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July 31, 2005

what a slacker

During every run this week I've composed blog entry after blog entry in my head. They were all witty and sparkling and wise, and they captured perfectly what it's like to be an average joe running mid-80s mileage with nothing to show for it. Of course I didn't post any of it and I forgot all the witty and sparkling stuff since then, so all we have now is a somewhat dry and self-pitying account of the past training week.

Sunday I ran 6 miles at 9:50 pace after working all night. Well, it wasn't exactly all night; I was babysitting a process that required me to get up every hour or two to check on it. Anyway, I just puttered around the neighborhood thinking pollyanna-ish thoughts: so what if I have to work overnight two weekends a month - at least I have time to run.

Monday was another recovery day. I ran 6 miles in the morning and 4 in the evening, and there's nothing else to say about that.

I was dreading Tuesday's workout: 11 miles with 5 at 6:40 - 6:55 pace. I really did an excellent job convincing myself I couldn't do it. I ran 2.5 at 6:51 pace, then jogged 400m, then ran 2.5 at 6:47 pace. Excellent, excellent example of the power of negative thinking.

On Wednesday I ran 15 including about 4 miles of little hills. I really tried to hammer the uphills and float the downhills.

Thursday was 10 more miles of recovery. I ran a little over 6 in the morning, then ran just under 4 just ahead of a violent, yellow-sky thunderstorm.

Friday's run was sponsored by the word CADENCE, and was a study in how to get up a hill quickly without killing yourself. Somewhere early in that 12 miles I got my legs going at a pretty good clip, and decided to see how long I could hold it. It turned out to be a lot longer than I thought, and the longer I ran, the faster I ran. This was probably the high point of the week.

Saturday was a joke the running gods played on me for 22 miles. I wasn't sore or even very tired, but I could not get moving. I finally ran some high 8s the last 2 or 3 miles. My average pace for the whole thing was 9:28, and it took nearly 3 1/2 hours.

The coming week is 81 miles, including a six-mile tempo run to talk myself out of and a 16-miler with 12 at marathon pace. I'm on call this week too, so sleep may be hard to come by. Oh well, so what if I work 7 days a week - my husband takes care of the house and the bills, so I don't really have to do anything but work, sleep, and run.

Posted by joe positive at 2:59 PM | Comments (2)

July 23, 2005

week 6 done, and other milestones

Today I finished off the 6th week of training with a fairly slow 20-miler. This brought me to 86 miles for the week, which is my highest-mileage week ever. With 6 weeks in, I'm a third of the way to the marathon. I don't feel any magic yet, but at least I'm not injured.

Which leads to another milestone of sorts - I have made it to the end of the Tour de France without a race-threatening injury. Last year at this time I was running upper 70s with lots and lots of hard days, racking up hollow victories from 5Ks (3 sub-20 5Ks, whoohoo! I have arrived!), and then one day I woke up and noticed a sore leg. 10 weeks later I owned up to the stress fracture that it was, and anyone who's read the blog entries from last fall and winter knows the story and doesn't need to hear it again. Anyway, every week that goes by without injury elicits a great big thank-you from me.

Other stuff: my dentist prescribed some antibiotics which made an immediate and huge difference in the way I feel. I'm talking hours. I really didn't think antibiotics would work so fast, but something happened and I'm really grateful for whatever it was. My appetite is back (boy is it ever) and I have lots more energy, and I don't feel like crawling into a grave anymore.

Posted by joe positive at 4:48 PM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

the hard part of the week is over

Or at least it seems that way.

Last week I had a fair amount of dental work - 7 teeth pulled, including 3 wisdom teeth - and though it's not as bad as it sounds (I keep telling myself), it seems to have taken a lot out of me. There's only been a little pain but I'm really tired and ragged out, and it's been hard to eat, and I've been pretty crabby. Sounds like a perfect excuse to slack during workouts, but for some reason I've been able to stick to the program. I've even stuck to my resolve not to stop home and whine during medium-long runs.

Anyway, I've done 49 of what I hope will be 86 miles this week, and tomorrow is a 6-mile recovery, and I feel like a kid who knows there'll be a substitute teacher at school tomorrow.

Posted by joe positive at 7:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2005

I am not mentally tough

Week 5 of the Plan included the first tiptoe into the 80s (mpw) and the first tempo workout I managed to run properly. But apart from the long run and the tempo run I mostly ran like a 300-pound 300-year-old, and I finally had to face the fact that I'm a real wuss, mentally.

This training plan includes a fair number of medium-long (12 - 17 mile) runs, and no matter the distance, once I get within 3 or 4 miles of the end I switch to full-on 5K mode, which is to say I am saturated with suffering and spend lots of time inventing reasons to slow, walk, or quit. I haven't done any of those (yet), but focussing on how bad I feel and how unfair the world is for making me run in this heat/pain/rain/dark/sun/whatever doesn't make the remaining miles very fun.

Yesterday my husband joined me for the last 3 miles of a 13-mile run, and he managed to drag my sorry ass out of the 8s for a little bit. It was a big surprise to me to be able to run that fast, because I'd just spent 3 or 4 miles convincing myself I was dying of heatstroke so it was ok to run 9:30s. Today I set out alone for a proper 16 miles (slow, faster, then even faster). I told myself beforehand that I needed to stop saving myself for later and just run the paces, and for the first 12 miles I actually did just that. But after stopping for water at 12 miles I lost most of my focus, and only managed to run hard every other quarter-mile for the remaining 4.

I hope this will pass. Or rather, I hope I will drag myself out of it. This is one area where running with people used to be helpful (back when I was running with people). Now that I run alone 99.98% of the time, I'll have to fix it myself.

Posted by joe positive at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)

July 11, 2005

recovery to write home about

well, not really, but I'm sitting here waiting for it to be 8:30 and time to apply a patch to a server (my husband asked, "is it leaking?") so I may as well take a minute to write about my day. Which was, without a doubt, recovery with a lower-case "r." I woke up this morning much more sore than I can remember being the day after a long run, just tired and achy and feeling like crap. Ran 5.25 at something slower than 9:30 pace. The 40-minute drive to work usually tells me what my body really feels like that day; if I limp more than a few strides after getting out of the car, I know I need to watch it. After this morning's commute I knew I needed to watch it.

All day long I felt crappy and tired and grouchy, but I forced myself to the gym for 3.75 nothing miles on the treadmill and wouldn'tcha know I began to feel good! I played aroud with pace and incline, and when I was done I felt better than I had all day. I even hopped on the stair machine for 15 minutes. Let's hope this carries over to the tempo run tomorrow.

Posted by joe positive at 7:43 PM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2005

the week just blew by

The week just blew on by, and my weekend officially started last night at about 8:30 pm when the process I'd been babysitting since Friday night finally completed. Unfortunately, my weekend ends the same time as everyone else's. Next weekend I don't have to work, yay.

The current hurricane did not hit us but came close enough to make the weather very windy and rainy and generally hellish for GPSs. Today's run was supposed to be 20 miles, typical slow/faster/faster, but the GPS kept losing the satellite signal and gave up for good just after 10.5 miles. I decided to forget about real distance and just run for 3 hours. After 2:20 I stopped home for water and the last 5K of today's TdeF stage, and then plowed through the last 40 minutes like a draft animal (the first 10 minutes of this were a real struggle). Because I was feeling generous (and because I'd noted an 8:15-ish avg pace before the GPS quit) I decided to call this 21 miles. I was sore from the minute I stopped running, and I'm not sure why. After a nap and a bath and an afternoon spent (mostly) sitting or lying around I feel some better, but I hope I will feel better still. I have 80 miles and another round of dental surgery coming up this week.

Posted by joe positive at 5:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2005

An evening I don't have to work

All of the heavenly bodies must have converged in some special way, because I managed to leave work without any reason to VPN in later, whoohoo! Partay = eat a nice supper, then settle in to watch the replay of today's Tour de France stage and hope I don't fall asleep before the end like I did last night. But if I do, oh well.

Yesterday's training was nothing special but for the fact that it was the first double of this Plan; otherwise it was total recovery. This morning I ran 14 and tried to stick to the spirit of the Plan, which is to say that I ran the 2nd 5 faster than the first, and the last 4 faster than that. I was feeling right proud of myself until I went to leave for work and noticed exquisite pain in the arch of one foot. Once at work I iced with frozen peas a few times which helped the foot, and then I noticed some pain and tightness right where the stress fracture was last year oh my god. Hours later it's just a bit sore, and it's completely muscular (I think, I hope), but I'm glad tomorrow's workout is just a 6-mile trot around the neighborhood.

Posted by joe positive at 7:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2005

did not start

I'd planned to race 5K this morning. I shifted my training schedule around to accommodate it, moving Sunday's 19 to Saturday, shifting some other day's 12 to yesterday, etc. But anyone that knows me knows how much I hate 5Ks, and this morning when I woke up to sore calves and hips from the fast 19 2 days ago, I just said screw it.

Instead, I did what the P plan originally called for - 10 miles with 10 x strides. This went fine. I wore flats, which probably didn't help my calves much but reminded me what flats feel like (among other things, they feel like something you shouldn't wear if your calves are sore). Hours later, the general soreness has dissipated but one calf is still mighty tight and feels like someone hit it with a baseball bat. I've slathered it in capsaicin cream and wrapped it in an ace bandage, and I've been stretching it (gently) every chance I get, and it's getting better. This doesn't feel like an injury, more like I've worked hard for a few days and so the leg is sore. Tomorrow is all easy running - 6 in the morning and 4 at night - and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Posted by joe positive at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2005

beat training, pete training

I've been a real slacker all week about posting, but it's a 3-day weekend and I don't have to work at all so I have time to catch up on sleep, blogposting, reading (Graham Greene's A Burnt Out Case for the 29th time), tv-watching (tour de france!), and all the rest of it.

This week was the 3rd week of Pfitzinger, and it's getting better. During the first week I ran consistently too fast, which helped wipe me out for the 2nd week, during which I was consistently too slow. This week I've clawed my way back up to consistently just a little bit too slow. Of course, it's damn hot. I know that training in this weather cannot compare to the benefits to be had by training through the heat and humidity of Michigan, but as we sometimes say in German, "ve sink ziss may haf helped uss anyvay. Zumhow." If I still have working legs in October, Baltimore's weather will feel like heaven.

I decided to race one of the many July 4 5Ks, so I moved today's 19 to yesterday, which gave me 77 for the week. The speed for the week was 4 tempo miles in the middle of Tuesday's 10. I figured tempo meant 6:50 - 7:10 these days, so after a warmup I said "go" and proceeded to run 2 miles way too fast. It was uncomfortable and felt awful, and I could neither find a rhythm nor slow down, so I stopped home, declared to my husband that I could not finish the workout, stated further that marathoning was not for me, and whined for a few more minutes. Then I jogged a half-mile, ran 2 miles way too fast for tempo, cooled down. I'm glad I did the whole distance, but it's not as good as actually running the 4 miles all at once. Week after next is another tempo run - this one 5 miles instead of 4 - and I really want to do the whole thing without stopping to whine.

Looking at my training log, I see that last year I ran upper 70s for the whole month of July, then one morning noticed the "sore leg" which turned out to be a stress fracture. I'm running differently this year - more recovery-pace runs, no short repeats on the track, etc - but still I worry a little. This time last year there was no doubt in my mind I was going to run Chicago and do a lot better than I had in my first marathon. Ha.

Posted by joe positive at 1:18 PM | Comments (0)