When I began this training cycle, I thought that the only thing that would get in my way would be me getting too sore from too many miles. I was wrong. In fact, I am significantly less sore with this training than I have been in the past. I think the key factors are that I am purposely running slower, and I am keeping up with the strength training. My knee is not perfect, but it's been holding up pretty well, with some minor twinges here and there.
There have been two rather painful and frustrating roadblocks this week. This week was my first 50-mile week, and all 50 miles are complete! But not without some drama.
On Monday, after that insanely hot/humid weekend last weekend, my gym's air conditioning was broke. I walked in and the place felt so hot. I would have taken my run outdoors, but it was still dark, and I hadn't planned on that mentally. It was really hot and humid outside, as well. This was the worst possible day of the week (actually the worst possible day in the past two weeks) that the AC could have died-- a speed workout! The program called for 10 miles with five of them at "tempo" pace.
My strategy was to start with the fan on low and my shirt on, and then when the fast miles started, I would turn the fan to high and remove my shirt, to run in just a sports bra. This strategy didn't work, because the tempo miles were still extremely hot. I began at a pace of 8:16, which normally would be on the slow end of things, with the hopes of speeding up. I only held that for two miles and then gradually had to slow down. I averaged 8:23 for the five tempo miles, which isn't too off-base, but I felt like I was putting out an 8:00 effort. When I was done with the tempo, I still had a few slow miles left, which felt virtually impossible. Finally, I was finished. I was literally drenched in sweat, and my face was beet red. My face stayed red for the next two hours-- even at work! I drank two 24-oz sports bottles of water during the run, and still somehow managed to lose two pounds.
The next day, when I only had to run 4 very slow miles, the AC was working again. Figures!!!
Yesterday, I headed out for 18 miles. I was a bit nervous about this run, because these 18 miles would bring me to 50 for the week-- territory that I hadn't approached since last October. The run went fine, and I was amazed how my legs didn't get sore or anything. But at the beginning of mile 15, a bee flew underneath my sunglasses and stung me right below the eye!!! I let out a scream and tossed my sunglasses onto the ground, breaking them. (It's okay- they were cheap). With my runner's instinct, I immediately stopped my watch, too!
I was sort of crying, but I couldn't tell because there was so much sweat on my face! There were quite a few runners and walkers around, but no one stopped to see if I was okay. After a minute or so, I asked a walker if she could tell me what it looked like under my eye. She said it was red, but it didn't look too awful. I tossed some water on it from my bottle, and waited a few minutes, and then continued on. It hurt though. Badly! I hadn't been stung by a bee in over 10 years. I forgot how much it hurt. Especially right under my eye. I ran those last three miles at a much faster pace than I had been going just to get the darn thing over with. I ended up averaging 9:23 for the 18 miles-- exactly one full minute slower than marathon goal pace.
I only live 2 miles from the trail, but it took me 10 minutes to get home, because I literally hit every single red light. The sting lasted a good 9-10 hours and I was miserable. But today, it's fine and I am here to tell the tale!
This coming week, I am planning on running 54 miles! I'm a bit antsy about Thursday's 11-mile run, with 6 miles at tempo pace, but let's just hope the AC doesn't break again!