[[Follow #motherrunner Pam as she trains for her first marathon in early February 2019.]]
Y’all: I was even more excited than usual about this week’s training (no, seriously, I LOVE everything about running and training as you’ll come to learn) because I had planned to share “a week in the life” and tell you all about what I do on a day-to-day basis as a mom of two little girls, a full-time law librarian at a large firm in Midtown Atlanta, and a #motherrunner hitting the road six days a week.
I have these bright, shiny, new books for documenting my progress, and I have one more month of intensive half marathon training before dialing down the pace work and dialing up the mileage in preparation to run the Florida Marathon.
While my work week begins on Monday, my running week begins on Tuesday.
Tuesdays are arguably my favorite day of the week, and they are certainly the most flexible because I get to work from home. I have the option to set the alarm for 4:30 and get my run in before the family (husband Erik, 4-year-old Amelie, and almost-2-year-old Bea) is up and moving; or I can “sleep in” until around 6:00, send the family off around 7:15, then hit the road and be back home to log on by 8:30. I get that it might sound a little strange that sometime I choose to get up extra early on a day I don’t have to, but the trade-off is a cooler run in the warmer months: these days, we're talking somewhere in the 70’s rather than somewhere in the high 80’s to low 90’s.
At the moment, on Tuesdays I run one of my all-time favorite workouts: 60 minutes at an easy pace interspersed with one minute of 5k intervals at every mile. In BAMRPAMR-land, that means I run at a 12ish pace, then get to speed it up to the high 7’s/low 8’s for a minute each time my watch beeps at me, giving me permission to spread my wings and fly. While I recognize that the slow and easy miles are the bread and butter of endurance training, nothing beats those moments of legs-thumping-arms-pumping-heart-jumping hard effort.
It’s starting to cool down a bit, so this week I opted to sleep in. I got the family out the door with surprising ease and headed out for my run.
Tuesday training log: I had a glorious 60-minute run with BGPU (big girl pickups, in heart rate talk) this morning and may have had a little love-fest over my calf muscles as I ran by the fence with the weird mirror mosaic!
Wednesdays are for recovery, which means 20-40 minutes of slow jogging, keeping my heart rate under 120, netting splits somewhere around 14:20.
Some Wednesdays I meet up for “runch” with my office BAMR buddy April, but I am officially DONE running in the midday heat, so I opted to get up at 5:00 and meet April (who also lives in my neighborhood) and our friend Leah at 5:15.
I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm with some acute gastric distress, popped a couple of Imodium, and hit the road. I completed the run without incident, which is the best that can be said about the day.
I walked in the door to the dulcet tones of nearly-two-year-old Bea: “Mah-mee! Mah-mee!” When I opened her door, she reached out her arms to me across the rail of the toddler bed, then immediately withdrew, wrinkling her nose. “Shirt off, Mommy,” she commanded. I obeyed, but removing the shirt was not enough. “Pant off, Mommy. Bra off.” Mommy has some limits, though, and I told her those were staying on until I took a shower.
Wednesday training log: 30-minute recovery run] with April and Leah. Happy with the pace.
Pro-tip: Maybe don’t run with a GI virus. Spent the entire day in bed cramping and aching rather than heading into the office. Couldn’t eat anything. Ugh.
Thursdays in the heart rate monthly regime, which I’m using to train for the Cape Cod Half Marathon, are for manageably hard runs.
Because I do not work from home on Thursdays, and I do not have time for an hour-long run plus shower during the workday, I’m up at 4:30 and out the door before 5:00.
This past month my schedule calls for what I fondly call Death by Hills: 20 minutes of hill sprint + jump squats + jog back down the hill, sandwiched with 20 minutes of warm-up and cool-down, with a minute of high knees at the end to top it all off.
It is difficult to put into words just how much I adore this workout. It takes every ounce of physical and mental energy I have to keep sprinting up that hill and to maintain my form well enough in both the run and the jump squats.
At the end of those 20 minutes, I feel like the baddest of all asses. Last week, as soon as I finished the final rep, Carrie Underwood’s masterpiece “The Champion” rang out from my Trekz Air headphones, and I am not ashamed to admit that I ran through the neighborhood “with two hands in the air” at a faster-than-recovery pace, pumping my fists with a big, silly grin spread across my face. I was all ready to tell you all about my final, victorious Death by Hills this Thursday, but, alas, I spent most of the day in bed.
Thursday training log: Bea came in for snuggles this morning. I wish she would choose somewhere other than my tummy to lie down. Amelie chose to blow kisses from afar since, “I don’t want to get your germs, Mommy.” Smart girl. I ate a piece of toast and a few bites of PB&J. Got down several glasses of water. No run for me today, but luckily no runs, either!
On Fridays, I typically get to choose my own adventure! Prior to signing up for the marathon, I chose to take a walk to the coffee shop down the street between daycare drop-off and work. I knew I needed to start beefing up my mileage, though, if I wanted to run a strong marathon, so early this summer I opted instead for a nice, slow 30ish minute run. That’s a short enough run that, depending on the day’s schedule, I can either fit it in during lunch with April or before the sun is up from my house. This week, however, I had to make the smart choice and take one more day to rest.
Friday training log: Kids buckled into their car seats? Check. Gym bag packed and ready to go? Nope. Not when I’ve had little to no sustenance over the past 48 hours. Will try and eat enough protein and carbs to make it through the weekend’s run sandwich.
What’s a run sandwich? A shorter (60-75 minute) run followed the next day by the anchoring long run. This weekend I had a 60-minute easy run with strides in the middle on the books for Saturday, followed by 12 easy miles on Sunday. My husband Erik is a runner, too, and he gets first dibs on Saturday runs. As the only non-churchgoer in my household, I run long on Sundays. It’s a win-win: Erik takes the girls to church and maybe brunch, while I get some guilt-free hours to myself.
Saturday training log: Scrapped the 60-minute stride sandwich in favor of a slow and easy 3 miles. Decided to quit while I still felt good. Walked in the door. Amelie: "Shirt off, Mommy!"
Sunday training log: I finally feel human again! 12 strong miles, even though I’ve been sick. Ready to rock Cape Cod!
As a full-time working #motherrunner, I find it beneficial to take my rest day on Monday. I spend most of the day sitting in my office (with four walls and a door!), doing research on the computer. There are no little people demanding my attention, and I don’t have to attend meetings very often.
For the most part, our attorneys and staff send in research requests by email, and my fellow librarians’ offices are in a different hallway, so I don’t even have to interact with people if I don’t feel like it.
And the next day?
As Crystal Gayle so aptly put it, “I’ll do it all over again” . This time, however, without the virus this time, please-and-thank-you!