Monday, November 10, 2014

GIT. 'ER. DONE. oh and drink wine.

So I know I totally said last week that I was going out of town for the weekend, ergo no long run, & that was fine. But then it was Friday, & I was planning my day & when I would fit in an easy 8 or whatever before we left, & suddenly part of me was like, "BITCH, ARE WE DOING THIS OR NOT?" I was working from home for the day, so I decided that when I got all the laundry & packing & work done that I needed, I could spend whatever time was left running, and if there was enough time for a long run, then I would effing do a long run. And lo and behold, I got everything done by 3, which was really JUST enough time to fit in the 13 miles called for on Sunday, so off I went.

I would love to tell you that this run was pure magic from the very beginning but oof. Those first few miles were rough. Between a) four days of consecutive running (which I haven't done in a while & was only doing because I knew I wouldn't run on the weekend) and b) my previous long run having been only five days ago instead of the usual seven, my legs felt dead and heavy. Since I count my weeks Monday to Sunday, this was only a 33.5 mile week, but in the last seven days, I'd actually run 47.5 miles, which is like full-on marathon training mileage for me. The fact that I'd run twice this week in thinner, lighter shoes had also left my feet & lower legs feeling a tad beat up. Add to all this that the Mission sunshine deceived me (AGAIN), and no sooner had I hit the Lower Haight than I was shivering a bit in the drizzle & fog & wind & thinking seriously about heading back home to trade my tank & shorts for something warmer.

Yep; unless it's below 50 (and it almost never is), I am running in shorts & a tank top.

I've run through much worse, though, and the idea of backtracking through blocks and blocks of traffic lights was significantly less appealing than just putting up with the weather & heading onwards to the tree-lined & relatively uninterrupted trails of the Panhandle & Golden Gate Park. Still, given how sluggish & tight I felt, I was not entirely sure I was going to make it all the way to 13 miles.

And yet, my heart rate stayed remarkably low, even up hills, and I kept seeing split after split a solid 30-40 seconds faster than those heart rates usually correlate with. Once I crossed into the Park, everything started to click into place physically, and for a little stretch there I was consistently seeing heart rates in the 130s (I shoot to stay below 146) and sub-10:00 splits (I've been averaging between 10:20 & 10:50 for the most part).

I love this city.

The hardest part by far was mentally dealing with doing a long run on a weekday. I've gotten much better at handling the boredom & monotony, but part of that I think has to do with knowing when it's coming & mentally expecting it. Despite how good and fast and easy this run (eventually) felt, some subconscious part of my brain definitely started rioting a little when I passed six miles, then seven, then eight and OMG ARE WE STILL RUNNING IT'S FRIDAY WHYYYYYY ARE WE STILLLLL RUNNING?!?!?

In a few weeks I'll do a more detailed post on all the low heart rate stuff. If there's one thing I can say about it, though, it's that it requires patience, discipline, and consistency, and sometimes it can be frustrating to feel like you don't really see much of a difference from day to day. (Fine that was four things. It is my blog & I will count as I please.) But what I can also tell you for sure is that on Sept. 21, I did my first low heart rate run of 8 miles at 10:15 pace with an average heart rate of 161, and Friday's 13 miler was at 10:12 pace with an average heart rate of 141. So.....progress?

Anyway, I got my long run in & headed off to Paso Robles guilt-free, where it was 85F & sunny.

Chillin in the Denner warehouse. Pretty sure this is the closest I will ever get to a bottle of Saxum.

For the first time ever, our visit synched up with the "Garagiste" Festival, which is an annual wine expo they have every fall for super super small producers making less than 1,000 cases per year. ("Garagiste" being a slang French term for super-small French winemakers making & selling small lots of wine out of their garages.)

We had a few tips on where to stop & found some fantastic tiny winemakers making some delicious stuff:



We also got some spectacular sunsets at our hotel Saturday night.

You know it's a classy joint when you can walk to Carl's Jr.

WEEK OF 11/3-11/9

Grand Total: miles

    * 33.5 easy
    * 0 x 45:00 strength workouts

We could talk about all the myriad reasons why I did not make it to the gym for strength work even once this week, but let's be honest, no one cares but me & excuses are boring.

When I was teaching, this was my go-to phrase. Seriously, NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT.

Monday: a.m. stretch & roll / p.m. karate

    Last week didn't seem all that hard and Sunday's long run was mostly unremarkable, but by the time I got in bed Sunday night a few places in my legs were aching so badly it actually kept me awake for a while. This made me think that maybe they needed rest more than they needed a bunch of squats and deadlifts and plyometrics, so I spent my Monday morning gym time stretching All The Things & reacquainting myself with the Lacrosse ball (which I've been ignoring because nothing's felt particularly tight until now).

Tuesday: 8 easy

    Uuuuuugggghhhhhh eight epically miserable miles on the 'mill before work, thanks to evening work stuff. I'm pretty sure this was the longest run I've ever done on a treadmill and I wanted to stab myself in the face for almost every second of it. My feet were killing me for the first four miles and it was BY FAR the slowest and highest heart rate run I've done since I started all that low heart rate business in September. (At one point I was sure I must be running 18 minute miles.) I know it's indoors on a treadmill so you can't really compare it to my other runs which have all been more or less along the same route (not to mention the accuracy of the treadmill), but what is absolutely objective is the sheer amount of unadulterated ass that was sucked by this run. I hate treadmills and I hate running in the morning. Let us never speak of this run again.

Wednesday: afternoon 6 easy / p.m. karate

    Sometimes I forget until I'm having kind of a schlubby day that the whole exercise-endorphins-mood enhancing effect is a real thing. It wasn't a bad day, per se, but it was definitely kind of a gross-feeling, meh kind of day up until the run. It was a pretty darn good one, I felt great, & after I was kind of stunned for a minute when I realized I actually did feel like a thousand times better. And on a Wednesday!

Thursday: 6 easy

    This run was like a miniature version of Friday's long run--a little uncomfortable at the beginning, but eventually, awesome. (And with almost the exact same pace & heart rate to boot.)

Friday: 13 long

Saturday/Sunday: Paso

Theoretically I was supposed to start adding in marathon goal pace runs this past week, but what with cramming in four consecutive weekday runs and technically hitting 47.5 miles over a seven-day period, I decided it was maybe smarter to put it off for a week. So NEXT WEEK, you guys, I'll have some goal marathon pace updates for you.


  1. I am stunned and amazed. How can one go to Paso Robles and not stop at Firestone-Walker Brewing? I forgive you though...

  2. Sounds like low HR is working! But man. The time. I am always in such a time crunch, and I can see this just taking me all morning to finish my run!

  3. I know *exactly* how you feel about HR training, but it looks like your patience is definitely paying off! Those latest stats are huge!

    I've only done 2 runs on the treadmill since starting MAF training and those have been 2 of the worst runs so far. I don't know why my HR goes through the roof even though I'm going 1-2 minutes slower per mile than I do outside. Ugh.

  4. The difference in those two heart rates is quite incredible. And proof that the low HR training really works. If only it didn't take so much discipline to achieve. I never get past a single run.

  5. Low heartrate training does sound useful, but no way I could be disciplined to keep my heartrate low enough without speeding up. Good on you for trying it. and those running conditions look gorgeous.