Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Recap

This is the first time I've ever done a "monthly recap" post. But with giving a new training plan a try, I want to document as much of this training cycle as possible. The reason is two-fold - 1) If I end up doing great, I want to be able to re-create this cycle and continue to grow and 2) If I end up blowing up and dying, I want to be able to reflect on what factors (or culmination of factors) led to my demise.

So here goes...

Miles RUN: 193.6 This is a monthly record by about 15 mies. I also ran more days in one month than I ever have previously this month too - running 27/31 days. I was originally very intimidated by the six day a week schedule Hanson's suggests, but I am finding it more and more enjoyable, to the point where I think I would continue it even after this training cycle ends. Friday is my sacred day off from running, so right now I am running Saturday through Thursday. Mondays are tough because I work our after school program, but we are rapidly gaining daylight (and the gym is sloooowwwlyyy starting to clear out), so this shouldn't be an issue much longer. The main thing that I have learned about running 6 days a week (and enjoying it) is to follow Hanson's pace plans to a T. DON'T GO FASTER! The plan contains 2-3 S.O.S. (something of substance) workouts each week where you can open it up...but all other runs are done at an honest, easy pace.

My January....that is a lot of days running for me....

Cross Training: This plan does not suggest cross training while in a marathon training cycle. The reasoning is that 1) if you want to run a marathon, you need to run and 2) you want to give all your energy to those S.O.S. workouts, and cross training may take away from that. I'm not really sure if I completely agree with part 2 of that, I think there is a time and a place for cross training and it definitely has some great benefits, but seeing as I'm not married to any one type of cross training, I have no problem not doing it for the next few months for the sake of seeing how Hanson's works. I am, however, doing a new strength training routine where I cycle through three different routines after each of my runs. I am really enjoying these "routines" as they are super short (the longest one takes about 15 minutes, if that), target to runner's areas of weaknesses, and the fact that I can do this routines consistently and still run. I already feel the difference, especially in my hips.

"New Year's Resolution"/Mission 24 Check In: This month I tried out five new recipes. Our all time favorite was the Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Mushrooms recipe. We LOVE this dish and have been making it weekly since trying it out. Hmmm....just thinking about it makes me want to try it now. On another food related note...I have a problem...

Said problem is mostly with my wallet...
I may have polished this all off in a week. What can I say...I'm running more miles than least its clean fuel...

Races: None!! That's right, I can actually go a month (well, two really) without racing and not spontaneously combust. Now, with that being said, this is the eve of the Mid Winter Classic 10 Miler. I am not sure my plan for tomorrow. I will, at the very least, at least be running 6 miles at tempo pace to replace my tempo run from Thursday, as suggested by the Hanson's plan for racing during training season. But...we shall see. I honestly do not know what to expect from my legs right now after my highest month of miles yet. I really don't know if they are ready to turn over yet...and I am tentative to even try and risk an injury right now.

High Point of the Month: TIE between...

Finding out that Chicago changed their entry procedures and are offering guaranteed entry to their marathon this year for females who have a marathon time 3:45 or under. Nate and I have not gone on a honeymoon yet, and in 9 years together (this month!) have never taken a trip together, been on a plane together, ect. So...we are (**most likely**) freaking going...with Mama Attardo in tote to sherpa again. I cannot even contain my excitement about this one. Boston next year will most likely be my last marathon for a while, as it will be time to start thinking about family, so I wanted to be really picky about what marathon I pick for the fall...and I just feel like this was meant to be. Begin major penny pinching!


FINALLY finding out what was wrong with my foot/toes after Hartford. After running the Hartford Marathon in October, my foot/toes swelled up like a sausage. It went away after a week, but every now and then some aches and tightness would return to the foot. Umm..and maybe now is a good time to admit that I had a numb second toe for about 3 months straight. Hehe - oops. After a run about two weeks ago the spot on my foot started zinging again and my ankle got really right. The ankle was fixed the next day by the AMAZING new miracle worker at my chiropractor's office, but I needed peace of mind so I scheduled an appointment with Sports Medicine. My appointment went AMAZING. After chatting for less than 5 minutes and taking a look at my foot, I was told I either have a poorly healed stress fracture or a Morton's Neuroma. A stress fracture was ruled out with an X-ray so we moved on to ultrasound and found a little neuroma in between my second and third toes. I got a steroid injection in between the toes and I can finally feel my toe again! Now, knock on wood that puppy doesn't come back!

This was also a nice surprise this month...Thanks Maine Track Club <3

Low Point of the Month (that turned into some great points): This month would be a great example of "everything happens for a reason." Taking on this plan has taken a lot of me mentally and physically, and that has been a very, very great thing. So far 2014 for me has been the "year of the bad news" everywhere I turn..and on not one, but three separate fronts. Luckily, I have been so focused on this plan and so consumed by it (and I mean that in a good way) that I have been able to power through like a champ (pats self on back - I feel like I have the right to say that...things got pretty rough there for a while). Nate has been my rock through this month. He hit the nail on the head the other night, saying that my "three fronts"of stress can all be summed up in this following quip -
"Your actions are speaking so loudly, I cannot hear your words."
Thursday, I had a bombshell and a half thrown at me (enter in the third 'front' of the month). I also was suppose to take the day off because I had the steroid injection the previous day. I had 9 miles on my schedule, but I was ok missing them. I got home and immediately  started "mourning" the news I had received. And before I knew it, I had my shoes laced up and running gear on and was out the door. Oops. So much for taking the day off. I promised myself only 4 miles. And then I returned home an hour and a half later with 10 miles logged on my Garmin. Oops again. Running really is therapy I guess and I am thankful for the timing of this new training plan.

Running Related, Non-Running, News: When I wasn't running or working this month, I finally got ahold of a few decent reads.

First, I read In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. I have wanted to read this one for a long rime. I had a lot of "aha" moments while reading this book and it put a lot into perspective for me. For one, as someone who has struggled with eating her whole life, I know that I have some distorted ideas in general. However, according to Pollan, as Americans, we all have distorted ideas about food, thanks to advertising, government policies of the 40's and 50's and capitalism. Horrifying - yes.After I got over my initial..."holy crap, I never want to eat anything that I don't personally grow" phase (which lasted a few weeks) I started doing some research and really analyzing my diet. I have made some huge improvements in the last year and a half..but now I know where I am going next. First off, this book really made me get serious about getting out garden up and running this year. Secondly, I've reworked my budget a bit to spend some more money on food. Pollan points out that while it is ridiculous that healthy foods cost more than unhealthy ones in American, we, as a nation, tend to want to spend less on food and more on luxury, where in almost every other country healthy food is the priority. Thirdly, I really have little desire to eat meat much anymore. Currently, I really only eat meat on the weekends (when we go out to eat). I'd like to keep it that way (if not gradually cut that out eventually too). I have a feeling I will be revisiting this book, and the companion reader which I've read a number of times already, in the near future.

My second read of the month was Night Runner, by Brian Wallace.

I wanted to read this book because it, in large, was mostly about the Boston Marathon. I was a little turned off when there was a typo on the second page (and others throughout the book) and the book itself read like a movie script instead of a book. But honestly, I actually really enjoyed the story in and of itself. The characters were likable, and it made me super excited to volunteer Boston again this year AND to run in 2015!

Coming Attractions: Training plan related, I only have two more weeks in the 40 miles (47 next week and then 49 the week after). The remainder of the plan calls for 50-62 miles each week. If this mileage is too much, I am going to modify the non-SOS days of the plan and mesh the beginner's plan with the advanced plan. I figure it will still be way more than I've ever run, so hopefully I will reap the benefits! Also - although the bad news of January was great fuel for my training, I'd also be a-ok with some better news in February!

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