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Richmond Marathon Training: Week 10 – With The Good Comes The Bad

Posted Sep 17 2013 3:27pm

Last week, on a long standing runner’s high,  I went ahead and signed myself up for a summer marathon .

But you know what they say about what goes up….

The last week of running has been less than stellar. While I did have some wonderful runs (early morning Brooklyn Bridge hill repeats! solo 13.1 mile run with 4 at MP!) this week was also pretty humbling for me. A good reminder that there will always be bad runs to balance out the good ones, and to make me appreciate those good ones that much more.

There were three particularly bad runs:


Thursday’s 3 miler. This was supposed to be 30-35 minutes with 4x100m strides. It ended up being 29:40 minutes.

I didn’t feel well at all during this run. I spent the entire day hungover from my one drink at the Oiselle NOLCHA Fashion Week after party. While there was no way I was running in the morning, I figured a post-work run might help me feel better.


Dori and Andy at Oiselle NOLCHA Fashion Week

I nursed this one drink all night and spent the next day completely hungover, egg-and-cheese style.

I had strange not-quite-side stitches/crampiness.. more like the top part of my rib, in front (not the same as my rib injury, which is in the muscles in between the ribs). It was also about a zillion percent humidity and crazy windy. I realized during the last mile that I better speed up or I’d get caught in a monsoon. Do despite my first two slow miles, my third was quick (and included the 100m strides).

When I have a range, I usually like to hit the top of my range (overachiever). But I knew halfway through this run that 30 minutes was the best I could do. And then I finished 20 seconds short of that.

I felt miserable the entire time, but once I was finished I was glad I got it done. Isn’t that always how it is?

Later that night…

Dori Larry couch

Butt to Face


Friday’s attempted 18 miler.  I only made it 6.47 miles.

Since Andy and I were going to his family near Boston for the weekend, and Saturday was Yom Kippur, I decided to do my long run Friday late afternoon. When it was slightly less Yom Kippur.

My plan called for 8 miles easy, 4 miles at Marathon Pace (MP)  effort, 6 miles easy. I planned to run the first 8 easy miles with Katherine up the West Side Highway and the last 10 with Margaret in Central Park. This way I could get some hills in. Thanks to living in Jersey City, I feel extremely under-prepared for hills.

Right from the start, I didn’t feel well. The same crampiness from the day before, but something more. The longer we ran, the worse I felt. At one point I told Katherine I didn’t think I’d be able to do my 4 middle miles at MP effort. A little later, I told her I’d probably stop running after the first 8 miles and just go home. But as the run went on I felt worse and worse.

I tried sipping my drink, but had no appetite for it. I tried eating a ShotBlok but the thought made me ill.

And I had the bubble.

The bubble that forced me to DNF the 2011 New York City Marathon at mile 18, after running with it since mile 9. The bubble that has not since made an appearance. The fluke. The thing I didn’t even consider might happen again, yet here it was.

I was in pain; I was having some minor, small dry heaves; I couldn’t take any fuel; I felt absolutely miserable. I texted Margaret and told her I wouldn’t be able to meet her.

I still thought I’d make it to 8 miles, but at mile 6 I threw in the towel. Katherine and I decided to turn around, head to the Columbus Circle subway and stop running once we got there.

Only I couldn’t make it there. We were maybe a block away from the West Side Highway when I had to stop running. I stood on the sidewalk, clenching my mouth shut, trying really hard not to throw up.

I was done.

Once that feeling passed I felt slightly better, and I continued walking to the subway. Other than a painful bout of hiccups an hour later, I was mostly fine aside from some pain and pressure and bubbliness.

The next morning, I felt fine and ran a strong 13 mile run alone. I ran miles 6-10 at MP effort — and I felt awesome. Strong. Really awesome. The only reason I didn’t go for the 18 was because I didn’t have time (I waited until it was light out to begin running so I could feel safe).

I don’t know what caused the pain on Friday night or how to prevent it; maybe it’s my breathing, maybe I swallowed air, maybe it’s my GI illness? I hope that having this happen now means it won’t happen at the marathon.

My long runs were so great up until that day that I was bound to have a bad one. It happens, and it made me appreciate the following day’s 13 that much more.


Yesterday’s 4 mile tempo + 30 sec intervals. This run technically happened this week, so it’s not on the recap below. But since it sucked, I’m going to include it.

My plan called for a 15 min warm up, 3-4 mile tempo, 3 mins rest 8 x 30 secs on, 1 min off, 10 min cooldown.  I decided to run this tempo at half marathon pace, since I have a half marathon coming up this weekend and I’d like to PR. I was hoping to maintain an 8:50 pace.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

After pushing really hard in the first tempo mile, feeling certain I was running at least below MP, my split flashed on my watch: 10:00.

Um, what the fuck. 10:00 should be my super-easy-not-even-trying pace. How could I have been huffing and puffing and killing myself for a ten minute mile? The other three weren’t much better. I struggled the entire time — both my neck and my rib injury pains decided make a comeback — and then I doubted my ability to PR at the Newport Half Maratho n this weekend — even though I achieved my current half marathon PR on far less training. And by far less I mean barely any.

So I *should* be able to beat my time on Sunday, but I’m seriously doubting if that will actually happen.

When the tempo portion was over I had 8×30 sec on, 1 min off. I felt much better during these 30 second bursts than I did the tempo miles, and most of my times were decent. Except the last two, which were above 9:00/mi. For 30 SECONDS.

Disheartening. I once ran a 6:53 mile during a 5K race. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying it because WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH ME.

I know everyone has off days and it’s not a big deal and blah blah. My point is: sometimes runs suck.

Now that we’re all in a cheerful mood, here’s how my training was last week:

Week 9: September 9 – September 15

  • Monday –15 min w.u. 8 x 2 min hill climb, rest is jog back down. 11 min c.d. (6 mi, 1:02)
  • TuesdayRefine Method
  • Wednesday - 50 mins easy + 4 x 100m strides (5.3ish mi – watch issues)
  • Thursday –29.40 mins with 4x100m strides (3 mi)
  • Friday – 6.47 mi (1:10:56)
  • Saturday - 6 miles easy, 4 miles @MP effort, 3 miles easy (13.1 miles – 2:10)
  • Sunday – OFF

Total: 34 miles

Running highlights this week: Attending the Oiselle NOLCHA Fashion Week Show (post  TK) and running with my new CamelBak Arc Quick Grip handheld bottle.  CamelBak sent this to me at no charge, so I’ll write a more in depth review in the very near future. For now, I will say it was truly a running highlight.

And so was this.

Dori and Lauren Fleshman at Oiselle NOLCHA after party

Hanging out with elite runner Lauren Fleshman. NBD.

 Do you struggle mentally over every bad run the way I do? Do you bounce back with the next great run?

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