Monday, August 3, 2015

22 in the books

Since I was traveling this week, I kind of figured I'd end up missing at least one run, and indeed that did happen. But only one! Which means, only two so far this cycle! And I still got the big one done on Sunday.

Longest training run ever!!

I didn't try to get fancy with it--just down to the Park & loops of the eastern half (~4 miles each). It's really been unseasonably warm & sunny here lately (see: my two 21 milers, both of which happened in 80/90F temps. WTF, San Francisco??), so I went ahead & did the full Osmo pre-load thing just in case.

It turned out NOT to be in the 80s/90s, for which I was super thankful. Though it was probably 70 & full sun, which, once you've been running for a couple of hours, does feel kind of warm if you're not in the shade, so there were definitely a couple of times when I paused to stand in a patch of shade & revel in the 10mph head wind.

(Also...yes. There was a 10mph head wind. So going west for any amount of time kind of sucked.)

Still, this run was without a doubt the easiest, both physically & mentally, of the three 20+ ones that I did this cycle. The worst part was unquestionably the beginning, when I just felt tired & like I was wearing a lead vest. (Running three miles & feeling like crap & knowing you still have 19 left go to is a special kind of hell.) The benefit of doing a bunch of longer-than-usual long runs like this close together, though, is I think that you just kind of get used to that feeling & eventually are able to stand outside of it & say, "Yes, that is a feeling I am having, but it's only a feeling, and it will go away in ten more miles or so."

And, it did. Yes, it was still a 22 mile run and it was still hard, but I felt more and more positive the farther along I got. I just kept ticking off benchmarks in my head ("x hours down!" "x laps down!" "x fraction down!") which I think also helped.

The hardest part was psyching myself up to do the four hard miles I was supposed to do at the end, and ohhhh, let me tell you how not excited about that I was. I'd been ticking off most of these in the 9:30-10:00 range and the thought of ratcheting down to 8:00 and preferably faster was incredibly daunting. Enter: lying to myself. "Oh, we'll just try to run a little faster, and if it's awful, we can go back to 9:30-10:00." But I had a feeling that once I started running faster it would actually feel good and satisfying, even if it was hard, which it did. The first two were a bit slower since they were partly up hill & also into the 10mph headwind (maybe 8:15ish), but the last two were 7:40 & 7:30 respectively, which I sort of could not believe even as it was happening.

Tired of post-long run blogger selfies that look so
cute & perfect you just want to puke? LOOK NO FURTHER.
(Also thanks, Mike, for the sweet tank! I think it's officially broken in.)

Since my tune-up race kind of bombed, I haven't really had much to go on in terms of figuring out whether my goal pace of ~8:00/mile is in any way realistic right now. I feel like if I could run a sub-1:40 half, I'd feel confident that it is. I still don't really know, but busting out those last two miles in close to half marathon pace and thinking, "Yeah, this is hard, but not that bad" after already having run 18 miles made me think that maybe, just maybe, I'm fitter right now than I feel.

~*~*~SRM WEEK 17 OF 20~*~*~

Grand Total: 38.3 miles

    * 12.3 easy
    * 6 speed/tempo
    * 22 long (w/ 4 @ race effort or faster)

Monday: Rest

    When we left off, I'd cut short my 16 miler on Sunday due to some yellow-okay-maybe-kinda-orange-ish pain in my left tibia that reminded me a little too much of the pain I'd run through right before ending up with a stress fracture 1.5 years ago. Monday is almost always a non-running day, but since I was traveling & thus had no karate to go to and also hadn't actually run long the day before, part of me was like, "Maybe I should make up some of those miles from Sunday...?" Tentative emailing ensued & the immediate response was, "DON'T YOU DARE."

Tuesday: 2 warm up, 2 x 2 @ HM pace / 2:00 jog, 2 cool down = 8 total

    Since it's pretty much 90-100F all the time where we were (and also I don't really know the area), I planned to do all my running this week on the hotel treadmill. Unfortunately I think the hotel exercise room was probably about 80F, so I only came out a little ahead there.

    I spent most of this run obsessing about my left tibia & trying to quantify the degree of pain. It was definitely much improved since Sunday (I did the whole run without any thought of cutting it short), but also definitely still felt kind of tender. Also, I just LOVE how everything feels twice as hard on a treadmill. #effyoutreadmills

Because this comic will literally never get old.

Wednesday: Rest

    Knowing getting all the miles in this week was going to be tricky, I briefly toyed with the idea of throwing in a short, easy run on Wednesday. But given that that lump on my tibia was still pretty tender and something about my right calf/Achilles had been super unhappy after Tuesday's run, I thought maybe this was just kind of asking for trouble & I should stick to the schedule.

Thursday: 8 easy

    No but I really did feel like I was about to die at the beginning of this run. Everything hurt. I was exhausted. I dragged myself through half a mile, rested for a while, dragged myself through another half mile, rested, dragged myself through a third half mile, & at that point seriously considered calling it quits. A little walk down the air conditioned hallway refreshed me a bit, though, & I thought, "Well, I'll see if I can run maybe one more mile." Little by little I started to not feel like death & got through it mostly by focusing on the Family Guy marathon playing on the TV. I think this was mostly a work stress/exhaustion thing, but man, did it suck.

Friday: 2 warm up, 6 x 200m / 1:30 jog, 30:00 GMP, 6 x 200m / 1:30, 2 cool down Rest/travel/pass out

    This was the workout I kept trying to figure out some way to fit in & just couldn't come up with anything other than moving a run to Wednesday or Saturday (which, ultimately, I think would have been a bad idea). I suppose technically I could have driven to the track when I got home Friday evening, though that would have meant bolt off the plane, jump in a cab, change clothes, drive to track, run from 7:30-9:30ish, & get home at ~10:00pm. Oh yeah and also do all this without eating.

    In reality, I arrived home starving & exhausted & passed out immediately.

Saturday: Rest

    Again, briefly toyed with either doing Friday's workout or a few easy miles. But since I would have had to do it in the evening AND was supposed to run 22 miles on Sunday, this didn't seem like a smart tradeoff.

Sunday: 22 long

So, no, not an ideal week, exactly, but I just keep reminding myself that it was only one run & on this same trip last year I was too injured to do any running at all. Also, I think getting the long run done counts for a lot.

Three! More! Weeks!

Three! More! Weeks!

Three! More! Weeks!


  1. Those long runs really suck, but going over 20 is such a huge confidence-booster. Sometimes you just need to remember you can do it, you know?

    1. Definitely, and that's what I have to remind myself about the fast miles at the end. They suck, but they're a HUGE confidence boost.

  2. I think lying to yourself is an important tool that every distance runner needs in their kit bag. I lie to myself nearly every time I go out the door in running shoes. I'll take it easy. I can finish early if I'm not feeling it. I'll just do the short loop. Just little white lies but they help.

  3. Awesome fast finish TWENTY-TWO miler! *Virtual high-five* Glad the tenderness went away. Is it officially taper time?

    Nice RaceRaves singlet, BTW. I'm hoping to break mine in this weekend.

    1. Ugh, I wish. One more very non-tapery week. Though, I am traveling again so we'll see how reality feels about that.

  4. Woo! Nice work on the fast finish at the end of 22(!!!!!) miles! I have a feeling you are in good shape for this one.
    I always wonder if being super-ambitious in the training plan, then inevitably falling a little short because life happens, is a better strategy than planning conservatively and then falling short and under-training.

    1. I totally agree (as long as you're not the type of person who will try to do too much when exhausted/hurt/sick/etc.). With my last two races I've planned my schedule around the maximum mileage allowed, so if I fall a little short it's no big deal, and it's worked out pretty well.

  5. Antony Gordon fills his pitches for money and for delay of repayment with inspirational messages from Torah, including the admonition it is not permitted to pressure people for repayment. He told some creditors he would make a big push within his religious community to borrow money before Rosh Hashanah, but apparently he did not have much success.