Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Lax Workout Week, then Spartaning Up

On Sunday, Jul 20, I flew from Santiago, CL, to Buenos Aires, AR.

Monday, Jul 21 – after work, I was too hungry to delay or forego dinner for a workout.

Tuesday, Jul 22:
4.6 in 39:14, 8:25 ave.  Started fast to get my body moving after a lax week last week.  Did some arms afterwards.  The workout was 2K at 12kph, 2K at 11kph, 1K @ 12, 1K @ 11, ½ K @ 12, ½ K @ 11.  It was structured that way because I couldn’t sustain 12kph the whole time, and it was becoming mentally and physically harder to keep up the same interval lengths as before.

Wednesday, Jul 23 – had dinner out, no workout.  I could’ve otherwise run, but I wanted some people time that night.

Thursday, Jul 24 – flew back home that night, so no workout.

Friday, Jul 25:
Not much sleep on the red-eye.  Caught a nap, once I got back.  Legs were pretty ready for running, since it had been such a lax couple of weeks, workout-wise, while I was travelling.  I did 6.8 in 53:34 at the park, 8:26 ave, with zombies.  I could’ve potentially pushed on for more, but I was going to Charlotte the following morning for a Spartan workout, so it wasn’t a bad idea to not go into overdrive with this.

Saturday, Jul 26:
Andi Hardy was back in the Carolinas, to lead the Spartan Workout Tour.  She had left me hobbling from post-workout soreness last March after the Colombia tour.  She changed things up for this 2-hr workout.  I feel like it was less strenuous than last time.  This time, I feel like there was more jogging in place.  Last time, we were knocking out burpees left-and-right.  We did a zillion lunges, too.  I liked the intensity, in that it pushed me, although it would probably be hard for beginners.  I suppose that since the idea of the workout tour is to drum up interest in the race, for newbies, that toning it down a bit would make the workout and the race seem less intimidating. 
Even though it was toned down, I was still quite sore for the next couple of days.  As I said, we did more jogging in place, but we also did pushups, lunges, squats, burpees, crab walks, and bear crawls…. Just less of them at a time, and not as many sets.  Still a good workout, and I’d still go to more, given the opportunity… it’s worth driving 3.5 hours to do!  It’s fun, with a good sense of comraderie and a good feeling of accomplishment at the end.

After the workout, I explored Charlotte a bit, because I had found out the last week that I may be moving there.  I visited places that I'd likely frequent (different neighborhoods that were recommended, a Total Wine, a Trader Joe's, and a vegan restaurant).  I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with collard greens, plus a peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake to-go.  Nice.

Sunday, Jul 27:
Made this a recovery run.  My upper legs and upper arms were sore, but they felt safe enough to run on.  I started slow, but progressively got faster.  Didn’t do Zombies, needless to say… not ready for that intensity quite yet.  0.75-mi lap splits> 7:53, 7:16, 7:06, 6:47, 6:34, 6:25, 5:55.  5.3 in 48:03, 9:04 ave.  I was strangely thirsty during this run, and that’s what kept me from going farther, for the most part.

Monday, Jul 28 – worked 12 hrs, and body needed a rest day, anyway, after 3 days of workouts in a row.

Tuesday, July 29:
Last chance to squeeze in more training time before travel started up again.  I ended up not going too far, though, and I felt guilty afterwards, for that.  4.0 in 31:14, 7:48 ave at 2 degrees of incline = 7:30 effort.  I had pushed it on the intensity in this progression run.  Splits> 8:15, 7:51, 7:46, 7:21.  I hadn’t gotten as much sleep in the past couple of days, and there’s a lot going on at work and at home.  So, good that I got in something, but kinda wish I had gotten in more mileage.  Oh well, not bad.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Santiago 2014

Leading up to this trip, I was more excited about planning for an upcoming trip to Colorado than this, but once the time came, it was time to look for adventure!  While waiting in the airport, I tried to look up as many things to do as I could, and I downloaded some tourist apps.  I like to use the Frommer's Day-by-Day guidebook series whenever they're available, but Santiago didn't have one.  That series is awesome, with advice from someone local, who's in-the-know, who has good tastes.  Even without the guidebook, though, I was able to stitch together a great week, combining info from google searches, trip advisor, and apps. 

Even flying in, you could tell it was going to be special.  There are mountains all around the airport.

After arriving on Sunday morning, I enjoyed a breakfast from the 17th floor of the hotel, with a great view.

After breakfast, I suited up for a run.  On a tourist map, it looked like you could get to the entrance to the path that led up the hill in the middle of the city.  I followed the sparse trail of other runners and bikers, and was excited to find the park.  It was a pretty steep hill, but there were tons of people running, biking, and walking up and down it.  Halfway up the switchbacks, there was an area where they were having a free, public fitness festival.  I did some martial arts-style class, then a zumba class.  It was fun.  There was a diverse group of people there, and the moves were kinda funny to see guys and older men do.  It felt like a party, with everyone just enjoying the great, cool weather and moving around without caring how crazy we might've looked (I was quite un-coordinated, but others seemed to know all the moves).

Further up the hill, there was a great view of the area where my hotel had been.  The tall building is the tallest one in Latin America, and it rises above the largest mall in Latin America.

At the top, there was a statue of a Saint.

The run took about 49:34, and was an estimated 5+ miles.

I raced back down, because I wanted to be at a bar in time for the World Cup Finals!  I found a place through a website - the Black Rock Pub, which is run by an Aussie, with a German chef.  I had watched the tail-end of the first game in Argentina, and I was watching the last game in Chile.  It's always fun to watch games with others, especially soccer, with Latin Americans.

When I got back, I did 40 min of a recumbent bike, with a running magazine.  The gym in the hotel smelled like burnt rubber, so I wondered if I was doing more harm to my body than good.  I did some arms afterwards.  

Monday-Friday, worked.  Ate ostrich one night, at a specialty restaurant.  Tried Camenere, the wine of Chile, and Pisco, an alcohol made of fermented grapes (which isn't at all like wine like I had thought).  Santiago is a super-modern city, which I had no idea about.  It's nice, and all of my colleagues, who have been all over LA, say that Santiago was their favorite.  There are mountains all around.

I went to a restaurant on the 18th story one night, with a rotating floor that gives you 360 views of the city.  I probably went 180 degrees in around the 45 min that I was there.  The food and service were "eh", though.

Saturday, I decided to sign up for skiing, through a tour arranged by the hotel.  I chose Valle Nevado, which is the highest up.  I've been skiing maybe 5 days in my life.  I watched you-tube videos for intermediate lessons.  In the past, I had always used the snowplow method to stop, as well as control my speed while going down, which is super-taxing on your body.  The parallel method is actually a lot easier to manage.

Of course, Paddington Bear came along:

I mostly stayed on the greens, but I did try a couple of blues.  To access two of them, you have to use this non-chair-lift contraption, where you put a disc behind your legs, and a cable pulls you.  It took me three tries just to get moving on that thing without falling.  You aren't supposed to sit on it, because it has a lot of slack, to account for the varying heights between the upper cable and the ground.  Finally, I did make it up, and the blue run was quite beautiful, because there was a sheer cliff to the left, and you could see a lot of mountains, and the run itself wasn't too hard.  It was getting up to start of the run that was hard.  I wanted to go again, but on my second attempt up the non-chair-lift, the ride suddenly stopped, and unless you're snowplowing backwards or are prepared for the stop, you'll naturally start to lean backwards back down the hill, so I totally fell, and they had to keep the ride stopped even longer, as I got out of the way (which is quite difficult, on a steep gradient with two skis on your feet).  The ride goes fast, too, and those metal discs are heavy.  I was totally embarrassed, and it felt like an eternity as I tried to make my way up to the next intersecting path, so that I could get back on a trail.  Anyway... I avoided that lift, after that. 

There was another blue that I tried, but there was one super-steep section that I couldn't get through without wiping out both times.  The harder ones are funner, because you feel like you're really skiing.  It works out better when you go fast, and go back-and-forth a lot, but it's also a lot scarier.

My first runs ended up being the best, because my legs were the freshest. I got in about 5 hrs of skiing, total, and that was about enough... my legs wouldn't have made it too much longer.

Here's a video for you, courtesy of the GoPro:

It wasn't until the last weekend, unfortunately, that I discovered how great two restaurants were - Aqui Esta Coco, which has the most amazing food (especially seafood).  I scooped up every last grain.  I had Sea Bass with Quinoa with cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and some kind of tart dressing.  It was soooooo good.  I hadn't eaten or drank much that day, since it was the ski day and I only had an apple and chocolate for lunch.  Maybe that was part of it, but the food was so good.

The next day, I had breakfast, then went for a run along the river.  Here's what it's like, un-foggy.  That morning, you could hardly see the building next door, because the fog was so dense.  In the pic, you can also see San Cristobal Hill.  I was tempted to run the hill again, but I wanted to try different things.  It was so foggy, anyway, that you would've seen nothing.  I did 4 out-and-backs, along a section with dirt trails, for a total of 8.7 miles.  On Sundays, they close off parts of the main road, so that bikers and runners can enjoy it without having to worry about cars.

After showering and checking out, I went to a handicrafts market (Los Dominicos), which was very quaint and nice, to get some stuff for my dad.

Then, another awesome restaurant - El Huerto, which has vegetarian and vegan food (and some fish).  They had a sampler-style menu item, where you got thai soup, different kinds of salads, bread, and some roasted veggies, plus a pear tart dessert, all vegan.  The portion size was awesome, and the food was great.

Santiago is a great place to visit.  I probably won't be back with work, but if I ever got a chance to go back, I'd check out Valparaiso (a world heritage site port city) and a winery, both of which are less than 2 hrs away.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

CHS-ATL-CHS: Jun 25-Jul12

This summer, I've been in the mood to visit my family more, during the weekends.  My sister is moving to NYC, so she won't be in ATL for much longer.  My mom's been visiting family abroad, so it was nice to be able to keep my dad company in CHS and watch the World Cup together.

The first weekend in CHS was the weekend of Battlefrog.  I didn't arrive in CHS until about 3pm, but I had a good 28-or-so hours there that was packed with fun, so it felt like much longer.

Wednesday, Jun 25:
Did 4.0 in 34:06, 8:32 ave, at 2 degrees of incline.  I had taken 3 days off to recover.  After the race, I felt like I hadn't done much running-wise.  My body started feeling it in the next couple of days, though, and I was shuffling at work on Monday.  The thing that really needed to recover was my left ankle, which had gotten seriously sandpapered by sand + my shoe.  I had to wear band-aids all week.

Thursday, Jun 26:
I felt super-fresh and in the mood this morning.  In the evening, I did Zombies, Run, with 6.7 in 59:40, 8:48 ave.  Work's been high-octane this week, so I needed a mental break in the second half of the day.

Friday - My sister was going to visit me, and we were going to visit a brewery, but her tires needed replacing, so I drove down, instead.

Saturday, Jun 28:
5.0 in 38:02, 7:37 ave, 2 degrees incline = 7:19 effort.  I had been planning to bike, because my legs felt like they needed to recover, but it was taken at the gym, so I ran.  My legs started taking to the run quickly, though, and it ended up being an awesome run.

Monday, Jun 30:
60 min strength session.

Tuesday, Jul 1:
Motivation lacking today.  Felt lamesauce for only doing 3.6 in 26:32, 7:22 ave, at 2 degrees incline = 7:06 effort, but something's better than nothing.

Would've run Thursday, but was helping a friend recover from an apartment fire.

Friday, Jul 4:
6.6 in 1:00:10, 9:01 ave.  Knees complained at first, since it was first thing in the morning after only 4 hrs of sleep, but they loosened up after a mile.   Proud to get that third 2.2mi loop in.  Hadn't eaten breakfast, since I had eaten only 5 hrs before.  Only ran, no zombies.  My body actually felt in the mood for a second run in the evening, but I decided to save it.  Splits> 22:06, 19:55, 18:08.

Saturday, Jul 5:
8.8 in 1:15:33, 8:32 ave.  Another outside run, this time in the evening.  Legs were decently fresh.  Body felt low on carbs and craved either lemon water or a beer during the last 3 miles.  Proud I got in the 4th lap, which was more of a mental challenge.  Splits> 19:59, 19:11, 18:16, 18:06.

Sunday, Jul 6:
Thought I'd do biking or run in CHS, or strength in GVL after driving home, but my legs felt fresh enough for Zombies.  It was a shorter episode, so I could've gone on if I wanted, but I did 2x30 burpees after the run, instead.  Surprised I could run 3 days in a row so easily.

Monday, Jul 7:
55 min strength.  My left inner ball of the foot felt stress fracturey today when I woke up.  Maybe it was the burpees or the high volume of running over the past 3 days. 

Tuesday, kept resting the foot.

Wednesday, Jul 9:
Foot still complains a bit in the morning, but by the evening, decided to do a run anyway.  Ended up doing only 3.0 in 26:10, 8:43 ave, at the park, because after a mile, I noticed a boy with 2 frisbees with nobody to throw with, so I offered to throw with him.  It was fun getting to throw again.
  I felt guilty for the next couple of days for stopping the run and only getting in 3, but I keep telling myself that it was good that I made a new friend.

Thursday, Jul 10:
5.0 in 40:26, 8:05 ave, 2 degree incline = 7:46 effort.  Legs sore today for some reason.  Not much motivation to run, but went anyway, and it ended up being great.  Doing the 5th mile made me feel less guilty about doing only 3 yesterday.

Saturday, July 12::
Had been hoping for a longer run today, but not much motivation at all... just wanted to lie in bed, eat, listen to podcasts.  Forced myself out to the gym, though, got in 5.0 in 40:37, 8:07 ave at 2 degrees incline.  Splits> 8:37, 28, 16, 7:56, 17. Ended up being decent, could've maybe gone for more, but time to catch a flight.

In other news... got a new watch.  My old one's strap has been gradually deteriorating, causing me to leave a trail of bits of rubber wherever I go.  My Timex Ironman watches typically have their straps break before the battery runs out.  But that's fine.  I could look for something higher-quality, but watches get nasty after a while, so I'd prefer to get new ones periodically and just play for replacements.  And replacing batteries would be a pain.