Monday, October 24, 2016

Training log - Week ending 10/23/16

This week was 48 miles of running, 16 "miles" of pool-running,and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Race recovery week #2, and I'm happy to say that everything feels pretty good.

The only day that I felt a bit run down was Thursday, though that might have been due to insomnia that I've been dealing with - the result of stopping my prescription antihistamines.  I decided to take Thursday very easy as a precaution anyway, just doing some very easy conversational pool-running with the belt.  My reasoning was that especially in the first two weeks post-marathon, one should err on the side of more rest.  Especially since I'm trying for a quick turn-around and a second marathon, which won't be successful unless I'm fully recovered and fresh from the first.

Maybe an overreaction, maybe not, but I felt really good the rest of the week, so I think it was the right choice.  A very easy day at the right time can make all the difference.   I had a "long run" of 12 scheduled for this weekend, which I ended up spontaneously running on Saturday, since that's the distance my friends/teammates were running that day.  I was surprised at how good my energy levels felt.

 (I'm normally a Sunday-long-run type.  The Saturday/Sunday long run divide is similar to the toilet roll on top/underneath split -  there's not that much practical difference between the two positions, but each has strong and heartfelt advocates.  For me, the Sunday long run just makes sense.  Like toilet paper rolling from underneath.)

This coming week, I'll ease my way back into training, with a shortened track workout and a long run of 14 (on Saturday, again, so I can cheer at the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday)  Then the world's shortest training cycle (one 17 miler, one 21 miler) before tapering again.


Monday: Upper body weights and 7.5 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles easy (9:14) to yoga, yoga, and then 3.5 miles easy home (9:01).  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 5 miles easy to yoga (9:38), yoga, and then 4 miles very easy home (8:57), followed by drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday: 7 "miles" of very gentle pool-running with a belt. Foam rolling at night

Friday: Yoga and then 9 miles very easy (8:59) plus drills and strides.  1000 yards of very easy swimming and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 12 miles aerobic (7:57) followed by upper body weights.  1.5 miles pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: 10 miles very easy (9:29) plus drills and strides and a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Training log - Week ending 10/16/16

This week was 21 miles of running and 17 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

Race recovery week.  I followed what's become my normal post-marathon week plan.  Start with very easy pool-running with the belt, then add in yoga.  When I'm able to hold all the yoga poses, especially the one-legged balance poses, without being especially shaky, then I'm ready to introduce easy running again.

The first run was a bit achy and sore, and that seems to be the case whether I wait three days post-marathon or ten (I've done both).  But my legs improved rapidly, and Sunday's 10 miles felt surprisingly good - I could have gone further, though it would have made no sense to do so.

So, recovery's in progress and I'm already thinking to the next race.  In this case, it's actually fairly soon.   I may be running the California International Marathon in early December.

Why would I do such a uncharacteristic thing?  Because I'm entered (entered way back in March), because I've always wanted to run this race, because I'm curious to see how my quads handle the net downhill course, and because I know quite a few people on the west coast who are running it this year.  

I have no delusions about this being a great idea that will advance and improve my running.  But it's not a horribly stupid idea, if executed carefully and correctly.  And it will be fun.  Which is why I do this, after all.

There is some risk, of course - there are good reasons - injury and overtraining - why people space their marathons well apart.  But to my mind the risk comes not from running two marathons in eight weeks, but from training too much between the two, and short-changing recovery from the first.   That's not my plan.  Though I will be racing CIM (not just jogging or pacing a friend), I'm not running this marathon in hopes of bettering my Chicago time, and am not going to crash-train with the intent of improving fitness between now and then.

I'm not saying it would be impossible for me to run faster than Chicago - CIM is a very fast course, and I should be off of my allergy meds by then - meaning more energy and hopefully less water stops.  But if the best prep for running a fast marathon was racing another marathon all out two months before, everyone would do it.  Additionally, Chicago was a great weather day on a very fast course and I felt really good during taper and I paced my race well. It's greedy to hope that the stars will align twice, and there's really no errors that I made during Chicago that I could fix for round 2.   So running faster might happen, but most likely won't, and isn't the goal here. 

My plan is to first recover fully from Chicago with several weeks of easy mileage - the same as always.  The same as if CIM wasn't in the forecast.  If I'm still feeling good mentally and physically then we'll do just enough training to preserve what fitness I may carry over.  Most likely one 18-20 miler, a tune-up race, and go.  And if any injuries pop up or if I feel fried or if the weather forecast looks abysmal 5 days out, I'll DNS.  No big deal - I already got to enjoy a great marathon this fall.  The hotel can be cancelled until noon the day before and my flights are on Southwest, so the tickets can be used for another trip without penalty.

We shall see.


Monday: 5 "miles" pool-running with the belt (just gently waving my legs in the water and chatting - no real effort here)

Tuesday: Yoga.

Wednesday: 4 "miles" pool-running and some very light injury prevention work in the gym.  Massage (much needed and appreciated) at night.

Thursday: 8 "miles" of pool-running plus yoga. Foam rolling at night

Friday: 5 miles (9:28) - basically warmed up with my teammates for 3 miles, watched the workout, and then cooled down for another 2 miles.  Also some light upper body weights and foam rolling.

Saturday: 6 miles easy (8:51) plus foam rolling..

Sunday: 10 miles very easy (8:41) plus a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Training log - Week ending 10/9/16

This week was 45 miles of running, 8 "miles" of pool-running and 500 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Placeholder for race week.  Blogging bloviation will return next week.


Monday: 5 "miles" pool-running in the morning; 1 "mile" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 7 miles, including a track workout of 4x800 (3:01, 2:55, 2:52, 2:50, followed by 500 yards recovery swimming.  Massage at night.

Wednesday: 6 miles very easy (8:45). 2 "miles" pool-running with the belt and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday: Very minimal upper body weights and 4 "miles" - mostly easy, but with one mile slightly uptempo, at goal "first-10K-of-marathon pace" (7:19 - was shooting for 7:25).

Friday: Off.  Travel.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 1 mile-ish very easy (9:50).  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday: 26.2 miles in 3:09:21 (7:14).  And then chick drinks (no umbrella, alas) and nachos.

Race report: Chicago Marathon, October 9, 2016

I ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, finishing in a time of 3:09:21.  

I just barely missed a PR, but that's OK - that's just slightly less icing on the cake.  My last few marathons have all been miserable experiences - I wanted to have one that wasn't. Ideally, I also wanted to crack 3:10.  (While my first marathon was a 3:08, that was back when I was in my late 30s, and I can vouch that there's a significant difference once your warranty runs out at age 40.)  On Sunday, I broke 3:10 again, and I also ran a strong, controlled race.  Though this wasn't a PR, in many ways it feels like one.


If I was cheesy, I'd write that "every marathon is a journey." (and since I did write that, I guess I am cheesy).  The literal journey began with a flight to Chicago on Friday morning, in keeping with my rule of never traveling the day before a marathon.  (two reasons for this - one is that traveling by plane really drains me, the other is that I like having a day of fudge time in case there are flight delays, cancellations, etc).  

Since it would be just my luck to catch a cold on the flight over, I invested in a flu mask for the flight. Anxious?  Absolutely.  But I'd invested too much in this race to screw it up over something that could be prevented with $14 at the local CVS.  So (somewhat sheepishly) I donned the mask as soon as I was seated.

As it turned out, as soon as we hit 10,000 feet, a passenger two rows behind me started coughing and sneezing in an epic fit that persisted until we reached the gate in Chicago.

And that was how I ended up protectively cupping my beloved flu mask to my nose and mouth with one hand for the next two hours.  Before ripping it off in the Midway bathroom, followed by a biohazardesque cleansing of hands and face.


My flight was also interesting for another reason.

(I've decided that a modern version of the old Chinese curse is "may your plane flights be interesting.")

As we were boarding, a flight attendant reached into the overhead compartment to rearrange some bags.  This prompted a rather strong reaction from my seatmates, a pair of older women who were way too animated for a 8:40 am flight.  Their elevated voices resulted in an appearance by the head flight attendant.  I had hopes that he would defuse the situation, but he raised his voice also, and lectured my seatmates on their use of profanity.  They responded (truthfully, but loudly) that they hadn't cursed (yet), and things continued to escalate until another flight attendant intervened and calmed things down.

During the flight, every time the head flight attendant walked past our row, snarky comments were exchanged on both sides.  I wondered idly if I was going to end up on the news - "flight diverted to Ohio after onboard altercation."  But, it's a short flight to Chicago, and luckily things stayed under control until we were at the gate and I had escaped.


Once I landed at Midway, I proceeded directly to the expo (motto: walking 2.62 miles is excellent prep for running 26.2), then on to Chipotle for lunch/carbloading, and from there to my hotel.

With every marathon, you learn something.  When I ran Philly for the first time, I learned that cutting out the salty junk food (in my case, tortilla chips) during taper was a very bad idea.  So this time, my diet for the two days before the race was almost entirely Chipotle.   Chipotle is easy to find, inexpensive, quick, and reliably allergen free.   Plus tasty.  And their rice bowls have that optimal mix of protein, salt, fat, and carbs.  Add in an order of chips for extra carbs plus extra salt, and it was awesome.

As it happened, my race goodie bag included a Chipotle coupon - two bowls for the price of one.  So of course I used it on Saturday for lunch.  I idly debated whether to pretend that one of the bowls was for a friend.  However, it's awfully late in life to develop either shame or decorum.  So I ordered both for myself.  Plus more chips.

All of this was balanced out by a LOT of water.  Hydration's always important, but I've really been struggling with it this fall, due to my prescription antihistamines.  Even though race conditions were predicted to be relatively cool and quite dry, I decided to prep as though it would be humid, to balance out the effect of the meds.

One of the gimmicks of the Club Quarters chain of hotels (where I stayed) is unlimited purified bottled water. Each floor has a dispenser and a rack of empty plastic bottles - you just fill up as many as you want.  I unquestionably got my money's worth, and then some.

Dinner was very light (per my norm) plus some Generation UCAN (unsweetened) mixed with coconut water and some water with Osmo pre-load hydration.    I like how my energy levels feel after UCAN, but it also makes me really nauseous.  Which is ironic, since UCAN is marketed as a race-day breakfast replacement for people who can't handle solid food pre-race.  For myself, I have to reverse it - dinner is UCAN, followed by lousy sleep due to indigestion (which is fine - sleep the night before a marathon is relatively unimportant).  Breakfast is brown rice, a Gel, protein powder, and a GU Stroopwafel.


"ABS" - "Always Be Slurping"
I woke at 4:15 am race morning, so I could take my asthma meds, eat, digest, poop, and stretch.   And also get dressed.

To the amusement of friends, I carry a LOT of gels when I race a marathon - ten, with five safety-pinned to each side of my shorts (caffeinated on my left hip, caffeine-free on the right; rocktanes in the front, and normal gels in the back).  Crazy?  Perhaps, but so is pretty much every other aspect of marathoning.  The fueling strategy that has worked best for me in marathons is "always be slurping" and so I'd rather carry too many than too few.  Plus, there's always the risk of dropping one or more, or finding that you only have lemonade roctane left, when root beer would sit much better.

(I'd also like to note that I'm not that big - if I can carry 10 gels safety-pinned to my shorts, anyone can.)


Thus equipped, at 6:10 I left my hotel for the starting area.  Since I was staying in "the loop", my walk to the security checkpoint was less than 10 minutes.

Security was fairly stringent, with two rounds.  First each runner was wanded with a metal detector. As I approached the checkpoint, the officials were requesting that everyone remove their gels before being wanded.  The woman wanding me, however, took one look at my meticulously organized GU-hips, and told me not to bother.

The second round was a bag check, and then I was in.  Getting through security only took 10 minutes, still giving me a solid 50 minutes to check my bag and get in my corral.

Just past security, I had a very pleasant surprise.

Back about 18 months ago, when I ran Grandma's Marathon, I struck up a conversation with the woman next to me in the bus to the start.  After Grandmas, Justine and I managed to sync up on Facebook, and we've kept in touch.  As it turned out, both of us were registered for Chicago, but somehow a pre-race meet-up didn't happen (honestly, I like to stay in hermit mode until after the race).  

So guess who I ran into as soon as I cleared Security.  At a 40,000 runner race.  It was awesome.

 We hung out and chatted for the next 30 minutes while going through bag check and poop check (otherwise known as the portajohn line) before splitting for our respective corrals.  I knew that the corrals closed at 7:20 am with no exceptions, and I saw no reason to push my luck, so I entered mine at 7:05.


With about 10 minutes to go before race start, I tossed my extra clothes.  My lungs felt slightly tight, so I decided to take a preventative puff of my asthma inhaler, just in case.  Only to find out it was clogged.  Ooops.  (and mental note to check these things in advance next time).  Oh well.  Not great, but I haven't needed to use my rescue inhaler while running in quite some time, so I went ahead and started the race in my corral.  (I guess my other option would have been to step out of my corral, go find the med tent, and start in the second wave)

[and yes, I would have looked really stupid if I had had an issue during the race, but fortunately that wasn't the case.]

And then the gun went off.  Per my habit, I wanted the first mile to feel "8:00"-ish, though I wasn't targeting the number on the clock as much as I was that feeling. ( I ran with my watchface blanked, as always).   As it turns out, I ran 7:51, so not too far off.  Then I started to inch the pace down gently, trying to keep a conservative, easy feel - "Slightly slacking."

It's hard to give a mile by mile description of a race where every mile was flat and surrounded by crowds.  Much of the first half of the race was spent practicing energy conservation and retention - was I drinking/eating enough, was I breathing easy?  Was I tracking the blue painted line that marked how the course was measured (and was the shortest path)?  Fortunately, the bit of tight breathing that I had noted at the start eased after we got out of Lincoln Park, never to return.  The wind was gusting, and so when I caught up to the 3:10 pace group, I opted to run with them for a while to conserve energy.

As always, I ran with my handheld water bottle, which I was draining surprisingly quickly (thank you, allergy meds).  By mile 6, I needed to refill it, which involved stopping at a water station and pouring 2-3 cups worth of water into my bottle, before capping it and continuing.  Whenever I did this, I lost time and also the shelter of my wind blocks, but I considered it a wise investment in the last few miles of my race.

I was both frustrated and concerned that I was draining my water bottle so quickly, and needing to refill so often (I ended up having to stop to refill 5 times during the race, losing at least 10 seconds each time), but there was nothing that could be done - I knew that getting thirsty, especially before mile 20, would kill my marathon.


A bit past the half-marathon point, my quads started to feel sore and tight. Soon after that I felt a worrisome pulling behind my left knee, and my right hamstring started to tighten.  Obviously, stuff pops up during a marathon, but this was awfully early.  I panicked for about 10 seconds, and then negotiated myself off the ledge. Nothing was limiting my running yet.  And if I REALLY focused on perfect running form (core engaged, no overstriding, relaxed shoulders) and kept eating and drinking, I might be able to keep the ship together.  Nothing to do but try.

So that's what I did.  And it helped the miles fly, to be honest.  I could either focus on my core, or focus on the mile markers.  I chose the former.  The pulling in my left leg did make it significantly harder to get back into a rhythm after each water stop, as I'd have to hobble a bit before I could get up to full speed and hit a rhythm - resulting in more lost time.

I also had an amusing blooper at one water stop in the second half of the course - around mile 17-18 I refilled my water bottle, only to realize I couldn't find the cap.  I had tucked the cap temporarily in my sportsbra, where it got lost beneath my used gels (I store them there so I don't litter) and my useless inhaler.

With 8 miles to go, I couldn't just toss the water bottle and run, so I had to take an extended stop to locate and extricate the cap from my rather chafed bosom.  (Next time, I'll just litter, and compensate by cleaning up my local trail later.)  I don't know exactly how much time I lost, but it was a good bit. I just barely missed running a negative split for the course - something I almost always do if I don't blow-up - and I think it's due to the lost time there.


I was pleasantly surprised at mile 20 to discover that I was hanging in there.  Breathing was great, energy levels were great.  Others were walking but I wasn't.  I debated taking a risk and picking it up a bit, but my legs still felt very iffy.   They weren't REALLY cramping, but they were right on the edge, and had been so for some time.  So, I decided to play it safe a bit longer.  Perhaps that cost me a better time (and a PR) but I'm OK with the decision.  I can live with just missing a PR - there's always another marathon.  Another blow-up would have been the end for me and this distance.

Around mile 23, I decided I was close enough to the finish to take a bit of risk, and so I departed the shelter of the pace group.  Only to discover a strong headwind.  Looking at the Garmin report later, it's striking to note how my heart rate rose late in the race, while my pace didn't change significantly.  I felt like I was surging away from the pace group, only to hear them behind me as we approached mile 26.    I decided to see if I could kick, and somehow I did - evidence that I probably didn't leave it all on the course, and that maybe I could have been a bit more aggressive.  Oh well.  Again, given my recent history at the distance, I'm at peace with not leaving it all out there today.

Splits were:

Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:27
Mile 3: 7:12
Mile 4: 7:03
Mile 5: 7:01
Mile 6: 7:09
Mile 7: 6:59
Mile 8-9: 14:18
Mile 10: 7:08
Mile 11: 7:17
Mile 12: 7:11
Mile 13: 7:11
Mile 14: 7:16
Mile 15: 7:05
Mile 16: 7:14
Mile 17: 7:17
Mile 18: 7:23
Mile 19:  7:08
Mile 20: 7:17
Mile 21-22: 14:38
Mile 23: 7:12
Mile 24: 7:12
Mile 25: 7:10
Mile 26: 7:13
last .21: 7:23  (huh - I thought I was kicking - perhaps not)

Final result: 3:09:21.  And a smile.


Epilogue:  As I noted at the beginning (of this long report) I discovered right before the race that my rescue inhaler was useless.  This wasn't a problem during the race, but I was worried about post-race as well.  After my last 3 marathons, I've had an asthma attack about 5-10 minutes after the race was done (no, I don't know why).  Reasoning that it was better to go to the med tent before any attack, I waived a medical official over in the finish area, explained my situation, and she escorted me to the tent.  I hung out there for about 20 minutes waiting for the attack that never came (yay Advair), and then signed some forms and was dismissed.  The upside was that I ended up with a free new rescue inhaler; the downside was that I completely missed getting to see all of my teammates in the finish area.  But better safe than sorry.

Other notes:

  • Temps started in the low 50s and ended in the high 50s, with a low dewpoint.  There was no cloudcover, but that was really a non-issue, given how cool and dry the weather was, and how much of the course was shaded.  The wind was a slight issue, but it seems sad to complain about that, given the horrid weather that's plagued nearly every other marathon this year.
  • Consumed 7 gels during the race.  That probably seems like overkill to some, but I'll take it over crashing at mile 18.  About half the gels, plus the one I took pre-race, were caffeinated.
  • My abs are really sore.  I basically ran the second half with my core holding things together.
  • Fall ragweed season should be over in a few weeks, and then I can go off of the Clarinex (the prescription anti-histamine that's so dehydrating).
    I'm a little bummed that I had to spend so much time at water stations on such a great day, but I still ran far better than I would have with my allergies flaring (or if I had skipped the water).  In fact, I suspect that the chest tightness pre-race and during the first part was due to all the green stuff in Millennium Park (the staging area) and in the early miles of the course.
  • Though I sadly never saw any of my teammates pre-race or in the finish area, a group of us did get together that evening where I had awesome nachos and doubled my net alcohol consumption for the year (I am such a lightweight).  So much fun.
  • Things that worked really well for this race: 
    • Staying close to the start/finish
    • Running with my garmin face blanked (I pace my races so much better when I do this)
    • Flu masks
    • So.much.Chipotle
    • So.many.gels 
    • So much salt
    • Getting my bib on Friday
    • Taking a week of vacation that bookended the race
    • Training very conservatively (more on that in another post)
    • Maintaining the intensity during taper (just cutting the volume)
    • Carb-loading, but not to the point where I felt stuffed
  • Things that I need to change for next time:
    • Check the inhaler BEFORE you leave for the race
    • Don't go to the expo straight from the airport.  Go get food.  Then expo.  Then more food.
    • Don't use your sportsbra as a trashcan.
  • My sinuses hurt like hell during this taper, and I was really worried I was getting sick.  Just like they have during the previous four marathon tapers.  Note to future self: your sinuses will hurt during taper, and you'll have a recurring headache.  And you'll get acne.  It happens every taper. Just take Tylenol and don't worry about it.
  • My PR is 3:08:51 (run at age 38), and so I missed it by 30 seconds.   For a day or two, I thought I had the masters female marathon record for my team (which was fun), but as it turns out, I missed that as well, as another teammate has run 3:07 and 3:08 after turning 40.  So she gets to keep the record.  For now :)
  • I got my marathon mojo back.  Yay.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Training log - Week ending 10/2/16

This week was 48 miles of running, 20 "miles" of pool-running and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

And, this is the best week of taper - the week where you're relaxing and have extra time, but aren't close enough to the race to be nervous.  It's the calm before the storm.  Very peaceful.

(unless you happen to have recently adopted kittens.  Then you're just grateful for the extra free time, since all of your extra time is spent feeding, litterbox cleaning, and kitten wrangling.  But I digress)

In my past few training cycles, I've felt great on my long runs during the heavy training, only to show up flat on race day and mis-fire.   To me, that indicates an issue with my taper - there's something that shifts between the training cycle and race day that leaves me stale on the day I most need to be sharp.

So, I've made two changes to my taper this cycle, each of which is essentially to change things less during taper.

The first change is dietary. The diet I prefer and feel best on is higher protein/fat than most runners - I'd train on that diet, and then carb-up very heavily in the last few days.  In retrospect, it's not at all surprising that I'd feel sluggish and slow - food coma-esque - on race morning.  And race how I felt.

Since running a marathon without carb-loading is a bit high risk for my taste, I decided to shift the other way by gradually increasing my carb consumption during the entire cycle, to a point where my daily diet was fairly high carb.  My hope is that by doing so, the carb loading in the last few days won't be as much of a shock to my system, since it won't be as great a change.

The second change is to how I structured my taper.  It's obviously very important to cut back on your physical workload during taper - you're not going to build any fitness, and you're trying to rest. At the same time, there's a reason that we don't stop speedwork completely for the final weeks before a marathon - the body needs some stimulus to keep it sharp.  So we keep the intensity but just cut back on the volume of the fast running, so that one stays ready to run hard while also resting.  Makes sense, right?

However, in training cycles past, while I've kept the speed work in until the last few days pre-race, I've gone cold turkey on other aspects of my training during taper, cutting out both yoga and strengthwork in the gym. In retrospect, not the best idea.  The yoga keeps me balanced and flexible, while lifting weights naturally (and legally) promotes the body's production of testosterone and growth hormone.  Both of these things are beneficial to my running, and so eliminating them for the last few weeks pre-race probably has hurt me in the same way that an extended period of no fast running would.  I suspect this is part of why I feel so lousy after taper.

So this cycle, I'm tapering down the yoga and weights, rather than cutting them entirely  I've stopped going to yoga class, mostly due to some justified paranoia about getting sick (it's amazing how many people think it's reasonable to go to a yoga class when they're fighting off a cold or flu).  However, I've been doing a simplified 10 minute routine several times a week to keep my hips open and my glutes firing. I'll stick with that routine all the way to the day before the marathon.

As for weights, I'm cutting back the volume, but not the intensity. In the last few days, my weights routine will be all of 5 minutes.  I'll do some planks, then two sets of bicep curls and some push-ups, and call it there. Not enough to build strength or fitness, but just enough that I haven't changed my routine too much.  I think of it as equivalent to the last set of 800s that we do a few days before a marathon.

T-6 days until Chicago.


Monday: Upper body weights and 6.5 "miles" pool-running; 1.5 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 11 miles, including a track workout of 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 (1:35, 3:06, 4:36, 6:09, 4:26, 2:51, 79), followed by light injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy (9:39). 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday: Upper body weights and 6.5 "miles" pool-running; 1.5 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Friday: 9 miles, including a 5K tempo on the track in 19:51 (6:31/6:19/6:17/0:44),  followed by injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 8 miles very easy (9:39), plus drills and strides, followed by upper body weights.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: 12 miles easy/aerobic (8:34), followed by light injury prevention work.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Training log - Week ending 9/25/16

This week was 44 miles of running, 34 "miles" of pool-running and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

I kept things very easy for the first few days post-half marathon - I'm tapering anyway, and so the priority this week was recovery from that race.  Much of my "easy mileage" was done in the pool, resulting in a lower land mileage total, though my "total total" matched the mileage target for the week.

By Friday, my legs still felt a bit tired, and so I set out for the scheduled 2x3200 with some trepidation.  Only to run my fastest times for that workout in several years.   Sunday's run was another confidence boost - I was targeting 7:10 pace for the last 6 miles, but had to keep an eagle eye on my Garmin to keep the pace slow (and even then, I still ran a bit too fast).

So essentially, I've had umpteen great runs over the past two weeks, and one no-good/very-bad/try-to-forget run.  It's a shame that the one outlier was my tune-up race.  But maybe we'll just chalk that one up as "bad rehearsal/good show."

In other news, we had two new additions this week.

That's Topaz on the left (dark) and Quartz on the right.

As I noted last week, Brian and I had been preparing for the arrival of a blind kitten, but she passed away last Saturday.  Since we had the opening, I started looking for another special needs cat that needed a home. 

(people ask me why I adopt special needs. Easy - they all need homes, and since I've got the resources and knowledge to take on a special needs cat, why not.)

As part of my search, I stopped by our local cat clinic, where I saw the posting now displayed on the right.  Two kittens, survivors of a major hoarding bust from this past summer.  By my math, these two were a week old when they were rescued.  Of a total of 27 kittens rescued from disease and neglect, only 6 survived, including these two.  Sadly, their eyes could only be partially saved.

Since these were nearly-blind kittens in need of a home, and I had a home prepared for (but lacking) a blind kitten, it made sense to apply.  Two visually impaired kittens=one totally blind one, right?  And then things moved very fast and they came home with me the next morning.

The last few days have been an adjustment, and an emotional roller coaster.  I went from the low of losing one kitten to the tentative joy of adopting others.  I write "tentative" because the adoption was much more emotionally challenging than I had expected. 

When you bring a new pet home, you expect it to be a happy, wonderful time.  But about 2 hours after you get home, the weight of the responsibility that you've committed to (and the self-doubt) set in.  Even as your friends on Facebook congratulate you.

For the first 48 hours, I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. Our current cat, Isabella has a long history of getting along well with any car or dog she encountered, and so I had assumed that she'd either be neutral, affectionate, or possibly slightly aggressive to the kittens.  I wasn't expecting fear.  Or depression. 

(as it turns out, adult cats are sometimes terrified of young kittens, under the assumption that an overprotective mother is hiding nearby, unseen.)

Combine Izzy's surprising reaction with my internal questioning of whether there were others better qualified to adopt these guys, and a side helping of guilt over not adopting other special needs cats(repeat after me: you cannot save them all), and it was rough.  I'd wake at 2 am, awash in the certainty that I was the ruiner of multiple cat lives.

(2 am brain is its own beast).

But I hadn't ruined any lives (though Isabella still might debate that), and we're working our way towards being one happy family.   The newly named Topaz and Quartz are slowly feeling their way around the house, one room at a time, chasing noisy toys as they go.   And though Izzy's still adjusting, we're making progress each day, and she's considerably happier now.   The key to Izzy has been making a point of spending a lot of time with her each day, so that she doesn't feel like she's been upstaged.

Topaz and Quartz are unquestionably a lot of work right now - I need to feed them 3-4 times a day, plus medications.  But that will all ease in the next few weeks, as they mature.  They're not a lot of work because they're blind; they're a lot of work because they're kittens.   And one thing that's become very clear to me over the last few days: two kittens are much LESS work than one.  A kitten needs a lot of social interaction and activity and play time - more than we can possibly provide while also working (and trying not to neglect Izzy).  Two kittens can entertain each other for hours, freeing me up to do other things.  Like checking marathon weather forecasts.

As for the visual impairment, it's surprising how little it limits them.  Quartz has one relatively well functioning eye, and is essentially no different, functionally, from a normal cat.  Topaz lost most of her sight in both eyes, but can see light and shadow, plus some movement.  Despite that, she runs around like any other kitten - the only distinction is that she occasionally pauses and bobs her head as she maps out her surroundings by combining her limited sight with sound, smell, and air flow.

With that, some pictures.

Topaz at about 5-6 weeks. 
Our friend Ellen fostered her and Quartz after they were rescued.
Photo courtesy of
Quartz at about 5-6 weeks.
Picture courtesy of
Fans of kittens (and anyone with a heart) should follow Ellen's Instagram.
Topaz now.
Quartz now.  Her right eye is the bad one.

Cat blogging finis.  Running blogging should return next week.


Monday: 6 "miles" pool-running; massage at night.

Tuesday: 12 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 1.5 miles easy (9:35) to yoga, then yoga.  Later did 6.5 miles easy (8:39).  4 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday: 8 "miles" pool-running and upper body weights/core in the morning.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Friday: 10 miles, including a 2x3200 on the track in 12:38 (6:26/6:11) and 12:30 (6:17/6:13); followed by injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 10 miles easy (8:36), plus upper body weights. 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: 16 miles, split as progression of first 9 miles at 9:14; next 2 at 7:4; last 6 at 7:03.  Followed with 500 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Training log - Week ending 9/18/16

This week was 53 miles of running, 17 "miles" of pool-running and 1200 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

This week had plenty of highs and lows.  On Tuesday, I had a ridiculously good workout - I was expecting to be slow, due to my hard 20 miler a few days before, but the splits were surprisingly fast.  And I felt good for most of the rest of the week.  The one exception was Sunday's half-marathon.  Of course.

But all of that was balanced out by some heartbreak on Saturday.  I hadn't mentioned it on the blog before, but Brian and I were in the process of adopting a new kitten.  We hadn't been looking for an addition to the family, but my sister had contacted me a few weeks ago with a sympathy case.  There was a blind kitten in a feral cat community that my sister was helping treat.  The kitten, 12 weeks old, had been handled a good deal since her eyes needed to be medicated, and so was semi-feral - timid, but affectionate.   Due to her blindness, she wasn't doing well in her current situation - she was being bullied by the other cats, and outdoors is no place for a blind cat.

After some discussion, Brian and I decided to give her a home.  Since she was over two hours away by car, we'd wait a few weeks until she was spayed (and I was back from a scheduled business trip) and then I'd drive over and bring her home.  In the meantime, my sister sent me photos and described her to me, and I kitten-prepped the house.  And researched blind cats.

It's actually fairly interesting - blind cats are able to adapt to their condition in a way that humans can't.  Their senses of sound and smell are stronger and more finely tuned then ours, and their whiskers help them navigate, both by touching objects and walls, and by reading the air currents that move around objects, believe it or not.  And their very sensitive sense of smell means that it's very rare to have an accident outside of the litter box.

In the hierarchy of special needs cats, blind kitties are VERY easy to manage.  Just a few simple rules - don't move the litter box, food, or water around; don't pick them up one place and drop them another (it disorients them), and toys that make a sound are best.

Thus prepared, with oh so many toys with bells, I was ready for her.  But it wasn't to be.

On Saturday afternoon, she passed away while being spayed.  This is NOT at all a common thing - nobody should read this and consider NOT spaying or neutering their pets.  In her case, it indicated that there was probably some other undiscovered serious health issue that would have resulted in future pain and suffering - dying while under anaesthesia was likely a kindness.    But the fact that she wasn't hurting didn't stop me from hurting.    There's a reason that I never went into veterinary medicine or animal rescue.  Or human medicine, for that matter.   I get attached very easily, especially to tough luck cases, and those jobs are way too hard for me.

Next week's blog was going to be off-topic, all about Ms. Kit-Kat   Obviously, that's no longer the plan.  So I'll just indulge myself with one photo here.
I have a cuter photo, but it's unfortunately where
she's being held by a child, so I don't want to share it.

If you ever have the opportunity and the resources to adopt a special needs cat - one of those sweet, loving, but "unadoptable" kitties, like our Isabella, and like Ms. Kit-Kat, please do.  You won't regret it.


Monday: 3.5 miles very easy to yoga (9:04), yoga and 5 miles very easy (8:35) home plus drills and two strides. 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 10.5 miles, including a track workout of 1600, 1200, 2x800, 400 (6:09, 4:27, 2:53, 2:51, 77), followed by injury prevention work and 1200 yards recovery swimming.

Wednesday: 7 miles very easy (9:03) to the gym, then upper body weights.  Later did 2 miles very easy (8:53) plus drills and strides. Massage in the evening.

Thursday: 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning; 3 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Friday: 6 miles, mostly easy, but with a mile pick-up in 6:31. Followed with drills and two hill sprints.  Foam rolling later.

Saturday: 3 miles easy (8:46), plus drills and strides.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: 3 mile warm-up and then a half-marathon in 1:33:13.  4 "miles" pool-running with the belt and foam rolling in afternoon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Race report; Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon, September 18, 2016

I ran the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon yesterday, finishing in a time of 1:33:13.   Not the time I'd normally want to run, but I'm not upset.  Just neutral.

This is a great race course, and when I'd signed up, I'd hoped that I'd finally beat my habit of racing poorly in September.  Allergies have historically been an issue for me in September, but I feel like I finally have them under control, and so I'd give it another shot.  What the heck.  Plus, the timing of the race worked well as a final tune-up before Chicago - do the last 20 miler 4 weeks before, then race this 3 weeks out, before a full-on taper.

Of course, the weather gods didn't play nice this week.  When I checked the weather forecast earlier this week, Weather Underground forecast a dewpoint of 70 - far from optimal for a longer race.  I hoped for once that Weather Underground was lying to me.  But, as I discovered on race morning, they were right once again.  Sigh.

Oh well, I was committed to the race anyway.  And since swapping up asthma meds I've been breathing significantly better in the humidity - almost like it's a non-issue.  Plus, I'm good at going out conservatively, which was what was needed for today.    I had run in similar conditions at Grandma's Marathon in June - while it was slightly cooler and less humid then, I also hadn't had the benefit of several months of acclimation.  I decided I'd just pace it the same way - go out very conservatively for the first half, and treat my handheld water bottle like my best friend.

Because of the conditions, I started my warm-up a bit earlier than normal, to give me time to cool off a bit and drink some water before the start.  Then hopped in my corral.

Because of the explosive devices discovered in New York City and New Jersey the day before the race, the final announcements for the race included a caution "if you see something, say something."  I idly wondered just how many people would actually notice if there was anything unusual on the course.  A few years ago, when I ran Army 10 Miler, there was a weird routing issue where a group of us were routed THROUGH a construction area on Virginia Avenue - at the time I didn't think anything of it - I just kept going...


The race started, and I went out conservatively, per my plan, holding way back in the first mile.  Which was not difficult, as the road was fairly congested and I had started back in the field.  Then we turned onto Hains Point, and I was able to find a rhythm.  For the first few miles, the pace felt stupidly easy, and that was good.  I had two goals at this point, and neither involved time - just stay relaxed and keep drinking.  Even so, I was a bit surprised at how quickly I drained my water bottle - by the first stop it was nearly empty.  Good thing I had it.

I can't really give a mile by mile split of the race, since it was more or less the same - an increasing sense of respect for the heat and humidity, an increasing reluctant to pick up the pace, and an increasing appreciation for my water bottle.  By the time I hit mile 9 or so, I was thirsty.  Not good.  But I'm sure I wasn't alone in feeling that way.  Nothing to do but keep drinking and keep running.  There was another woman running near me who looked like she was my age, so I kept her in my sights.  I wasn't focused on passing her at this point - working to pass her at this point would probably haunt me later.  Better to run my own race, and chase her down at the end.

By Mile 11 I was starting to struggle - pretty much like everyone else.  At this point, the course climbs up a hill to Memorial Bridge, and that was when it got really tough.  Not asthma - my lungs never grabbed up during the race.  More of a falling back into old bad habits, where instead of staying relaxed and letting the finish line come to me, I push and tense and try too hard.  When I do that, I fry energy and I lose control of my breathing - not an asthma thing but a tension thing.  I paused my running (but not my watch) for a moment to shake out my shoulders and reestablish my breathing before continuing - not proud of that, but it happened.  The interesting thing is that I think I ran the last mile faster as a result of taking that pause - once I had reset, I was able to run much faster and chase down the other masters runner I had kept in my sights all along.  But it would have been far better not to tense up at all.

Thankfully, we hit the turn and the final downhill to the finish.  If I have one running skill, it's running fast downhill.  The other masters runner was still right next to me, and I managed to outkick her to the finish by a second.  Immediately after, she graciously congratulated me as I caught my breath - very nice sportmanship on her part.


Since I race with my watch face blanked, and the clock when I finished was set for the 5 mile race, I had no idea what I had run until I checked my watch.   I was surprised but not surprised to see the time - 1:33:13 is just one second off of my slowest half marathon ever.  On the other hand, I knew the conditions weren't great, and that times were just going to be what they would be today.   Going into this, I had hoped that I'd handle humidity better than I have in the past.  And I guess I did, but still not as well as I wish I could.  Or maybe it just wasn't my day.  Oh well.

Splits were:
Mile 1: 7:09
Mile 2: 6:59
Mile 3: 7:11
Mile 4: 7:05
Mile 5: 7:27 (extended water stop due to coordination issues with cups)
Mile 6-7: 14:09
Mile 8: 7:08
Mile 9: 6:49 (I think this one was short)
Mile 10: 7:05
Mile 11: 7:13
Mile 12: 7:18
Mile 13: 7:04
last bit: 37 seconds.

Other notes:
  • Temp at the start was 72, with a dew point of 70.  By the end it was 76 with a dewpoint of 71.
  • Took a blackberry GU before the start of the race, and a lemonade one during.
  • Parked my car at 6:00 am (race start was at 7:08) which was just about perfect.
  • This whole weekend was a tough one for me - Brian and I were adopting a kitten, but she died suddenly on Saturday afternoon.  I didn't handle the loss well, to be honest.  I debated whether to race on Sunday, but decided to go ahead.  Not racing wouldn't change anything, and some of my best races have been when I've been under a lot of stress and very worried about something non-running related.

    In retrospect, I think that there's a difference between stress and sadness, and I was dealing with the latter.  I didn't feel focused on Sunday morning - my head wasn't in the game.  I wonder if that played into some of the tenseness/straining issues I had in the last mile.
  • At the awards ceremony, I received a trophy as the third place masters female.  However,  the second place masters female was a bib-swap (the results are being corrected).  Please, people - bib-swapping hurts others.  Don't do it.
  • I'm a very heavy sweater, and by the time I was 5 miles in, my shorts started slipping down.  I'm really glad that I'm coordinated enough to re-tie a drawstring while running, and appreciative that this episode wasn't caught on film.
  • As I've noted in previous posts, I've been on Clarinex the last few weeks for my allergies.  It's helped those tremendously, but it's also very drying, and I've struggled to stay hydrated - taking many many short water breaks while running.  I suspect that didn't help me on Sunday.  My heart rate was ridiculously high in the last few miles, indicating that I was dehydrated.  If Chicago is even borderline weather, I've decided I'll probably skip it and redirect to a later marathon.  My reasoning is that if I struggled to stay hydrated over 13 miles while carrying a water bottle and stopping at every station, then it's just a waste of time to try to run 26 miles in warm weather.  Going off the Clarinex isn't an option, since ragweed levels may still be quite high.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Training log - Week ending 9/11/16

This week was 64 miles of running, 24 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

This was the last hard week of my marathon training cycle.  Chicago is still 4 weeks away, but we opted to do my last 21 mile long run this weekend.  In the coming week, I'll taper for and then race a half-marathon.

I know that the traditional rule is for the last run of 20 miles or more to be three weeks before the marathon, but I'm happy we're adding in the extra week.  In the past few years, I've seen quite a few examples of people running their goal races four or even five weeks after their last 20 miler, and having outstanding races.  Emotionally, I can sympathize with the erosion of confidence that can come from an extended period between one's last long run and the marathon,  But physically it's much better to err on the side of too much recovery.  Especially for me, since I recover slower than some others.

Plus, I know that endurance (the sheer ability to cover miles) is my strength, while stamina (the ability to sustain a hard pace for an extended period of time) is where I'm sometimes challenged. Racing a half-marathon three weeks before the marathon will give me a nice lactate threshold boost, and also be enough of a stimulus to ensure that I don't lose my marathon-specific endurance.  Add in some shorter workouts to keep my legs turning over during the last two weeks while cutting the mileage, and I should peak nicely.

Workout-wise, this week had both ups and downs.  On Tuesday, we did 800s - I kept most of them conservative, but let myself open up on the last repetition (I'm allowed to do this if I feel good).  I ended up running 2:48, which was a nice confidence boost - it's been literally been years since I've broken 2:50 for 800 on the track in a workout, though I've done it in mile races.

Of course, as I noted to friends later, there are probably better marathon fitness indicators than a speedy 800m repeat run a month before the race....

While I normally tempo on Friday and do my long run on Sunday, I shifted things around this week so I could do my long run on Saturday.  This was because most of the good long run routes in the DC area were occupied by either road races or triathlons on Sunday, dramatically limiting my options.  Additionally, since I have the half marathon this coming Sunday, doing my long run a day earlier would give me bit extra recovery time.

This meant that I had to tempo on Thursday morning, solo.  Though I love my teammates, I actually really like running tempos and marathon pace workouts alone - both workouts involve locking into a rhythm, and I find that easier to do by myself, since I can just focus internally without distraction.  (Intervals are a different story.  For intervals, I like having people to chase.)

But this Thursday went ass-up.  In retrospect, I set myself up to fail.  I didn't eat and drink enough in the 24 hours before the workout, and I also went for a four mile tempo when the nasty conditions (73 degrees with 100% humidity) meant that I should have shortened it to 5K.   To make sure I dug a hole, I went out aggressively, starting with a 6:36 mile (I usually go out much slower and then drop down the pace).

The four mile tempo ended up being ~3.5 miles, as I split 6:36/6:36/6:40, and then 6:45 pace-ish for the next half mile before throwing in the towel.  At the time, I was frustrated with myself for dropping - I surely could have hung on for another few minutes.  But after a few minutes' reflection/sulking, I let it go - if I'm going to have a mental hiccup, better to have it in a workout than a race.

I put the lessons learned from Thursday to good use on Saturday for my 21 miler.  I made sure to fuel and hydrate on Friday the exact way I do before my marathons.  And this time, I respected the conditions (temp 76, DP 75 at the start; mid-80s by the end).   I carried my largest water bottle, and completely drained it six times over the course of the 21 mile long run.

(I did the math later - I drank nearly a gallon of water over the run.  I also ate my saltiest gels to keep a balance).

The result was a confidence booster.  My goal marathon pace is 7:10-7:15 (3:08-3:10 pace), and I was able to average 7:15 for the last 7 miles of the run.  Now granted, the first half of those last 7 miles were downhill, and I also took a 60 second break halfway through to refill my water bottle (there was a line at the water fountain).  On the other hand, I hope not to be racing my marathon in conditions that hot and humid.

Additionally, the route I chose for my long run gave me a nice mental challenge.  My training group normally does our 21 mile long runs on "the loop" - we start on flat terrain for the first 4 miles, and then climb for the next 12 miles or so, before descending for the last 5 miles to the start point.  But since the normal start/finish point was blocked off, I started and finished my run at a different point on the loop.  As a result, instead of finishing my long run by running downhill at marathon pace, I had to run PAST the normal stopping point, and continue to hold my marathon pace for several more miles.  While also losing the nice downhill assist as the terrain flattened.

It was a nice chance to practice the same skills you need in the final miles of the marathon, and a real confidence booster when it went very well, as I held my pace and even accelerated slightly in the final miles.  It wasn't easy, mentally, but neither is mile 22 of a marathon.  And though I was very grateful to be done with the long run, it didn't feel like I had trashed myself.

And now, I taper.


Monday: 11 miles very easy (8:45),  followed by yoga.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 11.5 miles, including a track workout of  6x800 (3:09, 3:02, 2:59, 2:58, 2:58, 2:48); followed by injury prevention work and 1500 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 10 "miles" pool-running and upper body weights/core in the morning.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Thursday: 10.5 miles, including a 3.5 mile tempo on the roads.  Split 6:36/6:36/6:40, and then the next half at 6:45 pace before bailing.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 10 miles very easy (9:45), plus upper body weights. 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday: 21 miles, split as progression of first 7 miles at 9:20; next 7 at 8:12; last 7 at 7:15. Followed with 500 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  8 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Training log - Week ending 9/4/16

This week was 50 miles of running, 36 "miles" of pool-running and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

One more hard week to go in my Chicago training cycle, and then taper.  This cycle seems like it's gone by pretty quickly.  I think a lot of that is that I've always run my fall marathons in late November, so tapering in September just feels weird.  Shifting back to 5 days on land/2 days in the pool has also helped a lot - shifting between pool and land seems to keep me mentally fresher.

My breathing continued to improve this week, showing that the shift in asthma meds was the right choice.  I was taking my antihistamines in the morning, but I noted some sluggishness, so I decided to shift to taking them at night, which seems to help.  

I only had two hard workouts this week - the 25x400m on Wednesday morning, and then my final "4-3-2-1" on Saturday.    The 25x400m workout (25 reps of 400m with 100m "floating" recovery) is supposed to be executed at 10K pace, but I ended up running slightly slower due to the warm conditions.  (Summer marathon training does suck sometimes.)  My coach and I were both pretty happy with how the workout went.

The 4-3-2-1 went wonderfully.  We were gifted with slightly cooler air, albeit accompanied by a fair bit of wind as tropical storm Hermine grazed the east coast.  This workout (intervals of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at marathon pace with one mile easy between) is the only workout I use my watch for.  While I normally prefer to target an effort level and let paces fall where they will, I've found that what feels like "marathon pace effort" is generally too optimistic for me, and has no relationship to the pace I actually hold on race day.  So for these workouts, I set my Garmin to show average pace and watch it.

I've been targeting 7:10-7:15 pace as my marathon pace, and that pace felt like cake on Saturday. Almost too easy.   It was tempting to pick up the pace, but I kept the brakes on - I want to have one training cycle where I run all of the long runs very conservatively, pace-wise, to see how that works for me.   The reward was a nice confidence booster - I don't think I've ever felt so good at the end of a 4-3-2-1 workout.  Let's hope that's a good sign.

During Saturday's long run, I experimented with wearing a white running hat.  I'm usually not a running hat person unless it rains - I much prefer sunglasses to a visor or hat bill for blocking sunshine.  But I have no experience with warm sunshiny marathons, and Chicago could be my first (knock on wood that it's not).  Since I have long black hair that loves to absorb sunshine, my thought was that wearing a light colored hat to cover my dark hair might be helpful.

Even though Saturday was overcast, I wore a white ventilated running hat anyway, to see how I liked it in dry and warm conditions.  The result?  I hated it.  It felt like I was running with a woolen ski cap on - I just have too much hair.   So that's a definite no go for the race, unless it's raining.  I'm glad I tried that now.


In non-running news, we went to see Kraftwerk on Saturday night.  I'm guessing that not many people reading this blog know who Kraftwerk is, but trust me, every single one of you knows their music.  If you're a fan of mainstream artists like (takes a deep breath) Depeche Mode, New Order, Madonna, Jay-Z, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, the Chemical Brothers, R.E.M., Daft Punk, Missy Elliot, or Kanye West for starters, then you've heard Kraftwerk  - they're literally one of the most influential and most sampled bands in history.

Since the show is basically 4 guys from Germany in their 60s and 70s standing behind computers for two hours, they include a 3D video projection as part of the show.  One band member mixes and programs the video live, while the other three cue up samples, mess with keyboards, and occasionally sing or speak.  The result is one of the best shows I've ever been to.  Definitely in my top ten concerts of all time (and I have to have seen at least 300 shows at this point).

They're only doing 9 cities in the US this tour, and all the shows may be sold out at this point.  And, given the age of the band members, who knows how many more tours there will be.    If you're a modern music fan, and you get the chance to see them - jump on it.  You won't regret it.


Monday: 8 "miles" pool-running; 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles very easy (8:48) then upper body weights, followed by 2.5 miles very easy home (8:52) plus drills and strides.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 12.5 miles, including a workout of 25x400m averaging 1:38 with 100m recovery averaging 31 seconds.  Followed with 1000 yards of recovery swimming.  Sports massage at night.

Thursday: 8.5 "miles" pool-running and yoga in the morning.  4.5 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Friday: 10.5 miles very easy (9:30), followed by upper body weights and core.  2 "miles pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 17 miles, including a workout of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at marathon pace, with 1 mile easy in between. Splits were:
4 mile in 28:41 (7:11/7:11/7:10/7:09 - average pace 7:10)
3 mile in 21:28 (7:07/7:11/7:10 - average pace 7:09)
2 mile in 14:23 (7:13/7:10 - average pace 7:11)
1 mile in 7:05
Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards of recovery swimming. Foam rolling in afternoon.  Kraftwerk at night.

Sunday:  8 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.