Last week was a great week. Great because it was a step-back week and I thoroughly enjoyed taking two days off and running less mileage (I cut down from 60’s to 38 miles) and great because it ended in a fantastic weekend of racing.
Lets talk training first. I think step-back weeks are essential. Essential for injury prevention, burnout prevention and necessary to make gains. Improving as a runner is a delicate balance of stress and adaptation. Rest is an important component of adaptation that allows your body to gain strength and fitness without breaking down. Two tough weeks of 60+ miles preceded last weeks easy 38, and two 60-70 mile weeks will proceed them as I head into “peak week” before tapering for the Sugarloaf Marathon on May 18th.
My body needed last week’s rest. I was feeling tight and tired. Last week allowed me more sleep (I usually wake up at 5am 5-6 days a week to run) and gave my body and mind a break from pounding the pavement. This week I feel fresh, strong and eager to get out each morning. If I had run another 60 mile week last week I can GUARANTEE that I would not feel so good. So, I rested. My body adapted. I’m feeling good. I also got in five cross-training/core/PT/hip strengthening workouts, which has me feeling strong and loose.
Here’s the breakdown for last weeks training:
Monday: 4 Recovery miles. After 11 hilly miles at a faster-than-my-average pace the day before I needed a nice slow easy run. I felt great during the run. But the minute I stopped, the outside of my quad felt tight. I immediately freaked that it was some ITB trouble. I rolled all day and night and by Wednesday the tightness had cleared up. I think it was just leftover soreness and tightness from Eastern States 20 Mile Race.
Tuesday: Sleep in! Jillian Ab DVD. PT and hip exercises.
Wednesday: Three easy mile run to track. 8×200 with 200 recovery on the track. Ran at 5K pace. A nice tune-up for Sunday’s race. Three easy miles home.
Thursday: Ten easy miles. Kettlebell workout.
Friday: Off. PT/Hip strength exercises in evening.
Saturday: Todd’s Trot 5K with Sophia. One mile easy. Core/PT/Hip strength workout.
Sunday: Red’s Race Five Mile Race. 2 miles warm up and cool down. 3 treadmill post-race recovery miles. Core/PT/Hip strength workout.
I’ll make this one brief so I can get to the race recap I really want to write. On Sunday I ran the Red’s Race for A Better Community in Dover, NH. It’s a race with a lot of history and one that my running club, The Rochester Runners has been a part of for a long time. This was my first competitive five mile race. I really didn’t have an expectations going into the race, other than to run by feel (not wear my Garmin), to stay in the present and let the clock take care of itself. I ran a strong, pretty evenly split race (6:44; 6:25; 6:44; 6:41; 6:11) and finished the second female. I ran 5 miles in 32:51, 6:35 pace…the pace I was running 5K’s at last year. I walked away with a huge smile on my face. And went home to fold laundry and make dinner…cause that’s real life. Really doesn’t matter if I came in second, I still have to fold the laundry;)
On to the race recap I really want to write. On Saturday Sophia, Jack and I headed to Durham, NH for Todd’s Trott another great local race for a great cause. You can read the story behind the race HERE. But basically you should know that in all the years I’ve run this race I’ve never been able to toe the line with a dry eye.
I had been looking for 5K races with kids fun runs so that Sophia could get a chance to run again. She loved running the CHaD Cam’s Course Fun Run and has been asking ever since when her next race was. Originally I signed up for Todd’s Trot thinking I’d race it, but then changed my mind and decided that a 5 miler was a more appropriate distance to race pre-marathon and I’d just run Todd’s as an easy run. That morphed in to well, maybe Sophia could run too? My conversation with my husband went something like this:
Maybe Sophia could run Todd’s since I can’t find a fun run?
She’s not going to be able to do the whole thing.
I know. I can bring the stroller with Jack and she can ride when she gets tired. I’ll run alongside her. You could run too? We could do it as a family.
I just had my appendix out.
You’re fine. You could run.
I have a class to teach that day anyway.
Sophia proved both of us wrong. She ran/walked the whole 5K by herself, riding in the stroller only once each mile. I was amazed at her determination; she’s also a bit stubborn (like her mama). Just after mile two there’s a pretty decent hill with a steep incline. I encouraged (practically begged her) to get in and ride because she was looking tired. She refused and walked up that hill all.by.herself.thank.you.very.much.
But I have to say that what makes my heart swell with Mama-Pride isn’t her determination or grit, it is the fact that this little four-year old is an encourager.
At the start of the race we lined up in the back with the walkers. Sophia quickly struck up a conversation with the two ladies standing next to us. By the time the gun went off we found ourselves running along side one of the ladies, Miss Melissa. After the first little hill Sophia spied Miss Melissa breathing hard. “Hi again!” she shouted. “You’re doing great!” Over the course of the entire race we stayed alongside Miss Melissa, sometimes passing her when Sophia chose to ride, sometimes matching her stride for stride. The entire time Sophia yelled encouraging phrases: You can do it! You’re almost there! The top is right here! Just turn and there’s a little bit to go!
Just after the steep hill at mile two, Sophia began to loose her motivation. She was obviously tired and creeping close to “I’m-not-having-fun-I-hate-this” territory. But she was refusing to accept a stroller ride. Miss Melissa came alongside her and started to cheer Sophia on, “C’mon! You got me through the race to this point! We can do it!” Quick mama-thinking gave me the brilliant idea of playing Sophia’s favorite song on my phone: Katy Perry’s ROAR. With about a half a mile left Sophia got her second wind, now she was singing AND running. Roar, Let it Go and Miss Melissa helped us get to that finish line and Sophia crossed with the biggest smile on her face.
I’m so incredibly proud of her, not just for the physical accomplishment but for who she is.
Sometimes all.the.time motherhood is a challenge. We have days where we butt-heads and tantrums carry on for what seems like forever, but on Saturday I stood back in awe of this little girl. I’m so proud of her. So proud.
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