Monday, June 30, 2014

SRM WEEK 7: In Which A Long Run Does Not Suck. Also Memes.

For whatever reason, my 13 mile long run on Sunday felt like kinda no big whoop, which is remarkable because usually for me getting ready for a long run is epic melodrama that progresses more or less along the following trajectory:

  • Denial. "Long run? What long run? LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!1!"
  • Anger. "Stupid MARATHON TRAINING with its stupid LONG RUNS & stupid GELS and SUNSCREEN and BODY GLIDE and goddammit whose goddam effing stupid-ass idea was this whole thing anyway."
  • Bargaining. "Maybe it'll seem less awful if I wait another hour. Maybe I'll prefer the long run to stabbing myself in the face if I have a little cheese first. Maybe if I wear new shoes it will distract me from wanting to hurl at the very idea of running for 2+ hours."
  • Depression. *Weeps quietly while putting on running clothes, gathering gels, & applying sunscreen.*
  • Acceptance. "Let's just effing get this shite OVER WITH already."

Every damn Sunday.

This is one of the many reasons why I doubt I will ever really be a marathon junkie. My interest in ever running for more than two hours straight is pretty darn low.

But no; on Sunday I just got dressed, watched some World Cup while I slathered myself in sunscreen & body glide & figured out where on my person to stash my gels, cued up some RadioLab on the ol' headphones, & headed out. Honestly it never really felt very hard (okay, maybe the last .75 miles or so) & the whole thing was over before I knew it. Keeping good form all the way to the end felt easier than usual, and nothing hurt (except for a twinge in the arch of my right foot towards the end, which is new). So....progress?

Nike Dri-Fit Racer tank & Brooks running cap.
Since there is the potential for the latter part of Santa Rosa to be sunny and warm-ish, I've been reading up on strategies for running a hot marathon (something I clearly did not do before M2BM last summer & was definitely regretting by mile 20). No, it's not like it'll be 90° & 90% humidity or anything, but since most people's performance in long endurance events tends to go downhill pretty rapidly once temps get above 60°, especially in full sun, it seems kind of dumb not to do everything I can to keep as cool as possible. (Within reason, obviously; I will not, for example, be purchasing a $200 cooling vest to wear until the last possible moment before the start.)

I took advantage of the 80° midday temps on Sunday to try out a tip from the insanely speedy Camille Heron & did my run in a super-thin, light, white singlet & white cap. Originally I'd been thinking I'd just run Santa Rosa in as little clothing as possible (ie a light-colored sports bra & thin shorts) in order to stay cool, but having tried a few different combinations at different distances, Camille has actually had the best results at the marathon distance in a singlet. She's found that the singlet keeps her cooler because it retains the sweat, as compared to just letting most of it evaporate (which is what happens if you're shirtless/sports bra only).

I tried to stay in direct sun as much as possible in order to see how it worked for me, and though the run obviously felt a little harder than usual because of the heat (particularly going uphill), I actually felt pretty comfortable the whole time. There was a light breeze, which compounded the cooling effect of the sweaty singlet and felt GREAT in the sun.

I took one gel before the run & five more during, about one every 20 minutes of running (so every ~25 minutes of real time accounting for traffic lights & water stops), which works out to about 40g of CHO per hour. My stomach seemed just fine with that, so next week I'll try taking them even closer together. If I can tolerate ~60g per hour by Santa Rosa, I'll be happy; I'll just have to work out where on my person I'm going to stash that many gels...

* * * WEEK 7 * * *
(8 to go)

I will not insult you by quoting that Bon Jovi song. (I'm sure you know the one I mean.)

Grand Total: 40 miles

    * 2.4 speed
    * 3.1 race/tempo
    * 13 long
    * 21.5 easy


    * 1.5 hours strength/stretch/roll
    * 22 miles bike

The nice thing about this past week was that my easy runs have finally topped out. The long runs will obviously continue getting longer & the track & tempo/threshold runs occasionally get up to 10-11 miles, but the easy maintenance runs pretty much hit eight miles & stay there.

Monday: a.m. strength work / p.m. karate

Tuesday: 6 speed (2 wu, 6x400m @ ~6:30 w/ 1:30 jog recoveries, 1.6 cd)

    Once again, any hypothetical Tuesday a.m. biking I might have done was thwarted by morning work stuff. BUT, I did get in a *lovely* track workout with Kimra, so in the end this day can only go in the win column.

Wednesday: a.m. strength work / afternoon 5 easy / p.m. SEE NEIL GAIMAN AT THE WARFIELD

    So back in January or something, Neil Gaiman (one of our favorite authors) announced a show in San Francisco where he'd read his newest short story "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" accompanied by the Australian string quartet Fourplay & with artwork projected on a screen. I remember emailing Don & being like, "WE SHOULD TOTALLY GO TO THIS!!!" I think he emailed back something amused & non-committal, & then I forgot about this entire conversation for six months. The show came up again maybe a week ago & I was like, "Ah, we should have gotten tickets to that. I totally forgot. I'm sure they sold out months ago." Don just looked at me like I was crazy & was like, "We have tickets." "OMG are you serious?!?!" "Um, yes. I got them the day you emailed me." Well okay then.

    I was over the moon excited about this. In practice, it meant that I only had about 1.5 hours between getting home from work & when I needed to meet Don downtown, which, with stop lights & showering & public transit, meant I only had time for 5 miles & not the prescribed 8. Not that it much mattered; those 5 miles kicked the shit out of me & there is absolutely no way in hell I could have gotten to 8 anyway, hungry cannibals nonwithstanding.

Thursday: a.m. massage / p.m. 8 easy

    My massage therapist says that my really tight spots (mostly right calf, hip, & adductor) are starting to loosen up more quickly than they did at first, which is promising. I am still supposed to do as much rolling as I can at home, the idea being that the really intense work he does will make my rolling at home easier & more effective.

    I ran my 8 easy miles that evening but OMG they were so. Freaking. Hard. I'm sure it's just the cumulative fatigue setting in, but after a couple of miles I just couldn't get my hamstrings & glutes to fire properly, & as a result I am sure I ended up overusing other muscles in ways I should not be doing. I've had sore shins on & off for the last few weeks, but it kind of freaked me out that Thursday evening there was one small spot on my right shin that was particularly painful, and whereas the pain usually goes away maybe a half hour or so after I finish running, this lingered well into the evening. I iced it all night, which helped some, but there is definitely part of me that felt like I was getting a yellow flag that an extra rest day was in order.


    I did not do strength work Friday morning. Instead, I got an extra hour of sleep. I know that I don't sleep enough in general & that sleep quantity & quality affects healing, so this seemed like a smart trade off. The painful part on my shin actually felt fine on Friday, but I was freaked out enough by it that I decided to ride the spin bike that afternoon instead of risking irritating it with a run.

    On the subject of biking--When you're doing the same thing every day (running) and don't really have much day-to-day sense of progress being made, it's easy to get kind of blase about the idea that anything is really changing in your body. Blah blah x miles in x * 8.3 minutes blah blah tired blah blah x miles in x * 8.3 minutes blah blah hard etc. etc.

    Consider this, though: From January to March, I improved from riding like 14 miles in an hour at level 9-11ish (whatever that means) to riding about 17 miles an hour at the same level with the same level of effort/exertion. On Friday, I rode 22 miles in an hour at level 12-13ish and seriously felt like maybe I should have been working harder.

    The hell you say.

Saturday 8 tempo-ish (3.65 warm-up, 3.14 "race," 1.21 cool down)

    On Saturday I wanted to run SF Pride Run 5K, not really as a RACE-race, but more for fun & a few tempo miles. I showed up early enough to run an easy, protracted warm-up, then ran the 5K (not all-out but still probably a little harder than I'd planned), then did enough of a cool down to get me to 8 miles for the day. Although I rolled my ankle on the wet pavement warming up, my legs gradually loosened up & by the time the race started actually felt pretty good. Even better, the super painful spot on my right shin that was bothering me so much on Thursday seemed to have completely disappeared.

    Yay for running into old friends!

    I don't know if it's just mental or what, but this was absolutely the easiest 8 miles I've run so far this training cycle and I felt great afterward & not *at all* like I'd just run 8 miles with 3 of them fairly hard. Maybe I should do little local races for my tempo runs more often. :)

Sunday: 13 long

There are 55 miles on my schedule next week, but since I've only just made it to 40, I'll be perfectly happy if I end up in the mid 40's.


  1. I used to especially dread long runs that happened any other time but first thing in the morning. My stupid stomach made those tough, but somehow I can say I've done the whole "20 miles after work" thing, and, wow.

    1. Heh....It's always interesting to me to hear people's preferences. From what I can tell I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority on this one. ;)

  2. I actually enjoy long runs. It helps having an awesome squad. There are 37 of us doing the Melbourne marathon in October so there'll be plenty of people to share those 3+hr runs with.

    1. Nice! I do prefer doing long runs with other people; the trouble is just that other people seem to prefer doing them first thing in the morning, while I'm a confirmed sleeper-inner. :)

  3. Hooray for not sucky long runs! And glad to hear that the shin pain went away.

  4. posts like these are why I'll probably never run another marathon - I just don't look forward to running that far, and the injuries seem to become more common as you get up in miles. Maybe sometime I'll have the desire to, but right now I simply don't. Even getting my body in half marathon shape has not been easy.

    Oh, and your Bon Jovi song was Livin on a Prayer lol

    1. Heh, I hear you. I think it is one marathon per year for me at most. If I had to pick only one distance to do for the rest of my life it would be either half marathons or 10K's.

  5. oh, and the best meme opportunity ever is the Luiz Suarez bitegate lol. Check this one out!

    1. YES! Clearly this must be worked into a post.

  6. The only thing I'd remember with the white singlet thing is that in very humid weather it could end up saturated halfway through the race, clinging and weighing you down.But for dry (or not tropical, at least!) heat, perfect.

    1. Agreed, I think in a humid race I'd go with as little clothing as possible. Our neck of the woods stays fairly dry though, so it should work out. :)

    (Neil Himself once made it to Singapore, with Amanda Palmer, for a writers' festival...the queue for that one was about an hour long.)

    We have the inverse reaction to long runs - I love me my two and a half hours of me-time first thing on a Saturday or Sunday morning - but there's no way I could do one *after* a full day of activity (or inactivity as the case may be)! I am always super impressed that you manage to get any workouts done after work.

    1. Heh....Yeah, I think I'm clearly in the minority on this one. ;)

  8. "Maybe it'll seem less awful if I wait another hour." Haha, this is totally me.

    Also, goddamn pedestrians.