Monday, July 28, 2014

Training log - Week ending 7/27/2014

This week was 66 miles of running and 6000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

A bit of a departure from the norm this week - the normal Tuesday workout was cancelled because most of my teammates were racing a track mile on Wednesday.  I'm not racing miles this summer because I feel they're too risky for me - I'm still close enough to my long period of injury to need to be careful.  (and when I mentioned the possibility of racing a mile to my PT, he gave me a raised eyebrow that confirmed I was right in skipping it....)

So...that left me with a gap - what to do?  

The answer ended up being fun and (I hope) productive.  I've felt myself straining and tensing up a bit in workouts recently, so I took advantage of a relatively clear track and did a random selection of 400s, 600s, and 800s.  With all of these, I focused primarily on staying relaxed while running fast, rather than pushing the workout hard or hitting a specific split.  Also focused on my form, how I was breathing, was I clenching my hands or hunching my shoulders, etc.   Think extended stride, rather than workout.

During my recovery between intervals (which was often a bit longer than I'd take during a "normal" workout), I would do some drills to nail in form.

It was definitely different, and I think very helpful.  I ended up running about 4.5 miles worth of fast stuff, which is a lot.  On the other hand, the "fast" was a second or two per lap slower than I'd normally run, and I also took extra recovery, so it ended up not taking any more out of me than a traditional workout. 

This type of workout probably didn't do much for my fitness, but it allowed me to work on some other stuff.  I'm really happy I did it.

Other than that, more of the same.  We had cool weather on Friday, so I opted for a 5 mile tempo.  (fun fact derived from browsing back in my training log - the last time I had run a 5 mile tempo was November 2, 2012....).  I didn't feel great during the tempo, and it had some tough patches mentally, but my coach pointed out afterwards that I was right where I should be pace wise.  So yay.  And I was happy to get it under my belt.  For one thing, I know that nothing gets me in shape like longer tempos - short fast anaerobic stuff fries me, while stuff at the middle to top end of my aerobic range does awesome things.  For that reason, I love long tempos.

But I also despise and dread them, because continuous track tempos are always the toughest workouts for me, mentally.    Intervals I only have to concentrate for 6 minutes or less, and then I can recharge; long runs are just fun, with changes of scenery and terrain, and gels to consume.  On the track, the continual running in circles for 25-35 minutes starts to drive me a bit (more) insane and I have to visualize cruising on the towpath or MV trail to get through them.  It's not the pain (tempos should never hurt) but the tedium that drives me bonkers.  I was happy that the old mental tricks still worked against the long track tempo bugaboo.
Dailies

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

Tuesday:  In the morning, 11 miles, including a workout that included about 4.5 miles of mixed 400s, 600s, and 800s, run "fast but relaxed."  800s run in 3:04-3:06, 600s run in 2:14-2:18, and 400s run in 91-92 (except the last, which I ran "hard" in 83 to see how my relaxed form translated).  Followed with 800 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 5 miles very easy (8:51 pace), followed by a yoga class.  Later another 7.5 miles aerobic (8:32) and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, yoga followed by 6.5 miles easy (8:21).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  11 miles, including an 8K tempo on the track in 33:39 (6:43/6:45/6:44/6:45/6:42).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   12 miles very easy (8:46); later did some upper body and injury prevention work, and 1000 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:   14-ish miles (we did 3 loops of Burke Lake, which is supposedly 4.7 miles per loop).  Kept this easy for the most part, though I ended up picking it up slightly to an aerobic effort (I'm guesstimating around 7:30 pace - Garmin was useless) for the last 2-3 miles.

Followed with yoga and then 1200 yards swimming (felt really good - the 200 tacked on the end was to bring me to an even number of yards for the week - 'cuz that's how I neurotically roll).  Sports massage in the afternoon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Training log - Week ending 7/20/14

This week was 65 miles of running and 6000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

Tough, but better than last week.   I'm now very certain that the Nifedipine was the cause of my lead legs last week and the week before.  It's been hot and humid this week as well, but I still feel so much better.  Like close to my old self.  My asthma has still been acting up some, which is frustrating - there's been some allergen in the air that has been giving me a splitting headache when I go outside and red rimmed stinging eyes - I think that's the cause.

Friday's tempo, despite the cool temps was a bit of a struggle - my breathing got tough and I needed the help of my teammates to get through it (some day I'll pay it back, guys).  I ended up running myself into the ground on Friday in order to finish the workout.  I'm not normally a fan of doing that, but I also know that there's a mental component to my asthma - when I feel my chest tightening up, I panic and start to stiffen and think about dropping out, which just perpetuates the whole cycle and worsens the issue.  For that reason, as long as I wasn't going to collapse, I needed to finish the workout, just focusing on relaxing, restoring my breathing, and continuing to run.

Which I did.  With the help of friends.

Over the weekend, I changed up my allergy and asthma meds - apparently Zyrtex+Zantac, of all things, is working better for whatever is out there right now than the Allegra I usually take.  And we switched my long lasting asthma inhaler to Foradil, which worked fantastically on Sunday (once I figured out how to use it - it's not a simple inhaler like the other drugs, and the instructions for taking it are a bit complicated.).  It was nice to have a good run on Sunday along the towpath to finish out the week.


Dailies

Monday:   Rest day.  I was horribly drained from yesterday's long run, so I just focused on recovery.   Just some foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 12 miles, including a workout of 6 hill repeats - nonstop circuit of up a hill for about 2 minutes, a 90 second easy jog, a stride, and then some more easy jogging to the bottom (whole circuit takes ~5 minutes).  Followed with some injury prevention/leg strengthening work and 1000 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 6 miles very easy (8:54 pace), followed by a yoga class.  Later another 5.5 miles very easy (8:32) and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 6.5 miles easy (8:42), followed by yoga and then a bit of upper body and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10 miles, including a cruise interval workout of 1600, 3200, 1600 (6:26, 12:39 (6:22/6:17), and then 6:19).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   11 miles aerobic (8:13); later did some upper body and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:   14 miles as a gentle progression from very easy to aerobic (split as 8:33 for first 3.5, next 7 at 7:59, last 3.5 at 7:24).   Followed with 2000 yards swimming.  Yin yoga class (just stretching) and some injury prevention work and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Training log - Week ending 7/13/2014

This week was 62 miles of running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

This was a bit of a tough week.  I'd been feeling run down and fatigued for the past few days, but I stuggled on Tuesday's hill workout.  My legs felt very heavy, and I was wheezing.  Eventually, I got  kicked out* of the workout by my teammates- a first.

(and by kicked out, I mean that when, after struggling up a hill, I gasped something about perhaps taking a few seconds to catch my breath, my teammates emphatically supported me and convinced me to drop.  I have awesome teammates.)

There's many possible explanations for this, including the simplest (but oh so hard for us over-analytical types to accept) -  it might just have been a bad workout.  They happen. 

But the same time there was a potential suspect.  About 10 days ago I had doubled my dose of the drug I take for my Raynauds, Nifedipine.  It's a calcium channel blocker that's very well tolerated by athletes, including a lot of runners, and so I hadn't been anticipating any issues with the increased dose (I've been doing really well on the lower dose - we just increased because I was still having a few Raynauds attacks).

However, there did seem to be a correlation between my increased dose and my dead legs and strained breathing - it was really within the past week or so that I had just been dragging a bit more each day - which matched the time I'd been on the increased dose.  So, I contacted my doctor, and we dropped the dose back down to see what that did.  In the days since, I've been feeling a bit better each day.   Placebo effect?  Who knows.  In the end, doesn't matter that much - I just care about the end result.

I also got my ferritin checked again this week - I check it pretty regularly, both when I'm running well and when I'm not.  And yup, it was down again.  So, back on the iron supplements.  When I was googling Nifedipine, I noted that it's now being researched as a possible treatment for iron overload in humans - it has been shown to cause iron loss in small animals.  So maybe a connection between the increased dose and the drop in my iron.  Or not. Who knows.

But good news is that I've been feeling better.  I did crash and burn during Sunday's long run, but  that had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that it was pretty hot out there.  And both the bad workouts and the good ones are pebbles in the bucket of one's fitness.

And even on the humidest or lead-leg-iest of days, it's damn good to be out there.


Dailies

Monday:   In the morning, 1500 yards of easy swimming and a yoga class, also did some quick injury prevention work and upper body strengthwork.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 9.5 miles, including a workout of 5 hill repeats - nonstop circuit of up a hill for about 2 minutes, a 90 second easy jog, a stride, and then some more easy jogging to the bottom (whole circuit takes ~5 minutes).  Followed with some injury prevention/leg strengthening work.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 5.5 miles very easy (8:44 pace), followed by  a yoga class.  Later another 6.5 miles very easy (8:30).  Massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 6.5 miles easy (8:39), followed by yoga and then a bit of upper body and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10.5 miles, including a cruise interval workout of 1600, 3200, 1600 (6:27, 12:52 (6:27/6:25), and then 6:12).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   10 miles aerobic (8:14); later did some upper body and injury prevention work, plus swam 1000 very easy yards to cool off.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:   14 miles.  Can't really call it progression - though I started in the 9:00s and ended at about 7:30 pace, I had to take several breaks to catch my breath.  File this one under got it done.  Followed with a yoga class.  Foam rolling in the evening

Monday, July 7, 2014

Training log - Week ending 7/6/2014

This week was 44 miles of running and 7000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

Cutback week, with a race sandwiched in there.   Race was annoying - I was sluggish, and my legs just had no spark.  But, at least I was out there.  And as I keep reminding myself, I don't want to be superfit right now.  I'll settle for healthy, consistent, conservative, and set up to get fit in the fall.  

And hey, at least I was out there.  Better than swimming with a pull buoy.  Hips were definitely a bit achy during the race (had a long downhill stretch after), but recovered well after.

No training report for this week would be complete without a fireworks video.  Enjoy.

video
(always strange to be sitting in crowds on the same hill we use for hill repeats)
Dailies

Monday:   In the morning, 1500 yards of easy swimming and a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 10 miles, including a workout of 6 hill repeats - nonstop circuit of up a hill for about 2 minutes, a 90 second easy jog, a stride, and then some more easy jogging to the bottom (whole circuit takes ~5 minutes).  Followed with some injury prevention/leg strengthening work and 1250 yards of easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 8 miles very easy (8:53 pace), and then some injury prevention work.  Massage at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, some injury prevention work and 1750 yards of easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  3 miles warm-up, then 5K race in 20:24.  Swam 1500 yards easy in the afternoon, plus some foam rolling in the afternoon.  Fireworks at night. 

Saturday:   6 miles easy midday (8:34), plus some upper body/injury prevention work.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday:   14 miles moderate (8:05), followed with a yoga class.  Later did some injury prevention work and a very easy 1000 yards in the pool.  Foam rolling in the evening

Friday, July 4, 2014

Race report: Firecracker 5k, July 4, 2014

I ran the Firecracker 5K in Reston, Virgina, finishing in a time of 20:24.

I'm actually happy with a lot of things about this race, despite the time.  I ran this race simply because I needed to get out there.  My racing history since July of last year has been:

1) a 5K (actually long) in March of this year.
2) the first two miles of Cherry Blossom in April, before dropping out.

So yeah, it's been a while.  And it felt like it.  I'm rusty enough that I didn't remember at first that a race start at 8 meant that I needed to have my warm-up done at least a few minutes before 8, to give me time to line up.  But I remembered in time, and was fully warmed up when I started.

I ran this race about 2 years ago, and I remembered the course from then.  A bit uphill at the start, then a long gentle downhill. But the last half mile or so was a definite uphill that could really kill if you were already in oxygen debt.  Remembering this, I decided to go out conservatively, and then up the effort at halfway.  Especially since it was a bit humid, which I know can come back to bite one at the end of a race if you've gone out too fast.

It was a good plan.  And I followed it for the first mile.  I was uncomfortable, but in a controlled way, if that makes sense. However, when I decided to pick up the pace for the second half, I just didn't have anything there - my legs felt like lead.  I gave it what I could, and finished very mentally strong - I just wish I'd had more energy/power to match.

Oh well.  My primary purpose was to use this as a rust buster, and that succeeded.  This was probably one of the more painful 5Ks that I've done - by mile two I was hurting like hell, and painful races get even harder when you know you're running far slower than you had hoped (this is my slowest 5K in 3 years or so, and a full minute slower than I ran this race in 2012).  But, kept going anyway, gave it what I had on the final stretch, and sandblasted the crud off of my racing heart.  And I feel good about that.  Really good about that.  This race needed to happen.

Best part was, even as I was hating life in the last mile, and knew I was having a lousy race, there was still a little voice inside of me saying "wow - it's great to be here :)"  Long periods of injury give perspective.

Splits were (mile markers way off): 7:14 for first 1.12 miles, 5:49 for next .92 miles, and 7:21 for last 1.15 miles.  And yes, I know that adds to 3.19 miles, but there's no possible way this course was long - Garmin just was giving some error today, due to the tall buildings.

Other notes:

-We had a few remnants of Hurricane Arthur sprinkling on us during the warm-up, but no rain for race time.  It was a bit humid, but not horrible for a July race in the DC area.
-One puff of Dulera (asthma inhaler) in the morning.
-HR monitor shows that my HR peaked at 199 on the homestretch of this race.  That's my max HR, and a number I haven't seen in a long time.  As I wrote above, this one hurt pretty bad, time notwithstanding.  I was trying pretty hard; legs just didn't have any oomph.
-Got to this race at 6:45, which proved to be the perfect time to find a good parking space.
-I am now extremely motivated to train (not that I wasn't before).  Just got to avoid the temptation to address my anger by making classic training errors (i.e. running workouts too fast, easy days too hard).  I'll get there, and I'll get there quicker if I'm patient now.