Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Pfitzinger 18/55’

Published June 7th, 2008

Inevitable, but surprisingly late

The marathon dreams, that is.

I expected them to come several days ago, but last nights’ was the first.  Fortunately it was a very good dream, although a bit weird as dreams tend to be.  I dreamt I crossed the halfway mark at roughly 1:58 (which would be great considering the second half has the hills).  My darling was running with me and when we got to the creekbeds at mile 16 — the ones I’ve been obsessing over — I looked at him and said, “That’s it?”  They appeared no more steep than the hills I’ve been training on.

However, I’ve heard the really steep one is at mile 20, so in my dream I asked one of the other runners about it while we were waiting for our relay team members to come in (yes, for some reason the race turned into a relay).   He said while it was indeed steep, I should have no problem with it.  I then ended up at a home; it wasn’t ours, but maybe it was (again, you know how crazy dreams can be) to go pee.  At the time I was thinking “Thank goodness we’re doing a relay ‘cuz I don’t have to worry about giving up valuable time to potty.”  I was concerned, however, about how they were going to add up our individual running times.  I wanted to make sure my total time was 4 hours or less.

Once I relieved myself I then had to wait for the shuttle to pick me up.  I began to get a bit nervous — perhaps my darling forgot to call them — but just as I was picking up my cell phone to call him I woke up.

I sure hope I get a good nights’ sleep tonight!

Published June 6th, 2008

Pfitz, The Final Frontier (aka week 18, 29.95 miles)

Well folks, this is it. It’s almost show time. Hard to believe I began this journey back in early February. Where HAS the time gone? Oh yeah — in training.

Angie asked me what my most prevalent emotion is right now; excitement? Anxiety? Nausea? My answer: YES. I’ve experienced all three (and then some) many times over the past few days. But in the end I have to remind myself it’s just a race. I know I’ve done my best to prepare, yet you never know what race day will bring.

Despite my anxiety, this has been a very easy week. I’ve taken my last few runs slow, save for yesterday’s 7-mile “dress rehearsal” where I practiced my pacing strategy. My diet this week has been the healthiest it’s ever been, although I did allow myself a couple of glasses of wine with dinner the other night (not only did it taste fabulous with the grilled flat iron steak, it calmed my nerves). Stretching and a couple of massages have worked out the kinks in my right calf, and daily snorts of Zicam have held an impending cold at bay.

While the final test will be on Sunday, I feel Pfitz’s program is a good one for me. I made a few tweaks, primarily to work in a couple of races, but I’ve run more than 97% of the called-for mileage. I’ll definitely follow this program again when I’m looking to run in a specific time. In fact, depending on what happens on Sunday, I may turn to Pfitz again for the Royal Victoria marathon in October. But assuming I BQ at North Olympic, I may take things easy and just follow a plan to get me to the finish in Victoria.

I’d like to thank everyone for coming here and offering your words of encouragement and support. They really have meant a lot to me. Because North Olympic is such a small race, live tracking isn’t available. But my darling will have his iPhone and hopefully I’ll be able to post my results soon after the race (and of course I’ll write an excruciatingly detailed race report).

Here’s the final recap!

Sunday: since I signed up for the Runnersworld Online June mileage challenge I postponed my 13-mile run to today. I was shooting for a 9:30 overall pace, but wanted to practice my pacing strategy of starting out slow. However, my hips were a tad creaky so I ended up running a rather slow pace throughout (9:40 overall). I’m sure it was good for me.

Monday: I ditched my regular arm weight routine this week and concentrated instead on ab work and stretching. For the afternoon recovery run I used my heart rate as my guide with a goal of keeping it less than 70% of maximum. Overall pace: 9:33.

Tuesday: one of the best classes ever. We did a lot of warrior poses, which helped to stretch out my hip flexors. My dress rehearsal was scheduled for today but I opted to postpone it to Thursday and take a rest day from running.

Wednesday: more stretching and ab work; afternoon 5-mile recovery run (9:29 overall pace).

Thursday: 7-mile dress rehearsal. My target marathon race pace is 9:10, however, I plan on running the first 8-9 miles at 9:20, then the next 8-9 miles at 9:05-9:10. Assuming I feel good after that I’ll finish strong. For my dress rehearsal I practiced running two miles at 9:20, two at 9:10, and the remaining three at 8:55, 8:50 and 8:45 respectively. I ran the first four miles just a couple of seconds faster than goal, but a hill at mile 5 slowed me down to a 9-minute pace. However, I picked it up during the last two miles, running them at 8:36 and 8:34.

Friday: more abs and stretching. I’ll probably hit the pool for a few laps this afternoon, and may do so again tomorrow morning. My darling accidently scheduled a photo shoot tomorrow, so I’ll need to work off some pent-up energy while waiting for him to finish. We hope to be on the road by 2 p.m., which will put us at the expo about 5. We’ll then head over to the pasta feed, then hopefully get a full night’s sleep.

Wish me luck!

Published June 1st, 2008

Pfitz, Week 17 (27.11 miles)

Although technically my taper officially started a week ago, I feel my true taper started after my BUAL™ workout on Tuesday. It was one of the toughest runs of the training — only eight miles, but three were at 5K pace. I’m SOOOO glad to have the speed work over and done with. Other than a marathon pace “dress rehearsal” this coming week, all my runs are basically at recovery pace. Hallelujah!

Sunday: my darling and I took advantage of the glorious weather and walked to a local farmer’s market for pizza and ice cream. (And to appease you health freaks, we also picked up some Brussels sprouts and mizuna for our salad. Oh, and rhubarb, for, um, a pie).

Monday: my gym was closed for Memorial Day so I got to sleep in. Ran a 7-mile general aerobic run in the afternoon with eight 100m strides (8:50 overall pace).

Tuesday: I know I’ve said this before, but I today’s yoga class HAD to be the worst day in terms of flexibility (as in, I had none!). It still felt good afterwards, but I sure was groaning a lot. My darling joined me for my BUAL™ workout; I started with an easy 2-mile jog, then ran my first 1-mile sprint at 7:52. Took another easy mile, then ran a 7:32. Followed that with an easy mile, then ran a 7:41. Finished with an easy mile. Overall pace: 8:58.

Wednesday: rest day for running, but spent a little over an hour at the gym doing my arm weights and ab exercises.

Thursday: decided to sleep in again, and although I intended do my 5-mile recovery run with strides that afternoon, I decided to rest some more. I’ve been feeling on the verge of getting a cold, so I figured it would do me some good.

Friday: made up for the previous days’ sloth by running 6.75 miles. It was supposed to be a recovery run (9:30 min/mile or more), but I felt too darn good. Overall pace: 8:51.

Saturday: normally this would be my long run day, but on a whim I signed up for the Runnersworld L&O June mileage challenge (north vs. south). Since I’ll be tapering and recovering this month, I figured I could use the extra miles and postponed my long run to Sunday. However, I took a VERY easy 5.36-mile recovery run (overall pace: 9:44). With that run, I racked up another 200-mile month! But the best part? The 1 1/2 hour massage in the afternoon. She primarily worked on my legs this time, but when I go back on Thursday she’ll work more on my upper body. Pure heaven!

We’re getting close folks. I’m already obsessing over the weather (it looks like we’ll have some rain, which I actually prefer over heat). I’ll continue to take things slow this week and will make sure I’m eating properly. Although I really wanted either a martini or glass of wine last night (okay — so I wanted both), I refrained. But you can bet I’ll be imbibing after the marathon — BQ or not!

Published May 25th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 16 (43.9 miles)

Many runners get anxious during their taper period as they’re concerned all gains in fitness will be lost. Who knows, perhaps I’ll feel that way over the next two weeks when my mileage really starts to decrease, but this week was all about taking care of myself, which meant cutting a couple of runs short.

The biggest thing on my mind was my Thursday appointment with the boob smasher. It was a call-back, so I was just a tad nervous. Interestingly, my anxiety was much greater the day of the call (as I was leaving from my previous boob smashing, the nurse said I’d receive a letter if everything was fine, a call if they found something). I was pretty calm while driving to my appointment, but my anxiety returned as I lay on the table getting an ultrasound. Wouldn’t that be ironic: just when I was feeling the most fit of my life, the big C hits.

My anxiety was short-lived, thankfully, despite hearing the doctor say there is a spot that is “most likely” benign. Having a biopsy is certainly an option if I’m feeling nervous about it, but his recommendation is to come back in six months (as well as do self breast exams). Since breast cancer doesn’t run in our family, I’m going with the doctor’s recommendation (and yes, I already have my appointment).

Of course, when I told my darling the news his inclination was to tell me to have it biopsied. I understand where he’s coming from; every time he has a seizure I want him to get an MRI. He has epilepsy, but there’s always that thought in the back of my mind that perhaps it’s a tumor after all (Ted Kennedy’s diagnosis certainly hasn’t eased my worry). Fortunately his meds keep things under control and it’s been a couple of years since he’s seized (every time he has the slightest twitch I blurt out, “Did you take your Dilantin?”)

Enough of this downer cancer/tumor talk. Sheesh!


Published May 17th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 15 (64.32 miles)

“T” is for “Thank God! My last long run is done.”
“A” is for “Amen! My last long run is done.”
“P” is for “PHEW! My last long run is done.”
“E” is for “Egads! That was one helluva run!”
“R” if for “Rejoice! My last long run is done.”

Put ’em all together and what do they spell?

“TAPER TAPER TAPER — Save me from this hell!”

Alright, so I’m jumping the gun. After all, this post is about LAST week, and my taper doesn’t start until this week. But I’m just so thrilled to finally be there. Besides, I said I’d try to make this post more entertaining than the last one.

Even though this was a killer week, I feel remarkably refreshed. I started off with a bang with my stellar performance in the Kirkland Half Marathon, and just finished with a satisfying, albeit tough, 22-miler. My elation over seeing my half marathon time translating into a sub 4-hour full was short-lived, however, after boasting about it on the Runner’s World forum. A few of the more experienced marathoners were quick to say McMillan typically isn’t accurate unless you’re putting in at least 70 miles per week. Although my mileage has been high, it’s not at that level.

But after reading their comments, did I pout? Did I stress? Did I start second-guessing myself? DUH! Of COURSE I did. 40+ years of low self esteem doesn’t just disappear overnight, ya know. But fortunately I took it as “constructive” criticism and came up with a game plan that hopefully will allow me to go back in three weeks and proudly (and maturely) claim, “NEENER, NEENER, NEENER. I TOLD you I could do it, you dummy-dorks.”

Since it’s close to show time I wanted to use this week to test my race strategy: how to fuel during the race, what to wear, how to pace myself. Although I know it will be difficult to do, the key will be to start off conservatively, saving my energy for the second half. The average pace for a 4-hour marathon is 9:10 min/mile. My goal is to run the first 9 miles slower than that (9:20), then pick it up to a 9:05-9:10 pace through mile 20. Assuming I’m feeling good then I’ll really pick things up for the last 10K. As long as I can average an 8:55 min/mile over 6.2 miles, I’ll have a sub 4-hour marathon (my BQ time is 4:00:59, but I wanted to provide a bit of a cushion).

For my fueling strategy, I’ll stick with my tried & true ClifShots (and perhaps a packet of ShotBlocks). I’ll carry those on my fuel belt, but will rely on the water and electrolyte drink (Heed) provided at the fueling stops. I’ve even tested out the Heed to make sure I can stomach it. (It works great, although neither I nor my darling can say the name without invoking the Scottish dad, played by Mike Meyers, talking about his youngest son in “So I Married an Axe Murderer:”

“Look at the size of that boy’s heed. I’m not kidding, it’s like an orange on a toothpick. That’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid. Has it’s own weather system. HEED! MOVE!”



Published May 15th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 14 (mini taper — 28.94 miles)

Oh dear; it’s already Thursday and I haven’t posted last week’s workout! How on earth you’ve been surviving, I’ll never know.

But really, there’s not much to tell that hasn’t already been said. You already know about my dismal 10K on the 10th (although the race director would NOT accept my DNF. I told her she needs to apply for the position of RD for Boston as I could really use her leniency there), as well as the less-than-stellar run leading up to that race.

Here’s, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story”:

Sunday: a whole lotta nuttin’

Monday: typical morning weight routine; 9.25 mile BUAL™ workout w/five 600m sprints. I must say, they’ve been feeling less like a “barf up a lung” workout and more like a “my quads are on fire.” But MQAOF is just too darn hard to say.

Tuesday: I don’t know how my yoga instructor does it, but she often has an uncanny sense for what I need. Today it was hip openers (get your minds out of the gutter). While the class was challenging, I felt incredible afterwards.

Wednesday: morning routine; 6-mile recovery run in the afternoon (9:19 average pace)

Thursday: stretching/PT in the morning. Afternoon was supposed to be an 11-mile run, but I could only muster up 7 1/2 due to a tight calf. Average pace: 10:07

Friday: Played hooky from the gym, but ran my 10K race that afternoon.

Saturday: Rest day in preparation for the Kirkland Half Marathon.

Once again you’ll see my weekly mileage does NOT follow the 10% rule, but again, it’s due to moving my long runs to Sundays when appropriate. I do, however, follow the hard/easy rule (making sure I follow a hard run with a rest or recovery day).

So that’s it for this week. I promise next week will be much more entertaining. (Boy, nothing like putting the pressure on, huh?)

Published May 11th, 2008

Kirkland Half Marathon

Kirkland finishYou’ll have to bear with me — I’m writing this with a VERY big head. My darling couldn’t stand my crowing any more; he’s now hiding in the bedroom pretending to take a nap. But since this is my blog, I can say and do what ever I want. And right now I feel like shouting out:


Sure, the results may say 292 other runners kicked MY ass, but I will interpret the results as I see fit. And considering I not only PR’d, I also BEAT my goal of a 1:54 half marathon. My final time? 1:53:35 thankyouverymuch. And on a hilly course to boot. 14th in my age group (out of 104 runners), 293rd overall (out of 1050). WOOP WOOP!

I have been stressing over this race ever since I drove the course a couple weeks ago. It was the second “tune up” race of my training and I think I was just nervous that my results would tell me I was smoking crack rock for thinking I could run a full marathon in 4 hours. Mind you, I DO smoke crack rock — how do you think I’ve gotten so fast over the past few weeks? — but I know that doesn’t guarantee a BQ.

I kid, people! Sheesh. Everyone knows meth is the key to a BQ. (Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I am TOTALLY kidding. It’s just my little way of entertaining my legion of fan).


Published May 4th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 13 (64.35 miles)

One thing I’m finding with this program: one day you’re feeling great, collecting 1st Place ribbons and thinking you’re all that and a bag of chips, and the next day you feel like Sloggy McPlodster. But just when you think your BQ hopes are dashed, your body says, “Psych! Just wanted to see if you’re paying attention. We’ll go fast now.”

Once again it appears I’m not following the 10% rule, but it worked out better to do two long runs this week. With last Saturday’s 10K race, I pushed back my 18-miler to Sunday. I decided to do this week’s long run on my regular day (Saturday) since next week I’ll be tapering for the Kirkland Half Marathon, plus I have another long BUAL™ (barf up a lung) workout on Monday and wanted a day of rest between that and my long run.

Not only was this a high mileage week, I also achieved two milestones: I finally hit the 200-mile mark for the month (I was five miles shy for March), plus I’ve made great gains, er, losses with my weight:

154.8 pounds


(I apologize for the blatant nudity. I try to keep this a PG13 blog).

It’s been at least 12 years since I’ve seen that number (and actually that was a bit of a fluke; I had just returned from a 13-mile run. Once my darling and I scarfed on fish tacos, beer and ice cream, a couple pounds came back). I’ve been much more diligent with my diet (and by that I mean the food I eat; I’m not on any formal “diet”) and have curtailed a lot of the drinking. With five weeks to go before my marathon, I’ll be even more diligent. I probably won’t get down to my goal of 150 (not sure I want to at this point), but I know my pace has increased thanks to the decrease in weight.


Published April 27th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 12 (45.7 miles)

Quick weekly recap, but stay tuned for the most awesomest race report. Or should I say, “stay tuned for a report on the most awesomest race.” But then again, is “awesomest” a word? Should it be “awesome-est”? I suppose all you English dorks majors would argue it should be “most awesome.” Or you may argue that hyperbole doesn’t belong in a measly race report — at least MY race report — ‘cuz after all I’m not Deena or Paula. But I AM getting faster. So I think I can crow a bit.

Umm… where was I? Oh yeah! My week in training:

Sunday: slacked off.

Monday: the second of my “barf up a lung” workouts, or, as I’ll now refer to it, BUAL™. 8 miles with 5 x 600 m sprints @ 5K pace. Although I was shooting for an 8 min/mile pace for each, I was able to run far faster without feeling totally wiped. As usual my first interval was REALLY fast (7:18 pace), but the rest were in the 7:39-7:44 range. Mind you, this was only for 600 meters; the real test will be when I have to do 1000-, 1200- and 1600-meter BUALs™

Tuesday: started my day with a much-needed restorative session in yoga with lots of stretching, particularly for our hips. Ended my day with an 11-mile long run around Lake Union (9:37 average pace).

Wednesday: whatever we did in yoga certainly caught up with me today — my butt and hips were killing me! Fortunately it was a rest day from running.

Thursday: 7.5-mile recovery run. Hips and butt muscles were still sore, so I welcomed the nice easy run. My darling joined me for the first couple of miles, then he finished up at his Speedy McSpeedster pace. I averaged 9:53 min/mile

Friday: gave myself a gold star today for doing my arm weight routine 3x a week for the past 4 weeks. Yeah me! My cook date went long so I wasn’t looking forward to that afternoon’s 12-mile long run. Didn’t head out until almost 5 p.m., which is late for me (I’m sure those of you who are stuck in an office until 6 or 7 p.m. are cursing me right now). My right calf was feeling really tight and I was very lethargic. However, I didn’t have much to eat during the day, so I’m sure that’s what contributed to it. I was concerned I wouldn’t be up for running the 10K race on Saturday, but since I’d be signing up day-of-race I figured I could bag it if I wasn’t feeling well. My pace was similar to yesterday’s: 9:54 min/mile.

Saturday: Walk & Roll 10K. It’s late, so I won’t be posting my race report until tomorrow. But I swear, you’ll be calling it Awesome McSplendidton. (Or maybe not; that’s kinda hard to say).

Published April 20th, 2008

Pfitz Weeks 10 and 11 (91.5 miles)

My goodness, where has the time gone? I must apologize to you, dear readers, for I have been remiss. I know you wait with bated breath to read about the minutiae of my training, and I have failed you. As punishment, I will roll my IT band on the foam roller for a full hour.

Even though Pfitz is kicking my booty, dare I say it’s getting easier manageable. The weekday long runs are still a bitch, but my speed is increasing. My cross-training has primarily been limited to yoga and my weight/conditioning routine at the gym since I tend to get bored with laps at the pool and the weather hasn’t been conducive to biking. (As I write this I’m watching the snow fall — yes SNOW, on April 20; WTF? My poor tulips and daffodils are shivering). But hopefully I’ll be able to dust the Felt off soon and take it for a spin.

Week 10 recap (37.25 miles):

Sunday: Actually made it to the pool for 30 minutes of laps. I always feel great after a pool routine, but I never look forward to the “pool people.” They’re difficult to explain other than to say they’re “odd ducks.” You definitely know ’em when you see ’em. This week it was the guy who, rather than stand to the side at the shallow end while resting (as you’re supposed to), decides to stand about 10 feet out in the lane while gabbing with his friend. Both my darling and I would shoot our elbows out at him as we passed, hoping he’d get the hint and move.

Monday: 8-mile general aerobic run with an 8:57 average pace.

Tuesday: ran my first VO2 max run, or — as I believe it should be called — the “barf up a lung” run. The schedule called for an 8-mile VO2 max run with five 600-meter sprints at 5K pace. However, because I’d be running the Mt. Si Relay on Sunday I switched up my mileage a bit, increasing certain runs this week and decreasing others for next. Instead, my goal was to run 12 miles with the five 600-meter sprints at an 8 min/mile pace. I ran a 4-mile warm-up then hit the track. I went WAY too fast for the first one — 7:38 min/mile pace — but hit my target for the other four. I slowly jogged 90 seconds between each one. When I finished I still had about 5.25 miles to go to make up the 12 miles; UGH! By now I was running on dead legs so I decided I’d cut the run a mile short.

Wednesday: I was scheduled to do a 5-mile recovery run but was still rather wiped from the prior days’ speed work. I opted instead to walk to Trophy Cupcakes with my darling for a treat.

Thursday: I not only made up for the 5-mile recovery run, I tacked on another mile to make up for Tuesday’s shortcoming. Overall pace: 8:54.

Friday: Had a glorious 12.25-mile run around Seward Park and Lake Washington. The sun was shining and the smell of grass was in the air — from the freshly cut lawns to the more pungent odor wafting out of the cars at Colman Park.

Saturday: Rest day in preparation for the Mt. Si Relay.