Marathon Training Week 11: The Big 4-0!

Weekly Summary 3/2/15 to 3/8/15

This was a great-super-fantastic week in that I got to take a mini-break to New Orleans with Hubby, and we had an awesome time. Loved loved loved the city. But, training-wise I’m a little bummed. I had had such a great training week the week prior – I had exceeded my long run goals, finally picked up my cross-training, and had really stuck to my diet, even seeing the needle move accordingly…then New Orleans.

Not only did I do almost zero cross-training, unless you count hours of walking around the French Quarter, Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, I also slipped – nay, took a running start and leaped – off my diet. There was sugar, bacon, cheese, and breading. It was scandalous. I came back with my running shorts having that shrunk-in-the–dryer fit. At any rate, it’s about eleven weeks out until the marathon, and there are no other mini-breaks planned, so it should be foot to the gas from here on out. No excuses!

bacon     Praline bacon at Elizabeth’s Restaurant!

My weight wasn’t the only big number I hit this weekend. I also ran my longest long run in this, or any, cycle – 20 miles. And I hit another milestone, which is the 40-mile running week. I would have loved to have hit a 50-mile week this cycle, but it looks like I’ll top out at 48. No matter, 20 and 40 are big friggin’ deals.

The 20-miler was just as awful as I remembered they were, and the extra puffiness and the fact that instead of having a rest day the day before, I had run 6 miles, didn’t help. It started out well enough though, and the first 8 miles were comfortable. Then one of my faster-paced friends joined me for my 7 MP miles. I felt great, and I easily hit my 9:55 MP: 9:17, 9:28, 9:25, 9:10, 10:31 (forgot to turn off my timer when I stopped to chat), 9:13, and 9:23. Again, I went by feel rather than checkity-check-checking my Garmin and tried to keep it at comfortably-uncomfortable pace. I’m sure these paces will slow down as I add more MP miles. In fact, even on this run, hubris and heat caught up with me at the last MP mile, and even though I still ran a pretty perky pace, it was also kinda brutal. And, true to form, the last two miles of the run were harder than the first 15 combined. Sun beating down, legs full of lead, constantly talking myself into putting one foot in front of the other. Oh, how I’ve missed you, 20-miler.

Hitting forty miles this week also made me think about hitting forty years of age seven years ago. Part of the reason I started this blog was thinking that maybe someone my age would be inspired to get up and start moving. Facebook and frequent contact with people of all ages has given me the opportunity to see what my peers are up to, and frankly, sometimes it freaks me out.

My friends think I’m nuts for continuing to be this active, and I don’t mean just physically, but also mentally. Many of them are suffering chronic health issues, look pretty out of shape, and even just…bored. Look, I’m not saying everyone has to go out and run a marathon, but I look at a lot of my friends my age, and it looks like they’ve given up. Like they keep talking about the past as if there’s nothing to look forward to and their best years are behind them. What?!?

My experience is decidedly different. I pretty much coasted in my 30s, and only started getting active again in my forties after coming to terms with my competitiveness and achievement-junkieism. Once I got those fairly right-sized, I put myself out there again, and what a decade it’s been. After turning 40, I hiked into Machu Picchu, spent the night in a volcano, traversed across a glacier and into a crevasse, obtained a black belt in taekwondo, got a master’s degree, and have run five marathons and over a dozen half marathons. Further, I have a list of things I want to do after I reach my marathon goal, which includes everything from getting my second degree black belt to becoming conversational in French. Maybe law school. I don’t know. The point is…I’m totally excited!

banff                                          csun

Some of it I can take credit for – after all, I put in the footwork. But I also come from a family where my grandfather got his MBA after turning 70; my father continues to do consulting work and mentor students into his 70s; my mother is active in church, volunteering, karaokeing and gardening into her 70s; and my brother competes in jujitsu tournaments in Southeast Asia against guys half his age. I guess you could say that I’ve had the benefit of having majorly inspiring role models and was shown (and continue to be shown) that age really is just a number. I’m pretty fucking lucky.

So, as I enter a 42-mile week, I am ready for the challenge, and excited to see what comes next. The best is yet to come, my friends.

Have a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 40
Long run: 20 miles; 7 miles at MP (sub-9:55)
Cross-training: Walking in NOLA

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