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Boston Bound

I can’t believe Boston is less than 3 weeks away. Time seems to speed by in the last few weeks of training for any marathon but to say I don’t know where time is going this time around would be an understatement. It’s CRAZY how fast each week is going by. With the race being so close I can’t help but think about the journey that got me to where I am. Everyone has a journey that includes highs and lows, struggles and victories, both on the road and in life. So much in life can affect how and when everything you’ve worked for comes to fruition. This is my story.

I’ve been running marathons since I was 18, but I never trained for any significant speed until a couple years ago when I got serious about training to compete. I was done just running races to run them and wanted to see what my body could do. I ran my qualifying times in 2013. I signed up for the Utah Grand Slam, which is a marathon race series where you run 4 marathons within the year, and enlisted Josse to be my coach. She gave me weekly workout schedules that got me to where I needed to be to qualify. The first marathon was at the end May and the last was at the beginning of October so they were relatively close together. Originally the plan was to run the first marathon easy and try to qualify for Boston in the second marathon. Part way through my training I decided it made more sense to try on the first one and if I didn’t make it I would try again in the last one. 

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Ogden Marathon, May 18, 2013
Time: 3:31:09

The first course I qualified on was the Ogden Marathon. Such a pretty marathon, especially with lots of rain and when you take the time to look around and see all the green along the course. Rainy, cold days are gorgeous, but running a marathon in heavy rain is not ideal and this was one of the hardest marathons I’ve ever run. It rained the entire race and my calves were tight and sore from mile 6 to the end. All I could do for the duration was try to stay positive and I made a huge effort to try and focus on my surroundings to take my mind off the pain. I really didn’t think it was possible to pull off a Boston qualifying time at this race but I never gave up. The course is a mix of downhill, rolling hills and flat. The last part of the race is pretty flat and feels really hard coming off a downhill section out of the Ogden Canyon. With 2 miles to go my legs were done and I didn’t think I had it in me but I still pushed. Even with a bathroom stop, and the struggle of pulling up and down soaked shorts, I pulled off a 3:31:09.  With my qualifying time being 3:35:00 it was good enough. The picture above is the moment I saw my mom and sister cheering for me. The moment before I did not look so happy. Amazing what a friendly face can do for you. My 1st time really trying to qualify had netted me a personal win. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked… and I vowed to never run a marathon in Kinvaras in a marathon again.

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Utah Valley Marathon, June 8, 2013
Time: 3:38:28

The 2nd marathon was 3 weeks later in Provo Utah. The Utah Valley Marathon is another downhill course through the mountains but it is by no means easy. It has some pretty big uphill sections and I was so glad I had no time goals. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be being so close to Ogden. This photo(and the Ogden Marathon photo) was taken by my step dad, Mel. He was a big part of my life for 10 years and he was a huge supporter. He was at every race he could be at with his camera ready to catch every moment. I cherish these photos and this one especially because a few weeks after this photo was taken he passed away tragically and unexpectedly. 

I have never lost someone that I was so close to and going through the grieving process was especially hard. My body doesn’t handle emotion well and it physically drained me. Exercise is something I use as an outlet for many things, especially pain, so feeling so drained only made things harder. I had to allow myself to go through it though and when I was able to continue exercising it was definitely something I used to cope. After losing Mel, Josse suggested we dedicate our races for the rest of the year to him and wear blue ribbons in his memory. I loved the idea and he was in all of our thoughts when we were out on the course.

Park City Marathon

Park City Marathon, August 17, 2013
Time: 3:46:34

With everything that happened in the previous 2 month, Park City Marathon came at the perfect time. This is one of the hardest Utah marathons but worth every step. Using running and exercise as an outlet during this time was one of the most beneficial things I think I could have done for myself. This marathon is gorgeous and really shows what Utah is all about. You run next to the mountains, through fields that I was just amazed by, and watching the hot air balloon that was launched as we ran was perfect. It has quite a climb up to a ski resort and it was difficult but I could not have asked for a better experience during this time than running this race. I loved it.

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St. George Marathon, October 5, 2013
Time: 3:16:57

This race was like a dream. It’s not often when a race comes together so perfectly and everything works out according to plan. For my last marathon of the season I was going to go all out. I trained hard for this one and I had a goal time of sub 3:20:00. Although I had a time goal I didn’t feel any pressure. I’d already qualified for Boston and that was my main goal for the year. This race was like the icing on the cake and I think that contributed to how epic it turned out. This course is aided but has some good hills in it too. I had a pace band to keep me on track and I just went for it. There were times I was going faster than my pace band said I should go, and I would freak out a little and think I should slow down, but I was always in control and decided to go with what felt good. The miles ticked by and by mile 18 I knew that I had my goal if I could just keep things in check until the finish line. I had a huge smile on my face from this point on. I felt fantastic and nothing could have wiped that smile off. It was surreal. Even with all the years behind me of running, I never imagined my legs could run that fast in a marathon. I did start to have a little knee pain around the mile 18 mark but I was able to control that. I did have to work for this, but I’d have to say this race was the best marathon experience of my life. If only they could all feel this good.

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So there it is. 3:16:57 was my final qualifying time and I could not have asked for a better experience in achieving my goals. What a year. Looking back on everything that went on and everything I was able to accomplish brings up so much emotion. I’m so grateful to be able to run and to be able to go to Boston in a few weeks. I have been battling injury for almost a year and have worked my ass off to get my body back to where I can make it through a marathon again. I have so many people that have helped me get here and I can’t thank them enough. I have no time goal for this one. Just run and take it all in. The work is done, I’m ready to race and I can’t wait!

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Ogden WRC Half Marathon

Date: March 28, 2015
Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 01:42:28
Pace: 00:07:49 per mile
Overall Place: 20
Age Division Place: 6

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This race went surprisingly well for me. I didn’t have high expectations going into it. I wasn’t even really considering this to be a race I would “race”. I’ve been pretty tired from my training lately and I did hill repeats on my bike on Thursday that left my legs feeling dead so I wasn’t expecting my legs to feel fresh and strong. I was happily surprised that they felt pretty dang good and what started out with what I intended to be a training run turned out to be more of a race pace effort than I thought it would be.

The race is the exact same as the first half of the Ogden Marathon. It starts with about 4 miles of downhill, flattens out for several miles and ends with several miles of rollers. I wore a watch but rarely looked at it and mostly ran by effort. I checked my heart rate randomly and glanced a few times when it beeped my mile splits. When I saw that my legs were feeling good I made sure I was pushing at an effort that was difficult but sustainable. I really worked on staying mentally focused and relaxed. The last 5k I tried to really turn on the mental side of racing and worked through the fatigue I was starting to feel. I worked hard for those last three miles and I am really proud of my effort. It’s hard to race when you’re not feeling “it” and I’m glad I could switch gears and prove to myself that I can push. I ran this race 2 years ago on a slightly different, not as fast course and I ran it 2 min faster. Different time, different experience, different circumstances. That was then, this is now. I’m not as fast as I was 2 years ago but I’m getting a little speed back and am loving this experience of coming back after an injury, taking the ups and downs as they come and making sure I take the time to take it all in and enjoy the ride.

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Splits: 

1 7:45.0
2 7:56.1
3 7:37.6
4 7:37.0
5 7:40.3
6 7:41.8
7 7:43.0
8 7:51.6
9 7:54.7
10 7:47.0
11 8:03.1
12 7:52.0
13 7:50.3
14 1:11.2

After the race the three of us started a cool down with but Amber didn’t need as many miles as Josse and I so she turned back and we finished off with 7 miles after the race. We were both grateful for the company. 

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I had so much fun with these girls and I’m glad we got to spend the weekend together!

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I Might Have Cried This Week. Twice

Last week was a pretty hard one for me. I have been feeling my calves for several weeks now and have been doing my best to keep them happy. One of the most challenging parts of a training program is listening to your body and adjusting workouts when problems arise. That’s what I had to do last week. I started the week with a little more pain than was comfortable and by Tuesday I knew running through the pain would most likely put me out for longer than I wanted. Being 6 weeks out from Boston I couldn’t afford that. I made it .10 miles on my Tuesday run and had to stop. I cried. Right there in front of the car wash workers. Bless their hearts, they looked so pained to be witness to my melt down. I couldn’t help it, though. It is the most frustrating thing to work so hard and your body just doesn’t want to cooperate. 

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I listened to my body, I cried, I went through the emotions of asking myself why I wanted this so much and why I was willing to put my body through this, I got pissed, and then I went into action. I had Josse torture me through a calf beating massage. I did lots of stretching, icing, compression, and resting. I stayed off the legs for two days and got some new Hokas. By Friday I was able to do an easy run and Saturday my legs handled 20 miles like champs. catastrophe seems to have been avoided! I’m back on track and am being super careful and diligent in before and after run care of my legs. I’m going to run the Boston marathon whether my legs want to or not, dammit. 

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This week has been pretty solid. I missed my mid week speed workout last week and my body could tell during this weeks workout. My body is getting tired, but the main thing I’m worried about is staying healthy so I’m just taking things easy and enjoying the warm weather. I’m super stoked to be running and compared to last week my legs are feeling pretty good. Next week is my last long run coupled with a the Strider’s Half Marathon. It ‘s so crazy to think Boston is less than 5 weeks away now. I can’t wait!!

Boston 5 wks

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RUN SLC Race Series 10k Recap

Another race in the books. This was my first race of the year and first race since last summer and I felt a bit like an amateur. I am pretty sure I had a mini heart attack with how nervous I got.  It’s weird to have so much time off from racing! I felt the pre-race gitters big time.

I wanted to do well but I also wanted to be realistic. Given my injury and my slow come back to running, my goal going into the race was 50 minutes or less. The course is flat as a pancake so I knew an 8 minute pace would be challenging yet attainable. That’s exactly what it was. 10k is a tricky distance. I had to be really careful not to go out too fast and blow up in the second half. I almost prefer 5k’s. They are more painful but the are only 3 miles. I kept my head space pretty good the entire time, trying to stay relaxed and focus on the right now instead of how much more I had. A couple other strategies I used were slight surges every once in a while, nothing huge just a nudge, and smiling. Smiling really does make you run faster!!

I did a 2 mile warm up at a really easy pace. My legs felt really good so I got a boost of confidence there.

I took a caffeine gel and started the race with a burst of adrenaline that was very noticeable. I slowed it down a bit and focused on staying in control and keeping good form. Good form while trying to run faster than I’m used to is proving to be a bit challenging. I feel sloppy but it’s improving. 

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Splits:

1- 7:44 Super relaxed but scared I was going too fast.

2- 7:52 Controlled but feeling it.

3- 7:55 Ah, Liberty Park, my happy place. I know this park all too well; feels good to be in a familiar place.

4- 8:05 I let the bad thoughts of “only half way there” creep in but tried to focus.

5- 8:02 Legs feeling it, but I still felt good and in control.

6- 8:00 Sloppy legs, a little jello-like but reminded myself that there was a mile to go and I wasn’t done yet. Plus, if the cute lady in front of me could do it so could I. I was also wondering why I wanted to run a completely flat half marathon again. Completely crazy!

.2- 1:30(7:37 pace) Felt good about the effort. I pushed and stayed in control.

Finish 49:09/7:55 pace

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Carrie is doing the series with me and she killed it today!! So proud of her for running after tweaking her back and having other issues.

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All in all it was a fun morning. The race atmosphere, energy and runner’s high are all super addicting and I love the feeling. 10k’s are hard. Shoot, all races are hard, but oh so rewarding. At the moment I’m not all that excited for the 15k in March, but I’ll be stoked and ready by the time it’s here.

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Solo 5k & a Trip to St Geezy

Ever wonder what a solo 5k looks like?

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About like this. Me, waving at the camera as I stealthily run by in the dark. I kinda look like I’m up to no good with my mask on but my reflective gear makes me look like a person you can trust. I took a trip to St George with Harristone/Sun Valley Mortgage Cycling Team this weekend. I was also signed up for a 5k that I was sad to be missing so I went out early Friday morning before we left to take on the course solo. Solo 5k’s aren’t that awesome. 5k’s are hard enough. Take away the crowd, race day energy and enthusiasm felt, you pretty much just have a street in the dark and your thoughts. 

Thought of the day from Kara Goucher: “I’m not done yet”

This course is flat, like really flat, and I really had no idea what I was capable of. I have not put in a lot a fast workouts. My first one was earlier in the week. One mile total of 200’s and my quads felt like I had run a down hill course half marathon. I didn’t know that was possible. My plan was to start with a 7:45 for the first mile and hopefully maintain or speed up a little with each mile. That’s not quite how it went but I’m very pleased with myself still, especially considering the way my quads felt. Without the quad soreness I think I could have done a little better, and stopping for cars added a few seconds, but this was a good test to see where I’m at. 

24:43(7:58 min/mi) finish time

Splits:
1- 7:45
2- 8:00
3- 8:14
.1- 0:43

I was sad to miss the 5k but I’m soooo happy I made the decision to go down to St George. The weather was perfect and I got in some amazing riding with some pretty rad people. I’m going to be doing some racing with the team this summer so it was fun to meet and hang out with them. We got in about 120 miles of riding over the three days.

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Day one was an easy, fairly flat 35 mile afternoon ride. This was my first real group ride. I’ve been riding for years but I feel like such a newby. It was a little weird and intimidating but so much fun.

Day two was the longest day with a 65 mile loop. There were some good hills and I over did it on the first one and lost my energy half way through. We stopped for pie and it gave me enough energy to finish. In years past this ride has been windy. I’m really glad the weather was perfect because I wasn’t mentally prepared to handle wind and weather.

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I wasn’t planning on a ride on day three. I was just going to go to yoga and relax while everyone went out. I went to yoga with a few others and decided I’d go out on the ride and see how I felt.

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This was a 20 mile ride through Snow Canyon. This ride was perfect. So pretty, so warm, and so chill.  I stayed back with a few peeps and we just enjoyed the scenery while everyone else raced up the climb… and back down.

us…

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vs. them

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It was a great weekend and I’m so glad I went!!! This team is a great group and, although I was reminded that I need to wait until after Boston to race bikes, I’m excited to get my Cat 4 on.

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Bacon & the Track

It was a great debate yesterday for my speed session. My lungs are really feeling the bad air we have in SLC during inversions so I was going to go indoors, treadmill bound. That sounded like no fun. Plus, the temps were near 60 so how could I miss running in those temps? I checked the air quality and it said it was a green day. Green light for me!!! So to the track it was. I did a short warm up, then 8×200’s(half way around the track) with a 200 recovery jog, and finished with a short cool down. 5 miles total. Not a huge workout but it was plenty to just get my feet wet. I haven’t done anything fast for ages so Coach Josse is easing me into it. 

This morning was an 80 minute spin class. I woke up with my lungs not feeling so hot. I’ve never had such a problem with the air in the winter but it may be time to get a mask to run in. Spin was great though. We did 4 sets of seated big gear flat road, standing climb, seated climb, recover(all 4 minutes long). I loved it. It broke the time up just enough and made the class go by fast.

Tomorrow will be a rest day in preparation for my solo 5k on Friday and a big weekend of cycling. I signed up for the Salt Lake Running Co 5k|10k|15k race series and the 5k is this Saturday. I’m going to a training camp this weekend with the cycling team I will be racing with this year so I am missing the race. Sad day. But I’m going to do the course solo on Friday so I can still feel like I’m participating. Solo 5k’s are probably my favorite though so it will be good ;)I can’t wait!!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but something close to a phenomenon has happened. I crave sweets, treats and carbs very little these days. It’s the weirdest feeling, actually. I don’t know quite what to think of it. I’m going with it though and have been pretty good about nutrition and getting plenty of vegetables in my diet. One thing I AM addicted to lately is bacon. I probably eat entirely too much of it, but it’s better than stuffing my face with sugar all day, right?

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This is by far my favorite post workout, morning, afternoon, night and anytime meal. Toast with ghee, avocado, bacon, over easy egg and green chili sauce. I eat a lot of them. They are good.

I’m really loving the results I’m seeing with nutrition and my workouts. I feel like I’m building muscle better than I ever have and I know nutrition is playing a major role.

I feel like I’m finally in training mode and things are going well. Ankle is feeling better all the time. I’m getting in strength training, mileage increases, cross training, icing, stretching, nutrition and sleep. Things are great and I can’t wait for a weekend away in St. George!

Update It’s been Forever-Josse

So seeing my sister post lately I keep thinking I need to get back at writing and posting.  I am training for Boston and finding it harder to train in the winter than spring/summer.  But as of lately we have had nice spring like temps.  Today we did a 5 mile tempo in 45 degree weather and sunshine.  It was so lovely.  For this training cycle I have been following the same book as Ericka 80/20 running by Matt Fitzgerald and really like his concepts.  “Run stronger and race faster by training slower.”  I got a heart rate monitor and really try and stick with 80% easy running and 20% hard/fast running.  I am doing an 18 week program, which is long for me, but it has 8 weeks of base running 8 weeks of peak training and 2 weeks of taper which is perfect for me.  I am in week 8 of this cycle.  Some of the challenges for me have been getting my mental edge back, I keep asking myself do I really want to run fast it’s is so much easier and less painful to run just a little bit slower.  But YES I do I LOVE to be in shape and run fast and I would love to run a good, strong Boston.  Boston Strong Baby!! So I am going to work on my mental game and get myself back into marathon shape and Run as well as I can on April 20. Happy running and I will sure try and post more oftenphoto 1From our tempo run today 5 miles @6:46 avg pace

photo 2From a long run a couple weeks ago

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Riding to the Lake & Rounding It out with Yoga

Proof that I got my strength session in Friday night…

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That was the only strength training I got in for the week but I’m ok with that. I still feel sufficiently worked. Yesterday’s ride was flat but 3 hours long so I was definitely feeling it when we were done.

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We rode out to The Great Salt Lake, which is my first time in the 32 years of living in Utah to see this marina. It was a great ride and great destination to ride to. My only complaint, and I complained a lot about it, would be the head wind on the way out. Wind on the bike is not my thing and wind with a chill in the air is even worse. I made it through though and was rewarded with an amazing view.

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The way back was WAY more manageable. The good thing about a headwind is the chance of a tailwind. 44 miles total. 1:50:00 to get out, 1:10:00 to get back. Big difference for how flat this ride was.

I ended the week with an hour and a half yoga class. I am really loving doing Sunday yoga. Especially these extended classes that focus on really good stretching and relaxation. It’s like a reset button after a long week of adding mileage and trying to get workouts in. I feel amazing afterward and ready to start a new week.

Last week’s totals:

Running miles: 26
Cycling miles: 83.50
Strength sessions: 1
Yoga sessions: 1

The plan for this week:
(Recovery week)

Monday: 4 mile run, easy swim, strength
Tuesday: first running speed work!! 6-8 200 meters w/ 200 meters recovery, 4-5 miles total
Wednesday: 45 min bike, strength focus on arms
Thursday: Easy bike + 2-3 miles
Friday: 2-3 mile warm-up/5k all out/2-3 mile cool down, easy ride in the evening
Saturday: Long ride
(Sunday): Easy ride, maybe

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Exercise Is the Best Stress Reliever

Stress producer? Pretending to be a college tour guide in front of a camera. Stress reliever? Exercise. I swear I was more tired from reading scripts yesterday than I have ever been from a workout. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but man, I’m sure glad I have exercise to decompress.

My life is pretty low stress and I rather enjoy it. It’s good to get out of my comfort zone every once in a while though because then I can really appreciate the effect exercise has on me. It seriously works wonders.

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Utah may have bad winter air, but it’s still gorgeous.

It’s supposed to be fairly nice out tomorrow so I got my long run in today so I can ride outside tomorrow. 12 miles! I never thought it would happen! I kind of broke my training rule by running two days in a row but my ankles don’t feel too bad. At least not any worse than normal. Icing and stretching. Icing and stretching.

I haven’t got in any strength yet this week so I plan on getting my butt in gear right after I post this. I am feeling tired from increasing mileage so I have been a little unmotivated with the extras. I know I need it though and next week is a planned recovery week so I can suck it up and do what I know I need to do.

I discovered something this week that is just too good not to share. Bullet proof coffee. Not such a new thing but I tried it this week and I will never not want it every morning of my life. My cream was bad so I decided to use ghee. All you do is blend a little ghee(or butter) in your coffee for like 5 seconds and voila. It is the most amazing coffee I’ve ever had. Even better than my $5 lattes that I adore.

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Oh, and about ghee. I made some for the first time. I had to after Josse has been cooking with it and I tasted her food. It’s kind of amazing. It’s so easy to make too. I’m kind of a perfectionist and need to follow directions so I used these instructions as reference. Josse doesn’t really do anything but watch it and take it off the heat after the second time it foams and it turns out splendidly.

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Warm Hands Are Much Better

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Operation warm hand was a success for my long run. Gloves under mittens did the trick. I’m so out of the habit of winter running that I don’t remember how to dress appropriately. Also, I just want to say winter training is so stinkin’ hard. Getting out in the cold weather just isn’t my favorite thing. I usually wait til the afternoon so I get the best chance of catching some warm rays, but I do have to admit that see the sunrise is pretty amazing.

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Overall it was a good week. I got tired towards the end of the week but I adjusted my workouts to cut out a bike ride. I played hooky from the last part of Wednesday’s workout for a mid-week clean mountain air session on the board. I feel it was justified :)

I look pretty pro about 10% of the time and pretty ridiculous 90% of the time but it’s damn good times nonetheless.

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I ended the week with a 10 miler on Saturday. Things are still really slow but I’m trying to be patient. I am feeling the effects of ramping up mileage. I’m more tired but that’s to be expected. I’m trying to take thing really gradual so my body tolerates everything. I’m still dealing with injury so that’s more reason to be really careful still. I’m happy with the progress I’m making and feel like I’m on schedule still to be trained and healthy for Boston.

Totals for the week of January 18-24

Running miles 23
Biking miles 30
Swimming meters 1000
Strength sessions 2
Yoga sessions 1

The plan for this week:

Monday- 6 mile easy run
Tuesday- 60 min easy bike
Wednesday-
1st workout-
1 mile run. 50-60 min w/ intervals on the bike, 4×400 w/ 200 recovery. 1 mile run.
2nd workout-
swim, intervals of some sort, around 2300 meters + strength session.
Thursday- 4-5 mile easy run + strength session
Friday- 60-70 min bike + yoga (maybe a swim)
Saturday- 12 mile easy run