Weekly Training Log
Reality: Done! After much deliberation, I decided to close the bakery on Mondays. Over the last few months, Jessica and I have been working 7 days a week covering shifts for retail and production. We’ve come to realize, the only way either of us can be gaurunteed an actual day off is to close the bakery. It will also give us an opportunity to regroup and reset the space for another week. Being away last week, I didn’t get to fully appreciate the Monday off but today, I did!
Plan: RUN (3x200, 800) x2
Reality: I started baking at 2am. By 5:30, I was able to take a break to join the Sunrise group at the clubhouse. I ran to the Hurrell track in Glen Ridge to complete my workout. The track isn’t 400 meters and I can never remember if it’s too short or too long so my workout was a little wiggly. I completed it as planned, all the same.
Plan: SWIM 2100 recovery
Reality: Yesterday, Brad was hit with a stomach bug. I felt a little queasy but I assumed it was just because that’s my normal reaction when someone is puking in my presence. This morning, I had to be at the bakery at 2am. We had an order for 500 doughnuts that had to be made and delivered to Newark by 9am, on top of normal production. When my alarm went off, I knew this was going to be a difficult day. I could barely move. My body ached, it hurt to breathe. Nevertheless, I got up, dressed and headed to the bakery. While I was cutting trays of doughnuts, I could barely manage to stay upright. I thought I was going to faint. After the last tray was cut and placed on the rack, I returned home to take a nap while they were rising.
An hour later, I went back to finish the doughnuts for the order. By 6am, they were complete. By 6:05am, I was back in bed where I stayed for the rest of the day. I don’t recall eating or drinking anything. The kids came home from school. I moved to the sofa to help them with their homework. We had Panera delivered for dinner and I struggled to eat a few bites of chicken noodle soup.
Plan: BIKE 60 Minutes
Reality: I got up early to unlock MBCo on Lorraine Street for the 5:30am group run. I still felt awful. As soon as the picture was taken and the runners headed up the hill to Highland Ave, I went back home and got another hour of sleep before the kids had to get up for school.
When they walked to the bus stop, I decided to try spending some time upright. Today marks the 7th anniversary of the day I opened Montclair Bread Company. I always try to do something fun to celebrate. This year, I decided to host a party and make classic desserts from my childhood for people to nosh on when they stopped by. I had no idea how I was going to pull it off with this plague. I sat in front of the computer trying to craft a cancellation notice but I just couldn’t come up with the right words.
Luckily, these desserts were all super simple, dump the ingredients in a bowl kind of recipes. I dragged myself to the bakery where Jessica helped me put together classics like Strawberry Jello Salad & Watergate Salad…neither of which contain any semblance of vegetables.
I started feeling better as the day progressed. I still had absolutely no appetite. I might have had a cup of broth or two but that was the extent of my nourishment for the day.
The kids and I hosted a gathering of friends at the bakery in the evening. We all celebrated the start of another year together.
Plan: 25 Minute Shake Out
Reality: When I woke up, I felt off again but I pushed through it. I got the kids up and out for school and went to the bakery to start preparing for the weekend. At noon, I took a break to get my run in with the Friday group at the Running Co. This week, the group was me, Brad & Anne. All 3 of us were registered for the NYRR Fiesta 5K on Saturday so it was everyone’s shakeout.
After the run, I took a walk into town with Anne. I was still feeling a little woozy. By the time I returned home, woozy was an understatement. I went back to bed and slept until the kids came home from school. I have never experienced anything quite like this particular illness before. It leaves me very short of breath, completely weak and lifeless with absolutely no appetite.
I promised Josie to take her graduation dress shopping when she got home from school and so I did. She, the boys and I, started our afternoon adventure at TJMax where she tried on a dozen or so dresses and actually managed to find one she liked. Thankfully, we were right next to a Panera so I could re-up our chicken noodle soup stock for dinner. Once we were back home, we watched a movie before we all went to bed. I just wanted to wake up on Saturday and feel back to normal. I’ve been working so hard to race this 5K and it may not be my day after all.
Plan: NYRR 5K Fiesta Run
Reality: “Get your head on right this week.” was the message from my coach, Alden. Before I started working with Alden, just about a year ago, I was conditioned to start each race conservative. Start out slow and build too fast. While negative splits are still my jam, I felt broken when it came to racing. I could kill a workout but I lost all sense of confidence on race day because I obsessed about not going out fast and then I couldn’t muster the strength to pick up the pace at the end. Simply stated, I would give up.
When my impromptu 5k didn’t go as planned in February, Alden snuck a workout in my long run the following week that required me to run faster than I did in the 5K, which I didn’t realize at the time, but I completed all the same. Slowly he helped me build confidence through his workouts until it was undeniable I had what it takes to progress to the next level.
I still felt ill. After I dropped the kids at their father’s house at noon, I went back to bed where I stayed until it was time to leave for the race. Brad was spinning with nervous pre-race energy. “What’s your race plan? What shoes are you going to wear? What’s your first mile going to be? How long are you going to warm up?” I ignored him and pulled the pillow over my head. I had consumed less nutrients this entire week than I normally do in one meal. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the starting line and even less of an idea what this race was going to bring.
When I saw the Mile 3 marker, I glanced at my total elapsed time and I knew I had a chance. I remembered what my friend Suzanne told me when I first started running, when you can’t move your legs, move your arms - they’re connected. And so I did. I pushed with everything I had left to make it to the clock with seconds to spare. Going into this race, my 5K PR was 22:59. All I wanted was 1 second better, just 1 second to say, for the record, I made progress. All this work has paid off. I crossed the line, stopped my watch and looked down. I didn’t get my 1 second. I ran 34 seconds faster than I’d ever run a 5K before, 22:25!
By the time I found Brad, I was sobbing. The odds were stacked against me today but I pulled it off. Earlier in the week, Brad confessed. When I was in the hospital and even weeks after I returned home, he truly didn’t believe I would ever run again. In his past, running alongside elite athletes, he had witnessed injuries, like mine, take people out of the game for good. But here I am, eight months later, with a new record.
My friend Allison asked me what, specifically, I attribute this accomplishment to. Other than sheer, undeniable stubbornness, here’s my answer…
I never stopped building strength & power. In the past, I ran 6 days a week. I was told, the only way to be a better runner is to run more, so I did. I had a couple 65 mile weeks and I never ran less than 40 miles a week. Maybe I was a better runner but I was also injury prone, unbalanced and I didn’t have the strength & power I needed to finish a race strong. Once my physical therapy was complete, after my pelvis was reconstructed, I have continued to incorporate strength training into my regime. I swim twice each week, I bike twice each week and I go to TRX or interval training at least once a week. This keeps all the muscles that support my running muscles strong and balanced so if leg muscles feel weak, I can pull strength from my glutes & my core. I run with my whole body.
I make every run count. I only run three days a week. Each run serves a purpose..track day, tempo day, long run day…no junk miles! This doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me. When I set my marathon PR, three years ago, this is how I trained. Again, I thought to get better at running, i needed to run more but I’ve learned my body just isn’t cut out for that. I have embraced the track to the point that I kind of love it. No, you’re not going to catch me competing in an indoor 5K but I love my Tuesday morning loops when the sun is rising and I’m chasing towards it. When I only run 3 days a week, I look forward to each opportunity I get to lace up. It never gets old, it never gets tired. I love every second of it.
I eat clean. I carefully consider everything I choose to put into my body. Everything I consume serves as much purpose as every mile I run. I eat balanced. What does this mean? For me, the biggest hurdle to changing my diet was to eat three meals a day - no skipping! So often, I would skip breakfast and even lunch and then I would be so hungry by dinner I would eat anything, literally anything, I could find. Now I focus as much energy on my meal planning as I do my training plan. I make sure I have tons of fruit and veggies on hand for quick snacking and smoothies. I make sure I eat within the first hour of waking up. I eat out less so I have more control over what I’m eating. Grain bowls…a simple cooked grain topped with whatever random veggies & protein I have in the fridge, are my life force. Those and tacos. I’ve greatly reduced my alcohol consumption since my accident. At first because I couldn’t drink while medicated and then because I realized how much better I feel each morning when I don’t drink the night before. I do not eliminate anything from my diet and I continue to let myself indulge in doughnuts and cinnamon buns because, balance and what life is worth living without doughnuts?!?!
I focus on me. There will always be someone faster and someone slower. I don’t compare myself to them. I compare myself to where I was a week ago, a year ago, five years ago. How far have I come? How far can I go? On race day, there won’t be anyone by my side. My race is my own. My pace is my own.
I worked toward smaller, more digestible goals. Minutes before the start of the 5K, I adjusted my watch settings so it would alert me at the end of each quarter mile. It occurred to me that all my training conditioned me to count small laps either in the pool or on the track…I’m always counting down from 20, 12, 8… Three miles seemed so loooonnnggg. 12 quarters? That’s just four more than my workout last week and I did that with no problem. During the race this was HUGE! Typically, somewhere around mile 2-2.5, I let myself quit. I tell myself I don’t need to prove anything to anyone and I slow down. I resolve to bag that mile and pick up the pace at the start of the next mile. But in this race, I wasn’t running miles, I was running quarters. When I felt like I couldn’t push any more, I relaxed a little, but only for a quarter. When that quarter was over, I tried again to push. I never had enough time between quarters to let my brain give up and slow my body down. I kept a count in my head 12, 11, 10… They went by SO FAST, before I knew it there was the 3 Mile marker and I could see the finish line.
I took a chance. The way I saw it, I had two options, go out conservative and try to pick up the pace OR go out hard and see how long I could hang on. I’ve been running two mile workouts for the last few weeks. I knew I could hang on for two miles at an aggressive pace. Thankfully, the race was crowded and the sheer mass of people kept me from going out too hard. I started comfortably hard and I kept going. I eased off a little at mile 1.5 and picked back up at mile 2. By 2.5 I could barely hold on but I mustered the energy for one last push when I saw the last mile marker. I knew if I started out conservative, I might never make the time back but if I went out fast, all I had to do was hang on, not completely fall apart, and put one foot in front of the other. I can do anything for 20 minutes, or in this case 22:25 minutes. A year ago, I would have never taken this risk. Today, it paid off. Next time, maybe I can hang on for a little longer.
I have a coach. I don’t have to think; he thinks for me. I have to execute. Each week is like a check list and every day I get to put a mark in the box next to complete. I am responsible for so many things in this life - the bakery, the kids, the groceries, the laundry…but not my training plan. I learned a long time ago, the importance of paying for professional services that enhance the potential for progress. When I’m not sure which direction my life is heading, I engage a career coach, when I’m trying to budget and plan for growth at the bakery, I lean on my accountant and when I want to increase my chances of meeting my running goals, I enlist the services of a running coach. Not every coach is perfect for every runner….kind of like therapists, you have to find the right one for you. Alden and I work well together. Being a champion triathlete (a 2:44 marathoner and 3rd place OA at the Baker’s Dozen 13.1) he understands the importance of cross training. He has three kiddos to chase after so he gets that plans don’t always go as planned. Most importantly, he pushes me to take risks, to push a little harder, to run a little faster and he calls me out when he knows I took the easy path. On Sunday, August 19th, when I was laying on a gurney in the ER, Alden was texting and calling me to tell me, whenever I was able, because I would be able, he would be there to help me take the next steps.
After the race, I went straight home and back to bed. The plague had crept back into my system. It wasn’t until Sunday night that it finally started to go away for good.