Half-marathon training: Days 78, 79, 80, and 81

Great scot, friends, I’ve really fallen down on my half-marathon training blog duties. This is in large part due to the fact that my workouts are starting to run together (HAHA I MADE A PUN WITHOUT EVEN TRYING!). But this week has had some twists for me and I would like to share them with all of you lovelies.

Hill workout! 003

Monday, Day 78, Molly invited me to do a hill workout with her. This basically entailed a short warmup, followed by running up the quarter-mile-long hill pictured above and jogging (or should I say “yogging”) back down. In all, it was 2 miles of pure h-e-double-hockeysticks. Molly was almost embarrassingly faster than me, especially on the last rep when I passed a nine-week-old cockapoo puppy and was forced to stop for some face-licking and cuddle time. I asked her to take a picture of me after she finished the last climb. Instead of being the harrowing portrait I envisioned of my struggles, it’s pretty much evidence of how far behind I got. Oh well.

Hill workout! 004

Why do I always look like I’m power-walking when my running buddies snap photos of me? Because it sure as eff doesn’t feel like power-walking.

The lame part of the workout, however, was the pain in my shins. In addition, the owie I had on the top of my right foot was still there, and when I took my shoes off at home there was a red bump that looked almost like an insect bite but was painful as eff to the touch. I’m starting to think that maybe there’s something pressing on that point inside my right shoe, so I must investigate. But ohhh boy, people. I’m really starting to get nervous here. What have I done to myself? Dave’s aunt is a physical therapist and I’m going to ask her to refer me to a running specialist this week. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, while I give my kickers a break, I’ve decided to do some swimming in place of my running workouts for the week. 

I was out on the island where my parents live on Tuesday and Wednesday (Days 79 and 80), so I headed to my old stomping grounds: the public pool. You guys, I spent more time here than any other place during my childhood and teenage years. I know it like the back of my hand. And I SWEAR I’ve never done any psychedellic drugs, but for some reason being there gave me the strangest flashbacks.


The above picture is of me winning the annual innertube relay put on by my high school swimteam when I was seventeen. Incidentally, we set the unofficial world-record that day. So…I’m awesome. I was also the anchor of the relay, which raises my awesomeness level to the power of five.

I swam on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and the whole time I was in the pool I was reliving my most vivid high school memories: over there is where my first boyfriend dumped me…that lane is where I first broke a minute in the 100 free…there’s the kickboard I carved my name into with a safety pin…that lifeguard chair is where I sat on my first-ever day of work…that locker room is where I first shaved my legs…this corner is where I was so mean to my best friend in seventh grade that I made her cry…that doorway is where I had my first kiss…there’s the diving board that I leapt from in glee after getting accepted to Pomona College…this pool ledge is where I cried and cried when I lost one of my childhood friends in a car accident, and my coach rubbed my shoulder and told me that our team was like a family, and they would all support me through anything. Talk about a friggin’ mind-game. 

The whole time I was there, I kept expecting to hear someone holler “Wiggs!” in my direction…but I never saw a single person I recognized. Most people, like me, have moved on.

I gotta say, though, I underestimated what a mental challenge it has been for me to do a sport that I’m legitimately bad at. And I’m not fishing for compliments here (seriously). I’m not good at running. I haven’t been doing it for long enough, and I don’t think I’m a natural at it anyway. Being in the pool again was a heady feeling, and made me realize how important it is to have an activity in your life that you excel at. Even though I haven’t been a swimmer for three years, getting into an actual 25-yard pool with real lanes and lanelines was incredible. I was one of the fastest people in the water. I was passing all of the other swimmers! I haven’t passed anyone in MONTHS of running. Even though I’m much, much slower than I was the last time I swam in that pool, I finished each workout feeling great about myself.

Here are the two workouts I did, Tuesday’s first. I have an old laminated sheet of off-season workouts given to me by my college coach (who holds the world record in swimming the English Channel, so you KNOW these are legit if you decide to try them yourself).

Tuesday (3,600 yards)

  • 500 easy
  • 8 x 50 on :45 (your choice of stroke)
  • 500 freestyle @ 28 (this refers to beats per 10 seconds when you take your pulse), :30 rest
  • 12 x 25 alternating #1 and #2 strokes (your best and second best strokes)
  • 400 IM (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle) @ 32, :30 rest
  • 4 x 100 kick, right-arm, left-arm, swim (KRLS) on 1:45
  • 300 freestyle @ 30, :15 rest
  • 200 IM @ 33, :30 rest
  • 100 all out #1, :30 rest
  • 500 cool down

Wednesday (3, 550 yards)

  • 400 reverse IM, easy pace
  • 4 x 75 on 1:15 (your choice)
  • 400, 300, 200, 100 with :20 rest in between (increase speed)
  • 6 x 25 underwater dolphin kick fast on :40
  • 4 x 200 kick, IM order, :15 rest in between
  • 5 x 100 freestyle @ 30, :10 rest
  • 400 cool down

Pretty sweet. I also have a mega-embarrassing story to tell you, but I realize that if you’re reading this right now, you’re probably ready for me to wrap it up. So I’ll save it for later. 

What do you excel at? And how often do you do that activity?


19 Comments to “Half-marathon training: Days 78, 79, 80, and 81”

  1. Wow, did I just get a hard core flashback to freshmen and sophomore years. Kind of pulled on my heart a bit. Oh, PPSD. Man, we had it good.

    • Yeah, we did…although it’s pretty easy to forget about the – ahem – crazier parts of it. Remember the story about the whole athletic department being a cult? Yeesh…

  2. I have something to confess. I never really learned how to swim and I really suck at it.

    I’m not so good at running but at least it really makes my legs look good.

    BUT I was super sweet at Marching Band.

    I’m PIMP.

  3. Aw Wiggs, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I suck at running. But for some reason I REALLY want to be a runner. I typically hate it while I’m out there, but the jubilation I feel when I’m finished somehow gets me to put my shoes on for the next run. I kind of equate it to what I think childbirth will be like…miserable during the birth but so joyous afterwards that you think “yeah! I could have a second child, no problem!”

    And swimming, oh swimming, how I miss thee. I wasn’t as good of a swimmer as it sounds like you were, probably because I only swam during the season and never year-round. But I LOVED it. I just recently found out (after living here for 4 years…how sad) that we have an awesome 50-yd community pool with lane lines. It opens this weekend and I am SO excited to add swimming into my workouts again…

    Loved you flashbacks of childhood, I could picture it all!

  4. You are such a tease! I need a good embarrassing story!

  5. Holy hardcore Wiggs! I can’t believe you did a 400 IM as as warm-up (even if it was reverse) on your own accord! Me being the lazy person that I am would totally have switched that up!! Good for you!

    On a random note, it took me a second to process the whole “KRLS” thing because we ALWAYS did “squirrels” instead (SKRLS). Yeah I’m a little slow…

    Did you ever do “idiot 75’s”?

      • Oh, you’ll like these !!

        Basically it’s 13 x 75’s:

        back-back-breast…follow the patten until you end up with fly-fly-fly


      • Holy crap. Awesome. I don’t know if I could do that much fly back-to-back…but I could always drill it (which is basically like doing really bad-form freestyle). Ha.

  6. I don’t excel at any activity. Should I make something up?

  7. I have no clue what any of the swim workouts mean! They’re all the same to me.

    I’m with Whitney…I was awesome at marching band! Well, the marching part, not so much the playing part…

    • Hey, marching is no easy task! Plus, I think you can pretty well say that you’re a fantastic runner. Credit where credit’s due! I told Dave about your times and he got the “woah, that’s fast” expression on his face. It’s a rare sight.

  8. I don’t think I “excel” in the way that my accomplishments are rewarded but I feel best when I’m horseback riding. I’ve been riding for ten years and there have been MANY ups and downs but I started taking lessons again this February after a 2 yr hiatus and I have improved so much I can’t even believe it. I agree with you, I’m not a very good runner (haven’t really been running at all) but I picked up yoga and I LOVE it. I find that it’s important to find activities that YOU enjoy (sounds like swimming is definitely that one for you! awesome! I wish I could swim–gotta go back and take remedial swimming lol) cause they are the most fun. Yay for feeling good!

  9. Ummmm….I am a little (or a lot) embarrassed to admit how much I swim when I’ve been going. Like a fraction of what you do, and a SMALL fraction. Swimming is HARDDDD. The lifeguard on duty must be white knuckled when I breeze on in…I’m sure it has something to do with the LOUD gasps of air that I take or something. Anywho, I seriously have such respect for swimmers!

  10. Ohhh, I get you on the running thing. I WANT to be good at it, but I just don’t think I am. I bet I could kick butt in short sprints, but I’m not a natural long-distance runner. And yet, I still make myself do it!

    I’ve only just started doing this swimming thing seriously, and I LOVE it. I’m taking private lessons with a coach, but she has me doing workouts half the length of yours! Even though I’m still very much a “newb” to swimming, I think it’s something I could be good at if I keep working at it. I think I may already be a better swimmer than runner! 😛

  11. I used to “excel” at running – meaning I competed consistently at a high level, but never really kicked ass at it. After taking too many years off from competition, my skills have definitely floundered. I got no skills! Well, no running skills. I am a KICK ASS step aerobics, cardio kicks, fitness class enthusiast though, so that works for now. BooYAH!

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