I think this training cycle might be my most boring ever. I think that’s because, like I’ve said before, it feels like I’m just running and not really training. The only thing of note about this past week’s training is that I skipped not one but two runs because of the rain. I don’t feel too guilty about it–another sign that it doesn’t really feel like I’m training. The most interesting thing from the week was my experience volunteering at the Pittsburgh Marathon, so I’ll spend the majority of this post on that.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for a May 20 5K
- Days running: 4
- Miles this week: 12.93
- Miles this month: 12.93
- Miles this year: 340.22
- Strength training: 54 minutes
Easy run: 45 minutes
The week started very warm and then went downhill from there. I wore my new Fabletics Eunice tank from the March outfit. I wasn’t sure how it would be for running, but I really loved it. It’s loose and airy and felt like I wasn’t wearing anything. These are on sale for just $9.95, so I ordered another one in black.
Short interval run: 44 minutes
It got cooler and stayed that way for the whole week. This workout was 6 x 1.5-minute intervals at max intensity (zone 5) with warm-up and cool-down. Whew! This was tough but felt good. A little scary that I’m liking these speed workouts so much.
Recovery run: 40 minutes
Strength training: 22 minutes
Just a recovery run–not much to say!
Long interval run: 47 minutes
I was running late so didn’t do all the intervals. Instead of doing 5 intervals, I did 3 5-minute intervals in zone 4. I actually felt really strong and regret not having the time to do at least one more interval.
Unplanned rest day. It had been a rainy week, but I was lucky to miss it on my morning runs. That came back to bite me Friday. It was pouring out, and it wasn’t a hard decision to skip this run.
Unplanned rest day, with 30 minutes of half-hearted Zumba. It was not only rainy Saturday morning, but cold too. I decided to make my weekly Trader Joe’s visit and then run in nearby North Park to motivate myself with a change of scenery. I got to North Park, put on my hat, and started my Garmin. It sure is raining hard, I thought. I checked the radar map, which promised some relief from the rain soon. So I decided to wait it out. But it kept raining and raining. Usually North Park is packed with runners, but I was only one of two cars in the whole lot, and in 15 minutes of waiting I saw only four runners go by. I waited and it kept raining…and I just not force myself to leave my heated seats and warm car and get wet and cold. So I left and drove home. Not my proudest moment, but running in very cold rain is probably my least favorite running weather–well, maybe tied with extreme humidity.
A while back I bought a Zumba DVD to have as a backup for missed run days. I used to take Zumba classes years ago and loved it. It rained all day, so I decided to do Zumba until a break came in the rain so we could walk the dog. Ugh–I couldn’t do it. It was so cheesy! I didn’t like the songs, I didn’t like the moves and routines, and I didn’t even like their outfits (all the women were wearing harem pants). I don’t know if Zumba has changed or if it’s just a lot more fun to take a class than watch the DVD, but I only made it halfway through the DVD before I quit. Then we walked the dog, and it poured the second half of the walk, so I ended up getting cold and wet anyway.
I also got my hair cut, which I usually only do once or twice a year now that it’s long. I got about two inches cut off, and she curled it in loose waves. So here’s a pre-Zumba pic of me with loose waves for those who wanted to see my hair wavy.
Strength training: 32 minutes
Jamie and I volunteered at the water stop at mile 19.8 for the Pittsburgh Marathon. The day was probably the best weather day ever in the history of the marathon, a day that’s historically one of the first really warm weekends of the year. It was just 40 degrees at the race start and got only to 50. It got sunny and ended up being a gorgeous day.
We were supposed to be at the water stop at 6:30. The race starts at 7, and since the first runner didn’t come through until 8:41, I’m not sure why we had to be there so early. I thought I volunteered at another water stop and showed up at that one first so was a little late getting to where I was supposed to be. Oops!
We were freezing. I had on gloves, and still my hands and feet were freezing. They had hot coffee and cocoa for us, and we had to take breaks from putting the cups onto the tables to pour a cup to keep our hands warm. We had all the cups lined up on the tables but were told to not pour water for awhile because stuff from the trees can get into them. So after we had about a million cups lined up, the wind picked up and knocked them all over. We picked them all up and then poured water in the perimeter cups to keep them from blowing over. And then we waited and waited.
It was really cool seeing the first runners come through and all the runners in between until the last. I’d volunteered at the finish line for the marathon before, but the half marathon shares the finish line so you don’t just see marathoners. There is a relay, so we did see relay runners too, but their bibs were a different color and easy to spot.
We were told the elites have their own fluid station first, so Jamie and I are just standing there watching the first runners come through and cheering, when one of the runners grabs a water cup from another volunteer! Oops! Guess we should be handing out water and not just cheering.
The first runners to come through were all no-nonsense. No smiles, no walking, no engagement with us–just hard running. One of the first non-elite runners to come through, probably in the first 25, had the most odd gait. Then we saw the first pace group–the 3:00 group. It was a trickle of runners, with few of them taking water. Whenever one did, they ran by so fast and took the water so fast, I nearly got knocked over! How can they drink out of a cup when they’re running that fast???
The pack really grew when the 3:30 pace group came through. I guess I never realized just how many really fast runners there are–way more than slow runners–in a marathon. The 3:30 pace group was huge. Again, these were all pretty no-nonsense runners, few taking water, few walking through the stop.
I would say the most runners were in between the 3:30 and 4:45 pace groups. I was surprised that very few people took water–probably about 25% overall. The sun was pretty bright, and everyone looked pretty hot, but most looked to be in great shape. As the slower pace groups came through, more people started chatting and engaging with us. We started getting a lot of “thank yous,” and more people were walking through the stop.
Jamie and I had debated what to cheer as motivation. We were at mile 20, so you don’t want to say something annoying like “You’re so close.” I get really annoyed when spectators tell me what I should do (like “Keep running–don’t walk” or “Smile”), so I was careful not to say anything like that. My go-to cheer was, “This is your day! You got this!” Jamie’s was “Mile 20 is just around the corner, then count ’em down!” If I could read people’s names, I cheered for them. I called out cute outfits or funny sayings on tops. And when I got tired of cheering, I rang the cowbell they gave us. I saw Steff come through (she looked great!) and some of the ladies I ran with in the Pro Bike & Run training runs. I saw a guy dressed as a cake and a guy wearing a suit.
After the 5:30 group, the pack really thinned out. Funny, but at this point, those who looked in the worst shape were actually the relay runners. I wondered if these were people who had never run in their life and got talked into running a relay leg by a friend. Then the last pace group came, the 6:00 group, with only a handful of people. There were only a few runners after that. The last three runners in the race were three younger guys dressed as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. They seemed kinda over it, carrying parts of their costumes and looking in disarray.
We had so much water left over! We had to empty all the cups, but clean-up went quickly. There’s a zero-waste policy, so we had to put everything in different colored bags for recycling. The whole day went by really quickly–we agreed that it went much more quickly than when you’re running it! I really enjoyed the experience and would do it again.
As a bonus, I wasn’t tired at all from standing the whole day like I was when I volunteered at the finish line. We have standing desks at work, and most days I stand for part of the day, so I wonder if that helped my standing stamina. When I got home, I took Django on a long walk in the gorgeous sunny but cool weather then did 32 minutes of strength training.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my own marathon training and will be doing an update on that this week.
I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap, Steff, for the Pittsburgh Run Bloggers Weekly Recap, and Courtney for her Training Recap. Have a great week!