Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On to Erie

Kathryn here for what has apparently become my typical quarterly check in. Honestly, I really miss blogging and hope I can kick start myself into it again. When you have a very demanding day job that is writing based, it is hard to come home and get excited about writing some more.

But I digress.

So, what am I up to? What a silly question! I'm training for a marathon, of course. To be more specific, the Erie Marathon on September 13th.

Why Erie? Well, after the initial elation of qualifying for Boston in March, I've become more and more paranoid that my time just isn't quite fast enough to guarantee entry. It's really hard to explain to people that yes, I qualified for Boston but no, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to get to run. The more people I had to try to explain this to, the more worried I became that come registration day, here would be no slots left for people who beat their time by a mere 1 minute and 20 seconds.

What's more, Kit also has Boston on the brain and is determined to qualify for 2016. He helped me get there during the winter training cycle and now I'm determined to help him get his BQ. Erie is known for its high percentage of Boston qualifiers and is the last marathon within the window for 2016.

It took me a while to be convinced to go for it... mainly because a September marathon means running our highest mileage weeks during the oppressive heat and humidity of a central Virginia August. Doesn't sound like much fun to me... but then again, if we can successfully do that, Erie is going to feel like a relative run in the park.

Now here I am, sitting 4 weeks into what has so far been a brutal training cycle. June has been unusually hot and humid for us, leading to some miserable miles. I'm following the Run Less, Run Faster plan, which calls for some very demanding paces for speed work and tempo runs. On MTT Saturdays, Kit and I have to arrive early to add on mileage because we are two full months ahead of the training schedule for the Richmond Marathon... and we also run the majority of our miles at race pace.

Per usual, I've been fighting the ongoing and seemingly never ending battle with my SI and piriformis. In May, I tried active chiropractic therapy - a combination of PT, chiropractic adjustments, active release therapy, and graston technique. I'm honestly not sure if it helped or not. At the moment I'm suffering from a pretty severe flare up, so I'm probably in a more skeptical mood now than if I had been writing this a few days ago. At this point, I'm almost willing to try voodoo if I thought it would actually help.

Despite that and the less than desirable weather, I think I'm making some real progress in speed and acclimating to the humidity and heat. This past Sunday we ran 14 miles at a 7:54 average. Speed work intervals are hovering around 6:30 pace, tempos in the 7:15 range. Eights are now a conversational pace and 8:15s are "taking it easy." Every run has a purpose and is challenging - and it shows.

Unlike the winter/spring training season, I'm actually doing my cross training this time. Swimming is my go to at the moment and getting in a mile is comfortable again. I'm mixing things up by using a pool buoy and kick board, trying to break up the monotony of freestyle. Last week I tried aqua jogging for he first time and the two words that I can use to describe that experience are "frustrating" and "exhausting." It's very odd to "run" as fast as you can yet go pretty much nowhere. But it was a nice change from swimming laps, so I'm thinking of adding the class in once a week.

It hasn't been all serious though. There have been fun group runs, trail runs, a 10k PR, and plenty of stupidly smiley photos that are making people wonder if I am in fact putting forth effort.

Monthly Trail Run
Photo credit Jesse Peters

Monthly Trail Run
Photo credit Jesse Peters

Stratford Hills 10k PR
As Kit said on Monday, when I was so exhausted after Sunday's 14 miler and speed work on Monday morning that I went to bed at 8:00 pm, "Training hard is hard."

Yep. It's true. But it also feels good to push myself and see results.

So there you have it. Nothing much has changed in my corner of the world - still here, still running.

Erie Marathon Training Stats, Weeks 1 - 4
Miles so far: 122.5
STLY: 133.75 (hmm... interesting!)


  1. Ok lady we NEED to start running together over the weekend. I need a buddy for these 16+ milers and you sound like the perfect pace for me. Kudos to you for going for yet another marathon!

    1. Did you sign on for MTT? We'd love to have you on Team Lemon. You'd fit right in beautifully!