Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I like to change things up in my training.

For instance, I've run five marathons and I've never used the same training program twice.  Having the experience of following some new training program has taught me new workouts, new philosophies, and made me do things I never would have.  Daniels' 19 mile training runs with LT intervals is a good example.  I've never come across anything like it in any of the other programs I've tried.  It's good, and hard, and I think it's made me a better runner.

Diet has changed, too.  Last cycle it seemed every time I had a long run and ate out (and I was eating out quite a bit last year) I had a hamburger with fries.  Partially because it was typical fairly cheap in comparison to other menu choices, but also because I like them and it gave me lots of calories in protein and fat when I needed them.

This time, though, I haven't been eating out nearly as much- maybe once a week or so with my Wednesday night post run group.  At first it was an unconscious decision to not order a hamburger, but eventually I made it into a conscious one.  There was the connotation that it was something that I did last year.  This year is different.  Not better, perhaps, but different.

Anyway, I had my first hamburger today.  It was... okay.  I made it myself, so that might account for it's mediocrity, but I expected some vestigial memories from last year.  There wasn't any, really.  It's odd, too... there were some great things about last year- 1:37:08 half (faster than I ever thought I'd be- faster than I am now, certainly) and some not so good memories (the injury that set back my training and contributed to a decent but not great 3:32 Bayshore).  Triumphs and disappointments. 

But there wasn't anything like that. It was just a hamburger.  It's funny how the meaning of symbols can change over time when you aren't looking.

Why yes, I am crazy

We like to complain about the weather in Michigan. Figure it's the
same everywhere, but I'm looking at the future forecast, and it's
looking kind of warm. I mean, very warm for a runner.

It's 30 degrees right now. It'll get up to 50 or so today. Later on
this week, the day will start at 50 and go up to 70. 70 is warm. Very
warm. To warm for me to train in until I get used to it. But the issue
is if it's this warm during Martian, I have a feeling I'm going to be
well and truly screwed.

Like I said, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Just a test

I'm just wondering if this works.

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two weeks to go

Saturday run- the run I feared- went really well.  Two miles up, 15 at marathon pace, two miles down.  My splits were a bit off, and some were slower than others (I think one of them was down to a 8:08) but for the most part I was spot on, and only a couple of seconds off of an 8 minute pace average for the 15.

Feels good.  A decent confidence boost- much better than the fiasco that was Friday.  And though it started off chilly, the sun was up and the people were out, and I saw a number of other runners out there both in my group and not.  Even though I ran the majority of the miles alone, still kind of nice to feel as part of a community.

I did discover that fencing really doesn't hold much of an allure for me.  Its fun, but it's not great fun.  If I had developed more relationships with the people there, I may have tried harder to get out there more, but... it just isn't a priority, and I don't strong incline to it.  Was nice to see some old fencing friends again, though.

Also nice to run with RUT this morning.  Good folk, and hopefully I'll be able to make it to a goodly number of their runs this summer.  I would really like to get a bit more time on the Poto, and I do like Island Lake, too.  Although if I do go to Island lake, I may really be tempted to bring all of my tri stuff and do a proper swim/bike/run and the like, making it and all day thing of exercise craziness.  Who knows?  The trail goes by Spring Mill Pond.  Maybe I'll just take a short cut and try to swim across while others are running.  It would only work if I manage to cut 4/5ths of the distance off, though.  My running speed and swimming speed are *vastly* different.

Next week will sort of be interesting.  I'm supposed to do 60% of my miles, which equals 42, but I not only have the two Q workouts, but the "week before the marathon" work outs start to come into play.  Between the two I'm pretty sure I'm at 50 odd miles, which is a bit more than 42.

No biggie, I think.  It'll be fun!  I may just skip the Saturday run, since I have to work.  Ah, the sacrifices I have to make for real life.  It's a terrible thing.  :P

Two weeks.... really something close to 12 and one quarter days.
Less than 100 miles of training.
Weather, luck, and accident/injuries permitting, I get to really let my demons come out to play.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What I would do differently... ("I want" rant, part 2)

This is a preliminary type thing- a retrospect of this season's training.  The double Jack Daniel's(') has been fun, and though obvious I'm the only one I know who has done it, so whatever.

My first thought is- I want more miles.  70 per week is a lot, but I want more.  I think it would be helpful to my running.  And I think my body can take it.  Everything going well, next time I do something like this I'll have more weekly milage. This wasn't a fault of the program so much as when I put it together it seemed like a good number at the time. I know, a reprise, but it's an important theme.

I want more progression runs, which I define this way:  Start off with a couple of miles of warm up.  Do five miles at 15 seconds slower than marathon pace.  Five more miles at marathon pace.  End with five miles at 15 seconds faster than marathon pace.  do a couple of miles of cool down.

See if you can choose a hilly route, too.  Just to make it fun.  :)

I want more speed work.  There was a decent amount in the program, but I had in my heart of hearts a bit more desire to do 400s and 600s and 800s.  I wanted to spend more time on the track, even though that wasn't really a possibility during the winter.

I want more marathon pace runs.  I think I only had four or so on the schedule for this training cycle, and that just doesn't seem enough.  I decided to throw a mile in at marathon pace for my run today, to see how natural it is, and was almost completely unsuccessful at holding an 8:00 pace.  I held 7:45 for about a half mile and then slowed down to 8:10, which left me with an average of about 7:55- not bad, but not what I wanted.  I needed consistency, and I don't have it.

I want to fix this shin thing.  Occasionally, I feel like I hit a stride which is vastly different from any stride I've had before- all fore foot, using my calves both for shock absorption and propulsion, hard work but fairly smooth.  it takes a lot out of me.  I usually hit this stride when my shin is killing me because of the herniation thing.  I wonder if this is the way I should be running, or is it a gait flaw which will eventually do a lot more damage than pain it avoids?

I think I want to serious work on lowering my body weight.  I was running really well at 165, and I'm wondering if I could possibly do better, and be less hurt, if I were to lose a good five- or even ten- pounds.  Yeah, I did look pretty gaunt at the time.  Oh well, I'll deal.

I think... perhaps I'll sign up for a marathon in the fall.  I know bunches of people are talking about Columbus, and Grand Rapids has a certain appeal.  Of course, if this shin thing doesn't go away, maybe I'll just stick to trails.  That might be the way to go.

Daily Mile challenge

This was not a great time to accept a challenge.

The Daily Mile is not unlike a cross between a running log and facebook, except without the postings of friends becoming with friends with people you don't know and updates about mafias and farms and stuff.

It does, however, have a garmin connect feature (new this week) and the ability to issue and accept challenges.  Also, there's a leader board amongst you and your friends on who's running the most weekly miles.  The trash talking is all in good fun and the like, part of me really doesn't want to be humbled on the leader board.

Which brings us to challenges.  The first challenge I've accepted is to run 200 miles in April, so I'd have to  average about 50 miles per week.  I don't foresee it as too much of a problem, because I have a great ability to screen out things I don't want to see.

I'm tapering.  I might be up in the 50s during the first couple of weeks in April, but it might be in the low 40s, too.  I might sneak in a few miles, but the idea of sabotaging my marathon because of a silly daily mile challenge doesn't seem terribly smart.

Also, marathon recovery usually takes a while- usually a couple of weeks, if not more.  I'd love to be the guy who is able to do an easy 10 the day after a marathon, but I'm just hoping that I'll be able to wander about without looking like I've well and truly damaged myself. 

And lastly, I'm getting more into the spirit of doing triathlons, I think.  There's a part of me that really enjoys having the beginner's mind.  The knowledge that I'm so amazingly slow in the swim and so mediocre at the bike that I'm almost certainly going to be in the cellar of my age group cuts off any competitive impulses.  I can go just to learn, and enjoy myself.

I like to do well.  It's just that I have to change my definition of "well" to fit the circumstances.

Which comes back to this challenge.  It'll be a challenge.  Which, now that I think about it, is kind of the point.  :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tapering, changing plans, and feeling sluggish

I'm never quite sure how to handle the taper.  I'm sure I've never done it well.

So, this week I'm supposed to do 49 miles; a good 21 miles down from my peak.  49 miles isn't bad- it's an average of seven miles per day, which seems like a lot.  But when I do the math for the required Q workouts by Daniels, those take out a good 30 miles out of the equation in two days, leaving me 19 to split among the remaining five.

19 miles.  five days.  Less than four a day.  So I took Monday off, and I took today off, and I ran a very easy six on Wednesday.  Tomorrow I get an easy five or so, and Sunday I'll do a loop of Pontiac with RUT.  But one hard day in five just feels... wrong.  Like my body is deciding that I'm not really serious about running anymore and wants to go back to days of 25 miles per week and no hard training.

I just hope I'm able to use the hard run to teach my body otherwise.  Although it was originally scheduled for Friday, I've moved my Q1 workout to Saturday to run with the group at Kensington.  It may well be one of the more tough workouts I get to do- 15 miles at marathon pace, with four miles of easy running.  If I can't do it, I think I'll be screwed for the race, but it'll be exciting to find out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And I was all set to be discouraged...

So, today's workout didn't quite go as planned.

It was fairly simple on paper- run easy 20,  then do 17:30 at lactate threshold, 20 easy, another 17:30 at LT and then a couple of miles easy.

the first interval didn't go very well.  First off, there may have been more hills- the elevation gain was a lot more than for the second.  Also, there were trucks barreling down on the path at 20 mph or so, which is the first time I've ever encountered that before.  I wonder whether they were consumers power checking on the new piping they installed though our lovey metropark.

But I digress.  After leaping out of the way of the trucks,  I found it a little difficult to find my stride and get back into the interval.  Also, I was carrying my hydration pack, which might also play a role in slowing me down.  I made sure to only pack about 30 odd ounces of water, but there's also the weight of the pack, and... well.  I'm just making up excuses.

The first interval was supposed to be at 7:20, and it started off okay.  But as I continued to try to push, things got harder and harder, and I glanced down at one point and saw my pace just about 8:00/mile.  My marathon pace.  Talk about discouraging- I was pushing hard, and feeling like I was getting only slower.  I finished off the interval at a 7:37 pace- 17 seconds per mile slower than I wanted, but not as bad as I feared.

I did the 20 minutes of recovery, and started the second interval just pushing hard, not watching my pace or anything.  After the first half I looked down to find my pace at 7:22, which felt *much* better.  I had a few moments of averaging a bit faster, but wound up finishing that interval at 7:22, which is essentially where I wanted to be.

Does make me wish I had remembered my heart rate monitor, though.  some objective data about how hard I was pushing would have made me feel better- I would have been able to blame hills or wind or whatever if my heart rate for both intervals was roughly the same.

Still, according to my records, I was running better in February. :(  I don't know if it's the heat or something else, but even on the slick surfaces we had earlier during the winter, I was running faster and doing better.  Oh well; perhaps the marathon will so go okay.  I hope so...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Plan for the week

M- rest
Tu- 11 miles. Q2- 2 x (20 min easy, 15-20 min threshold) 2 miles easy. Indian Springs.
W- 5-7 miles. WB group run.
Th- rest
F- 19 miles. Q1- 2 miles easy, 15 Marathon pace (~8:00) 2 miles easy. Kensington.
Sa- 7 miles (or so). WB group run.
Su- 10 miles. RUT run. Pontiac Rec.

52-54 miles planned, 49 miles suggested.  If the WB Saturday run is somewhere far away, or I have insomnia again the night before or whatever, I'll probably give it a miss.

Same goes for the Wednesday night run- I'll be working from 9:30-4. If I hang for the group run, it'll make for a 12 hour day at Running Fit, which is sometimes more than I care to do. Depends on how the shift goes.

I'm excited about the Friday run- it's kind of the pinnacle of my training.  I hope the fact I'm doing it a Kensington won't interfere too much with my performance.  I think it'll much more closely mimic the race, so it'll be better for me.  Also, I'm getting a bit tired of running the loop around Indian Springs.  It's nice, and familiar and everything, but I think this'll be better.  Hopefully carrying all of my own water won't be much of a factor, either.  Or at least be balanced by the fact I'm going to have to stop and fill it up.

Exciting times!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

15 down and three left to go- taper time!

Not quite true; I feel like my taper started two weeks ago when I topped out on miles.  But that's another story...

Week went pretty well.  I'm starting to have problems fitting in all the miles that I want to do in the number of miles Daniels' suggests at this point in my training.  Group runs are great, and I have the Q workouts, and all that, but 49 miles just doesn't seem to be enough in a week.

funny that.  49 miles is quite a few.  But it is quite wonderful to have many different group runs to choose from.

Anyway, it was a pretty good week of running- I haven't done anything too stupid, I hope.  The 14.5 miles of five finger running may have been a bit of a mistake.  I feel more sore this week than I have in quite a while.  I'm certainly moving around a bit more stiffly than I have over the past few weeks.  But it's just such fun to run through mud and trail with them!

Guy I was running with talked about running in a sport kilt.  sounded interesting... I may have to think about getting one, just for fun.  If I ever do SCA stuff like Pennsic again, It may be worth the money.  Especially if I can run in fivefingers, a kilt, and nothing else.  :)  I imagine I'd turn a few heads, if I'm lucky.

Next week, I've got another tempo/interval run, and a 19 mile marathon pace run (four miles total of warm up/cool down).  49 miles again.  we'll see how it goes! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My precious...

In '06 I got the Garmin Forerunner 205 because I wanted to reward myself for finishing my first marathon and I was vastly disappointed by the nike+ having a 10% overestimation of the marathon distance. (28.8, not 26.2)

My second marathon (Trail, '07) made me decide to get the 305 because I wanted heart rate data.  There are two points in a marathon when I have no freaking clue about how I'm doing- the beginning of the race and about mile 20 onward.  I can't run by feel because at start I'm too excited, and at the end because I'm too out of it.  Having that objective data on my wrist helps.

It's been three years, and though the 305 has been with me through thick and through thin, traveling with me across the country and eventually racking up about five to six *thousand* miles, and now it's time has come.  Sadly, it no longer easilly connects to my computer, and there appears to be a opening in the housing.  During my last run in the rain (Saturday) I saw water inside the watch face.  It still works, and it still charges, but I wonder how long it'll take for the moisture to do bad things to the electronic guts inside.

So, I need a replacement.  Enter in...

the Garmin Forerunner 310!

Believe me, it is a thing of beauty.  The thing I've liked about all my garmin electronics is that in it's truest form, it's a tool that makes life easier.  There is a learning curve, but once I've set it I can rely on it to do exactly what I tell it, letting me focus on getting the other stuff done.  I can pour over the details of lap splits and heart rate and transition times later- right now it lets me focus on the *now*. 

The 310 is a solid push forward over the 305- battery lifespan is significantly greater, it has a wireless connection to my computer, and more possible screens to play with.  It has vibrating alerts (which will be nice when I'm trying to do cadence work in a group environment) and (last but not least) it's waterproof to 50 meters!

I have some thoughts about what I'm going to do will all this functionality.  But for right now, I just want to get to Martian in one piece.  After that... well.  We'll see what we can see.  :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How did I ever...

... run a half marathon in 1:37:08? A 7:25 pace is *hard*. Even though I feel like I've had a really good training cycle, I'm not in the shape I was last year at this time.


A big list of "I wants"

... which I can't have right now.  They take work, and I want to work on them right now, but I can't because I have to go to sleep as soon as I finish.

I want to run a 100 miler.
I want to run more barefoot (well... in my five fingers)
I want to spend more time on my bike, and feel safe when I'm doing it.
I want to feel natural in the water, and not panic and hyperventilate.
I want to run 100 miles per week and think it's natural and no big deal.
I want to feel carved out of wood, rather than feel as soft as a wad of cookie dough.
I want to spend a night running circles of Pontiac, just for fun.
I want to have a great workout tomorrow.
I want to run sub 3:30 at Martian.
I want to run just below an 8:00 minute pace for the first 20 miles.
I want to hit mile 20 feeling great, and at the time of 2:37 minutes (7:50-7:53 pace)
I want to run the final 10K in 48 minutes. (7:45 pace)

Pretty shallow wants, I know.  I guess I could want those with power to use it for the good of those who have none, but that's wishful thinking.  I could want for the courage to act on the basis of my convictions and for the good of those around me, whatever good means.  I could even want the best for those whom I don't like, whose personality and problems have caused pain for me and those I care about.

But no- I want these things because I can run with them; because they're measurable and finite and possibly only just beyond my reach.  Sure, I'd love to have a PR at Martian (sub 3:32) but really I'd be happy if I ran a smart race and did all the right moves to have fun running in the future.  A stupid race would be going out to fast and screwing up the rest of the race.  Or fighting an injury and losing and not being able to run for weeks or months.  Or eating something strange and getting GI distress which keeps me from enjoying the whole experience.

This above all: I want to run a smart race.  I want to have a good time, I want to put my body through the ringer, and I want to leave it all out on the road.  But I want to finish satisfied, pleased with both myself and the training which I put myself through.

But then, no one ever knows what race day will bring, right?  I'm happy with my training.  The race is merely the icing on the cake.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The first in what I imagine to be a long series of complaints

I'm worried about taper for this cycle.

I've never done well with a long taper- I usually eat to much, don't stress the muscles enough and feel lethargic on game day.  Three weeks after my last hard week usually finds me rested, sure, but having felt like I lost my edge and not quite where I want to be when I start the race.

What I'm feeling now is the start "taper madness" and it may be the hardest part of the training cycle for me.

So I did my last 100% mileage week five weeks out from the race.  Last week I could have gone out with friends and run a lot more, but I'm trying to stick to the schedule.  It's going to get harder as the time progresses.  After maintaining 60-70 miles weeks for a while, being forced into the 50s, and even the 40's will be difficult.  I might have to promise myself a set number of hours exercising per week, after the race, just to keep sane.

Expect more ranting on this topic- and probably the same lines over and over again- over the next few weeks.  I'll try not to be too repetitive...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14 down, Four to go!

This week:

M- off
T- 19.75 with LT intervals
W- 5 easy
Th- 13.25 with LT intervals
F- off
Sa- 15 easy
Su- 4 easy

Total: 57

I am looking at a srsly depleted bottle of Jack Daniel's.  :)

It was an excellent week of running- the two interval sessions I've already discussed at length.  Wednesday was a good group run, although I probably should have run a bit slower and easier knowing what I know now about the thursday run.  But ya'know- live and learn.

Saturday's run was great- I ran it with a friend whom I coached to her first marathon last year, in which she BQed and is currently training for Boston.  I hadn't seen much of her since then, and I'd been wondering how her training is going.  Since we ran about 15 miles together, I got to find out.  It was a lot of fun- I enjoyed the wind and the light rain, the hills and the freshness of the route.  I'd never run through Oakland University before- I started running right around graduation time.  Even though there was a lot of concrete, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  And the company made the time fly by- which is why we do group runs, right?  :)

Today's run, though, was just fun.  Four miles of trail running in my five fingers- for the first mile or so I avoided the puddles and mud.  Silly.  After than, I run through the worst parts of the puddles and had a marvelous time.  I don't know how it taps into the part of me that revels in the sheer, primal fun of getting down and dirty, but it does.  Definitely going to be more in my running come post martian.

Oh, and I also learned that the shoreline of the beach by pontiac lake is about 0.25-0.3 miles long.  Which is good to know!  :)  I'm thinking that I'll be doing my swimming there more than the lake I live on- the danger level will be a lot less if I can swim for shore and have it be only a few yards away.  harder to die, ya'know?  ;)

Next week is 49 miles, with 2x 15-20 minute intervals at LT, 35-40 min RI, and a long run (whatever that means).  So my Q workouts will take up about 31 miles, but that really doesn't mean anything because I'll be running with people anyway.  My only real question is whether I should only run Tuesday (Q1) and Wednesday (group) and then on the weekend with people- saturday with my WB friends and Sunday with RUT or go down some other path?  I'll only have 30 miles to divide between the two days, making me think I should see where the Saturday group is going to be, but... ah well.  I digress.  I'll burn the bridge as I cross it.

Four weeks to game day!  Four weeks to game day!  I'm already getting excited!  Yay!  :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yet more intervals

Well, that didn't go so well.

Yesterday, the task was kind of like a tuesday "lite".  13 miles instead of 20.  Six intervals instead of eight.  An hour of easy running, not 80 minutes.  I figured I could do it- I felt strong, and I've been training hard.

Oh, how pride goeth before a fall.  :P

My first mistake was to try to do it without water.  A 10 mile training run was sort of my break off for carrying sometime to hydrate myself, and I just wasn't thinking that 13 miles was more than 10, or something.  Add to that it was a fairly warm day this thursday- I was kind of counting on rain, I guess, to cool me off.

So, I started off with an hour easy, and it went well.  Physiologically, I was doing fine- running at an easy pace and my heart rate was really quite good- boarderline too slow.  dipping down into the 130s on occasion, though I was running sub-9.  Psychologically, though, I was pushing maybe a little bit harder than I should have.  The pace "felt" harder than easy, whatever my heart rate said.  Not quite moderate, but closer than I wanted to be.

And so the first interval came and went, and I felt a bit wrung out.  It was "hard" and not the "comfortably hard" that the first interval really should be.  I kept my pace where I wanted it, and occasionally was able to blank out and still on target, which was good.  But it set the stage for some truly miserable moments.

After the second interval, when I was doing my rest for a minute, I knew I was in trouble.  the 60 second few by, and when it was time to start again I really hadn't dumped all of the accumulated lactate- or even a good portion of it.  About a minute into the third interval the gagging started, and I stopped, walked, and spent maybe two minutes just dealing.

That was sort of the pattern. Instead of a minute rest, I took a chunk of time more, but still tried to do the intervals at a successively slower rate, based more upon heart rate than anything else.  However, when the last interval came along the house of cards completely fell apart.  I had nothing left to draw upon, and my best efforts barely got me into the low eight minutes.  Less than a minute in, I stopped, said "screw it" and hit the lap button.  one minute rest interval.

I tried to jog, and went no where.  So I walked perhaps a mile till I was able to being a sort of shambling, lurching motion that a friend of mine would report as "It's like running, only slower."  much slower.  After about a quarter mile my muscles started to fire again, and things went better, but it was still a pretty humbling experience.

So, things I learned-
Take some water/Gu on run longer than eight miles, or so.
Take more of a rest between hard intervals.
If you hit the "lap" button on a garmin during a scheduled workout, it will go on to the next step of the workout.

I weighed myself prior to going out on the run.  When I got back in my car, I had about a half gallon of liquid waiting for me, and I downed it all.  When I got home from the run, I was still a couple of pounds under my starting weight, meaning I may have lost about six pounds of fluids, and I wasn't even racing.  This is after two hours of running, and maybe three between actual weighings.  So, ya'know.  I think I was dehydrated.  I really should know better.

Anyway, rest day for me today, easy but long day tomorrow, and lots of studying/paper writing for Sunday.  Exams Monday and Thursday.  Yay!  :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


So, this was fun-

Two miles warm up.  Then four intervals at lactate threshold (LT) for six minutes, with a one minute rest between reps.  80 minutes easy.  Then another four intervals at LT for five minutes, with the same rest interval.  Two miles cool down.

The first set was tough: but my consistency was spot on: 7:25 for all four.  My heart rates were 167, 166, 170, 168- so, almost exactly what I think of for my lactate threshold.

The second set was also tough, partially because I had already been running for over two hours when I started them.  But my paces were exactly the same for all four: 7:22.  My heart rates were a bit different, though: 170, 174, 180, 190.  Meaning I was really pushing for the last couple of sets.  I also got my heart rate up to 200, which was also kind of interesting.

And a funny thing was during the warm up, I was really worried that the workout wouldn't go well.  At the end of the first mile my pace was 9:30 or so, but my heart rate was up in the 190s.  I was wondering if I was having some sort of heart thing, so I started walking.  It fell to more normal levels.  When I started warming up again, It jumped back up.  Made me think I was coming down with something, and consider chucking the run all together.

But then my heart decided that it wanted to beat at a normal rate- 130s and 140s for the warm up, and I just went with it.  I'm glad I did- this may have been one of my favorite workouts evar.  :)

I do have a weight complaint, though.  I guess I usually weight myself early in the morning before I eat or have coffee, or after a run when I'm dehydrated.  That's when I get my 170.  I weighed myself after breakfast today, and was up to 175 (with shoes and running clothes on).  That made me feel dissatisfied.  Then I put my hydration pack on.  180.  Made me worried that  i wouldn't be able to do today's run well at all.  But I persevered, and it went well.

I am, though, thinking about keeping track of what I eat throughout the day, including a calorie in/calorie out type summery.  Might help me make better choices.  The neat thing is, after Martian, i can do whatever I want with my training!  Yay!  I'm playing with allotting my self a certain number of hours per week do exercise, and do my best to get them all in.  That might be a fun way to do things- it's not like anything I've ever done before.  As some of Bujold's characters are fond of saying:  "Let's see what happens." 

Also, for those of you who may have waded through all the silly technical details today's workout- robins may be the traditional sign of spring, but personally I think when women feel warm enough to just wear a sportsbra during their run- that's the sign of spring I find most compelling.  :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

13 down, five to go!

One week of beautiful weather leaves me not even a little tired of it.  Still, what sort of hardcore bragging rights have I if I'm constantly running in sunny skies and perfect temperatures?  Nothing, believe me. 

Anyway, this week went well- my last long week, and then I go to a 56 mile week upcoming, a few 49s and then my final week before the race.  So maybe something close to 220 for the month, if everything goes right.  Huh... and I've done almost a third of that this week.  How... disappointing.  :)

Next week will be tougher, though.  My first Q workout is one of the killer 19-20 mile interval runs with an 80 minute easy run thrown in the middle.  It should take me about 2.5-3 hours, if everything goes according to plan.  I'll probably do that Tuesday, if the weather cooperates.  Maybe even if it doesn't, now that I think about it.  Though maintaining threshold pace with an extra five pounds of water on your back isn't easy.  But, I think, it's good practice! 

Second Q workout is an hour at an easy pace, then 6x6 at LT with one minute rest.  Probably about 13 miles.  Only 23 miles left to distribute between the rest of the week- the other days are getting jealous!  One rest day leaves four; four into 24 means six.  Six little miles per day, which is hardly worth getting out of bed for.  Perhaps I'll do a 12 miler in there, and take another rest day, or something like that...

So, if everything goes to plan, it'd look a bit like this:
M- off
T- 20 Q1
W- 6
Th- 13 Q2
F- off
S- 13
Su- 6

Not bad, not bad.  I kind of like the shape of it.  Though I have to work on Saturday, it's not till noon, so I'll have time to run with the group if everything goes well, and they choose someplace close by.  I should start joining them on Birmingham runs- I'm missing too much by missing them.  Besides, I like Panera more than Starbucks for after run stuff, when all is said an done.

I think I lost some of my hard-won turn over due to the snow over the past few weeks.  At LT pace my cadence is still only about 90, when it used to be 93-95.  sometimes it was even up to 100.  The interval work was really good at getting my cadence really high, so perhaps that'll be something to work on later.

I had to work hard to keep my pace and heart rate from going to high during my easy runs in the beautiful weather- it's too easy to get carried away by how nice it was this week, I think.  It was tough to keep myself from doing so.

Gu is too think for winter in a gel flask.  Even the less viscus ones get think in the lower temps, make it all but impossible to take in.

I'm really looking forward to more spring weather.  And I'm really curious to see how the last five weeks of this training cycle will go...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Harnessed Insanity

I've told people that the reason i run is so I can focus all my crazy in this one area of my life, and be relatively even keel in most of the others because I have my outlet, and my way of dealing that let's me cope.  Life is crazy, and anyone who doesn't believe that is probably loony. I have my moments of crazy, too.  But if I can move my 170 pounds over the earth under my own power, and have my moments of peace, i can usually deal.

And that's kind of what it's about.

So, I did these intervals on Tuesday.

Intervals are only pleasurable, I think, for masochists.  The benefits from running your heart out can't really be found any other way that I've discovered, but- well.  They're tough.  And there comes a time during every interval session that I really wonder to myself: "Why am i doing this?"

It's more bare bones and gritty than it sounds, and the easy responses don't work.  "To get faster" isn't a big deal for me.  I'll never win a race; doing well in my age group is more of a happy accident than a driving force for me.  There are plenty of people in my Age Group- including the fastest marathoner in the world- who may or may not show up to any given race.

"To do what my program tells me" is a bit closer.  I know it's fairly Milgramesque, but there is a strong desire just to do whatever someone in authority tells me to do.  For this training cycle, I chose Daniels to be that authority figure, and I'm following that training cycle to see what happens.  It's a little scary to think about what that might mean for my personality, which is why I try not to think about it all that much.

But If I were to attach an... understanding... to my hard runs, I'd call it "To see what I can take."  Or, if you prefer: "To indulge in my self-destructive streak."  Part of me wants to see what it might take to break my will, and to see if I'm as soft as I think I am.  I ride that physical pain compare it to the general angst and psychological pain that comes with life, that society really can't afford to let people express visibly.

So, why do I push through the intervals?  Because it allows me to express my self destructive tendencies in a healthy and constructive way, as counter intuitive as that sounds.  I get to let my demons out to play, and I get to be both subject and object of the consequences.  I want to see if I can break myself.

It's a wonderful defense mechanism.  I wish I had discovered it sooner.