Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Aug 31

FUN:
Yesterday, after training, I went back downtown to try a fancy vegan restaurant. I circled the east side many times trying to find street parking. Finally, I found a good place with many spots. I walked about a mile to the restaurant, but when I got there, I saw that it was closed on Mondays! There was another that had looked good online, so I called my sister for the address. I walked there. It looked closed (more like totally abandoned and run-down), so I called her again, and she looked up the fact that it was closed Mondays as well! So I figured I'd just walk around to try to find some reasonable place to eat. There should be many options. But there were blocks and blocks of houses. Noooooo! Suddenly, though, I stumbled upon City Tavern, where George Washington and other members of the Continental Congress would go and eat. I had their West Indies Pepperpot Soup with spicy beef (barely), taro root (none), and collard greens... good. Then, an assortment of breads, including Thomas Jefferson's favorite - Sweet Potato Biscuits. Then, I rounded it out with Chesapeake-Style Crab Cakes. Yummy! Afterwards, I wandered back to the car.

Today, I found the parking spot quickly and went to Horizon, the vegan restaurant. I had homemade foccacia with pesto and olive oil. Then, Golden Beets, a little casserole cut-out with avacado, capers, tofu, and dill sauce. For dessert, the Blueberry Cheesecake, very fancy, and it tasted like any cheesecake would taste. Hmm.... maybe 'll go tomorrow?
When I went in at 6 (that's when they open) to get a table, they said that their normal tables were booked through 8pm! Must be good! I walked it off afterwards with a trip to City Hall and the LO/VE statue.

FIT:
So much walking these past 4 days. Yesterday, my legs were still recovering from the LR, but they were largely back in business today. Wearing the XC singlet, 1224's w/ arches, regular socks, tv, treadmill with fan. 5.2 in 42:46, 8:13 ave. Started slow… legs maybe still kind of recovering from the LR and lots of walking. For mile 4, I tried to do really small steps, to keep from overstriding and to work different muscles, which is a strategy I may need to use in the marathon. For mile 5, I just stretched it out and went fast, mostly just to cover some distance quickly, since I had work to do afterwards (although I ended up putting it off until 5am). Progression run. Splits> 8:54, 8:30, 8:16, (26:27 5k), 8:01, 7:40: (1:23 for 0.2). It's cooler in this fitness room than in the one at home, so naturally, I should go faster here... not that this was fast. Sunday's was fast.

My legs... banged up, but managing. The extra mileage is stressing them, I think. There's some surface-level sensation (because it's not really pain) on my upper medial tibia, which I think is a prime spot for stress fractures, but it's usually when I'm not running that I feel (or maybe just notice) the sensation, so I'm not concerned yet. To help with the banging, I tried shifting to a more streamlined stride, such that my legs are more under my body and closer together. It greatly affects how you pronate, since you're naturally going to suppinate more. It felt better to do it this way, at least at times. Maybe only because it gave troube spots a break, like the muscle switching strategy. Something else to experiment with in future runs.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aug 29

FUN:
Woo-hoo! Not a made-up word, but I'll use it.
Yesterday and today, I explored Philly w/ LW. Packed the weekend with tons of history, politics, academia, and ethnic food. It was fun just to explore, choosing what to do as we went along depending on the cool things we discovered.

We hit the Liberty Bell (bell fail, symbol win), Independence Hall, Betsey Ross's house, Ben Franklin's grave, Pen's landing, the Constitution Center, Penang Malaysian Restaurant, a used book store, the Bourse (an old fancy hotel renovated to have a food court), U Penn, a car tour of the boathouse and Philly Art Museum area, a Euro Sandwich Shop (sooooooooooo good - had an incredible, savory Salmon Wrap with eggplant sauce, sweet potato and ginger soup, green tea, and fries with garlic sauce. Sooooooo delicious!!! Lots of walking and taking in the city. Although big and busy, it's shorter (skyscraper-wise), cleaner, and less hectic than NYC.

FIT:
The walking didn't affect me too much. I went in flip flops, to keep my feet cool, to give my feet more of a barefoot rather than supported workout, and to not ruin my shoes.

Needed to get in my miles, so I did 9.0 on the treadmill, perhaps a record since the half in April. I've been feeling good and able to recover quickly, so that's been waiting to come out. My TA's were getting a bit worked over, but not that bad. From the sounds of it, my right footfall was heavier, if sound was an indication. I think it was partially to protect the right TA. At one point at about mile 4, ont of my "_CL's got yoinked a bit. It happened whenever I'd overstride. I think the TA being strained a certain way had something to do with it. I was carefult to keep a shorter stride after that. Seems okay. Just be careful.

It was a progression run, 9.0 in 1:11:31, 7:57 ave. Splits> 8:22, 8:05, 8:01, (25:17 5k), 7:53, 7:51, 7:51, (49:42 10k), 7:52, 7:50, (1:08:34 for 8.6, which is the distance of my usual long runs... although they should be slower because they're on a hilly course), 7:37. No water during the run, but I had 2 cups of cold water and a ThinkThin protein bar immediately before for dinner. Wore 1224's, low cut socks, watched tv at times.

Treadmill characteristics:
Unlike the one at my apartment's finess room, this one's shifts from one 0.1mph to another was noticeble... a minus. This one had built-in fans... a plus. Other than that, they're pretty similar in terms of feel/cushioning, functionality, etc.

Okay, time to prep the logistics for tomorrow and to hit the sack. I got 7 hrs of sleep last night, like double what I've been averaging for the past 3 weeks. Felt good. Could've slept more, of course, but it was nice.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Aug 27

FIT:
Woopdeedoo. Haha. What if I start every blog post wth a made up word describing how I feel? Hahaha. Woopdeedoo means I made it through, and now I'm on the cusp of an exciting weekend. It's been a long week, and I'm a little tired, but it's almost fun time.

Okay... so this week in summary...
Strength Monday.
Rest Tuesday.
Run Wednesday.
Workout DVD Thursday.
What to do Friday?
Exploring Philly Saturday.
Squeeze in a workout Sunday?

So I had to pick what to do today based on what I've done and what was scheduled the rest of the week. That meant run, or else I'd be in the dangerously low mileage zone (half than what you did the week before).

So while I was downtown and around doing errands, I got in a run. Another outside run after a long drought of outside runs. It was nice, going slowly and not feeling bad about it like I would if I had the treadmill numbers saying "slacker, slacker, slacker". I was wearing my Garmin, but it doesn't stare at you, and it's not 100% accurate.

I ate a "granola" bar, new from Clif. It was reaaaaly tasty and rather sweet (I prefer less sweet) but not fillingat all. The sweetness was good for the run, though. Normally, I'd be like ick, but when it's before a run, superfluous sweetness is okay.

I started off really slow and now very range of motiony, due to yeserday's plyo/strength DVD workout. After about 2 miles, though, I got into more of a rhythm. In the last couple miles, I really turned it on. Going downhill forced a speed pickup, and that pickup would feel really good, so I'd just kind of keep it there. Nice.

Oh yeah. Since I didn't park in my usual place, I wasn't strict about doing my usual course and allowed myself to meander. It was nice having that freedom and not feeling the pressure to PR the course every tme I ran it. It really helps to have a Garmin if you want to do that. The Garmin's not 100% accurate and does some really strange things sometimes, but it's nice if I still want some stats. This is my second run in a row with this kind of freedom. It's been nice. I think I realized how cool it could be when I went running w/ LD a couple of weeks ago and she just showed me around some of the different trails she'd do with her team. It was fun, and that day, we went really slow since I was recovering from the previous day's fast run. No pressure, just enjoyment.

6.6 in 53:39, 8:07 ave, 550Cal. Really, 8:07? I felt really slow sometimes, and in the last couple miles, it said I was laying down mile race pace times. So maybe something went wacky during that part. Dunno. Splits... didn't do that many, since I didn't start in my usual spot. So it's difficult to reconstruct, and it may mean nothing. Yeah... meaningless.

Oh man, I almost forgot... injury report. During the middle of the run, my TAs were getting pounded with every footstrike. Poor, swollen TAs. But in the last couple miles, somehow, they seemed to be perfectly fine, like the pressure all just went away and just a hard shell was left. Never happened before like that. Dunno why or how it works. Immediately after the run, I had to pee.... no, but really, immediately after the run, I felt like I could go another 6, since the TAs seemed different... like stretched but now relaxed and only a bit sore. A good feeling. That's still just 12. Very doable. The goal... 16, then 18 a few times, then a single 20. Aaaaah, marathon, looking forward to you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aug 25

FIT:
Blahdeeblahdeeblah. Another day hammering away. Yesterday, I worked a ridiculoug 16 hours. Today, back up at 4:30am to start working again. One nice thing is that I found a good place to work in the early morning, before 8am. There's a nice confrence room with a lobby outside of it. I like the firm couches... and the windows! It's relaxing just working there in the dark, where it's peaceful, as the sun rises and the world wakes up. It's a good change from sitting at a fluorescent, windowless cube. I have a nice thermos of warm black tea and just work away. I have to skidaddle by 8am, though, before important people potentially start using it.

Today, after a really great introduction to the book of James by an excellent Christian studies professor, I hustled outside to catch the last rays of light. It was exactly at sunset, so it was still bright when I got out and quickly tried to put on all my gear: headlamp, Garmin, mp3 player, Shadow pak to hold keys. Then, off!

Since the HS XC course had to change due to a building they put in the middle of it, I didn't have a path to follow anymore, so I meandered around at will. It was kind of nice... fun looking for the trail. A couple parts had the blue course markings, but only small segments. The wooded section was redone for some reason... now, it's shorter, and there are many things that look like paths but are actually.... runoffs or something. Deceptive. Did some exploring. It quickly got dark. At first, I used the headlamp, but bugs were attracted to it, and it was kind of gross seeing them coming towards the headlamp (or, rather, me going towards them... maybe both), so I turend it off and managed alright by just staying on the flat sports fields, which combined, are about half a mile per lap. The light from either the moon or more distant big lights gave me enough to get around okay.

5.8 in 51:00, 8:48. I think I was really slow at first. My legs get sluggish after not running for a couple days... plus the extreme sleep deprivation. On top of that, exploring and having to look for paths and stuff slowed thing down. The pace naturally picked up as time went on, though. My knees started getting somewhat poundy... the TA's and stuff have been gradually getting inflamed. Haven't iced in a couple of weeks because there was no need. Now there's a need to start it up again. My stride's different outside than on the treadmill. How? I'm in the stance phase longer, at least when it's dark, since footing is unsure. I also take longer (time-wise) strides will fuller ROM? Just guesses. I haven't done a base run in a long time, so this run is the only data point I've had in a while.

The bugs... one bad thing about summer/spring running. In your eyes, mouth... blah.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aug 22

FIT:
Putting in miles. With just a 4.4 at the beginning of the work-filled week and the 3.1 race yesterday, I had to round out the week, in order to stay on track mileage-wise, keep up my buildup, and avoid injuries that come from having an off week that's too low and then immediately bumping back up the next week.

7.1 in exactly 1:00:00, 8:27 ave. Not great, compared to my past two months of similar distance runs, but it matched the gym temp record of 85 degrees, and I did have a fantastic race yesterday. I wore new Under Armour compression socks, which are very thin and feel like it may provide less compression... but maybe that has more to do with the weaving or material. It is cool (temp-wise), though. It's also harder to put on, maybe due to the thinness? or maybe it is just as tight or even tighter than other brands? On my feet, n3's w/ stability insoles. Since the socks were so thin, the shoes were roomier, and sinced UA stuff is made of very fine technical threads, it was a bit slippery too, which probably wastes a bit of energy. So maybe this should be reserved for post-run recovery or airplane rides (where swelling occurs due to low air pressure, I've heard). I'll stick with Oxysox for races, though.

I drank about a bottle of water, from a wider mouthed rigid Cytomax bottle... it went okay, with the pouring-into-my-mouth method. I also had a Gu Chomp before the run and a second in the middle of the run. The first gave a much-needed boost after my much-needed nap, and the second helped moderately, I think. I just felt like I was getting a bit tired, so I wanted the Chomp to just give the boost. Probably worked.

I think I was clawing just a little bit with my stride as I was going 6.9-7.0mph, so I had to do high-ish knees to keep things (maybe my TA's... don't remember) from starting to give me trouble, and it worked. I think if I'm going at a slower speed, I have still have to mimic the full range of motion of higher speeds in order to maintain a form and avoid injuries. I adjusted the pace a lot, up and down, whenever something started nagging. Even 0.1 made a difference. Maybe it wasn't so much the pace change but knowing that I needed a bit of a form tweak.

Splits> 8:43, 8:38, 8:36, (26:49 5k), 8:34, 8:42, 8:05 (big diff... things hurt less when I go faster, and you cover ground more quickly, although theoretically, your run will be less distance overall the faster your pace is if you want to try to max out distance-wise), (52:58 10k), 7:52, 0:46 for 0.1.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

RACE REPORT: Michelin 5K


I had sort of given up on the idea of racing in the summer heat. I'd be slow, and it'd be discouraging. The Michelin 5K was only $5, though, so I thought I'd just do it and try my best. At worst, it would be a good training run.

The 2 weeks before the race, I probably averaged 5 hours/night. It was rough. I did get in some decent training on the 2nd week before, running w/ LD and just feeling really strong. The week before, I worked some major overtime, so work was the focus. I figured with the race coming up, the lack of running would help with a taper anyways.

My family came up to GVL on their way to dropping my sister off at college, so they'd be able to watch! Due to the likely heat and sleep debt, I wasn't expecting much. Just try my best. I didn't do much to prepare. No stretching the night before. Nutrition-wise, very un-carby. Tofu in tomato sauce for dinner. Didn't try to go to bed early. Woke up 30 minutes before, with no usual shower to warm up. Had some pasta and brown rice and a wee bit of chicken for breakfast. Iced my right TA, which felt a little bit inflamed. Stretched my hammies, which always feels really good, and a few other things.

Drove off for an 8am race, getting there 30 min before gun time. Numer pickup was fast, and went to the bathroom. Usually, I wake up early to rehydrate, but since I woke up so close to race time to maximize sleep, I only replenished some of the water lost overnight. With 20 minutes to go, a warmup of maybe 4 minutes, then dynamic stretching. At 10 minutes to go, went out to the starting line, found a spot behind about 50 people, figuring that would be my approximate place. I did one stride out, which really felt good. I wasn't super tired and heat-beaten, like I as before the last race. I wasn't feeling super fast, but I was comfortable. Oh yeah... decided to go with the new Fastwitch, which I've thus far only used on the treadmill for intervals work. I almost went with the tried and true Brooks Trance 8 with arch supports, but my sister and dad recommended that I try the new shoes. They felt so light!!!

At the gun, we went off. It turned out to be a fairly hilly course. Moderate, I'd say. With hills, your pace is deceptive, since it may be reasonable for you to be going faster than your average expected race pace for a while on the downhills. So I was going fast, but I thought it was just the downhill. When a mile had passed and my Garmin still suggested a super fast time, even after some uphills, I was like, "uh oh, screwed myself, stupid me". And rather than back off, I kept at it through mile two. In a longer race, like a half, I'd try to back off to save myself for later, but I didn't back off, maybe because you don't get much of a chance within a couple of miles to make up for it, and I felt like I had to keep going forward, even if the pace was dangerous.

It was an out and back course, too, which is fun to have every once and a while. Some people hate it, but it's fun to see the fast guys on their way back, and you can cheer them on, and on the way back, you cheer others on. Lots of cheering, and you get the full race experience, seeing everyone out at different stages in their race. You see people struggling, people just enjoying themselves, people running with friends or family or little kids, etc. You also get to look for your friends. Two co-workers were at the race, one maybe 20 seconds ahead, and one maybe 6 minutes behind.

After the two mile mark, I figured that I'd just take it with medium effort, cruise control, and just cover some distance without over-straining myself. Then, when I got closer, I'd have something to kick it in. This worked well, hanging in there. The final 0.15 was sooo painful. Probably always is, but at every race, it always feels like it's the most painful ever. What made me want to push hard this time was my dad and sister being there, though, and I didn't want to let them down. They cheered me on as I finished. I saw the clock, and it was ticking up towards 21:00. Would I break 21? I didn't think so, but man, I was close!!! I think I ended up with something like 21:02. Given the fact that I probably didn't cross the start ine until 0:00:02, maybe I chip-time would've broken 21. I think it's probably a PR, though, and given the 75 degree moderate heat (although overcast, which was nice) and the hills, I could do even better. That's pretty exciting.

Afterwards, I was hungry and ate a banana and two apples. At the awards ceremony, the usual people won (downside of the monthly-ish races where the same companies' employees compete against each other... same people will pretty much always win). It's fun to hang around and just take in the excitement and race experience, though.

Post-race analysis. Hard to tell why this went so well. Sleep deprivation, heat, hills. Not ideal. I think doing intervals a couple times in the last month or so helped. The light shoes probably also helped. So, I'll take that and rock the races in the fall and winter. I'm excited to see what's possible. Maybe breaking 20:00?!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aug 17

FIT:
Soooooo tired! 3 hrs of sleep last night, then woke at 4 to work 2 hours, got to work at 8, worked til 7:30. Had to get in a run because of the way my schedule worked out. Work dinner tomorow, race Saturday, family and taper Friday, so Thursday and Tuesday would be my only days to run, with my weekly strength stuck in on Wednesday, I guess. During the whole run, I tried to take a nap. I'd close my eyes as much as possible while still keeping them barely cracked open to make sure I didn't drift too far to the sides or the back of the treadmill. It was actually restful to have my eyes closed. Oh man.

4.4 in 34:47, 7:54 ave. Splits> 8:11, 7:56, 7:55, (24:50 5k), 7:46, 2:58 for 0.4. It was within 30 minutes of a nice dinner of cherries, 75% light cheese, sweet potato fries, and honey roasted peanuts. Nice, huh? I think the digestion slowed me down... makes running somewhat more laborious. Could've also been the record 85 degrees in the gym. 10 degrees hotter in there than outside! I'd rather be outside, but it's more eco-friendly to not drive 6 miles to go running, cheaper, time-saving, and lighting-feasible to run inside.

Wore n3's w/ stab, low cut socks, mp3 on left arm. I was kind of stiff/swollen yesterday. Only somewhat better today. This isn't going to be a high mileage week... 15 at best. No 20. But saving up for next week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aug 15

FIT:
Found out today that I got into the Houston Marathon!!!

I've been feeling great. I was excited to be able to run 5+ 2 days in a row without issues and still be pumped up for lots of walking with lots of energy. My legs I think really are different. This is the second week in a row with 19+ total.

Today, put in some miles because I was a bit itching for it, and I want to start the ramp-up. Had to take it kind of slow. The striders from last night, since they were barefoot, left some residual strains... nothing bad, but I had to take it easy. It was hot in the gym, though. Record 84 degrees... hotter than it was outside for the first time. No water.

5.0 in 41:40, 8:20 ave. Splits> 8:30, 8:29, 8:23, (26:13 5k... slow), 8:17, 7:58. Low rise socks.

Aug 13

FIT:
The next day, 6:30 again for another run. This time, I took things easier, and it was more enjoyable. The intense runs where you push are nice for improvement, but getting to just enjoy the act of running by having it be moderate enough to get the rush but easy enough to go into autopilot and not be struggling allows you to enjoy the best part - quality friend time.

We took a different route this time. She showed me some new paths, like the way to the front of west windsor from the tow path, and a nature trail loop, the first part of which was a nice broad grassy path, and the latter part of which was overgrown and involved ducking and stepping over stuff, then by the boathouse. After the run, we stretched and talked some more.

5.1 in 44:52, 8:47 ave. It was 70 degrees.

FUN:
After that, the bride treated us to manicures and gave us beautiful hand-made earrings. Later, the rehearsal, followed by the rehearsal dinner, which was suuuuuuch a good time for me to just be proud of all the ways the bride and groom have touched our lives and made them so much better by being in it. In big ways and in those important behind-the-scenes ways, they've demonstrated living out their convictions. Such wonderful people.

Then, the bridesmaids went out to pick up some refreshments for the next morning - wedding morning!

The next day, I woke up at 4 out of a bunch of pent up energy or emotion or something and just had to walk around the hotel a lot for some release. Then, wakey at 6:30 to get ready! My fellow bridesmaids+ worked their magic. The bride looked incredible. Then, off to the big event!

It was finally here. It was perfect. The sunlit church, the cello and piano, the grand entrance, the groom's excitement, the dad's love, the siblings' support, the homily on how this marriage would be a tangible living out of the great wedding to come... never realized how powerful and far-reaching a human ceremony could be, and their first act together after becoming husband and wife... communion, since their relationship with God must be first over all for them to love each other as much as they were meant to, and praising God the whole way.

Then, the reception, with excellent toasts, catching up with friends, and a bittersweet sendoff...

That night, I had trouble sleeping, and after wandering around campus at midnight, I did some barefoot strides in the stadium and just prayed a lot. I've been somewhat dead spiritually this year, so it was good to talk to God for a while. Learned a lot about myself... where I've been wrong, still struggling through some raw emotions, but with revelations/realizations and just the fact that I was praying about stuff, it was a good time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aug 12

Got in to town at 12:30 (had 2 hrs of sleep the previous night), went to bed an hour later, then woke at 5:45 for a full day.

FIT:
Reunion run!!! At 6:30, went out for a run w/ the awesome LD! Always a good time talking. It was "feels like 75". Wore a fitted tee. Was kind of dehydrated from the trip. In trying to keep up a decent pace, I ran out of gas at around 2.75mi (the halfway point), so things slowed down after that.

5.5 in 45 flat, 8:11 ave. Splits> 8:50t, 4:06p, 4:02m, 17:18t, 10:42d. Oh, it's been so long since I've been able to use those landmark letters.

FUN:
After a shower, we wore hand-decorated "BRIDESMAID" t-shirts and funny hats (tiger, pilot, crazy horse, shark, gladiator) and stormed MP's room. We dressed her up with a pink t-shirt, a pink sash, a pink boa, and a pink coyboy hat with a tiara. Intense. Then, we went bowling. After that, we had lunch at an Italian restaurant. Then, pottery painting. We met later on for dinner at an Indian place, then the bachelorette party, followed by ice cream.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aug 9

FIT:
Scheduling... when I have stuff planned in the week, I have to do what I normally don't do - schedule my workouts. Usually, I do each day whatever I feel like I can handle that day, while trying to keep a good balance of speed, long runs, and my weekly strength session. With Bible study tomorro night and a flight the next night, I had to get in a run today, even though I could've done with a rest or strength day. Tomorrow's the best strength day, though, since it's all I can fit in, and Thursday's the optimal runnng day due to schedulig.

It was a slow and bangy start, with even my left hip complaining. My TA's kept getting hammered and will need some serious icing, and the only way to relieve pain was to go faster. Wore 1224's w/ arches, Oxysox, mp3 on right arm. Not a great run, but it was fast in the end. I stopped it before I did too much TA banging, so that I could run in Pton decently.

3.5 in 28:28, 8:08 ave. Splits> 16:47 for 2, 7:54, (25:26 5k), 3:45 for 0.5. Poor TA's. Please get better before Thursday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aug 8

FIT:
My tummy has been strange. I feel like I've drank too much water, but I'm also thirsty. I've eaten too many salty foods, but salty food is the only thing that I feel like I can stomach.

My glycogen stores felt pretty good. I think the 30min window thing works pretty well, although it's mentally hard to do, not only b/c you don't always have much of an appetite post-workout, but also because you feel guilty and full eating when you're not hungry.

Anyway, my knees needed to recover from pounding, I could tell, which is why I didn't run, even though I had the glycogen. Instead, I chose to bike. Keep up the cardio. Felt too tired mentally for strength. My head still feels hot. Cardio I could do, though. Decided to go with intervals, to get a good bang for my buck. Knowing that it'd take me some time to recover from speedwork if I did it early next week, I chose to get the effect through the bike, so that I could save my legs for some good Pton running later in the week. I know my sentences aren't very well formed right now, but as I said before, my head has been hot all week, and I feel a little lightheaded.

The bike session went really well. 12.8 mi in 45 min, 395Cal, level 9, 81 degrees, in Progrid, Oxysox, cotton tee, no water. 5 min warmup, followed by 8x[3min on (~19.3mph), 2 min off (~15mph)]. Natural tendency to slow down as it went on, but with willpower, was able to force the higher cadence in the last few, so it was probably like a backwards check or Nike symbol. In the first one, I could feel that my hammies and quads were being worked, but I got immune to it after that. It's amazing how 15mph, which is higher than my ave pace for a long bike, feels so easy compared the pace when you're hammering it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aug 7

LIFE:
There are many things that need to be done immediately after a run, and they all have to be done in a tight window.
1. Change out of my wet clothes, asap for comfort.
2. Refuel within 30 minutes w/ a mix of protein (usually milk with cocoa [which has aspirin-like effects... good for swelling] or a whey protein shake) and carbs (usually fruit or veg, to get antioxidants to help with recovery and the reduction of... whatever they help reduce). Usually, it's kind of low on the carb side... like my "carb" may be a carrot, which has negligible calories and doesn't do much for my depleted glycogen sotres. I usually get hungry again pretty quickly, though, and eat a more substantial carb maybe an hour later. Milk and fruit doubles as hydration. This helps, since I'm usually not hungry for heavy food after a run, but I do crave water.
3. Ice my knees and TA's. They need it.
4. Stretch. Usually, I feel so loose afterwards that I don't want to stretch. I'm kind of tired, too, and holding stretches takes energy that I'd rather not expend. So this doesn't always get done until a few hours later. It's kind of deceptive, though, b/c at first, you're loose, but maybe 45 min later, everything starts to tighten up, so I usually need to stretch once that starts happening.
5. Blog! I often do 2, 3, and 5 at the same time. I'm excited about the great run, and I want to keep basking in the high by recounting in what probably to you is painful detail, but I like to be thorough.

Fortunately for me, the treadmill is just a minute away from my apt, so I can start the sequence right after the run. If I had to drive home from a running spot, I may not hit the refueling window, unless I brought something.

Not so much about life but about running in general, but that's a big part of my life.

FIT:
So today's run was great. Oh man, this week at work was killer. It reminded me of I Love Lucy when the chocolates kept coming, except I have to tend to seven chocolate lines, and my mind just keeps jumping between the lines, and suddenly I remember that there's another one going that I have to tend to, and while I'm trying to get that under control, I remember that there's another one I've forgotten about. I think it's affected my immune system, the looong hours and stress. I got a sore in my mouth, and my head has been feeling hot. I had a more intense than ave strength session on Thursday, the day after I did intervals, where I used ankle weights for some of my exercises. It left my right butt strained. It finally felt better today, so I felt okay going for a run today.

I had a nap per day yesterday and today, to make up for the week. I ate popcorn, canadian bacon, and cauliflower for dinner. Then, I made choc chip cookies which ended up being more like bread beause of the very low agave nectar and oil content. So it was more calories of whole grain carbs than I usually have in one sitting... maybe 500 or so. After giving all of that time to settle (which I've realized that I need in recent uncomfortable runs), I went out.

I've realized that I need to ramp up milege if I want to finish the marathon without having to walk 2/3 of it, even if it means going slower. Who runs a marathon on a diet of 15 mi/wk? Let alone BQs with that. I had already done an LR on Monday anyways, so I didn't want to push too hard. I started off slow and had hopes of maybe managing a long-ish run. I also stumbled upon a pace chart and realized that my base pace is kind of on the fast end, so I could really slow down and maybe manage more volume.

Going slowly made running feel so much easier and 4mi clicked away like nothing. The tippy tops of my shins did start feeling a little bashed, maybe from imact forces. Not used to that feeling. Hoping against stress fractures. I did a lot to try to tweak my stride to see if I could give the shins a break. Shuffling (not lifting feet much off the ground, to where it was almost speedwalking at 6.8mph) helped a little. It may be a good strategy to use in the marathon, if I need to give certain muscles a break for a while. I also tried landing on the outer sides of my feet, or the heels. It changed up the impact area but didn't seem to help the shins much. I also tried speeding up and getting my heels up towards my butt more, which kind of helps, at least mentally. Theoretically, maybe the forces would be higher if you're going faster? But maybe when you land, your foot goes out flatter when it lands, and the shock gets spread over the entire foot. Just guesses. So two things to try in the future when muscles/shins need a break... shuffling and speeding up/butt kicks.

I drank about 3/4 a bottle of water and had 1 Gu Chomp during the run (mi 5), which seemed to help. I know it takes about 20 min for it to get absorbed, but somehow, it seems to help pretty quickly, like minutes... maybe for the same reason the swish and spit study of sports drinks got its result. I wore n3's, Nike sox, and an mp3 on my left arm. I had started slowly, but I cranked it up because I was feeling so strong after clicking away at a slow pace in the early miles, and because it seems to relieve the shin stress a bit. At the very end, I cranked it up way high, since the gym was closing. It was really fast, but it didn't feel that hard, maybe because of the interval session earlier this week. I think I'm close to my year and a half ago shape, right before I started the longer runs. Finally. I think working up to at least an 18er is doable now. I'm so thankful and happy.

8.6 in 1:13:46, 8:35 ave. Treadmill 1 degree. Splits> 8:56, 8:58, 8:56, (27:44 5k), 8:53, 8:44, 8:19, (54:27 10k), 8:14, 8:10, 4:32 for 0.6... perfect because 8.6 is my typical LR route's distance (although that's hilly), and because it was right before I had to leave the gym.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GEAR GUIDE: Saucony Fastwitch

WHY GO LIGHT:

I want to be fast, and for every lb trimmed, you speed up by 2s/mi. Unfortunately, over a 5k, that's only 6s. I guess if you have a lot to lose, you can quickly gain time by trimming 5lbs. I wonder whether that rule of thumb holds true for all speeds. Over 26 mi, though, it's a minute. Still not that much if you're talking just 1lb... a minute out of 3:40:00 isn't much, but when you think you're right on the border of a BQ, even a few seconds are precious.

Anyway, as I near the best shape of my life and try to enjoy my prime and not waste an opportunity, I want to see what I can do. Using shoes with less support can be risky for overpronators, at least according to the conventional wisdom that is being challenged nowadays by the minimalist and barefoot movements. So I can run a little faster but at greater risk. XC flats give very little cushioning and make lateral rolling easy (= less support), but I found some sweet lightweight shoes with a medial post, though... the Saucony Fastwitch.



FEATURES:

The Good:

Cool colors - I'm a fan of fluorescent colors. Color should be the least of one's concerns, but can't help it. It looks fast and serious.

Vents along the shoe sole... so don't step in puddles, but for dry road races, you'll enjoy all the benefits of cooling, plus reduced shoe weight.

Medial post - for ovrpronators like me.

The Bad:

Much like the Saucony Progrid Guide (it feels very much like it, besides the reduced weight), there's not much heel support, so it's easy to roll inwards/pronate, even when just standing.

MY THOUGHTS ON USING IT:

These guys feel sooo light. I weighed my Asics Gel Evolution 3 with SofSol stability arches as 1.3lbs, whereas the Fastwitch was 0.75lbs. Not even the 6s 5K boost I'm looking for, but they feel fast (and the mental effect is huge in running).

Since lighter shoes have shorter lifespans, I wanted to use these guys sparingly. I originally thought that I could only use them in 5K's, since any longer distance my legs may not be able to handle. And even then, only the 5K's that count the most, where I have the potential to PR. AKA not in the summer, where there's little chance of a PR. Don't waste shoe mileage and injury risk on a summer 5K. Come fall and winter, though, bring it. Watch me fly.

But I decided to break them out today, for a few reasons.

1. You shouldn't try something for the first time in a race. What if I discovered mid-run during a winter 5K where I'm in potential PR shape, that the shoe doesn't fit right? Bad news.

2. It's good to do speedwork in light shoes, since they get you higher leg turnover, which is the goal of speedwork.

3. I needed a reward for working hard... at work.

4. Shoes need breaking in.

5. If I am to run 5K's or potentially 10K's in these, and if in the future I want to move towards more minimalist shoes, my legs (especially the calves, achilles, ankles) need to be strong enough to handle it. Easing into it is the best way to go, to give the body time to adapt and strengthen without breaking.

So after that treadmill speedwork, they still look bright and new, and they seemed to work pretty well. Looking forward to my first race in them! Still don't know if I'll wait for the cold 5K's, or if I'll race in them even in the summer 5K's.

Aug 4

Soooo much work. Sooooo weary. No end in sight. Even during vacation, there's so much I need to do.

FIT:
Yesterday, the day after my LR and Bible Study night, I needed the recovery time from the 8.0. My inner left shin had been stinging some... mostly suface pain. Was a little bit wondering about wheter it was a tibial stress fracture, but it was better by the evening, and rubbing it/trying to irritate it didn't seem to make it any worse. Anyway, I was mostly recovered within 24 hours. Today, the workday did away with the remaining stiffness/sluggishness.

Since I was so tired of working, I kept up my spirits by planning to do my first test run of the Saucony Fast Twitch. In fact, I think I'll do a full-blown gear guide. Haha, real pressing, work must be, huh? Just like at school, my extracirriculars are for my sanity.

Anyway, I've been reading Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald in the few lunch breaks I get nowadays. It's a great book, and... maybe it's not from that that I got this, or at least not that alone. Anyway, there's something really beneficial in weekly speedwork, so I'm going to try to get it in at least every 1.5 weeks. I did the 5K about a week ago, and a week before that, a rather speedy 3.3. So it's time again. I typically have a lot of pep stored up in my legs after a long run anyway.

So I got to test drive the FastTwitch and get in some speedwork. See the Gear Guide for my thoughts on the shoe, but as far as my workout goes, I was kind of conservative, given the recent stress from the LR, the fact that I don't do speedwork often and might break myself if I did too much too soon, and that this was a new and less supportive shoe. So a 3.1 total distance including interval periods was just about right. It ended up feeling like nothing afterward, but the latter 2/3 running intervals were no walk in the park.

3.1 in 23:03, 7:26. Not nearly as fast as race pace, but there was record heat in the gym - 84 degrees. I did 0.5 off (7.0-7.5mph), 0.5 on (9.0mph). Splits> 4:14, 3:19, 3:56, 3:19, 4:04, 3:19, 0:48. The 0.5 on periods felt longer and longer wih each one. My hips were having some minor issues... no proper warmup, I guess. But overall, I'm happy. Speedy enough.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aug 2

FIT:
Since I wasn't banged up, just low on juice yeterday, I was fine with another run today. It ended up being pretty good. 8.0 in 1:07:51, 8:29 ave. Close to the goal 8:23 pace, but I'd have to hold it for more than 3x that distance. Aaaah. I was doing pretty well, still fine cardiovascularly and muscularly. My limiting factor was joints. My right knee was better than it was yesterday, but still only 97% aligned. Towards the end, it was straining to keep all my knee parts together on the reaching out phase of running. Furthermore, my outer left patella had surface issues. Surface isn't worrisome, but it did require careful stepping. Maybe my arches are doing a little too much to offset overpronation?

I had a big dinner again today... too little during the day, probably. But who can eat a lot while just sitting for 9 hours non-stop? I waited longer befoe heading out to the treadmill, though. Listened to the mp3, no water. Wore 1224's w/ arches (I think I like these better than the n3's), sox. Splits> 8:33, 8:34, 8:34, (26:33 5k), 8:34, 8:34, 8:33, (53:07 10k), 8:34, 7:51. Quick recovery cardio-wise, felt like I hadn't done much muscularly. Knees are kinda hot, though, and I'll need to ice to keep down swelling. Good run. Better than I expected.

Splits>

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Aug 1

FIT:
After 2 days of rest (besides a moderately strenuous but very slow 2.5 mi hike yesterday), I hoped for a good LR today, buttttt it didn't work out. My right knee wasn't 100% alined, and I was just really out of energy... not tired, just no strength. I ate a fairly sizeable dinner beforehand: almonds, flan, chicken, hummus, pita chips, and cabbage. Too soon before the run, I think. I've been doing hat a lot lately. My chest/heart hurts now when I breathe. It's happened more lately. It'll pass, though. I think it may be more food than exercise-related. Is that heartburn? It hurts when I breathe in air.

The run was slow. I thought it would go faster, since my legs should be fairly fresh. Maybe the hike did more than I thought? No idea. 3n's w/ stab. 81 degrees on a 1 degree tread. Sox.

4.o in 33:57, 8:29 ave. Splits> 8:34, 8:34, 8:40, (26:41 5k... verrry slow), 8:07.