Sunday, December 27, 2015

Training log - Week ending 12/27/2015

This week was 65 miles of running, 2000 yards of swimming, and 7 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

This was my first full week of training, post-marathon, and it's great to be back in the familiar rhythm: intervals/hills on Tuesday, something tempo-ish on Friday, and a long run on Sunday.

Of course, there were a few deviations this week.  On Tuesday, I woke with a sore throat, so I opted to go back to bed and skip the team hill workout.  Later that morning I felt better, so I decided to take a "lunch break" from work and go for a run, perhaps run a hill or two.  As it turned out, I felt better as I went, and ended up cranking out 7 hill repeats, each one of them solid and faster than the previous week.  

The fact that I could have a great workout also demonstrated that I wasn't really sick - it was just my mold allergies popping up with a vengeance due to the unseasonable (and unreasonable) combination of warmth and moisture that we've had in DC this past week.

I normally tempo on Friday, but of course that was Christmas Day this year.  I debated running it on Thursday morning instead, but opted to wait: I wanted the extra day's rest between hills and tempo.  I'll also fess up that Thursday was miserably rainy and warm (in the 70s), while Friday morning was a bit better. 

Xmas team photo.  I'm in the center in the longsleeve
(which was tied around my waist while running
-it was nearly 70 degrees.)
So Christmas morning came, and I treated myself to 2x2 miles around Hains Point, timing my cooldown to meet up with some of my teammates in front of the National Christmas Tree by the White House.  Though it was far from my "best" tempo pace-wise, there was magic in tempoing by myself on a deserted peninsula through the mists as the sun rose.  I ran hard, with a smile.  And then I met my teammates by the Christmas tree, and that was special too.  Running the streets of Washington DC on Christmas morning is reliably one of the best runs of the year.

On Sunday, I did another not-quite-a long run of 12 miles progressive.  I'm running a net downhill half-marathon in late January, so I was glad that today's route had the "fast" part of the progression on a downhill that's just a bit steeper than my half-marathon.  I intentionally pushed the pace to close to half-marathon effort for the final miles, to give my quads a bit of "fastdownhillrunning" proofing.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that my pace for my 2x2 mile tempo on Friday was slower than the final four miles of Sunday's progression run.  Friday's run was definitely the harder workout by far, but it was done on flat ground with temperature and dew point in the high 60s.  By contrast, Sunday's run was in significantly cooler conditions, with a solid downhill assist.  To me, this reflects the importance of training off of effort rather than pace.  And also that I'm one of those people that really gets a speed boost from downhills.


Monday:   Yoga plus 7 "miles" easy pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  11 miles, including a hill workout of 7 repeats up Iwo Jima (~500m up, then 200m jog, 100m stride, and 100m jog down to base of hill.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 3 miles very easy (9:57 pace) to yoga, and then a yoga class.  Followed with 7.5 miles very easy (9:08) plus some drills and two strides.  Sports massage at night.

Thursday:   2.5 miles very easy to the gym (9:57 pace) followed by some upper body weights and core.  Then did another 7.5 miles very easy (9:20).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  11.5 miles, including 2x2 miles at tempo effort with 4:30 jogging recovery.  Splits were 13:35 (6:49/6:46) and 13:15 (6:43/6:32). Followed with lower body strengthwork, foam rolling, and 1000 yards recovery swimming (yes, there was a gym/pool open on Christmas day).

Saturday:   10 miles easy/aerobic (8:16), plus drills and two strides.  Followed with weights work in the gym and foam rolling.

Sunday:  12 miles progressive, split as 2 miles at 8:57 pace, 6 miles at 8:18 pace, and then 4 miles at 6:38 (downhill, but into a headwind).  Followed with lower body strengthwork and yoga.  1000 yards easy swimming and foam rolling later.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Training log - Week ending 12/20/15

This week was 53.5 miles of running, 3000 yards of swimming, and  6 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

I did my first workout since the marathon on Tuesday, followed by my first race since the marathon on Friday.  Both were pleasant surprises, in that I'm in better shape than I thought.

Which doesn't mean I'm in good shape right now, but that's not the point.  I feel rebooted from my few weeks of "do what the heck I want" and that's good.

I'm about a month out from my half marathon on January 24th, and  I've only got two runs longer than 12 miles scheduled before that race.  I'm guessing that this is because I've still got a ton of strength left from the fall cycle, so there's no need to work on that right now.


Monday:   Yoga plus 6 "miles" easy pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  9 miles, including a hill workout of 7 repeats up Iwo Jima (~500m up, then 200m jog, 100m stride, and 100m jog down to base of hill.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming.  Sports massage at night.

Wednesday: 6 miles very easy (9:30 pace) to yoga, and then a yoga class.  Followed with 4.5 miles very easy (9:17) plus some drills.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   2.5 miles very easy to the gym (9:44 pace) followed by drills and four hill sprints, and ome upper body weights and core yoga.  Then did another 5.5  miles very easy (9:40).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  3.5 miles very easy (9:10) plus drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   10 miles, including a not-quite-6-mile race in 38:29.  Followed with yoga and foam rolling; 1750 yards of recovery swimming in afternoon.

Sunday:  12.5 miles very easy (9:01 pace) plus drills and four hill sprints, followed by yoga.  Foam rolling later.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Race report: PVTC Christmas Caper 10K, December 19, 2015

I ran the PVTC Christmas Caper "10K" yesterday, finishing in 38:29 - a substantial PR.

[In case you haven't guessed, the course was significantly short.]

Despite (or perhaps because of) the mis-measured course, I was pretty happy with the race.  I really just wanted to get back out there and race and have fun and remember why I enjoyed racing.   And this low key inexpensive hand timed small race fit the bill perfectly, and let me do just that.

When signing up for this race, I had my choice of running 5K or 10K.  After thinking about it, I decided to go with the 10K.  Any fitness I have right now is just the remnants of my fall marathon training cycle, and I am far from sharp - the only fast running I've done since before Thanksgiving was a cautious hill workout on Tuesday.  I figured that, given my lack of fitness and training, I'd be running the same pace whether I raced 5K or 10K.  So I might as well race the 10K.

I did have a bit of trepidation about the longer distance, though.  With so little speedwork, I didn't know how I was going to handle 6+ miles of fast running.  However, I rationalized that I couldn't have lost all of my marathon strength, and that would carry me through.  Plus I have a half-marathon in late January that I'd like to run fast at - the 10K would be a better workout.

The other concern about the 10K course was the course itself.  The 5K was one out and back, while the 10K would be two loops, turning just short of the finish line to head back out again. 
That's a bit mentally challenging, especially when you have some trepidation about the length of the race to begin with.  But I decided to don my big girl panties and give it a shot - I'd just go out at tempo effort for the first loop, and then up the effort for the second loop.


As it turned out, race morning featured perfect running weather.  The forecast had been for very windy conditions, which would have been miserable on the exposed peninsula that is Hains Point.  But the wind held off until after the race, giving us crisp and clear conditions for the race, with just a slight wind from the south.

I met with my teammate Patrick to do my standard warm-up - 3 miles very easy.  When he headed over to the start line for the 5K (which started 10 minutes before the 10K), I shifted to drills and strides, plus a pre-race inhaler puff.  Then I lined up with others behind the freshly painted start line.  At these small races, it's always hard to figure out who your competition is.  I noted a few other women who looked like they might be about my speed.  [by the way, this whole visual assessment is quite amusing, given that I don't necessarily look like "my speed."].  I also noted one very young looking blonde girl, either in high school or in college, who looked like she could be fast.  Or she could just be young.  Either way, I'd find out in a few minutes.

The starter sounded "go" and we were off.  I managed to tug on my own reins pretty quickly and restrain myself to tempo effort, letting other surge ahead of me.  Young blonde girl, on the other hand, exploded off the line like a lightning bolt.  I watched her fly, fairly amused.  Going with her was not an option.  Either she was REALLY fast, or she was a high school kid pacing her race like most high school kids, and was going to have a very painful race.

Per my plan, I held tempo effort for the first out and back - an effort level which allowed me to slowly close the gap on several runners male and female.  By the halfway point, I was in third place for women, with the second about 30 seconds ahead of me.  As for young blonde girl?  She was literally out of sight.  

For the second loop, I tried to up the pace a bit, but wasn't really able to.  I think my limits here were mental, not physical.  Since I haven't done much in the way of hard running recently, I'm out of mental shape right now.  I'm not currently able to be comfortable and relaxed while running really hard and hurting, so I didn't let myself push it to that point.  I'm not too worried about this - it will come back with a few workouts.

I was fortunate enough to pull along side of a male runner partway through the second loop.  Sometimes I'd build a small gap on him, and then he would fight his way back.  For the rest of the race we dueled - it was awesome, because it distracted me from the discomfort of racing, and gave me some much needed mental practice.  At the same time, I could also see the second place woman, and realized I was closing the gap on her.

Unfortunately, before I was able to catch up to her, the finish area came into sight.  Mr. Male Runner (for lack of anything else to call him) started kicking, and I responded. We were neck and neck coming into the corral, but he did manage to edge me at the last second.  No problem - I was so happy to have the chance to practice battling someone else to the finish that I actually didn't care which one of us won - it was the practice that mattered.

As we came through the finish, the clock read 48 minutes.  I knew immediately that was wrong - no matter how out of shape I was, there was no way I had run 48 minutes for 10K.  I then looked at my Garmin, and saw "38:29".  I had about 2 seconds of "holy shit" and then I noted the distance - less than 6 miles.  Yup, the course was way short.  Ah well.

While others were upset about the course (it appears a volunteer misplaced the cone used for turnarounds 1 and 3), I wasn't terribly mad.  I'd have been pissed off if I had paid a lot of money for this race, or if I had been in good shape and targeting a PR.  But neither was the case.  I signed up for this race to get a hard run in, to practice racing, and to have fun.  I achieved all three and also managed to kick my post-shitty-marathon blues, which have been lingering since Philly.  All in all, it was a good morning.

As for fast young blonde girl?  She won the race overall, finishing the short course in just over 33 minutes.  I did some googling afterwards, and read that she had a PR of 33:xx for the 10K on the track.  Just goes to show, no matter how lowkey the race, you never know who is going to show up.


Splits from my Garmin (set to autolap) were:
Mile 1: 6:40
Mile 2: 6:44
Mile 3: 6:44
Mile 4: 6:38
Mile 5: 6:39
Last .79: 5:05 (6:26 pace).

According to my Garmin, the total distance was 5.79.  My Garmin is usually very accurate on Hains Point.  On the other hand, my Garmin does like to short change me on hairpin turns, assuming that I turned sooner than I did.  That may have happened some here, as I know that miles 2 and 3 were run much harder and faster than Mile 1, despite the splits above.  But even if my Garmin was inaccurate, there's still no way this was a 10K, and probably not even close to 6 miles.  But again, I wasn't up for a PR, just for a good time and a chance to race someone else, so it doesn't matter in the end.

Other notes:

  • Weather was 32 degrees at the start - perfect.  I wore a long sleeve and tights for this race, which is more than I'd normally wear for a 10K in these conditions.  But again, I was racing this for fun, not a blazing time, so why not be a bit more comfortable at the start line.
  •  Looking at my Garmin after shows that my heart rate never got out of tempo range (low 170s) which is consistent with my perception that I never really hit true race effort.  I'm not too upset with this - running hard requires practice, which I'll get in the next few weeks.
  • With regard to asthma meds, I took a puff of Foradil in the morning, and then a puff of Albuterol right before race start.  The second (and perhaps the first) might have been unnecessary - my asthma is almost always a non-factor in cold December temperatures.  But there was no harm to playing it safe.
  • As part of my ongoing caffeine experiment, I also had a Sea Salt Chocolate GU in the morning, plus one Black Cherry shot blok.  It seemed like they helped some.  And they were also yummy, so that's a plus.
  • My normal taper for a 10K is 6-8 miles with a mile pick-up at 10K pace two days before, then short and easy the day before.  Since I just started workouts again, I skipped the mile pick-up this time.  It just seemed like overkill to start back with a hill workout, then a mile pick-up two days later, and then a race two days after that.  Better to go into the race cold than cooked.
  • Won my 10 year age group and got a Christmas ornament.  Asked if they had any that were cat safe, and got a strange look.  Oh well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Training log - Week ending 12/13/15

This week was 60 miles of running, 5000 yards of swimming, and  4 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

This was my last week of ramping back up from the marathon before jumping into workouts.  I hit 60 miles, which is roughly where I'll hold my mileage for a while.  I've found that I get much more injury prone when I drop too far below 60 - my best guess is that I need a decent bit of mileage to stay strong enough to reduce injury.  At the same time, there's really no need to go much higher.  I'm not training for a marathon, and I've certainly got a strong base from the last marathon training cycle that should persist for some time.

As part of my reverse taper, I increased my drills and strides.  I also cut back my yoga some - I've now got my strong core and leg stability back, so my time is better spent on other things. 

One of those things was harder swimming, including 5x100 yards hard on Wednesday, and 10x100 yards hard on Sunday.  I did this to give myself a little mental prep for returning to speedwork next week - the focus needed to complete workouts in the water isn't that much different from what's needed on land.  And it was fun, in that weird runner way, to push my heart rate up.

The hard swimming also gave me a chance to play with my new swimming heart rate chest strap.  Historically, Garmin heart rate straps haven't worked in the water - the ANT+ signal doesn't transmit through water.  However, the latest version of the strap has a memory function, and so stores your heart rate history during the workout, before transferring the data later when one is out of the water.  You still can't check your heart rate in real time, but you get to see the data at some point.

What I've found so far is that my heart rate for easy swimming isn't much different than it is for running.  In fact, it's slightly higher, which probably is an indication that I'm much more efficient at running than at swimming. 

However, during hard workouts, my swimming heart rate is lower than my running heart rate.
Here's my heart rate for Sunday's swim. 
Started and ended with easy stuff and drills;
Intervals (100yd hard on 2:00 base) in middle.
  Hard intervals lasting between 90 seconds and two minutes, with short recoveries, would have my heart rate up into the low 180s on land.  In the water, I peaked at 161.  Part of this is probably due to the coolness and the pressure of the water.  But my sense is that this also reflects that I am much more skilled at running than at swimming - I'm just not a good enough swimmer, technique-wise, to be able to push myself truly hard.

Next week I get to start running workouts (which means no more hard swimming workouts).  I'm excited to be back.  No long runs for me for now - we're capping my long runs at 12 miles until further notice.


Monday:   Yoga plus 4 "miles" easy pool-running and 800 yards easy swimming.

Tuesday:  8 miles easy (8:44) plus drills, plus some upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 10 miles easy (9:01 pace), and then 950 yards of swimming, including 5x100 hard on 2:00 .  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   4 miles very easy to yoga (9:28 pace) followed by yoga and then another 6 miles very easy (9:26) plus some some upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  5 miles very easy to yoga (9:22 pace), yoga, and then another 5 miles easy (8:42 pace) plus drills and two hill sprints. Later did 1050 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   10 miles very easy (8:47), followed with drills and strides.  Then did upper body weights, core, and foam rolling.

Sunday:  12 miles aerobic  (8:08 pace) plus drills, followed with lower body injury prevention work and 2200 yards swimming (with 10x100 hard on 200).  Foam rolling later.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Training log - Week ending 12/6/2015

This week was 55 miles of running, 2200 yards of swimming, and  10 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

Second recovery week, and I'm feeling fairly good. I've kept most of my running very easy, but did let myself pick up the pace a bit on Saturday.  I'm also letting some of my easy runs become more "moderate" of lack of a better term.  Still very comfortable, but I don't feel the same need to keep everything to a crawl when I'm not running hard workouts.

This week I also reintroduced swimming and strides and drills.  I realized quickly just how much I missed swimming - it's ridiculous how great I feel post-swim.  On the other hand, drills and strides feel awkward and clunky, which likely indicates how much I need to keep doing them.

One more week until I start workouts again.

Monday:   Yoga plus 6 "miles" easy pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  4 miles very easy to yoga (10:12 pace) plus drills, yoga, and then 3.5 miles very easy (9:41), plus some upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 10 miles very easy (9:46 pace), and then 800 yards of very easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   5 miles very easy to yoga (9:24 pace) followed by yoga and then another 3 miles very easy (9:06) plus drills and some some upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  5 miles very easy to yoga (9:33 pace), yoga, and then another 3 miles easy (8:25 pace) plus 600 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   12.5 miles aerobic (averaged 8:18 pace, started at 9:30ish, ended around 7:30 ish for last few miles).  Followed with drills and strides.  Upper body weights, core, and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:  9 miles very easy (8:24 pace) plus drills and strides, followed with a bit of very easy effort pool-running with friends and 800 yards easy swimming.  Yoga and foam rolling later.