Monday, October 27, 2014

Training log - Week ending 10/26/14

This week was 74 miles of running and 5000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Another week in the books, with one more to go before taper.

I mixed stuff up a bit this week.  Normally my hard run days are Tuesday (intervals), Friday (tempo), and Sunday (long run).   This weekend I had the final "4-3-2-1" workout on tap, which I had to do on Saturday due to the Marine Corps Marathon being on Sunday. This raised the question of where to fit in the tempo workout.  The only real option was to do it on Thursday, but I really prefer to have at least 2 days between track workouts, since they're fairly hard on my body (the constant turns annoy my hips and ankles).   After talking to my coach, we decided just to skip the tempo altogether this week - it just made sense since the tempo for this week was a fairly minimal cruise intervals - not that important a workout.   And I think I'm better off for having only two hard workouts this week - it's not about packing in as many workouts as possible, but about hitting the proper balance of stress and recovery.

The other thing I mixed up were my shoes.  My quest for the perfect shoe is quite the saga.  By way of background, I ran very happily in the Kinvara for several years, including my first marathon.  Until Saucony changed the shoe on me, so that it no longer fit my foot well.  (Why do companies change good shoes?)

The was the start of a long quest for the perfect shoe.  Or several perfect shoes (I don't ever want to get dependent on one shoe again - damn you Saucony).  After a long cycle of injury, and test driving many shoes, and many consultations with podiatrists, PTs, etc, we determined that many of my injuries were caused by ankle instability.  This ankle instability is accentuated by shoes that are soft and cushioned, allowing my foot to sink and wiggle with each strike. (I also supinate slightly, so despite my instability issues, "stability shoes" that correct pronation just give me peroneal tendonitis.)

So, I swapped to firm, light neutral shoes, and they've worked very well for me.  The Mizuno Hitogami was instrumental in getting me healthy again, and the Adidas Adios Boost has been a good shoe for me too. 
My current rotation, if you're interested.  From left to right -
Mizuno Hitogami, Mizuno Sayonara 2, Adidas Adios Boost,
Adidas Adios Boost 2, Adidas Boston Boost 5

The problem is that neither of those shoes seems to be quite enough cushioning for me for the marathon (I know others have raced marathons well in them, but we're all unique).  I don't feel I can race longer than 10 miles in the Hitogami; I had been planning on wearing the Adidas Adios Boost for my marathon, but my forefeet have been getting pretty sore during my long runs.  Plus, it feels like the Adios is just a bit stiff for me.

So...went back to Road Runner, and picked up a pair of the Adias Boston Boost 5.  On paper it seems like just what I wanted - very similar to the Adios, but slightly more cushioning in the forefoot, and also a lot more flexible.  I took them for two test runs this week - an easy run on Thursday, and my "4-3-2-1" workout on Saturday.  And....yay.  They're not perfect - my forefeet were still slightly sore at the end of Saturday's run.  But my ankles and heels were also slightly achy - indicating that I definitely don't want to go any heavier on the cushioning.  These seem to strike the best balance.  For me.

But the really good news was how ridiculously fast both runs were.  I usually do my runs by effort - on easy runs I don't check pace at all, just heart rate.  On my marathon pace runs, I do check pace, but I still stick to marathon pace effort, even if that means that my actual pace is slower or faster than goal MP.  For both Thursday and Saturday's runs, my perceived effort was completely out of whack with the times I ran.   In a good way - about 15 seconds faster per mile than perceived effort.  These shoes are just a really good mate for my stride, I guess - running slow or fast felt easy and fun in them. 

So, I'm going to run in these shoes 2-3 more times, including my last 20-22 miler this Sunday.  Then I'll marathon in them.  Hopefully they'll continue to work their magic.

I just wish they weren't hot pink.


Monday:   Yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 12 miles, including 6x800 in 3:05, 3:04, 3:00, 2:58, 2:57, 2:52.  Followed with injury prevention work and 2000 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  9 miles very easy (8:50), then yoga, followed by another 7 miles easy (8:38), plus drills+strides.   Foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   In the morning, 3.5  miles very easy (8:47), then yoga, then another 6 miles very easy (8:12) followed by drills+strides and some upper body weight training/injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the evening.
Friday:  10 miles easy (8:22) followed by drills and strides.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   16.5 miles averaging 7:33; did the 4-3-2-1 workout.  3 mile easy jog, then:
4 miles in 27:42 (6:56/6:55/6:55/6:56), followed by a mile at 8:34 pace (and a quick bathroom break)
3 miles in 20:29 (6:50/6:45/6:40), followed by a mile at 8:03 pace  (and a quick bathroom break - damn stomach)
2 miles in 13:44 (6:45/6:59 - think Garmin lost signal here during the second mile under the freeway), followed by a mile at 8:09 pace
1 mile in 6:34 (felt like 6:50 effort).  Followed by half mile slow jog cooldown.   Total time for the 10 hard miles - 68:29 - 6:51 average pace (was shooting for 7-ish).

Followed with some injury prevention work, 1000 yards easy swimming, yoga, and foam rolling.

Sunday:  Cheering at the Marine Corps Marathon (my teammates rocked it, BTW) - logged 10 miles total jogging to different locations along the course.  Later did 2000 yards of swimming and foam rolling. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Training log - week ending 10/19/14

This week was 80 miles of running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

And, we're at the heaviest part of the training.

I didn't feel too beaten up after Army 10 miler, but skipped the Tuesday workout anyway.  And then of course, on Tuesday night my massage guy identified approximately 726 different muscle knots that needed to be kneaded.  Very glad I went in.

The rest of the week was really about mileage and marathon pace.  I made the decision to slow down the pace of my track workouts, even if it means I end up "between groups."  I've been able to hang with my present group in workouts, but the fact is a) I feel like I've been redlining a lot of the workouts and b) I'm not running the same race times as others in my same group.  Part b) could be possibly excused by the fact that I never seem to race shorter distances well when I'm in marathon training, and that I also struggle with fall races due to stinkin allergies.  Or maybe not.  Either way, there's no real benefit to me in really crushing track workouts when I'm marathon training.

Additionally, I tend to be someone who really needs a slow first rep or first mile in a track workout before dropping the pace , while most people tend to run more even splits.  So, I go out with the even splitters, get some oxygen debt, and end up struggling to run a time that I hit much easier if I just start a bit slower.  So, I'm going to try starting off my workouts slower, and then upping the pace when it seems right - even if that means I have to solo.

And....the long runs really are key here.  I was pretty happy with today's long run.   For DC area runners - the route I took was from Fletcher's boathouse out to Rock Creek, and then take Rock Creek up to Wise Road before turning and heading back the same way.   Going this way meant that I did a lot of my marathon pace segment on parts of the Rock Creek trail that can be twisty/turny and also have some very annoying (though short) hills.  It's challenging to hold marathon pace here just because your rhythm is regularly disrupted.   But I did.

And then my last 3 miles were on a slight (but noticeable) uphill into a (*profanity*) headwind.  By the last mile, I was running on fumes and sucking a gel just for the sugar kick.  But, it seems that I can hit 7:00 pace running on fumes into a headwind, so that's cool.  If there's one skill I have, it's being stubborn.

In other happy news, I went in for a follow up with my doctor (the one who did all the PRP/prolotherapy).  He confirmed what I already knew - the chronically stretched ligaments in my ankle are now considerably shorter, making that ankle MUCH more stable.  (I knew this anyway, since my balance on that ankle is so much improved).  So, yay.


Monday:   1250 yards easy swimming plus yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 2.5 miles very easy (9:21) with drills+strides, then yoga, followed by another 8.5 miles easy.  Sports massage at night.

Wednesday:  9 miles very easy (8:58), then yoga, followed by another 5 miles easy (8:18 - mostly downhill route), plus drills+strides.   Foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   In the morning, 4.5 miles very easy (8:58), then yoga, then another 4 miles easy (8:25) followed by drills+strides and some upper body weight training/injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the evening.
Friday:  12.5 miles, including an 8K tempo in 33:16 - my splits ended up screwy due to me zoning out and hitting the watch at the wrong time, but I essentially ran the first 3 miles in ~ 6:46 for 1600, and the last 2 (after finally tying loose shoe when it came completely undone) in ~6:30.   Funny how much the pace picked up for the same effort after I fixed the damn shoe.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1750 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   12 miles easy (8:29) and then yin yoga.  Upper body weight training/injury prevention work plus foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  22 mile long run (well...21.86, but close enough, right?).  Ran it progressively as first 7 at 8:29, next 6 at 7:33, last 9 at 7:02. Overall pace was 7:37.   Followed with 1000 yards of shakeout swimming, yin yoga, and foam rolling.  And eating all the things.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Training log - Week ending 10/12/2014

This week was 45 miles of running and 2000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Another cutback week.  I had planned to cut back mileage some for Army 10 Miler, anyway.  Then I picked up a bit of a bug early in the week - nothing horrible, but enough for me to decide to avoid the gym and yoga on Wednesday - I really prefer to avoid others if I'm even possibly contagious.  To that point, yes, I feel bad about going to track on Tuesday - I just didn't figure out that I was coming down with something until after.  Luckily, I don't think I gave my bug to anyone.  Also lucky that it hit early enough in the week to be cleared out of my system for the weekend.


Monday:   Yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 7 miles, including a track workout of 6x800 (splits of 2:59, 2:54, 2:54, 2:54, 2:54, 2:58).  Felt dizzy during the workout, so shut it down.  Felt even worse post workout, so skipped the cooldown and injury prevention stuff.  Ended up calling it a half day at work also, and just crashing the balance of the day.
Wednesday:  Felt lousy in the morning, so slept in and then went for a jog to see how I felt.  I didn't feel any worse as I ran, and maybe even a bit better, so I ended up doing an easy 10.  Good decision/bad decision?  Who knows?   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday:   Felt better.  In the morning, 7 miles easy plus some injury prevention work. Foam rolling in the afternoon.
Friday:  Felt fine.  7 miles easy, including a one mile pick-up in 6:17.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   750 yards very easy swimming in the morning.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  3 miles warm-up, then 10 mile race in 1:07:10, followed by mile jog back to metro.  In the afternoon, did injury prevention work, 1250 yards of shakeout swimming and foam rolling.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Race Report: Army 10 Miler, October 12, 2014

I ran the Army 10 Miler today, finishing in an official time of 67:10.  Still a good bit off of my PR, but I'm decently happy with it - I'm making progress.

Army's always a bit of a logistical challenge.  The most common (and recommended) way to get there is by metro, but the metro stop at the start isn't large enough to accommodate a large group of runners (and Army is a VERY large race).  Plus, once you get there to the starting area, you still have to go through a security checkpoint to get to the corrals.  And then there's really no good place to warm-up pre-race.  And they make you get into the corrals very early.

I live in Ballston, which means that I'd normally take the orange line metro (which was running a train once every 20 minutes) to the Rosslyn station, and then swap there to the blue line (running once every 6 minutes) to go two stops to the race start.  But....I had a bit of inspiration.

Where I live is about 2.5 miles jog from the Rosslyn station.  So....why not just jog to Rosslyn, and use that as a shakeout and the bulk of my warm-up?  (and also save myself the aggravation of waiting for a train that was running 3 times an hour).  So that's what I did, and it worked perfectly (except for the bit of chafing on my shoulder from my bag).  I left my house at 6:15, and the combo of easy jog plus blue line got me to the Pentagon station at 6:55.  Of course, it took another 10 minutes to actually exit the metro station, but I had planned for that, and had time.  Between getting to the surface, doing bag check, hitting the portapotties, and jogging the half mile to my corral, I ended up at my corral around 7:35.  Did a few quick strides and drills, and then hopped in to wait, chatting with friends.

We stood around for a long time (long enough that I think everyone in the corral with me lost the benefit of any strides they had done), and then we were off.  This course is always crowded, and I needed a lot of time to warm-up, so I took the first mile pretty slow (7:11), and then started nudging the pace down.  Even with such a cautious start, I still felt like I was in a bit of oxygen debt from the get go, which was annoying.  But nothing to do but work with what I had.

My breathing was a bit tough the whole race, like I had cotton wadded in my upper chest.  This was was frustrating.  But it also makes me feel even better about this race - I was able to run a decent race despite the fact that it wasn't my best day (not the weather's fault, BTW - it was perfect racing weather).

This was never going to be a PR race for me - I'm just not in that shape right now.  The whole reason to do it was to get a good race effort run in and to practice racing skills, and I did just that.  By mile 5 I was hurting, by mile 7 I was swatting away buzzing fantasies about dropping out (we've all had those, right?) and by mile 9 I had no freakin' clue how I was going to make it to the finish. But I held it together, focusing on my form and relaxing and positive thoughts, and somehow my last two miles were my fastest.  And that's a confidence boost.  The next time I'm REALLY hurting, it will be good to have in my mental back pocket the knowledge that I can really hurt and hold it together.

Splits were:

Mile 1: 7:11
Mile 2: 6:45
Mile 3-4: 13:31 (6:46)
Mile 5: 6:38
Mile 6-7: 13:25 (6:43)
Mile 8: 6:38
Mile 9: 6:33
Mile 10: 6:31

Other notes:

  • They really need to offer space blankets at the finish if they're going to have bag check over a mile from the finish area.  October is late enough that the clothes that are comfortable for racing are not the ones comfortable for standing around in after.
  • My stomach was pretty sour, so I ended up not taking any gels during the race, just a bit of water during the first mile.  I usually take a gel during a 10 mile race - not sure if that would have made any difference here.
  • Used Dulera in the morning, and then when stuff still felt tight I used my albuterol about 10 minutes before the start.  No full out asthma attack, but my lungs were definitely not great today - far worse than they were during the Navy Half.  I'm guessing this is some combination of my weed allergies, standing around in the corrals for a bit of time before the start, and maybe the bug I had earlier in the week.  As I do every year, I'm crossing my fingers that this will end once we have first frost (I often struggle until then).  If not, back to the pulmonologist.
  • Every year, someone describes this course as "fast and flat" - they're right on the first part - this is a very fast course.  But it is NOT flat - there's several gentle inclines/declines.
  • My gait still feels just bit off, despite all the work I'm doing on it - still like one of my axles is bent, to use a car analogy.  More stuff to work on.
  • 6:15 was the absolutely perfect time to leave my house.  But....NO LATER.
  • This is the one year anniversary of getting the MRI that confirmed a tear of my left hamstring at the attachment.  It's so great to be here, and not there.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Training log - Week ending 10/5/14

This week was 70 miles of running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

This graphic pretty much captures where
my right hip was tender,
and the referred pain.
The first part of the week was recovery.  As I noted last week, I was feeling like I was on the cusp of overtraining.  9+ hours worth of sleep on Sunday did a lot to help that, but I then woke up with a tight right calf and hip on Monday, making skipping Tuesday's workout even more of a no brainer.  So, kept the mileage low and easy on Tuesday, and got into my PT for some dry needling of my glute medius, glute minimus, and calf trigger points (I tried to release them first myself with a tennis ball, but sometimes you just need the big guns).

The dry needling did the trick - I felt better on Wednesday, and the calf was totally fine by Thursday.

And thing is, the rest early this week was probably more constructive to my training than another
This is NOT a good model
for a marathon training plan. 
Both literally and figuratively.
heavy week.  Proper training is NOT like constructing an ice cream sundae - trying to pile on as much as you can while hoping the thing doesn't topple over before your taper.  Rather, it's like baking a cake - adding too much of an ingredient can screw the whole thing up and the whole mixture needs time to set.

Next week is Army 10 Miler; after chatting with my coach, I've decided to do the same cutback I did for the Navy Air Force Half - it strikes a good balance between letting me rest up enough to be fresh but not falling too far off of marathon training.


Monday:   Yoga in the morning, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 6.5 miles (8:33 pace), and a yoga class, followed by dry needling.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 7.5 miles very easy (9:12) followed by yoga.  Later an easy 7 (8:31 pace) and 1000 yards easy swimming.  Sports massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 4 miles very easy (9:20) to yoga.  After yoga, did another 4.5 miles (8:33), followed by a few drills+strides, some upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  12.5 miles, including a workout of 3200, 1600 (12:41, split as 6:28/6:13, and then 6:09), followed by lower body strengthwork and injury prevention work, and then 1500 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   11.5 miles easy (8:18), followed by some drills+strides, yin yoga, and injury prevention/upper body strengthwork.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:  16.5 miles averaging 7:36; did the 4-3-2-1 workout.  3 mile easy jog, then:
4 miles in 27:52 (7:05/6:57/6:55/6:55), followed by a mile at 8:28 pace
3 miles in 20:45 (6:57/6:56/6:52), followed by a mile at 8:25 pace
2 miles in 13:51 (6:56/6:55), followed by a mile at 8:18 pace
1 mile in 6:42.  Followed by half mile slow jog cooldown.   Total time for the 10 hard miles - 1:09:10 - 6:55 average pace (was shooting for 7).

Followed with some injury prevention work, 1500 yards easy swimming, and some yin yoga.  Foam rolling at night.