Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 9

This week felt like nine weeks and five days, as Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) says in The Jerk.

Monday: 5.4 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 4.3 mi, road
Thursday: 6.3 mi, road
Friday: 5.6 mi, road
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 13.9 mi, trail (Lebanon Hills)
Total: 41.2 mi

I seriously cannot believe I managed to get over 40 miles in this week. As I said in my Week 8 post, I was in Portsmouth, NH for the majority of the week, and I didn’t have a car due to a comedy of errors. That meant that I spent Monday and Tuesday on the hotel treadmill, after a grueling 10 hours of technical lectures and lab work. I ate grocery store food and did homework after my workouts. Monday’s workout was okay, Tuesday’s was not as great since I had to use the crappy treadmill while some guy leisurely walked (with some occasional running) and watched something on his smartphone. I had been planning on doing an interval workout but the crappy treadmill kept cycling through the various display options, so I was only able to see the time or distance every 43 seconds or something. Oh he also didn’t wipe down the treadmill after using it, which is how I know this guy was actually the devil and not just someone who was looking for a lower-intensity workout.

Wednesday I got a car and I looked up some possible running routes. I thought I’d drive to this place, Prescott Park, and then run a loop as suggested on Map My Run. I headed that way, mistakenly driving through downtown Portsmouth in a very pedestrian-heavy area, and discovered this Prescott Park place was having a huge event. So I had to find something else to do, and drove around for awhile before parking on Goat Island and running onto New Castle Island and then along the beach at Great Island Common.

Yeah, wow. It was unbelievably gorgeous. I didn’t realize the sun sets a bit earlier in NH than it does in St. Paul, so I ended up running the last half mile or so in near darkness, wearing a black t-shirt and black shorts. Whoops.

Thursday I headed back to the same area, parking near Fort Constitution, running a circle around the islands near the mouth of the Piscataqua River. It was so blissful, a welcome relief after incredibly long and at times frustrating days in class. I started earlier so I was able to get in a longer run and then had a lobster roll and giant cone of ice cream at a place called the Ice House.

Friday I finished up my course with a practical exam in the morning, then took a self-guided walking tour of Portsmouth. It was mostly just me wandering off in whatever direction looked to have the most interesting old houses/buildings. I did see a few specific sites (I finally figured out what Strawberry Banke was), but I mostly stumbled upon cool things. I even walked across the Memorial Bridge into Maine, then turned around and went back again. I got to brag to my aunt later that I already had my 10,000 steps in.

After my walking tour, I drove up to Maine to my family’s camp near Kennebunk. I chose to take my training in Portsmouth because it was relatively near the camp, and fortuitously, it happened to be the same weekend that a lot of extra family was up there. So I got to have an amazing (but short) time with around 20 members of my extended family. After water-skiing, I headed out for a run around the lake between rain showers. (It was very humid.) After a late dinner, we had two sauna sessions and two jumps in the lake before I drove back to Portsmouth to take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in.

Saturday, I headed back to Maine for a few hours, getting in another water-skiing session plus some wiffle ball. We can call that cross training. I made Saturday my rest day so I didn’t have to throw stinky, sweaty running clothes in my suitcase. (I did throw my swimsuit into my carry-on, but it was dry.) I was flying out Saturday evening and drove back to Boston after the wiffle ball game. I made it home at about 10 PM and crashed at about midnight, without bothering to set an alarm. I was going to sleep as late as I wanted to.

Sunday I still got in almost 14 miles! I didn’t put any pressure on myself to get started by a certain time. I got up late, I ate my breakfast fairly slowly, and I watched a couple TV shows before I finally headed out. I probably could have cranked out a few more miles, but I was hungry and out of gels, and I was low on water. I really wouldn’t mind a few long runs on days in the low 70s F, if for no reason other than water conservation.

I am really amazed I managed to run 41 miles this week, with all the travel, work, studying, and even fun I crammed into my trip. I was pretty tired – traveling wears me down a bit no matter what the situation, and in this case I was up early every day and then up late studying due to semi-poor time management. Working out did help me decompress from the day and also allowed me to see some beautiful places. And yes, I did enrich myself professionally as well.

Half marathon coming up this weekend – I just signed up for it today, since I realized I haven’t raced in two months. And I’ll get to be home every day this week!!! So that will be great.

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