Monday, February 11, 2013

Nothing Like New Toys :)

Last weekend, these came:

..."These" being my first set of non-generic sai. The ones I've been learning on for the past few years have been functional, but stamped from a pretty standard one-size-kinda-sorta-fits all mold that's really too long, heavy, & wide for me. (Also, there is a lot to be said for real, actual cotton cord grips, as opposed to the layers & layers of athletic tape I've wrapped around the butt ends of my old ones.) With my testing coming up I decided I should finally upgrade to a custom-fitted set as soon as possible so I have time to get comfortable with them, and I am SUPER super psyched about getting some time in with them in the next few weeks.

(Fun fact: In addition to martial arts training, sai are also good for grilling kababs & roasting marshmallows. How are there no pictures of this on the internet???)

Other new toys I have recently (or soon to have recently) acquired include this...

...and this...

...and these:

So stay tuned for some sweet gear reviews in the not-too-distant-future unless I get distracted by something shiny. Huzzah for huge clearance sales!!

Overall, I had a pretty good week, though I am not too proud to admit that suddenly jumping up 130% in mileage & adding in a bunch of strength / cross training stuff all at once may have caught up with me just a little. For that reason this ended up being a little bit of a cut-back week, which I think is MORE than totally fine. What with all the New Year's momentum, it's really tempting to push myself to do more miles / more speed work / more strength work because hey, it's not killing me yet!

There is a lot of year left to go, though, and there are still many many weeks to go before the Ojai Marathon Mountains 2 Ocean Mountains 2 Beach in May. (Seriously, could someone just pick a name for this race? I feel like it's changed like 3 times since I first heard about it.) I'd rather be a little slower at the shorter races I have between now & then & have a good marathon than muscle out PRs at those & end up getting hurt, peaking too soon, or overtrained come Memorial Day weekend.

Patience, grasshopper.

Grand Total: 31.2 miles

    * 16 easy
    * 3.2 threshold / tempo
    * 12 long

Monday 2/4:

  • Lunch time - Yoga. Same class as last Monday. I could be imagining things, but I think my Achilles tendons are beginning to loosen up. I still can't do a proper "downward dog," but at least I don't look like I'm doing "sickly dog with scoliosis" anymore.
  • Evening - Karate + strength work. Because I don't really like sparring & apparently they're going to make me do it at my testing, we did a bunch of that. I got to spar some with Don, which hasn't happened in AGES. Yes, sometimes you hurt the one you love, and sometimes the one you love hurts you, sometimes by punching you in the eye and making your fingernails bleed. I wish I at least had a cool black eye to show you but apparently it wasn't quite hard enough for that, & my bloody fingernail is frankly just kind of gross. Lessons learned: Don't block with eye sockets or fingernails. (You would think I'd have that those ones down by now, wouldn't you?)

    Tuesday 2/5:

  • Lunch time - Strength work. A bit sore from sparring, but got some good stuff done.
  • Evening - 5 miles threshold; 1 wu + 3 x (1600m @ 7:30 / 100m jog) + 1 cd. If I'd had the time, I would've preferred a little more of a warm up / cool down, but dinner plans called, so again it was a game of "get this done as quickly & efficiently as possible," ie, on the gym treadmill. On the one hand, it was very reassuring to run several miles at this pace and not feel like death (and BOY does running fast go a long way towards making the treadmill very very slightly more bearable). On the other hand, my shoulders were sore from karate, and I've noticed that one of the hard things about running fast on the treadmill is that the front of it rather inhibits a natural arm swing. So my options are basically run at the very very back of the belt where one false step is likely to catapult me into the ellipticals, or run with cramped, bunched up T-Rex arms. The sore shoulders made it worse, so although my cardio system & legs were doing just fine, my arms & shoulders were VERY glad to see that cool down mile finally tick off.

    Wednesday 2/6:

  • Lunch time - Pilates. There was a sub today who was maybe just a tiny bit less of a drill sergeant than the usual teacher, and we also did a ton of ab stuff which tends to be easier for me than anything else, but none of that is to say that it was still not freaking hard.
  • Afternoon - 4 easy. Like last week, I took the approach of jumping on the treadmill for a short run immediately after work in order to give my legs maximal recovery time before karate. I got kicked in the right quad pretty hard in karate on Monday, which was bugging me a little (& probably wasn't helped by Tuesday's threshold run), but for the most part this run was fine (besides the inevitable treadmill boredom).
  • Evening - Karate + strength work. (The strength work part kind of deteriorated into a few of us challenging each other with new & ever more sadistic ab exercises but what can you do.) I took it a little easier because of my sore quad & spent a lot of time playing with the new sai & trying to get a feel for them.

    Thursday 2/7:

  • Lunch time - Strength work. I've been asking a lot of my body these last couple of weeks in terms of running, karate, and cross-training and felt like maybe it would be good to have a little break from some of the impact Friday. I think it was grateful.
  • Evening - 6 easy + yoga. God, I hate treadmills. Damn you for being so convenient & efficient.

    Friday 2/8: 5 mile speed session 4 easy. Thursday's yoga was super hip / thigh focused, which maybe wasn't so great after just running 6 miles. I think I over-worked them a little, because they were absolutely KILLING me all day Friday, even just walking around the office. I didn't have time to go to the track on Tuesday so I was really looking forward to it Friday afternoon, but part of me felt like running 300s near-all-out was probably not the best choice. To be honest I didn't really feel much like running at all, but I made a compromise with myself wherein some amount of running should happen, as long as it was easy & didn't bug my hip flexors. I turned around while I was still feeling good & got in about 4 miles. Zero day averted.

    Saturday 2/9: My hip flexors were still not feeling much better after taking it easy Friday, so I decided to take Saturday completely off. I'm pretty sure I could've slogged through a track workout or a few more easy miles, but I thought it was probably more important not to risk making the hip flexors worse & instead invest in a good, strong, pain-free long run on Sunday.

    Sunday 2/10: 12 long. It seems like the extra rest day Saturday was the right choice. Hip flexors felt great, & except for a little weirdness in my right knee & some cramping in my right calf (which almost never happens), I had a good, strong run & felt better all the way through than I did on my previous two. It also felt good to finish at a decent pace & knowing I could've gone further with no problem.

    Next weekend I may or may not be racing a track 3200m at a Cal Berkeley all-comers track meet. Originally I wanted to do a 5K around this time as a fitness gauge, but although I'm making progress & slowly but surely getting the lead out, I frankly don't need a race right now to tell me that I am a lo-o-o-ong way from racing shape, particularly when it comes to speed. And I'm not sure how much fun it will really be if I end up going & just feeling like crap. But who knows -- maybe I'll wake up Saturday morning and say to myself, "You know, running two miles all-out on a track is EXACTLY what I want to do today."

    Or I might just go to spectate, to scope out the scene & get a sense of how things work in case I get another chance sometime. We'll see.


    1. Ok, so forgive me but when I saw the sai I immediately thought ninja turtles. Oh how the media warps our young minds!

      In all seriousness, enjoy the track meet-I've been wanting to do an all-comers meet for a while and UC Berkeley sounds like an awesome venue!

    2. At first I thought you were showing some torture devices. I didn't know what sai were, but I now I know.

      Love finding a great clearance sale. Looks like you picked up some sweet new running things. Love the pink and orange top. Those are two of my favorite color combos.

    3. I LOL'ed at the idea of running on a treadmill with T-Rex arms. Nice week Angela!

    4. The sai are/is? seriously sexy!! I quite fancy some myself just to whirl around!! And I love the idea of fighting the far we've only played tennis and he nearly killed me with his serve!