Hi Salty fans!
Well, I had another epic 2 weeks in my training life. Amid hosting 2 consecutive sets of houseguests and for my son’s first-ever full on kid birthday party I somehow managed to run the highest mileage week of my life and then follow that up with a relatively solid performance at another national championship race. I am tired just thinking about it, but I made it through! Read on for the deets!
Week one: The Epic Week 10/7/2013 – 10/13/2013
Monday: Cruel Joke. 10 miles easy the day after Trail 10k Nationals. My legs were toast. I followed up with core work at the gym.
Tuesday: Failure of self-control. This was supposed to be another 10 miles easy but my legs decided that it would be more fun to run 6:4x pace so I did that for the bulk of the run. The legs didn’t hate me but they also didn’t love me.
Wednesday: Punishment. Thank goodness I have a coach to be my voice of reason! He limited me to 50 minutes on the treadmill. I was secretly grateful…
Thursday: The best kind of surprise. Do you want to know what is what is great? Getting up super early to fit in a workout before cramming for your kid’s birthday party and expecting that said workout is going to suck but having it be awesome instead! My warm up felt easy, my strides felt hard but manageable and my 5 x 1200’s at 5:42 pace were easy enough that 2 of them were actually 1600’s. My legs were tired by the time I got through those and onto my 5 x 200m in :40 with :45 rest but I got through those fine as well.
Friday: Boredom. 9 miles solo outside. So boring. I tried to keep it slow and it worked. Kind of.
Saturday: A few of my favorite people. I started the day with an easy hour with Wasabi and our amazing teammate Caren then ran home and fetched my dad to run an easy 4 with him. We met up with Carter on the trail so in one morning I got to go on 2 runs with 4 of my favorite people! Win!
Sunday: A record-breaking day! Before it was anywhere close to daylight I ran with Wasabi and our speedy teammate Jen. Jen and I did a 2 mile warm up then picked up Wasabi for a 30 minute warm up, 40 minutes at marathon pace and a 30 minute cool down. Jen and I may have gotten a little carried away with that marathon pace (we were about 15 seconds/mile fast…whoops!) but it was a fantastic run. After finishing, changing my clothes, drinking some gatorade and a latte and eating a delectable Starbucks turkey bacon, egg white and cheese breakfast sandwich my dad called and asked me to take him for another 4 miles. To say that I was conflicted about this was an understatement. On the one hand, I had already run 16.5 miles and my legs were tired. On the other hand, I love running with my dad and those extra 4 miles would put me well over 80 miles for the week, a new mileage PR by a LOT. Spoiler…I dashed home, fetched my dad and went for the run. And I felt great!
Week two: The cutback/race week 10/14/2013 – 10/20/2013
Monday: No rest for the weary. My legs were tired throughout my easy hour. (Big shock, I know.) But they felt better as the run progressed.
Tuesday: Taper speedwork. After multiple “train through the race” situations I finally had a cutback week leading up to my race. Contrary to popular belief, tapering and/or cutting back don’t necessarily just logging slow, lazy runs. Today I did a 4 mile warm up, drills and strides, 5 x 800 meters in 5:42 pace with 1:30 rest in between, 5 x 200 meters in :40 with 200 easy in between and finally a cool down. While it may sound like a lot to some, this was much shorter than my regular speed session!
Wednesday: Let the real taper begin! Easy 50 minutes followed by a totally uninspired core session which was more about catching up with Wasabi than about doing core. Some days that’s just how it goes!
Thursday: Teeny tiny tune up time. I did a quick 3 mile warm up and some drills then just did 6 x (1′ hard/1′ easy) with the hard effort starting at 5k pace and working down from there towards mile pace. Finished with a 2 mile cool down and was done. A speed workout in under an hour? Totally confusing to both my body and my brain, but I’m just going to roll with it, and maybe use my spare time for a nap!
Friday: Perspective. A few years back a run of 6 miles would have been longer than my recovery day, and maybe as long in distance as my speed or tempo day. Today when I was finished with 6 miles I felt as though I had barely begun. I have built my mileage up very, very slowly over the years and every once in a while I find an opportunity to reflect on how far I have come. Today was one of those days!
Saturday: Course tour. I flew to New Jersey today for the National Masters 5k XC Championships. My amazing Oiselle teammate Jen fetched me from the airport and ferried me all over the state. Once I was settled into her home we drove to the course and ran the 2.5k loop a couple of times, nice and easy.
Sunday: Race day. Going into this race I thought (based on research) that I could maybe finish in the top 3 to 5. Much to my surprise, at the 800 meter mark I found myself running neck and neck with the lead runner, feeling amazing. Relaxed, breathing was in control, legs felt…like they were running on grass, but otherwise fine. She eventually pulled away but I was solidly in second through the remainder of the first lap. Then, on a flat section just at the outset of the second lap, my chest closed up. All of a sudden I just couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t running too fast (my pace was the same as at a recent XC race) but something had caused my throat or lungs to constrict. I stopped and put my hands on my thighs and caught my breath. And was passed. Fortunately it never dawned on me to quit, so within a few seconds I was back at it. I have been in this breath-constricted situation before though, and I knew what was coming…more stops. Every few hundred meters I was forced to slow to a jog or a walk to get my breathing under control. It definitely frustrated me but I tried to focus on just holding my place, running as well as I could when I could run and getting to the finish. My teammate Jen was right behind me and it helped me enormously to know she was there. Finally I made it to the final flat 300 meters and just went for it. My time was nowhere where I wanted it to be (I ran 18:45) but I still managed to finish third and, after 4 or 5 minutes of gasping for air, I was left none the worse for wear. Bonus – my legs felt awesome, as if I hadn’t even run a race!