I did it! I survived marathon training while on vacation! Even though I like to run in new places, I haven’t done well with dedicated training while on vacation in the past, so I’m proud that I did so well this time. I did skip one run—the first run I’ve skipped in 9 weeks of training—but otherwise got all my runs in. And it never felt like a chore. It felt wonderful to run on such cool mornings, and I’d planned routes to run in advance. The one run I skipped was because one of my planned routes didn’t work out, so planning routes really does help.
Here’s how the week went down! To those who follow me on Instagram, sorry for the duplication of some photos.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Indiana Veteran’s Marathon near Pittsburgh on November 6 using a version of the Hanson’s Marathon Method beginner plan customized by a Hanson’s coach
- Days running: 5
- Miles this week: 31.27
- Miles this training cycle: 220.41
- Miles in August: 136.65
- Miles this year: 938.45
Easy run: 4.5 miles (61 degrees)
Following my half-marathon on Saturday, we spent Sunday early afternoon walking all around Portland and the afternoon and evening at a music festival. Whew! Have you ever been to a music festival? It’s rough going. There were only two bands I wanted to see, but Dave wanted to get there earlier to spend time with his friends who were going to be there. I imagined a relaxing night sitting around and sipping cold ciders, but that’s not at all what it was like. There wasn’t a single chair in the whole place, and the limited lawn was taken by others camped out. There were two stages, with a five-minute window between bands, so that there was a stampede of people running from one stage to the other. I ended up getting separated from Dave and his friends, unwillingly spending time with a number of crazies who seemed to seek me out, and nearly falling asleep on my feet during the final act, Tame Impala. They put on an awesome show but I couldn’t enjoy it fully because I was dead tired. And then we had to walk up to our condo after it was over. We.were.BEAT. So I was very happy to have a short, easy run Monday morning. I ran along Portland’s riverfront. It was cool but sunny. I love that the evenings get so cold in the Pacific Northwest, and even when it’s sunny and in the 80s, it feels so much cooler because there’s no humidity. My eyes were really opened on how much humidity affects how it feels.
We were happy to spend the rest of the day driving to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, about a 5.5-hour drive from Portland.
Speed Workout: 6 miles (61 degrees)
I did this fartlek run along small but scenic Fernan Lake. The scenery made it a great run, and I had no problem hitting my 5K pace for time intervals.
We explored Coeur D’Alene a bit before continuing our drive to Glacier National Park, another 4 hours away.
Easy run: 4 miles (52 degrees)
We rented a house just minutes from the park entrance. From the house to the main road was 1 mile, which I used as my warm-up. I was delighted to find a 5-mile bike path through the woods right after my warm-up, so I enjoyed running on that.
We did a 7-mile hike that day, the first 3.6 miles of which were straight up to the top of a mountain. Both of us were completely beat after this hike.
Failed run: .67 miles
I had an 8-mile run scheduled with 6 at goal marathon pace. That didn’t happen. Because I needed a longer route, I planned to run on a level trail along Lake McDonald (in the above photo), close to the park entrance. When I woke up Thursday morning I could barely move. I was exhausted. But I didn’t want to skip a run so got in my car and drove to the trail. But I couldn’t find it! Glacier is not well marked at all, unlike most national parks. I ended up at a campground and asked the ranger how to get to the trail. She gave me directions, but I still couldn’t find it. Finally I decided to just start running on another trail I found, but I soon realized it was very hilly, and I was in no shape to run 8 tempo miles on hills. Plus, I had gotten such a late start from sleeping in a bit and then not being able to find the trail. So I called it before I even got to a mile.
We were so tired that we spent most of the day driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which has a lot of places to stop and see the amazing sites along the road. We then decided to do a shorter 3-mile hike to Hidden Lake later in the day. It was a really cool hike with great views of a mountain lake, and we also had a close encounter with three mountain goats that ran out right in front of us.
Tempo run: 6.1 miles (52 degrees)
This was my 43rd birthday! And I woke up to rain. But it was actually nice to have an excuse to lie around in bed and wait for the rain to stop before heading out. Usually I don’t mind running in the rain, but it was a very chilly 45 degrees when I woke up, and I hadn’t brought clothes for it being that cold.
I had easy miles scheduled, but I decided to make up part of Thursday’s missed run and ran 4 at goal marathon pace. I used the 5-mile bike path for this run since I knew where it was, but it wasn’t ideal. This was the sign at the entrance to the path.
When I ran on it the first time, I didn’t go too far and the path was close to park headquarters and the roads. But farther along the trail, it went more into the woods, and I was scared of bears. The guidance on what to do if you encounter a bear is pretty terrifying. Your first action is to talk to it in a friendly voice to establish yourself as a friendly human and hope that it runs away. The options get increasingly scarier. The last one is (if you deploy bear spray and it doesn’t work), “If an attack seems imminent, your best option is to lie on your stomach and protect your neck with your arm and hands. This takes considerable courage, but the bear might walk away if it realizes you don’t mean it harm. If an attack is prolonged, FIGHT BACK.”
The thing is, it really comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Earlier this summer a bear killed a mountain biker in Glacier when the biker rounded a corner and startled the bear.
Since I was running by myself in the morning with no one else around, I tried to make as much noise as I could. But I realized that wasn’t the best strategy when deer right by the trail didn’t even look up despite me calling to them loudly, “Hey! I’m coming through! Here I come!” It was only when I got very close to them that they looked up, startled, and trotted away. One refused to move–and these deer were bigger than the deer back home and looked like they could kick my ass–but luckily he let me pass without incident.
Anyway, despite it being very cool and in a very pretty woodsy setting, I couldn’t get comfortable on this run because I was afraid of bears.
Later that day we did a really awesome hike—a 4-mile hike through ferns and tall, mossy trees to a pretty lake. I loved that we did three very different but gorgeous hikes while we were there.
This was a planned rest day. We packed up and drove 4.5 hours to Spokane, Washington. We got in in the late afternoon and enjoyed a leisurely walk downtown.
Long run: 10 miles (50 degrees)
We were staying right downtown, and just across the street was the Riverfront Park and the Centennial Trail, which stretches 30 miles all the way to Coeur D’Alene. I was downright cold when I first started. Thank goodness I’d done the half marathon the weekend before and got a race t-shirt, because all the tops I’d brought were very lightweight tanks. I also had some light longsleeves but knew it would warm up. My hands were freezing for about the first half of this run even though it was sunny, but the cold felt wonderful. So it can be sunny and not hot?! Who knew!!! The wonders of a climate without humidity! The trail went through the downtown, the university campus, and then followed the Spokane River so was very scenic. It was also mostly shady until the last part I ran on. I really enjoyed this run, and, as the plan called for, ran the second half faster than the first.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Spokane. We walked to an historic neighborhood close to downtown then drove to a park with a Japanese garden and rose garden, then drove to a few different neighborhoods to check them out. I really loved Spokane. It’s quirky without trying to be quirky, full of public art, very close to the mountains and tons of outdoor activities, and has an up-and-coming vibe. I confess that I wanted to scope it out as a potential place to move (since my husband ultimately said no to Salt Lake City), and we both really loved it. While we’ve talked about moving eventually, while I was there I found job postings for us both and a house. Ha! But my husband is not quite ready to move yet. Still working on him! The west and its colder climate is definitely calling to me.
I’ll save the rest of the trip for next week’s recap since we just got in late Tuesday night. We walked out of the airport and into a swampy 72 degree night, and I was not happy. Now that I’ve enjoyed two weeks of running in cool weather, I dread running in the heat and humidity. Still, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, which is good because my race is now just two months away! I’m halfway through training and ready to tackle the hardest parts of my training coming up! I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine this week and also catching up with blogs.