MCM Training: Week 1 and 2 Recap

Sorry y’all, I’ve been slacking on my blogging about training lately. Thankfully, my running hasn’t been slacking!

Training for the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon officially kicked off for us on June 20th. For previous marathons, we’ve both followed Hal Higdon’s Novice plans (1 and 2). This time, however, we wanted to increase our mileage a bit and really come in under 5 hours. So, we’re both doing Intermediate, which calls for five days of running. The midweek stuff is fine, no real differences there. But running both Saturday AND Sunday, that’s a huge chance. Sundays were our days to kick back, sleep in, relax, and get ready for the week. Now we basically have to wake up early every day. Sucks.

Week 1 was good, actually some cool weather in the mornings, which was nice. We even managed to go out Friday and Saturday night and still hit our runs. Woohoo!

Week 2 was a bit warmer, but still not bad. Already up to a weekend of five and eleven miles, so this plan definitely ramps up quickly. But we’ve been running a lot, including two half marathons in the first part of the year, so we’ve been consistently going 8-12 miles every weekend.

This weekend we also undertook our first semi-serious DIY project around the house. Our pantry (and all closets) have these awful wire shelves, which I hate. I’ve wanted to get rid of them since we moved in, but never got around to it. So on Saturday (after our five milers) we went to Home Depot and bought everything we would need. The project spilled into Sunday (after eleven miles), but we finally finished it all up around 4PM. We were exhausted! But it looks great, so we’re happy with the outcome.

Week 3 has begun, and so has the heat. Not looking forward to those terrible runs when it’s so hot and humid you can barely breath and want to die after five miles.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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33 Laps

I swam a decent amount (for me) in 2014 as I was preparing for my first triathlon. A total of 36 swims, actually. My longest swim session was 1700 yards, but the longest actual swim was probably 600 yards. After that year, I swam…..once. One single time, in 2015, for about 900 total yards. After that single time in ’15, I didn’t swim again until a few weeks ago. Yikes!

Since I started back up again, I’ve been following the stupid simple plan from this site. It helps you build up to a mile. Last time I swam more than once, I made it up to week four, where you go 600 yards in a straight shot before some intervals. This time, I wasn’t really following the plan in a strict sense, but I was generally following portions of it. I’d swim the workout, then swim 450 yards in a straight shot. I was feeling pretty good about things!

Monday morning, I went to the pool and decided that rather than following the plan, I was just going to swim and see how far I could go. I figured I’d go 800, maybe 900 yards. A straight thousand would be awesome. When it was all said and done, I hit 1650 yards. A full swimmer’s mile! Just over an Olympic distance swim, a bit short of a half ironman.

Sure, it wasn’t fast at all. My total time was 39:XX, which is pretty dang slow for a pool swim. But that’s fine; speed will come. It’s the fact that I could go for about 40 minutes and cover that distance. That gives me some confidence in a sprint tri, where I’ll be swimming a much, much shorter distance (the one I’m targeting in June is a quarter mile, or about 440 yards). I’ll need to work on open water swimming, but being able to go 3x farther than necessary has to help.

Very happy crossing that milestone! Onto the next one (sub-2:00 100s).

Weekly Recap: May 15th – 21st

Another decent base week. The weather has been surprisingly awesome around here. Usually by this time of the year, it’s an inferno outside. The humidity comes later, but it’s typically in the 80s every day, and only getting to the low 60s at night. This year, it’s been much more pleasant, which has been great for running!

I also managed to get in two bikes during the week. The first was a 3 min x 3 session, and the other was 20 second sprints with two minutes of recovery. My butt still hurts a ton once I get to about 30-40 minutes though, which I need to fix. No way could I do an Olympic of 70.3/140.6 if my body hates me after 30 minutes. Not sure if it’s my saddle, my cycling shorts (they’re Pearl Izumi, so not some off-brand stuff!) or just my fit. I know my fit is pretty bad and I need to get it checked/reset…

We moved the long-ish run to Sunday, since we knew Saturday would be a recovery day from BBQ Fest. For those that don’t know, for one glorious week in May, Tome Lee Park in downtown Memphis turns into the mecca for BBQ: Memphis In May World Championship BBQ Cooking Competition (phew, that’s a mouthful). Here, everyone just calls it BBQ Fest. Basically, teams compete in three main categories (Ribs, Shoulder, Whole Hog) and a host of ancillaries (i.e. sauce, seafood, anything-but, etc.) to see who is the best pitmaster. Each team has a tent that serves as home base, where they cook, eat, relax, and party. Some teams take it more seriously than others….you could have one tent that has lots of trophies and is empty at night except for the guys watching the smoker, while the tent next door has a massive party going on. Our tent straddles the two, with a pretty good party scene but also some great food! Check out our tent (the honored country this year was Colombia…and you’d be amazed how many teams misspelled that!) and some of the shoulders while they were prepped/smoked:

As you can see by the picture of the tent, these aren’t some little Coleman tents. Our is two stories tall, has full plumbing and electric, a DJ booth, a bar, a solid floor (we build ours up a few feet in the air so we get an awesome river view), and of course the kitchen in the back. After dinner, the music starts and the tables are moved away and everyone dances until it’s time to go!

It was a great year, and we came in third for best booth! Since I joined the team in 2012, we’ve been in the top three for all but one year. It’s a ton of fun, great food, and the people watching is fantastic. I highly recommend a visit.

Weekly Recap: 5/1-5/7

The week post-Louisville (race report here) was pretty easy. We decided to take it nice and easy as we tried to revel in our new PRs and accomplishing a goal I set out to achieve nearly six years ago. Just a few easy weekday runs and 8 miles on Saturday. It’s getting hot already!

Weekly recap for 5/1 – 5/7

Friday morning I actually went to the pool and got in a swim. Now, this is the first time I’ve swam since June of 2015! And that was a single time; previously it was summer of 2014 shortly after my only triathlon. So yeah….second time swimming in three years. And shockingly, I didn’t drown. It was a decent swim all things considered: 4×100, 4×50, 4×25 and then a 450 yard straight swim.

Saturday after our run, it was time to hit up Memphis in May’s Music Fest, a three-day concert held at Tom Lee Park. We only had tickets for Saturday, since all I really wanted to see was Silversun Pickups. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS night out for it:

Sunday I got in a bit of a ride. Actually, it was the longest I’ve ever ridden outside (apparently my records don’t last long), just shy of 18 miles.

I head straight towards the river to see how high it’s gotten (we are a bit over flood stage at the moment):

Yup, pretty high!

Afterwards, it was time for some brunch at the pub

And with that, another week in the books!

Weekly Recap: 4/17 – 4/23

Another solid week of training, including taper for the Kentucky Derby half marathon. I slightly increased my Wednesday medium run to be six miles, as I want to get out of the 4/5/4 or 5/5/5 rut. Time to start taking those to be a bit longer!

Weekly recap for 4/17 – 4/23

Tuesday is typically my speed work day. Since it was the week before a race, I did an easy 3 mile goal pace run, totaling five miles. I’ve been doing this workout often during this training cycle, and I’m hoping it’ll help come race day and my goal of sub-2.

Of course, the weather might have other ideas. The current forecast is a low of 72 and high of 89. That’s not gonna be fun, and the back half is mostly uphill. Yikes!

Our Saturday run got wiped out in the rain, so we moved it to Sunday instead. I know we better get used to Sunday runs since it’s part of my training plan for MCM and Dopey, but it still sucks. Just feels like everything is off. Without a run to do Saturday, I was able to whip up a little feast!

My feast!

Asian-spiced shrimp with a parmesan risotto and an onion & brussel sprouts mix in a soy glaze. Delightful! The meal was completed by some wedding cake, which, after a year, is surprisingly still delicious!

It’s race week, so keeping things nice and easy for the taper. We will head up to Louisville on Friday and we’ve got a fun post-race weekend planned.