This weekend was awesome because our alliterative dinner club had our "O" dinner:
Oaxacan Old Fashioneds
Olive tapenade three ways, with olive loaf crostini
Orvieto Classico x 3
Soup f(l)ight: Oxtail, Onion (French), & Ogwissimin
Optimus cab blend & O Bastardo port for dessert
Osso Bucco, orzo, & Optimus
Orgeat creme brulee
(Homemade) oreos & olive oil ice cream
Have I mentioned I love my friends? Because I do.
Almost as much as I love food & wine.
Like I said in a previous post, I haven't done true, honest base training in a looooong time, and my last experiment with low heart rate training nearly drove me insane because running so slowly was so uncomfortable biomechanically and so frustrating psychologically. For those reasons, I fully expected to find myself fighting off a deep & abiding hatred of Operation: All Ur Base Training within the first week.
That hasn't happened, though. Whether it's because I'm a more experienced runner or just a wiser, more mature person in general now, I've developed a completely different outlook on the whole thing. Yes, my first few runs where I slowed everything down definitely felt a little strange physically and kind of weird in terms of form, and yes, I had some of those same, "This is sooooo easy. Does this even count as exercise?" thoughts.
As I've kept with it, though, instead of continuing to struggle to keep my pace super easy and my heart rate low, it's gotten significantly easier. In two weeks, I've gone from running a 9:42 pace & thinking, "OMG seriously, I CANNOT POSSIBLY run any slower than this" to averaging in the 10:20's & 10:30's (& even seeing the occasional 11:00 split) and thinking, "You know, this actually feels pretty good." For the most part that has corresponded to average heart rates in the low 150's & even high 140's sometimes, which I honestly did not think would ever happen.
Of course, the thing about working on the aerobic stuff is that you actually can run too slow and end up just wasting your time, so I've been trying to pay close attention to my effort level and be sure that my breathing and effort level stay in a place that does actually feel like doing work, even if it's significantly less work than I'm used to. I had really thought that getting down into the mid-tens might flirt with that wow-this-really-feels-like-nothing zone, but it turns out that the slower I go, the more the decrease in effort seems to taper off.
Eg: Running at 5K pace is incredibly hard for more than a very short amount of time. Slowing down by 1:00/mile feels way, WAY easier--as in, I can run maybe ~5-6x as far. Slowing down by another 1:00/mile feels somewhat easier, but the change is less dramatic. Slow down by yet another minute per mile, and it's maybe a little easier, but not by all that much. So running slower and slower does feel easier, but the more I slow down, the less I feel the change.
You know what, I communicate best in math. It's like this:
Please excuse the weird axis scaling as I was just
not willing to spend more than three minutes on this.
I kind of feel like maybe I got so used to the moderate discomfort of running 8:00-8:15's that my brain decided, "Oh, this is what making an effort feels like," so when I first slowed way down, I felt like I was barely doing anything. Over a couple of weeks, though, I've gotten re-sensitized to it, so that I actually can feel the aerobic work I'm doing at a 10:00-10:30 pace. Yes, it's much more comfortable, but it also does still feel like actual running and putting forth quantifiable effort.
WEEK OF 9/30-10/5
- * 28 miles, all easy
* 2 x 45:00 strength workouts, plus some extra push-ups/crunches here & there
Monday: a.m. strength work / p.m. karate
Tuesday: 6 easy
- I was supposed to do 6 x 0:30 hill sprints Tuesday, but it was hot as the devil's balls & I was just not feeling it.
Wednesday: a.m. strength work / p.m. "karate"
- I did go to karate but I felt so exhausted & out of it that I barely did anything. Not sure why.
a.m. strength work / p.m. 6 easy
- Decided the best way to fix the exhaustion was to sleep an extra hour. Still hot => I continued to wimp on the intervals for the rest of the week. :P
a.m. strength work / p.m. 6 easy
- Thursday night I got a grand total of about 3 hours of sleep, which, since I did not trust myself to drive a car on the freeway, translated into working at home for the day & also no 7 a.m. strength work. I did do the run, but given that it was STILL 85+ (and this was after delaying as long as possible to let the temperature drop), it was still not particularly pleasant.
Saturday Rest / crazy "O" dinner party
Sunday: 10 long
- Yes, it was only ten miles, but time-wise it was an hour & forty-eight minutes. Since this is normally what it would take me to run 12 miles, it actually kinda-sorta felt like a "real" long run. It also felt pretty good, though, so I think next week I'm ready to bump it up to two hours.