1 lift day

Hey-o!  I just hit my highest mileage week for the 2017 year!  Didn't realize that I had kept my mileage at a relatively steady 60-65 miles per week over the first half of this year.  This definitely helped this higher mileage week feel even more respectable.  

Jumping right into marathon training means that the midweek workouts are always 14-16 miles with a large portion at goal marathon pace.  This week's workout called for 14 miles with 9 miles at 600-615-615 every 3 miles.  Despite getting a crappy night of sleep and sleeping through my alarm for five minutes, this workout went quite nicely.   I barely had enough time to get out the door on time to meet the large crew of Tom, Abhijeet, and Howard for the warmup,  and Jonah and Jay for the workout. Jonah ran with us for the first 3 miles, while Jay kept me company for the entirety. 

Lifting weights in an effort to stay healthy, fit and happy!

Lifting weights in an effort to stay healthy, fit and happy!

During the workout, it was surprisingly windy on the way out, which made the pace feel a bit tougher to hit than I would have expected.  But, that also meant that we had a light tailwind on the way back.  On the final 3 miles, we ran up behind Vitor.   It was easy to "convince" him to join us on our faster miles, even though he had just done some long race up a mountain.  After a little nudge, he was running alongside us, along for the fun. I was grateful for the unexpected company because Jay started falling off a tiny bit in the final 800 meters -- because he just got off a flight from Taiwan the night before.  In terms of effort level, the tempo felt pretty hard towards the end, but I also felt really strong in the sense that I could have gone for another 2 miles. But, I paid a price for a successful first marathon workout afterwards, because my stomach was a wreck all day.  

The rest of a week was pretty uneventful because I was getting ready to fly to Carbondale on Saturday in advance of the eclipse.  I convinced my crazy clan of dudes to keep me company on a no fuel long run.  The plan was for me to wake up, not eat anything, drink a tiny bit of water and start my run.  I added on 6 miles before grabbing Tom, Howard and Jonah for the remaining 15 miles.  The best part was that I did not drink any water during the long run, nor did I stop at all.  I also would like to note that doing these types of no fuel long runs would be impossible in NC or Southern Illinois during these humid summer days.  I feel really fortunate to be able to get these runs done in temperate California!

Week in Review

This Week's Stats

  • 70 Miles
  • 14M with 2M in 608/612 (63), 2M in 557/600 (3:00), 4M in 606/605/605/610 
  • 19.1M long run at 6:48 average with 4 x (20 min easy / 10 min at sub-620)
  • 10M MLR
  • 0 days off
  • 2 rock climbing sessions
  • 2 lift days

For the first time in 6 weeks, I am finally feeling optimistic for toeing the line at Chicago!  Hitting 70 miles this week is a big deal, considering that I took 14 days off in July!  The best part about it all is that I don't even feel like I lost that much fitness -- if any.  

I completed my first true marathon workout on Wednesday.  I love how Coach T-Bone gives all sorts of options for workouts, especially when I'm not sure of my fitness yet.  For this one, I had the option of either doing 4 x 2 mile repeats OR by turning it into 2 x 4 mile repeats.  In an effort to maximize the company on my run, I decided on a hybrid approach - 2 x 2 miles, + 4 miles at marathon pace.  The main focus for this training cycle is to make 615 pace feel as comfortable as possible and this was the first workout to test that comfort level.  Despite being completely solo on the final 4 miles, I felt really comfortable hitting paces just below 6:10, which is ahead of my goal for Chicago.

Unlike last year at Chicago Marathon, where my goal was to PR, the goal for this year's marathon is to qualify for the Trials -- to run sub-2:45, roughly 6:15 pace.  Although all my other marathon times have been 2:41 (Twin Cities 2010), 2:44 (2012 Trials), 2:40 (CIM 2013), and 2:38 (Chicago 2016), I know that in order to achieve this goal, I must respect the distance of this race.  The marathon is never easy.  Even if my goal pace is slightly slower than what I'm capable of, I'm constantly reminding myself of the difficulty of still achieving that goal and time.  

Ran along the Truckee River on Saturday!

In an effort to still achieve a balance between fun and marathon training, I accepted a last minute invitation to go to Lake Tahoe over the weekned with some Strava Track Club girls - Victoria, Natalie and Alli.   What this meant was that I needed to knock out my long run on Friday morning.  Fortunately for me, the stars aligned to make this happen.  First, Tania was also going to Tahoe, so she wanted to run long Friday as well.  Additionally, my heel wasn't hurting and felt recovered enough to have a quick turnaround from the workout to the long run. 

 The long run on Friday was a huge success.  Dena wrote out a cool workout for Tania that I really liked - run every 30 minutes as follows for 2 hours:  easy 20 minutes and sub-620 for 10 minutes.  The faster portions made the easy sections feel like a total breeze.  Even though it was pretty humid for California, Tania, JOB and I traversed the trails around Baylands, eating some bugs along the way.

Overall, I'm really pumped about this week.  I really feel confident going into Chicago.  This was the first week where I realized that I am capable of achieving my goals at the marathon in just 8 weeks.  

Week in Review

This Week's Stats

  • 61 Miles
  • 10M with 5M tempo via 620/605/601/558/558
  • 16.4M long run @ 7:00 pace average
  • 0 days off
  • 3 rock climbing sessions
  • 2 lift days

After heading into the week with a fair sense of apprehension, I'm pumped about how it turned out. My heel didn't freak out after a tempo, or after a long run just two days later!  

I spent the first part of the week gradually building up my daily mileage to 10 miles.  After that went well, I figured this would be a good time to get in some workouts with the Strava Track Club.  After a couple of texts back and forth with Tania, we decided to run a 5 mile tempo together.  I like running with Tania because she is exceptionally positive, talented and dedicated.  I'm really rooting for her to qualify for the marathon trials at CIM this year!

On Friday morning, a group of us gathered to run the tempo together at Baylands.  I brought Jonah along for the fun, and Tania brought along Christian - love when the running group gets bigger!  Dena came to provide pacing and coaching support to Tania (and for us as well - an added bonus!).  Tania's goal was to run 5 miles around 615 - 600, so we set off at a conversational pace that proved to be way too slow. After that, I moved to the front to push the pace.  I took on the role of pacer and felt responsible for the splits.  After all, I wanted to make sure Tania hit the times that Dena had outlined for her.  After mile 3, Jonah dropped off, and I stuck with Tania through mile 4 and then decided to push the pace a bit to continue to dip below 6:00.  Overall, everyone left the workout feeling pleased with the effort and happy with the company! 

On Sunday, the guys and I got in over 16 miles together, with the last 6 miles around 6:20-6:40 pace.  Afterwards, I decided impromptu to make everyone banana pancakes!  Max, Howard, Tom, Peter and I enjoyed some pancakes and fruit salad before heading over to the farmers together.  I wish that every Sunday long run could be this sweet!  Throughout the rest of the day, my heel was a little sore, but manageable.  Again, my heel feels best in running shoes, but the worst barefoot.  Crossing my fingers that the heel continues to stay strong throughout this next week!

Battling Plantar Fasciitis

Some people say that, as a runner, the best injury to get is a stress reaction or fracture to a metatarsal.  With those injuries, it’s basically guaranteed that after 4 weeks of rest, your bone will be healed and you can begin training again. 

I completely agree.

The only over-use injuries I’ve ever dealt with have always been connected to a tendon.  In 2005, I was out for 12 weeks due to hundreds of micro-tears in my left Achilles.  I didn’t know how long I would have to take off, and I basically just waited until the swelling went down to attempt my first run. 

After that, I enjoyed practically a decade of relatively injury-free running, barring a brief two-week run-in with IT Band Syndrome in 2011. 

2015 brought my injury-free good luck to a screeching halt.  In October 2015, my right Achilles put me out 7 weeks, causing me to plan a premeditated drop out of the 2016 Trials race. 

Now, in 2017, I’ve already dealt with a sore left Achilles that morphed into an annoying case of Plantar Fasciitis.

The reason why I hate tendon injuries is that there isn’t a guaranteed end date to the time off.  There’s never a moment that you can say “Well, in 6 weeks, I’ll definitely be able to run again.”  The rest period is a total crapshoot.  Who knows if the injury will last 4 weeks?  8 weeks?  12 weeks?  Who knows if taking time off will actually even help the tendon heal?  Fortunately, there are movement specialists popping up all over the country who have a better understanding of ways practitioners can look at the body holistically to determine areas that might be causing the initial issue in the first place.  For example, my 2015 Achilles issue was caused by my ridiculously tight lower back.  Who would have guessed?  Thanks to an SFMA and FMS screening, I had the knowledge necessary to perform the right exercises to help begin the road to recovery and greater strength. 

But, back to what I came here to originally write about:  I have plantar fasciitis.  Here’s the short of how it came about.  I had a great long run on June 30th, but during the run I could tell that my form was different.  My heel felt tight, and Max asked me if I was injured.  Crap, I thought to myself, my form must really be off if he’s noticing something.

Every day I'm rolling...

Every day I'm rolling...

I’m a big believer in taking time off, especially if it’s affecting your stride.  So I did. I took two weeks off.  In the meantime, I lifted.  I got massages.  I did drills.  I ran barefoot.  After the two weeks, guess what? My heel didn’t feel better;  my heel didn’t feel worse.  Perturbed by the lack of progress,  I decided to do a quick poll amongst my runner friends who have dealt with PF in the past. 

I called Katie, a former All-American from UVA, and explained that I have plantar fasciitis.  I could hear her physically cringe over the Verizon Wireless network:  “Sh!t.  That’s the worst. I dealt with that in college and it never really went away.”  Or, even better, the reaction from my friend Amanda, chiropractor in NC: “Caitlin, I REALLY hate to hear that you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis.  I literally did EVERYTHING…I slept with the night splint, did all the drills and took 6 weeks off, and nothing made it get better…I struggled with it for a year!”   

Needless to say, my initial pulse check of how bad is plantar fasciitis seemed to be a resounding – it’s pretty terrible and leaves you feeling completely powerless. 

Everyone I talked to also agreed on something else – that it’s worth it to try to run through.  I was a little weary of this at first, but after a couple of days of running without altered form, I believed them.    

To make up for taking off from running the first two weeks of July, I spent the last two weeks of July testing my plantar, willing it to let me train for Chicago Marathon. 

During the week of July 17th, I ran two days on, one day off, 4 days on, keeping the max run to 50 minutes.  I continued doing my drills, lifting and climbing.  Somehow, during this time, the foot started to feel better only while wearing my running shoes.  However, I could still feel the stabbing pain shoot through my heel while walking barefoot. 

Continuing into the week of July 24th, I ran 4 days in a row and took 2 days off so I could go camping at Lassen National Park.  By this time, I could walk around barefoot without substantial pain in my heel.  I knew then that things were beginning to turn the corner. yet, I was still skeptical of my body’s ability to handle the more sustained impact from 14 miles of a marathon workout.  Would my heel be able to handle the repetition of motion, or the increase in speed?  I realized that all I could do was try it out and hope for the best. 

We’ll see how it goes next week, when I begin my very much shortened Chicago Marathon training cycle.   

I’m confident my body will heal itself up….and if it doesn’t…#firstworldproblems.