CHM Training update: T-5 weeks – Days are short, miles are long


Day by day, the countdown looms larger in my mind – I feel a sense of imminence that is thrilling and frightening at the same time. I have not gotten the really long runs done, and I know I need to; but on the other hand, modifying my goals has given me a serenity that I was lacking before – I am confident I can finish a marathon; I am not stressing about pace or injuries; and I am more excited about the bigger picture of what I am doing than about the little details of how I do it- and that is how it should be, isn’t it? Here is the week that was:

Sunday 12-8: 1:02:45, 6 miles As I posted last week, I participated in the #runchat  Holiday to Holiday Scavenger Hunt; this run was planned and designed around getting the last item on my list – a picture of a local coffee shop. I am a creature of convenience in many things, and that means coffee too – if I want a cup while I’m out, I’ll stop at the Starbucks closest to wherever I am. But this place is a destination unto itself: a coffeehouse with picnic tables on the side; and craft beers, and wine by the glass if you’re after something more…relaxing, shall we say :). As a bonus, I “discovered” a new city park, with access to an extensive hike-and-bike path I had never run on before! I’ll be headed back there tomorrow to explore some more as I log a 15-mile long run – gotta build that distance!

Monday 12-9:  Walked 1.04 miles in 17:00  A mild rain was falling, but I had already spent the whole day working in it, so walking my daily #RWRunStreak mile was no challenge. I’m so glad I committed to this streak – one more reason not to accept excuses!

Tuesday 12-10: Hill repeats: 2.5 mi easy run warm-up; 4x [over the hill and back @ 0.75 mi ea]; 0.5 mi cool-down; 6.15 miles, 1:03:13  Since I am not doing the TM anymore, I wanted something challenging so I re-visited my favorite overpass. I thought it interesting that my pace on the hill was the same as it was on my warm-up before the hill…the intensity was greater, and that’s the point, right? Getting stronger is what I’m all about these days.

Wednesday 12-11:  Shakeout run, 3.05 miles, 30:43 (10:05/mi)  Still not making any effort to cross-train; I guess I have mentally filed that away for after the marathon, since I have modified my goal from 4:00:00 finish to strong finish. I have committed to joining a CrossFit box at the end of January, because I know I do not currently have the upper-body strength necessary to complete a Spartan race, especially after watching it on TV last weekend – did you watch it? I was kind of disappointed, because I was expecting to see more than just selected highlights of the elites – but that’s network TV for you.

Thursday 12-12: 1 mile, 10:50 A terrible, hectic day that got completely away from me – I took off from the house in the jeans and sweatshirt I wore to work, wearing my worn-out Ride 4’s, intending to just walk a mile for the streak; half a block away I started running, because walking just wasn’t gonna do it for me – pretty clear sign that I am a runner!

Friday 12-13: 5.02 miles, 50:39 (10:05/mi)  After working my 8-hour day, and then spending another 4 hours doing errands (mostly sitting in rush-hour traffic) I needed to get out and run to get my mind and body right. It was raining, cold, and dark; I set off to knock out a quick 3 miles, but once I warmed up, I started enjoying the rain; I got into the zone and just kept going! I finally headed home because I had not eaten yet, otherwise I’m not sure how long I might have kept going!

Saturday 12-14: Trail running: one lap, 4.39 miles, 1:01:12 Today was the one-year anniversary of the Houston Area Trail Runners, so there were more people than usual this morning. I had an appointment at 8:00, but I wanted to be there for the “event”, so I did the first loop and then left. What I didn’t know is that they had a gorgeous cake to celebrate with – but only after the second loop 😦 I might have been late to my meeting if I had known about cake! Oh well, we are having lunch tomorrow, so I will definitely be there for the whole thing – food seems to be a prime motivator for me, do you ever experience that?

Total for this week: 7 runs, 26.6 miles (two “walk days” and no double-digits, it shows up doesn’t it!)

Total for December: 14 runs, 65.8 miles

I am grateful for the period of inactivity – I think I had lost some perspective, I now I appear to be back on the right path…who knew injuries could be good for you?

Have you ever gone through an injury that forced you to re-examine your goals?

What did you learn about yourself in the process?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!



  1. LilMysNinja

    Injuries suck but you push through, heal up and get back out there. Sometimes your body needs that rest though, which is clearly what I needed. I’m getting ready to start back up half marathon training now that the ankle seems a-ok. Good luck! You’ve got this!!

    • Nick

      You have been strong and smart all this time, you are STILL strong and smart – so when you crank up training for that half, you will be a complete BEAST! And I will be cheering you on, because that is what friends do for each other 🙂

  2. David @ Captain Speedypants

    Good luck with your training and recovery in time for your marathon in January. I have found that sometimes showing up for a race with no expectations other than to finish can be a good thing. Gives you the chance to really enjoy and experience the atmosphere of the race and its runners.

    • Nick

      Thanks, David! I agree; since letting go of my time goal, I have noticed so much more of what is around me while I run…I’m betting the marathon will be as breath-taking mentally as it is physically!

  3. rosarowl

    I’m kinda freaking out also…I tend to be more of a person that overtrains…but since I haven’t done the training the way I should have …I am going to try to get two really long runs in on the next two weekend… a 21 mile and a 26.2 mile…that way there is not a mental block for me…

  4. Anita

    Hoping over from the Running Bloggers FB Group to say hello! I had some issues with Hamstring Tendonitis shortly before my first 10k race this November. I knew I needed to take a break but worried that I wouldn’t finish the race in my goal time. I took 5 days off, ran a short test run 3 days before the race and felt OK but knew not to push it. I had to re-evaluate my goal because I knew in the long-run I needed to take care of me and sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.

    • Nick

      I agree…we invest so much in our goals that sometimes we get confused about the difference between “giving up” and “getting real” – and there IS a difference! Anyone can run hard, it takes a real runner to run smart!

      Thanks for visiting – I try to keep up with others from the group as well, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to see them all 🙂

  5. Fawn

    New follower here! I’m actually dealing with a minor injury. Hamstring tendon strain..but its in a spot where it’s causing the bottom of my knee to ache as well as all the way up the outside of my thigh. I’m so happy I’m not nearly as stubborn about pushing through the pain as I used to be. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way so I’m babying this injury from the start. Anyway, your story is very inspiring. My parents are smokers and I just hate seeing what they’re doing to their bodies. I’m so thankful to have found a love for running.

    • Nick

      Smoking is evil, I agree – I hated it every time I lit up,,,and then did it again. Running has been the best cure I have ever found, it has changed nearly everything in my life. Thank you for stopping by, I’m headed to your blog now 🙂

    • Nick

      🙂 I thought about you while I was running, “I should snap a picture and post this on Jogging In Jeans; Jill will love it!” sorry I didn’t follow through, my phone was nearly dead and then I got distracted. I’ll be sure to do it the next time, I guarantee it will happen again!!

  6. Kristy

    YES! I battle stress fractures, (I’m a low mileage runner, and was tested for EVERYTHING), so I’ve had to DNS a lot of races. That being said, I was facing a similar future while training for Boston this year, (my first Boston), so I took 3 weeks off immediately before my injury was a full blown stress fracture, and so I was able to still run Boston. I finished in just under four hours, which wasn’t how I imagined my first Boston to be, but nothing about it, was how I dreamed, due to the obvious. So glad it happened that way, as I was able to actually enjoy the race instead of caring about my pace.

    Are you doing the full marathon in Houston?

    • Nick

      Yes I am; this is the fulfillment of a promise I made to myself many years ago: to put down my cigarettes, train for a year, and run a marathon. I don’t know if I will ever run ANOTHER one, but then again, next week I am signing up for a 25K trail race in Bandera, TX, (one week BEFORE the marathon!) and will probably do an ultra before 2014 is over – trail running doesn’t seem to cause nearly as much pain as street running. I will probably limit myself to half-marathon road racing, but I never rule out anything 🙂
      That was an awesome performance at Boston – I don’t know if I CAN run a sub-4 anymore, only time and training will tell…

      • Kristy

        That’s awesome though! I quit smoking too, after running several marathons as a smoker. I qualified for Boston less than a year after I quit, and I never looked back.
        Are you going to do a 50K or farther? I love trail running!!

      • Nick

        I will do a 50K in March or April, at Brazos Bend State Park, and more than likely will do a 50-mile and/or 100-mile before the year is over; my trail running club is hardcore about getting members to get out there and RUN!

  7. Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    I got injured and ended up in a boot before a big 1/2 marathon I was training for and it made me a smarter runner in the long run. I didn’t see it at the time, but I am glad it happened in hind sight! Great job this week with the training!

    • Nick

      That’s it exactly! I may never be a blazing fast runner, but after this year, I have learned enough (I hope) to be a runner for a LONG time!
      Thanks for stopping by! I loved your post earlier, I never heard of aerial yoga, looks challenging but fun!

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