A taste of Italy

A taste mostly because I forgot to bring an adaptor for European sockets and couldn’t charge my phone for the second half of our trip. Oops.

Our honeymoon began in Florence with some Prosecco and chocolates (thanks to our awesome hotel).

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We woke up the next morning and realized we had an awesome view.

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To the left – the Bargello museum.

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And to the right – a church/theater – we could never quite figure this out.

And around the corner……….

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Piazza della Signoria

 

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And the Palazzo Vecchio.

We decided to go for an exploratory run on our first morning. Across the river Arno and then UP (Florence is pretty hilly). We ended up at Piazza Michelangelo for some awesome views over the city and the surrounding hills.

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Beautiful view.

We then did some impromptu stair work to take a peak at San Miniato al Monte.

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We then circled back to the hotel – 4.45 miles in total. And great introduction to the city. Later we checked out David.

IMG_1017The next day we headed to the Uffizi to get our art quota. And later watched the sunset from the top of the Palazzo Vecchio.

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Our final morning was spend checking out the cathedral. About 400 steps to the top of the bell tower. And another 400 to the top of the dome. Worth it.

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I somehow neglected to take any photos of the food we ate but rest assured everything was amazing – fresh pasta and Chianti is the best combination. And I’m still trying to decide if timing this honeymoon to coincide with my marathon taper was a stroke of genius or not…………I’ll guess I’ll find out in 5 days.

My week in Ireland

What a three weeks! In case you were wondering where I have been………….well I was busy getting married back in Ireland followed by a much needed honeymoon in Italy! It was amazing! And I’m finally recovered and getting back into the swing of things…………Except for the fact that I’m running my first ever marathon on Sunday. Gotta love my planning.

Where to start……well a little bit about our week in Dublin. One word: busy. Forms to fill. Last minute wedding details to organize. Weddings. Partying with family and friends. And a little bit of recovery time. Combined with my last full week of marathon training.

I got to spend some quality time with my doggie-sibling.

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He is a Tibetan spaniel in case you were curious.

Then some beautiful runs in the most amazing weather. Ireland is not generally known for its sunny weather but we had a week of sunshine and no rain. #Miracle.

A quick rewind to the day we flew out from SLC. Don’t worry – we weren’t flying til 5 PM. 12 miles at 8.25 min/mile pace. This run felt awesome (despite my getting completely soaked by mile 4). Maybe due to the fact that I was going on vacation – that’ll always brighten your day.

We got into Dublin on Sunday afternoon and chilled out. Monday – I got to run 5 miles with J along the local canal path. Blue skies and lush, green countryside.

Tuesday afternoon – tempo run along the same path but headed in the opposite direction. 5 miles at 7.25 min/mile pace (including one 7.04 minute mile – thank you altitude training).

Wednesday was a leisurely 10 K with my Mom around a local park. It was pretty.

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Not in Salt Lake anymore!

 

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The River Liffey.

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River views.

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Clear blue skies!

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So much green!

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The little hilly laneway.

Thursday was D-Day. And by D I mean twenty miler day. This was to be the second twenty miler of this training cycle and I was hoping that it would go a lot better than my last one. My Mom has done a bunch of marathons and regularly done her long runs around the Phoenix Park which is just outside Dublin city. So she kindly agreed to act as a guide and bike 20 miles with me (and buy me lunch afterwards!).

I had expected a lot of road running but it turns out my Mom was a trail runner without knowing it and the first 12ish miles consisted of woodland trails, grass and running through freshly cut hay. The second part brought me to a flat and paved canal path. This run went so well. No bonking at all. I felt good at the end and was pretty confident that I could’ve run another 6 miles if I really had to (luckily I went and ate quiche and cheesecake instead).

20 miles at 8.57 min/mile pace

But the best part was my finish.

Mile 16         8.42

Mile 17         8.35

Mile 18         8.26

Mile 19         8.14

Mile 20         7.31

Yes – I somehow managed to finish my 20 mile long run with a 7.31 minute mile. What a way to finish my marathon training.

No aches. No pains. No stomach issues. I felt great for the rest of that day and the next day (which was lucky because Friday was wedding day).

We had a really simple and intimate ceremony with our immediate families followed by the most amazing dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city. Lots of Prosecco, great food and great wine. You know a meal is great when they serve a pre-dessert of raspberry and chocolate macaroons.

A quick and easy run on Satruday – 4.2 miles followed by hanging out in our hotel sauna and jacuzzi. Then more partying – and after living away for awhile I can tell you that Irish people sure know how to party.

Sunday was a true recovery day in every sense of the word. And then Monday was…………..Italy!

Weekly summary + the 20 mile bonk

Gotta love those four day work weeks. It’s Friday! And what’s even better is that I’m heading on vacation tomorrow. Two and a half weeks in Europe – family, wedding, honeymoon. Yes! Yes! Yes! I am beyond excited about this trip and can’t wait to set foot on that plane tomorrow.

This week has been crazy busy – hence the complete lack of presence on the blog world but I think things are finally organized – besides last minute packing. One thing that has stayed on schedule is marathon training. It is exactly one month until I run the Twin Cities marathon – just four full weeks of running to go with most of that being my taper. Here’s how the last week went down.

Saturday: 4 miles at 7.13 min/mile pace + 1 mile at 8.17 min/mile pace

Sunday: 20 miles at 9.01 min/mile pace

Monday: 5.25 miles at 9.32 min/mile pace

Tuesday: 1.4 miles at 8.42 min/mile pace + 6.5 miles at 7.47 min/mile pace + 1.7 miles at 9.36 min/mile pace (9.6 miles total)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles on the trail at 11.06 min/mile pace

Friday: 8.05 miles at 8.08 min/mile pace

Reading back through my training paces it looks pretty good but that would be hiding the bonk that was my first every 20 miler. I do my long runs on Sundays, and I always run the day before (usually at a pretty decent pace for me) -> getting used to running on tired legs.

I pushed it for the 5 miler on Saturday (average pace was 7.23 min/mile, although my Garmin decided it didn’t want to connect with any satellites that day). The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house (my house needs to be spotless before I leave for vacation) and hitting the salon for a much needed haircut. We then headed for dinner with friends who made the most amazing seared tuna. The one thing that didn’t happen on Saturday -> proper refueling.

My Sunday 20 miler started pretty well. I like to take the first couple of miles to warm up and then settle in to a comfortable pace. I mentally split my runs into parts so I try not to think about the crazy long distance that I’ve decided to run. It was a little overcast and in the high 50s so perfect running weather. By halfway I was feeling totally great. Things started to feel a little hard at mile 14 before the wheels totally came off at mile 18.

The last two miles were ugly. My legs felt so tired. I really wanted to stop. And I had to bargain with myself to make it home. Once I stopped running things didn’t get better. I felt like I couldn’t eat anything. The chocolate milk I managed to get down almost made a reappearance, and I felt completely off. I managed to have a shower and then had to lie down for about an hour before I could even contemplate eating food. My friends, I hit the wall hard.

This was not a good run and had me seriously questioning my ability to run a marathon. If I felt this bad after 20 miles, what was 26.2 miles going to feel like? Plus, I had been thinking of running the race 30s per mile faster than this training pace. How was that ever going to happen? So I needed to go back and find some positives and some lessons to take from this.

Positives:

1. I ran 20 miles. I did it. Even though it was hard I made it.

2. No chafing. I was trying out my race outfit and had no problems. I also had to retire a pair of shoes last week, and wore my newest pair and they felt great.

3. No knee pain. I couldn’t imagine at the start of this training cycle being able to run this far with no pain. That is pretty amazing.

4. Highest weekly mileage ever: 45.55 miles

5. Highest monthly mileage ever: 191 miles

6. I ran 20 miles!

Lessons:

1. I need to eat more. I’ve noticed that when my weekly mileage increases by 5ish miles I need to eat more or things go badly. My weight has been pretty constant for this training cycle – I think I might have gained some muscle and lost some fat but it’s been sitting between 112-115lbs. After my run on Sunday it was 105lb. This is too low for me. So this week I’ve made a conscious effort to get more calories and I’ve been feeling great.

2. Carb loading. This did not happen on Saturday. Pasta + bread needs to happen before all long runs (14+ miles for me).

3. Start gels a little earlier. Drink more during the run. The major downer of this run was a crappy fueling strategy – both before and during the run. Lesson learned. I do not want this to happen again.

I also need to give my body some credit – this is the first time I’ve run this distance (a repeat is happening next week). I remember when I ran my first ever 10 mile run while training for my first half marathon. I thought I was going to die and the last mile was SO hard. Maybe not quite as wiped out as after this 20 miler, but definitely exhausted. Now, I regularly run 8-9 miles as a midweek training run. 10 mile is easy. I know that 20 miles is never going to be “easy” but I’m hoping that it will never be THIS HARD again. Perspective is a hell of a thing.