MCM Training Week 13: Peak Week

So. Many. Miles. Unfortunately, I really dropped the ball on photo-taking last week. Probably because between all the running, I was a sneezing, sniffling, coughing, miserable mess. That’s right, kids – I got sick during peak week. Marvelous. I started noticing I had some deep nasal congestion over the weekend, and by Sunday my throat felt a little sore. And my mouth had gone INSTANTLY dry upon starting the Great Race Sunday morning. Not good. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought my work laptop home on Monday, so to the office with me! By the end of the day I knew I was going to wake up the next morning with a full-blown cold, so I took the computer home to telecommute – love my job’s flexibility!


Slept in til 6:30 and did this 25-minute yoga for runners available FOR FREE on Runner’s World. Seriously, check it out. Went to work, shopped with the boy, came home feeling gross (bought some Nyquil, wisely). Made a healthy dinner and was in bed by 8:45, probably asleep by 9:15 for my 5:30 alarm.

I also signed up for the 2014 Pittsburgh half on Monday! Thanks, Steel City Road Runners for the discount and early registration. 🙂 I then sent the registration link to a few people on Tuesday and got at least two of them to sign up – I’m such an enabler.


Cuddly kitty can’t be bothered with this getting-up-early thing

Woke up feeling rested, but quite sick. All of my symptoms were “above the neck” (if it’s chest  congestion, running is a bad idea, but when it’s mostly nasal passages, it’s usually okay to run, smartly).  To take it easy on our 8-miler, we used a tempo-ish (i.e. flat) route. It was mostly okay for a while – my sinuses cleared from being outside – and then we almost got hit by an idiot drive waiting to turn right at a stop sign. We went because we saw him wait for a pedestrian coming from the opposite direction, and because he didn’t look left one more time despite turning right he nearly hit us as we crossed in front of his car. I threw out my arms angrily and cursed for a few blocks.

A couple miles later, a low-hanging branch was hanging lower than I had expected and hit my headlamp. It didn’t even really hurt, but with my mood on razor’s edge, it was enough for me to have a brief but violent meltdown, stopping my watch and throwing my headlamp across the grass. After a couple minutes I pulled myself together to finish the run. Nothing like being sick and frustrated to mess with things.

Given that I was gross and sick, I didn’t go to Pilates that night, but let NF get us both soup and salad from Whole Foods to share (or maybe that was Wednesday night – who can keep track of these things with a stuffy head?). Wednesday


Another good night of Nyquil-induced sleep and I ran an easy 7 in the morning, the first mile with NF, the next four-ish miles with Tess (she had to pack it in early to get to a conference) and the remainder alone. The change-up in company (I’m much more comfortable having a fit in front of my fiance, as one might expect) helped level out my mood and made for a nice run.


We were scheduled for 9 miles with 7 miles at tempo. I knew this probably wasn’t realistic, not while I was sick, but I was willing to at least try something a little faster, whether it be marathon pace, half-marathon pace, or some kind of tempo progression. It ended up being mostly the latter, since it felt good to start “easier,” especially with a big hill near the start of the tempo miles.  I had a coughing fit about a quarter mile into the warm-up and almost bagged it, but my lungs cleared and I felt better. Aside from another meltdown (almost tripping on a root in the dark and just generally bonking – glad I had water and a gel), around 4.4 miles in, it was actually a half-decent run. NF stuck with me for a while  before taking off on his own, and I kept pushing to the end, but not to anything unreasonable (by the end of the day Thursday I could feel I had kicked most of the cold, and I really think the running actually helped get it out of my system): 8:25, 8:11, 7:52, 8:21 (meltdown), 7:52, 7:42, 7:26.


Easy 6 on what has become a usual route for us to cap off the week – one cough attack stop but otherwise was okay. Lungs still kicking it out (and now I have a tickle that will take forever to disappear). Our paces were excellent, though, despite a warm-ish and incredibly muggy morning. Did I mention Indian Summer was in full swing last week, just in time for peak week? Appreciate it, Weather.

Saturday we had off, but went out to watch and cheer friends run the CMU Donut Dash, a charity function run by Carnegie Mellon’s chapter of SAE (a really good event raising money for the Children’s Hospital). It was nice to know we didn’t have to go out there and suffer for about 2 miles, including pounding a punch of donuts in the middle and not barfing.

Crack team – team name: “OM NOM NOM”


They look pretty thrilled about the donut-eating.

The day was actually our seven-year anniversary, and what better way to celebrate it than our pre-long run tradition of granola pancakes and cuddling on the couch watching Stargate SG-1? Yeah, we’re pretty nerdy-cute.


Early wake-up, oatmeal, and grab all our gear, and we were out the door to drive to Montour Trail for our usual out-and-back 20 miler. Indian Summer was in full swing and it was 68* and about 90% humidity at the start, and only got warmer. The last three miles of the run were completely unprotected from the sun. We filled up water twice, and I freely dumped it down my front and back and on my head, especially the last few miles. It took a few miles to settle in, but we actually really crushed this run, the long out slightly uphill portion even felt good. Without checking my watch at all, I kicked the last two miles in 8:16 and 7:50, ending the run by wringing out my shirt (gross) and downing more water from the ice cold fountain by the trailhead.

Weekly total: 50 miles

One weird thing about the week was the mysterious absence of my “runger.” For the first few days it was definitely due to my cold – since I couldn’t smell with all that congestion, I had that “nothing tastes good/no food sounds good” feeling. But I was breathing fine by the 20-miler, and even by 7:00 pm, NF and I were less enthusastic about our Chipotle burrito indulgence. Don’t get me wrong – it was good. But we weren’t ravenous. And confession: for the first time, I didn’t finish the burrito! I left a small chunk for my lunch the next day, when my runger still hadn’t shown up, though I forced myself to snack on some bananas and protein bars to try to refuel.

It’s been slowly coming back, but despite not eating everything in sight as much, I’m still feeling pretty well-fueled for runs. Any fatigue is easily explained by not getting enough sleep this week (oops) and still having cough attacks from this lingering cold. Oh well. I’m finally tapering, and with some extra rest and patience and healthy meal planning, I know I’ll be fine in two-and-a-half weeks.

A little Mike’s with my burrito.

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I'm a 35-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

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