Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ironic posting hiatus

Yup -- blog's been a bit quiet the last few days.

By way of explanation, a major water pipe burst in my condo last week, severing my internet connection and soaking all of my computers plus my cell phone (and various other possessions).   I am amused to report that the one bit of technology that evaded the water was my waterproof Garmin.

My running shoes were completely soaked; while my bathing suits stayed dry where they hung.

Anyhow, the inundation of my condo with water means that I've had many other obligations to attend to -- getting things dried out, regaining internet access, dealing with two insurance companies plus my building's other owners plus the DC government get the picture.  I find it an amusing twist of fate, that I am currently unable to spare much time to update my pool-running blog, due to my living room being turned into a wading pool of sorts.

Hopefully, I'll be back to my personal variant of normal next week.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Training log - Week ending 4/24/11

This week was 44 miles of “real running” and 41 “miles” pool running, plus 4400m of swimming -- training log is here.

Quite a week. The stomach aftereffects of last Friday's 5K lingered through late Monday, giving me enough concern that I called my gastro doctor. By the time we actually spoke on Wednesday, they had subsided, but he gave me some more dietary changes to implement (reducing or eliminating oatmeal and dried fruit -- *sigh*) and we agreed that the next time I experience the similar symptoms post-race his office will fit me in for a "scan" (what type, I'm not sure...uh-oh...). Also have an appointment for next Friday.

Tuesday morning, I was feeling decent enough that I thought it was worth trying a track workout. Of course, then when I warmed up, I felt my right hip-flexor (psoas) pulling and twinging during my strides. Looking back -- I think the stomach issues aggravate the psoas issue. Basically, when my stomach cramped, I ended up losing all my core stability while trying to finish a 5K as best I could. Pelvic instability -> more strain on psoas -> twinging and soreness. And doing my long run on Sunday with my stomach still in discomfort didn't help.

Upon hearing about the psoas, Coach nixed the workout. He suggested that I do the workout in the pool instead, however, I had dealt with a similar issue before when I was exclusively pool-running and my experience had been that hard intervals in the pool were very rough on it (pool-running puts a ton of strain on hip-flexors, due to the fact that you're lifting your knee against water resistance). So I did easy outside runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, avoiding pool-running and also any hills.

I've been introducing swimming breathing drills into my routine as well (I do freestyle, trying to breath every 3 strokes, then every 5, then every 7, etc), so I took this as an opportunity to work on those as well -- using a pull-buoy so that the psoas didn't get used. The breathing drills seem to be helping -- after several weeks of feeling like I've been training at altitude, I'm starting to feel a bit better, breathing wise.  Friday's tempo was one of the first runs in quite some time where I felt like myself.

So, I was getting things together, and then the main pipe to my building burst inside my unit on Thursday morning about 4 am, with the effect being very much like someone opened up a fire hydrant in my living room. So that pretty much borked my Thursday workout plans (as well as depriving me of internet access for a few days). I'd like to say Thurday was an "easy day," but it sure didn't feel like one. Good news is that I managed to reacquire a working internet connection and a computer over the weekend, so I once again feel part of the world :)

Yup. Quite the week. Broad Street 10 Miler next Sunday -- hopefully it won't be as hot and humid as it was today.


Monday: In the morning, "12 miles" – 2 hours easy pool-running, and then 1000m of easy swimming. Foam-rolling+stretching+injury prevention exercises in the evening.

Tuesday: In the morning, a skipped track workout. Did 3 miles as a warm-up, plus drills and strides, and noted that my right psoas was pulling during the strides (it had also twinged during the uphill portions of two previous runs). Got pulled from workout, and drove back home (sulking) and ran around the mall for 9 very easy miles (8:30 pace) before hitting the gym for some of my injury prevention exercise plus upper body strength-training. That evening, I managed to get a massage in and got the psoas released.

Wednesday: In the morning, 8.5 easy miles outside on a flat route (8:40 pace), followed by a yoga class and foam-rolling. 1600m of easy swimming (all breathing drills with pull buoy) at night.

Thursday: In the morning, functional strength-training (ripping drywall apart, emptying wetdry vacuum repeatedly, moving furniture). Light strength-training plus "6 miles" (1 hour) easy pool-running at night.

Friday: In the morning, 9 miles on the track, including a 5k tempo workout. I started it intending to run 5 miles, but then my coach told me about 800m in to do no more than 4 miles due to the hip flexor. A bit after the 2 mile mark I started to feel my stomach cramp up, and felt the psoas start to tighten, so I shut it down at the 5K mark (I normally fight through stomach issues, but I was concerned about loss of form putting too much stress on the psoas). Splits were 6:48, 6:41, 6:36 and 0:47 for the last 200m, so 20:52 for 5K (6:42 pace). Hopped into the pool for 40 minutes of easy pool-running ("4 miles") and then 800m of swimming (breathing drills with pull buoy). In the afternoon, another massage to get the last bits of the psoas released and then a pilates session.

Saturday: In the morning, "13 miles" of easy pool-running (2:10 hours). Strength-training + foam-rolling/stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday: In the morning, 14 miles on a muddy canal towpath as a progression run - started at 9:10 pace and ended at 7:15, with the last 9 miles averaging 7:33 pace. Conditions weren't horrible, but they were hotter and more humid than I'm used to (temps around 65, dewpoint supposedly of 60, but I think it's more humid by the canal), plus a pretty high pollen count. At the 13 mile mark, I could feel myself struggling, so I backed off for the last mile in. I'm still decently happy with the run -- it was a good workout that hit exactly what I needed (over an hour of running at a hard aerobic pace). Followed up with a hour of very easy pool-running for recovery ("6 miles") and then 1000m of swimming breathing drills with a pull buoy. I'm going to hit the gym tonight for my injury prevention work plus foam-rolling and stretching.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It is what it is

Running is a game of numbers.  We monitor times and paces, often doing calculations while literally on the run (I can run 400m in 1:41 and know near instantly that I'm at 6:44 pace). Many of us also track heart rates, temperatures, wind speeds, humidity, elevation changes, and many other factors, logging them fanatically, and returning to review them regularly, anxiously, so as to answer the unanswerable - exactly how fast am I?

When injured, we attempt to convert our cross-training to running.  How many miles on the bike equal a mile of running?  How many miles of running equal a mile of swimming?   I have a complex formula (on the right) that I use to convert my pool-running into "real running."  However, I ultimately know the truth.  Pool-running ain't land-running, but its own form of exertion.

Put another way, Pete Pfitzinger was once asked what type of run a 2 hour bike ride was worth.  His response?

"It is what it is -- a two hour bike ride."

Yet still we do conversions -- 10 minutes of pool-running equals a mile of land-running.  It's a fiction that gives a metric, and runners are all about metrics and logs and fictions that enable us to get through hard days.

We do similar for races and workouts, trying to deduce equivalencies wherever possible with calculations of the effect on times and paces of different factors, including:
  1. age and gender grading;
  2. body weight;
  3. heat, elevation changes, and wind-speed; and
  4. a plethora of tables, ostensibly for training, that allow one to assess a racing performance at one distance between another.

But at the end of it all, as much as we'd like to think differently, the time we run stands on its own.  If you run a 40:30 10K on a steep uphill course in a headwind, you've run a very very good race.  But you haven't broken 40 for the 10K until you've broken 40 for the 10K.   And you haven't qualified for Boston until you've run the appropriate time over the appropriate length course, no matter what your 10K time is.  It seems obvious, but we so quickly gloss over this truth, lost in the glow of our math.


The men's World Record for the marathon distance stands at 2:03:59; yet this past Monday two men ran 2:03:02 and 2:03:06 at the Boston Marathon, a difficult but net downhill course that happened to have a significant tailwind that day.  The 2:03:02 is NOT a world record -- the Boston course is ineligible since it is a) net downhill and b) point to point (meaning that you can take advantage of a significant tailwind on the right day without battling the corresponding headwind).

In the days since then, there's been a ton of debate on what those times would be worth on a flat course, or without the substantial wind.  There's been discussion on how much assistance the wind gave the elites that ran without crowds to block the wind from them, versus the masses.

I believe that the math is meaningless.  It is what it is -- a 2 hour (and 3 minutes and 2 seconds) run over a course of slightly longer than 26 miles.   It stands alone as a magical, surreal accomplishment.  To try to convert it to another time/place/wind erodes the wonder - the attempt reduces the achievement to a matter of numbers, rather than something so much more.

And in the end, running is about more than the numbers, as much as we sometimes let those numbers define us.  At least it should be.

However, this Saturday, I'll be pool-running for 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 2 seconds.  Not because that's equal to any sort of run outside.  Just because.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Training log - Week ending 4/17/11

This week was 43 miles of “real running” and 54 “miles” pool running -- training log is here.

The week started off well, with an abbreviated but good workout in prep for a 5K on Friday night. Then had major stomach issues during the 5K, and have felt sick ever since. My stomach rebelled on me HARD during the 5K (I'm blaming it on not knowing how to eat for an evening race), and I forced myself to push through it and finish the race. Ever since the race, I've felt weak and sick to my stomach, with even the most mild foods giving me a great deal of discomfort. I've got a significant history of digestive ills, and I'm wondering if I did something to damage my insides by forcing myself to finish the race despite the cramps. The other alternatives are mild food poisoning (which this frankly feels a lot like) or some sort of stomach bug, but it seems odd that they would coincide with the race.

I ended up toning my long run on Sunday way down, and also cut my pool-run short to just long enough to work out the soreness. Fortunately, I'm taking most of Monday off of work anyway to watch the Boston Marathon, so I'm going to spend the next 24 hours focusing on fluids and rest.


Monday: In the morning, "12 miles" – 2 hours easy pool-running, and then 400m (4 sets of 100m) of easy swimming. Foam-rolling+stretching in the evening.

Tuesday: In the morning, 10 miles on the track, including a workout of 1600m, 2x800m, 400m in 6:16, 3:04, 3:02, and 82. Took half-distance recovery between first three intervals, and only 60 seconds recovery between the second 800m and the 400m (which became painfully obvious around 20 seconds into that 400m).

Longer story: Woke up, and had just about every reason/excuse not to go: the pollen count was astronomically high (meaning that I felt like I had been run over by a truck), it was unseasonably warm and humid (70 degrees at 5:00 am), thunderstorms were supposed to roll through around 6:30-7:00 am (in the middle of the workout). And I had done a pretty hard long run on Sunday, and was racing on Friday.

Decided...what the heck, I'll show up anyway, mention it to coach, and try to at least do a mile at 6:30 and see how I feel (the scheduled workout was 1-2 sets of 1600m, 2x800m, with half-distance recoveries -- those tapering for Boston were instead doing 1 set of 1600m, 800m, 2x400m).

Ended up doing the full first set, at 6:16 (negative split the first mile a lot), 3:04, 3:02, followed by 60 seconds rest, and then 400m in 82 seconds. After the first set, I felt pretty good, but due to the upcoming 5K on Friday, we agreed to skip the second set. A friend who's running Boston had another 400m repeat left, and coach agreed to let me hop in the last one with her. Of course, I didn't realize that she had already jogged her recovery and was was starting it RIGHT THEN (hence the lack of rest) It was good though, as we ended up running it pretty hard (I was REALLY hating life about 100m into it and had to remind myself THIS WAS YOUR STUPID IDEA SO FINISH THE DAMN 400M). And a hard 400m off of very little rest after the longer repeats has to be good for sharpening and speed.

Moral of the story -- unless you think you're sick or injured (I knew I wasn't sick, since resting HR was normal), it's worth giving it a shot. You never know how you'll feel once you get going (and I didn't feel good until halfway through the first 1600m)

Afterwards, I hit the pool for "5 miles" of pool-running (50 minutes). In the evening, a weights session with a personal trainer, followed by "4 miles" of easy pool-running (40 minutes).

Wednesday: In the morning, 11 easy miles outside on a hilly route (8:40 pace), followed by "6 miles” of easy pool-running (1 hour) and 600m of easy swimming (the vast majority was with a pull buoy). Foam-rolling/stretching at night, plus a yoga class.

Thursday: In the morning, "8 miles" – 1:20 hours easy pool-running, followed by strength-training. Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, a 2.5 mile easy shakeout (8:32 pace) plus foam-rolling and stretching. 2 mile warm-up plus a 5K race in 20:31 in the evening (major stomach issues - race report)

Saturday: In the morning, "13 miles" of easy pool-running (2:10 hours). Strength-training + foam-rolling/stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday: Long run of 14.5 miles (only meant to do 14, but Garmin lost signal). I was feeling very off, with lots of stomach pain, so ran this one off of perceived effort, and also didn't push too hard. Did about 8 miles at easy pace (8:31) up and down Capital Crescent, then did 6.5 miles on the flat section plus under the Whitehurst at 7:36 pace. Followed with "6 miles" of pool-running (1 hour) and then 800m of easy freestyle swimming. Debating a yoga class tonight. I may just rest.  Skipped yoga in favor of some injury prevention exercises, stretching, and foam-rolling.   Stones and pebbles, stones and pebbles.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Training by stones and pebbles

The start to my racing career is pretty simple.  I ran the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in 2007.  Had to walk.  Then I decided to run a 5K a month later because I could probably finish that without walking.  Ran the Cure Autism Now 5K.  Walked twice.

Then I decided to buy a ton of books and do some researching, all with the goal of learning how to train (so I could run a race without walking).   And a few things jumped out to me.  For one thing, people who train for marathons frequently experience great performances at shorter distances, post marathon.  Another was that higher mileage generally correlated with better performances.

From my previous history riding horses competitively, I understood that athletic success required consistent training day in and day out, over months and years.  This understanding, when combined with what I read in Lydiard, Pfitzinger, Jack Daniels, and others, indicated that running once or twice a day each day, for high mileage (most at a very easy pace), was the way to advance.  No individual workout needed to be that spectacular; what mattered was the consistency over time.

And it worked quite well for a while (consistent PRs).  Until it didn't (consistent injury).


Thing is, so many of us (especially those of us who maintain detailed training logs) end up seeing our training as an empty glass that needs to be filled each week.  And so you check off your miles, and your yoga classes, and your supplemental weight-training, so that each week you can report back that the glass has been filled with the sand of your training.

The training log becomes a bucket list.  And bucket lists are silly things that make people run just one race (usually a marathon) and then shift their focus to learning how to skydive (so they can do that once too). 

(A visit to the Great Wall of China fits in there somewhere too).

And eventually, if you're not careful, the training log shifts from documenting your training to driving it.


Since my injury, I've come to understand that while there is still a bit of a "bucket list" aspect to training, not all categories are equal.  You need to train, and you need to work hard, and you need to do it consistently.  But you also need to do it intelligently, with the focus being on the overall goal, not the weekly report.  A drive to fill the glass no matter what leads to poor performance.

While my training log is still a glass, I'm no longer filling it with sand, but rather with larger stones and smaller pebbles.  In a non-racing week, the largest stones are my key workouts.  Tempo, interval, long run.  Those are my A priorities -- the workouts that MUST fit in my glass.

My other land-run, my pool-runs, weight training, and yoga -- these are all smaller stones, of various shapes and sizes.   I fit in as many as I can, where and if I can, but only if they don't prevent me from nailing the workouts.  If I'm feeling a bit tired, or a bit of a muscle strain, I skip in favor of recovery, to make sure that I  get to do the workouts, and maximize my shot of doing them well.  Sometimes it really is better to skip yoga to go to bed early.

It's a similar reasoning process for my overall season.  Races are the larger rocks, and so I do the best workouts that I can (best doesn't necessarily mean hardest) that do not interfere with my races.   And on an even larger scale, I view my overall racing future as the largest rock of all, avoiding races and training cycles that might interfere.

This is a surprisingly hard mindset to achieve. I understand (as my coach has emphasized to me) that mileage does not necessarily equal fitness, and that running fitness is the ultimate goal.  Still, it takes a lot of self-confidence and poise NOT to rely on the totals in one's training log as a reflection of one's work ethic; to focus on the ultimate end, rather than the weekly report. 

Pool-running has assisted with the transition to this mindset.  I assign "miles" to my pool-runs, though I know there's no such thing.  The "miles" are by duration, with no difference between "easy" and "recovery."  This fiction makes it possible to recover AND have a pretty training log, by keeping the effort very easy when that's what needed, or by making me more willing to sub in pool-running for land when I feel an injury coming on.

Thus, the pool-running becomes a bit of a crutch -- hopefully one that I'll eventually be able to do without.  I'm not quite there yet.   But working towards it. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sequel: 7 More WTF/Duh!/Huh? Moments/Observations About Pool Running.

A follow-up to my previous post.
  1. The overweight butterfly swimmer is the natural enemy of the dedicated pool-runner.
  2. It's pretty easy to distinguish between pool-runners and aqua-aerobics aficionados.   The latter wear a blissful, at peace expression, and are regularly heard to comment: "this is such great exercise!"  The former possess a haunted, driven look, and are perpetually muttering "this isn't enough - I'm losing so much fitness!"
  3. One benefit of pool-running for those who are high mileage -- bathing suits are cheaper than running shoes, and last longer.
  4. To the mother I encountered at the pool a few months back: if you insist on bringing your 4-5 year old son into the ladies locker room (despite the nice collection of large family changing rooms), do not get pissed off at me when I casually strip my bathing suit off in front of his widening eyes.
  5. No matter how cold the water is, I assure you it will feel fine within 90 seconds of getting in.  So, grit your teeth and do it -- you're going to be at the pool long enough anyway without wasting another 5 minutes.
  6. I've decided that the debate about belt versus belt-less pool-running is the equivalent of the barefoot running debate on land.   In the modified words of Malmo -- "just pool-run, baby."
  7. Sure conversational ice-breaker in the pool when you see a fellow pool-runner -- "So, what are you in here for?"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Training log - Week ending 4/10/11

This week was 38 miles of “real running” and 70 “miles” pool running -- training log is here.

This was a recovery week after Cherry Blossom, hence no workout on Tuesday (but I did let myself roll a bit on Wednesday because I felt good). Allergies have still been hurting my aerobic capacity, but the answer is really just to work through it and keep running my workouts according to how I feel that day (as opposed to how I think I should feel) -- I know that the fitter I get, the more I'm able to cope with allergy-induced limitations.  Hopefully in a few weeks this will pass and I'll be back to normal.  I'm sick of feeling like I've been run over by a truck nearly every day.

I tried swimming a bit on Tuesday, and it exposed just how limited my lungs are right now. Which is good -- that means plenty of room for improvement.


Monday: In the morning, "12 miles" – 2 hours easy pool-running. Sports massage at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 4 very easy miles on the track (9:14 pace), combined with drills. Afterwards, I hit the pool for "8 miles" of pool-running (1:20 hours), and then 10 minutes of "swimming" ("me-style" stroke). In the evening, a weights session with a personal trainer, followed by "3 miles" of easy pool-running (30 minutes).

Wednesday: In the morning, 10 miles outside on a hilly route at aerobic pace (7:56 pace -- had no intention of running this fast, was just having fun on a crisp morning -- oops), followed by "6 miles” of easy pool-running (1 hour).

Thursday: In the morning, strength-training and then "13 miles" – 2:10 hours easy pool-running. Foam-rolling/stretching at night, plus a PT evaluation (no injury -- I just like to go in every few months to get a professional to identify any potential injuries in the making, and correct how I'm doing my current injury prevention exercises. Left with a whole bunch of good stuff this time).

Friday: In the morning, 10 miles total on the track, including a 5 mile (well, technically 8K) tempo at 6:53 pace. The splits were 6:54, 6:53, 6:52, 6:52, and 6:51, which I was damn happy with. I woke up feeling just about as lousy as I did for Cherry Blossom on Sunday, and debated skipping, but decided to show up and just run it on even effort, letting the pace be what it would be. So, a big success on that front, even if the pace was slow. Followed with "6 miles" of easy pool running (1 hour). Pilates class in the afternoon.

Saturday: In the morning, "12 miles" of easy pool-running (2 hours). Strength-training + foam-rolling/stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday: Long run of 14.5 miles. I did 12 miles with a group (up and back on the Capital Crescent), and then tacked on another 20 minutes of very easy jogging to catch my breath. We were rolling (by my standards) -- averaging 7:45 pace for the out and 6:59 for the back, with the last 4.5 miles being 6:51 pace and the last 1.5 of those being 6:36 pace (I credit the downhill). Solid workout that I need to be sure to recover from. Followed with "10 miles" of pool-running (1:40 minutes). Later a yoga class.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brain Droppings On the Mental Side of Injury

They come in waves.  Everything will be calm on Facebook and Livejournal and RunnersWorld and Blogger and Twitter and Twatter, and then there's a spate of posts.

hey guys, decided to take today off -- my shin really hurt yesterday, and it's still throbbing this morning...

No marathon for me this spring; wasn't looking and stepped in a pothole.

ugh....just got the MRI back... 

And the rest of us do the internet equivalent of nodding our heads in sympathy.  We've all been there.  And the thing is, nearly all of us will be there again.


I personally believe that, if you've never been injured in a running career of a few years or more, then you're not training hard enough (I'm sure that there's umpteen running coaches and doctors cringing at that statement).  Proper training means that you're targeting a fine line where you're applying enough stress for your body to adapt, without going too far and risking injury.   But if you've never overshot that line, then chances are that you're continually falling short of it.

[I also caveat here: I in no way use this as an excuse for my year of continued injury last year.  Injury should also be a sign that you're pushing too hard, and need to scale back.  Some of us find that lesson a little harder to learn than others]

In my horseback riding days, we all knew that we were going to fall (and possibly get seriously hurt) sooner or later.  If you ride, then you fall.  Similarly, if you run, at some point you'll have to take off a week.  Or more.  Perhaps much more.

All of these brain droppings are no consolation when you're actually the one who's injured.  It's very much like sitting down in a chair, only to have the chair pulled away.  Your perspective is abruptly changed, your expectations and goals shattered, and the mental shock eclipses the physical pain.  In fact, the worst thing about the physical pain is not that it constantly hurts, but that it continually reminds you of what you can't do.

What makes it harder is the fact that so often injury comes right on the heels of one's best running days.  My own broken foot "popped" in November right at the very end of one of the best workouts I'd had in a long time.  The breakthrough workout is also the one that overreaches; and the time things are going so well is the hardest time to back off.  So you get a little greedy and push on, only to be betrayed.

And this is compounded by the fact that while some of your friends are injured, many are still running.  It's a party that you've been kicked out of, and the fact that they miss you and wish you well is comfort colder than an ice bath.


So you're injured.  What now?  The physical answer to that question is pretty easy: you stop running and find some sort of cross-training (or even, heaven forfend, rest).  But the mental aspect is much harder to address.

It's psychobabble of a sort, but I've found that I've gone through sequence of emotions in each injury similar to a mourning process (which is what it is in a way -- mourning a loss).  The stages of mourning are:
  1. Denial I'm not hurt.  This is just a niggle.  I can run it off.  Or sleep it off.
  2. Anger This is oft times addressed at innocent bystanders, like the coach or doctor or friend who tells you to take a few days off, or someone with no connection to running whatsoever.
  3. Bargaining If I just tape it/ice it/wear a compression sock I should be fine.
  4. Depression  Why the hell does this always happen to me?  (as noted, it happens to nearly all of us)
  5. Acceptance  OK, I'm injured.  What's next.
In my opinion, the faster you can get yourself to the fifth stage, the better.

In my last injury (broken foot), I was in denial from the moment of the break (8:00 am on a Tuesday) to my podiatrist appointment (9:00 am on a Wednesday).   I went through anger, bargaining, and into depression all within an hour in his office -- x-rays showing an obvious fracture made it hard to do too much bargaining.   Then once I got home, I gave myself an hour to cry my head off (and whinge online).

Then I started making plans (researching pool-running, finding a coach to keep me from doing this again, digging up my bathing suit, buying a bone-stim).

All in all, it took me about 30 hours from injury to acceptance this last time around -- a PR.  But then again, I've had plenty of training in dealing with injury. It's quite possibly my most pathetic skill.

Accelerating through these stages is obviously far easier said than done, but so is running the later miles of a race.   In both cases, you cope with waves of despair that threaten to force you to stop.  But in each case, stopping is not an option.  So you continue to put one mental foot in front of the other, focusing on the goal ahead.

And you will get there.  One mental foot at a time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Training log - Week ending 4/03/11

This week was 37 miles of “real running” and 57 “miles” pool running -- training log is here.

This was a cut-back week, as I raced Cherry Blossom on Sunday (race report). The pollen is still a major issue, but the inhaler definitely helps. I'm feeling good about the 10 mile race. I wasn't having a "A" day, which I attribute to the high pollen -- I awoke congested and feeling heavy, and knew the trees were going at it even before I checked the pollen count). But I really feel I ran the best race I had in me today, and you can't be unhappy with that. And, one of the things I love about racing 10 milers and half-marathons is that I generally get a real fitness boost from them.

I'm also feeling my fitness come back, as well as my race savvy, and both of those are comforting. Onward with the training!


Monday: In the morning, "12 miles" – 2 hours easy pool-running. Extended foam-rolling/stretching at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 9.5 miles on the track. Did a 1.75 mile warm-up plus drills and strides, then a track workout of 800m repeats. The stated goal was 6-10 repeats. I decided to shoot for 8, with the first at 3:10, and the rest at 3:04-ish. Actual ended up being 7 repeats at 3:10, 3:05, 3:04, 3:03, 3:02 (too fast), 3:00 (way too fast), 3:05 (over-corrected), so pretty much on target save for the 5th and 6th, which were too fast.

I used my inhaler after my warm-up, just before the workout started, and it really kicked in as the workout went on. I made myself hit the brakes for the 7th, with hopes of maybe doing more than 8, but instead got pulled at 7 (I'm guessing because I had a race this weekend). Still, felt like a very good workout, if a bit unsatisfying in that I felt like I wasn't working hard enough. Afterwards, I hit the pool for "4.5 miles" of pool-running (45 minutes). In the evening, a weights session with a personal trainer, followed by "4 miles" of easy pool-running (40 minutes).

Wednesday: In the morning, 10.5 miles outside on a hilly route at aerobic/easy pace (8:25 pace), followed by "7.5 miles” of easy pool-running (75 minutes). Yoga class at night.

Thursday: In the morning, strength-training and then "13 miles" – 2:10 hours easy pool-running. Extended foam-rolling/stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 6 miles easy on the track (8:56 pace), plus strides and drills, followed by "7 miles" of easy pool running (1:10 hours). Pilates class in the afternoon.

Saturday: "3 miles" of very easy pool-running (30 minutes, but not sure I should even count this). Lotsa foam-rolling/stretching later.

Sunday: 1 mile warm-up, then 10 mile race in 69:39 (6:56 pace). Went out in 7:13, then 7:05, then dropped the pace. I would have liked to have closed a bit stronger than I did, but my lack of mileage plus the pollen really caught up with me. Later, "6 miles" of very easy pool-running (60 minutes).