Monday, July 11, 2016

Jess Goes Running: Marathon Training--Week 5; Lincolnshire 4th of July 5K

The 4th of July weekend carried me into week 5 of marathon training.  The week prior, I had to adjust my schedule and shift around some of my runs to account for aches and pains.  Even though this was definitely the cause of a little anxiety for me, I got all of the mileage in and felt proud.  This week ended up being another one where my plan got shifted around--partially by choice, partially because of the weather.  I had a little more control over it this time around, but I honestly still felt a little weird getting off schedule.  The important thing is that I am learning how to be flexible, slowly but surely, and that I'm getting it done!

I shifted my Tuesday 3 mile run to Monday so that I could participate in the Lincolnshire 4th of July 5K with Tom.  It was my third time running (you can read about those experiences here and here) and his first.  This was probably the best weather I've ever experienced with this race; it was overcast and even, dare I say, a bit chilly, too!  As I have mentioned previously, this run goes right past Tom's childhood home so he was intrigued with the idea of doing it.  And, truth be told, the race t-shirt is pretty dang sweet, too!

We started together, but he quickly ran ahead.  I felt strong--and quick!  I was definitely challenging myself to keep it up; if you can run 9 miles and still be standing at the end, I kept telling myself, then you can push it and run fast for 3 miles.  I felt pretty great up until the last 3/4th of a mile...  a cramp in my leg came on fast and for a few seconds, I was fairly sure I was going to have to walk it the rest of the way.  After stretching it out, I started out slow and gradually increased my running pace.  That last little bit of the 5K was slower than I would have liked it to be, but I kept on towards the finish line.  And in that moment, I gained a new PR!  I finished in 32:17, considerably faster than last year's 35:38.  I felt much better than last year and am pleased to see definite progress in my abilities.  All in all, I'd say it was a great race!  Tom had a good run, too, finishing in 27:25.

Because of the 5K on Monday, I chose to make Tuesday a rest day for me.  That night, I set out my gear and prepped for my 5 mile Wednesday morning run. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, and by the time it had cleared out, I had no time to run before I got ready to work.  This was a little annoying to me, to say the least.  Thursday, after work, I ran almost 4 miles instead of the 3 that were on the schedule (and it was a fantastic run, to say the least!).  Friday was a rest day.  Saturday, Tom and I ran over 5 miles, in effect making up for the run I missed on Wednesday that got squeezed out.

Which brings us to yesterday, Sunday.  Nothing planned for the day besides doing my 10 mile long run and stopping by work to say goodbye to a coworker who is moving home.  I had planned on possibly going up to the Skokie Lagoons and into the Chicago Botanic Garden for my run (something that I am definitely going to do at least once or twice over the course of's a beautiful run with gorgeous scenery and awesome that you can get into the Garden for free!  Instead, I ended up sleeping way longer than I would have liked.  Tom went out for a ride with the Evanston Bike Club, so I had the morning to myself.

In a rather last minute decision, I decided to go to a yoga class at the gym!  This was actually my first yoga class; I have been wanting to try it for years now but have never been able to find the time or a location.  I'll be writing more about it later, but I think yoga will be very beneficial to my marathon training and I hope to make it a regular part of my routine.  I left the class feeling sore (and am still sore today!) but not unreasonably so.  I saw no reason why I couldn't go out for my 10 mile run later on in the evening.

I made dinner, relaxed a little bit afterwards, then went and got ready for my run.  Mentally, I was in the zone and ready to tackle 10 miles on my own (having ridden something like 85 miles, Tom was opting to sit this one out) and feeling good about the run.  From a fitness standpoint, I felt like I could run forever!  However, I found myself with a twinge in my right calf shortly after the first mile.  I thought that if I took it easy and stretched it out a little bit, it would go away.  Instead, the twinge got worse to the point that it was a full blown knot.  I stuck it out as best as I could, making it all the way down to Belmont Harbor, but shortly after my turn around point, I realized that there was no way I would be able to sustain the pace I was at the whole way home.  I found myself having to alternate walking and running and the pain in my leg was much more noticeable when I slowed down.  I called it at 6.02 miles and Tom came to pick me up.

I was disappointed, for sure, that I wasn't able to go the entire distance.  I am not, however, discouraged.  I know that I am capable of 10 miles; I also know that it is important to listen to my body.  Though I probably could have pushed through the last 4 miles I am glad that I stopped because especially this early on, it's not worth it to risk injury because of my pride and stubbornness.  And already, today, it is feeling better.  I feel as though I am on track and ready to go for tomorrow afternoon's 3 mile run.  Here we are, week 6.  Patience and flexibility are the name of the game, and I am learning.  I am 1/3 through this marathon training plan and feeling strong!

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