Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb 27

8.6 in 1:12:24. Sadly, 2 min slower than last time (Jan 9). Why... it was 23 degrees that day but 46 today (was still a bit hot in the bra). I wore soccer socks that day (compression). I think both were significant factors. I think I'll be wearing compression socks race-day. It felt quicker and easier, though. I think that's just because I'm getting used to the course, and because my body's adapting (although not enough for a course PR). Oh well, a good run nevertheless. 8:25 pace... good. That's about my goal pace... going at that pace... 1:50:17! And the race won't be hilly... but it'll be hotter... boo heat!! And holding it for another 4.5 miles... a challenge, but I should be there in 2 months. Good.

Splits> 8:45 b (vs. 8:49 last time), 5:59 p (vs. 6:02 last time), 7:16 c (same as last time!), 7:09 p(vs. 7:21 last time), 6:04 b (vs. 6:00 last time), 13:57 c (vs. 13:21 last time... okay, some of the gap is explained by the fact that I was talking on the phone while running for this leg... so the 2 min may not be that bad), 8:05 p (vs. 7:15... phew, slow - again, phone), 15:07 (vs. 14:46). Ok, then, not bad. Most of the slowness is explained by the phone.

It was nice to be able to pull off a second long run within a week. This is a good sign. I almost feel like I'm back in my groove (being able to do this distance a couple times a week). I'm still lacking on the endurance side (doing 14-16's one every other week), but once I make runs like this more regular, I'm sure those will come. It's like base-building #2. So happy that #1 was a success.

Injury report: rt butt was aggravated for a while towards the middle of the run, but it got better. Had some mean blisters on my arches. Wore old 3's w/ Stab.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feb 25

A run unlike any other I've had in a while.

Today, I was tired from working regular hours, plus extra nightly meetings. I was feeling surprisingly good after yesterday's nine. Minimal wear-and-tear. No soreness or tiredness, just my inner knees feeling a bit poundy/burny. Seems like it's on a bone, right on the surface, a burning sensation. I guess that's good, that it's not damaged connective tissue or other soft stuff, and that it almost seems like it's just on the surface. So going up steps wasn't easy, because the outsides of my thighs on each leg, close to my knee felt unstable, but nothing serious. I just went slowly.

Because I was tired, and was already feeling kind of cold in my house, I kept debating between going to the gym and biking, or staying inside and doing strength. Finally, after much procrastinating and a fair bit of eating (unsatiability maybe to re-fuel from yesterday? or maybe because I didn't have my usual two mid-day snacks). Anyway, made it, and had brought my racing flats, in case I wanted to test out a bit of slow recovery running.

I ended up trying in my Brooks Trance 8's with arches, and it was slow but doable goings at first. Soon, though, I loosened up, and things were feeling easy, so I'd crank it up, and before you know it, even paces that are usually challenging for me felt almost effortless! I was amazed. Did yesterday's workout somehow improve my cardio system that much? I didn't think adaptations could happen that quickly, but man! I didn't want to push my luck, so I decided to cap it at 4.1. It would bring my 2-day total to the goal 13.1, anyway. So 4.1 in 30:48, 7:31 ave. Something that I'd be happy with any day, but especially on a day that should be a recovery run. And I was just looking back at my paces for 4-ish-milers in the past 2 months, and there's actually a decent amount of speeding up between Feb and Jan... I hadn't noticed it before. I had just thought that Feb was more consistent weekly mileage, but lacking in longer long runs vs. Jan, but there was more speed, so progress is being made!

Splits> 8:29 (needed warming up after yesterday's tightness), 14:48 for 2, 7:30 for 1.1. Took a mile to get into the groove, but relatively flew for the rest.

After the run, it almost felt like I hadn't done anything cardio-wise... so strange.

I think yesterday's stretching and the consistent icing post-run have helped. Strengthening... hard to do consistently b/c I often feel on the brink of injury or am really tired, and it seems like a strenghtening exercise may be the thing that pushes me over the line... dunno.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb 24

Back after 3 days off. My plan: after Sat's run, I spent Sun just building up endurance in a non-impact way on the bike (although not without irritating what I just guess is the bursa in my rt butt). Then Monday, I was long overdue for a strength session - if you don't do it once/6 days at least, I lose it. Then, a break on Tuesday, prepping for what I hoed would be a Wed night run in the dark. The headlamp I ordered would come just in time for it, too.

Well, the light came, but it was raining, and it's not warm out, either. So... a run in the cold rain in the dark on very uneven ground... or an indoor treadmill at about 71 degrees... Went home after Bible Study and hit the treadmill.

The first few miles went by so slowly. I kept worrying/wondering how far I could go, both because of uncertainty about what my body could handle, and because I'd have to cut whatever I was doing short if anyone was waiting in line for the treadmill. Went slow, hoping to make it a long run. 3 finally passed by. As it gets closer to closing time, the chances of people showing up is usually slimmer, so things looked up, and the miles started going by faster. It was nice watching the Olympics while running. Nothing better. As an aside, I've had a very satisfying Olympic experience this year - I've watched so much of it, that I'm satisfied.

Anyway, my inner knees were a bit burny at work today, just a little. And they were a bit groany at times during the run, but I realized that telling myself that I was doing a super long run, and that I had lots more to go, made me loosen up somehow. It's kind of strange. And loosening up resulted in better form - higher knee drive, higher kick back, instead of staying tightened up. It's more efficient... funny that it kind of happense automatically when you know you're going to be in it for a while. So whenever things started hurting, I'd tell myself that I had a long way to go, and my form would adjust, and things would stop hurting. Excellent!

So I was at 6, then kept triggering form tweaks to make it to 7, then decided it wasn't much more to bring it to 8, then figured that I could probably make it to 9 without injury, and I lasted... barely, I'd say. I kind of feel like I was kind of riding the line and barely avoiding crossing it. The last couple hundred meters felt very risky... could be because I knew I was close and was tightening up rather than loose. Hard to say. But I made it.

I knew I had to ice afterwards, so I stayed as long as I could before being out in my bra in wet clothes and an ice bath in cold air got to be a bit much. Hit that 30-min fueling window with a Whey Powder + Acai drink, a mini-PB-WW-Honey muffin (supposed to be a cookie, which I made in a muffin tin because I don't have a cookie sheet, but turned out to be more like bread b/c I had dumped lots of the PB oil), and a banana.

Splits> 8:18, 8:19, 8:13, 8:13, 8:13, 8:11, 8:12, 8:05, 8:11. 9 mi in 1:14:00, 8:13 ave. Oh yes, the best part, I used a 1 percent incline, because at 0 degrees, it's almost as if you're getting a downhill advantage, due to wind resistance. At 8:13, if I had done it at 0 degrees, it would have been like going at 8:34, so this was a legit 8:13. If I had done this effort level at 0 degrees, it's like going at 7:54. (See for the conversions). So I think I have improved. Yay base. Boo line, but I'll ride you for now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feb 21

I ran 4x this week, which is more than usual, so as much as I wanted to run today, I didn't. Reasons to run: 1) beautiful weather... so nice it would've been too hot, and 2) a CM half "teammate" ran 9 yesterday, and I was exhausted after 5. I haven't run 9 since May of last year. But that spurs me on, haha.

The way things are going right now, I'd run out of gas by 45-60 min, because that's as long as I've been training, and that's all my body is used to, so I know I have to somehow condition myself, even if it's not running. So I biked today. 100 min... 1:40, which is 5 away from my goal time, which actually may be 10min faster than what I reasonably can accomplish on a likely hot day.

So the biking was fine - 22.0 mi in 1:40, burning 750Cal. I ate 1 Shot Blok at 45 and another at 1:30... seemed good. I won't be eating 30-Cal bloks on the run, b/c they're harder to chew, though. It was nice to have water right in the bottle holder to drink - had 1 Dasani over the ride. These carbs need water to go down with it to help it digest and all go down. With 100Cal Gu's that I'll use race-day, I can't follow that pattern as easily... although at a higher effort level, 100 may very well be needed per fueling.

It was hard to walk after getting off the recumbent bike, though. Don't know how triathletes do it. Your legs get locked in a certain movement pattern, and it's hard to loosen them up.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feb 20

EHS trail @ 11am. Wore 3's w/ Stab and soccer jersey. Splits> 9:17, 9:21, 9:05, 9:03, 9:07. Interesting that I started slowly. Like I mentioned before, I want to try to figure out what causes slow starts. Stayed up late last night (and somewhat late other nights this week), although I did sleep in some and laid in bed for a while.

Knees were getting a bit bangy by the end, so stopped the run at 5 - risk management. Maybe I'll need to just start pushing through it anyway, if I want to make it in April. Sadly, increasing mileage increases injury risk, so as you push towards the goal, you risk losing it all. Hmm... marathon dreams are great, but right now, my mileage is more suited towards completing 10K's. Shorter distances like that would also allow less training time, which is a benefit, when you're waiting for your turn on the treadmill night after night. Not as much excitement, build-up, epic-ness (and medals) with 10K's, though. We'll see.

I had been wondering why my calves seemed perpetually sore, and I have a guess. Since I've been concentrating more on forefoot landings, that's been stressing my calves? Sounds reasonable, and it's one step towards building up for barefoot running.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feb 18

A good 4.2 in 31:11, 7:25 ave. Splits> 7:30, 7:28, 7:30, 7:19, 1:22 for 0.2. Pretty [surprisingly] fast from start... still dunno why it's sometimes like that and sometimes so slugglish. 1224's w/o arches again - fine. So hard to breathe today - maybe lots of CO2 in the air (3 others exercising there)? The heat of the room?

A bit sore today - mostly in calves. Rt knee still seems to be missing some cartelidge or something, but decent.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feb 17

Running... less desirable now. It's like I've been in a holding pattern for a while. Not much more mileage than in Jan when I started being more consistent. Haven't pushed paces that much either. I guess it's okay if you think of it as base building, getting ready for some shooting up later on. Can't count on too much of that, since long runs need to be built up gradually. We'll see. I have about 2 months left, and let's say I can handle 8 now if I push... adding 5 over 8 weeks seems okay.

Today, 3.1 in 22:19, 7:12. Started pretty fast from the start. I wonder what makes some days easy to start off quick, while others take building up. Can't think of any special sleep or eating patterns yet... maybe if I'd check my log... another day. I'm tired. Splits> 7:16, 15:03 for the last 2.1. I thought I could maybe pick it up later on, but I didn't have it in me. Starting that fast maybe had something to do with it, dunno.

Oh yeah, I went arch-less on this run. A 2xBoston-er PT said that I should try either arches with my current curve-lasted shoes, or no arches in straight-lasted shoes. I had been doubling up arches and last when I wore the 1224's in the past, but I decided to give his advice a try today. It was kind of remarkable how cushioned it felt. Pronation, to a certain extent, is a good thing and allows your foot to do what it was made to do. So it felt better than usual. Maybe if many miles are logged like it, issues would develop, but for the 3.1, it was fine. I can probably increase the distance done arch-less in those over time.

Breathed hard, couldn't breathe deep enough... wonder why I've been having that issue lately.

Downhill skiers. It takes guts to zoom down at frightening speeds and then to handle having your skis ripped off as you get clobbered by the ground coming at you at 70mph and to get up and walk away. Wow...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb 15

A quick run between after-hours work and the gym closing time. 3.1 in 22:44, 7:20 pace. Splits> 7:57, 7:15, 6:52, 0:39. I worked about 10 hrs today and hadn't slept enough last night and had a good run, so I expect some good sleeping tonight.

Wore Starter tee and my new 3's (1st time) with arches. Knew it would be a quick run, so stepped up the pace over time. Getting tired by the end from the effort. Bod mostly okay. Iced for quite a while post.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb 14

5.3 in 41:34, 7:51/mi. Hamstrings had been feeling sore to the point of strained the past two days, but they were okay today. Treadmill, 7pm, not long after eating salmon. Splits> 8:00, 8:00, 7:54, 7:52, 9:46 for the last 1.3. Took 2 to loosen up. The next 2, my tummy was feeling the difficulty of digesting while running. The last 1.3, it felt better on my joints (rt knee) to pick up the pace.

15 tridips, 2:30 plank, 200 crunches, 2min 6in, 30/40/40 leg lifts/clam, 1:00 side planks hard to dip, 1:00 6in, 25 superman, 55 pillow, 35 pushups show then fast for last 10. As mentioned previously, hamstrings/lower butt sore/strained, glutes and shins some soreness.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feb 11

Hope my knees will be okay.

3.1 in 24:26, 7:59 ave. Splits> 7:59, 7:59, 7:59 even. Kind of dragged on. Was sore today, mostly in my calves. Wanted to get in some miles, though.

Afterwards, I was still wanting a bit more, so I did the Jillian Michaels workout DVD. It was good to get more full range-of-motion work, since usually, I just move along one plane, while other muscles don't get used much. It was good to sort of stretch out with all of her different moves, but those squats can do a number on your knees. My left one was popping a lot, and my right one got yoinked on the upper part. I hope they'll be okay. I'm tired. May get snowed in this weekend - maybe I can catch up on sleep then.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb 10

Back in business. Easy 5.0 in 38:56, 7:47 ave. Splits> 8:15, 7:54, 7:52, 7:46, 7:06. Up until the 3, I was just hoping to make it to 3. But somehow, I felt looser at the 3. As I mentioned earlier, the day after my 7.0 trail run preceded by an almost raced 3.1, my lat knees were grinding/burning when I walked, and my left hip was off. The knees were mostly better yesterday and all better today, although there still seems to be a kink in my hip. Not a big issue, though. I wasn't smooth during today's run, but after the 3, I felt loose, and 4 went by so easily, that I bumped up the last mile to a 7:00ish pace (because of the looseness and because there were people waiting for the treadmill). I'm glad I'm not crippled.

Ice bathed a long time afterwards. It's easier when you listen to a podcast while doing it. Stay in for a few minutes, and your legs get numb, and then you don't really feel it anymore, so it doesn't matter. I only go in until a couple of inches above me knee.

3 days ago... 60 min strength including PT. 250 crunches, 2:30 plank, 2:00 6in, 40 pushups, 35/40/30 leg lifts/clam, 15 tridips, 25/25 frog/tad, 55 pillow, 2x40 calf, pt elastic, billy. Knee was bangy sometimes earlier in the day but fine by the time of S at night.

So some guesses about what possibly caused my knee pain...
1. The trail 7.0 2 days earlier
2. The trail 7.0 2 days earlier on top of a raced 3.1 the day before
3. Wore 4's for the trail (thought they were more supportive and more cushioned, but they are older)
4. Strength session day after the 7.0 and the 3.1 was too much (quad dips were a bit painful that night, but didn't think too much of it)

My calves were very stiff and tight on the days my knees were hurting. That's a big clue, but I don't know enough to figure out the connection. The tibialis anterior is on the outside. My lat quads were also somewhat tight, so it could've been some of that, too. Strange that it was the lat and not the medial side, though, since I overpronate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

FAITH: Prayer

My knees are burning/stinging, as if there's bone-on-bone grinding when I walk. And yet, for once, I'm almost glad of it. If they weren't that way today, I probably would've run, eaten, blogged, logged, and read up more on training and nutrition. But instead, even my attempt at cycling was foiled, since someone was using the equipment. So I went back to my apt and decided to read - first thought about a running book, but then remembered the book How to Pray (R. A. Torrey) that I had received at a prayer meeting over the weekend. I was kind of curious what was in there.

Last night was a tough night, and in the midst of it, I had this image in my head of an analogy for what I was going through - a battle. One where I'm taking a good beating - for my choices? Probably, but in the end, I'll eventually learn and mature as a result, slow learner I am. And when I can't handle it, similar to that Footprints story where Jesus is the one carrying you during the toughest times, Jesus takes/took the beating from the Enemy in my stead even as I scorn him and turn to other sources to find comfort/fulfillment.

Anyway, all that imagery... I mentioned it because it came up in the book as the #1 reason to pray: There is a devil. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12), and the climax of the armor of God passage was to add prayer.

Other good reasons to pray that I'll mention briefly, "prayer took much of the time and strength of Jesus; a man or woman who does not spend much time in prayer cannot properly be called a follower of Jesus Christ" (convicting, huh?), "praying is the most important part of the present ministry of our risen Lord," it's a God-appointed means of giving us mercy - Heb 4:16 and joy - John 16:4 (so true that people who seem to have the most overflowing and infectious joy are those who probably pray a lot). There are others, too, but I really like those.

And another cool thing: Our prayers should be unto God, where we realize that God is almost bending over to listen to us, that we're there before the Lord of the Universe, since so often, "there is really but little thought of God" in our prayers". We get so caught up in the need itself rather than the loving Father we are seeking.

Something else... Praying in Jesus' name. I just add it as a closer without thinking, but today was the first time I realized what it means. "It is like going to the bank of heaven when I go to God in prayer. I have nothing deposited there; I have absoltuely no credit there, and if I go in my own name, I will get absolutely nothing; but Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in heaven." It's only by him that I can "approach the throne of grace with confidence" (Heb 4:16).

And a lot seems to rest on praying within his will, and knowing his will is knowing what he promises in the Bible. I have difficulty believing that those promises are for me sometimes. I usually say that they're meant for the 'good Christians'. I know that there's no such thing. I should realize that, but I don't know. We'll table that one for now. But this was big - not taking those promises to be good as true is to make God out to be a liar. Wouldn't want to be saying that - we know better. And here's something else that struck me in the book: "If I am to have faith when I pray, I must find some promise in the Word of God on which to rest my faith." I've never viewed God's promises in this way before. I guess I've always seen it more as "if you're good, you'll get _____," but it's not really that. In my [new] opinion/understanding, it's one of the ways God markedly works and shows his existence. He IS truth, and his attributes are revealed in his promise and in his word. His desires are expressed there - we find out who he is. "'I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD." (Jer 9:24). So believe it. It's who he is. And even if you have doubts about whether the promises are for you, too (like me), at least you see in his Word who He is, and you see how beautiful and good it is, and how it's worth fighting for in any case.

Anyway, those are just a mixture of my thoughts and some cool things I discovered just reading half of the book (so maybe a part 2 will be needed later on). Check out the book some time. Anyway, back to the beginning, I'm glad I was able to get this good, hefty dose of encouragement today, and hopefully, I can put this into practice. I'd appreciate your prayers about this.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feb 6

Was delightfully sore yesterday, mostly in the calves and some in the quads. Dunno whether it was from the 22:00 3.1 two days prior, or if it was from the 5k combined with 5.1 mi the next day. But it means progress. I stretched a lot to help speed up recovery, and even threw in PT strengthening, wanting to stay healthy and on track for April.

I felt good the next morning (today), so after fueling and taking care of emails, I suited up for a run. Headed for the EHS trail. Either the uneven surface on trails puts less stress on any particular muscle group, or there are so many more distractions than you'd have on a treadmill, that running seems to hurt less on trails. In any case, it's great.

Out at 1pm, it was around "feels like 36", and I was in soccer sox, a visor (cloudy, looked like rain), a Starteer long sleeve tech tee, my Philly tee (took that off after loop 1), and gloves (also took that off after loop 1). Wore 4's w/ stab. Broke those out b/c I tried a 3 on one foot and a 4 on the other, and the 4 interestingly felt a little more cushioned and stable, even though I thought it had more miles on it. Better design, maybe? Also had my Nathan Shadow Pak, to hold my car keys, 4 Margarita Shot Bloks, and later, my gloves. I was surprised it could fit the gloves! But it worked. It made taking other stuff out hard, so I left it with my shirt later in the run, but it did fit in there (with some squeezing). Listened to Dirt Dog's Rambling Diatribe - he's an ultra runner, one of two good podcasts I've found.

So went out, not that fast, since it was muddy. It had rained earlier in the morning. Saw the goats again - gotta bring my camera next time... maybe tomorrow, if I feel okay, after church. Splits> 9:10, 9:01, 18:14 for 2, 8:59, 9:00, 9:03. So that's 7 in 1:03:30, 9:04 ave. At 2.5, I ate 1 Shot Blok, because I started to feel a bit low on energy - kinda surprising for just 22 min in, but I guess it had been a while since my last meal. Usually running dulls hunger, though, so still surprising. The pick-me-up from that kicked in about a mile later. Makes sense b/c I usually hold it in my mouth for a while, espsecially when the cold air makes the Blok hard. You'd have to chew hard to break it up, so I let it warm up, and when it's more jelly-like, I start chewing. I don't like how it gets stuck all over your teeth, and you really need water to wash it down, because it's almost sickeningly sweet (it is, after all, sugars), and I don't bring any for these shorter runs. It gave me a boost, though, I think.

What else... at about mile 5, I started feeling tired. My quads were getting fatigued, and my lungs had a hard time getting enough air. This is a hilly trail course. And so I had to push paste exhaustion for the last 2. That's good training if I want to hope to build up to 13 eventually. The last mile, my 7th, things were hurting, though - my medial right knee, so I didn't want to push my luck with injury and kept it at that. Moreover, I rolled my ankle at the beginning of the 6th, and on the last 2 loops going through the woods with steep downhills, things got really slippery, and I had to almost walk the last time around to not fall.

But it was a good run. I ate a banana while driving back. I've started to be more intentional about hitting that 30min refueling window. I now believe that there's a lot of wisdom in it. And once back, I added turkey and goldfish, had a wonderful hot shower to warm up, and then avacado and an apple, and in a few minutes, cheese.

Good run.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CM Half Hype 2 - Pace Group Ponderings

I've only run 1 half before, and since it was my first, and since I hadn't run really in the 6 weeks preceeding it due to a sprained ankle, I had no idea what to expect in terms of time. There were pace bands at the expo, so I took a 2:15 and a 2:00 one. Didn't really use them, though, since I don't think all miles on the course were marked. Plus, my pace varied a lot. I think I went through 10K a lot faster than the second half, since I was used to training at that distance. When I went past, I slowed significantly.

This time, the pace teams I'd be considering are 2:00 and 1:45. Now, I want to run a negative split, or an even split. A realistic goal for me is 1:50-1:55. 1:45 is my reach goal. I think it would be cool to join a pace group. There's comraderie, drafting (hehe), and motivation (didn't realize that there was so much of this before, but I've read some accounts online, and it sounds like pacers are awesome motivators who talk the whole time). It would add to the fun, and maybe add to the overall speed. But I'm kind of stuck in the middle of 2 pace groups. With the 1:45, I could probably hang on in the beginning, but I'd lose them in the last few miles, making a positive split. With 2:00, I'd have to break away in the second half to gain back 5-10 minutes... that's a lot of gaining. So if I want to join a group, I think I'd lean towards 1:45.

I was trying to figure out if there's a way to stagger my start time different from theirs, so that I get a head start... maybe... although that kind of ruins the philosophy behind the wave start, as I'd slow others down. But I'd be able to do the second half with them that way... nah, prob not. Hang with them from the start... maybe they're just what I need to actually be closer to 1:45 than I'd otherwise be, meaning the motivation factor would trump the negative split factor... who knows!

Feb 4

Blaaah, anyway...

5.1 in 41:24, 8:07 pace. Splits> 8:30 for 1st mi, 8:00 thereafter. Felt decent enough, even after yesterday's run, to go again. Discovered that the 1224's are actually light compared to the Evolutions, despite its clunkiness. Wore those w/ arches.

Got somewhat tired 3 in, plus legs not tracking 100%, but stuck through it to try to get to milestones (like 4, 5), and the problems at least lessened, or the pain could be mostly masked. Didn't ice bath after - too cold. Prob just that bod didn't get hot enough during the run, because of the pace.

Oh, happy to say that the 8:00 felt easy for the first 3, a good sign. That's not so special when I think that I'd have to keep this up for 13, since I started breaking down after 3. But when you ignore that, it's pretty nice.

The past couple runs, I haven't been savoring them like I used to, when I could only squeeze a few precious miles out of my body per week. I should appreciate it more. Five went by today, but without the euphoria. It just ticked by (albeit with some difficulty), but it went by quickly, without enough time for a mental vacation. Being outside is more conducive to it feeling like a run.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb 3

Butt was hurting today again, and my knees were poundy, like they're missing some cartilage - puts me in a less good mood, usually. But don't let circumstance be my god - I should try to think of that more, as hard as it is.

If I had skipped today, it would've been three runless days, and last week, I pushed it a bit, going on 4 runs rather than the usual three. That probably meant that this week would be spent in some recovery. Decided to try anyway, and figuring that my body wouldn't last for long, I decided to try to make it a short but intense run. Started at an 8:00 pace and ramped it up from there.

3.1 in 22:00, a 7:05 pace. Pretty good. Wasn't 100% dying at the end, just 95%, so still had a little left, which is good. 3 flies by so quickly, so you can afford to pick it up, and if it's endurable, crank it up some more, because it'll be over before you know it. Wore my Progrid Guide for its cushioning - too much cushioning for the long term, but I think it was the best in this case, due to my achey knees. It went well, and those shoes generally feel pretty light. My right leg just doesn't pronate the same way as my stronger left leg. Something's off, but it's manageable at least for these short distances I've been doing. I've gotta fix it, though. Strengthen the abductor, a knowing friend suggests.

I wonder what you're supposed to do when one side of you is weaker than the other. Work them both equally, so that relatively, the weak one is getting worked harder so that it can catch up while the stronger one remains somewhat strong? Or work the weak one extra? I've been using option 1 for forever. I think it makes more sense, but I could be wrong. I guess option 1 is probably the best, if what you're doing is working until failure of form or muscle of the weaker. So that's essentially doing option 2 plus not neglecting the stronger leg. Another question then arises of whether you should work to failure. Maybe something more moderate is better for recovery and is less risky. Just stuff to ponder. I'm impatient, so I go with option 1 til failure.

Um, the run. Afterwards, the usual ice bath, tho I did stay 2, maybe 3x longer than normal - dunno why. Was listening to the podcast this time, but don't remember whether I'd do it in the past. Maybe it was distracting and made the cold more tolerable, or maybe the air or water temps were cooler, or maybe my body was hotter. Fueled w/ an apple and carrot afterwards. Like a horse.

2 days ago:
60 min strength, including PT. 250 crunches/side, billy, 2x35 quad dips on step for the first time, 2:00 plank, 90s 6in, 45 fast pushups, 45/40-25 leg lifts (extra abductors), 30 frogs (although only the last 5 were quality), 50 pillows, 4 3/4 pullups, elastic 30 except adductors were 40. Left adductor elastic torqued my knee some, though I pushed through it (dumb, prob), rt ankle felt a bit tweaked afterwards.

Monday, February 1, 2010

That Special Place

I have several special places that I go to in my mind when things get tough. Some special things are meant to be kept secret, I think. It's part of what makes it special. Some, though, are made more special by sharing it, because it's so wonderful, and you want others to find something like it, too.

The Tow Path...

As soon as I dropped my bags off in my room at the beginning of a new school year, I'd change into running clothes, lace up my Asics Evolutions, and head out for a run on the tow path.

The tow path is where I got glimpses a few times of what it felt like to fly. My lungs would be like machines, quickly pumping cold air in and out, continuously. My legs, stiff but strong, keeping up a brisk pace.

The tow path is where a budding friendship with someone I looked up to, sprung deep roots with strong bonds, over the course of a single long run.

The tow path is where I swam a long run with another good friend in a monsoon. Epic.

The tow path is where I got to share the joys of running with my teammates, finishing up the 7.5-miler to the theme of Chariots of Fire with the last pack, and to the cheers of our other teammates.

The tow path is where I could escape stress and set my own schedule, go at my own pace, linger as long as I wanted to, with no pressure to go back.

The tow path led to good food - dark chocolate at Wholefoods, and running gear from Marshall's.

The tow path was where I met different animals - a mongoose (something that looked like a squirrel but swims), ducks, geese, maybe a snake, maybe a turtle.

The tow path led to a nice bridge over Route 1 that's used by so few, that it was as if it was made for me and whoever I was running with.

The tow path is where I saw maybe the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my life, and caught it on video, that perfect snowy day.

The tow path was where I could dream of running a marathon one day.

The tow path knew sweltering heat and hard ice and soft snow and hail and cool rain and warm monsoons.

The tow path has a cousin - the track.

The track knows driving winds that get you on the back straightaway.

The track knows the burn of an 800 at the peak of a pyramid.

The track knows the 100% at the end of the mile.

The track knows the "here we go again" to cut short the rest period between quarters once your heart rate is getting too comfortable.

The track is the testing ground for all, great and small.

I guess that the reason I love the Tow Path and the Track is because I feel most alive there. With friends, sharing life, either through deep, raw conversations (never heard that adjective used with that noun before, but I think it's a good one), or through the simple act of sharing an epic experirence together, something new, something challenging, something that stretches you. It's someone side-by-side with you, there to push you when you need it, looking out for each other, helping each other do what you may not be able to finish alone otherwise. And even when it's a solo run, you're out there more in tune with your Maker than usual. There are fewer distractions. Plus, when you run, you're heart is often beating so hard that you feel like you're going to die, yet you're also feeling more alive than you could ever be normally. You feel very human and weak, but in that weakness, you're more aware of how God sustains you with every breath he gives.