Monday, April 13, 2015

Training log - Week ending 4/12/15

This week was 50 miles of running, 3 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

This was Cherry Blossom week.  Which for most people was a goal race and maybe the peak of their spring, but for me was the kick off of the first week of marathon training.   I tapered for it, and raced it, but it felt more like a beginning than an end.

Which makes me even happier with my race.

It's been a long road.  In 2012-early 2013, I was as fit as I've even been.  Then came the long cycle of injury, followed by trying too hard to climb back up too quickly this past fall.

I had two goals for this spring.  One was to regain some of my speed at shorter distances, the other was to discipline myself to keeping my workouts very restrained - 80% effort.  My belief was that adhering to the second goal of very controlled workouts was the best way to achieve the first goal.  This was because, in the past, I had noted that I always improved the fastest when my workouts were slower and more controlled.  "Going to the well" and "giving my all" in workouts always seemed to result in stagnation.

But it's been hard.  When you have a group of friends running just ahead of you, it takes a lot of restraint not to chase the pack, and to instead run your own pace.  Especially when you finish workouts with plenty in the tank, and feel a bit sheepish that you didn't work harder while everyone else was digging deep.  But I forced myself to do so, telling myself I needed to do this consistently for several months, and then assess where I was.

And...I'm pretty happy with where I am.  Judging from yesterday's performance at Cherry Blossom, as well as my performance at Monument Avenue 10K, I'm close to the same shape I was in early 2012.  There were times I doubted I could get there again, and yet I'm here.  At age 40 (almost 41) no less.

What's even cooler to note is that my workout paces on the track are consistently slower than they were both in 2012 and this past fall (by about 5-10 seconds a mile).  Back in 2012 I was running 800s in the low 2:50s, with the occasional 2:4x.  Now?  They're generally just under 3 minutes.  Maybe low 2:5x for the last one or two.  Similarly, I'm tempoing about 10 seconds per mile slower than I was 3 years ago.

So...not only have I improved a TON over the past few months, but my differential between my workouts and my race performances has exploded.  I'm tempoing 4 miles on the track SLOWER than I'm racing 15K, which is awesome.

Apparently I've managed to hit that balance of training to race, rather than racing my training.  Yay me.

There's a trap that most runners fall into, when doing workouts.  We see a chart where paces on the chart for different intervals correspond to race times, and we think that if we can just gut it out and hit those intervals in practice, we'll achieve the corresponding times on race day.

In actuality, it's the reverse, at least for me.  It's not your goals that should determine your training paces (with the exception of practicing specific race pace); rather, your current fitness and how you feel that day should determine how you train.  Exhibit A, of course, is that fact that I'm now running race times faster, and my workouts slower.

It makes sense, when I see it mapped out here.  But I have to keep reminding myself of this, as I go into marathon training.  The fastest way to achieve my goals is, ironically enough, to continue to keep my workouts very controlled.

Likewise, I've also slowed my easy runs way down.  I used to run them in the mid-low 8:xx pace.  Now I shoot for 9-9:30+ pace.   Heck, 10:00 is fine.

There were a few reasons I used to get sucked into running my easy days at the faster speed - one was simply keeping pace with others (I'm now more careful about whom I do my easy days with), another was picking up pace because I had to be done by a certain time (I now start earlier or just run less miles).  The third was that I was afraid that if I ran too slowly, I'd fall into bad form habits and become a shuffler.  I address the last concern by doing drills and a few gentle (5-10K pace) strides after each run.  It definitely seems to be working.

The test over the next two months will be whether I can adhere to these easy and yet so tough principles (controlled workouts, very slow easy runs) while marathon training.  Only one way to find out.


Dailies

Monday:   3 "miles" pool-running plus yoga and some upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  11.5 miles, including a workout of 6x800 in 3:03, 3:00, 2:58, 2:58, 2:56, 2:54; followed by 1250 yards swimming and some light injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 10.5 miles very easy (9:12 pace).  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   5.5 miles very easy (9:11 pace), plus drills and strides, and some light injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  6.5 miles, plus drills+strides, and a 1 mile pick up on the track in 6:16.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   3 miles very easy (9:05) plus drills and strides.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:  3.5 mile warm-up and then a ~9.5 mile race in 62:01.  Yoga and 750 yards recovery swimming in the afternoon.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Race report: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, April 12, 2015

I ran the Cherry Blossom not quite 10 Miler this morning, finishing in a time of 62:01.

As you can probably tell, the course was short, due to a last minute rerouting.  Supposedly around 9.5 miles (9.48 on my Garmin).  But even with the issues with the course, I was pretty happy with this race.

Cherry Blossom is always one of my favorite races.  Not because I love flowering trees.

In fact, I hate flowering trees.

And the fact that these particular trees are baby pink and surrounded by swarms of tourons does nothing to endear them to me.

(I mean seriously - why do people get so freakin excited about pink trees?  I.do.not.get.it)

But I still love the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  It's a fantastically managed race on a fast course that normally has good weather.  And that more than compensates for the stupid trees.


And the weather for today was forecast to be absolutely perfect for racing.  Low to mid-40s, with no wind and low (but not too low) humidity.  Great weather plus fast course means high PR potential for most people.

But not for me.  My 10 mile PR is 65:31, from this same course in similarly fantastic weather.  And though I'm getting into good shape, I didn't think I had quite the fitness I needed to challenge that PR.  But that was OK.  It was still great just to be racing this race, especially after how last year went.

And...as I've noted below, I benefit most in my training from lactate threshold work.  And any race between 15K and the half-marathon distance is a fantastic lactate threshold workout, regardless of how the race goes.  I couldn't think of a better way to kick off the first official week of my training for Grandma's Marathon.

***

Race morning was pretty much the same as always.  Woke up, ate breakfast, puffed my asthma meds and mobilized my hips and ankle, plus some glute firing for the heck of it.  Then donned my throwaway shirt and set off.

You can't tell from the photo, but this top is very sparkly.
My throwaway shirt, btw, was awesome.  A few weeks ago, at a friend's 80s themed birthday party, another friend had worn a sparkly pink Little Mermaid shirt.  It was the subject of some discussion - she explained that the shirts had been on sale at Target for about $3, so she grabbed one.

The next day I was at Target, stocking up on $3 throwaway shirts.  If you know me at all personally, then you know that my personal tastes tend towards dark nail polish and skulls, with the occasional infusion of dayglo.  A pink sparkly shirt featuring a Disney Princess is pretty close to a costume for me.  Which is what made this so hilarious.

So... accompanied by Ariel, I made my way to the race, checked my post race bag, and started jogging. I did a 3 mile warm-up very easy, and then some drills and an extended stride around the Washington Monument - running hard until my heart rate got into the 70s. I've tried this extended stride for several races now, and I feel it really warms me up and gets me prepped in a way that shorter strides don't.

Then some more drills, and two shorter strides, and into the corral.

While I was warming up, the race director came onto the loudspeaker and announced that due to a police investigation on course, we'd be rerouted.  He continued on to explain that the rerouting would occur between miles 4 and 6, and that the mile markers from 1-4 and 6-the finish would be accurate.  The total race distance would be confirmed later, but was between 9.5 and 9.75 miles.

I have to stop here and praise the Cherry Blossom race management here.  They were presented with a very difficult situation - for a major race with over 10,000 runners, they had learned less than 90 minutes pre-race start that the course was blocked.  They couldn't use the course as posted, and they couldn't delay the race (they had a strict time limit for reopening the roads).

So they had to modify the course.  Which they did in a way that flowed seamlessly.  And they clearly communicated to us exactly what was happening.  This is how you do it, folks.

***

With 5 minutes to go, I ducked in my corral and tossed Ariel aside like last century's VHS tape.  I had a chance to briefly greet my podiatrist, which was fun -- it was great to see him under better circumstances than last year's race :).

The race manager made another announcement, reminding us of the course change that would occur between miles 4 and 6, and also describing where we would be turning.  Again, it was a great example of how to handle a last minute rerouting.  Then we were off.

***

My plan was to go out conservatively for the first and second miles, and then pick up my pace on a downhill section after we crossed the Memorial Bridge - about the 2.5 mark.

Cherry Blossom does tend to go out fast - both because people are amped, and because the first mile is moderately down hill.  And despite my best efforts, I did get sucked out.  I didn't go out monstrously fast, but it was not the conservative start I had planned.  When we hit the first mile marker, I didn't feel out of control, but it wasn't the easy feeling I had been shooting for.

I debated for a moment, and then decided to pull back on the throttle.  As we crossed over the bridge I slowed up just slightly, and held that easier feeling for the next two miles, establishing the relaxed feel I had hoped to start the race with.   Once I had that down, then I opened up again.

During this time, I was also looking for a place to toss my water bottle and gloves.  I always start races longer than 10K with a water bottle that I toss.  Around the 2-3 mile marks I was ready to heave it, and on the watch for cheering friends, but I didn't see any of them on the course.  So finally I tossed it when we crossed under the Roosevelt Bridge - if I had a chance, I'd come find it later.

I wasn't willing to toss my gloves, though.  I love those things.  So into the bra shelf of my top they went - the pictures from this race will be lovely.

***

From then on, it was just game on, trying to keep my stride relaxed but powerful, and at the proper effort level.  I can't quite describe where we went on course or how we were rerouted, but I can tell you that it was done seamlessly.  The only indications from my perspective were the missing 5 mile marker and the fact that everyone's Garmins kept squawking where we were nowhere near mile markers.

As I noted in my last race report, I sometimes like to use a gel during races shorter than a half, even if I don't need it - the sugar rush seems to help.  To that point, I took one slurp (about 1/3rd) of a root beer GU at the 4 mile mark and a second slurp at the tip of Hains Point (around 7.5).  It's hard to know how much for sure it helped, but I did feel sharper and more focused during the race.

***

The latter part of this race is on Hains Point in DC.  Hains Point is very straight, flat and fast, but also a bit soul killing, as it seems like you're just running in a straight line forever.

Hains Point also has an added challenge for allergy sufferers - the damn trees.  I've learned from years of running and racing on Hains Point that if you have allergies, they will hit there very hard.  To the extent that it feels like you're running up hill.  Luckily, I've known this and I now always pace my races as if Hains Point will be a slight uphill climb.

Also, I had some solid memories of Hains Point to pull me through.  Way back in February, some teammates and I met on Hains Point to do a long broken tempo workout in horrible conditions - temperatures in the mid-teens, high winds, and snow starting to fall towards the end.    It sucked, but we rocked it and felt like stars after.

From Alien (1979), of course.
No matter how much Hains Point sucks, it will never suck anywhere close to that ever again.    And it wasn't sucking that much right now - relatively speaking.
 
So I just kept trucking.   At one point, I saw a group of friends cheering, and I (finally) tossed my gloves to them.  Better late than never - at least some of my photos wouldn't look like an alien was trying to erupt from my chest.


Finally we hit Mile 9 and the end of Hains Point.  From here on out things were easy mentally, if not physically.  The race has markers every 400m for the last mile, which makes it easier to hang on.  The largest hill (and really, the only big hill) of the course hits with about 600m to go.  It sucks, but it never sucks as much as I fear it will - it's almost a relief to use different muscles after running on flat terrain for so long.  Then over and downhill to the finish.

***

My final official time was 62:01.  Again, for a distance of about 9.5 miles.  My Garmin says 9.48 miles at a pace of 6:33.  This actually makes me pretty happy, as that's my PR pace for 10 miles.

And no, I'm NOT going to claim that I went out and PR'd a 10 miler today.  Or even that I would have PRd had it been 10 miles.  Right now, sitting in this chair, it's easy to talk about holding that pace for another 800m.  But I assure you, when I crossed that line, I was damn ready to be done.

(side question - should I write "PR'd" or "PRed" or "PRd"?  These are the questions that cause me to lose sleep).

But... holding that pace for something close to 10 miles does indicate that I'm in better shape than I thought.  I didn't think I was anywhere near 10 miler PR shape, when apparently I was close.

And upon due reflection, as long as the course (which race management is measuring now) was at least 15K (9.32 miles), I've decided I'll count this as a 15K PR. I'm not going to adjust the time down to count for the extra distance - I'll just take the time as is.

My reasoning is that if I happened to run faster than my 5K PR on a 3.2 mile course, I would definitely count that time as my 5K PR (and then go looking for another 5K that had an accurate course).  So no reason not to do the same here, though I can't really go looking for another 15K - they're very rare here.

***

Splits were (manual splits - Garmin was giving me 1.01 for most miles)
Mile 1: 6:36
Mile 2: 6:44
Mile 3: 6:37
Mile 4: 6:32
Miles 5-6 ish: 9:13 for 1.40 (6:34-sh pace, according to Garmin)
Mile 7: 6:36
Mile 8: 6:39
Mile 9: 6:38
Mile 10: 6:28

Other notes:
  • Left home at 6:00, and drove to race, arriving at 6:15 - plenty of time to find good parking.
  • One puff Foradil in the morning, 4 puffs albuterol before race.  And I needed it.  Damn pink trees.
  • Found my tossed water bottle post race - yay.  At about $12 each, it's not a huge loss if they're gone.  But always nice to save a little money.
  • So we ran a totally random distance this morning, where the actual time means very little.  And yet I'm annoyed that I couldn't have run two seconds faster to dip under 1:02.  Runner logic.
  • Wore my Adidas Takumi Sens for this race, and was really happy with them.  I haven't worn them for longer than 8 miles before, but after they performed so well in the 10K in Richmond, I thought I'd try them for 10.  Now I'm wondering if they'd work for a half.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Training log - Week ending 4/5/2015

This week was 73 miles of running, 4000 yards of swimming and 3 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

The mileage is a bit deceiving this week, as I ran 7 days instead of 6 this week, due to shifting my normal rest day from Monday to Sunday last weekend.  So, though it was technically over 70 miles, it didn't feel that way.

Which was good, because this was supposed to be a moderate week. Despite the fact that I'm 12 weeks out from a marathon.

Yup - I'm marathon training.  I entered Grandma's Marathon on Tuesday, after getting my coach's approval.  12 weeks out is generally not enough time to prepare for a marathon.  Unless (like me) you've been training solidly since January, with a focus on 10 milers and halves.  The training for 10-13 miles and for a marathon is not that different - training for halves just meant a greater focus on stamina and no 20s.  But my overall mileage has been decently high, and I've had several long runs in the 17-18 mile range.

Upon getting my coach's agreement (and after formally entering), I drew up an abbreviated training schedule that looked like his normal one, including the same overall weekly mileage, with a few slight differences.   He normally schedules three or four 20 milers, and three marathon pick-up workouts (4-3-2-1 mile intervals with one mile recovery between each).  My proposed schedule had only two 20 mile runs, and only two of the pick-up workouts.

Why did I cut out the 20s?  Because I honestly don't think they're the best use of my training time.

I think they're essential for someone with speed who is working on sustaining that speed over a longer distance; however endurance is not my limiting factor - stamina/lactate threshold is.  So I think my time is better spent working on my lactate threshold and turnover - less 20 milers mean that I'll be recovering a bit better, and have more energy to dedicate to longer tempos and to maxing out the volume (though not the speed) on the track workouts.  I'm not terribly worried about my ability to cover 26 miles - my natural endurance plus my generally high weekly mileage will get me through that, with the two 20s on my schedule being as much for my mental confidence as my physical preparation.

Happily, my coach agreed with my training schedule, with two slight corrections.   I had scheduled 16 miles for this weekend, and 18 for two weekends from now.  He nixed both of those in favor of no more than 14 this weekend, and a max of 16 on April 19th - he noted that I had been training fairly hard since January, and so it was better to ease off on the distance of the long runs for a few more weeks, so that I wasn't fried come June.    So we made that change.

And the end result is, having made a fairly late decision to jump into marathon training, we're starting off the condensed training cycle by....backing off on the distance of the long runs.  It amuses me, but I think it's the right decision.  I've found that I don't need to build up to the 20 milers the way some others may, so it makes more sense to take the next 2-3 weeks to refresh (and race Cherry Blossom), and then build up steeply before tapering and hopefully peaking in mid-June in Duluth.


Dailies

Monday:   4 miles very easy to yoga (9:06 pace), yoga, and then 5 miles easy back home (8:38), followed by drills, strides, and some upper body strengthwork.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  11 miles, including a workout of 4x1200 (4:43, 4:38, 4:38, and 4:31). Followed with lower body injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 11 miles very easy (9:24 pace), followed by drills and strides, and then a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   4 very easy miles to yoga (9:20), yoga, and then another 2.5 very easy (8:58), followed by drills and strides.  Later did 3 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  11 miles, including a fairly windy 4800m tempo in 26:29 (6:38/6:38/6:42/6:33), followed by lower body injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   10.5 miles very easy (8:58) plus drills and strides.   Injury prevention/upper body strength work and foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  14 mile progression run - first 3 miles at 9:03 pace, next 4 at 8:47 pace, next 2 at 7:38 pace, and last 5 at 6:53 pace.  Followed by lower body injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming.  Yoga and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Training log - Week ending 3/29/2015

This week was 35 miles of running, 10 "miles" of pool-running, and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.


Well...that's my lowest mileage week in quite some time.  With good reason, though.  The first half of the week was recovery from Sunday's Shamrock Half-Marathon; the second half was tapering for the Monument Avenue 10K on Saturday.   Plus two post-race non-running days on Monday and Sunday to bookend the week.

I pulled out every trick I knew to recover as fast from Shamrock as possible, including drinking water non-stop, sleeping as much as I could, keeping the running and cross-training minimal, and getting a sports massage on Wednesday that really helped a lot.  I don't think I was completely recovered from Shamrock by Saturday, but I was good enough to run a good race, so yay.

I've raced the past three weekends, and raced 4 out of the 5 weeks in March.  Next week will be a return to normal training, which I'm looking forward to.

No race next week also meant I _finally_ got to update my hair color.  Why is my racing related to my hair color?  (and why am I discussing my hair color in my running blog?)

Well, because my hair color is tangentially related to my running.  To explain, I suffer from seasonal allergies in both the fall and the spring (though the fall is much worse) - these allergies sometimes affect my running.

I also dye my hair, and am moderately allergic to my hair dye - I get breakouts and very itchy skin for a few days after coloring my hair, and my seasonal allergies also worsen for those few days (allergens on top of allergens - bigger histamine response).

Thus, I try not to color my hair the week of a race.  Which is generally easy to do.  Except when you're racing every single weekend.

I naturally have medium brown hair (and naturally black eyebrows, which means that my natural hair color looks faker than my CVS color job).  So when my hair grows out, the medium brown roots create an effect that looks suspiciously like the beginning stages of male pattern baldness.  Lovely.

For the past few weeks, I've been wearing headbands everywhere, and filled with gratitude that I don't have any conferences or formal meetings to go to.  I need to take a week off of racing for a lot of reasons, but the hair is near the top of the list.

Dailies

Monday:   3 "miles" pool-running plus yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  6 miles very easy (9:04), followed with 1500 yards swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 7 miles very easy (9:17 pace) followed by drills+strides and some upper body weights and injury prevention work.  Massage at night.

Thursday:   6.6 miles, including a 1 mile pick-up at 6:34 pace.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  4 miles very easy (8:45), plus drills+strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   11.5  miles, including a 10K in 39:55.  1500 yards recovery swimming in the afternoon, followed by foam rolling.

Sunday:  7 "miles" pool-running in the morning, followed by foam rolling.  Yoga class in the afternoon.  Returned my hair to its proper color at night.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Race report: Monument Avenue 10K, March 28, 2015

I ran the Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, Virginia this morning, finishing in a time of 39:55.  I'm pretty happy with this for multiple reasons.

For one thing, I actually finally got to race the darn thing this year, which is my fourth year in a row registering for it.  The saga goes like this:

2012: Realized after registering that it was on the same weekend as Cherry Blossom.
2013: Registered for it very early, then decided to do Shamrock Marathon instead.
2014: Injured.
2015: Finally.

But I very nearly didn't race it this year.  I had originally planned to race the RNR USA Half Harathon, and then do Monument Avenue two weeks later.    When I shifted to doing Shamrock Half Marathon instead, a scant 6 days before, I thought that Monument Avenue was out of the question.  It generally takes me about a week to 10 days to feel totally recovered and zoomy after a half marathon.

But, after Shamrock, my coach raised the issue again, as we stood cheering the marathoners.  He thought that I should take a shot at it if nothing was hurting and I didn't feel too sluggish come Thursday.  I was a bit skittish about the idea, but I really didn't want to miss the race for a fourth year in a row.  And if my coach was on board with the idea....

Additionally, after reviewing the website, I realized that the race didn't start until 8:30 am, making it feasible to drive down the morning of the race and save the hotel bill.  (I had paid to have my bib mailed to me when I registered, so I didn't need to hit the expo the day before).  This was good, because I hadn't planned on paying for a hotel 2 weeks in a row.  Additionally, if it turned out I was too tired to run a good race, I'd feel a lot better about it if I hadn't paid well over $200 for a room.

So what the hell, I'd give it a shot.

***

The Monday to Friday stretch between the two races was dedicated exclusively to recovery.  I ran a bit, but it was all short and very easy, with the exception of a mile pick-up on Thursday to see how I felt.  I didn't feel great and I was a bit slow (a mile at "10K effort" ended up being 6:34) but my coach pointed out I had been running slightly uphill.    And I didn't feel so sluggish that I didn't want to take a shot.  Heck, if nothing else, at least I'd finally get to run it.


The mathematics of an 8:30 am start plus a 1:45 minute drive and a need for a lengthy warm-up dictated that I leave home between 5 and 5:15 am.  Early, but doable - sometimes that's the start time for my morning run.  I hoped to get to Richmond a bit before 7, which would give me enough time to find parking and shift my gear over to the local Golds Gym, where I could stash my stuff and do my pre-run hip stretching and mobilization.  I normally do this before I drive to my run or race, but an over 90 minute drive was going to lock my hips up again anyway.

It also gave me some fudge time in case I hit traffic.   I didn't think it was too likely that I'd hit traffic, given that it was early Saturday morning.  But this is Northern Virginia - you never know.

Good thing I had the fudge time.

Somewhere north of Richmond on I 95.

I finally got to Richmond around 7:20.  Still plenty of time to stretch and get warmed up, but I was worried about finding parking.  Luckily, 7:20 was still early enough that there was plenty of parking in the reserved lots.  Parked, relocated to Golds for stretching, and then off I jogged, as a combination warm-up and "where the heck is the start."  I did have a brief moment as I approached a start line where the announcer was eagerly rallying participants for an 8:00 am start.  Oops?  But it turned out that was the childrens' one mile run, and I still had time.

Found the start and my teammates Susanna, Karina, and Ann, and we all wished each other luck.  Then we lined up in the corrals.  I seeded myself in the very back of the corral since I knew that the cut off for the corral was 41 minutes (verified by a recent race time, so no dreamers allowed), and I didn't want to get dragged out too fast.   I knew I was taking a bit of a risk here, as I didn't know whether age group awards were done by gun or chip time.  But I decided I'd rather lose an award to gun time then lose it by crashing and burning after getting dragged out by the sub 35 minute crew.

The gun went off, and after what seemed like a very long pause (weird being in the back of the corral) Ann and I walked to the front and then started running.  One of my missions for this race was to correct the sins of last week and go out slow.  To this extent, I had looked at a map of the course, and told myself that I would keep stuff very restrained until we turned onto Monument Avenue, before hitting 10K effort.  It took some doing, but I did it.

From there, I basically just went to race mode -  trying to hold right at 10K effort while staying relaxed and loose, and NOT THINKING TOO MUCH.  Running like that doesn't make for interesting blog posts, but I do seem to run my best....

It was decently windy on the course, with a head wind on the way out.  Luckily, this is a pretty big race, so I had plenty of people to draft off of.  A nice change, that.

The course for Monument 10K reminds me a lot of Cherry Blossom.  It's not perfectly flat, but has slight undulations that I think make it faster than a perfectly flat course, since it lets you shift gears slightly.

By Mile 5 I was feeling pretty tired, both mentally and physically.  I hung on without much of a fade, but it was a bit of a struggle (made a bit tougher by being passed by a teammate with a lot of leg speed :)).  No doubt part of it was residual fatigue from last week's half and the morning's drive, and a lot of it was that I was at mile 5 of a 10K race!  But I think also that a bit might have been blood sugar - I had slurped a gel right before the start of the race, and that's about when the sugar burst would have been wearing off. 

In times past, I used to pop something sugary about halfway into a 8K or 10K race.  I don't think it makes a physical difference, but the sugar burst does seem to help with the late race doubts and mental fog.  I may try that again.

Finally, I saw the finish line ahead.  As I approached, I saw the timer ticking down to 40.  I knew I had started the race late, so I could break 40 if I just gunned it like hell.  I gave it everything I had (this is why I ALWAYS kick in a race, so I have that skill when I really need it).  Crossed the line, checked the watch, and yup, I had broken 40.  Cue big grin.

I've broken 40 before, but only on net downhill courses.  This is my first time breaking it on a legitimate course.  I'm counting this as a PR.

I'm feeling pretty damn spiffy.  And really happy with my coach for encouraging me to run this.

Two PRs in 6 days.  Not bad.

I've cut and pasted my splits because they amuse the heck out of me.
Those are manual splits, not autolapping.  Says something about the accuracy of the mile markers and the accuracy of my Garmin on this course.  (ignore the last 5 seconds - I hit lap instead of stop when I crossed the finish).

Other notes:

  • For asthma, did one puff Foradil before driving down, and one puff Albuterol 20 minutes before the start.  Breathing was great - a bit of congestion and watery eyes from allergies, but nothing horrid.
  • For my warm-up, I did extended strides - instead of 20 seconds or so, I held the "stride" for about 60 seconds - until I saw my HR hit 170.  I've done that both for this race and for Shamrock, and it seems to warm me up much better than shorter strides.
  • Race temps was 33 degrees.  Cold for many, but ideal for me.  Felt awesome.  
  • The drive back took 2 and a half hours.  I-95 is a pox upon the beautiful meadows of Virginia.  So that's 4.5 hours of driving today.  And I don't like driving.  However, I like hotel bills (and packing) even less.  And I heard it took 3-3.5 hours to drive down yesterday.  So I think I'll keep this race as a day trip.
  • My friend Cathy (speedy Cathy) also ran this race.  And her husband, a excellent photographer (check out his work) took this picture of us after.  I love this shot (Cathy on the left in green, me on the right in red).
  • Wore my Adidas Takumi Sens today - my first time racing in them (they're like the Adios, but fit the foot slightly differently - a bit wider in the toebox and narrower in the heel).  I liked them. 
  • Next race is Cherry Blossom in 2 weeks (I'll probably wear the Takumi Sens for that).  I've now raced three races in 14 days, with one overall win, two age group wins (the one for today is pending - because I'm 99% sure the current "winner" of the 40-44 women AG is a male), and two PRs.  Tomorrow is a recovery day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Training log - Week ending 3/23/15

This week was 46 miles of running, 7 "miles" of pool-running and 500 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Tapered for the Shamrock half, and raced it. And...I may be racing again this Saturday in Richmond at the Monument Avenue 10K.  So the upcoming week will be very heavily focused on recovery.  Short and easy stuff, plus plenty of sleep, water, and foam rolling.  And then a test mile at 10K pace this coming Thursday to see how I feel and decide whether I'm racing.

After I ran the half on Sunday, I hung around for a few hours to cheer on the full marathoners.  In retrospect, this was really beneficial for me.  I covered another 2-3 miles on foot, between cheering and getting between various locations and my hotel, and I think that the slow paced walking was much better for me than hopping straight in a car and driving 3+ hours immediately post race would have been.

Dailies

Monday:   Yoga and then 4 "miles"of easy pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  9 miles, including a workout of 6x800 (3:06, 2:58, 2:59, 2:57, 2:54, 2:56), followed by some light injury prevention work and 3 "miles" easy pool-running.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy (9:21 pace) followed by upper body weights. Foam rolling in afternoon.

Thursday:   6 miles very easy (8:35), with some drills and strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  6.5 miles, including a "mile pick-up" (actually around 1 and 1/3 miles) under the Whitehurst.    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   A half-mile very easy as a shakeout, plus foam rolling.

Sunday:  2 mile warm-up and then half marathon in 1:28:28.  Swam 500 yards for recovery in the afternoon, followed by some foam rolling.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Race report: Shamrock Half Marathon, March 22, 2015

I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon yesterday, finishing in 1:28:29.  That's a half-marathon PR, and one that's been a long time coming, so I'm happy.  But still unsatisfied, as I still think I don't think I've run this distance to my potential.

Running this race was a late decision.  I had originally planned to run RNR USA half the previous week, but decided to do Shamrock instead a few days before RNR USA.  Shamrock was the better course, and the weather for RNR USA didn't look great.  So, Virginia Beach it was.

(an added benefit was that this gave me another week to get past the bad head cold I picked up after the St. Patricks Day 10K)

The drive to Virginia Beach from DC was wonderfully uneventful.  I left DC around 8:30 am (had been shooting for 8 am, but oh well) - that was early enough to keep the traffic issues to a minimum.  The drive from DC to Virginia Beach normally takes a bit over 3 hours, but traffic on I 95 or elsewhere can easily expand that to 4 or even 5 hours.

The timing worked great - I hit the expo around 11:30, then got lunch, and then managed to get early check-in at the hotel.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn North Beach, which was great.  Right on the start line for the half marathon, and right across the street from a 7-11.

(Amusingly enough, the 7-11 was selling Cliff Shot Bloks at the register, along with bananas.  The marathon is a big deal in Virginia Beach.)

The rest of the afternoon, I just hung out in my hotel room, watching streaming Grand Prix show jumping and foam rolling.  I've found that I race my best when I have a very chill and low key afternoon/evening before. 

***

Race morning was convenient as one could hope.  Walked out of my hotel room a bit after 6 am to drop my stuff off at bag check (half a block from the hotel), then did my warm-up jog before stopping back at my room to hit the bathroom (the true luxury of having a hotel near the start line).  Then went back out, did some drills and three strides, chatted with my coach, and lined up.

My instructions were to hang back and go very easy for the first three miles - leaving myself plenty of people in front of me to chase down.  And then spend the rest of the race chasing them.

***

We lined up and the gun went off.  And we started running into a mild headwind, as we had expected.  I started looking for people to duck behind.  After a few minutes, a friend of mine, Dan, offered to block the wind for me in exchange for a mention in the blog.  (No, seriously...).  I took him up on it.  His plan also was to start conservatively, and then pick it up.

Unfortunately, Dan's conservative start was a bit faster than what would have been a conservative start for myself.  Part of this is that I run best with a hard negative split, while most people prefer to pace a bit more evenly, and part is that Dan is in monstrously good shape right now. 

So, the upshot is that we went out at a pace that was slightly uncomfortable for me, and I was never able to relax into a rhythm.    I race best when I warm up extensively beforehand, then go out slowly and ease into the effort - trying never to be uncomfortable early in the race.  Once I'm totally relaxed and in my groove, I can rachet the pace down, and close very hard.  But the key point is staying relaxed and not getting uncomfortable early on.  

Which I didn't do here.  I hadn't dug myself into a huge hole, but I was still uncomfortable enough to be running tensely, not loosely.  I saw my friend Rich on course twice, and each time he yelled at me to stay relaxed, which was just about the best and most helpful thing he could have said to me.


***

I usually have wordy descriptions of races, but the rest of this one was essentially a blur.  By mile 5 I was distinctly uncomfortable and not at all happy.  And of course, racing through my mind were all sorts of recriminations for not easing into the first few miles.  But I could either focus on the reasons that my race wasn't going as well as I would have liked, or  I could work with what I had, which was one foot in front of the other.  I chose the latter.  I noted the mile markers from then on, but tried not to count them - I was way too far from the finish, and I didn't want to know.

It honestly felt more like a marathon than a half marathon - it didn't feel like I was tempoing, but rather like my form was falling apart, and I was just grinding the miles away, slowly.  I never felt good during the race.  But I'm good at being stubborn, and that's what I did today.  With the unlikely result that, for possibly the first time ever in my racing career, I ran just about even splits for a race.

Even when we finally turned onto the boardwalk, I had no kick to give.  I gave everything I had, and even tried to hang onto a teammate who sprinted by me towards this finish looking like a rock star, but I had no juice. 

Splits were:

Miles 1-2: 13:28 (6:44)
Mile 3: 6:41
Mile 4: 6:44
Mile 5: 6:42
Mile 6: 6:46
Mile 7: 6:42
Mile 8: 6:55
Mile 9: 6:46
Mile 10: 6:42
Mile 11: 6:47
Mile 12: 6:47
Mile 13: 6:45
Last bit: 41 seconds.

So, truly mixed feelings.  On the one hand, it was a 30 second PR for me, and I also won my age group, which was nice.  It's really hard to be upset.

And many of my teammates had fantastic races, which was great to see.  I had been somewhat considering pacing a friend through part of the Shamrock marathon, but I dropped that plan when I decided to race the half (and I felt a twinge of guilt over it).  It was great to watch her destroy her first marathon - she didn't need no help from anyone!

On the other hand, I don't think I ran the best race I had in me today, and that's disappointing.  But there's always another race.   And I can also now conclusively say that I've run a race in even splits and it doesn't work for me.  Back to a hard negative split for the next one. 

Other notes:

  • For asthma meds, took a puff of Foradil in the morning.  I've been suffering from allergies the past few weeks, but anti-histamines just make me sluggish.  I skipped the antihistamines for this race, and I was glad I did.  With spring allergies, I can feel like crap but once I'm running, I'm fine.
  • As always, Shamrock runs a great race.  What was really nice was that they were giving away towels as a finisher's gift.  Why was this so perfect? Because I had brought my swimsuit with me, and I wanted to stop by the pool on my way home from the race, but had forgotten a towel.  Serendipity.
  • My one recommendation to Shamrock for next time.  PLEASE do not organize the gear trucks by corral.  The end result is that you get bottle necks at each truck post race, since people in the same corral will likely be finishing around the same time.
  • Coming back from Shamrock this year was oddly reminiscent of my life 20 years ago when I was horse showing - to save time, I bought lunch to go and ate whenever I had the chance in stop-and-go traffic.  And I once again drove the back roads of Spotsylvania and Stafford counties to circumvent nasty back-ups on I-95.  Only differences were the compression tights, the Sirius radio, the Android phone that I could use to check traffic, and the Chipotle (over 7-11).
  • I'm debating whether to run Monument Avenue 10K this coming Saturday.  I had ruled it out when I decided to do Shamrock, but my coach raised it as a possibility after this race.  I'm already entered, so I'll just see how I feel and decide later this week.  Since I'm not marathon training, there's no urgent need to get miles in.  I can just keep stuff very easy and low key, and see how quickly I can recover.
  • Still haven't executed a half marathon well. I keep saying that I don't have the feel for the distance, but that's because I have yet to execute it the way I should - use the first 5K to get in the flow, and then fly from there.  So...I need to run another.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Training log - week ending 3/15/15

This week was 53 miles of running, 3 "miles" of pool-running, and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Tapering down for my half marathon, which is next Sunday.    I did win a race this week, but strangely that wasn't the highlight.  The best part of the week was Tuesday's workout.  Not because there was anything special about it, but because it was routine.  We were back on the track again (not the Whitehurst Freeway) and I was able to hang with "my group" on the track without struggling or feeling like I was going to the well. 

This spring I've been running my workouts based on feel, making sure to keep the effort controlled and restrained, even though it meant I was being continually dropped.  And... the pay off is that the last few weeks I've been running controlled while NOT getting dropped.  It's good to be home again.

Now if I could just get the plants and trees to stop fornicating, life would be all sorts of awesome.

Dailies

Monday:   3 "miles" pool-running plus upper body strengthwork and yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  10.5 miles, including 2x1200, 800, 400 (splits were 4:39, 3:01, 89, 4:27, 2:57, 82), followed with injury prevention/strengthwork and 1500 yards swimming.  Foam rolling at night.
 
Wednesday: 9.5 miles very easy (9:18 pace) followed by drills+strides and then a yoga class.  Massage at night.
 
Thursday:   8 miles, including a 1 mile pick-up at 6:07 pace (way too fast - I won't make that mistake again this week).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  3 very easy (8:40) miles, plus drills+strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   9  miles, including a 5K in 20:26.  1000 yards recovery swimming in the afternoon, followed by foam rolling.

Sunday:  13 miles easy (8:19), done mostly downhill with a tailwind - fun.  Followed with a yoga class, and later 500 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Race Report: Rock and Roll USA 5K, March 14, 2015

I ran the Rock and Roll USA 5K yesterday, winning the race on the female side.  So that was nice.

Running the 5K was a fairly late decision.  Several months back I had registered for both the Shamrock and RnrR USA half marathons, since I couldn't decide which of the two to do (they're a week apart).  Shamrock is the faster course, but it's a few hours away, and also the week before the Monument Avenue 10K, which means I can't race both.  RnR USA was local, and also a week earlier, so I could do it and the 10K.   Tough decisions.  But I decided to go with Shamrock in the end.

But... the nice thing about RnR USA was that it also had a 5K, and I was allowed to swap from the half to the 5K with no extra effort or charge - just grab my bib and show up at the 5K start line.  So I decided to do the 5K for the heck of it, rather than waste my registration entirely.  And it'd be fun, right?

Fun, in this case, involved leaving home at 5:50 am to grab a metro train that dropped me off at Stadium-Armory around 6:30 - an hour before race start.  Probably slightly early to get there, but I'd rather be early than late, and I also was worried about trains getting snafued due to the high ridership for the races (the half and full marathons had a separate starting line in downtown DC, though they shared a finish line with the 5K).

As it turned out, 6:30 am was not too early to get there at all.  I had naively assumed that once I exited the metro station, it would be clear where the start/finish/bag check, etc was.  I had done this half a few years ago, and I remember every thing being clear then.

It wasn't now.  Though there were signs guiding us as to where to go, they were black with small white lettering that was about impossible to read from afar in the darkness and the rain.  I wandered with others around the parking lots of RFK stadium, until finally (about 25 minutes) locating the promised land.

And what I could see of it in the dark and the rain was glorious.  Bag check, portajohns stretching as far as the eye could see, food vendors starting to warm their trucks, a big empty stage and a big arch that said "5K start".  Plus cones scattered across the lot (this is relevant later).  So that was nice.  I just wished I had found it sooner.  (I think Moses said that too).  I also wish it had been lit a bit better. (Not sure if Moses said that).

Of course, all this stuff in the parking lot, plus the puddles, made it a bit difficult to warm-up.  But I'm a veteran of the Whitehurst freeway workout - if the only running I can do is loops in a relatively small area, I can roll with that.    So I jogged around.  Rather than doing formal strides, I'd just pick up my pace whenever I saw a patch of pavement that was relatively clear of obstacles (again, vendors, pedestrians, puddles) and then slow up when I ran out of room.  After 20 minutes,they called us to the start.  I wasn't completely warmed up, but I decided I'd just take it out slow - tempo-ish effort, and then do a hard negative split.

The line up at the start was interesting.  You can never be totally sure from appearance - there were a few guys who looked like they would be faster than me, 2-3 women who looked like they might be about my pace (or faster or slower), and the "Ethiopian dreamer".  He wore a green "Ethiopia" singlet like those worn by Bekele and Gebreselassie in their Olympic moments, along with a bright red headband, Newton shoes, and body language that proclaimed his readiness to do battle upon the roads.

And his timing "D-Tag" shoe chip still on his bib, secured there by an extra safety pin.

I didn't want to presume to give him any advice on how to wear his bib and tag, so I just smiled softly and stepped back as he pressed his way ahead of me in the start area.

We paused to sing the National Anthem.  Rather than have a professional singer perform it, or play a recorded version, the announcer sang it - hilariously offkey, and encouraging all of us to join in.  Oddly enough, I think this was my favorite version of the National Anthem, and I wish more races would do it like this.

Then we were off.  I hadn't really reviewed the course that much - a quick glance had shown it as a flat out and back on East Capitol Street.  But, of course, we had to get to East Capitol Street from the parking lot.  And apparently we did that by following a path through the parking lot marked by cones.

Imagine the normal crowding and jostling chaos that is part of the first 1-2 minutes of a 5k.  Now imagine that while trying to follow a path marked by cones.  In a dark unlit parking lot.  In the rain.  While also trying (unsuccessfully) to dodge puddles.    Again, I was doing this 5k for the "fun" of it.  Runner logic.

Another female runner who looked potentially fast took the lead pretty quickly.  I just followed her for a minute or so, noting that my tempo-ish effort was keeping me fairly near her.  Then she dropped back a bit, and I pulled ahead slightly

This was a conundrum - if she was going to be my competition, I wanted to let her do the work.  On the other hand, I was running very controlled, at a tempo-ish effort, and I really didn't want to back off any more.  So I just decided to ignore what she was doing, and stick to my plan of holding a relaxed tempo-ish effort for the first mile or so.  As we merged onto East Capitol Street and ran towards a sun that I could barely see, I could hear her behind me.  Or rather, her keys jangling.

We ran this way for a while - I was a bit annoyed that she was so close behind me that I could hear her keys like that.

And then I remembered that I had my house keys in the rear pocket of my shorts.  Reached back, and yup - that was what was jangling.   Cue self-directed eye roll.  And I resumed tempo effort.  I knew we'd hit a turn around point in another few minutes - at that point I'd see how much of a lead I had and decide when to drop the hammer.

I hit the turn-around, and started counting.  About 20 seconds later, I passed her, meaning I had a 40 second lead a bit more than a mile into the race.   And the third placed woman was way behind her.

I looked ahead, and there really wasn't anyone ahead of me - one guy about 20 seconds ahead that I could chase down (and did, later).

At that point, honestly, I just put the hammer back in the shed.  5K pace really hurts when held for that distance, and I just couldn't find any motivation to up my effort to that level, given the circumstances.   I had a big lead, it was dark, it was rainy, and I was congested as all hell.  So I just cruised at a hard tempo-ish effort (which was still plenty of work).

This is my bike.  There are many like it,but this one is mine. 
Except I guess it technically belongs to the owner.
Or rather, I and "my bike" cruised.  When she showed up I had first been briefly annoyed that someone was actually riding a bike on a closed race course.  And then I realized that they were doing a separate bike lead for the leading female.  Who was me.  Neat.

The next mile or so was pretty fun.  Since it was out and back, I was basically running past a crowd of people cheering for me, while being led by my very own cyclist.  Kinda a "rock star for a day" moment.  I did listen to the cheers pretty closely - if I started hearing "go ladies" or "go get her" then I'd have to pick up the effort.

Some point past the 2 mile mark I passed the only guy I could see.  It was me and my bike again.  And hopefully the finish line, somewhere.  Visibility was still pretty poor in the rain and the dark, but I could see what I thought was the finish line in the parking lot - only to realize that it said "start" and we were NOT turning towards it.    Once again I lamented my failure to review the course ahead of time, and appreciated the fact that at least I had a bike to follow.

Then I saw a big inflated arch in the distance - OK - so that had to be it, right?

Nope - Rock and Roll likes to have a big inflated arch about a quarter mile from the finish.  As I got closer and then ran past it (weird course), I realized that there was no mat and no big crowds there.  So it wasn't the finish.  It was just mean.
Me, just behind my cyclist.  Huge thanks to Cheryl Young
for the great photos.  Also note my brand new snazzy singlet.

Then we circled back, passing underneath the arch of meanness.  Soon after, I saw the 3 mile marker and the finish line behind it.  I kicked hard both for the practice and also in case someone had been sneaking up (and also to show off, honestly).  And then I ran through the biggest freakin finishing tape I've ever had the opportunity to break.  You better believe I'm buying that photo.

It was fun.  Since the 5K finish line was also the half and full marathon finishing line, it had the same set up.  Rows of finishing medals (yes, for a 5K), space blankets, chocolate milk, and all sorts of other goodies.

Yep, bought the photo.
Made my way through the gauntlet, thanked "my" cyclist for the lead (honestly I would have gotten very lost without her).   Than started my "cooldown" jog by basically running the 5K course again.  It was arguably a bit obnoxious, but it was either do that or run 3 miles of laps in the parking lot, and I was done with that.

Splits:
Mile 1: 6:39
Mile 2: 6:40
Mile 3: 6:31
last bit - 39 seconds (~5:55 pace)

Other notes:
  • Interestingly, though the course looked flat when mapped out, it actually seemed slightly hilly when running it - there are several overpasses/underpasses on course.  Still seemed like potentially a very fast course.
  • When doing this race, factor in an additional 10-15 minutes walking time from the metro to the start.
  • I finally got to wear my new singlet, which I had sent to the screener last fall in hopes of getting it done for Army 10 Miler.   Really long wait to finally get it back (and yes, they did waive the charge).  It was worth the wait though.  And this was a fun way to break it in.
  • Tried Zyrtec for my congestion.  Didn't seem to help, and had me dozing off on the metro on my way to the race (I woke up once I started my warm-up jog).  Mental note not to take it next week at Shamrock.
  • Yes - I did just run a 5K at a pace slower than the pace of my 10K two weeks ago.  Which was in an ice storm while I was suffering from a head cold.  Oops? 
  • I brought dry clothes to change into post-race (rather than heading home, I ran a bunch of errands in the city).  Of course, the Armory wasn't open.  So I had to change in a porta-potty.  That was hilarious.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Training log - Week ending 3/8/15

This week was 70 miles of running and 3 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

I was sick for the first part of this week.   And so I was able to confirm that running a 10K in an ice storm when you're not feeling well will probably make you feel worse.  I know some people were wondering about that, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to test it out. 

That being said, I was glad I raced the 10K.  I think I was going to be sick one way or the other, so at least I got a good hard run in before having to take a few easy days. 

Runner logic is strange.

The balance of Sunday and all of Monday were spent with blankets and fluids and furry kitty and Whole Foods chili and a computer.  Really, what else do you need for happiness?

I still felt horrible on Tuesday when I woke up, with a sore throat and sinus pain that made my teeth hurt.  After debating (and Facebooking) I went out for an easy test run to see how I felt.  As sometimes happens, I felt better as I ran, and so ended up doing an easy 8 miler, followed by another easy 3.

And that was how the next few days went.  I quarantined myself from yoga/gym/pool etc until I had kicked the worst of it/was hopefully no longer contagious, and then added those back in.  One of my biggest pet peeves is people that go to the gym or yoga when they're sick, so I really try not to be that person.  (I don't worry that much about running outside - I just try to give other people a bit of space).

By Friday, though I wasn't completely recovered, I was ready for a workout.  Which was cancelled due to a snowstorm.  Sigh.  We were told to try to do what we could, where we could.  For me, since I had to be in the city Friday morning anyways, storm or not, "what I could" ended up being the Whitehurst freeway.  Again.

Just give me the extra .02, OK?
This time, I mixed it up by running back and forth between Jack's boathouse and 31st St (we normally turn at Wisconsin).  Going the extra block to 31st St meant that my "track" was a half mile each way - like any runner, I'm all about the exact distance.  And the extra block between Wisconsin and 31st also had heavier car traffic, which added spice to the workout.

To mix stuff up, I did 4 miles at "relaxed tempo effort" as four out and backs, followed by a ~1200m jog and then 2x a half mile with 400m recovery (guesstimated the recovery by time).

Solid workout, right?  I thought so.  And I was psyched to hit the showers in town and head to my conference.  And then I realized I was running late.  Which was no problem - my head really hadn't sweated at all, so I really didn't need to wash my hair.  A bit of headband hair, to be sure, but I could fix that.

And then I realized that I hadn't even broken a sweat during this workout (that's happened a few other times when doing workouts with temps in the teens).  And also that due to the snow emergency, it was going to be really hard to find parking at the gym at which I had planned to shower.

And that's how I ended up sneaking into the Marriott Marquis in downtown DC in my workout gear, and changing directly into my business wear in the handicapped stall of a bathroom.  I washed the Vaseline off my face with some handsoap, and used a moist towelette for everything else.  Then fixed my hair up with a french braid (wasn't anything else I could do with it), crammed my running clothes into the bag that held my conference materials, and stepped (only slightly late) into the 8:15 panel on the privacy implications of employee background checks.

No shame here.

Dailies

Monday:   Relocated between bed and couch a few times.  Did some foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  Slept in, then 8 very easy miles (felt better as I went).  Did another very easy 3 (9:06) a bit later plus some injury prevention work at home gym.  Foam rolling at night.
 
Wednesday: 9 miles very easy (8:59 pace) followed by a yoga class. Later, another 4 miles easy (9:03), followed by drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.
 
Thursday:   7 very miles to yoga in nice weather (8:54), yoga, and then a bit over a mile back home in a snowstorm (9:34).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  11 miles under the Whitehurst, including a restrained 4 mile tempo in 27:23, followed by 2x800m in 3:01 and 3:06 (had to dodge a car on the second).    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   12  miles easy (8:10) plus drills and strides, and then injury prevention/upper body strength work.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  14.5 miles, done progressive style - first 5 miles at 8:25 pace, next 5 at 7:36 pace, and last 4.5 at 6:49 pace.  Followed with yoga, some injury prevention exercises, and 30 minutes recovery pool-running (sinuses still not up to swimming).  Foam rolling at night.