I’m finally breaking my month of blogging silence. I didn’t intentionally abandon FFR for this long, but E’s move to NYC, final exams, recovering from final exams, ten days in Colorado, finally setting up our apartment (still in progress) and much more yanked me out of my weekly writing routine. I go back to school tomorrow so I figured it’s a perfect time to get back into the groove.

Where to begin…!!! Colorado deserves a separate post, including a recap of the 15M Continental Divide trail race (which was pretty much equal parts hiking as it was a running – or shall I say shuffling – at two miles above sea level) so I’ll leave that for later this week. It was a fantastic trip, filled with gorgeous scenery, tons of physical activity and ice cream cones the size of my head.

Caught on camera!

As for final exams – suffice to say, I was a stress case as usual, managed to maintain my GPA (just barely) and pray that I will never have to endure summer school ever again (unlikely). E and I celebrated my last final with an amazing dinner at Blue Hill. I had been dying to go back to the NYC restaurant for years, and it didn’t disappoint! I’m hoping to check out Blue Hill at Stone Barns sometime later this year…it’s supposedly even better!

Only after exams ended did I realize just how burnt out I was. And I thought I was run down after Spring semester! Ha. What a crazy summer. Even though I still had so much to do after exams, it was a huge relief to finally have some time off! Simply not studying has been incredibly liberating and restorative. I wish I could say that I’m excited for the Fall semester to begin – I guess I am, but not for it to begin tomorrow. My brain could use another week of recovery…

Speaking of recovery, I’ve been trying my best to err on the side of caution in terms of my training, sticking with running only four times a week and incorporating drop back weeks when necessary to help me reach the Chicago marathon start line in one piece. Race day is less than five weeks away, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how it’s going to turn out. I still haven’t done any speed work aside from some tempo runs at half marathon pace (I’m up to 17 minutes) and marathon pace runs of 5-6M, and I haven’t done any hill work beyond what I encounter naturally in Central Park and, more recently, in Colorado. I also haven’t done many structured long runs, as I had originally planned. My weekly mileage has only gone above 30 miles a handful of times (!!), including my peak so far of this past week’s 38.7 miles.

But it’s hard to say how I will fare on race day at this stage. On the one hand, I haven’t trained as hard as I had intended to (part school, part injury), and the resulting lower mileage and lack of consistent speed work and strength training may end up thwarting my goal to BQ. My hip pain seems to be under control, but I have to be careful. On the other hand, I am leaner now, running in cooler conditions will hopefully begin producing faster results, all of my Colorado activities made me feel stronger and I have done many more long runs than in previous training cycles. I just completed my second 20 miler this past Saturday, and plan to run another the week after next. This is quite different to past training cycles, which included only one 20 miler.

Normally I race a half marathon to test where I’m at 5 weeks or so before marathon day. I couldn’t find an appropriate race nearby, so I’ve settled on running the Bronx 10 miler on September 9th. I’ve only run one 10M race before, and I ran it as a tempo run, so I’m interested to see how my first 10M racing experience will go, especially having done so little speed work. Hopefully it will give me a better sense of where I stand, so I can adjust my Chicago goals accordingly.

It’s getting late – how quickly my last weekend of freedom slipped through my fingers! I’ll leave you with a couple photo of two great meals I made for myself recently – breakfast soft tacos (veggie scramble with avocado) and an incredible, colorful fig and goats cheese salad. Fig season is the best – I hope to have my own fig tree someday!

 

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