Sunday, August 14, 2016

Training log - Week ending 8/14/16

This week was 65 miles of running, 24 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Another week in the books, with two topics of interest.

The first was the weather.  Summer in the DC area is always challenging (fun fact - DC is generally hotter/more humid than Tampa during the summer) but the past few days been out of the norm.  "It's not the heat but the humidity" is a cliche, but it's also true.  Very high dewpoints have made running at any pace tough.

Despite the weather, Friday's tempo went surprisingly well, with my conservative effort yielding a surprisingly fast pace for the conditions (temperature 79/dew point 76).  This was a good thing.

However, this created a false sense of confidence, and so I was a bit too relaxed about Saturday's easy 10 (temperature 80, dew point 78).  I carried a water bottle and planned to hit water stops along the way, but I didn't chug water before the run, and I also took Benadryl for my flaring allergies the night before, which often times dehydrates me.

The result was a run that was epic in its shittiness.  I've felt better during my bad marathons than I did on Saturday - by the last mile, anything that wasn't downhill felt uphill, and I was alternating running and standing breaks in an attempt at damage control.

It wasn't a great confidence booster for Sunday's long run, but it was helpful all the same. Determined to avoid a similar experience on Sunday, I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning chugging fluids like my training cycle depended on it.  Because it did.

I also paced the long run extremely cautiously, stopping at just about every single water fountain I saw, and draining my overlarge handheld between each.   I also kept a close eye on my heart rate, pulling back any time I saw the number getting a bit high, and supplemented my normal gel consumption with salty Margarita Shot Bloks.

The result was a solid long run.  Nothing spectacular (and I lost my discipline and got rolling a bit too fast the last two miles), but I survived, and I didn't bury myself in the process.  So woo.


The other topic was the Olympics.  Like a lot of other people I love watching as much of the sports as I can.  And like any good distance runner, I watched the 10,000 track races, women's and men's.

The women's 10,000 was one of the most frustrating things I've watched in some time.  If you're cynical/realistic/cynical/realistic/pick-the-adjective-of-your-choice, then you're aware that part of the game of competing at that level is doping.   And that robs the sport of a lot of its beauty.

There's two things that make competition really exciting. One is close competition.  The men's 10,000, though I'm sure that's also doped, at least came down to the last lap.

In contrast, there was no suspense in the women's 10,000.  Just a ludicrous performance as the eventual winner, Almaz Ayana, lapped most of her competitors, many more than once.  Spectacular performances and dominance can be thrilling, because they show us what the human body can achieve.   But they need to be credible,  And Ayana's performance wasn't.   As a friend of mine noted, it looked effortless, like she wasn't even working.  As she demolished a 20+ year old world record that was the result of "Chinese turtle blood."

It's frustrating to watch such an implausible performance, and to hear the announcers laud it as if it was credible.  I'm not a fan of the WWF, or of reality TV, because I don't like scripted reality.  But that's what that race was.

And performances like that just increase the doping. Not just because "you need to dope to compete," but because it plays into the rationalization that appeals to each one of us, elite or not.

If you're an elite on EPO, it's OK because all your competitors are also.
If you're an elite on something other than EPO, it's OK because at least it's not EPO.
If you're not an elite, you can take anything you want because you're not an elite.  And conversely, there's elites that argue that it's OK to take anything that a non-elite athlete does.

It's fascinating psychology, and one that plays out in pretty much every sport.  But also depressing.


Monday: yoga and 7.5 "miles" pool-running; 2.5 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 12 miles, including a track workout of 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 (95, 3:05, 4:35, 6:09, 4:34, 2:55, 78), followed by injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 7.5 miles very easy (9:02) to yoga, then yoga.  Later did 4 miles very easy (8:43). 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Thursday: 8 "miles" pool-running and upper body weights/core in the morning.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Friday: 10.5 miles, including a 5K tempo on the track in 20:32 (6:42/6:34/6:31/0:45), followed by 1150 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 9.5 miles aerobic (9:05), plus upper body weights. 2 "miles" pool-running with the belt and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: 21 miles, done ultrarunner style (EIGHT water stops).  Ended up doing a very slight progression of first 9.5 miles at 9:12; next 7 at 8:33; last 4.5 at 7:40 (because the route is downhill for the last part).  Followed with 600 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

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