Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SRM WEEK 16 OF 20: Yellow Flags...

Greeting from the Inland Empire! Try not to be jealous that my life is all glamour, all the time.

Also, MAN, things got weird and/or real this week.

Weird-ness and/or Real-ness Factor #1: Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was like, "La la la, this training cycle is SOOOO easy, what are people even complaining about all the time???" Well; let the record show that this week was marked by a couple of days when I Just Could Not, from the first couple of miles in. (I mean, I'm not saying I Didn't in all cases; just that I reallllly didn't want to.) Not because I was doing anything hard, even; my body just felt like I was starting every run at the 15 mile mark. I'm calling this one "bad news and good news;" bad news because it sucks, but good news because I'm pretty sure that it's mostly due to the fact that I've run over 40 miles for the last 4 weeks in a row and I literally cannot remember the last time that happened.

Weird-ness and/or Real-ness Factor #2: I've had this weird sensation on some of my harder runs lately where my body is exhausted, and I can feel it's exhausted, and I soooo very badly want to not be running, and yet...physically it kinda just doesn't seem that bad? The legs just kind of keep chugging, even though I feel like I should be slogging? I feel like this is maybe the flip side of #1, so again, I'm calling it bad news & good news.

Weird-ness and/or Real-ness Factor #3: For the first time this training cycle (!), I didn't get all my weekly mileage in. And while that sucks, I am still pretty darn happy with the fact that I managed to go 15 weeks before it happened. I didn't miss any runs (I've still only missed one this entire cycle), and when I cut things short this week, I did it for good reasons.

One of the reasons is slightly more concerning than the other. For the last couple of weeks, I've had this tender little lump on my left tibia, and I know it's a result of putting more stress on that part of my leg since I've been working on using my left arch correctly. What I can tell you for sure is that it's NOT a stress fracture (something I learned when I had one last year was that once you've had one, you never mistake something else for it ever again), but it's definitely a spot I've been paying attention to because I very very much want it to not BECOME one.

On Sunday I was supposed to run 16 miles (a cut-back long run), and for the first time, that spot kinda-sorta hurt enough that I thought very hard about how important it was to finish that run. I went back & forth about how far I was willing to go on it, and then the pain would go away for a while but come back after stopping at a light, then go away again, then come back. And eventually I settled on two thoughts:

    1) I kept flashing back to fall 2013 when I was training for NVM the first time around, and had some mild pain in my calf, and kept pushing through it, and it got worse, and I kept pushing through it, and then by Christmas I DID have a stress fracture & couldn't run again for 2 months.

    2) I could not help but think back to exactly one year ago to the day, training for the same race, & running 18 miles on a sketchy not-totally-healed hip because I was having panic attacks about not getting in every single mile of every single run. Afterward I got on a plane for the same work trip, and by the time I got off I couldn't put weight on that leg and couldn't run for that entire week.

So yeah; those two thoughts together were enough for me to declare those 16 miles just Not That Important relative to a thing that is hurting a month out from your goal race. I keep reminding myself that Coach Tom has said my training plan is designed with the assumption that I will do 90% of it, and if one is going to fall short by a few miles so that certain bones can fully recover, the week in between two big long runs seems like a pretty good time to do it.

~*~*~SRM WEEK 16 OF 20~*~*~

Grand Total: 33 miles

    * 24.75 easy
    * 7.5 speed/tempo

Monday: Rest

    Man, déjà vu all over again. Busted feet first thing in the morning, work insanity, & no karate. :(

Tuesday: 1.75 warm up, 5 x 800 alternating 5K pace & marathon pace, 1 cool down = 5.25 total

    Speed work at Kezar with SF Track Club. The assigned workouts are usually shorter than what RunCoach has me doing on a regular basis, so I've been trying to arrive ~20 minutes early & stay a little later to get in some extra mileage. No time for that today, so this one ended up being on the short side.

    When Coach Tom explained this workout, it sounded kind of hard to me, especially given that my legs were still feeling heavy after Sunday's 21 miler & my warm-up had been in the 10:30 pace range. The idea of running even one 7:15 800m just did not sound like something my legs were up to. And although 8:15 is certainly more comfortable than 7:15, it's not what I usually think of as "recovery pace." So, I had told my training partner (who was watching our pace) that he was free to give me a verbal kick in the ass if at any point I started to lag.

    But then a funny thing happened. We started our first fast 800m & my legs just kind of took over. I mean yes, there was effort, but it really did not feel that hard, & we actually finished every fast interval in more like the 6:58 range than 7:15. And the 8:15 "slow" intervals that I had been worried about feeling hard (which were more like 7:45's, I think) felt weirdly comfortable. The whole thing was over before I knew it & I finished feeling like I could have gone a few more rounds with no problem.

    So, like. Not sure what's up with that.

Wednesday: 5 easy / karate

    Feeling very antsy & uneasy with Tuesday's short workout so got in a few easy miles before karate. I think the mileage was fine but the timing maybe was not, because...

Thursday: 10 6 easy

    OMG. I can't remember the last time a run felt this bad. Not painful, but like I had lead in my shoes--just dragging myself through every step. And also kind of lightheaded. And just exhausted. (See: #1 above.) When I just feel "Ugh," I almost always push through whatever I had planned, but this just felt on a whole other level. I mean, I still *could* have dragged myself through the entire 10 miles without killing myself, but I had a big interval workout the next day & I kind of felt like I was in a situation where I had to make a choice between the two. In the end I decided to cut this one short (which was still REALLY hard) in hopes of not being a wreck for the intervals.

    I doubt this was PURELY because of running 5 miles the day before when it's usually a rest day, but between that & two weeks of several bigger, longer runs, I think the cumulative effect just hit me particularly hard that day.

Friday: 2 warm up, 6 x 1 mile @ 10K pace / 1:30 jog, 2 cool down = 10.75.

    I would have preferred to do this one at the track so it would be easier to hit the right pace consistently, but the logistics of the day dictated otherwise. Womp womp. So, I got to do these on rolling hills while dealing with pedestrians & a good bit of wind. As a result my pace was all over the place between 7:15 & 7:35. I tried to stick to the right level of effort, though, & was (thankfully!) able to finish the whole workout with no problem. (Though MAN did it wipe me out. See #2 above.)

Saturday: Rest

    I am not too proud to admit I toyed with the idea of getting in some easy miles to make up for the lost ones on Thursday, but was then reminded by my achey legs not to be a frickin dumbass.

Sunday: 16 long 6 easy

    See #3 above. Uggggghhhh this was frustrating. I had a 2:30 flight so was feeling smug about how I'd gotten up at 8:00 on a weekend to get the run done beforehand. Things started out pretty schlubby (I think my first mile was almost 11:00; see #1 above) which kind of seemed like par for the course this week. But, over time, even though my body still felt exhausted, I got into a rhythm & weirdly felt like I could run comfortably for a long time. (See #2 above) So yeah. It was super frustrating to feel like I needed to stop when I was otherwise totally capable of getting it done, but I'm trying to be mature about it.


  1. Yikes. Keep up the calf raises!

  2. You did plan that well. Perfect timing! I hope that tender spot resolved itself without any future threat to your plans.

  3. Hope the yellow flags go away! I think skipping the 16-mile run was a good call.