Back On Track
|#1 6:26 #2 6:26 #3 6:25 #4 6:20 #5 6:10|
|#1 6:26 #2 6:26 #3 6:25 #4 6:20 #5 6:10|
Finally, on to the easy week. Thanks to my little experiment with the foam roller, I survived this past week surprisingly well and can cautiously say that my shin issues seem to be going away.
|The most distressing thing about my trip to Massachusetts is that I'm not going to be able to visit the National Plastics Museum as I had hoped. What kind of respectable museum is only open from Wednesday through Sunday, I ask you?? As everyone knows, pink lawn flamingoes were invented and are manufactured right here in Leominster and here I am missing out on learning all the details of that fascinating history. Truly, this is a crime.|
There's not a whole lot to blab about here in terms of race reporting. I spent most of the race trying to just stay in sight of a teammate of mine, before losing contact with her for mile 6 - 9. At that point, I got a bit of a second wind from a CarbBoom gel and a mental boost from passing a West Side member who beat me in the last half. The last four miles weren't really any more painful than the rest of the race had been so I just kept pushing through to the end. I caught up to my teammate with a mile to go and just ran scared the rest of the way, knowing that she does a lot of speedwork and could probably outkick me at the end. Third-frickin-place. That's really something for me. And I'm pretty sure that means that I'm in the money for the NYRRC's Half Marathon Grand Prix series. Not a whole lotta cash, but something like $50 I think...enough to cover my entry fees at any rate and hey, who doesn't like winning money?
It started in my solar plexus on Sunday afternoon...my insides just hurt. The muscles in my abdomen, my diaphragm, the connective tissue between my ribs, my tummy. Everything in my torso just ached and I wasn't really comfortable unless I was lying down. Then yesterday morning I ran and griped and complained almost the whole way about what crap I felt like. I did feel better afterwards, so I guess it was worth dragging myself out there. Today, it's all in my legs. Quads, calves and hamstrings. I guess it's a good kind of sore, but that's not what I'm thinking when I'm wincing down a flight of stairs. I'm really hoping my easy nine this morning will have worked out some of those kinks for me since I'm planning on going salsa dancing tonight. We haven't spun around the dance floor since my brother's wedding a month ago, so I figure we better get out there before we get too rusty.
And I know this is a little beyond the realm, but hey, everybody's got to have a dream.
No photo this time, but I got another fabulously tacky, holographic-star-festooned dust catcher, this time for winning our little media challenge race, so this one is even bigger than the last. I actually ran the distance a little slower this time around, but the temp was much higher and the humidity was definitely worse than a month ago. Plus I didn't have a fast girl right on my heels for the second lap like I did last time. I figure the race can substitute for a speed workout this week, since it's basically 3 1/2 one mile repeats at 20 secs faster than marathon pace, just with no rest in between.
My next race is actually a short, fast 5K at the end of the month, but I'm not planning on doing any kind of special speed work for it. I'm sure I'd run better with some quarter repeats under my belt, but looking at the big picture, it doesn't do much for my marathon training and it definitely increases the risk of injury.
Tomorrow will be my first run up at Rockefeller State Park since last fall. I'm dreading the utter steaminess of it all, but nonetheless, it will be nice to do a long run somewhere other than the park.
|7/10||7 miles||8:45 pace, hurt like hell|
|7/11||9 miles||9:10 pace|
|7/12||7 miles||8:22 pace|
|7/13 #1||9 miles||8:24 pace|
|#2||7 miles||3.5 mile race @ 6:17 pace|
|7/14||9 miles||8:53 pace, v. hot & sunny|
|7/15||18 miles||7:30-7:55 pace(Ridge Run)|
|7/16||6 miles||8:50 pace,really hot|
I am conditioning my body to perform efficiently under duress. That's what I tell myself over and over again as I plow through the dense, hot air that currently makes up the lower portion of our atmosphere. Today's run was actually not that bad, so I suppose I might be adapting to these miserable conditions. I don't think it's dangerous to be running out there as long as I'm making sure to stay hydrated, but I don't feel compelled to keep up any particular pace. I figure that even a slow run in high heat and humidity will make me stronger and tougher. Besides, there just no way to know what kind of race day conditions I might need to be prepared for.
Today's New York Times has an article about recent advances in what we know about the physiology of distance running in onerous conditions. Beijing is expected to be a particularly terrible place for a marathon, not just because of the heat and humidity, but also because of the extreme levels of air pollutants there. One exercise physiologist who visited Beijing measured the air quality and found high levels of carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, "all of which can inflame and constrict the air passages in the lungs and set off asthma attacks even in people who have never had them." So how do you train for that?
I don't think I'm ever going to have to worry myself too much about marathon-racing conditions in Beijing, but it's just another set of variables to throw into the endurance training matrix. I think it was the Bronx half marathon three years ago that saw runners really suffering through the distance and ending up with times far slower than the heat index would have predicted. It turned out that smoke and chemicals from forest fires up in Canada had screwed with the air quality all down the northeastern seaboard.
The article did have some other interesting tidbits about how marathoners can maximize their performances, even in less than ideal conditions. Apparently glycerin is a much better hydrant than water or sports drinks because it allows you to stockpile fluids without increasing your blood volume, but I don't know if you can just go out and easily buy that. Also, and of course we all know this, grazing is better than gorging. Athletes who consume their calories steadily throughout the day (rather than eating fewer, bigger meals) lose body fat and perform much better in anaerobic stress tests. This is definitely an area where I can improve, since I often put off my first meal of the day until two or three 'o clock and then don't eat dinner until eight or nine. Plus it's a good excuse to go buy snacks and energy bars, which I usually consider a splurge. On that note, I think I'll go find me some lunch.
A hectic morning routine kept me from running my planned nine this morning, but I still got in a respectable seven and no, it didn't really feel all that much cooler, even though rationally I know that it was. I guess there is something to be said for the availability of air that is legitimately of a lower temperature than the body into which it is being inhaled, but the volume of saline liquid that continued to stream copiously from my brow and into my eyes belied that the conditions were truly any more hospitable to human exertion. (Was that a sentence or what?) I loaded up on the gatorade before I headed out and made frequent stops for water, so I've managed to avoid the dehydration headache that often nags me after these little sub-saharan jaunts.
At water stop #2 I ran into a young woman that I used to work with (who wisely left this dissipated company the first chance she got) and chatted briefly with her about her training. I see her out in the park nearly every morning, floating along at an alarmingly rapid pace with her training partners, like a bouncy pack of gazelles. She does indeed have her sights set on an Olympic qualifying time this fall in Chicago and just hearing her say that triggered a glandular surge of jealous bile because I know, with a 1:20 half already under her belt, she is almost certainly capable of reaching that goal.
What a horrible emotion. It's not like other people's success in any way hinders my own, but I still feel such a pang of longing when I hear that someone else is getting close to that place that I so badly want to be. Why can't I just be happy when I hear about other runners' proud accomplishments? I honestly don't think I'm a bitter person and I definitely appreciate that I am very fortunate to have the natural abilities that I do, but still, just that feeling of almost painful yearning...I guess that's the hunger that drives me. I guess as long as the cravings for an ambition are more uncomfortable that the efforts required to reach that goal, the impetus remains to strive and suffer and aspire.
I'm having mixed success with my little nutrition experiment where I'm trying to distribute my calorie intake more evenly throughout the day. I did pretty well the second half of last week, but yesterday was just a disaster. After running ten miles in the morning, I consumed 32 oz of blueberry tea and then nothing until nearly 5 'o clock, when I inhaled half a plate of nachos, three greasy stuffed potato skins, a mozzarella stick, two pints of beer, a shot of tequila (with lime & salt), ten mini milano cookies and at least one bottle of hard lemonade. I attempted to salvage the day's diet with half of a chocolate milkshake at 9pm, but I'm not sure that really helped matters. At the very least though, I have a pretty good idea of why I felt like crap on my run this morning.
|I knew from the beginning that the socks I was wearing were too thick for the tightly fitting racing flats I planned to wear, but circumstances dictated that I had no choice. Besides, I was still hoping that it really wouldn't be that much of an issue. And it wasn't really. In a way, the pain of the skin being rubbed off the top of my third toe served to distract me from the unpleasantness of the heat reflecting off the Shea Stadium parking lot and the desert-grade glare that bore like a nuclear blast into my brain.|
Beyond the blister issue, the race went about as I'd hoped. I ran a 6 flat first mile, took a deep breath and eased into a 6:22 second mile and then pulled myself together for a 6:07 last mile. A teammate passed me and led me through most of that third mile, so she really helped me to stay focused through the last part of the race. She beat me by one second, but I think it was worth it to have her pushing me to get under that old 19:12 PR mark. I feel really good about the race, especially coming after all the mileage I've been doing. Now I just hope the nasty blister doesn't interfere with me launching into my next high mileage cycle on Monday.
Oh, that they could all be this easy and rewarding.
|7/24||7 miles||8:40 pace, really tired|
|7/25||6 miles||3.5 mile race, 22:12|
|7/26||7 miles||7:59 pace|
|7/27||7 miles||7:45 pace|
|7/29||4 miles||5K @ 6:10 pace|