Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jul 31 - p

FIT:
Oooooh, a good workout day.

Started off the day feeling a little tired in the legs... not really in the mood to work out after yesterday's "LR" of 9.1.  Haven't decided yet whether or not I'll log it as an LR... probably will.

Anyway, shopped a bit, then went to the gym afterwards, since it was next door.  That was the plan.  Got on the spin bike, read Running Times, and the 51 minutes went by quickly.  Incredible.  That bike gives you a good, consistent force.  If I ever buy gym equipment, it'll be that one.  I can go at a pretty good effort for an hour and have legs fresh enough the next day to do something again.  The recumbent bike... I don't quite like the angles and the way force is applied as much, although it is nice to recline if you're really tired and don't want to hold up your upper body at all.

 

So I did that for 51:15 (why such the odd time, bike?... I set it for 50-55 min, and it chose 51:15 for me).  Went 35.7 mi, ave cadence 158, 615 cal.  Bike says it was level 4 on the screen, but I don't know what that controls, if you're controlling the resistance knob manually.  Maybe it assumes you're jumping when the guy on the screen says to jump, and it factors that in to the cal count.  Who knows.
Afterwards, I used my punching gloves for 10 min to pound and every now and then kick something.  It was fun.  I have an inflatable water-based one, but that thing moves like crazy when I punch it.  Even this big plastic one moved some.



Afterwards, my body felt so loose and warmed up, so I tried a sprint session, and it went super well.  It was as if I hadn't just done 51 min of spinning.

4.0 in 29:08, 7:17 ave.  Although there was a min break before the last mile, when EMTs came in to respond to a false alarm that someone in the gym probably triggered.  But I think I could've managed holding it without the break.  It was a little challenging on the joints, but it went well.  

0.5 mi warmup @ 7.25mphish, 4 x [0.5 @ 9, 0.25 @ 7.5], 0.5 mi progression cooldown.  I walked around a bit afterwards to cool off.  Played a little with a hurdle (just step-overs) and an instability circle.  Then, walked to the grocery store.  On the way there, I was feeling so good, like I could take off on another 6 mi run or something.  I felt soooo good.  I think something has clicked today with my endurance.  It happened at around this time last year, too!  I don't know if this feeling will last, but last year, I suddenly became able to do 11 mi runs every weekend, and after that, I started marathon training.  I feel like my cardio system can take it, and with the plyos giving me some new muscle fibers to use, I feel like my legs could do a decent job, too.  Oh man, what a high.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow.  Maybe I can do another double (bike + run). 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jul 30

FIT:
Time for a run.  I was sore in my upper legs (hammies+quads+butt) and upper arms yesterday, which was the day after an intense 30min plyos session.  Haven't been sore like that in a while. My arms were almost useless, as even pushing myself up in bed or whatever was a challenge. 

I had a nice 10 hr sleep last night, after 4, 4, 7, 4 during the weekdays.  I needed the sleep to help with recovery, too.  I took an extra 2.5 hr nap, since I was still a little sore.

After the nap, I was going to go out to the treadmill to maybe get in a LR... 8-12, but the window didn't feel that hot, and it looked cloudy outside, so I got the idea to go downtown for an outside run.  I did a full-body test of the temp, and it was warm but seemingly tolerable if I would go slow enough.

I had prepped for a LR earlier by sticking half a tab of a Nathan Catalyst electrolyte fizzy pill into a water bottle to let it finish fizzing before my run.  I made the mistake once of drinking it immediately after mixing pill and water, and it fizzed up in my tummy.  Since I'd be doing this outside, I added some ice cubed and poured half into 2 Nike fuel belt flasks, filled the half-full water bottle back up with water, and added like a tsp of salt and some lemon juice to the bottle.  A little too much salt, but I was pouring it straight and didn't have very much control of it.

So went out, started slow.  Weather.com had said that it'd be around 94 degrees for the run.  It was hotter at first and cooled down as the sun approached sunset.  If I wanted to repeat the run I did 2 weeks ago, I'd have had to do 3 laps, but that seemed tough given the conditions, so I told myself that I could just to do 2 laps and be happy, and that helped.  Normally, it helps when I think of the longer distance goal, since it signals my mind to just zone out and go on auto-pilot.  Today was different, though... I guess with the heat, my Central Governor (see Tim Noakes's book Lore of Running) needed to be convinced that my effort could be sustained for the intended distance without catastrophic failure.  I ended up feeling okay besides the general tiredness after lap 2, so I tacked on half a lap... oh... I actually stopped at the candy portion of the lolipop run (the candy portion is the lap part) and didn't finish the full distance.  That's a first, but I am satisfied with that decision.  My legs are still recovering from plyos, I already did a good bit, and I could've pushed through the heat and tiredness, but it might've impacted the next training week or even risked injury.  So I had a nice mile-long cooldown run.

It was good that I had brought the water.  The stumpish water fountains in the park... only 1/4 worked, and the one that did was warm.  At least there was the one.  Last time, the two on my part of the course didn't work at all.

9.1 in 1:23:34, 9:12 ave (record slow for this year, out of all runs of all distances).   707 cal.
Splits> 8:52 b, 6:34 p short, 8:00 c, 7:54 p, 7:58 b long, 6:34 p s (even split!), 7:52 c (sped up), 7:32 p (even more!), 7:51 b l, 6:35 p s (almost even split!), 7:48 b l.

Oh yeah, I did have 2 Gu Chomps for energy, since I had a 2nd lunch of 2 vegan corndogs at 2pm, napped until 5:30pm, then went out to run at 7pm.  I also had fruit leather, but that was before the run.

FUEL:
My fueling has been very carby and proteiny in the past few days.  Haven't been in the mood for veggies, and only partially in the mood for fruit.  It's kind of odd.  It's like my tummy's already maxed out and doesn't want the extra volume or something.  Strange.  The result is that this week, I've averaged only 3ish servings/day, vs. the 5ish I usually get.  I hope it doesn't harm my immune system.  I'm taking vitamins during meals where I don't have fruits/veggies, but vitamins aren't anywhere near as good as the real stuff, which has so much more than just raw minerals.  I almost never ever get sick... a minor, minor cold once every 2-3 years, maybe, which only lasts like 2 days and just consists of a stuffy nose and tiredness.  I think the combo of exercise (which strengthens the immune system as long as you're not overtraining) and superfood fueling does it.  My sleep and stress level would otherwise bring down my immune system by a lot, so the exercise and nutrition must be doing tons to undo the effects of those and still keep me healthy.

So... hope the desire for veggies and fruit does come back.  But maybe it'll be good if it's not here while I'm in Mexico, since I can't safely eat raw veggies then.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jul 28

FIT:
Wow, haven't been so tired after a 30 min workout maybe.

Did 30 minutes of plyos with the awesome trainer Kevin Cambell at Anytime Fitness Pelham Road.  He looks like Bob from Biggest Loser.  My intention had been to work on my legs, but I had to give in and ask for arms and abs. Part-way through, I felt as if I could happily collapse on the floor and fall asleep for a while.

Still sleepy (and it's not really because of lack of sleep... typical week of sleep, but I'm more tired than normal), but we'll see if I can remember some of the stuff I did...

- warmup of step-ups onto a jumping block, 2 min
- 30ish 25 lb squat deadlifts (gets back, arms, and legs all at once)
- 180 degree squat jumps, 1 min
- jumping lunges, 1 min
- side step onto the jumping block with a small hop at the top 30s per side
- hands on step with legs a couple feet behind, to do hand-standy arm presses to get deltoids/shoulders
- ~100 Russian twists, touching the ground on each side
- 30 jackknives
- 1-legged X jumps
- 30 partial pushups
- 1-legged burpees w/ pushup
- 40 normal squats
- weighted squat jumps w/ [attempted] knee-to-chest at the top
- 1 min scissor kicks
- 20 tricep dips
- 1 min roundhouse kicks
- step on and over a step laterally
- cooldown step-ups onto a jumping block w/ knee to chest at the end, 2 min

Serious stuff... seriously tired.  Went to failure w/ most of them... had to eek them out.

Afterward walking around and getting water, I got on a treadmill and started running, but I only got maybe 20 steps before I was like "no... not today".  Legs were tired.  So I did the recumbent bike.. no spin bike... wanted to just relax/sleep... watched the Cooking Chanel.  I think that may be the best TV while you're working out.  So mesmerizing you forget you're working out, and it's motivation, in case you're not mesmerized for a moment.

Total:
30 min plyos
60 min easy bike (levels 5-7 for 1/2, level 8 for the rest, out of 20 possible levels... so chill... don't know how anyone could do 20, even for a little while... 8 was hard enough).  480 cal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jul 26

FUEL:
I just shoveled a spinach salad with fat free feta, balsamic, and a can of tuna, plus broccoli + sesame ginger dressing, plus some goldfish into my mouth.  "Shoveled" is totally the right word, haha.  Pretty full now.

Why... FIT:
Just did a workout.  In the morning, my legs would not have wanted to work out, but over the course of the workday, they loosened up and wanted to work out.  I had coffee with friends (decaf, of course... well, "of course" whenever I remember... sometimes I forget, which is easy when you have a long list like "venti sugar free fat free [flavor] frappacinno").  It was good fun and good conversation.  My legs only 40% wanted to work out  afterwards, though.  It was 9:30 by that time, and it was dark and rainy outside.  But I had already dressed up and everything, so I was off to the gym.

FUEL:
Dinner was a bit different today.  Had lunch provided by work... turkey sandwich + fruit + peanuts from home.  At 4:00, had 75% light cheddar + a sprouted grain tortilla w/ PB + 100% fruit spread.  Had the frap at 7:00, then another tortilla w/ PB + fruit spread on my way to the gym at 9:30.  So very spread out, not as vitamin-packed as usual.

back to FIT:
Anyway, that's just to say that after 50 minutes on the elliptical + 40.5 minutes on the spin bike, I was hungry.  I was reading Shape magazine during both events, and the meal plan section sounded sooooooooooooooooooooooo good.  The proteiny ones really appealed to me for whatever reason.  Maybe b/c it has salt and is filling. 

Elliptical... those can give you really good workouts, given the right resistance.   Took a while for my body to start sweating, so perhaps it wasn't as intense as running... more strengh-y, due to the resistance I put on it.  It seems like there should be different angle settings for people of different leg lengths.  Anyway, it felt pretty good, besides minor right knee alignment.  Could've perhaps gone on if I had wanted to, and if I was willing to push the knee some more, but stopping at 50 min wasn't bad either, and it's better for my leg.  Stats... 6.35 mi, 500 cal, 50 min, level 12/20.  If that was running 6.36 mi (which is actually a really good estimate for what I could do in 50 min), it would've been about 400 cal, so maybe 150 cal or 40% too high, assuming I'm right that it was easier than running effort. (ref: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304-311-8402-0,00.html)

Walked around a bit afterwards, then spun.... spinned... had a spin session.

If you pick a workout of 40-45 minutes, the machine gives you a 40:39 workout... odd.  Anyway, 555 cal, 25.5 mi, 143 average cadence.  I like the spin bike the most between the elliptical, the erg, the recumbent bike, and the spin bike.  Gives me no trouble on my joints, unlike the others.  I feel like my legs get a good, consistent effort, more similar to what it goes through during running, but without the pounding.  If I ever get a home gym, I think I may even get a spin bike before I get a treadmill.

FUEL:
Just had a Back-to-Nature Dark Chocolate and Oats Granola Cookie with Skim Milk.. needed the sugar/carb hit after the fiber+vitamins+protein... good stuff.  Very full now, though.  Maybe too full to even sleep comfortably, which is different for me... I usually eat right before bed (2nd dinner or snack) most nights.  Broccoli's pretty filling, especially when raw.  I don't like it raw much... roasted with garlic and olive oil and salt is incredible, though.  Had it raw today for speed, though. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jul 24

FIT:
I was tight today (and yesterday, I guess), from the workouts this week.  I had 2 stretch sessions yesterday.  I've also slept a decent amount, with 3.5 and 2 hr naps.  The naps are good for recovery - the elites take daily naps.  On my weekend naps these two days, though, I've woken up stiffer. 

After taking Saturday off, it was time to work out again today.  I chose to run outside on the grass for a few reasons: 1) needed the grass for a soft, uneven surface to work out the tightness.  2) wanted some mentally refreshing outside time.  3) don't wanna spoil myself too much with 70 degree gyms.

The soft, uneven surface was great.  Needed it.  Haven't been out in a week.  The 10 miles on treadmill this week was pounding at the same angles. The heat was a challenge, though... "feels like" 94 degrees at 8pm.

4.4 in 39:05, 8:52/mi.  371 cal.  Very slow, but I got good acclimatization time.  Maybe if I had water during the run, I could go farther, but I am hesitant to stop mid-run for anything.  I should maybe get over that so that I can get some more mileage in.  Not unreasonable to take a minute to drink. 

Splits> 6:52, 6:35, 6:34, 6:31, 6:29, 6:01.

Had a right hammie yoink late yesterday, maybe from extreme stretching.  Nothing too serious.   Runnable, will go away on its own, I think.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jul 22

FIT:
Considered going to the gym again yesterday... could've... wouldn't have minded, but I had some work I needed to get done anyway, and 1-day recovery days are usually a good thing.

So I wen the next day.  I only had 4 miles for the week up to that point, and after the x-training, my body wanted to stretch out and feel those running muscles work again.  So I did 6.0.  I would've stopped at 5.0, but I had already told the gym manager that I planned on doing "at least 6" before the run.  It was good.  Pushed the effort a bit.  Watched TV while running. 

6.0 in 47:32, 7:55 ave.  70 degree gym, 1 degree treadmill.
Splits> 8:13, 8:08, 8:03, (25:13 5k), 7:54, 7:41, 7:31.

Next... another juicy bike session.  I had to walk around first, to get normal range of motion back.  Also did a wee bit of weights, just to give my legs a bit of rest first.

This time, no instructional video (would've liked it, but the option that I chose didn't give me one.  I picked the endurance workout, but really, you're controlling the resistance, so you can do whatever you want with standing or sitting.  Had water this time.  A must.  Sweat a lot.  Now I know what Hungryrunnergirl.com means whenever she talks about sweating from her eyeballs during workouts.  I guess with running, the jarring landings knock off sweat, so that it doesn't accumulate, but since you're not moving around as much on the spin bike, it just accumulates.

I've been stretching some (just ones that I can do while standing, so that I don't have to sit on what must be a nasty carpet or what are probably unwashed yoga mats) after workouts, but I haven't done full-body stretches all week, so the next morning's stretch felt really good.

For reals, if you like soccer at all, watch the US-Brazil Womens' World Cup Quarterfinals game online at ESPN 3.  The first half was okay, but after that, it's soooooo exciting.... tons of emotions.   If you want to see just a good game of impressive soccer from both sides, watch the US-France Semis. 

Also, check out this giveaway: http://chasingatalanta.blogspot.com/2011/07/allied-medal-display-review-and.html

July 20

FIT:
Second session at my new temporary gym.  I had the first of three personal training sessions.  They're 30 min each, but I had to rush from a meeting to the gym, and I overshot the gym while driving and had to circle back, so I only got 15 min, but it was quite enough.  I requested some plyos work, since that's something I've neglected since I stopped playing ultimate frisbee.  There are huge benefits that can help me get super speedy (http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=21777).  I'm not sure why I haven't done much with it... maybe I feared the risk that a shock to the system would bring to my ligaments and tendons, or I didn't want to really dabble in something without committing to do it regularly... but that's not a good excuse, since you only need a couple of minutes here and there.  Dunno.  No day like today to start.

I also requested some lateral work specifically, since running goes forwards almost exclusively, which may make some of those other muscles weaker, or if I were to play a game of soccer suddenly, I'd be less able to handle some of the physical demands of those movements. 

Plyos:
- Warmup with step up, step down on a jump box.
- 2-footed jumps and step down on the jump box.
- Lateral step-overs on a box.
- Lateral squat jumps using a strap connected to the wall for stability.
- Backward lunges, hanging from a strap... very hard to coordinate well.  Not sure what the difference is supposed to be, doing it with a strap vs. just doing normal lunges.  Maybe less weight on the legs?
- Squat thrusts, hanging from a strap... same with the difficult coordination.  I'd think that normal squat thrusts would be just as good... well... one benefit of the strap is that you can jump a longer distance, but it's hard to control your landing when you're sort of hanging, rather than having your arms be fixed anchors.

So that was 15 minutes.  I was dripping sweat a little bit, although the total sweat volume wasn't much.

Next... Rowing.
My knees weren't tracking well, but it was still usable.  I don't know if that was a bad thing to do to my knees.  I did 30 min, going 5K exactly, but it seemed to do very little for me cardio-wise.  Maybe my legs are so short that there's not much distance over which they can push to provide force.  It was good to shake things up, working the arms and back a little, too, but I don't know that I'll repeat.  I'll spend my time on higher bang-for-your-buck activities that are kinder to my knees.  250 Cal. 

Next... Spinning.
There's a cool spin bike with a flat TV mounted on it, which has instructional videos and class-like videos.  It was super helpful for getting the bike fitted, and for teaching me a little about good form.  Having someone watch or participate with you is a strong motivational boost.  It was good and tough.  Spinning always kicks my butt.  There's also quite a bit you can do with it, with the standing sections and everything.  Lots of sweat, no water.  39 minutes, 22 mi.  580 cal.  Don't know how reliable that is.  Effort-wise, I'd say that it was either the same as or more than the effort of my typical 40 min runs.  Maybe that's because I have decent running economy, but I haven't had much experience with the spin bike and therefore have bad spinning economy.  If I ran for 40 minutes, it would be maybe 5 miles x 0.6 = 300 cal.  So 580 seems pretty high, but I was working a little harder.  And I don't know whether the 580 includes BMR.  I don't think the __ mi x 0.6 rule (for my body weight) includes BMR. 

Had a protein shake afterwards again.  Watched the first half of the US-Brazil Womens' World Cup quarterfinals.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jul 18

FIT:
I started a 30-day gym membership today, which I purchased through Groupon.   Just in time, since my apt's fitness room just closed down for renovations for who knows how long, and just as it's getting to the peak heat of the summer.  It'll be a nice time to do some x-training and just build a nice endurance base and just enjoy working out and gaining fitness without having any races that could be compromised by shaking things up and increasing overall volume.

Activity 1:
Pump class.  I've heard the name before but didn't know what it was.  It was good - a long bar free weight used to work the entire body.  We started with hammies with some arms via dead lifts, and we did lunges, shoulders, triceps, and a wee bit of abs.  It was a nice way to mix it up.  It wasn't super challenging, but that's the way you want it.  Enough to produce some adaptations without risking overdoing anything.  I still feel like I'll be sore tomorrow, mostly in the hammies. 

Activity 2:
This is what I had wanted to do yesterday, except the fitness room was closed, and they changed the lock.  Intervals.  Wore my A4s for speed.  It went well.  I wasn't expecting much, since it's been so long since I've done intervals, and speedwork in racing flats probably isn't the best for plantar fasciitis, but it went well. 

On a scale of 2-5 with 5 being my toughest speed session, I attempted and managed the level 4 quite well.  Body took it well.

0.5 mi @ 7.5mph, 4 x [0.5 mi @ 9mph, 0.25 @ 7.5mph].  7.5mph feels so slow after coming off of 9mph.  I focused on quick small steps to get speed to avoid the issues caused by overstriding.  The first rep felt relatively easy, and I toyed a bit with the idea of doing 3/4 mi reps, but that would've been the level 5 workout, so I stayed conservative, and it paid off.  4.0 in 29:13, 7:18 ave.  Hmm... sounds a bit fast.  Nah, I guess it's fine.  Yeah, it's fine.  I could do 13.1 @ 7:22, so 7:18 is reasonable.  Good workout.

BP was 168 afterwards... surprised.  Thought it would be higher.  71 degrees in the gym... felt pretty good, compared to what I usually get... 79ish. 

Had a banana after the pump class.  Did fuel after work and b/f the workout, but needed the additional fuel afterwards.  After the sprints, had protein powder.  Got home, fueled up more.  Body always craves quality fuel after workouts... roasted broccoli with garlic, mixed greens, orange, jalapeno cheesy puffs (not quality, but quick carbs with a bit of salt), some goldfish as always. 

The gym had been so fun that I thought "I could get used to this", spending an hour or two there each day, but I wouldn't because it's a little bit of an extra drive, and I need my recovery days anyways.  But it was super fun.  Working out always feels like a vacation to me. 

As I refueled, enjoyed another replay of a Womens World Cup match.  It was great... post-workout endorphins, good food, watching a match.  Mmmm...

Unfortunately, I'm pretty tired now.  So many OT and PK games!!!  Takes a long time to watch.  Now it's 12:30am, and I probably have to get up at 5am or so to work.  Bother.  I got only like 3 hrs of sleep last night from being up until 3amish to work.  Bother bother.  But fun evenings like tonight make it alright. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jul 16 - p


Harry Potter was so good!

FIT:
It was a good day for a run today.  Every day is a good day for a run, but today especially.  It was relatively cool for mid-July.  I went out at 3pm, so it wasn't great then, but cooler for that time of day than normal.  There was some cloud cover half of the time, and it was in the upper 70s.

I started off pretty well, but it got hotter as the run went on, and I was reaaaaly thirsty by the end.   The water fountain on the course doesn't work.  Park fail.  I wanted to do 3 laps, but I only did 2 because of it.  

Plantar fasciitis... could feel it a bit on the run, but runnable.  Knees yoinked a couple of times when I overstrided a bit, but okay normally.  

8.7 in 1:13:44, 8:27 ave.  664 cal.   Definitely a regression run, though.  

Splits> 7:58 b, 6:05 p short, 7:21 c, 7:21 p (perfect split!), 7:23 b long, 6:17 p short (slowed starting from here), 7:33 c, 7:37 p, 7:34 b long, 8:30 car.  Finally had a water fountain in the last mile.  Felt much better after drinking up, although I was a bit sloshy after drinking that much.

 
(post-run... forced the smile, b/c I was so worn out by the run... mostly the dehydration)





 (dirt everywhere = a sign that you did something)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jul 13

FIT:
On Sunday, did the 10mi LR, the first LR in over a month.  My legs were really sore last night (Tuesday), the kind of soreness that makes your legs absolutely itch to run.  Really... does anyone else know what I mean?  Like the first day or so, your legs may just feel kinda worn out, but then the second or third day, they just want to flex and stretch.  I watched Runner's World videos of Boston and Kara Goucher and was sooooo hyped up about running.  That, coupled with my legs, made me legit feel like I could've run a marathon right then.  I didn't have time to, though... well, I did plan on waking up at 3am to work for a couple of hours and then run and then go to work.  But you know how that goes... woke at 5am instead and went straight to the office, no run, boo.  Not sure why I was watching videos instead of running, now that I think of it... I guess I figured I'd do it in the morning, and that way, I could just shower then.  Streamline everything.  Oh well.

I ran today.  Had to debate about that one.  I worked... 12.5 hours today, and I was tired from lack of sleep this week and stressed.  I knew my body was in a zombie-like plus stressed state.  I needed the sleep, but I knew that if I had tried to go to bed immediately at 11pm (after I had eaten and watched some Ryan Hall videos), I'd just be fretting for an hour or two.  So why not spend that hour or two wiping away the stress with a run?  And boy, did it work!  Just 3.1 little miles.  I didn't know how many I'd do.  After LRs, my legs always want to go fast, so I started faster than average.  I didn't wear flats, so I didn't do a speed workout, but it was a fast run.  Due to the speed or the heat or my tiredness, I only managed 3.1, but it was a good 3.1.  That last half mile was tough, holding it. 

3.1 in 23:24, 7:33 ave.  My sophomore year (first year of XC) PR, at the state meet.  I was so proud of it. 

Just got back from the shower, where I might've figured out why my legs feel that way on the 2nd and 3rd day.  I think it holds water... literally.  I noticed earlier today that my leg muscles looked bigger, and I've kind of learned that it's swelling, not hypertrophy.  Then, I linked the itching to the tingling, which you might expect if nerves in your legs are being squeezed a bit by the extra fluid.  Eh?  Sounds good, huh?  And maybe the body's quite smart to make me want to run it off or stretch it off, since that'll pump the blood out and make things back to normal.  Hmm??

Splits> 7:52, 7:25, 7:25, 0:41 for 0.1. 

After running, I always feel like I can tackle whatever assignment had previously been weighing on me like crazy.  Happened back during school, and same thing happens today.  I guess that's also smart of the body to do that.  Running gets you in flight-or-fight mode and ready for action, so that you aren't paralyzed with fear or too sluggish to do something that you need to do. 

Bodies are designed to be pretty cool, huh? 

What to do now... I had considered waking up early tomorrow for strength training, but now, I know that's not going to happen.  I'm ready to get what sleep I can (once I get through winding down a bit more, maybe reading a bit more a/b running).

Oh yeah, after the run, I did some strides.  Never bought into them much before b/c there's no cardiovascular benefit, and it's such short distances that it seems to not do much.  But it's the neuromuscular connections that you want to build up.  You want muscle memory to be developed, and firing patterns of the nerves to become second nature.  Ryan Hall had a segment on why he does strides.  So I did the 6 that he recommended.  Normally, I've a little banged up after runs, but since this one was so short, and since I had spent like 5 minutes walking around afterwards to cool down and get blood flowing naturally again, I was physically able to give them a shot.  We'll see how it goes as I do more of them.  It's supposed to make your intervals sessions or speed work feel easier. 

Kara Goucher takes in protein afterwards... so I just refueled with some whey powder.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jul 10

FIT:
Did the 10 today.  I went very slowly at first, and since I was on the treadmill, I constantly changed up my stride to get some variation in the forces applied to different muslces.  High knees, butt kicks, shuffle... tried to be creative. 

Splits> 9:01, 8:57, 8:54, 8:48, 8:43, 8:36, 8:28, 8:08, 7:52, 7:28. 

10.0 in 1:25:00, 8:30 ave.  Nice, even numbers, huh?  First LR in over a month!!!

Not much planning had gone into this run.  A couple hours before (before a nap... pretty much always a multi-hr nap every weekend day), I figured I'd get in a normal base run.  I ended up going to the fitness room at 7pm, though, and a Harry Potter special was on CNN at 8pm, no matter what, I'd be there a while.  Went for it, wearing the light Kinvaras, and it worked.  Not too hard, either.  Afterwards, felt fine, like I could've gone farther, had the terrain been more uneven.  It was 79 degrees (very cool, compared to the outside!), so the bottle of water I drank during the run was a big help, I'm sure.  Not sure I could've gotten through without it, since my body was so heated up.

Getting acclimatized to the heat is supposed to make you sweat more, but with less salty sweat.  I wonder why the saltiness of the sweat makes my eyes sting on the occasional run, then. 

I did great on sleep in the last couple of days.  You'd be so proud.  Sleep for the week: 4, ?, 4, 5, 5, 9, 8+nap, 7+nap.  Maybe I can keep it up, or at least get 7 on more nights.

Yesterday's FIT:
Recumbent bike intervals, 79 degrees.  10 min warmup, 12x[2 min on, 30s off (easy)], 5 min cooldown.  I measured my HR right after the last few "on" reps, and I only hit 160bpm.  I was suprised.  Thought it would've been more, but I guess there's not as much muscle recruitment with biking compared to running.  That's why for equal time, the equivalent mileage of biking to running is low.  For 45 of running, I could do 5 miles, but I'd give this workout a 2.5 mi equivalent. 

12.2 mi in 45 min.  380 cal.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

MID-YEAR REVIEW 2011

HIGHLIGHTS:

-         PR’ed 5 times this year. 
o       2x in the 5K (20:51, 20:44)
o       8K by default as a first-timer (35:40)
o       Half Marathon by 1 second on a race for fun (1:36:00)
o       Marathon by default as a first-timer (3:41:40)
-         After the full marathon, I considered making a second attempt at the BQ before the hot summer season hit, hoping to still get one in time for 2012.  Although I recovered fairly quickly in that I was able to run, I’m still having trouble doing any long runs.  So I decided to aim for Boston 2013 instead and allowed myself the opportunity to focus on shorter races for a while, to see what I could do with the marathon fitness.  So although the LRs are a bummer because they were really enjoyable, I did make some big strides in the 5K.
-         Made a new blog friend and friendly competitor (see chasingthekenyans.com), got my first 3 official followers (thanks, guys!).
-         Won my first race outright (a small race, but it was my first time doing it).
-         Picture appeared in the May 2011 edition of Go Magazine! for the SC Half Marathon Championships/ Greer Half Marathon.

ANALYSIS:
My logbook that I got from the Publix booth at a race starts each week on a Sunday rather than a Monday, so I have to use a 3-day moving average to make my weekly averages seem reasonable.

Raw Data:

Smoothed out:
 
As you can see, I’ve only managed about 15mi/wk since the full marathon in late January.  That’s even lower than the ~20mi/wk average from last year, when I was still simply building up from 6 months of a hip injury.  Ah well.  The 5K races have been good, so I can’t complain.

COMPARISONS:

I have the same data from last year, so I can make some helpful comparisons:

(The first section is number of each type of workout per week, and the second  section is total miles of each workout type per week.  For non-running workouts (XT = cross training, usually bike and rarely swim; Strength = mostly body weight exercises), I give a mileage equivalent, always conservatively estimated.  Weeks with races are in Green or Yellow.)

2010
 
2011
 

1. Why I’m doing well in 5Ks
- For all of 2010, I did Intervals sessions 10x.  In 2011, I’ve already done intervals 11x.
Caveat: I was doing pretty well in 2010, too.  If I had raced more and hadn’t been managing the risk to the marathon, I think I could’ve done well with limited intervals last year.
- Marathon fitness carried over.
- More attempts at 5Ks = more chances at everything (weather, body, sleep, etc) coming together all at once, making for a great day.

2. Should I worry about my inability to do LRs so far this year?
            - No, it’s okay.  Looking back at last year’s stats, my ability to handle marathon training came very suddenly.  Through July, the “LR”s I logged were about 7 miles long… hardly a long run.  Then, in August/September, I suddenly started doing 11ers every week.  After that, marathon training started, and I banged out whatever it had for me. 
- I can look back at my 2010 paper log for more details.
            - I got into LRs right after I was officially entered into the Houston Marathon (mid-August).
            - At the end of August, I noted that my legs felt like they had changed inside, that I had faster recovery and that they were ready/hungry for more).  What happened that week?  Nothing special.  It was still hot, 85 degrees.  Training paces were comparable to what they are today.
- Maybe when the time is right (hopefully right before 16 weeks before my March marathon), the same thing will happen to me again.

SHOES:
 
I’ve bought a lot of shoes, and I’ve especially been experimenting with minimalist shoes (maked with “(min)”).  It may seem a bit odd, since I’m an overpronator who typically trains in heavy motion control shoes.  The minimalist shoes feel pretty good, though, and they’re awesome in races.  I can do LRs with the Kinvaras, but the A4 and the Fastwitch I only use for short races, since there’s not as much cushioning there.  I have lots of Saucony because I know what size will fit me well.

WEEKLY COMMENTS:
In my log book, I write one summary message per week.

  1. Good start to the year.  Foot is still recovering but has survived.  At last, hard part over and now taper.
  2. Haven’t been hitting mileage targets perfectly in last month, but it’s okay and for the best.  Foot better.
  3. Only soy and dairy this week, and more oatmeal.  Strange sleep, though hip better after naps.  Probably feel more tired than I should 1 week out.
  4. Playing it safe.  Let the hip rest and stretch.  Maybe more worn out than I should be in week of race.
  5. Too bad a/b the BQ, but I’m a marathoner!  Recovered surprisingly quickly.  Excited for training again and my next attempt.
  6. Getting back into running.  Though we’ll have to see how stress/sleep/exercise time goes next two weeks in Buenos Aires.
  7. Whew, Buenos Aires.  Marathon week again.
  8. Dunno if I’ll go for BQ in May or if I’ll relax and focus on 5Ks/10Ks
  9. 5K PR – ready to do even better next time!
  10. Sleep-deprived week.
  11. Just keep fit, enjoy shorter races, improve if I can.
  12. Not optimal fueling and stress level.
  13. No run in Buenos Aires, but ok – needed to sleep and focus on final sprint of work.  Fuel content okay, though portions and timing not ideal, probably.
  14. Surprising result in Half Marathon for fun – guess marathon helps overcome low training, hot weather, and extra pound.
  15. Tough recovering from an all-nighter.
  16. Maybe I can be more consistent, ramp it up.  My legs want to run now.
  17. 5K PR, but still 45s to take off.  Practice more sprinting and hills – enjoyed first hill session.
  18. Get back into it.  Tough w/ work and social commitments.
  19. Need a marathon to train for.  Need to start building a base.
  20. Knees a bit poundy @ end of week, maybe due to sprints.  Tired?  Overtrained by end of week after overexcited the first half of the week?
  21. Altitude training!
  22. Princeton = running heaven.  Nice workouts despite tummy issues.
  23. Will need to get used to schedule w/ roommate.
  24. Feeling “off” this week.  First heat acclimatization run outdoors.
  25. Getting over knee issues w/ more quad strength that somehow weakened recently.  Left heel pain persists but dealing w/ it.
  26. Working a lot.  Running through plantar fasciitis.

LESSONS FROM THIS YEAR:

  1. Changing up surfaces, especially going on grass, helps to prevent overuse injuries because you get different forces applied to different muscles with uneven ground, and grass in general is softer and easier on your body – I hear this over and over again on podcasts.
  2. From the marathon: get to the starting line early even if there are corrals because you may not be able to get to your corral if you’re too late, pee early and often, and don’t make up time all at once – spread that out, too. 
  3. What has continued to prove itself as working pretty well: dynamic stretching and a 0.5 mi warmup run 10-15 minutes before 5K races, foam roller and stretching at night (not before runs), hip strengthening for knee injury prevention!!!.

STATS:
>>  416.3 miles, 2.28 mi/day on average, 16 mi/wk on average
>> 2 days, 4 hrs, 17 min, 6 seconds of running this year, 17 min and 10s/day on average... not much at all, when you think about it... I spend more time than that walking back and forth between the bathroom and my cubicle at work.
>> 1 day, 1 hr, 40 min of cross training (strength, bike, little bit of swim) this year, 8 min and 25s/day on average.
>> I get less than 30 min of exercise per day on average

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE REST OF THE YEAR:

- I think signing up for a marathon is going to be a big boost.
- If I go for a March marathon, either the SunTrust National Marathon in DC or the Snickers Marathon in Albany, GA, I’d start training in November/December.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Marathon Selection Time

I had been eyeing the Space Coast Marathon for some time for my next BQ attempt.  I don't have very many options on which dates to go for, due to project-related vacation freezes at work.  Either Thanksgiving or Christmas, or March.  After that, it gets too hot. 

I've considered...

Space Coast Marathon in FL in November
Pros:
- So much GU, means I don't have to weigh myself down carrying my own
- Fun, unique theme
- Flat and fast
Cons:
- It'll be hard to get 20 milers in while I'm in Mexico at 1.65 miles of altitude.  On a treadmill.  Impossible, maybe.  3 milers kill me as it is.
- I'm unsure of the effects of altitude.  I felt drained after one week there last time.  This time, I'd be there for 2 weeks.  Don't know if it was the altitude.  Travel risks in general, getting sick from food or whatever.

Philadelphia Marathon in PA in November
Pros:
- I know the course (did the half) and the city overall fairly well
- Cold :)
 Cons:
- Family almost certainly can't come
- Ditto on Mexico and 20 milers.

Myrtle Beach Marathon in SC in February
Pros:
- Just a couple of hours away
- Timing
- Easy for my family to come watch
 Cons:
- Warm in the second half under the sun
- Headwinds for 10 miles

SunTrust National Marathon in DC in March
Pros:
- Timing allows me to train over the winter and get over plantar fasciitis
- Timing means I'll be better rested
- I like big city marathons.  DC is cool, and friends live there.
- Good temps
- 6 Gu stations
Cons:
- Crowded
- Poorly organized
> Dunno how fast the course is... someone said fast, but there's also a 200ft hill + a 100 ft hill.  Not terrible, I guess.

Snickers Albany Marathon in GA in March
Pros:
- Timing in March
- Fast course
-  Lots of food on the course
Cons:
- Not as interesting of a course, small race, small town

Ok... so maybe I'll go for either Albany or DC.  Totally changed my mind over the course of doing this.  I was going to just go for the Space Coast, but Mexico will make training so tough and adds risks, and summer training is tough, and I need to get over the plantar fasciitis and get my long-lost endurance back.

So between the two, it seems to be mostly a question of big city (excitement, fans, crowding, logistics, visiting friend), vs. small town (low-key, less risk).  Hmm... if I can minimize the risks of logistics and crowding by getting there early, it may be worth it to go for DC!?!

Jul 6

FIT:
At work, trying to knock out one task after another.  Just push through it.  Head down, run through it.  I needed a real run afterwards, for reals.  I craved the old feeling of going on a LR and just flowing for a few hours.  Oh man, miss the feeling.  

The 5 hrs of sleep on top of 4 hrs of sleep the previous night didn't help.  When I struggled with ODing on chocolate 4 years ago, I asked my friend to do something like give me a sticker each time I had a day where I didn't OD on chocolate.  I think I may need to start giving myself stickers or at least a little check in my running log next to days where I sleep 8 hours... ok, maybe 7 hrs. 

I want salt right now.  Too bad I threw out my pickle juice a few weeks back.  I guess I could do salt water.  I don't want to have to eat goldfish or peanuts to get salt.  I do have salsa... maybe a giant pinch of salt on a single chip loaded with salsa. 

Just did a run.  I had REALLLY wanted to finally do a LR, after going for over a month since my last LR, which was a month or two after the one before that.  Why is it so hard? 

It was in the 80s.  Went to the park.  Wore my old Asics Gel Evolution 3s, and they felt GREAT.  It's good to change things up shoe-wise.  Started slow, knowing my intentions, but my knees could use a strength session.  It's been a week and a half.  They were getting a wee bit poundy. 

Plantar fasciitis was different today... maybe duller pain, but more persistent.  I think that's preferable?  Dunno.  We'll have to see.  I should roll it out on an icy bottle, but it's messy and I'm lazy.  I want salt.

5.2 in 46:41, 8:56 ave.  451 cal.
I've gained a couple of lbs - lack of LRs and lack of speed sessions.  It's okay.  I'm not in racing season.  It'll naturally go back down once I'm training again.

Splits> 6:42, 6:38, 6:38, 6:41, 6:40, 6:40, 6:39

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jul 5

FIT:
By 8am today, I had had breakfast, worked for 2 hrs, and run 4 miles.  Sweet.

The downside... that was after going to bed at 1am and waking up at 5, so it'll probably hit me hard later in the week.  For now, I'm still fresh from two 4-hr naps this weekend. 

Speaking of sleep, lots of interesting new research on how much it'll do you good.
http://sweatscience.com/8-5-hours-of-sleep-a-night-boosts-speed-and-shooting-average/
I could gain a lot from more sleep... less injury, better focus, better mood, better health...  why don't I do it!  Blah.  I wonder if there's some benefit from being awake but essentially zoning out.  That's what I think I do.  Probably not, compared to what you could be getting through sleep.

Today's run... the plantar fasciitis has turned into some achilles tendonitis as well.  Bother.  Still runnable, though.  I wonder how much harm there is in running through it. 

Achilles a little dingy this morning, but it was high time for a run.  Went fine.  Felt nice in the cool gym.  Would've gone to the park, had it not already been kind of late in the morning, but I probably wouldn't have gone far on the run anyway, and driving would've added so much rushing, so it was good to be able to tread it in.

A nice run in low light, 75 degrees.
4.0 in 30:53, 7:43 ave.  Splits> 8:14, 77:45, 7:34, 7:19.

Was going to do the strength session today, but I'm that dizzy kind of tired now, so I'm going to sleep now and do it in the morning.  Sounds like a good plan.

FUEL:
I'm eating a baby orange right now.  I can't believe I'm not sick of them after my orange marathon... too bad I only ate 25 and not 26 or 26.2, haha.  Well, I did always round down, estimating my orange count conservatively... so it's possible that I ate 26.2 oranges in 1.5 weeks.

Back to fit...
I'm kind of determined to do a LR this weekend, no matter how slow.  It'll help give me endurance no matter how slow.  I just have to get through it.  First step towards getting back in marathon training shape.

FAITH: All Peoples on Earth will be Blessed through You

I'm currently going through a study on Genesis, following the lives of the first three Patriarchs, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, from whom the nation of Israel emerged.  Many find it easiest to identify with the New Testament because it's more recent and its culture is more relatable, and that's true in ways, but the human heart and the human condition has not changed.  We still fear, have a sense of humor, worry, love, manipulate, care, envy, and all that as much then as we do today.  Some write off the OT completely, saying that the NT nullifies the OT, but the NT is really the fulfillment of everything that has been building up in the OT.

Man is created to be in a relationship with and to glorify a holy and just God, but man, in his freedom to choose, chooses to sin against God, and in doing so, creates a rift between himself and the holy God.  Sin results in suffering caused by the sin itself and the nature of its depravity, but it also necessarily incurs the wrath of the just God, who could rightfully wipe out man in just punishment.  However, God is merciful as well as just, and in his mercy, he provides hope for reconciliation with himself by providing the only sinless one to bear the punishment for our sins - himself, in earthly form, through his Son, fully man and fully God.  Only the sacrifice of one such as that could bear the burden and overcome sin and death.  History foreshadows this in event after event, in stories of God's redemption of his people from the bonds of sin.  Jesus fulfills the prophecies and offering himself as a sacrifice, triumphs over death, offering all who believe in him reconciliation.  After returning to be with the Father in heaven, he sends us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in our walk towards sanctification, which is to become more like our Lord and Savior, and to help us in our daily struggle with sin while we are still in this earthly body for the purpose of bringing him glory in all that we do, in being more like him in how we live and love others, and in making the good news of a hope of salvation known to all.

So that was going off on a bit of a tangent, but it breaks my heart to see people, Christians or not, not recognize that the same God has been working throughout history.  You need the whole picture to see what has been doing and is doing.

Anyway, to the topic of this post...
It puzzled me earlier today how the last part of Genesis 12:3 says "... and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (NIV).  Surely, eternal separation and eternal punishment for those who don't choose to repent and believe cannot be called "blessed", so why does it say "all peoples on earth will be blessed"? 

Not thinking about the whole story, I couldn't understand it.  I was just thinking about the OT.  My friend from Bible Study started getting at it when she noted that everyone has a choice.  As I was driving home, I had an ah-ha moment and remembered something that I must've heard before.  Later on in Genesis 22:18, the same idea is repeated, but clarifying things - "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice" (NASB).  It's because Jesus comes through Abraham's line, and in Jesus comes man's hope of salvation, our opportunity to be reconciled. 

He is a caring God who knows the hurts of each one and feels for us in our condition.  He is a merciful God who hears and answers us in our time of need.  He is a powerful God who is mighty to save.

We have been blessed with the opportunity to be reconciled with the one who loves us with the undying love of a father who would give up that which was most precious to him so that we can be with him once again.  He is the hope of salvation.

I know some people disagree with me.  I don't hold anything against you if you do.  I just ask you to consider what I've said, friend to friend.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jul 3 - p

FIT:
Run at my parents' house.  There for the long weekend.  It was good to see my family again.  My sister is my bff.  She said so herself, haha. 

Got to run while my dad biked... it's a tradition now.  He biked with me on my first 20miler ever.  I wanted to go long, but I only managed 4.4/6.6 that I ended up deciding to do.  It was hot and humid, I was kinda tired, and my joints weren't 100%. 

After the run, it was as if I had just gotten a shower, I was so wet.  I also had grass clippings all over me, since I mowed one last bit of the lawn afterwards.  A drity mess.

4.4 in 36:26, 8:12 ave.  372 cal.  8pm, 84 degrees.
Splits> 18:23 (8:10 pace), 18:02 (8:13 pace).  Hot mess.

THE PREVIOUS DAY:
Went kayaking with my roomie at 7am.  We saw lots of animals!!!  I love animals.

We saw funny birds:





We saw two Stingrays:
At least we were pretty sure they were stingrays... the two fin-like things were about a stingray's width apart, and the two of them skimmed the surface the whole time.

We also saw dolphins!!! 3, probably:

And here are some pretty pictures:






And a map of where we went:

It took about 2.25 hrs to go through 6 miles on the 2-person kayak.  We saw the bridge a little past 1/2way through, and I figured it would take maybe 15 minutes to get there, by the looks of it.  My dad was going to meet us on the island (really a peninsula) to which we were traveling, so I gave him a heads-up.  But we kept paddling and paddling, and the bridge wasn't getting any closer.  Without the shore closeby or something of determinable height by which to judge distance travelled/to be travelled, it's hard to know how far you have to go.  Maybe an hour (and many phonecalls later), we got to the bridge, which meant we were almost there.

It was really peaceful being out there.  It wasn't much of a cardio workout... mostly strength, even though it doesn't make you sore even if you work hard, for some reason.

After kayaking, I crashed hard.  Took a 4 hr nap.  Took another 4 hr nap the next day, too.  Work's fault.