WEEK EIGHT: Rebound and Determined
Last weekend completely derailed me. I was tired. I was sore. I was stressed. This week, I really wanted to flush those negative feelings and start anew. That… kind of happened, but it got off to a slow start. (The stress of the weekend kind of bled into Monday. Oh well!)
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to drag my ass kicking and screaming into every.single.one. of this week’s workouts. Just one of those mid-cycle, holy-cow-I-just-want-to-sit-on-my-butt-for-a-bit, how-am-I-still-training, weeks, I suppose. These weeks happen, and I’ll snap out of it. I always do.
Monday: Miles + Plyos
5 miles + controlled bursts of vertical and horizontal movement
Reality: 0 miles – Instead, I ate my first real meal of the day around 8p.m.
A crazy day at work meant I legitimately forgot to eat lunch (and almost forgot to eat breakfast). Got home and decided to push this until Tuesday.
Rest 5 miles + plyos
Reality: 5 mi — 2 easy; 1 moderate; 1.5 comfortably hard; 0.5 balls out.
After another long day, I was pretty tired and strangely looking forward to some auto-pilot miles on the treadmill. I turned this into a progression run, in large part, to stave off the boredom of flipping between “Wheel of Fortune” and CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Random thought of the run: As Pat Sajak and Vanna White get older, more and more episodes seem to be filmed at Sandals resorts.
A comment from Coach Abby at the end of the week noted that this run was supposed to be easy, that there is no “balls out” in easy, and that perhaps I should keep my balls in. It’s funny, but I took it to heart. I promise, Coach!
Wednesday: Track Time
On Tap: 7 mi -- 2 up // 4 x 400m; 2 x 800m; 1 x 1600m // 1 mi comfortable
Reality: 7.75 mi —
4×400 @ 1:30-1:35 (1:42; 1:38; 1:35; 1:34);
2×800 @ 3:35 (3:31; 3:28);
1600 @ 6:50-7:00 (6:59);
1 mi. comfortable (9:14)
I mentioned to Jenny that the current downpour situation may result in a slippery track, and force me to take my intervals inside. She suggested I take my intervals to the path, instead. I sat down on the couch when I get home from work (NEVER DO THIS!) and *almost* talked myself out of the run completely. No joke; what got me off the couch was the idea that my dinner would taste so much better if I was rungry. I quite literally planned my run so that I would finish at the neighborhood Chipotle.
The headwind was BRUTAL along the lake, but I smirked to myself when I thought about the GO GO GADGET TAILWIND that I would have for the majority of my intervals. It took a few 400s to get used to not having the visual cues of a track to work off of, but these felt really good. I also focused on Coach Abby’s words from last week’s track session: “…try to stay within your times for the first part of the workout so you don’t bonk on the second part.” I had my eyes on that 1600m prize, as 1600s have consistently been a mental challenge for me. As I pushed the last .10mi of the 1600, I told myself that it’s time to party ’til I puke. Oh, and I never got that tailwind. Stupid lakefront and its shifting wind patterns…
My run quite literally finished 1/2 a block from Chipotle, although I accidentally went on auto-pilot near my apartment and took my normal through-the-neighborhood-school-playground-and-adjoining-alley shortcut instead of running on the sidewalk like a normal human being… a normal human being that is motivated by burrito bowls.
On Tap: 8mi @ comfortable pace
Reality: 0 miles
My legs were feeling stupidly dead after the past two days of workouts, so I made the executive (silly) decision to push this until Friday. Instead, I ate Thai food al fresco. Mmm Thai food.
Friday: Strength work
On Tap: Arms + Legs
Reality: 8 mi @ ugh pace + strength work
I knocked out my strength work during the day, with the intention of logging my missed miles after work. The run was slow and sloggy, and my stomach was pretty unhappy with me after a large, late pasta lunch. I was kicking myself for not just sucking it up and knocking this out on Thursday. One of those insta-regret moves on my part.
Saturday: Progressive Long Run
On Tap: 14 mi -- 8 mi @ 9-8:45, 4 mi @ 8:30, 2 mi @ 8:15
Reality: 14 mi – 8 mi @ 9-:9-15, 3 mi @ 8:45, 1 mi @ 8:30, 1 mi @ 8:10
I was really excited about this long run, and felt motivated and eager to workout for the first time in days. I got to bed early. I hydrated. I even woke up fairly early! (for me…) Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be a good run. My calves felt like rocks for the first 4-5 miles, and I stopped to stretch them out every mile or two with my water stops. Jenny grabbed me about a mile in while I stretched out my calf, and scared me senseless. We exchanged sweaty hugs and chit-chat, and I saw her again a few miles later, exchanging the world’s worst side-five. My legs finally loosened up, but nothing lightened up. I felt like I was wearing weighted leg vests the entire time, and I barely had a 1st gear, much less a 2nd or 3rd. The only thing that got my legs up to speed towards the end was when I realized I had given the Guy an unrealistic finish time, and I didn’t want him to worry. This run was almost as much of a struggle mentally as it was physically. The calf tightness messed with my auto-pilot/rhythm, which mess with my self-confidence, which messed with my speed. It was a vicious cycle that repeated itself throughout the run. ALL THAT BEING SAID, I FINALLY got to test run my new Flyte shorts, so even if I wasn’t feelin‘ fly, I was lookin‘ fly.
RANDOM RACE RECAP FOR A RACE I DIDN’T ACTUALLY RUN: I spent the first few miles running with the ZOOMA Half Marathon, thinking how angry I’d be if a race that charged me upwards of $120 (FOR A HALF MARATHON) put approximately ZERO dollars towards privatizing the course in any way. Running a half marathon (almost exclusively?) on the lakefront path in one of its busiest sections, during one of the busiest times of training season, with minimal signage sounds like the worst idea to ever exist. I saw runners having to avoid throngs of bikes, giant running groups out for their long runs, and dogs/strollers. What a mess. I also passed the 10k/half marathon split, where a single guy standing next to a crude, homemade sign kept repeating “10k left, half marathon right,” and several runners stopped/slowed to ask and make sure they were going the right way. Weirdly, I saw the guy with whom I ran most of the Wisconsin Marathon amongst the racers (you know, the one who turned to me and told me that my friends were “psychotic, but awesome”?). Did any of you guys actually run it? Opinions as a participant?
Sunday: Recovery run
On Tap: 4 easy miles
Reality: 4mi — all about the easy
It took every bit of motivation I had to get these miles in, and even then, it probably wouldn’t have happened if the Guy hadn’t (thankfully) kept at me. We didn’t log this run until around 5p. The temps were cooler, and the skies opened up a bit on us towards the end. It was my first official rain run of the summer, and it felt really good. My calves loosened up a bit on this run, but they’re still bricks. I think a massage is in order — I’ve yet to schedule one this training cycle, and I think my legs are feeling the effects of lazy stretching/rolling.
I’ve had to really motivate myself to get out on my runs this week, but I’m taking comfort in what I see as progress. During my track session, I realized that my 1600m interval, which occurred after two miles of speedy 400s and 800s, was only 10 seconds shy of the time trial mile I set a mere 7 weeks ago. That time trial felt like a gut-busting, wanna die, couldn’t possibly push it more, mile. Seven weeks later, I’m nearing that time on tired legs. Abby has my feet smoking on these track sessions, and it seems crazy to be hitting 200s at a 5:40 pace. These track sessions, and the plyos, and the emphasis on the progressive effort, really seem to be making a difference, both in how I mentally approach and execute a run, and how I finish it.
I also need to work on being smarter about how I reorganize my runs during the week. Tacking a mid-week long run on top of a Saturday long run is a really good way to have a shitty Saturday. As my mileage increases, and I look towards more nuanced, speedy long runs, I really need to respect the schedule that Coach has set out for me. My legs will thank me for it.