Little update this week after plowing through week #9 (crazy!). Also, if you didn’t get a chance to read Rob and Sheila’s story last week, you should. It’s pretty amazing.

Training Week #9

Week #9’s Workouts

-Monday: spring break week around here; this morning but my 11- and 9-year olds were little rock stars and got up early with me their first official day of spring break to run 4 miles (Jackson, 11, couldn’t wait to try after his little brother made history – and got lots of attention – with his five mile run last week). They did great despite the pretty hefty winds blowing in our faces (dude, I was spent) but every time someone felt like stopping, Jackson would say: we started this together, we are finishing together! And we did.

-Tuesday: no workout today. I had every intention of doing a cross-training workout but spring break with all five kids home had different plans for my life, if you know what I mean (instead of exercising, I was working through closets, bins, under beds with the boys wherein we ended up with three bags of trash and four bags of donation items and a headache).

-Wednesday: headed out for an early a.m. run; first time on a track so my friend, Deb, 30+ weeks pregnant with #8, could walk around while I ran. It was an attempt to motivate each other for early morning workouts in the pitch dark. After the 16th lap (of the 4 mile run), I wanted to die – I was feeling kind of sluggish and out of energy – but was glad to get it out of the way first thing.

-Thursday: my big grand plans to wake up before my kids and do a strength/yoga workout were waylaid by good things (again, spring break busy town around here). By the time bedtime rolled around for the kids, I had to literally bribe and drag myself up to the bonus room for a PiYo workout. I did the 45-minute Drench workout (yoga, strength, kill my muscles all in one) and as much as I had been dreading it, I felt pretty good after. You know, if jello-legs is a good thing. I will say that I love the PiYo (and other dynamic yoga type workouts) because my muscles are so loose and limber by the end that I can see huge improvements in my flexibility which is a pretty big deal because I swear I’m the least flexible person on the planet and I’m not even kidding. Touching toes = a dream.

-Friday: instead of an official workout, the we spent the afternoon and evening with friends 4-wheeling and RZR-ing. So I guess if you consider driving the RZR through gullies and ditches and then throwing a ball to Maggie a few times, I totally got my exercise in.Training Week #9

-Saturday: thanks to another busy Saturday (kind of a consistent pattern), Brian knew I was stressed about possibly not getting my run in (I was avoiding at all costs running the 5+ miles on the treadmill). Since he hates running more than life (granted, he’s running with the boys for their upcoming 10K but it’s been a huge sacrifice for him; he really, really detests running), I about passed out when he said he’d go with me before the day got insane with wrestling weigh-ins and Saturday jobs. I think he was doing it in an effort to a) be supportive, b) help me get out the door, and c) make me stop complaining about when I’d fit it in.

I didn’t give him a chance to back out but I did warn him I didn’t want to be all chatty and friendly on the run so he better grab his iPod and earphones. In my defense, it wasn’t strict unfriendliness – it’s just that running is hard enough for me that thinking about talking AND running makes me want to keel over on the spot.

Training Week #9

5 1/2 miles later, I can honestly say running together is a first in our 13+ year marriage and it was really fun (you know, in a weird sense of the word since we were dying) doing it side by side. I never thought it would happen. On one hand, I was so proud and impressed that Brian could just go out and run 5 1/2 miles since I’ve been working up to this for 9 weeks. And on the other hand, I kind of wanted to kick him in the shin because he could just go out and run 5 1/2 miles when I’ve been working up to this for 9 weeks.

The report is in, though: Brian can’t walk today and I can. And if it makes me a bad wife to feel a little happy about that, then so be it. He’s actually looking over my shoulder right now and says he refers to the run on Saturday as his Pride Run. Meaning, his pride is the only thing that kept him running.

Consulting the trusty loaned Garmin, we kept our pace between 9:30 and 10:30 and only stopped once – to stretch halfway after summiting the biggest hill in our town. My kids call it Ticklebottom Hill and honestly, it felt like Mt. Everest when we were running up its steep cliff face and I swear (although it isn’t verified) that the air was thinner at the top. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my legs and lungs haven’t scaled a mountain, er, hill, for a long time like that while running.

Training Week #9

Question + Thoughts + Upcoming Week

Any tips on pacing? I’m not so concerned about running fast as I am about keeping a steady pace. Brian mentioned as we were running that I was constantly speeding up and slowing down – it’s not as noticeable to me, I guess, but I do notice pace changes on the Garmin whenever I look down. For you runners out there, do you keep a steady pace the whole time and do I need to get better at that or is the faster/slower thing normal? I’m also really paranoid at starting out too fast and losing all my steam so I tend to run pretty slow at the beginning, but on Saturday, for instance, the last mile and a half, I felt this burst of energy to run quite a bit faster and I’m noticing that happens on my runs that are longer than 3 miles. Should I just increase a bit for the entire time instead of running faster at the end or not worry about it? Sorry for all the questions. Pacing: I have no idea what I’m doing.

Many of you have given me tips and advice on eating/not eating before runs. Much of the reason I don’t eat beforehand is 1) because often, I’m running first thing in the morning and thanks to a past cancer/thyroid history, I take medicine each morning on an empty stomach with no eating for 45 minutes to an hour after and 2) I have a little bit of a sensitive stomach and haven’t wanted to risk having “issues” while running. It hasn’t been a big deal yet since my runs have been between 3-5 miles and I really have felt like I’ve been fine not eating before. But since I know that will change as I increase miles, Saturday, I decided to carry along a pouch of applesauce (convenient since Brian works for GoGo Squeez and we have applesauce coming out of our ears). I ate it halfway through while stretching and I do think it helped a lot with the last half of the run.

The last few runs, I’ve started wearing the water pack around my waist that Brian got me for my birthday. It kind of twists on me while running (if I cinch it any tighter, I can’t breathe, so yeah) but otherwise, I’ve loved, loved, loved having water while I run (and my kids have, too, when they’ve run with me). It’s made a world of difference. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I feel like being able to have water at the ready keeps me energized a little longer.


My left hamstring continues to hate me. It’s tight all.the.time. I’m still foam rolling like a monster and it does help but I’m wondering if my stride is off a bit or something.

This week will most likely be: running 4 miles Monday, 4 miles Wednesday, and 6 miles (yikes!) on Saturday with some cross-training and flexibility thrown in there. I’m less than two weeks away from the 10K I signed up for. While I feel more confident that the distance will be manageable, I have to admit, I kind of have that nervousy-excited feeling about running a real, live race.

Any reports? How was your week? FILL ME IN!

19 Responses to Training Update: Week #9

  1. Raxhael says:

    Argh, a million typos…thanks, autocorrect!

  2. Raxhael says:

    Try rolling your calves on a tennis ball. If they are tight, they may be pulling in your hamstrings and you don’t even realize it.

    I try for negative splits the second half of my long runs, but really try to keep it even overall (i.e. Gradually speeding up rather than speeding up/slowing down, which may give you side cramps). However, for speed work days, I do interval training where I flst-out sprint for 400 meters, then jog to recover, then sprint again, and that interval training really helps me get a feeling for how my body feels at different speeds (plus it makes you faster overall!). The biggest concern I have with the whole “listen to your body” thing is that your body is an adrenaline-fueled moron at the beginning of a race, and unless you pace yourself according to a specific time, the vast majority of people will go out too fast and run way too fast for the first couple of miles and they are trashed for the rest of the race. Stick to your goal pace for the first two miles; if it feels too slow after that, THEN you can pick it up! One year I was really cocky at a race because I’d placed in my age group the previous year on that course, and so I lined up with the leaders and took off at a 6:30 pace for the first couple of miles when I meant to hold one around 8. Guess who didn’t place that year!!

  3. Nancy says:

    Hi Mel,

    Just wanted to chime in about the hamstring issue ~ a few suggestions you may want to try: (1) An ice bath after your run. I know. I hate them, but it helped me get over a hip flexor injury. (2) Apply icy hot (3) try soaking with Epsom salts – but only several hours after the run, not soon after (4) Cut the mileage back and let it heal The problem with continuing to push with an injury is that it can alter your stride and cause you to use other muscles to compensate and the injury moves around.

  4. Jackie says:

    Good for you Mel! Sounds like you had a fun spring break too. I love it that your kids and husband run with you. Once I got past 3 miles my son decided he didn’t want to run with me anymore. He will still go on shorter runs with me but doesn’t want to do the half anymore. And that’s ok. I want him to enjoy it, not feel like I’m pushing him too much.

    As for me my foot is doing quite a bit better. Haven’t tried running again yet but walking is much better. We are on spring break right now. Spent all day yesterday walking around Denver and today hiked through martins cove in Wyoming with no pain. Back to dr at the end of the week. Hopefully i can run again after that.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the update, Jackie! I hope your foot continues to heal. I don’t blame your son. 🙂 Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this, too. But I think your philosophy is good and it’s awesome he’s still willing to run the shorter ones with you.

  5. Tanya M. says:

    That’s awesome that your boys and husband went out on your runs with you! The Pride Run comment made me laugh out loud! He couldn’t let his wife beat him! So funny.
    You are doing great and you’ll totally rock your race coming up! Good luck!! 😉

  6. s says:

    I continue to be inspired by your commitment and am also impressed by your family’s support! I have a running question – does it sometimes take time to break in new shoes? The ones highly recommended bat a running store are causing pain. Not sure if it is just an adjustment period.

    • Mel says:

      Thank you! About the shoes, I think it can really depend on the brand. The Asics Gel Cumulus shoes I bought were comfy from day #1 but I don’t have a lot of experience with other types. Maybe others can chime in and help?? You might call the running store and ask them, too.

    • Nancy says:

      Dear S,

      I have been a runner for 19 years, so I have experience with shoes. I have never found a shoe that I have “Loved from the first step”, so I would say yes to your question. Sometimes it may take a few runs to get used to a shoe, especially if it is different from what you were wearing before. I usually need a week or two of runs before I know if a shoe is working well for me. If I have too much or continued pain, then I send them back. Also, you may want to alternate (wear the new shoe one day, then the old shoes the next, then the new ones the next, etc) instead of just moving directly into the new ones to give your body time to adjust. Hope this helps!

  7. Emily says:

    I’ve been running for a few years now, just did my first marathon last fall!, and have found that I do best if I run however my body is telling me it wants to. Which means I slow down a bit as I need to, seize the day a bit as I want to, and overall don’t worry about consistent pace too much. As I’ve progressed through shorter to longer distances I find I’m willing to and able to push it and ask (expect?!) more of myself in shorter distance races (5ks for instance). But longer races such as your half and especially my first half were all about just finishing and feeling good, not dead. I thinks that’s because for as long as running doesn’t feel like a death march while I’m doing it, I’m happy to keep doing it. That’s not to say I’m singing “the hills are alive” every second of every run, cause the fact of the matter is running is hard! And on some level I think it will always be/feel hard for me. What’s changed the most is my ability to mentally cope with the hard. This is an awesome goal and an awesome journey you’re on! My advice is to run in whatever way makes we want to keep on running, I’m so glad I’ve done just that: “keep on keepin on”! Oh and this is definitely different for everyone but one of the best things I did for *myself* right out the gate was saying (barring injury or other serious circumstances) “Emily, no matter what you will not stop and walk” and that has made a huge difference for me mentally. Oftentimes I could probably walk faster than I’m running but in my mind I’m still running that’s means the world to me when I finally finish I matter the distance! Best of luck to you, running is an amazing journey!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Emily! The “hills are alive” part made me laugh out loud. It sounds like we are similar runners…I am determined not to walk (even if that means I’m running really slowly) because it makes me feel better to know I ran the whole darn time. Thanks for chiming in!

  8. Mary Sorensen says:

    I just ran my first six miler on Saturday. And I didn’t die! A runner friend of mine says that as far as pace goes, you should try to shoot for even splits, meaning each mile is roughly around the same pace. I did that Saturday and it felt great. I tried to go slow at the beginning, slower than I normally would, and I actually felt like I had some gas in the tank at the end. Can you use Mapmyrun on your phone while you run? I like it because it chirps my pace in my ear every half mile so I can kind of gauge how fast/slow I should be going. Thanks for the update!

    • Mel says:

      Way to go on the six miles, Mary! I’ve been using that app on my phone and it tells me my pace (same with the Garmin watch my friend lent me) but I still have trouble speeding up and slowing down. Guess I won’t stress too much about it if I’m at least finishing. 🙂

  9. Cara says:

    Awesome job! When I ran my half I started out SLOOOOW. I did not want to run out of steam, around mile 8 I got a burst of energy and picked it up, and then slowed down around mile 11,as I started to feel like I was going to throw up:( I think I averaged 11 minute miles, so like I said, I ran slow, but it worked perfect for me!

  10. Sarah says:

    Just run faster at the end and don’t worry about it. That’s called having a negative split and it’s actually considered the ideal way to run a long race. You’re a natural runner!

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