Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Monday 12 November 2012

Sub 3:00, the coach, the plan

I'm not the type of person who takes the time to look back and appreciate achievements. I'm always immediately on to the next thing. Yet I found myself saying out loud "I have run 7 PRs in 5 distances in 2 months". And it was entirely true. So something went right. I just can't figure out what. Yet it still didn't go as well as I wanted.

My biggest goal: the marathon, was run on an injured leg, in terrible weather and I got lost. But it was a good season, yet I know I can do a lot better if I stop doing whatever I feel like and train exactly right for exactly a marathon. (as Bikram would say "exactly head to exactly knee" - sorry).

I need a goal. It did not take me long to figure out that would be a sub 3 hour marathon. But how will I accomplish this? (I have to admit I have never run a book about running training and I have never run according to any sort of plan besides the (often good) suggestions of my husband.).

I skipped over all of the available reading material and lept to one of the most well-known coaches of elite runners and triathletes in Denmark: Ole Stougaard. Here is the coaching company (Multitesta) he owns. I asked him two years ago if he would coach me and he said no. This time he said yes. Maybe it was because I had better running times. Or maybe it was my specific goal. I was beyond thrilled when he said yes. Not only because I think he will make me faster but because I can write about it here. And because maybe it will help me better understand running and physiology and how to become a coach myself. I sent him my training schedule from the last two weeks:

Søn: yoga, opvarmning, 5k tempo på 19.34
Man: mave, baller, lår + 1.5 timer cykle (udenfor) + 2km svømning
Tirsdag: 30 km løb
Onsdag: 2 timer cykle, 1.5 timer Bikram Yoga
Torsdag: opvarmning, 6 x 1.5 km løb intervaller (på gennemsnit 6.15) meget koldt og blæsende, dårlig dag
Fredag: spinning + mave, ryg
Lørdag: 43 km løb
Søn: 1.5 timer cykel og 1 time svømning med HG Tri Club
Man: 1.5 timer cykel, mave, baller lår, 40 min svømning med teknik arbejde
Tirs: 5 timers løb på trail langsomt (? distance)
Onsdag: 2 timer cykel, interval svømning 50 meter (på ca. 55 sek - ja jeg er langsom)
Torsdag: opvarmning + 6 x 1,5 km løb på gennemsnit 6.10, Bikram yoga
Fredag: 45 min spinning, 1 time mave, baller, lår
Lørdag  - skulle have løbet 12 km tempo men var oppe næsten hele natten med opkastning og dårlig mave :(. Det bliver så til en hviledag.
Søn: 42 km løb

Didn't quite get that? Here is google translate's version of what I wrote:

Sun: yoga, heating, 5k pace at 19.34
Man: abdomen, buttocks, thighs + 1.5 hours cycling (outside) + 2km swimming
Tuesday: 30 km run
Wednesday: 2 hours cycling, 1.5 hours Bikram Yoga
Thursday: heating, 6 x 1.5 km run intervals (on average 6.15) very cold and windy, bad day
Friday: spinning + stomach, back
Saturday: 44 km run
Sun: 1.5 hours bike and 1 hour swimming with HG Tri Club
Man: 1.5 hours cycling, stomach, buttocks thighs, 40 minutes swimming with engineering work
Tirs: 5 hour races on the trail slowly (? Distance)
Wednesday: 2 hours cycling, interval swimming 50 meters (approx. 55 seconds - yes I'm slow)
Thursday: heating + 6 x 1.5 km run on average 6.10, Bikram yoga
Friday: 45 minutes spinning, 1 hour stomach, buttocks, thighs
Saturday - should have over 12 km pace but was up almost all night with vomiting and stomach upset: (., It then becomes a day of rest.
Sun: 42 km run

Now he knows me :). After a few more emails, he said based on the 40:06 10k two days after a marathon, he predicts I have the potential to run a 2:50 marathon. This was a bit of a shocker. It immediately made me think - well then what is SR's potential??!! And so many other readers of this blog??

So what is the plan exactly? Well, I don't know. I have a 6 hour and 100k race coming up first as part of my "off season". He's going to help me train for the 100k in January, but then all focus goes to the marathon. I had indicated I was interested in becoming a faster cyclist as well, but he says I need to focus on running all spring to make my dream become a reality.

In other news:

The knot in my calf is not entirely gone. And after all of the yoga and stretching I've done, I've now stretched that leg so much that it appears a lot longer (it's the hip that is pulled out of alignment, though). I've gotten myself into a fine mess. But the initial insult was running so many miles in minimal trail shoes on roads. To mitigate this, I'm trying these Hokas. They just arrived in the mail today from La France. They are extremely comfortable and make me as tall as SR.

Good thing our apartment is full of gleaming white backgrounds for perfect pictures.

Ideal racing weight

So happy to be back down to 105-106 lbs. Exactly where I want to be. It took tons of running miles and lots of salad with eggs and fish, but I did it! As Christian said "Mom, you like salad and Dad likes food." As the weight went down, interval times improved accordingly. A woman at the pool called me "spinkel" today and it immediately became my favorite Danish adjective.


Still eating gluten free and never ever ever wanting to go back. Went to get tested and there was over an hour wait at the lab. Free health care is not always fast health care. I'll go back another day.

Bikram Yoga Study

Wow. Everything is falling into place. We have the world's leading expert from Fort Collins, CO in as a co-investigator in our project and the studio here is making wonderful offers to help our target patient group. After years of wanting to study running in pregnancy and it just never coming together, I can't help but feeling this new project is somehow my destiny. More later of course.

Proof that I am a mom

People who read this blog probably wonder why I write about myself all the time and not my kids. Well, you'd probably lose interest fast. Moms are experts at bragging about their extremely talented kids.

But just so you know that I am indeed a mom and have those exact same feelings of pride and joy when I see my little boys accomplish something, I am going to subject you to ... momism. 

What I found on the counter when I got back from my run. I didn't expect Christian would do this at 4 ½, but for all I know he should have been doing this at 3½. The most important part is he LOVES writing now!

Christian ran his first kid race. 3.3 km.

He had such a great time and I was beaming with pride!!! Oh, my boy loves to run. Time? about 37 minutes for 3.3km. This must give a marathon potential of  sub 7 hours!


 Questions of the day:

1. Which is healthier: cheese or chocolate?

2. Training for which running distance gives the best female body?

3. What color is the number 5?  (don't say black because that is the color of this font!, thank you)


Running with MTP said...

1) Which ever brings more joy at the moment ~ You were talking about mental health... right?

2) For me 400-800 meter ... But they are all beautiful

3) I think of Fuchsia or Magenta

Coach Jen said...

It is amazing the difference gluten free makes for some people, I first started GF 4 years ago and have gone back to gluten a few times every time it is worse on me and only reinforces why I will stay GF :) Sure you already know this but the testing will not be accurate if you are already GF, so consider is it worth a "real" answer to go back on gluten?

mmmonyka said...

The post radiates joy and excitement!!! Happy for you.

Ask the guy why he did not want to coach you before, it would be interesting to know (for both me and you. I am very curious why he said no)
2:50. Go big or go home. Go for it!

Love "heating" and "engineering" work:)

1, chocolate, BUT I would so buy chocolate flavored cheese! I hope someone starts making it one day
2, 1500m
3, violet, no doubt about it

pernille said...

mmmonyka we can get chocolate flavored cream cheese in DK.
It's not, I repeat NOT recommendable.

Great post, makes me happy too :-)

1. For me the answer is cheese I'm afraid.
I will always stay in love with chocolate though.

2 my experience with this stops at: "running = Good" .

3 Simmering blue as the dorsal side of an pelagic fish 5 is a number from the sea.

mmmonyka said...

@pernille: Ok then. So I wish someone started making cheese flavored chocolate:)

Kirsten said...

Wow, it is going to be so good reading about your training. And learn. Live and learn.....
You, my inspiration ;-)

1. Agree with what brings the joy at the moment. Migt be a little more cheese though....
2. Marathon. Definitely works for me.
3. Purple.

Katie said...

1) I'm going to say cheese, no chocolate...I don't know. I love my dark chocolate at night.

2) Hmmm, well I'm going to guess you mean elite athletes? Because I pretty much look the same regardless of what distance I'm training for. I'd have to say the "mid distances". 2 mile, 5K, and 10K. They don't look as emaciated as marathoners, and they're slightly less muscular than the sprinters. Sort of in the middle.

3) I'm an engineer. I don't what it means to associate a color with a number...really I'm having trouble with this. Are you making a reference to Grapheme? I sort of wish I had that. It would make seeing patterns in numbers and equations so much more intuitive...

SteveQ said...

For the longest time I've been saying you (and a handful of others I know) could be much faster if you'd only take training and racing more seriously. I'm sure somewhere I said you should be running well under 3:00 for the marathon (and SR about 2:35).

Good luck with the coach!

1) Depends upon the types of cheese and chocolate. Cocoa powder wins - all antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats.

2) 1500/5000m gives the healthiest looking bodies. I have a weakness for short skinny women, so I tend to chase marathoners.

3) Green. I thought once I might have synesthesia, but the colors I associate with numbers are exactly the colors of a magnetic number set I had as a child. What does Daniel Tammet say?

sea legs girl said...

I can't believe how we basically all agree about the female running body. My response would be anywhere from 400 meter to 5k as well.

If chocolate is healthier than cheese, shouldn't we all be eating chocolate sandwiches? Seriously. And chocolate pizza? Gluten free or course.

For me 5 has always been red. Steve just because you associate it with the colors of something from your childhood doesn't mean you don't have synesthesia! I think most of us have it to a certain degree (okay, maybe engineers like Katie are very talented at supressing it!). But Steve, that question was for you. I loved Born on a Blue Day. Thanks for the recommendation :).

SteveQ said...

btw, you used to eat nothing for dinner but oatmeal. Now that you're on the gluten-fee kick, do you eat ANYTHING?!

Meghan said...

I lovelovelove the pic of the Lorax with his hand on his chest after his race. He looks like a wise, old man who just went on an invigorating walk in the hills. "My, what a wonderful journey that was!"

Also, I can't wait to see what happens to you now that you are to be coached!

Stationary Runner said...

I suppose chocolate is healthier. But I may be saying that only because it is the one food, other than coffee, that I can't see myself ever giving up.

There are so many beautiful female bodies... I suppose the shorter distances tend to build stronger legs, whereas longer distances may require leaner builds? I think any woman that loves her body is gorgeous.

I always picture the number 5 being red. :-)

Also, congratulations on winning over the running coach!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

So excited for your 2:50 marathon. You've got it, I have no doubt. You train hard so one you train with focus, you can go FAR (and fast:)

1500m to 5K for me. Elite runners get too skinny for me starting with the 10K. And don't even mention elite marathon women. Fast, yes, but not attractive.

No clue about the color number thing....I am with Katie:)

Running with MTP said...

Ideal racing weight

I think the elites understand that ideal racing weight is a weight to be at for a short period of time to hit a goal race. If they were to stay that low all the time it would be counter-productive.

So there is a big difference between healthy racing weight and healthy training weight.

Actually, not that big for you - Maybe 5 pounds heavier for an ideal training weight than your ideal racing weight.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with "Running with MPT"! I recently had a conversion with a nutritionist who happens to be married with an elite 1500m runner and the athletes are encourages to gain 5-10% of their body weight off-season. If not they risk metabolic damage that can be dramatic. In another post you mentioned a marathones who needs to add only a handful of nuts while competing in several marathons in a row. This actually isn´t an intelligent adaptive mechanism of the body it points to a large drop in metabolic function. If this woman stops running that many miles and eats like a normal person (as opposed to restrictive) she will gain a disproportional amount of weight and will encounter increasing difficulties to lose it. Elite runners can be that lean (not only skinny, they have low body fat while many recreational marathonners are skinny fat, low weight, no muscle, flab all over) because they allow themselves to be heavier most of they year!

Diana said...

I can't wait to hear more about your new training program. What an amazing goal. I agree with the other posters, this post practically shouts joy.

Ha, ha, love google translate's "engineering work."

I'm considering cutting out gluten, at least for a while, and your comments are pushing me even more in that direction. Oy, I would sorely miss my pasta.