race week kickoff

December 7, 2009

a running story, part 6
i am in the home stretch of training for the thunder road marathon this saturday! since i have running on the brain, i figure that this week would be a great time to finish up my running story series. i also plan on discussing:

★ thoughts on running + nutrition
★ future race goals
★ my marathon playlist
★ running inspiration

previous installments of the series:

part 1: the high school years
part 2: college baby steps
part 3: taking it outside
part 4: josh and learning to race
part 5: my first 26.2

anyway, back to our story! we left off in 2005 after i had just completed my first marathon on fairly minimal training. i had a (surprisingly!) great race, and pretty much the second it ended, i was already plotting my attack on another race. i had done the ‘finishing’ thing, but i wanted to really RACE my next marathon.

i figured that a “real” training plan would be the key to taking off tons of time. dreams of a boston-qualifying race were already starting to crystallize, even though my first race time was 20 minutes too slow. i started combing the forums on runners world for tips.

one word kept coming up again and again, and that was “pfitz.” people would write about “pfitzing” like it was a verb, and those people sounded like they knew what they were talking about, at least when it came to running. i eventually figured out that they were all referring to the plans in this book, written by pete pfitzinger, an olympic distance runner.

it took me about 3 seconds to decide to use a pfitzinger plan for my next marathon. i decided on the philadelphia marathon, held 6 months after my first race (after all, there is no time to WASTE in marathon training, right!?). i began building my mileage up to the suggested 35-40 miles per week, and started the plan right on schedule 18 weeks prior to the race.

the program was hard and tiring, but i did start to feel like my endurance was improving. a 10 mile run seemed like a fairly routine thing to be doing on a weekday, and i crammed in runs before going into lab on a regular basis (i was in my science phase back then).

other than the long runs, i did almost every run on the treadmill. at the time, we didn’t live in a running-friendly area, and it was just the easiest way to go about things. it also seemed ‘scientific’, because i could choose my specific pace and run the mileage exactly. i did turn the incline up to 0.5% to compensate for the decreased wind resistance, and figured that i’d get enough outdoor experience on the long runs.

as race day drew near, i felt very confident in my endurance, and was ready to run 26.2 miles. however, despite following the plans very faithfully, i didn’t feel like i had really gained much in terms of speed. and as it turns out, i was right. even though i had gone through a real training cycle — “PFITZING” to boot — i ran my second marathon just 5 minutes faster than the first race that i essentially ran on a whim.

and, much to my dismay, the distance didn’t feel any easier with proper preparation. josh joined me for the last few miles and i have told him multiple times since that i hope i’m tougher when i’m in labor someday. my time was something like 3:56, and i’ll admit it — i was disappointed. to be continued . . .

an exciting day!
yes, december 7 is exciting. because it’s the first day of the first dated week of my new 2010 planner! ahhhhhh i love all the blank space. i’ll probably fill up most of it with lists + info by the time the week is through.

are you set with yours yet? if not, don’t forget about this giveaway!

fashion monday?
i suppose there is no reason to limit pretty pictures to friday, right? after all, most of us could probably use the pick-me-up today. my latest anthropologie wants are priced to move (well, at least as anthro prices go):

torsade tee, $48

saturation point heels, $88



workout: 45 minutes on the elliptical, levels 9-12, while reading runner’s world and dreaming about my race

doin’ time: chicken stir-fry in lettuce wraps, served with brown rice. i always love how martha does asian: simple but GOOD.