run pretty run fast

a blog about running fast with style

Months in review: The good, the bad, and the ugly (not necessarily in that order)

September 1-7


So here’s the deal, I’m fairly certain I can catch this blog up (and by “catch up” I mean through December) with two painfully long posts.  For those of you that don’t want to wade through my lengthy and let’s be honest at times quite boring recap here’s the summary:

September:  Hood to Coast recovery and marathon peak/taper (did I ever mention I was training for a marathon?)

October: Apparently waking up the morning of your marathon with a sore throat and hives is not optimal for ones marathon performance and sometimes you still try and have to dropout.

November: Apparently learning your thyroid is lazy is also not optimal for any type of training.

December: Oh right I signed-up for a spring east coast marathon so I guess I should probs start training.

There ya go.  If you are a glutton for pain sit back and enjoy ride- you have been warned.

Monday, I know you are all expecting a rest day but for some reason I ran 7 and then another 2 with a lift (oh yeah I started lifting in the middle of training cycle- spoiler alert it does not last).  Since it is now January I have absolutely no idea why I did this, I know I was in Portland visiting the family.  I do know we visited one of my favorite places:

IMG_8680Where have all the bookstores gone?

And delicious coffee was also consumed:

IMG_8689And back to the running.

Tuesday was an easy 6 and Wednesday I was back at the track for some hot sweaty miles.

The plan was a 25 min tempo run with a 12 min jog back to the track and then 5 x 150m.  Now if you’ve followed along for a while you will know I like to over run my tempos and forget about the second part of the workout and to no one’s surprise I did it again.  I had to choose between two groups: 6:55 and 6:36.  I was set for 6:55 but the coach said I could handle 6:36… so here we go.

We started on the track and before I knew it we were over running the workout: 6:17, is that even my 5k pace?

I let the group go and settled in to a 6:29, so a little bit better.  I tried my best to settle some more and found 6:33.  Progress right?  And then I decided I just wanted to be done and I felt good so 6:25 effort isn’t that bad?  6:26 average pace which is practically 6:36 and by practically I mean not at all.  I gotta stop doing this to myself.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 5.05.18 PMI ended-up jogging back to the track alone since I backed off on pace and lost most of my group.  By the time I arrived back at the track everyone else was already 1-2 reps into their 150s.  Right there’s a part B to this workout.

The 150’s weren’t sooooo bad it’s just that distance runners don’t truly appreciate the sprinter’s recovery shuffle so our recovery was much, much, much shorter than I would prefer.  Live to run another day right?

Thursday I ran a ridiculously slow 5 mile recovery run and then about another 2 miles and a lift.

Since I missed my beloved Monday rest day I opted to take Friday off.  I really don’t like taking the day before a hard day off but I don’t like not taking a rest day more (confused?  I am.).

Saturday was marathon pacing run: 7 at marathon pace + 1 faster.  I wasn’t super excited about this workout but my other workouts had been going well so I figured I’d make it through one way or another.  I’m not going to lie it was ugly.  I mean crawl home and cry ugly.

The first 2 miles were not bad because they were mostly down hill: 6:41, 6:47.  The first mile had the biggest drop but truth be told we were over running it (surprising no one).  Most of the group was going 4 so they turned around leaving me with one guy who was on his easy run and pretty much felt bad that I was stuck running alone.  I made it through mile 3 in 6:50 (the pace I was aiming for) and then after about another half mile I stopped and pretty much wanted to walk home.

My poor new running partner didn’t know what to think.  I’m guessing he’d never just stopped in the middle of a tempo.  As I did my best to not burst in to tears I decided the heart rate had come down enough for me to give it go. 6:51, 6:52.  Solid.  And then breakdown number two.  Sweet.  More resting and holding back tears and the reality I had 3 more miles to go.


I am doing this to myself.

7:04, 7:08 and then rallied for a 6:54 (that was my fast mile haha).

Well they can’t all be pretty.

The worst part (okay the whole workout was the worst part) was to add insult to injury my 2 mile cool down was uphill.  At one point in Cowen Park I stopped and walked up the hill.  My new running bestie really didn’t know what to do with me now.

When we got back to the track my coach was surprised I was still out running, yep that much time had passed.

Not sure what happened but my legs were toast.  I think it was the lift after the hard day so yes just as quickly as I added strength training to my training cycle I cut it out.  Let’s all be honest I do dumb things… next training cycle right?

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 5.19.59 PM

So after a fairly disastrous tempo run what do I do on Sunday?  If you answered take a day off you clearly don’t read this blog often.  Nope I ran long.  Like long, long.

It was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest:

IMG_8719And a few friends joined me for the first 14 or so.  The final solo 6.3 were not my finest but I made it 3 hours and called it day/week.

Weekly mileage: 63.8


September 8-14

The week before taper!  WOOOOHOOOO!!!!

The universe restored it’s self to normal and I started the week off with 0 miles and a rest day (thank you Monday).

Tuesday I ran a very easy 8.2 miles:




And yes Wednesday I was back at the track hoping my legs would show-up.  Good news kids- they did.  Bad news, my group once again over ran the workout.


My plan had 6 x 1 mile at 6:35s which I guess was a mistake, the workout was supposed to be slower or a few weeks earlier.  Even though my coach told me this I still felt that stupid need to run what was written down on paper.  Yeah, I can see how stupid this is even as I type it now.

So after a warm-up our group started working through the miles.

The plan was 6 x 1 mile at about 6:45 pace with a 3 min recovery.  We started off pretty good at 6:43 but it didn’t last.  6:37, 6:25, 6:32, 6:28 and 6:11.  But they were magical.  They felt easy, even the 6:11.  You’d all be so very proud of me because I also backed-off the pace the group was running but clearly not 6:45.  I ran my 2 mile cool down and swore up and down again to stop over running workouts.  Oh the lies we tell ourselves.

Thursday I took it easy with 6 and then 8 on Friday and if you guessed tempo/marathon pacing on Saturday you win.

I’d been dreading this workout since I saw it on my schedule:  12 miles at marathon pace.  I’ve done this workout on two other occasions, last training cycle I opted to race to get out of it. It’s just a lot of miles (I know most obvious statement ever).  To make matters worse no one else had this workout so I was on my own.  Lucky for me a friend was going to join me for part of it.  We weren’t sure about timing so the plan was for me to run a few miles on the track and then when she got there we’d make a break for the GL.

After 23 laps (yep) my friend joined me and I was more than happy for the company.  I wasn’t really looking at pace for most of the workout.  I’d planned on running around 7:10-15 pace for the first 5 or 6 miles and then maybe 7:05-7:10.  I won’t bore you with the play by-play (but the details are below).  Overall it was one of my best workouts of the cycle and I was able to keep my heart rate right at 85% effort (marathon effort) (my first few miles were not that fast- I was on the track and it likes to measure miles generously- mile 6 was faster but the GPS doesn’t like the hill).

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 5.52.53 PM

With a 3 mile warm-up and cool down I was in for 18 and happy for some recovery miles (11 of them) on Sunday.

While my workouts were good this week the one troubling thing was that my recovery day runs were a good 45 seconds slower per mile than normal.  I figured it was from the hard days but it was a bit concerning.  But we taper now so all running sins are forgiven, right?

Weekly mileage: 60.1


September 15-21


Monday 0 miles run, Tuesday an easy (and still slow) 8 miles and Wednesday back at the track for some 800s- 9 of them with 2 mins recovery.  I was supposed to run 3:05-6 and I was a little, little bit fast but they felt comfortable.  My friend ran the first 5 or 6 of them with me and I finished up on my own.  While I felt relaxed during them and recovered quickly aerobically my legs started to feel like they were cramping which had never happened before, seemed odd at the time but I didn’t think much of it.  The details:  3:05, 3:03, 3:03, 3:04, 3:04, 3:04, 3:05, 3:04, and 3:04… that’s 9 right?

Thursday‘s 45 min recovery run felt better than the previous week’s run so that has to be good news right?


Not so fast, my 8 on Friday was a good 45 seconds per mile slower than normal.  Clearly my Garmin is broken.

Saturday we tempo and this week we revisit the horrid workout from early September: 7+1.  Yay?  For once in my life I made 8 good life choices and stuck to my training pace plan:

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 7.58.13 PM

The miles are little funny since I was using the GL markers to make sure my Garmin wasn’t lying and for the most part it was truthful.  I settled in to low 7s then high 6s and finished the last mile not too fast in 6:38.  I know I can’t believe it either.

Sunday I closed the week out with an easy (and flat) 11 miler.  My legs were feeling okay but not amazing.

Weekly mileage: 53.2


September 22-28

Real taper and 0 miles Monday.   Tuesday 4 miles, 4 I know 4!  Now I know you’re thinking Wednesday track but I guess the coach thought I needed more rest so only 9 miles easy.  I’d been looking forward to this run all week and my legs were feeling great however my heart rate was ridiculously high.  I kept having to slow down which was a bit frustrating and slightly concerning that the HR was so high but guess I needed the break.

Thursday I ran 6 and took an extra day off on Friday.



Saturday was the second to last workout before the marathon and I was determined to take it easy.  The plan was a 5 + 1.  5 at marathon pace with the last mile faster.  The workout felt like crap.  There’s no other way to describe it.  To make matters worse my HR was still stupid high.  I tried to back off but it was frustrating.  I was running the same pace I’d run the 12 mile workout and my HR was 10 beats higher.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.12.03 PM

My workouts during taper tend to be less than amazing but the thing that was concerning was the HR.  I felt like I might be fighting a bug off since pretty much everyone at my work had been sick but I didn’t feel bad so I just put it behind me and got the last 10 mile LR in on Sunday.

Weekly mileage: 39.7


September 29 –  October 5


Finally!  Monday 0 miles, Tuesday 5 and Wednesday the final workout: 4+1 and it felt amazing.  I floated through the first 4 and ran strong for the last mile and felt ready for this little marathon on Sunday.

(the details)

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.18.15 PM

Thursday was an easy 4, Friday rest, 4 mile shakeout Saturday and Sunday we race!

The only slight problem on Sunday was I woke-up after a restless night of sleep with a sore throat and nice little case of hives.  Deep sigh and deeper denial.  I managed to talk myself to the start line but by mile 3 I wasn’t sweating (which is bad news) and my heart rate was climbing.  By mile 6 I was dizzy.  Luckily I spotted a friend on the course and we ran for a few miles.  My plan was to back-off and just finish but things just kept going south and dropped out.

Was I disappointed?  Sure.  Was it the right choice, no doubt and let’s be honest, there are lots of other races to be run and I’m okay with it.

Weekly mileage: 32.1 ish


October 6-12

Ugh now what!?!  Well besides being sick.  I had no desire to “preserve” my training and try another race.  I’d had a fun racing season and was ready for a break.  I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was off.  I’d a had a few bad workouts but what was more concerning was how slow my recovery runs were during the last month.  So took the entire week off (from running not life) and scheduled a Dr apt to check my iron.

Weekly mileage: 0!


October 13-19

The plan this week was to start running again easy- super easy.  Monday I ran the easiest 3.5 just to get the legs moving.  Since I hadn’t run the whole 26.2 my legs shouldn’t need a lot of recovery but I still wanted to take some downtime (look at all these good life choices).  The view was okay.


I took Tuesday off, ran 4 on Wednesday and it would appear that fall had finally arrived:


I took more rest days: Thursday and Friday (all the good life choices).  Saturday was an easy 4 and Sunday was the most amazing sunrise however the 6.5 miles about killed me.  I spent the rest of the day sleeping like I’d run a marathon.


I got my lab results back this week and the good news is that my iron is awesome.  However my thyroid was not so awesome and my doc wants me on medication.  Sweet.  My thyroid and I have a bit of rocky relationship.  It tried to kill me when I was 16.  Okay- I’m being a bit dramatic but I did have thyroid tissue cancer and while it was easily removed my thyroid has been closely monitored since the 90s.  Lucky gal.  Since my doc didn’t like these most recent numbers she put me on meds temporarily.  The good news is it explains several symptoms including the weird fatigue.

Sweet.  So how am I supposed to run this marathon I signed-up for in April?

Weekly mileage: 18.1

October 20-26

I spent the week mostly lost not really sure what to do with my training.  My doc said I could still run but I’d just feel fatigued.

I ran 3.1 on Monday, 2.1 on Tuesday, rested Wednesday, lifted Thursday, rested Friday and for some stupid reason ran 9 on Saturday which meant I slept most of Sunday.

Weekly mileage: 14.2


October 27- November 2

This week started off like the last- fairly lost.  I realized I needed some sort of plan or I was going to drive myself or those around me nuts (sorry to every person in my life).

I managed to get a few more runs in:  Monday 5.3, Tuesday 4.1, Wednesday 4.1, Thursday 0, Friday 5, Saturday 5.0 and Sunday 0.  And the new view:



Yeah.  It’s dark all the time now.

More importantly I created a fancy spread sheet (color coded and all) for my training through this upcoming April.  Not sure how it was all going to come together but at least I have some sort of direction.  But since this blog post is stupid long the new plan will have to wait until the next post.

November and December to go!  Woohoo!

Okay- bad at conclusions… until next time.



2 comments on “Months in review: The good, the bad, and the ugly (not necessarily in that order)

  1. Paige
    January 19, 2015

    Yeah- you’re back! 🙂 I’ve missed you and your fun blog posts! Sorry to hear about your challenges but you have the right attitude and sense of humor to get you through to the next race. Hope to see you soon!

    • robyn
      January 22, 2015

      Miss you friend! We need to get together!

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2015 by in Week in Review and tagged , , , , , , , .
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