Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

To borrow the phrase from Charles Dickens: It was the best of the times; it was the worst of times.

That pretty much sums up my first month of training for the 7 Bridges Marathon ... except that it was the worst of times and THEN the best of times.

The first two weeks were rough.

Check that. The first two weeks were harsh, tempestuous, difficult, grueling. Pretty much flat out tough.

I already shared with you how my first week went, and my second week wasn't much better. Of course, a big reason my first two weeks were 'off' was due to the fact I was having to juggle my running schedule. During this time we had vacation Bible school at our church and my son's all-star baseball team was in action. My son's games were in a town an hour away, and "lucky" us, we had to make that trip six consecutive days. Oh, and double bonus, his team played the late game of the day every day except for the first night.

Needless to say, we had a lot of late nights and getting up to run in the mornings like I normally do was tough, if not impossible on some days. And I really felt it on my Week 2 long run.

In addition to the hectic schedule, two other factors played into this long run being so miserable. First, I ran over 10.5 miles during the two days leading up to this run. On the Thursday before, I posted a 6.3 mile run before going 4.25 miles on the day prior. The second factor was the heat and humidity. The run on that Saturday was soupy and quickly zapped my energy.

But that run on July 14 was one of my worse in some time. Only managed to go 10.16 miles and it took me nearly TWO HOURS! I hadn't not posted a pace that slow in forever. It was a battle, but yet a good mental test for me to push to the finish.

Then, things began to turn for the better.

Logged 35.3 miles during Week 3, an increase of just under 11 miles over what I did in Week 2. (Only able to run four times during Week 2. This could also be a contributing factor to my rough week.)

I took that Sunday off (the day after the terrible long run) and went back at it on Monday with a nice 4-plus mile run. I followed that with a 7-mile hill workout on Tuesday, going 7.11 miles in a little over 1:14. I was feeling great. An off day on Wednesday, I was back at it Thursday with an quick 2.4-mile run with my bride. After taking Friday off, I mixed things up on my long run Saturday by hitting the trails. It was a nice break. My pace was much slower than normal for the 13.5-mile run but that happens when running trails. What encouraged me was the fact I felt strong throughout and was able to keep running and running and running. I was so glad I changed it up this week. It was a great rebound after the horrible long runs I had the two weeks prior.

That Sunday, I pulled a double, running 5.31 miles in the morning before going 2.71 that evening with my bride.

Week 4 saw me post 33.2 miles for the week. I had hoped for more, but I got some quality runs in which I will take any chance I get. During the week, I posted a nice 5.5-mile run and an 8-miler to go along with a pair of 2-plus mile runs with my bride. After the beating my body had taken in the weeks prior, it was nice to slow things down a bit.

This tactic proved beneficial on my long run that week as I posted a 15-miler at 10:09 per mile pace - which is ahead of my goal pace for the 7 Bridges Marathon by 44 seconds. Everything clicked just right for me during this run: hydration, refueling, everything. Could not be more happy about this run.

Closed out the month of July with runs of 4.28 miles and 6.53 miles to give me a total of 133.4 miles for the month. A good start for me as I head into the heart of my training.

So, what are you training for? How is your training going?

Happy running!


  1. Congrats on pushing through the tough times and for having some great ones! Excited to follow along the rest of your training! As I always like to say ... train smarter, race stronger :) Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Jesica! I always try to keep positive outlook through the tough runs. There's always something to learn through them and build upon. Plus the mental tests are invaluable on down the road.

  2. Trail running is really fun!! Even though the pace is slower, it strengthens a lot of little muscles in the feet and legs that aren't built in road running. :)

    I'm training for a December far I'm still battling a bug from over a month ago, so it has really been up and down on my end.

    1. Karen - I love trail running as well. I don't get to do it as much as I like, but I hope to change that this fall and winter.

      Hope you can shake that bug you're battling soon. Best of luck to you in your training!