NJ Marathon training: Week 9-14

I can’t believe it’s April! 4 weeks from yesterday is the NJ Marathon! This training cycle has flown by. The past 6 weeks I’ve put in a lot of work and I am ready to conquer this thing! These weeks haven’t been easy though. I cursed myself when I said I hadn’t missed a single workout in this training cycle. Weeks 9-14 brought some challenges, both mentally and physically. I missed some runs here and there, but I still beat my brother in our monthly mileage challenge 🙂 Here’s a week by week:
WEEK 9– cutback and chill week. I headed to Atlanta to see the family and spend some time in warmer weather. Matt and I ran 10 miles, two loops of Stone Mountain Park. It was SO hilly. It was a nice change of scenery but THOSE HILLS! Up to that point this was the hardest run of this training cycle.
WEEK 10– I didn’t feel great the first part of the week. One day I couldn’t get out of bed to save my life, so instead of going to a class I did the 7 Minute Workout. (Try it, I love it!) Sunday was my second 18 miler. It was REALLY cold. I was happy to have the company of Dori, as I accompanied her on her 20 miler while I did 18.  We ran along the WSH and did some loops of park. I wasn’t stoked about more hills in the park after the hills of Atlanta, but we avoided Harlem so it wasn’t too bad. Overall the run was really nice and I was super happy to finish with the last 3 stronger (faster) than the rest! After this run I was feeling so good about completing 2 18-milers and excited to do my first 20!
WEEK 11– Tuesday. Class at the gym. Squats. Deadlifts. Lunges. then, OUCH! I was hit with a lower back pain I have felt before. It wasn’t terrible and I was confident I caught it before it could have been really bad. I left class, foam rolled, stretched. (Should have iced it!) Woke up feeling pretty stiff Wednesday but ran anyways. Probably not the smartest move. It was a tempo run and I just couldn’t hit the paces I wanted. The pain got worse and worse throughout the day. I had a hard time sleeping Wednesday night thus I skipped Thursday’s run. I did LOTS of stretching. Like I was even on the floor at work stretching. (NOTE: I do not know WHY I didn’t go to PT immediately. I love it there but tend to avoid it when I need it. Dumb). Saturday I decided to try and run again and did 3 VERY slow miles. I could not comfortably run under a 10:15 pace. This was not good. This of course meant I was going to miss my 20 mile run. I got SO upset. Then I kept telling myself, “You don’t have to run for 3 hours in the freezing cold. Be happy about this!” but I just wasn’t. I really wanted to sweat so ended up at Flywheel for the first time in years. It was fun but it was NOT running 20 miles. Again, how crazy am I that I really wanted to run 20 miles?! I guess I know I’m in the right sport!
WEEK 12– Monday I finally went to PT. Kathleen has magical hands! Seriously, she worked on me for 30 minutes and when I stood up I was a whole new person! It wasn’t just my hips out of alignment, but my sacrum. It was all super wonky. It was really incredible and I was SO happy I would be able to run again! Tuesday was the lovely snow of early spring (that’s sarcasm). I’m over it, and so over it not getting above 45 degrees, but Willett loves the snow so it’s fun!
I was very careful walking in this snow as I did not want to risk slipping and landing on my butt! Wednesday I was ready to run again (per Kathleen) and took it to the treadmill! It was utterly boring but I ran 4 miles around a 9:30 pace. This was also NYC Half week which meant very busy and long work days. I’d move my long run to Friday from Sunday and I was scheduled to run 13. Kathleen and I decided to go for 8 and 10 if it felt good. 10 it was!
Jose and I saw Juan at the finish line. It’s so fun seeing the runners excited as they finish! I was also able to see both Matt and Ben finish. It was awesome having my brothers in town and experiencing the race! After the race it was nap or a 4 mile run. I took the latter but again took it to the treadmill. I’d been in Central Park and outside all morning and just couldn’t go back!
WEEK 13– So what’s missing from this training cycle that I did while training for NYC? Pilates! Ugh. I LOVE it but it’s an expensive habit, BUT it saves my body. It keeps me strong and more importantly it keeps me aligned! I’ve committed to going one to two days a week through the rest of training. I’m back at a downtown studio I love, Plank Pilates. I finally got back outside on Tuesday and it felt SO good. After being extremely dramatic with myself in hurting by back, I really only missed one long run and one easy run. Whew! I am grateful as it could have been MUCH worse. So here I am less than two weeks later and it’s time for another 20 mile run. The Queens Marathon Tune-Up! It was great to have new scenery. The course was twisty with many, many turns. We did 3 loops that included lots of puddle jumping. It was so cold at the start it took me about 3 miles to be able to feel my fingers and toes again. Still, I was so happy to be running! I was even able to push it on the last two miles and ran them in 8:34 each. This run gave me tons of confidence! I’m back, I’m back!
SO HAPPY running with Caitlin!
WEEK 14– Started the week off right with pilates. I had a tempo run with three 1-mile repeats (7:48!) Again I’m feeling SO strong! I had an easy 6 Thursday, pilates again Friday, and an easy 6 miles Saturday (treadmill again!) before we left for Washington DC to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. It was our 3rd year doing the race. With the course shortened the first year, and the winds totally out of control last year, we were really hoping third time would be a charm. It was! Our AirBNB house was amazing and we had a delicious dinner Saturday night. Sunday morning I headed out around 6:30am to get in 5 miles before the race started at 7:30am. It was a beautiful morning and the Cherry Blossoms were even still blooming! I ran to the Capitol and around the Mall area finishing my 5 miles just before the start. The race was great. It’s always a bit crowded but it was really pleasant. I raced it last year so it was nice to relax and take in the scenery. 6 miles Saturday and 15 miles Sunday left me tired and hungry! I devoured a delicious brunch and literally ate all day long.
Perfect day! So ready to crush these last 4 weeks of training. Here we go!

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