The kids' school had a teacher in-service day today, so the boys were off school. Noah asked if his friend could spend the night last night, so I let him do that, which meant I basically got no sleep last night--yay! ;)
I got an exciting e-mail from Runner's World--they invited me to participate in the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival this June in Boston! I had heard of this festival from my friend (and Ragnar SoCal teammate) Caitlin, who is doing it also. There's a 5K and 10K on Saturday, and then a half-marathon on Sunday. RW asked me which I'd like to do--just one race, or I could do the "Five & Dime" (the 5K and 10K), or I could go for the "Hat Trick" (all three races).
It's not every day that I get invited to participate in something like this, so I decided to go for the Hat Trick! Remember how I was having a hard time coming up with something new to do as far as running this year? I think this will be perfect. I've never done back-to-back races before, so it should be fun and challenging. Those are the only details that I know right now, but I'm excited about having something different to train for!
The timing of the e-mail was pretty perfect. I just started that new Ryan Hall training program, but I've realized that I don't like it as much as I thought I would. I like the idea of heart rate training, but I've found the easy runs to be too easy, and the hard runs to be too hard... so it's not very enjoyable. As a running coach, I know that type of training is probably ideal; but as a runner, it's just not fun for me. And 2014 is supposed to be all about fun!
Since I'm doing the Hat Trick in June, I'll need to prepare to run through fatigue, and what better plan to do that than Hansons? I am still waiting for the Hansons Half-Marathon Method book (I pre-ordered it from Amazon, and I think it'll be released in a couple of weeks); but I can just follow the half-marathon plan online until I get the book. I started their plan on the first week of speed work, which is actually the sixth week of the training. I've already built a good base, and this will have me finish the plan just in time for the Heartbreak Hill Half.
It's funny that I started the plan today, on my very least favorite training run of their plan: 12 x 400 with 400 jogs (plus warm-up and cool down).
-1 mile warm-up
-Repeat the following 12 times:
-Run 1/4 mile at 5K pace
-Jog 1/4 mile
-0.5 mile cool down
That's a 7.5 mile run--for speed work! That's longer than the "long run" of this week in training. But I was determined to get it done and complete the whole workout. I prefer to do speed work on the treadmill (not that I have a choice right now with all the snow on the roads), so I watched a couple of episodes of Private Practice while I ran the intervals. I did the warm-up at 6.0 mph, the fast intervals at 8.0 mph, and the recovery jogs at 5.5 mph.
I kept thinking to myself, "I really don't HAVE to do 12 repeats... I could get away with just 8. Or maybe 6..." Each time, I just decided I'd do ONE more. And ONE more after that. Until I made it through all 12!
One of the things I like about the Hansons Method is that the intervals aren't oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-die-any-second kind of hard. They're done at 5K pace, which is a pace that you can sustain for 3.11 miles; so 1/4 mile is tough, but they certainly could be much worse. I also like that the long runs are done at a faster pace than typical plans suggest. Most of the running on the Hansons plan is done at a middle-ground pace for me, so it doesn't feel too easy or too hard, if that makes sense.
Because I'm going to be running the Hat Trick, I obviously am not going to be running my hardest racing pace that weekend. I'm going to run the races at an easy pace, so that I can actually get through all three without killing myself ;) I think the Hansons plan is the best way to train to work through fatigue, and I'm excited to do it again (on a smaller scale, considering I'm doing a half and not a full, of course). So my pace isn't really important, but I'm going to try and follow the recommended paces if I can.
Anyway, after I ran today, I wanted to do something fun with the kids so they weren't playing video games or watching TV all day while home from school. The rec center was closed from 10-5, so that wasn't an option. I remembered that I had coupons for the kids for free bowling, so I took all three (Noah, Eli, and Noah's friend) to the bowling alley. They wanted pizza from the bowling alley for lunch, so they ate that, and I saved a couple of pieces to take to Mark.
The pizza looked so good, but it was loaded with cheese and grease, and I estimated approximately 14,000 calories per slice, so I just decided to get my lunch from Panera on the way to visit Mark. We dropped off Noah's friend on the way, and then Noah, Eli, and I went to see Mark. He was really happy to see us, of course.
Mark got great news from his doctor, but with Sarah's death on Monday, I didn't want to share such good news and bad news on the same day. Mark's good news: he got a discharge date! He's going to be discharged on the 18th of this month. The whole thing was a little scary at first--he left a message for my dad saying that he was getting discharged the following day. I panicked and went up to see him, so I could figure out what was going on, and I learned his discharge date wasn't actually the following day, but on the 18th.
Mark said he was going back to the group home, but I got the impression from the care givers that he wasn't going to be able to go back there. He's still not completely able to do everything on his own, so I don't think the home will take him. But I talked to the social workers at the nursing home, and they were SO very helpful. I explained to Mark that even if he's not able to go back to the home, we'll find him a place that's very close to where my parents and I live; that way, we'll be able to visit much more often, and take him out for a few hours a few times a week.
So now, I want to try and find a good home for him as a back-up plan, if his group home doesn't work out. Mark is excited either way, because he just wants to get out of a hospital environment and have some more freedom. Today, all he could talk about was how excited he was get out of there. The nursing staff absolutely loves him, and he's treated really well, but he hates the hospital bed.
When I asked him what he was looking forward to most when he goes home, he said, "Doing my chores, helping around the house." Not exactly what you would expect him to say! All of the residents at his home were assigned different chores, and Mark always liked doing them. I told him that his chores would probably be different now, because his muscles are weaker and he can't do things like chopping wood; he said he was glad that I told him that, so he knows what to expect.
When I gave him his milkshake, he told me that he was so lucky to have so many people that care about him. And he told me to make sure I thank all of my friends (you!) for sending him cards. It brightens his day each time I bring some!