BCHM Training with Hansons: Week 9

Hope everyone is enjoying the Labor Day weekend! It's been a fun weekend for me, preceded by a really great training week. This week I was back to feeling fantastic. All of my SOS (something of substance) runs were hard and my legs were tired on even my easy runs, but I didn't have the intense fatigue like I did last week. I wonder if my body just needed a week to adapt to this new, difficult phase of training. I did get in my two strength training sessions but ended up doing no yoga at all. Finding the time to do all these things is tough.

This was also an exciting week because I got to meet a blogging friend in real life! Carina from Carina's Running Career was in Pittsburgh visiting family, and we arranged to meet for a run and breakfast on Saturday. Meeting her was truly the highlight of my week. She is awesome, and I'm so grateful that the blogging world has connected me with so many wonderful people.
Carina and me in the Strip District after breakfast

Week at a Glance

 Physical Health

Emotional Health

Feeling fantastic. This week I had some good opportunities to work on mental toughness. Each time I do that, I feel stronger and more prepared for race day. 


Last week I said I was done with the all-the-carbs thing based on Racing Weight's guidelines and felt like my body was craving more fruits and veggies. I'd also reached the point where I just could not stand the thought of another bowl of rice or a bagel. The result of implementing that was about as expected--I get so full on the veggies that I don't have room in my belly for much else. I realize that's great from a weight management standpoint but not so much from the standpoint of fueling my body to perform well. I'm still trying to get my high-quality carbs, but it's not as much. This week my SOS workouts felt very tough, and I can't help but make the connection to what I'm eating because I know how strong I usually feel eating a lot of carbs. Sigh. Back to the drawing board. I think I need to find more non-filling, high-carb options, but the only ones that come immediately to mind are dates and raisins (since those are too sweet for me to eat a ton), fruit juice, and soymilk. I think smoothies are another good idea, but my blender is broken and I haven't bought a new one yet. Other ideas?

Thoughts About the Hansons' Plan

This was my second week on the half-marathon-specific training block aimed at preparing the body to handle the fatigue associated with endurance running. All three of my SOS workouts were very tough, though we did have a heat wave this past week, which likely contributed. While my legs generally feel tired at the beginning of all my runs, I'm much less fatigued in general than last week. I'm actually feeling pretty great.

The thing about this plan is that it is so different in writing than it is when you do it. If you've never done this or a similar plan and read these updates, you might think it's a little crazy to be running so many miles on weekdays and running six days a week for 40+ miles a week. I know I thought that when I first read the book. But the plan has eased me into this type of running so well that it doesn't feel crazy at all. This is my fourth week of 40+ mileage, but it doesn't feel like it. I ran almost 9 hours total last week, but I don't seem to have any wear and tear on my body. Instead, I'm feeling very strong and very fit. I think this confirms that higher mileage in general and this plan specifically works for me.

Last week I mentioned my paces dropping, but I wondered if that was because of the cooler weather. But this week, even with the hot and humid weather, my easy pace was generally still in the 12:30-13:00 range, instead of the 13:00-14:00 range when I first started.

Weekly Recap

Easy run: 4 miles, 53:39, 13:23 pace
If you read my recap from last week, I ended the weekend feeling extremely fatigued. When I woke Monday morning with the same feeling of fatigue, I knew I needed a break. So I took the suggestion Coach Melissa gave me to do a minute-based run instead of mile-based run. I had 5 miles on the schedule so needed 50 minutes of running. It was 71 and humid, and I was struggling through the whole run, as my pace shows, until the very end. In the last half-mile I debated doing the full 5 since I was feeling better but decided to give myself a little break.
Lulu Aquamarine Runner Up Tank,
Electric Coral Pace Rival Skirt,
Angel Wing Mesh Bangbuster

Strength run: 9.5 miles, 1:54:24
This was probably the toughest run I've done on this plan. This was the sixth consecutive day of running and feeling very fatigued, and it was 73 and humid. On the schedule was 4 x 1.5-mile repeats at 10:40 pace with half-mile recovery. Last week the pace didn't feel tough, but this week it definitely did. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done, with a strong finish to boot. Paces for each repeat were 10:40, 10:41, 10:41, 10:42, 10:34. This was another most-weekday-mileage PR.

I completely forgot to take a post-race picture. Oops.

It was my 42nd birthday, and I took a complete day of rest. Usually on my rest days I do yoga, stretching, and foam rolling, but I replaced those with eating vegan chocolate-coconut cupcakes my friends at work made for me and drinking wine. It was a perfect day!

My birthday picture with Django on our morning walk:
A photo posted by Jennifer Kent (@jennifer_kent) on

Vegan chocolate-coconut cupcakes my friends at work made me! They also took me out for a delicious Thai lunch.
A photo posted by Jennifer Kent (@jennifer_kent) on
Tempo run: 7 miles, 1:21:11
This was the most mentally tough run I've had on this plan. It was 73 with 98% humidity, and I was dying just in my warm-up mile. I had 5 miles at goal race pace (10:50) but adjusted my goal to be 10:55 because of the heat and humidity. As soon as I got started, I was mentally done. The voices in my head wouldn't let up: Why I am doing this? I'm too old to do this. I should just go home and back to sleep. I should quit this plan. I should quit my race. I should quit running. After a while of this, I was able to recognize it for what it was. My head wasn't in the game, and this run was all about practicing game day. On these runs, when my goal pace miles start, my Garmin keeps going regardless of whether I stop or pause. I treat these runs as a mini race. On this day, I realized that I just had to get my head in the game. I didn't want to, but I had to push, just like I'll have to on race day. Again, it wasn't pretty--the pace did not feel easy--but again I did it and finished strong. I had a slower 3rd mile because I walked to take my gel and salt stick and then actually stopped to try to figure out my halfway point (I cannot, apparently, think and run). But otherwise, I was proud that I came close to my pace and got my head back in the game. Splits were 10:43, 10:57, 11:05, 10:53, 10:39.
Lulu Heathered Black Cherry What the Sport Singlet,
White Hit Your Stride Skirt,
Slate Mesh Bangbuster

In the evening I did 20 minutes of strength training. 

Easy run: 5 miles, 1:04:43, 12:57 pace
When I checked my schedule and saw that I had 5 miles instead of the 6 I thought I had, I got pretty excited. It was 71 and humid but wasn't a bad run.
Athleta Amethyst Haze Chi Splice Muscle Tank
Lulu Slate Go the Distance Shorts

Long run: 12 miles, 2:28, 12:20 pace
My friend at work, Jamie, is training for the Philadelphia Marathon and had 12 on her schedule, so we decided to run together. I also invited Anna. Carina was also in town and had 17 on her schedule, but because she runs at a faster pace, I thought she could run with the Steel City Road Runners group. We all met at 6 a.m. at the SCRR garage, and it turned out that others had the same idea for an early start. The group run didn't start until 7:30 but there were a bunch of other runners there, including Tony from Runderful Life, who was planning on 18 miles. I connected Carina with him and his friends, and then Jamie, Anna, and I set off on the trail toward Lawrenceville. It was 70 and very humid, and we agreed to take it easy and not try to keep to a specific pace. Later, Carina was saying we don't know how good we have it. She's from Dallas, and this weather felt good to her. She considered wearing a long sleeve top! We ran on the trail to the 40th Street bridge, across the bridge, back through Lawrenceville, and then back on the 31st Street Bridge to the trail. Anna had 6 on her schedule, so we stopped after 6 at the SCRR garage to say goodbye to her and then refill our water bottles. Jamie and I headed back out for our last 6. At that point, I was pretty hot and after a few more miles, I was pretty much dying. Just before the last mile, I actually had to take a walk break, something I rarely do. I was just steaming hot, miserable, and my legs were so tired. I seriously wasn't sure I could finish. But, I did. Seeing my watch ding the 12-mile mark was the best feeling in the world.

(I was so miserable that I completely forgot to take a picture of our little crew so quickly just took one of me when I got home. You can tell how thrilled I am about this run.)
Sopping wet and pretty miserable.
Lulu Regal Plum Sculpt Tank &
Black Pace Rival Skirt

I said goodbye to Jamie and then walked home for a quick shower and change of clothes before heading to the Strip District to meet Carina for breakfast. She had actually run 19 miles with Tony and his friends and enjoyed the run. We went to Pamela's, which is famous for their crepe-style pancakes. I have been reading Carina's blog for more than a year (check it out if you don't currently read it--it's one of my favorites), so meeting her in real life was a huge treat. I knew I would like her from her blog, but she is just such a happy, positive person in real life, and that's exactly the type of person I like to be around. We spent the morning laughing and sharing stories over pancakes and potatoes. (In case the vegan police want to know, I'm sure the pancakes weren't vegan, but I ate them anyway. The waitress told me the potatoes were made with a soy-based imitation butter, but I'm not sure I believe her. I rarely eat breakfast out because it's not vegan, but since it was a special occasion, I went off-vegan and splurged...and have no guilt or regrets!) Carina gave me a perfect birthday gift--a vegan cookbook and Sparkly Soul hair band. So sweet!
Perfect birthday gifts from Carina!

After breakfast, I walked home and took a very long nap. It was perfect, because I woke up feeling very refreshed and not at all tired.

Easy run: 6 miles, 1:15, 12:30 pace
Another steamy run--69 and humid. It took my legs 3 miles to get warmed up and not feel so tired and heavy, but I ended the run feeling refreshed. Oh, and by the way: I'm wearing shorts running. It's too hot. Screw it.
Lulu Pretty Purple/Iris Flower Stripe What the Sport Singlet,
Pretty Purple All Sport Bra,
Black Tracker Shorts,
White Run Visor

After the run I did 20 minutes of strength training.

Enjoy the holiday tomorrow, and happy running and working out this week!

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