Week in Review 9.8.14 to 9.14.14

The madness continues in cardiology but I’m loving this unit so I didn’t mind the schedule this week. We were off this week from races which made coaching duties far easier. We also clicked by the “1 month to go” mark, which means that I’m heading towards taper. I’m always happy/sad for taper to arrive. On the one hand, the mileage is easier and my legs don’t hurt as much. On the other hand, taper means all the hay is in the barn and there’s nothing else I can do to change my fate on race day.

Monday: Off Day, prorated at 10.3 miles. One of the longest days I’ve had in medical school and the only birthday in recent history that I haven’t run!

Tuesday: 11.3 recovery miles with 4 strides.

Wednesday Noon: Tempo run. Warmup, 5 by mile at T pace, Cooldown for 9 miles.

Wednesday Afternoon: More tempo work with the team. 10 by 400 at 91 to 93. Total of 6 miles.

Thursday: 7 painful recovery miles. Right IT band and hamstring totally locked up.

Friday: 10.2 miles through the Intervale. 2 laps of stride the straights, jog the curves.

Saturday: 10 miles on Tarbox.

Sunday: 16 miles with 11 at MP, which was about 6:35 pace today according to Garmin. It was reading 6:20 in the open areas which Will thought seemed realistic. Regardless, glad to get that in since a chest cold is settling in today.

I did not do a good job of lifting this week; have to find some time next week to at least get basic work in. I’m also racing the Downtown 10K next Sunday and hoping to break my streak of being 4th and actually land on the podium.

How was your week? Did Fall finally arrive where you are? What races are coming up for you?

That First Fall Run

Where the air feels crisp and clean and like you can take a full breath in.

Where you don’t end up drenched in sweat two miles in.

Where you consider that you might be able to run forever.

Where you wrap yourself in sweatpants and a sweatshirt post-run and feel cozy and comfy.

Where your Raynaud’s comes back and with a vengeance.

Thank you Fall, I missed you. Can I order up 50 degrees and cool and perfect for Albany?

Anyone else loving the running today?!

Remembering 9/11

Joe and I were talking last night on our way home from practice about whether today would be hard for our girls. Coaching is much more than just planning workouts and when things that we can’t explain in the world or community happen, we try to be prepared for what the girls might be feeling or experiencing beyond just the confines of practice. Most of our runners were very young when 9/11 happened; our freshman were less than a year old. I’ll be interested to observe how they remember today.

I was a freshman in college in New York when 9/11 happened. I remember waking up for class and showering and just as I was walking out the door, seeing a scene on TV that looked like a movie. Things slowed down/sped up from there and classes were canceled shortly thereafter. Since a huge number of my classmates were from New York City and most of my friends from the summer camp I worked at lived in Manhattan, the rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I don’t know if I ran that day. Like most people (I think?), I was glued to the TV and just trying to check in with friends. As the days went on, I was back to running because it is the only way I know to make sense of the senseless.

Among the things from that time that I will never forget is the following quote from a friend, sent in an email on the evening of September 11th, 2001:

“In times like these, there’s nothing to do but hold the people you love a little more tightly.”

It still rings true.

Week in Review 9.1.14 to 9.7.14

Just when I think I have the hang of balancing medical school, coaching and running:

No Words CRR

Monday: 9.3 Recovery

Tuesday: 9 miles.

Wednesday: 11 miles with 2 by 20 at T pace with 5 miles in between. Hot and hill but kept my heart at 170.

Thursday: 9.7 recovery.

Friday: 10.3 miles with 4 striders at the end.

Saturday am: 5 miles. Coaching snafu.

Saturday pm: 5 miles, trying to finish the week up.

Sunday: 20.5 miles and nailed my nutrition! Root Beer Gu is amazing.

Total Mileage: 80 miles.

This week was just plain overwhelming schedule-wise. I survived, my team is still intact (and ran incredibly well on Saturday) and I think I’m still enrolled in medical school. 5 more weeks to go!

 

It’s the Little Things

In the grand scheme of things, getting mileage in is sort of the easy part of training. It’s all the extra things that take additional timeĀ  and although you can skip them once in a while and get away with it, eventually avoiding core, flexibility, striders, nutrition (the list could go on and on) really catches up with you.

Over the past few weeks, my runs have felt really sluggish. At first I attributed it to heat and humidity then to the grind of high mileage and finally to school starting again. Even with these attributions, however, a voice in the back of my head started to worry that my slow pace was going to become a chronic condition. At the same time, one of my athletes began to have similarly sluggish legs. Without missing a beat, I asked if she was doing striders after easy runs and we made a plan to make sure she isn’t doing recovery paced days without them. On the drive home, I realized I couldn’t think of the last time I’d done striders. I always have them on my schedule but I don’t always get them done. After this realization, I started doing my striders again and miracle, my legs (and paces) feel much better. Science. It’s a thing.

Every training cycle is full of dropped little things. Now that I’m a little over 5 weeks away from Albany, however, the little things are basically all I have left. The vast majority of my mileage is done and I only have a few workouts left. I do, however, have 40 ish days to make sure the rest of me is ready to run. Here are the little things to which I’ll be attending over the next few weeks:

Nutrition

Tis the saddest time of the year with timing right around my birthday AND pumpkin beer season, but within 8 weeks of a goal race, I avoid all alcohol. If I were really serious, I would avoid it for the whole training cycle but I live in Vermont and near way too much delicious craft beer goodness. My compromise is that once I’m into the final stages, I don’t drink.

It’s also the time when I start avoiding any allergens (milk/dairy) and swap to low fiber versions of food. No more brown rice or veggie pasta; white rice and semolina for me!

Finally, it’s time to dial my in-race nutrition in. Albany doesn’t have bottles like VCM did, so I have to practice with lemon lime gatorade. Thankfully Will rides next to me on a bike and just hands me a bottle when “it’s my time,” so I don’t have to do a lot of thinking.

Strength Training

At this point, I’ve stopped lifting heavy legs in the gym. The muscle I have now is the muscle I’ll carry in the marathon and lifting doesn’t help me hit my workouts at my best. I will continue to do my hip core routine right up until about a week out. I will also continue to lift arms up until about a week out. Core work (which is on pause right now because I stupidly strained an intercostal muscle) will continue until a week out as well.

Flexibility

This is the big one and one I haven’t been as good about in the last few weeks. To rectify this, I’ve been foam rolling in the morning when the dogs eat breakfast and stretching my psoas as often as I remember to.

PT

I had surgery 10 months ago? Right. Right after I finish foam rolling, I spend a few minutes per foot on my foam pad to continue working on proprioception. My foot is feeling ok but I can tell when I’ve skipped my PT work.

Sleep

This is a hard one when I have to balance school, coaching, training and occasionally hanging out with my husband. As often as I can, I aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. I knew when I signed up to coach again this fall that I have to give up some other things and school is one of the things that I have to be flexible on. We’re lucky to be on an Honors-Pass-Fail system and I constantly have to remind myself that I am not Supergirl and that if I want to be Supercoach and Superrunner, P = MD for me. Even with this attitude, there are days (and stretches of days) where 6 hours of sleep is a luxury.

What are your “little things?” What changes do you make as you begin your final approach to a big race?

Race Report: Labor Day 15K

Short Version: Felt horrible, had a meltdown (inside), 1:02:55, 19th place.

Long Version:

The farther away I get from Sunday, the less upset about this race I get. Reading race reports from Laurel and Dan helped, especially since they had similar reactions to the humid, miserable conditions. Seeing similar pace trajectories from the New Haven 20K where there were also similar conditions helped as well. I came out of the race on Sunday feeling like maybe I needed to scrap my cycle and take some time off. By this morning, I’m feeling fine and ready to finish up this cycle.

I went into Sunday on very tired legs, with a 13 mile workout earlier in the week and 60 something miles on my legs already. Even without tired legs, however, the humidity (upper 80s), temperature (78 by the end) and dew point (70) conspired to make for a tough environment. Starting from the warmup, I felt sluggish and exhausted.

One of the nice things about a USATF Championship Race is that women and men have separate starting chutes. In this case, we just split the road in half. This is nice, however, for those of us who don’t enjoy steeplechasing over-eager men who can’t believe a woman could be faster. I ended up having to dodge and weave some women anyway, but it was still a pretty smooth start.

Having learned from my experience in the wind and rain at VCM, I was determined not to get left behind the back and ran a far more aggressive first mile than I usually do to hang on to the top women. I wasn’t wearing a watch and have no idea what my pace was, but I didn’t “ease” into anything. I settled into a little clump and tried to tuck in for a few miles but the head of our line was grumpy about being a wind block and instead of trading every mile like most normal people, kept sprinting ahead of us. We would all beat him eventually. (Race Lesson: Take turns, it’s way easier than going it alone). Throughout the whole first 5K, I kept encouraging myself to be patient and to let the race play out in front of me.

Given my familiarity with the course, the hills were probably my favorite part. I eased up and just got through them. My only challenge was that there was mud on the road from construction and rain had made it really slippery. It was right around mile 4 where I started to feel really, really hot, conveniently just after an aid station where I could have dumped water on my head.

As we got onto Dorset Street again, the cramp that had been threatening since about a half mile in the race just took over. It felt like a band across my entire abdomen and nothing seemed to resolve it. I’ve had about two cramps in my whole life, so I didn’t know how to deal with it. I tried poking at it, changing my form, altering my pace and as many breathing patterns as I could think of but I couldn’t shake it. Anytime I tried to run faster than about marathon pace, my stomach just seized up and I couldn’t breath. Perfect.

When I was previewing the course, I was super excited for the last 5K that starts after the hill up to the golf course. When I got there on race day, however, I was anything but pleased. My stomach hurt and I felt like I was jogging through what was one of my goal races for the summer. Quitting crossed my mind. When I went through the 10K at 41 plus, I really started to meltdown. Prior to that, with no watch, I’d retained a hope that I was running fine and just feeling the humidity. That 10K split brought me back to Earth.

The last 5K was just misery. I worked at passing the few people in worse shape than me, but my cramp had reached a point where I couldn’t even pretend to kick it in. I jogged to the finish in just under 1:03 and it took all of my grown up powers of control not to burst into tears of frustration. Thankfully, my friend Jill was the Volunteer Coordinator and is maybe the best post-bad race friend ever. Instead of offering “good job,” she admitted that I didn’t look great and just let me be grumpy. We decided to start making a new bumper sticker that says “I Don’t Train This Hard to Cross the Finish Line.” I love that girl.

The good news is that I felt entirely fine yesterday with no more soreness than I would normally have from a workout and my mood has lifted. All our races can’t be good and I’d rather have the Labor Day 15K be miserable than the marathon.

Takeaways/Positives:

6:45 pace is really becoming comfortable for me, for better or for worse.

I need to be better about adjusting for performance in humidity.

Age is just a number and if the people I raced on Sunday were any indication, I have plenty of running years left.

GMAA put on a heck of a race; the volunteer support was outrageous, the course really is a great one in good weather and every detail was attended to, impressive for a race in only its second year. If you find yourself in Vermont on Labor Day next year, it’s highly recommended.

The Olde Bones Girls had their first complete team at a USATF event, impressive since there were only 3 of us running against teams with a bazillion more members.

Week in Review 8.25.14 to 8.31.14

I was having a hissy fit when I started to write this up. Truly. I was sitting at my desk half in tears and debating whether I should even attempt my fall marathon. My race this morning was THAT bad. Then I looked at my training log to write this post and realized I capped a 78 mile week off with a race, which capped off a 331 mile month. What precisely did I expect my legs to feel like? Anyway, hissy fit almost resolved and I didn’t do anything stupid like pull my entries.

Monday: 11.25 miles recovery paced. Hip core routine after.

Tuesday AM: 8 miles on the 15K course. Arms after. All done by 8 am and feeling really accomplished.

Tuesday PM: 5 miles with the girls followed by beach abs routine.

Wednesday: Scheduled off day, prorated at 10.3

Thursday: Monster tempo run. 3 by 2 mile at T pace, for which I used a heart rate monitor and kept it at 168-170. What a low stress way to get a workout done!!! Definitely doing that for the remainder of this cycle. 13 miles.

Friday: 8 miles recovery pace.

Saturday: 7 miles through Hinesburg before coaching at the CVU Relays all morning. Girls kicked ass. I need to bottle some of that get-up.

Sunday: Labor Day 15K. Fricken disaster. Felt awful from about .5 miles in and just slogged through. 1:02:55, 19th place. Race report tomorrow when I’m done being so dramatic.

78 miles.

Arm lift.

Hip core and beach abs.

Today marks 6 weeks from race day, which means about 3 more weeks of really hard work. When Will can count off my workouts on his fingers, it starts to feel real. I wish it felt real in a more positive sense today, but one way or another, October is coming. Here’s hoping this insane humidity decides to leave the area soon so I can have some kick ass workouts and race simulators.