The week kicked off with a surprisingly decent track workout on Tuesday (coming just two days after the 2x5 workout) followed immediately by a downer - my necklace broke and a seaglass pendant fell to the ground. Despite the efforts of myself and several generous teammates, we couldn't find the pendant.
This was upsetting, because while the pendant wasn't terribly valuable monetarily, it was close to priceless in sentimental value. It was a memorial piece that contained some fur from my beloved deceased cat, Mina. Given a hypothetical choice between losing it or my Garmin, I'd give up the Garmin every time. Even if the Garmin contained the only proof that I had run sub-3....
I was sure that the pendant could be found if I just worked hard enough so that's what I did. Fortunately, though work has been busy, I also had flexibility to carve out some searching time.
On Tuesday afternoon I snuck out to the track for a solid 90 minutes of searching the track perimeter - a mix of loose stones that my pendant could easily hide in. That was 90 minutes of walking a few feet, squatting, searching the gravel, and then rising up to relocate a few more feet over.
It was pretty hard on the quads (umpteen body-weight squats). It was also extremely challenging to stare at rocks for so long and not zone out. I ended up picking up many pieces of tiny trash (candy wrappers and the like) because picking them up kept me engaged and ensured I didn't accidentally skip over my pendant. The end result was lots of trash, but no pendant.
A few hours later, on Tuesday evening, after a massive rainstorm had rolled through, I spent another hour retracing my morning warm-up route from my home to the track (about two and a half miles). Nothing. Except tired legs.
|Look at all that walking|
Wednesday morning, I retraced my warm-up route again as part of my morning run. Still nothing, so I got serious. It was $35 to rent a metal detector from the local hardware store for 24 hours, so that was an easy decision. After getting permission from the school (important when using metal detectors on public property) I searched the area around the track and the school again, as well as my warm-up route. More squatting and more candy wrappers. But surprisingly no coins. And sadly no pendant.
So I went bigger. I was a beginner metal detector. But there are experts. And I called one in - he was ready to go, as soon as I had written permission from the school for him to search the track.
And then I got a message that evening, right before I was going to put away all my electronics for the night....
Earlier in the day, I had posted a picture of the pendant to several different locations on the internet (Facebook, Nextdoor, local running clubs, etc). Someone saw the image and wonderfully, fortunately took the time to tell me she had picked up the pendant on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, she hadn't realized what it was at the time, and so she had tossed it into the trash can on the track.
[BTW, huge kudos to this person for having the integrity to reach out - I'm sure many people would have just stayed silent, rather than inform me they had accidentally thrown it out.]
I was back at the track in less than 5 minutes - the trash can she had identified was 2/3rds full, and so hopefully hadn't been emptied in the past 36 hours.
I dug in.
There's a certain stratification to trash cans - big items float to the top, while smaller stuff sifts to the bottom. If my pendant was there, it was almost certainly at the bottom. So I started by removing the "floaters" - big disposable trays with the refuse of mostly eaten meals. Then the trash got smaller - discarded snacks and water bottles.
You can learn a lot from rummaging through a trash can. More specifically: which snacks sold at the track are worth buying. Those vanilla creme sandwich cookies that they sell in plastic-wrapped 4 packs? Apparently those are awful - I found many many plastic wrapped sets of 3 cookies. And also some half-eaten cookies - apparently people couldn't even finish the first cookie in the pack.
(The chips are apparently excellent, since all those bags were empty.)
After making my way through the snack layer, I hit the fertile quadrant - a bedding of wrappers, rocks, and smaller food chunks, all sloshing in water from the storm the day before. A tetris of detritus. Including, of course, all the wrappers I had previously picked up and deposited.
At that point, I dumped the remaining contents of the trash bag onto the track. I then picked up each bit of litter individually and moved it from pile 1 to pile 2. I would leave no wrapper unturned.
And then it magically appeared. My pendant. Filthy, but there. After a moment of shock, I pocketed it and then quickly reloaded the trash can before heading to the track bathroom and then home for a good cleansing.
|One hand for trash, the other|
for the cellphone photography.
(though it's been days, and I wonder if I'll ever feel clean again).
So now I just need to decontaminate it. And double up on chains with solid clasps to avoid a next time.
In non-pendant news, this was my last week of training for Grandma's. Friday was my first bad workout of the cycle - I was going for a conservative 8K tempo, but bailed at 5K. My legs felt like lead a mile in (not surprising, given all the walking and bodyweight squats on Tuesday/Wednesday) and my breathing wasn't great either.
I usually run my tempos by effort, not pace. I try to approach what I think of as the "red line" of tempo effort from underneath, and then hold effort there until the last 800m or so, when I'll pick stuff up. This method usually works for me regardless of weather. If it's really warm or humid, that red line just happens to match a slower pace. Not a big deal - the effort is what matters.
But on Friday, I overshot that red line very quickly, and couldn't get back under it. And that was my cue to bail. I hate dropping out of workouts. But Friday was one of those days where it was better to limit the damage than to validate my own toughness by forcing the issue.
I hate days like that. But better during a workout than a race.
Sunday was better from a workout standard, if not a weather standard. We did 21 miles in pretty steamy conditions (dew point in the mid-70s). Not great weather, but fantastic for getting in some heat acclimation before Grandma's. For obvious reasons we pulled back on the pace drastically and just got the miles in at the right effort. But it was still a confidence building run, and a nice way to finish the cycle before the taper.
Monday: Foam rolling, yoga, and 8.5 "miles" of pool-running.
Tuesday: 11.5 miles, including a 3 mile warm-up (8:54), then a track workout of 2x1600, 3x800 in 6:16, 6:09, 3:01, 2:59, 2:56. 3 mile cool-down (9:36) Also injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming. And a whole bunch walking looking for my pendant
Wednesday: 8 miles very easy to yoga (9:25), yoga, and then 4.5 miles very easy (9:17), plus drills and 4 strides. And searching for my pendant. Massage in afternoon. Trash can searching at night.
Thursday: Light upper body weights/core, and 10.5 "miles" of pool-running; foam rolling at night.
Friday: 10 miles, including 3 mile warm-up (8:51), then an aborted 8K track tempo in 20:18 for 5K (6:35/6:29/6:25/0:48). 4 mile cool-down (9:19), plus injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling in the evening.
Saturday: 10 miles very easy (9:09), drills and four strides, and then upper body weights and core and DIY yoga. Foam rolling in afternoon.
Sunday: 21 miles mildly progressive, averaging 8:42 for first 7 miles, 7:54 for next 9, 7:12 for last 5. Followed with injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling in the afternoon..