I’ve been at loose ends for a while now, really since last May. Sort of floating along. I’ve been consistent with strength training for almost 8 months, which is great! I don’t have any goals for 2017. I was planning to set my year around Wildflower, but Wildflower isn’t going to happen so I have been needing to give my self something to build my fitness year around.
One thing I haven’t focused really ever is getting faster as a runner. I used to believe I was “slow.” Now I know that I’m as fast as I work to be and I could get faster if I put in work.
I still have not broken 30 minutes for a 5k, so that is going down this year. I can do push ups (go me!) so I want to increase those and work on pull ups. The overarching goal is consistency. To stick with it and not sorry too much about outcomes.
The plan is as follows:
One Long Run, One Tempo Run, One Interval Day, two full-body weight days and one yoga day. I should be able to separate all runs and strength sessions by minimum 8 hours and generally 24 hours.
I may add in easy runs or some cycling and swimming at a recovery level but only if I do not have excessive fatigue. When in doubt, leave it out.
Tracking mood and energy levels with nutrition. I am not trying to lose weight, I’m weight stable and have been for four years and my focus for the last year has been getting adequate protein – 100g per day.
I need to keep a good handle on sleep hygiene. No caffeine after lunch, get to bed at a consistent time, solid bed time routine.
Schedule baseline testing and retests. For me this will include racing with a focus on 5ks. I did a 5k on New Year’s Day and I’m planning to do the same race next year to see my progress.
My left knee has been quite unhappy so I took a few weeks off of running. In that time I took a lovely trip to Yosemite and walked a lot. I’ve also been keeping up with strength training.
Last week I went for two short runs, which both went well e.g. no pain. I had that thing when, you have had an injury to something and so you are hyper aware of every bit of sensory information from that area. I don’t know if the joint was stiff or if I was just super aware of it.
I’m going to put in a couple of miles today. Last week’s runs were both less than two miles. I’ll let you know how it goes!
She goes. Same day registration is open! She pays. She gets a bib and she wonders (in the third person because that’s how she is rolling today) “If I can complete a hard International Distance triathlon, does that fitness carry over to being able to run 10 miles at a decent clip?”
Fun facts! When you’re a triathlete, you get used to showing up 1-3 hours before your start time to get everything situated. I showed up 1:15 before race start. I was so early the volunteers weren’t there yet . Got great parking and then had nothing to do for ages. Such a different scene than I am used to.
Race plan was simple: Go out first mile in zone 2, then stick it in zone three for the duration. Goal: 2 hours.
It was very fun. No pressure, just a fun race, great weather. I hooked up with a single serving friend about a half mile in who was going at my pace. He was running a bit faster than I had planned to but sticking with him kept me moving well. We chatted and ran and all was right in the world.
He moved off at mile four and a half (and put fifteen minutes into me over 5.5 miles – brother was moving!) and I trucked down to the turnaround.
The course is out and back. At mile four you turn off the paved path onto a fire road. There is a small climb and then you plunge down a steep, sandy slope that had my heart beat well above threshold. There’s a flatter section, then you descend again, down a rough fire road. You spend a half mile going straight downhill knowing that once you hit the turnaround you have to go directly back the way you came.
I kept it easy after the turn around. A runner came up on me wearing a Wildflower shirt, so we chatted about how the uphill was like Beach. He passed me right as we came back to the paved section. I wasn’t marking the time, I was running on effort. I heard a woman running behind say that she wanted to make it in two hours and she was just on pace. I checked my watch and thought “Oh shit, I need to get on that if I’m going to make two hours!”
I hit two miles to go with exactly 24 minutes left and my heart rate had been solidly in zone 4 for a least a mile. That was scary for me. I was expecting a blow up or a throw up. I got stuck in and committed fully to my two hour goal. Time for…
I have never run so hard for so long. If I had planned it I would not have written “After the turn around, peg your heart rate in Zone 4 keep it there no matter how much you are hurting.” It worked though. I was keeping it under twelve minutes a mile. I passed my Wildflower friend when he stopped to walk an aid station (handheld water bottle, for the win).
I took a short walk break on the last hill and pushed up to the finish. Throughout the race, the miles had been spray painted on the paved path. As I crested the last hill on the ground it said “9.9 GO!!” Given that the end of this race tends to sneak up on you and I often miss the kick, I really appreciated it. It’s the little touches.
I did indeed “GO!!” and finished with about a minute to spare on my two hour goal.
The race start time was humane, almost leisurely, at 9AM. I got to the venue two hours before because my homie who was running the full (which started at 8AM) had picked up my packet for me. She even got my bib signed by The Oatmeal! Cheryl is the best and you should run with her.
The day of the race was the day of the cold snap! We have two seasons in California – warmer and drier and then sometime in November it’s colder and wetter. The drop is 20-30 degrees in a matter of days. No easing into fall, just, BAM, it’s colder now!
Cheryl bought me gloves, because she is the best ever. Gloves I was loving as I strolled around Raley Field – the race venue, while it was 45 degrees waiting for my packet. Looking back , the wandering was good – got me a bit warm, got my nerves out, but stupid. My car was warm!!
I got in a nice little jog with some faster work to get my heart rate up, dumped my jacket and gloves in the car and got ready to rumble.
For the first little bit the lure of pace was strong, but I held tight to heart rate. I tried to keep it right about 169, not too high, not too low, just even effort. The first mile was the longest. After that it got easier, just run, check heart rate, adjust – rinse and repeat. I took a gel every 30 minutes and carried my own bottle. I started with Gu Brew (Lemon Tea flavour is the bomb) for calories and electrolytes. After that ran I out I switched to water.
There were protestors, as this was the morning after the Paris shootings. Anti-refugee protesters. Lovely. I yelled at them, they yelled at me, I flipped them off and ran away. Literally. (That’s for you KJ!)
The miles went by so easily, just staying in the Zone, talking to other racers, thanking traffic control and volunteers. They would have gone by even more easily if there had been any porta potties on the course! I talked to the organizers later and there had been a miscommunication so the porta potties were not delivered correctly. I spent mile 3 through mile 10 needing to pee. Right at mile 10 there was a park bathroom right on the course. Good timing to drop some weight and push the effort up for the last three miles.
(Look at that beautiful bastard!)
(And yes, even if your Garmin says it was only 12.8 it was 13.1. Can you say lots of curves and tree cover? Also, the course was lovely and I highly recommend it. Lots of turns broke it up mentally, lots of tree cover, good water stops, well stocked, great swag. A – would race again.)
After my pee break I bumped up into Zone 4. I saw my buddy Noodle at her water stop, high fived her and settled in for a tempo run to the finish. Now, I didn’t get much faster, but it was the hilliest part of the very flat course. We were going through multiple underpasses and I maintained my speed through the uphills. A half mile before the finish was a wooden boardwalk that would have sucked a lot more if I didn’t run trails.
All through the race I had been near two women running with donuts around their waists like life preservers. The donuts beat me man. Someday redemption will be mine! As we came to the finish they had way more kick that I did. The half marathon, the full marathon, the 10K were all together at this point. The marathoners finishing at this point were outpacing us all, and I got the nice jolt of passing a crap ton of slower 10K-ers to get me through the last bit. I did manage a bit of a kick on the last 100 yards and passed one person right on the line.
Oh be still, my anal retentive heart!! If there is one thing I love more than going faster than I thought I could, it’s hitting my mark over a long distance. It also shows me that the online race time estimator that I used was spot on. The more than 12-minute PR? Also super dope!!
A great day! Great conditions, good training and fueling, good race organization, and most importantly, spot on race execution courtesy of yours truly.
So I’ve been trying to come up with a race plan for the Half Marathon, coming up this Saturday.
Woo Hoo! I love race plans!
Except I don’t have one. I’ve got a time goal, already went through that. It’s going by the wayside at the moment. I’ve been sick for five days – congestion, coughing, body aches. I’ve missed three training runs and I woke up this morning with spasms in my right upper back. The race plan has gone from “Aggressive PR” to “PR” to “dear god I hope I finish.”
Now it is taper time, so technically the hay is in the barn. I feel like crap, no energy, been eating poorly, and drinking too much coffee. I have no enthusiasm for race day right now. I don’t want to DNS but if I wake up with debilitating muscle pain on Saturday morning there is no way in hell I’m driving to Sacramento much less running thirteen miles when I get there.
That being as it is, the last time I set a half marathon PR I had no expectations. I was nursing what would become a massive hip injury and I didn’t think I was going to finish the race. I went to the start simply because I’d paid a lot of money for the privilege. That day I PR’d by more than 10 minutes so there’s something to be said for letting go of expectations and meeting my body where it is.
-Base goal race times on current fitness, not last spring’s fitness or a bucket list goal time.
I wanted to race 10k in an hour. I was watching the clock during lap one of the lake, trying to keep in a time range. I passed two women in the first mile – they were probably running half the distance I was and who gives a shit if you pass people in the first mile of a race that’s more than a mile long?
I was so worried about not being on pace for that goal that I went out too fast and then I got tense worrying about being too slow and then I got nervous about not feeling good on the second lap of the lake. I was a mess dudes, a mess.
-Yes, I can run far.
I seem to learn this one and then forget it over and over. I am still afraid in my deepest heart that I just can’t finish. Not fast or anything, I am worried that I literally will not be able to finish the distance. It’s rooted in the fact that my second race ever was a frickin’ marathon and I was genuinely afraid of not finishing. Ten years on from that and a lot of miles later I need to learn that I’m not gonna crack on a 6.2 miler. I only managed to relax and let the race come to me after 4 miles.
-Running by effort is way more effective than running by pace.
Lap one – my heart rate was all over the map. Lap two, when I gave up on hitting an hour and focused solely on keeping my heart rate in zone 4 – super even and consistent. The other reason my heart rate wasn’t consistent was that…
-I need to warm up.
I have two warm up levels. One comes after about fifteen minutes of warm up, the other after forty five minutes. My heart rate isn’t “actual” until I’ve been going for a while and the engine is nice and warm. A few factors were at play on Sunday – mainly that the Peanut was racing! I was distracted and didn’t set myself up to have a proper warm up. I got in a bit of a jog but nothing close to what has been successful for me in the past.
-I’m going to be fine for my A race…
This race wasn’t super perfect, no biggie. It wasn’t an A race, I didn’t taper at all (speed intervals on Friday) I didn’t fuel aggressively, and I haven’t been training specifically for this distance.
-…If I stick to the plan
The race time predictors I am looking at are telling me that – based on this race – I should be able to run my half marathon in 2:20 to 2:24. The slower end of the range would be a 13 minute PR. I will be smart! I will run based on my current fitness level, I will run based on level of effort and not speed. I will be patient but not overly conservative.
and I’ll be perfectly happy if I come in at 2:19 😛
No, you cannot skip sunblock for that one hour lunch time run, even if the temperature is pleasant.
Bra straps on sunburn suck.
I need a new mantra – getting out of bed has been a struggle this week.
Swim Test – 1000 yds in 25:15 2:32/100yd average
This was so so. I took it easy because I was worried about being able to finish the distance and it was my first swim with kicking after a few weeks of just pull buoy to rest my foot. (Did I mention I hurt my foot?)
FYI Rachel – yes, you can swim 1000 yds (dumbass) and if you go out too fast you know how to back off and recover while still swimming. Next time, a bit harder, eh?
My foot is well enough for light kicking in the pool – yay!
no kick sets and some buoy work still going on.
Bonus: Next Tri is a wetsuit race.
Run Test – 6 minutes – avg 8:03/mile
Pretty good! I was feeling crap and didn’t want to do it but I did it anyway. My mood and perceived energy level don’t seem to actually effect my athletic performance that much.
Based on treadmill runs that was RPE 9 for .75 miles.
On reflection, I’m quite pleased with that test. It felt like death and I wanted to stop but I like the result, so there.
(N.B. The Tilden Tough Ten is not sold out yet! It’s a great, cheap, local race. Get on it if your schedule allows!)
Anyway, Sprint triathlon, four weeks away! I jiggered my training plan and instead of plowing through and then having to make things up for two weeks I dropped back to the last rest recovery week, and will complete the last three week bloc in time to have a intense taper week and be race ready on May 31.
I’m feeling good about this decision. My energy was in the tank on Monday, I was not prepared to hit the most intense week of training ever (no joke, this is the most and most intensely I have ever trained, ’tis dope).
Wednesday morning I was scheduled to hit the bike for a really hard trainer session. The last time I used that video (The Long Scream, no intimidation there!) I cracked. I got eleven or so minutes in and could not hold my power. I dropped my effort and finished the video but at a much lower level that I was targeting. I was scared. I didn’t get out of bed, I didn’t do the workout. I rallied to hit the exercise bike in the gym at lunch – a poor substitute but I’m glad I made the effort.
This morning I was schedule once again to get up early and hit the bike trainer for a hard video. This time it was Fight Club and then a twenty minute run. I was intimidated and scared. I’d never run after such an intense bike workout. Then I figured out what happened on Wednesday because it happened again this morning.
I had a dream that I woke up and decided not to do the video, that it was too hard and I was too tired and I couldn’t do it. I dreamt that I changed my alarm and slept late. WTF brain? Today I managed to break through the mental fog to realize that I was dreaming and the alarm was not for a few more hours. It was still a struggle to get up and out and down to the bike but I’m damn proud of myself.
The workout itself was bollocks. My legs fell off about half way through. I couldn’t even approach my watts. I soldiered on based on RPE – I might not make the watts but I was going to do the work dammit. Then I went running and it felt great. I busted my ass on the bike for an hour and then had a nice and easy twenty minute run.
Then I left for work and shit got weird. I rode my bike the mile and a half to the train station and dropped it off at the valet (that’s how we roll in Oakland!) There is a short walk to the fare gates and I had plenty of time to get my train. I wanted to run. I really, really desired to run. I got in about fifty meters and it felt amazing! I wanted to ditch work and go hit about five miles of trails with my dog. Right now, I want to go running. I want to get moving, I feel amazing.
I’m feeling very optimistic for my triathlon in May. I think it’s going to go very, very well.
Have a great weekend y’all! May the crazy run strong in you.
…which is either a massive over or understatement, depending on how you look at it.
I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, which I had not planned into my training calendar. It came up and I went for it. It was super fun but it threw me off my rhythm.
I spent a week recovering and then I was planning on being in Irvine for the Zot Trot as a training day to get the feel for a triathlon without the pressure of an “A” race, i.e. I was gonna take it easy and have fun. I did not get down to Irvine. My husbeast’s band had a really important show scheduled for that weekend, which we figured out nine days before race day. So the Zot Trot got cancelled and I do not do very well with unfulfilled expectations.
That was two weeks ago. Right after the aborted triathlon we jumped right into preschool applications. This shit is crazy. We are applying to a handful of co-operative preschools which are cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time than a conventional school. Given that we have a bit more money than time, this seems good.
Apparently the time commitment starts before your kid is even accepted. Each school requires that we attend a tour during the school day. Every school’s tour times are overlapping, so we can’t do more than one a day, and they are all during the work day, so I have to take a half day at work for each one of them. We can take our kid to some of them but not to others. Some of them require an application to be mailed, some need an application fee, some need us to write about what we are hoping to get from the cooperative experience.
When I get to work late I don’t take a lunch. If I don’t take a lunch I’m not getting a lunchtime work out in. My energy levels are really low, I’m not eating well (e.g. not getting enough protein, or frankly enough calories, full stop), and I just feel spaced out and crappy.
I have been getting some runs in and I got out for an actual long bike ride on my road bike with my fancy clipless pedals. I totally fell on my bike ride because it had been more than three years since I had ridden outdoors on my clipless. Thus I totally forgot to clip out at a red light. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and the rest of the ride was quite easy. My runs, well, my runs have been amazing.
I am coming out of the base training or “off” season. Lots of slow running. I have been feeling very questionable about my fitness after these disruptions to my training. Then I looked at the stats. I don’t look at my heart rate while I’m running. I’m trying to learn to gauge my effort zones by putting in the efforts as I run and then checking afterwards if I was in the zone I was aiming for.
My runs lately have all been in Zone 1-2 e.g. “Slow, hella slow.” But that’s what the plan called for so that’s what I was doing.
Last October a 30 minute easy run was just over two miles. 13:36/mile
Today an easy 30 minute run was 2.7 miles. 11:16/mile
Same level of effort, similar average heart rate, more than half a mile farther. That’s awesome. For an even more stark comparison, in 2009, in my first triathlon season I did a timed mile as fast I could go. It took me more than 12:30, for one mile, and I was cooked. I can now jog a minute faster per mile than that at a low level of effort.
It’s very nice to have some stats to show that consistent training is yielding promising results.
Starting next week I’m out of Base training and into something a bit different…