Sunday, March 24, 2013

Training log - Week ending 3/24/13

This week was 2 miles of “real running” plus 20 “miles” pool running and 3500 yards of swimming -- training log is here.  

Recovery week.  Nothing but easy pool-running, easy swimming, and low level yoga and pilates classes for the first 6 days; added a 2 mile jog on the seventh.  After the first two days, I hated it.  I really enjoy being active and getting out and doing stuff; it's not in my nature to veg.

This is supposed to be Tux,
the Linux penguin, in running shoes.
But, I know I need to shut down now, if I want to ensure a good fall.  After last fall's crash/missed marathon, I've come to understand that a runner's body is very much like a Windows computer.  You can work it very hard for a while, and pile demand after demand on it.  But at some point, you'll have exceeded the system's resources, and it will start to slow.  You can push forward towards the inevitable system crash at the most inconvenient time (no, I've never had this happen with 7 Powerpoints, 15 Word files, 12 IM windows and 25 emails open simultaneously during a crucial meeting).  Or you can close the windows, power down the system, and reboot.

I'm rebooting (and doing a checkdisk while I'm at it).  Before I have to.

If only my body ran Linux.


Monday:   In the morning, 60 minutes of extremely easy pool-running (just waving my legs in the water).

Tuesday:  20 minutes of extremely easy pool-running.

Wednesday:   55 minutes of easy pool-running, followed by light injury prevention work, plus a bit of upper body strength training.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   1500 yards of swimming in the morning; foam-rolling plus a beginner level yoga class at night.

Friday:  45 minutes easy pool-running in the morning; foam rolling and pilates in the evening.

Saturday: Upper body strength training and 20 minutes of beltless pool-running, plus some foam rolling.

Sunday:   In the morning, 2 miles easy (8:10 pace) plus 2000m of swimming.  Planning on yoga and foam rolling at night.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The day after

Yup, the picture to my right is pretty much how my quads felt on Monday.  I always thought that marathoners were exaggerating this somewhat, or that you only experienced this on hilly courses, or if you overstrided.  Nope.  Apparently it's universal.

By Monday night, the soreness had subsided, but I was left in the odd position of having legs that were incapable of bending.  I could sit.  Or I could stand.  But transitioning between the two states was....challenging. 

Men clearly have it easier when recovering from a marathon.  Why?  Because they can rehydrate intensively without fear of having to sit to pee.

Some other observations from the past few days.

  • I now understand the appeal of wearing your medal for the first few days.  It's the equivalent of a handicapped tag.  Without my medal around my neck, I find I've become one of "those people" - those who announce they've just run a marathon within 3 minutes of introduction.  I'm not doing it to brag, but just to explain why I'm walking slower than a 90 year old, clutching desperately to the rail when I mount or descend stairs, or ordering TWO entrees at lunch.
  • I have spent way too much time reading other race reports about the same race I just ran.  My favorite is this one - like anyone else, I like it when someone much faster than I confirms that the wind kinda sucked (sustained of 10-20 MPH, with higher gusts, according to the Running Weatherman).  
  • They really should have reserved parking spaces for people who hang marathon medals from the past 3 days on their rear view mirrors.  I was much more mobile when I had my broken foot.
  •  I am truly disappointed that not one person has responded to my Shamrock Marathon race report with the comment "Sham WOW."
  • If I'm going to run more marathons, I need to move to a place that's designed with handrails and elevators everywhere.
  • For the second year in a row, I've made the same mistake.  That mistake is 1) running a race on St. Patricks Day that leaves me in a deliriously happy daze, but also crippled; 2) sleeping over at my boyfriend's that night; and then 3) shambling through the pharmacy early the next morning to pick up fluids and my birth control meds, requesting my prescription in a raspy voice.  I need a t-shirt that says "Honestly, I went to bed at nine last night."
  • Don't try to go to work the day after a marathon. 
  • Don't schedule a rock concert for the day after a marathon. 
    I actually stayed seated at a KMFDM show.  The shame.
  • They gave me a really nice thing at the end of Shamrock - a finisher's blanket.  Really cool.  The downside is that I've now devolved to a 4 year old who drags her blanket with her everywhere. 
  • When I think about it, this marathoning stuff is really easy.  Spend a week doing nothing but sitting and eating, run a few hours while people hand you drinks and sugary stuff, then spend another week doing nothing but sitting and eating.  Not bad at all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Training log - week ending 3/17/13

This week was 45 miles of “real running” plus 1 “mile” pool running and 1250 yards of swimming -- training log is here.  

Tapered.  Raced a marathon.  That's pretty much it.


Monday:   In the morning, 1250 yards of swimming breathing drills, plus injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  7 miles including a track workout of 4x800, splits were 2:56, 2:51, 2:51, 2:49;  followed by light injury prevention work (no squats) and 10 minutes of shakeout pool-running for "1 mile."  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   In the morning, 7.5 miles very easy (8:00 pace).  Got a massage at night.

Thursday:   Nothing but foam rolling.  And some eating.

Friday:  4.5 miles easy (7:29 pace - way too much energy), followed by foam rolling.  Also travel to Virginia Beach.  And a lot of eating.

Saturday:   Nothing but foam rolling.  And much eating.

Sunday:   26.2 mile race in 3:08:51 (7:13 pace); also traveled back from Virginia Beach home.  Also ate a lot.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Race report: Shamrock Marathon, March 17, 2013

When I was 17, I showed horses.  I rode a feisty mare named Bar Brat in the Junior Jumper division.   And somehow, we got ourselves named to the team representing the mid-Atlantic area in the national championships at Harrisburg, PA.  I was excited.  Really excited.  It was what I had dreamed of.  And then we got there and I walked the course with my trainer, and realized that I was over my head.  Literally.  The jumps were huge and spaced very technically (too big for the division – the course designer was apparently trying to make a statement), and I honestly wasn’t at this level.  My trainer didn’t disagree.  But I was there, I was representing my area, and I had to go out there, though I wanted nothing more than to go hide in the camper.

A bit more than 2 decades later, I found myself battling the same feelings on race morning.  OhshitwhathaveIgottenmyselfintonow.  I didn’t have quite the same basis for my feelings – I’d trained for the marathon with successful long runs and mileage peaking in the mid-70s, and I’ve always seemed to be happiest with longer runs.  Plus I had a coach and friends who emphasized to me just how ready I was.   Honestly, absolutely no indication I was over my head, and I had felt confident all the way up to race morning.  But feeling are feelings none the less, and they hit on race morning.


Up until then, I had been pretty firmly in my zen.  Getting down to Virginia Beach had been more or less uneventful.  Allergies were killing me when we got there, but I know I can run with those.  My left piriformis had gotten really aggravated by the long car ride down (the fact that our pricy hotel room at the start/finish had a Murphy bed instead of a real mattress didn’t help), but that was why I arrived a day ahead, so I could have 24 hours to fix it with soft ball, foam roller, and stretching.  All under control.  We ate good dinners at Mahi Mah’s (excellent - try the rutabaga).  And I carbo-loaded at breakfast, lunch, and dinner via potatoes, bananas, and rice.  Plus steak.  Always steak.

But the feelings hit on race morning.  And I did the same thing I did 20 years ago.  Told myself that I was doing this because I wanted to do this, and I’d never have a shot at doing well at Harrisburg/running a good marathon if I didn’t go into the damn ring/start the damn race.  So that was that.  I jumped in the elevator and headed down to the race start to drop off my bag at bag check and check out the temperature – to resolve the all important “bra or singlet” question.

And whoa.  Significantly colder than I had expected (good) but also fairly windy (shit).  The risk with this race was always the wind.  Oh well.  I couldn’t control the weather, but I could control my attitude and what I wore.  I was running this race.  And with that, I turned the doubting voice to “off” and went into full-fledged positive attitude mode.


About 40 minutes later, I came back downstairs for the final time to go to the start.  I debated what to wear, and settled on singlet, shorts, long throw-away t-shirt, and headband, plus my standard gloves/handwarmers/sock combination.  And a handheld water bottle.  And gels.  Gels everywhere.  I had a total of 7 gels on my person, plus two I had given to Brian and two I had given to my coach.

[I should mention at some point that I had wrestled previously with the issue of whether to use my Garmin for pacing or just run off of feel.  I race very well off of feel for shorter distances, but this distance was new, and I know a lot of people who insist that you need to use the Garmin to hold yourself back in the first miles.  I went back and forth, and finally just decided to turn the screen blank from the start.  There’d be pace groups (both a 3:05 and a 3:15), and I could just use them as a check – if I was pulling up by the 3:05 group, I was going too fast.]

Met my coach and teammates, lined up, and the race started.   And I started just like a long run, jogging with three of my teammates – Ann, David, and Jessica.  I kept telling myself, “just another long run.”  We jogged at what felt like a manageable pace, slowly upping the effort each mile.  My left foot was a bit crampy – but it freed up about two miles in and I felt good.

I’m not sure when, but at some point our small pack separated, and it was Ann and I.  We were swallowed by the 3:15 pace group, and I was fine with it.  Still very early, and a long way to go.  This distance was the great unknown.


The first 6 miles had been with the wind, but then we turned and started heading into the wind.  And that’s when I became both grateful and frustrated by the pace group.   I had six miles down, and I was starting to feel confident.  I only had a bit over 20 miles to go, and I've run quite a few 20 milers.  I was on familiar ground now, and the 3:15 pace group was holding a pace that felt miserably slow.  At the same time, the wind was pressing hard (supposedly gusting up to 20), and every time I pulled ahead of the group, I started working at a disproportionately greater effort, and even risking oxygen debt.  I saw another big clump of people about 20 seconds ahead, but I couldn’t seem to catch up to them without working harder than I wanted to so early.  So I settled.  I wasn’t happy, but far better to be a bit too slow than a bit too fast, this early in the race.

The 3:15 pace group had several official pacers – I started talking with one, and he mentioned that he was actually thinking of going for 3:10 – I guess he was just a back-up pacer.  He generously offered to help me out a bit (he was a lot bigger than I) and I accepted gratefully.   We were heading north into the wind, but we knew the worst was yet to come when we hit the boardwalk and would be right on the ocean – before that point, we wanted to catch up to the pack ahead.  So we picked up the pace and sustained a push that got us to the tail end of the bigger group right before the boardwalk.  Perfect. 

And then we hit the boardwalk, and the wind hit us even harder.  Everyone slowed again.  Argh!  So I fell back on “hopscotch” – I’d find a pack, work my way through the pack while resting up until I hit the front, then look for a target about 5 seconds ahead to “jump to.”  I was pacing in repeated surges, which I hate, but it was my best option.  The good thing was that the the middle miles of the race flew quickly this way – it was just one big game of leaping from shelter to shelter, interrupted by an interlude at the halfway point to see Brian and tell him I loved him (today’s our anniversary).


And so I continued.  By mile 16, I had realized a few things.  Bad: my left quad was starting to hurt, along with my left TFL.  Enough to be concerning.  But I only had 10ish miles left.  10 miles was easy.  I run 10 miles on my recovery days. I could hold together.  Other than the left leg, I felt great.

The Good:  I was having a (cheesy) revelation along the lines of…wow, I am pretty good at this.  Shit, maybe this is the distance I was meant to race?  I’ve always been annoyed when told to keep my long runs to 14 – it feels like I barely get warmed up and then I’m done.  I understand why 20-22 is our max long run in training, but even that’s felt a little inadequate.  Like I’m being shortchanged.  26.2?  That feels just right.   

Not scary, comfy.  Wow.  Cool.

So I kept on keeping on.  By now, the course had turned into a wooded area that actually was very slightly downhill and sheltered from the wind – a nice respite.  I was running totally by myself, but I didn’t care – I’ve ended up soloing the last third of my long runs, and so running by myself through the woods felt normal.   

Just another long run.   

The downside of the slight downhill (hardeharhar) was that it was aggravating my left quad more.  And now my right hip flexor was starting to tighten.  Not cool.  But nothing to do about it, but keep on.

Just then, like an angel, Ann showed up again – we ran together and I chatted with her, which helped me divert attention from my damn left leg, which was stiffening and starting to lock.  The less I thought about it, the better.


Ann and I ran together through Fort Story, getting separated at some point (I’m not sure when).  Mile 19 passed, and then mile 20.  No change (though I was annoyed that the tailwind I was counting on ended up being more of a side wind).  No wall.  Mile 21, mile 22 – just meaningless decorations. 

Where is this wall I’m supposed to hit?  When am I supposed to start feeling bad?  To have my emotional world narrow to a point of pain?  It wasn’t happening.  Sure, my left leg hurt more and more, and the right leg was starting to stiffen to, but I still felt that this running long was what I was meant to do.  I physically hurt, but physical pain is such a very small thing. The rest of you can have your super speedy miles and 5ks (though I know why they’re good for me to do) – I was at home and at peace just holding my steady rhythm, dropping the pace a bit more each mile. 

I couldn’t drop my pace as much as I would like – aerobically I was breathing easy, and I felt like I still had plenty of energy – but my legs were too stiff at this point to do much changing of gears.  I was locked into cruise control, with no brakes and just a tiny bit of gas.  But that was fine.  All I needed to do was maintain or build a bit.  Brakes?  We don't need no stinking brakes.


And then, around mile 23, I developed a damn side stitch.  Every once in a while I get one, and they’re miserable.  But I wasn’t stopping now.  Not when I was so close, with so much left in the tank.  I dug my right thumb deep into my side, as if I was plugging a hole, and kept on.  It hurt, but I had plenty of other things hurting as well to distract me.  Yay for options.

I also had an ace in the hole.  You see, I’m stubborn.  Pretty damn stubborn.  I once received the dubious accolade of “the stubbornest runner I have ever coached.”   And my stubbornness may be irritating, but it’s also a strength.  No side stitch, screaming quad, or anything else was going to stop me – my hard head overcomes all.  And damn straight I wasn’t going to slow either – I had one gear left at this point, but it was a good gear, and I’d ride it to the finish.

And so I surfed the tide of my obstinate nature home.  I was passing person after person, some walking, some jogging, but I only noticed as scenery.  Nothing mattered except my own steps.  Eventually I figured out that if I twisted my torso slightly a certain way, it relieved the stitch and I could remove my thumb from my side.  And so twisted, stiffly, I held my pace.  I had no choice.  I couldn’t slow down, I couldn’t speed up.  I chanted to myself, silently... ””  And, as weird as it sounds, I felt at peace.  Happiness is engaging in something you're good at, and I'm good at closing long runs hard via my own unique blend of impatience and obstinacy.   It was mile 24 of my marathon, and there was nowhere else I'd rather be.

And that was it.  Stubborned my way down Atlantic Avenue, then turned and went onto the board walk for the final bit, with the finish line ahead.  I stubborned past a woman who was struggling with a half mile to go, and noted that fact with a bit of satisfaction – one more up in the rankings.  I had a hunch I was top ten (I had been in 12th at the 12 mile point, and I had passed at least three women since then), but I didn’t know exactly where.

To her credit though, my passing her gave her new life, and she surged past me just past the 26 mile marker.  I wanted to catch her, but the legs were locked into one mode.  I could have gone another mile, but I wasn’t going any faster.  Ah well. I finished two seconds behind her and we immediately handslapped.  I HATE HATE HATE anyone who passes me during a race, but as soon as I cross that finish, we’re friends.  And the fact that I got outkicked in a marathon by a woman in her late 40s tells me that I’ve still got a future in this sport – I’m not too old yet.


So that was that.  Final time was 3:08:51. Running watchless, I negative split it as:

First 7 miles: 51:55 (7:25 pace)
Next 6.1 miles 44:12 (7:15 pace)  [hit the half at 1:36:07]
Next 5 miles: 35:38 (7:08 pace)
Final 8.11 miles: 57:07 (7:03 pace) [second half in 1:32:45]

(I have manual splits for each of the mile markers also, but apparently the mile markers were not accurate, especially in the first miles - I heard a few people complaining, and my Garmin reads distances between 1.08 and .95 between mile markers.  I'm glad I paced off of feel)

I ended up 9th overall female and winner of my age group, but that’s icing on the cake (yes, the posted results say 10th, but I got a separate email saying "9th").  The cake was getting to run the race, and enjoying it as I ran it.

Oh, and that story I told in the beginning, about being terrified to go in that ring at Harrisburg back in 1991, but putting on a brave face and doing it anyway?  I ended up ninth that day.  Despite everything.  In my first national level competition.  It’s still one of the things I’m proudest of in my life – I was terrified, but I sucked it up, and it paid off.

Two decades later, after facing the same emotions?  I was ninth overall female in my first marathon.   Plus ḉa change….

Other notes:
  • Took a puff of Dulera (my asthma med) pre-race.  Breathing was easy – I also credit the cool air, and the fact that the morning rain washed away the pollen.
  • Took hydration and nutrition very seriously – 5 gels on course, drained two water bottles, and drank water at every aid station I passed when I didn’t have a water bottle.
  • Carb-loaded by way of baked potatoes (both normal and sweet), rice, and bananas.  Did basically a 2.5 day carb load, with my last big meal being a late lunch on Saturday.  Saturday night dinner was light, and then I ate my normal pre-long run Sunday breakfast, about 2.5 hours before race start.
  •  My nutrition plan on course?  Eat and drink as much as I could without being sick.  I decided it was stupid to wait 40 minutes to have another gel - as soon as the sickly sweet taste was gone, I'd take another slurp.  I also gelled continuously - instead of downing a full packet and then waiting, I'd take a swallow at a time, gradually finishing the gel over a mile or two.  As for water?  Every chance I got.
  • Kinda cool that my last 8+ miles were 7:03 pace.  In my last long run, I finished with the last 8.5 miles at ~7:00 pace.  Interesting, in a training/geeky way.
  • The wind was pretty shitty.  Not as bad as the two worst races I've ever done - the Crawling Crab half and the By George 5K, but still pretty bad. Weather reports say sustained was generally at 10-20 mph, gusts higher.  I believe it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A post

It's weird to finally be here.

Just weird.

I always thought that there'd be a million thoughts running through my head at this point. What if this happens or this happens or this doesn't? 

But there's not.  Just excitement, gratitude, and (strangely) peace.  I get to go, I get to start, I get to see what happens.  I don't know how it will turn out, but I get to find out.  And that's awesome.

I think back to about 4 months ago, when I was in a different place.  I had been focused on Philly for months, but that didn't happen. 

4 months ago, I said the same thing I always do when things are hard: the downs are followed by ups, and the way out is always through.

And they are, and it was.  And I'm here.

I don't know what will happen in my race, but I know that I've gotten to the start.  I'm not overtrained; I'm not injured.  And that was my goal.  So many times during this training cycle, I was tempted to push.  To force myself through a workout or a run while ignoring warning signals.  And each time I resisted.  I told my coach at the beginning of this cycle that my ambition was to err on the side of underdoing, and that I was counting on him to crack the whip if I was slacking.

(which he never did, so I guess I did it right).

It was hard - from a mental standpoint this has been a very difficult training cycle - to always try to do less, rather than more.  But it's paid off.   My Philly training cycle was prettier on pixels, but I never got to race.  And now I do.  And that was the point.

And I feel just so incredibly lucky to have had the silent support.  Great company during workouts or in the pool.  Tolerance of my questions.  Messages wishing me good luck.  Hugs and handslaps after my last track workout this Tuesday.  Oddly enough, the good wishes aren't creating pressure; they weave into a blanket of support that warms and calms.

Thank you guys.

And now, I get to run.  The coolest, funnest long run ever.  I get to do my thing.  I can't wait.

To be continued.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Training log - Week ending 3/10/13

This week was 47.5 miles of “real running” plus 5 “miles” pool running and 2400 yards of swimming -- training log is here.  

Taper taper taper.  Each morning, I get a bit more anxious and eager to race.  Not nervous per se, which is weird.  I think it's because I'm just so happy to be finally getting to the start line, after the disappointment of Philly - just by being healthy, I've hit my key goal for this cycle.

My training cycle wasn't perfect (when is one ever) but I'm at peace with it.  I feel fresh, in a way I haven't in a long time.  The training schedule lets me do a short track workout this coming Tuesday, and short easy runs on Wednesday and Friday.   Each of these is akin to being given a carrot stick to hold one over until dinner, which is still an hour away.  But nothing to do except to force myself to stay seated on the couch, and NOT to be as active as I desperately want.  Save it for Sunday.


Monday:   In the morning, 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills, plus 10 minutes of easy pool-running for “1 mile,” preceded by injury prevention work and upperbody strength work.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  10 miles including a track workout of 1600, 1200, 2x800, 400, splits were 5:53, 4:19, 2:48, 2:46, 80;  followed by light injury prevention work (no squats) and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running for "2 miles."  Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   In the morning, 10 miles very easy (8:46 pace).  Got a massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, upper body weights and injury prevention work, plus 1400 yards of swimming breathing drills.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  9 miles, including a 5K tempo in 19:50, split as 6:18, 6:22, 6:25, 0:45 (windy, with the wind getting worse each mile -- the effort was steady).  Followed with light injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running.  Pilates (very light resistance) and foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   8 miles easy (8:05) followed by foam rolling.

Sunday:   10 miles easy (8:01).  Later did light injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mix tape

So, I know plantar fascitis.  I've dealt with it again and again, missing key races (including my goal marathon last fall).  Currently, I'm doing well, but I'm always aware of the potential for it to reappear.  Sadly, I also have friends who battle it.

One of my big allies against plantar fascitis is tape. There's a wealth of information on how to tape, with two methods getting the most attention:  the lo-dye taping method (using athletic tape) and kineseo taping.  I've tried both, and found neither to work perfectly.  The kineseo taping method gave too little support when running.  In contrast, the lo-dye method was too restrictive -- the arch of the foot acts as a spring, and the lo-dye method completely locked that spring in place.  As a result, my foot felt like a block, not a spring, and all sorts of other muscles became stiff and sore in compensation.

However, a combo of the two taping methods -- essentially the lo-dye taping method, but substituting kineseo tape (can be KT tape, Rock Tape, or something else) for certain parts, works fantastically.  Here's how I do it.

What you'll need:

-one roll kineseo tape (I prefer Rock Tape, because it seems most durable and has cool pattens)
-one roll sports tape (1.5 inch wide)
-one roll cloth or sports tape (1 inch wide)
-one knee length stocking

Note - when applying this tape, keep your foot gently pointed.  The objective here is to contract the plantar fascia slightly (to take the strain off) and then lock it in that position.

Step 1: 

Place an anchor strip of 1.5 inch sports tape
across the ball of your foot.
Step 2:
Take a long strip of 1" tape, and
run from ball of big toe across foot to heel,
loop around the heel and then back to ball of big toe.
Step 3
Take a long strip of 1" tape, and
run from ball of little toe across foot to heel,
loop around the heel and then back to ball of little toe.
Step 4-5
Take two more long strips of 1" inch sports tape;
loop one from ball of big toe to behind heel to ball of little toe;
loop the other from ball of little toe to behind heel to ball of big toe
(essentially making two "X"s, one atop the other)
Step 6
Take several short strips of 1.5" sports tape,
and run each laterally across the bottom of the foot,
starting at the heel and working forward to the ball of foot.
Each strip should overlap the previous one slightly.
What this step looks like when completed.

Step 7
Now you get to use the Rock Tape. 
Run a long strip of it (stretching it very slightly)
from the outside of your little toe
around the outside of your heel to
the outside of your big toe.
You want to cover the ends of the strips of sport tape
that cross your foot.

 Step 8

And...take your second strip of Rock Tape,
and run it laterally from the top of your foot
(above the metatarsals) laterally under the ball of your foot
and around to the other side, essentially circling your foot at the ball.
Slight tension here.  This locks the whole thing in.
(it should cover both ends of the previous strip of Rock Tape)

Another view of the completed job
Step 9
Final step - cut the knee length stocking so that it just covers your foot,
and then slip it on over your tape job. 
This makes it much easier to put on socks/shoes without disrupting your tape job.


[goes without saying, but I'll say anyway - I am not a Doctor, PT, or other rehab expert.   (nor do I own stock in Rock Tape).  Use this at your own risk.  And if you're at the point where you're taping your PF, you really need to see a professional anyway.  But hopefully this is still helpful.]

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Training log - week ending 3/3/13

This week was 52.5 miles of “real running” plus 10 “miles” pool running -- training log is here.  

First week of taper. Ahhh.... My legs haven't totally freshened up yet, but they're on their way.  Fortunately, last week's calf issues seem to have also subsided.  I ran a cautious set of intervals on Tuesday, and the calf felt totally fine during them.  Afterwards, it tightened up slightly, but then loosened again, and that was the last I felt of it.  Whew!

I had to travel to Westchester County in New York state this week for business.  Luckily, I take the train up, rather than fly, so it's a bit less draining.  I returned to DC on Friday evening, in time to run a 5K race on Saturday.  The race itself was encouraging - I felt like I had no higher gear to bring it home strong and really race it, but my time wasn't horrible, and I wasn't beaten up at all the next day.  I'm not setting PRs at shorter distances, but my legs feel like they can go forever.  I'll take that trade, two weeks out from my marathon.

Focus is now on resting.  After speaking with my coach, I'm keeping my upper body and core strengthwork for another week, but am cutting out the yoga and the leg strengthwork.  Cutting back on the pool-running considerably as well.  Legs need to rest.


Monday:   In the morning, 50 minutes of easy pool-running for “5 miles,” followed by injury prevention work and upperbody strength work.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  13 miles including a track workout of 6x800, splits were 3:01, 2:57, 2:56, 2:56, 2:55, 2:53,  followed by injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running for "2 miles."  Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   In the morning, 10.5 miles very easy (8:20 pace) followed by foam rolling.  Also dragged luggage around train stations

Thursday:   In the morning, 7 miles, including a mile pick-up in 6:14.  Also foam rolling.

Friday:  Nothing except foam rolling and dragging luggage around train stations.

Saturday:   In the morning, 3 mile warm-up, 5K race in 19:20, and 1.5 mile cooldown, followed by 15 minutes of shakeout pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:   14.5 miles, split as 10.5 easy and then 4 at 7:07 pace (trying to lock in 7:10 pace, but couldn't quite do it).  Followed with injury prevention work and 15 minutes shakeout pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Race report: Bright Beginnings 5K, March 2, 2013

I ran the Bright Beginnings 5K this morning, finishing in 19:20, which I'm satisfied with.

It was weird, because this was a race that in many ways didn't feel like a race.  Part of it was that I've got a goal race, and it's just about 2 weeks from today.  I had registered for this race about 2 months ago, but only because I knew I'd have to miss my team's tempo workout due to work travel this week, so I might as well do this instead.

Some time after I registered for this race, my coach decided that he wanted to strongly encourage my teammates to run it, even declaring it the "official CAR (my team) workout" for the day.   The result was that I was surrounded by a TON of teammates, with the feel being very much like a workout, rather than a race.  No guessing where to seed myself -- I had a pretty good idea.

Like I said, felt like a workout, not a race. 
(also note that I picked a picture with me ahead of a group. 
It's my blog, and I can do that if I like.)

So there it was, a workout.  But, with a slightly different goal.  For this race, I really didn't care about placement or time.  I'm training for a marathon (well, hopefully I'm trained at this point....)  and I'm pretty sure that my training is not optimal for running my fastest 5K (heck, if it was, then I'd just train this way when focusing on shorter distances...).  I just wanted to execute very well, while running at race effort.

And...long story short, I did.
My splits were:
Mile 1: 6:02
Mile 2: 6:14
Mile 3: 6:23
last bit: 41 seconds (6:12 pace)

On pixels, this looks like I went out too fast, especially on a perfectly flat and very fast course.  But the reality is that we had the advantage of a decent tailwind for the first half that turned into a annoying headwind for the second half.

The first mile was actually pretty restrained, as I intentionally focused on hitting my rhythm.  My coach surprised me slightly by seating himself at the first and second mile markers and calling splits (which also contributed to the odd feeling of this being a workout, rather than a race).  I heard the first split and it gave me mental pause for a second -- wow, 6:02 is bit faster than my norm for the first mile of a 5K.  But I did a quick assessment - everything felt good and under control.  If my body felt good, then I was just going to ignore the split and keep running as I was.  Heck, I might even PR today (something that was NOT on my radar at all).

But nope, halfway down we hit the turn around (which I navigated pretty awkwardly - need to get better at that) and I figured out just why that first mile was so fast....the wind was decently strong.  Oh well.  I had plenty left in the tank, and the wind was excellent prep for my marathon (Shamrock, which has a reputation for being windy).

On the back half, I just held my rhythm.  I tried to pick it up some in the third mile, but I felt locked in, for lack of a better term, and just couldn't find that next gear to really bring it home.  The result was a race/workout that felt very evenly paced, at least effort-wise.   And that's not a bad thing.    I executed well, got a good strong effort in that will make my marathon pace feel easier in comparison, and was done in plenty of time to run my errands.  Win.

But yeah, I'm really looking forward to life after my marathon, when I'll be able to target shorter races again - I feel like I've got unfinished business with the 5K-10K distance.

Other notes:

  • Parked at Thompson's Boathouse, which was about 1.25 miles from the start.  It worked well, though I think I could have parked even closer, on Rock Creek Parkway.  Just need to get there by 6:45.
  • They started this race 10 minutes late.  If you are going to start a race 10 minutes late, don't just have us sit there.  ANNOUNCE that you will delay the race 10 minutes - that way we can all put our warm clothes back on while we're waiting. 
  • Cooldown was about 1.5 miles jogged back to my car.  Taper is weird.
  • Course is ridiculously fast, even with the wind.
  • I debated whether to break down and wear my flats for this race.  5K is short enough that I feel they make a significant difference.  But, I'm two weeks out from my goal marathon, and I had some calf issues about a week ago.  I decided it just wasn't worth it.  I do think that running the race in my trainers may also have contributed to the race feeling like a workout.