Friday, May 27, 2011

May 26

Yesterday, I ate a bit of cactus and a grasshopper.  The cactus might've been pickled or something, because it had that taste.  The grasshopper was fried crispy, although there was still some squishiness to it.  Not bad.  A very distinctive flavor, some of which might've come from whatever spices they're using.  I've loved the food I've had here in Mexico.  I love spicy food and powerful flavors (in general, lots of garlic, lots of salt, lots of whatever), so everything has been great.  The first few days, I had lots of chicken and lots of fish.  The last couple of days, I was feeling overloaded with meat, like I ate so much of it at each meal that my tummy was never not digesting it, so the past 2 days, I went as veggie-ful as I could.  I tend to do that on these trips... overload on meat the first few days, because meals come 3/day, rather than 6/day, so I go for meat so that I can be held over until the next meal, but it's just bigger portions than I'd usually have at one time.  So I spend the second half of the trip craving veggies.  Breakfast every day has been great - skim milk (milk from Taiwan and Mexico taste similar, and different from the kind in the US), and papaya topped with almond slivers and shredded coconut... lots of papaya... so good.

Third altitude run.  I think the first 3 days, my head was a little bit swimmy all day, but since then, I've felt more normal.  I seem to be more woooh than normal post-lunch.  I don't know if it's due to my tummy digesting, taking away blood flow that's already lower in oxygen than normal, or if it's just from working all day and needing a mental break.

Anyway, the run went by pretty fast this time.  When you get used to a course or a locale (like a particular gym), you are able to zone out, and that's when the miles fly by.  If a place is new to you, you are on alert every moment, and you keep looking around and noticing things and taking in your environment, which makes every second last longer than it normally would. 

So... ran... felt easier than the previous two runs.  Each one has gotten easier, although part of the reason that the second was easier than the first was that I took it easier and went slower.  My body felt like it could handle going faster today, though.

3.1 in 26:18 (vs. 26:05 on run 1, 27:09 on run 2), 8:29 ave.  Splits> 5:25, 5:18, 5:17, 5:13, 5:03.

Ohh... interesting stat... 190bpm after this run, vs. 168 bpm after run 2.  Much of it just depends on how hard you sprint at the end, rather than how well-adjusted you are to atitude... so getting my RHR would be better, although I don't know how to do that correctly.  Lying down?  While I'm sleeping?  After I wake, I get jittery, so I think that value would get skewed.  Eh... and a bunch of other factor mess it up too... most of all stress, but also probably your digestion, when you last moved any part of the body, whether you get yourself worked up just thinking about your bpm, etc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24

7am EDT... the only time I run in the morning on workdays is when I travel.  I'm not a morning runner for the following reasons:

1. I run on grass or treadmills 99% of the time, to preserve my knees.  Running on grass in the dark could be treacherous for ankles, and the fitness room opens later in the morning, and if I did squeeze something in the first daylight, it would be suuuuuper rushed to get anything in before I'd have to get to work (with extra stress from the unpredictability of traffic).

2. I usually put off waking up as long as I can. 

So I run after dinner, after giving my tummy some time to digest.  My dinner is pretty extended, too, multi-coursed with whatever I can find in my apt that doesn't require cooking.  So it's usually pretty late when I do finally go out, either to the park (if it's Daylight savings and it's a medium-length 5-6ish mi run) or the treadmill, if it's dark or if I want to save gas or if I want a speed workout or if my ankles need a break from uneven grassy surfaces, etc.

Aaaanyway, 2nd day of running at altitude.  Took it easier this time, because I'm sure there's a benefit even at lower speeds. 

3.1 in 27:09 (waaaaaah, record slowness, probably, haha), 8:45 ave.  And even at that pace, my cardio system was struggling for the last mile.  Splits> 5:29, 5:29, 5:27, 5:25, 5:18.  Perhaps a bit less hot today than it was a day and a half ago, since it's the morning.  Still very warm, though. 

Oh, another thing that's different about this run... it was pre-breakfast.  I almost always run about an hour post-meal, which isn't hard, since I eat like every 3 hrs... but this was after a night of sleep 5 hrs + reading a few more months' worth of - haha + 1.5 hrs of sleep + bit of work to prep for the day then ruuuun...

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 22

A run that almost didn't happen...

I flew in to Mexico City this morning, and I'm now in Toluca (50ish minutes away), sitting at 1.65 miles of elevation (vs. Denver - the mile-high city, and vs. Iten, Kenya - 1.5 mi).  I thought I wouldn't have any issues with the elevation, but even just driving in, my head/brain area can feel it.  At first, I thought that some of it may be that I got 4 hours of sleep last night after a long night of packing a and getting my apartment ready for my new roommate and general cleaning.  But I've been sleep-deprived before (see : my life), so I don't think that's it.  It's a bit more.

Not much around where the hotel is, since it's not really a touristy spot, and it's generally not as safe here, so I won't be doing any running outside while I'm here.  I had been looking foward to getting in a small dose of altitude trainng, though.  But ooooh, man.

After dinner (good - veggie soup, corn tortillas with chicken and tomato sauce and cottage cheese, bottled water b/c you don't eat raw veg here b/c it's been washed in tap water), I kind of just wanted to rest (catch up on sleep) and stay clean feeling.  But after finishing Prince Caspian in Spanish, I got a small energy burst and decided to go to the gym before it closed. 

I started on the stairstepper, b/c I usually don't have access to a properly functioning step machine.  But after a minute, it stepped strangely, so I stopped that and went for the treadmill.  It was warm.  I had visited earlier in the day, but it was super warm and humid and chloriney in there b/c it's in the same "greenhouse" as the pool.  I thought it would be cooler later.  Unfortunately, the greenhouse kind of traps the heat in there, so even though it was a bit cooler outside, it was still hot in the greenhouse and especially hot in the fitness area. 

So I started up at 14kph... not too sure how that was in Imperical-land, but I just remembered that I had used that at some point in AR.  But... it must've been during my intervals session, haha, b/c it was brutal, and I quickly brought it dow.  But even at 12kph, it took such effort, that I stopped after like 2 min... let's see.... 7.45mph.  So I stopped.  Started walking back to my room, still sweat-free and relatively clean.  But then, I told myself that if I just waited until tomorrow to try again, it wouldn't feel any easier.  It takes at least 2-3 days to adjust to altitude.  But more than that, tonight would be the most care-free night with the most predictable schedule.  With big group dinners and post-work work (blaaaaaaah), it would probably only get worse.

So I turned around and started again, this time a little bit slower (11.4kph) and decided to just make it through 5K (which I can actually measure in Ks this time).  So heat + altitude... maybe air pollution - it's an issue in MexCity, but we're some distance outside of the city center, and we're at a higher altitude, so I don't know if that's much of an issue here... anyway... I made it. 

Super hard just to do a 5K in 26:05, 8:25 ave.  Splits> 5:13, 5:18, 5:11, 5:13, 5:08... not sure why there's variation.  I only increased pace the whole time... I know I did slightly miss pushing the button a couple times... eh.  It was a good, heavy-duty treadmill.  Slightest wobble, but so slight that I forgot about it quickly.  Mostly just stared at myself making the ugly face in the mirror as I toughed it out.


I wonder... if I was the same class year as my sister, and we were in MS or HS together, and we weren't related, would we have become friends?  I love my sister very much, and we're good friends and joke around.  It's just an interesing though.  I asked her on Skype, and she said, "hahahha i think that we would be / if you showed that you were funny/weird / if you didnt let people see that then maybe not."

2. FUN
You know how there are monsters in your closet?  Wouldn't it be so funny/cute if a live Elmo was standing in there?  I want to buy a stuffed animal Elmo... a cuddly one, not a hard mechanical one that dances or something.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20

Yesterday, I was going to try to get in a run at 11pm, despite being tired.  I got my running stuff on and got all the way to the fitness room, but when I got there, I found that all the outlets used by the cardio machines had no power.  I looked around for the switch for about 10 minutes, but the ones I found only controlled the lights.  It was strange.  Maybe a good thing, that I couldn't figure it out.  Long days.

Today, I think I was the most tired I've been during a run for a while.  The work day was long, which is typical, but running didn't perk me up this time.  I did the try-to-close-my-eyes-and-halfway-nap-while-I-run thing that I have to do occasionally (a few times a year), and I think I almost fell asleep a couple of times, or at least was dozy enough to not be able to run in a straight line, since I knocked up against the side bars of the treadmill a few times.  For the first time, I thought that today may actually be the day that I fly off the back end of a treadmill.

What kept me going was the thought about doing it for someone I care about, though.  Strange.  Nothing else in the world seemed to be worth the suffering but that.  Not running goals or endorphins or anything else.  So tired.

My usual stability shoes have felt a bit stiff this week.  Maybe my feet want more minimalist shoes.  It would be cool if it could do it consistently, if the tendons and muscles have adapted.  My usual stability shoes feel like running with wooden planks tied to your feet.  No bending of the arches at all.  We'll see how it continues to feel.

My legs had to be careful to keep good form by the end, otherwise my knees (or the muscles/whatevers around them) would've started yoinking around.  Even post-run when I was walking back to m apt, I had to keep full ROM and pick up my knees as I walked, to keep the yoinking at bay.  I'm icing now.  Maybe it was the fast sprints earlier this week that I'm recovering from.  Lindsay from made a good point about sticking to recommended paces for certain distances based on current race pace.  I've seen that at McMillan and Jack Daniels' Running Formula as well, and it's right on about predicted performances.  However, I've always been puzzled about why they don't give distances or # of reps to go with those suggested paces.  Are we just supposed to go by feel, and see how far we can go at that pace, or how many reps we can do at that pace on a given day?  I feel like I may be missing something.  Because if I should go at X pace for tempo runs, so far do I go?  How many reps of quarters at Y pace should I do? 

In the past, I've always pretty much gone by feel for my "training".  The marathon buildup late last year/early this year was the first time I followed any sort of official plan whatsoever (the Runner's World Smart Coach app), and I only followed the distance guidelines there.  I ignored the pace guidelines, since I thought that it may push me to go harder than my body could handle, and since I have a hard time having a predictable schedule and may be redistributing the miles across the workouts/weekdays anyway.  So we'll see.  Those paces are waaaay faster than the ones at which I train, even though they're suggested based on my PRs.  Anyway - suggestions are welcome.

Strange thing... on days when I can sleep in, sometimes, I find myself waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep because I feel like I need to take advantage of the day (just to zone out and enjoy being zoned out).  And on days when I should get up early and tackle the long to-do list, I snooze and snooze.

Oh yeah, 5.0 in 39:51, 7:58 ave.  Splits> 8:23, 8:11, 7:59, 7:51, 7:24.

After the run, I was really thirsty.  Dunno if that was why I was so tired (don't think so, since I'm always super-hydrated), or if it was just the 2 cloves of garlic I had had on my dinner burrito.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18

11pm run.... oooooohhhhh, yeah.

It's like I won the golden ticket... a key to the fitness room.  It's almost like a personal gym now.  I'm one step closer to my dream of owning my own gym, haha.  I got it about a week ago, but I didn't have the need to take advantage of it until tonight.  My legs were craaaaaaving a run because they were feeling x-sore and wanted to work work work.  They kind of felt like... if you pull back a slingshot, it's all stretched, and it wants so badly to be released and to do some awesome stuff.  So I ran.

I initially wanted to do a long run, but given the hour, but more given my legs' desire to bang something out and to work out the soreness, I went with intervals.  It's good timing, anyway, since it's been a while since my last speed session, which was actually hills and not speed... a month since the last interval session, and 3 weeks since the hills... that's because I back-to-back 5Ks, so I did get in speed.  Intervals are satisfying... can be brutal sometimes, but always satisfying.

1.5 mi warmup @ 7.5mph (longer than usual, because my legs started off at 7.5mph, because they were ready to start pounding out, but they felt kind of tight, so it took a bit to fully loosen up), then 6 x [1/4 @ 9.5mph, 1/4 @ 7.5mph.

One of my most memorable interval sessions in the past was 20 quarters @ about 1:30, with full stopping for like 45s in between.  So... this was... 9.5mph = 6:19 pace, so each quarter was 1:34.  So it was about the same, but with 7.5mph jogging (felt pretty sluggish following the sprints... normally, 7.5 feels fairly quick) for a quarter before going again.  It's faster than goal 5K pace, which was my intention.  I normally do intervals at about 5K PR pace, which perhaps explains why my PR is there and not faster.  Granted, I'd go longer than 1/4 mi, but I think I could probably extend what I did today, especially as my legs get used to the pace.  A 6:19 pace would be a 19:35 5K... a gooooood bit faster than my goal.  But not completely out of reach.

I wore Saucony Fastwitch's so that I could go as fast as possible and build those neuromuscular connections and push that speed.  It was cool outside... almost cold... today.  So the gym was a cooler 75 degrees (it's 70 degrees in the winter, but 77ish on hot summer days).  Afterwards, I kind of wanted to go again, it felt so good.  What a wonderful gift from God it is to be able to run.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16 -p


Impromptu bike ride... which turned into a rollerblade glide for me, when one of the bikes didn't work and we needed a backup.  It was perfect weather as we cruised on the Swamp Rabbit Trail from downtown GVL to Furman. says 86 degrees, but it felt cooler than that - maybe due to cloud cover.  It was a nice and relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  A couple of spots where there's a sudden patch of gravel or rutted road made me almost trip a couple of times, and it's hard to stop or slow down on inline skates.  But a couple of spots over 6 miles is not bad at all.  The trail is super-smooth and almost all clear of debris, making it great for rollerblading.  Just be careful on those couple of spots... I had lots of padding just in case.

After that, I figured that I needed to get in a strength session, so that I could fit in another one at the end of the week, since after that, it may be another 2 weeks before I can do another one.  I had watched some Runner's World videos on some new and interesting strength moves the day before, so I was eager to try them.  Having been a fan of exercise for a while, I'm always so pleasantly surprised to learn about new exercises.  Not only are there a good number of basics you can do, but you can blend the "basics" in all sorts of ways to make them extra challenging and to confuse your neuromuscular systems and stir up new strength.,8052,s6-6-0-2,00.html

I was sore today, in my hamstrings, and a little bit in my calves.  Mostly hamstrings/lower butt.  Those things are never sore.  I think it was the rollerblading.  The first 9 mi felt like nothing, since the ground was so smooth, but the last 3 miles got harder because I started feeling sore.

I had planned on making it a rest day, since I did a "long run" of 10 on Saturday and then got myself sore on Sunday.  But... I knew that running can make soreness go away, and I was kind of in the mood.  I was tired, yes, but not as much as usual.  I wonder how much I'm stressing my immune system.  It was a cool day, so I wanted to take advantage of it outside, so even though I knew it would probably be a short recovery run, I drove out to the park.  Got in a few miles, faster than I expected.  Couldn't really detect the soreness, and it felt good to run.  I kind of wanted to go again right afterwards, but I'll save it for tomorrow.  It's such a good feeling when you finish a run and then 10 minutes afterwards, you think to yourself, "you know what?  that was so great, I think I want to go again right now".  But I'll save it.  I can maybe look forward to getting in another one tomorrow.  Maybe. 

4.3 in 36:18, 8:21 ave.  382 cal. 

Splits> 6:31, 6:15, 6:14, 5:59, 5:48, 5:30.  Mmm... running is so tasty.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14

Third time's a charm.  Finally, on my third attempt this week, I finally eeked out a 10 in 1:23:23, 8:20 ave.  Normally, it wouldn't be remarkable, but that's the longest run I've done in about a month.  Don't know what it is.  It was 77 degrees in the gym, so maybe it's the heat.  Maybe I'm deficient in iron or something and should eat more dark chocolate, haha.  I took 3 naps today by 2pm... just spent the day sleeping and eating and internet surfing.  The weekend is when I can finally rest after the work week. 

I needed all the help I could get to make the run happen, so I was well-rested from all the napping, and I wore the light Kinvaras, and I drank a small bottle of Gatorade during the run.  It was only 80Cal total, and I had 1/3 of the bottle every 2.5 mi.  I can usually go drink-free and fuel-free for up to a half marathon (at training pace) with no issues, but maybe that's just in cool temps.  I needed the energy.  Even with that help, I had to push reaaaaly hard just to finish the last 1.5 mi.  The first half actually flew by, and up to the 8.5, everything was alright.  No real injury issues... normal minor kinks that speeding it up a bit normally takes care of.

The run's not over until you've done your post-run recovery tasks.  No stretching... I'm rarely in the mood to stretch after runs.  I feel loose enough post-run.  Maybe dumb, but that's how I feel.  I do like to fuel, though, so that I can take care of that 30min window where my muscles are very receptive to restocking itself and prepping itself for the next run.  Had protein powder + water, plus a sweet potato.  I was just looking at the very cute KeddieBears blog and Joshua's peas looked sooooo good, so I microwaved up myself a carby yet vitamin-packed sweet potato. My muscles are very happy right now.  I'm also icing my knees and ankles, for preventative purposes.  Just feels right after getting myself knackered over the 10.

Splits> 8:34, 8:33, 8:32, 8:27, 8:21, 8:19, 8:16, 8:12, 8:07, 7:58.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11

8.0 in 1:07:39, 8:27 ave.  After feeling like my immune system was a bit down at times yesterday (a bit worn out from the previous day's run, maybe), I was eager to run all day today and was looking forward to getting some freedom time once I left work.  For some reason, I was craving the treadmill... a firm but ever so slightly cushy ride... most of all, even.  I think my stabilizers are worn and scared after Monday's run, not that I haven't done the same run before a number of times in the past... maybe it's that plus the back-to-back weeks of racing in racing shoes.  Or maybe it was the new insoles I tried for the second time on Monday's run.  Anyway, I was actually looking forward to time on the treadmill.

Got home at 6:45ish, ate cereal and milk, caught up on last night's Biggest Loser (one of the coolest episodes of all time, I think, with really interesting challenges)... okay, rabbit trail... they had a "test" with 5 components, 4 of which were one-on-one with the four trainers.  Each trainer tested a different aspect of what the contestants have learned during the season:

1. With Bob, the cardio master, the contestants had to teach him how to spin, as if he was a beginner.  That's a great idea, because first of all, they've learned so much and have had such a great opportunity being on the ranch that they'll likely want to pass along the knowledge that they've gained.  Being able to teach beginners is a good skill.  Not only do you want to know the technical aspects of the activity, like how to get someone fitted with a spin bike properly, but you want to be able to explain why you need to adjust the seat to a certain level, for example.  You also want to be personable and think about what will help the coachee learn the best and to build their confidence and give them some direction.

2. With Brett, it was a test on nutrition.  When you understand the science, you can make better food choices.  I didn't know his dad was a prof at Princeton!

3. With Cara, it was about mental fortitude - having a fighter's attitude. 

4. With Jillian, it was about being able to help motivate someone and connect with them.  They role-played, where Jillian would explain her story... like "I've always been the one overshadowed by my siblings, and I feel like nothing I do is any good", and the contestant would ask questions and help to draw motivation for changing direction and seeing who they can become out of them.  Jillian's really good at that... I wonder if she's taken classes for that, or if she's just naturally good at that, or if her own personal experiences being formerly overweight and turning her life around gave her those insights and that ability to connect with and understand people.

It was really interesting.  Fitness is so multi-dimensional, and it makes you grow in all sorts of ways.  There's something challenging and interesting in it for everyone... the scientific mind can spend forever poring over studies on nutrition and physiology and test with themselves as the guinea pig.... the analytical/mathematical mind can chart the daylights out of all kinds of stats to draw up plans and find patterns to optimize performance and set good goals... the heart can find the joy of sharing this passion with friends... the soul can spend some time alone with God and your thoughts in the miles... the body gets to be what it was made to be and flourish... it's great.

Anyway... I watched BL, then went to the gym, in time to perhaps get the 10 in before the fitness room would close.  Well, even if I had the energy to do it (only made it to 8), I wouldn't have had time to fit in 10 anyway... maybe 9, but my body was done at 8.  Another day... sad - haha... my second failed attempt at 10.  Ehhh... oh well, base building with multiple decent-sized runs is just as good, I think.  There'll be plenty of time for LRs later on.

Treadmill, 1 degree, as usual.  77 degrees.
Splits> 8:45, 8:43, 8:42, 8:36, 8:30, 8:22, 8:11, 7:45.

Enjoyed a cold, juicy mango afterwards.  That was my motivation for the last mile.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9

I feel like I just easily ate 10% of my body's volume in watermelon without even feeling it.  So good after a hot run.  It wasn't that hot... 78 degrees, but it was a challenging run.  I've been trying to grab every chance at running in cool temps so far this year, to have enjoyable and fast runs.  I think it's time to face the summer and start the acclimatization process (and in case you're wondering,  It normally takes a couple of weeks of running at at least 50% VO2max (at or above easy pace), but then you're set (Lore of Running by Tim Noakes, pp. 188).  It really didn't feel that bad today, due to today's cloud coverage.  Shade makes a huge difference. 

It's also time for me to build up a base again.  I think I've ridden post-marathon fitness as far as I can on  14ish miles per week while juggling work and social and family commitments.  If I don't start doing LRs again, I think things will start going downhill, so time to build back up.  I'm excited.  What's going to go out the window to make room for those 9pm-drag-myself-to-the-fitness-room-before-the-gym-closes-even-though-I'm-super-tired/ workouts?  Probably mostly just comfort, maybe a bit of sleep.  I don't think I was particularly tired at work when I was doing this a few months ago.  It's just a huge mental battle to get out the door, but you feel great once you start moving, and even better right after.  It probably improves sleep quality when you work out hard and wear yourself out, too.  So I think it'll end up being the same.

I got a big motivational boost from my new running buddy I haven't met but can't wait to, Lindsay from  It's super entertaining, and I've had a lot of fun reading through the posts so far (I've made it through January 2011) - highly recommend it.  We have some similar times (20:33 5K in April, vs my 20:44 5K in April, for example) and our respective training plans and goals are leading us to new adventures and higher levels of fitness all the time, so this bit of friendly competition has added a new dimension of fun and will definitely be adding a bit of motivation for my runs on those hard-to-get-out-the-door evenings.  She's got me owned so far in most if not all distances from the 5K to the marathon, but now there's extra incentive to lay it all on the line when race day rolls around.

I've learned to play it smart (finally), so I definitely don't plan on overtraining or doing anything crazy because of this.  I'll continue to listen to my body, like I've finally learned (I think) to do after years of getting injured once every 9 months or so.  I'm now going on a year and a half injury-free, thanks to my PT buddy's guidance and hip strengthening tips to fix my formerly sore knees.  That's the longest ever.  Consistency definitely plays a big role in developing fitness, so now that I don't need to take 6 weeks to 6 months off to recover from injury, I can build up fitness like I have been doing, allowing me to achieve PRs 4x in the 6 races I've done in 2011 so far!  (1 for my first marathon... so that's a given, 1 for the half in 1:36:00, 2x in the 5K).  I have so much to be grateful for.  Ha - I was moping about a less-than-ideal last race, but at least I get to run and enjoy the sweet satisfaction of pushing myself.  Man, I love running.  So thanks, Lindsay, for the inspiration from your kind comments and your blog.  I am looking forward to the next time our race plans align... not sure when my next one will be, but I look forward to laying it down on that day :)  Good luck with your marathon next week!

Okay... now for today's workout... 6.7 in 55:54, 8:24 ave.  I had every intention of doing 10 because I haven't done a LR in months, if you don't count the half marathon race.  Not enough energy.  Gave a good effort, though, and maybe I'll be more used to the heat and mileage next time.  554 Cal (I don't count - just listing it because the Garmin gives it to me).  Tried the new super-thick X-trainer Spenco insoles with the Brooks Trance 9s this time... better than having it in the already clunky NB858s.  The Trance9s are kind of hard, so I guess it's a better fit with the cushy insoles.  Not a great combo either, but it's tolerable, so if I don't find anything better, I can perhaps throw that into the mix every now and then to keep my muscles guessing.  Went out to the park again to enjoy the outdoors (hurray rain for clearing out some pollen last night) and improve my ability to handle hills (my weakness). 

Splits> 6:19, 6:15, 6:09, 6:12, 6:14, 6:19, 6:13, 6:12, 5:59.  Not very consistent, but I had to tone it down a bit after some progressively faster early laps, once I remembered that I planned on going around that 0.72ish mi loop until I hit 10 mi, so I'm not concerned.  Good run... worked my heart muscles and my body overall... it was resisting movement towards the end.  Lost a lot of salt during the run.  Acclimatization, here I come!

>> And lastly, a super sweet giveaway at

Sunday, May 8, 2011

RACE REPORT: Swamp Rabbit 5K 2011

Sorry, not a very interesting report this time.

It was a Friday evening race.  I didn't run at all in the three days before, just because I wanted to stay rested and not over-tired for the race, but it just wasn't a great day.

Maybe it was the traffic that made the normally 40 minute trip take 1:20... maybe it was the heat... maybe it was the hills... maybe it was coming off a workday tired...

So got there eventually, parked, jogged my warmup to the race number pickup, hit the potty, and got in line.  Race was delayed 10 min because they wanted to give people stuck in traffic a chance to get there.  I was tired at the start.

Off we go, hilly course.  Knew there were a good number of women ahead of me.  2 water stops, splashed water on self.  Wearing A4s, company singlet, UA calf sleeves, Feetures, visor, shades.

13:40 at the 2-mi.  That's a 6:50 ave.  Last mile was on the trail.  Just keep it up and hang til the end.  Didn't turn on the kick til the very end b/c I was not feeling it that day.  The next girl (age 13) was just a few feet in front of me at the finish, but I didn't push hard enough/ early enough.  Just not my day.

21:26 gun time (chip time would be maybe 4 s faster), 6:64 ave.  Felt bad for a while.  It's stupid, I know.  You can't expect to PR at every race, especially as it gets hotter, and it is hard to be upset about that time, and I'm grateful just to be healthy enough to run, period. 

Ehh... I think I may need a little motivation, something with a set time period to train for, like a marathon.  With the temps, I won't be PRing for a while, probably.  We'll see.

// On a related note, here's a SUPER interesting article:

I've often wondered about this topic and have had my own hypotheses about how the cycle affects running performance, and it's interesting to see how my views line up with research.  Maybe I'll share my experiences another day... haha... not sure I want to blog about them.  But let's just say that I agree with the findings.

But I will summarize highlights of the article:
Reasons for poorer performance during the luteal phase (days 14-28):
- Increased estrogen => glycogen sparing (not sure why one causes the other)
- Bloating is really just a change in distribution and not an indication of increased water retention, so there's less plasma volume available to help you sweat and stay cool, so by the central governor theory, your brain will make you go at a slower pace so that you don't overheat and encounter catastrophic failure.  Not only do you get poorer cooling, but thicker blood = slower blood flow = slower delivery of O2, removal of waste and CO2.
- Extra weight during the late luteal phase, which drops significantly on day 2 of the cycle, so due to the big benefit of dead weight loss (1% faster per lb loss), day 2 is the best.

No effect:
- Iron levels don't really change much, despite blood loss

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2

Boo dishes.  There's no end to them.  Funny story - when I was little(r) and my mom was training me to wash dishes (only on occasion), she once told me that if you didn't wash off the soap and you ate it, you'd get cancer.  Ever since then, I've been a little OCD about washing dishes.  It takes me about 30 min per day's worth, and that's even after I re-use used dishes as much as I can... when my mom visits nowadays, she says that she gets all worked up and frustrated watching me wash dishes because it takes me so long to wash each one, haha.  All her fault, haha.  Oh, and if you're wondering, I've used my dishwasher once in two years... we never used it much when I was a kid, and you can't do lots of plastics in there (I'm scared to microwave any plastic, even microwavable ones) because of the heat, I think, and there was soap marks left on the dishes afterward.  So it takes me a while to do dishes.  If I ever have a family of 4... oh man, hahaha... 2 hours a day of dishes. No problem - I'll just train my kids to do it, and I'll be sure to warn them about what happens if you don't wash all the soap off.

Was a little bit sore this morning from yesterday's swim.  Not any particular muscle... legs all over... used muscles I don't usually use from running... most of all my butt, I think.  Overall fitness...

Ran... tried the NB858's I got on sale this weekend.  Super heavy shoes.  I don't know how much of it is the shoe itself, and how much of it is the thickness and density of the new insoles I got... these may be the heaviest shoes I've ever worn... Let's see... 11 oz vs. 11.2 in the Asics Gel Evolutions... this one feels way heavier.  Maybe my legs are just tired. 

Umm... not a fan of the shoes so far.  Maybe they'll be my emergency shoes or something that I'll keep in the car for spontaneous running opportunities.  We'll see.  Maybe I just need to swap out the insoles to my normal ones. 

Anyway, the run... 4.0 in 31:13, 7:48 ave.  My heart was working super hard.  I started off at 7.0 (8:34 pace) and it felt like a snail's pace... maybe because I just came off of a 6:41-paced race.  Normally, 7.0 feels a bit too fast when I'm starting off.  That's a first.  So I sped it up really quick, and it felt good besides the shoes and the difficulty of the effort.  I had my "ugly face" on with the strain of it, haha.

Splits> 8:00, 7:56, 7:46, (24:30 5k), 7:29.

I think this particular combo of insole and shoe exacerbates my footstrike discrepancy (right foot lands perfectly underneath me, but my left foot overpronates.  A switch is a must.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1

Ideally, would've had a long run today, but my legs weren't feeling it.  My knees were dingy... just need a bit of massaging in my Tibialis Anteriors, I think, and maybe my IT bands... nothing I'm worrying about.  They were just not in the mood for miles, either... maybe for sprints, but the day after a race isn't a day for sprints if you want to stay uninjured.

Instead, I swam.  The last time I swam was April 1 of 2010... it was very cold then... such that I stopped eventually not from tiredness but the cold.  It was a mental battle to endure it.  This time, it was cool but comfortable.  Temps range from the mid-50s to the low 80s.  Huge range, huh?  So it's cool, but the evening sun and the effort kept you plenty comfortable.

It's been over a year, so maybe it was a bit ambitious to think I could do an hour of swimming.  I did 45 min.  The first 20 minutes are the hardest - you do the first few sets, and you're like oh man, but then, your arms get used to working while feeling tired, and the last few sets go by quickly.  My heart was pounding fast the whole time.  The first set, I was trying to power through it, but I used lots of arm strength, when I should've taken advantage of leg strength... maybe.  I dont' know anything about good swimming form and physiology.  I could try to learn, but I swim only a few times a year, and I'm in it more for the cardio workout than for speed/performance.  I may be inefficient, but it's okay as long as it's making my heart work hard... so long as the inefficiency doesn't cause some injury.  If I ever take up triathalon, I'll look into it, but the psychological strain/effort of keeping my head down (scary) and breathing from the little pocket caused by the swell is something I'd rather save for running.

Workout: 6 x [3 laps (in my tiny, tiny pool) free, 3 laps breast, 1 lap fly].  The sun and the lack of flags made back not appealing, as much as my arms wanted to work in that direction to keep the effort balanced.  Man, those fly laps were tough.  It's tough just to execute some semblance of the stroke. 

Splits> 7:18, 7:33, 7:35, 7:34, 7:42, 7:39. 
Since I stuck to a lane and didn't go the full length of the peanut-shaped pool, it was probably just 17/18yds that I estimated once using a jumprope and a tape measure.  So I probably swam about 0.8 mi in 45:23.  Not bad.