Monday, April 18, 2016

EUGENE WEEKS 14 & 15 of 17: Stuff that is happening recently...

Apologies for lack of frequent or in-depth blogging. I literally started this blog post two weeks ago and this is all I've had time to do with it. Enjoy!!


  • Work is kicking my ass. I've been traveling all over California this month (literally two days in my actual office) & with all that has come some trade-offs. Getting to the gym is hard. So is getting enough sleep. More and more things are getting filed under "Ain't nobody got time for that;" see, for example, "eating food not prepared by someone else" and "traveling to brick & mortar places of business." One day I accidentally filed under that heading "Put gas in car" and learned that apparently I can get down to zero bars on the gas gauge & still drive over a mile. Good times! :D

  • I have felt like serious, serious crap lately. Like, I'd be tempted to chock it up to peak marathon training but I can't remember ever training for *anything* and feeling this bad. (Sleeping 10+ hours on the weekend & still feeling like you could knock me over with a feather, feeling low blood sugar even when I know that's not possible, etc.) People have suggested everything from "Could you be low iron?" to "Do your thyroid methods need adjusting?" to "Any chance you're in the family way?" The last one I can 100% refute (phew!), but I am going in for a blood draw this week just to check on the other stuff. Also I've been eating a lot of burgers lately, y'know, just in case.

  • My foot hurts. In the last few weeks my vague-and-largely-undefined heel pain has sort of resolved into something more focused & kind of plantar fasciitis-ey. In any case it's been making my life pretty annoying lately & more than once I've skipped or cut a run short because the pain was that bad. I think I may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, thankfully, but it's involved a LOT of ice & KT tape & wearing basically nothing besides Hoka Cliftons when I'm not running. I have an appt with the foot doc on the calendar, but around here that means close to a month of waiting, so we'll see what kind of shape my foot is in after Eugene.


Ugh. This week came in 17.5 miles short thanks to foot drama. :P I felt bad about it for a while but eventually figured it was basically like I'd been sick that week, and while week 14 of 17 is maybe not the best week to be sick logistically, it's pretty much out of your control so all you can really do is accept it & move on.

Grand Total: 27.5 total miles

    * 19.5 easy
    * 8 speed/tempo
    * 1:00:00 strength work

Monday 4/4: Get on plane/work til 7:30/2 warm up, 2 x (2 @ 7:40), 1.5 cool down on hotel treadmill = 7.5 miles.

Oh, this was the worst, worst, WORST workout in quite sometime. Not because I didn't have time to do it until 8:30pm. Not because the conference was at a luxury hotel & spa where the treadmill section of the fitness center looked out onto a gorgeous patio where people were relaxing with various wine & cocktails. But because for whatever reason that day, running a 7:40 mile felt like running a 6:30 mile. ie, I could do it once, maybe even twice, but at every point I felt like I was just one false step away from flying off the back of the treadmill & dying. Also every part of me just felt tired, so I wasn't running well form-wise, & I could feel various muscles & joints aching afterward as a result.

Tuesday 4/5: Work/fly home/collapse. I knew I wouldn't be able to run at all so it was a planned rest day.

Wednesday 4/6: a.m. strength work / p.m. 3 easy, 4 @ marathon effort, 3 easy = 10. Another day that I felt just completely awful. I was supposed to do another crazy 10-12 mile track workout but instead I came home after work and crashed. I woke up around 7 feeling better so I decided to try to get *some* running in, & since it was too late to go to the track I decided to just try to get in some double digits with a few miles at marathon effort. Weirdly, this was the first run in forever where I felt kind of-sort of normal.

Thursday 4/7: 7.5 easy. My victory was short lived. I woke up Thursday barely able to put any weight on my foot. In addition to the heel pain, I now had some really bad pain in my left big toe, almost as if it were broken. (Thanks to martial arts, I know what that feels like.) I tried to run a little on it when I got home but it just wasn't happening, so I decided to let it go & try again Friday morning for my (supposed) 20 miler.

Friday 4/8: 20 long 10 easy. We were spending the weekend wine tasting in Paso Robles, so I needed to get my 3rd & final 20 miler in early Friday morning. This run was super, SUPER annoying because I finally felt good from a general energy/alertness standpoint, but just a few miles in the pain in my left foot was so bad I was legitimately worried about doing something serious to it. I was on a ten mile loop & went back & forth about a billion times re: being hard core & pushing through the second lap vs. not being stupid & racking up another DNS, & ultimately I settled on what I hope was the smart course by leaving off at 10. (How frustrating is it when you actually feel *good* on a long run but have to quit for other reasons? All the frustrating.)

Saturday 4/9 & Sunday 4/10: Rest/drink wine/sleep a lot. Originally I'd kinda-sorta thought about doing the 7.5 easy when we got home on Sunday, but it was late, I was exhausted, and my foot still hurt, so I decided better to give it another couple of days.


This last week was tough because apparently when I was first thinking about this whole May 1 marathon thing, I completely forgot that my biggest conference of the year takes place mid-April, and that it's generally so all-consuming there is very little extra time for anything else. I've been going for three years now, but this is the first time it's actually kind of interfered with running/training. In 2014 I was just starting to run again after stress fracture #1 (though I did fit in a reasonable amount of stationary bike at the hotel), and last year I was about 6 weeks post-NVM & hadn't really started training in earnest for my next race. This was supposed to be my last big week before Eugene (insofar as I've really had *any* big weeks...), so in terms of time management (not to mention foot drama) I kind of just crossed my fingers & hoped for the best. (On the plus side, it did happen to be in Oakland & San Francisco this year, so at least I got to sleep in my own bed & run outside.)

Grand Total: 43.5 total miles

    * 15.35 easy
    * 6.3 speed
    * 4.8 tempo
    * 16 long

Monday 4/11: Conference/karate. Definitely no time to get to the gym this week.

Tuesday 4/12: 2 warm up, 10 x (1K @ 10K pace / 1:00 jog), 1.7 cool down = 11 total. Due to conference stuff I couldn't get to the track until much later than usual, but Don was out with co-workers Tuesday evening so I didn't feel bad about it.

Given how my foot had been feeling, I was not at all confident I would be able to finish this workout. On paper it's definitely one of the toughest ones I've had on my schedule & I've had easier ones I've practically dragged myself through. Basically, the plan was to do as much as I could without seriously injuring myself or falling drastically off the pace.

You guys. This may be the hardest track workout I've done in my (adult) life. The first two intervals were easy but after that they got quite hard quite quickly and I had a lot of trouble believing I would be able to get through them all. But I did! My foot was definitely getting a little bitchy towards the end and hitting the right pace towards the end was non-trivial, but I did not die, barf, or pass out, so #winning?

(Also, I think this workout is just more evidence that a lot of my trouble with faster paces/harder workouts/races these days has to do with having gotten de-sensitized to the discomfort of harder running. I really wonder if the same objective level of difficulty would have felt as hard, say, 3-4 years ago.)

Wednesday 4/13: Rest. No karate due to evening conference activities.

Thursday 4/14: 8 easy. Originally I'd planned to swap this workout with Friday's tempo run in case my foot issues flared up & nixed running on back-to-back days, but sadly I arrived home to find that I'd neglected to plug in my watch after Tuesday's track session. So, an easy 4 out, 4 back it was. I can't say it felt great, but it was a big improvement over most of my runs lately. I can tell I'm still not using my left foot very well and that's causing acheyness in all sorts of other places.

Friday 4/15: 2 warm up, 40:00 @ marathon effort, 1.65 cool down = 8.5 miles. This was the first run in a long, long while where I actually felt good during & after. Still some lingering pain in my heel and big toe, but not debilitating. I was hoping to be able to run 8:30s pretty comfortably & ended up averaging ~8:15 (AND it was hot!), so hey! Evidence that training, like, works and stuff (once it gets done feeling super shitty).

Saturday 4/16 Hit up the 1st Annual Sports Basement Basement Sale, whut whut! Obviously I don't *need* more running shoes, but they were advertising 60-95% off on lightly used & returned merchandise, & I will never pass on stocking up if there's a crazy deal to be had.

I walked out with a barely touched pair of Saucony Peregrines for $25, exciting because I still hadn't gotten around to purchasing a pair of actual trail shoes, plus as a pair of Kinvara 7s for $35. Based on early reviews that described the 7s as fairly similar to the K6s in the uppers, I'd decided there was no way I was paying anything even remotely close to full price just to try them out. But for $35 basically new, why not! (I also decided to go up a half size. Lately I've really been craving more room in the toe box so maybe that will help also.)

Sunday 4/17: 16 long. With all my foot drama, especially my aborted 20 miler last week, this run felt like a bit of a moment of truth. If it was too painful and I had to cut it short, well, I'd just have to play Eugene by ear. If it went okay, though, then maybe after a good, solid taper, I'd be ready to roll (or at least get to the finish).

And, thankfully, it did go okay. I definitely still have some not-insignificant pain on the inside of my left foot and I'm definitely still not using it super well all the time which sometimes leads to other aches and pains , but it was never so bad that I found myself needing to adjust my gait or consider tapping out early.

It was mid-to-high 70s in SF and full sun, so I knew from the outset that this would not be a fast nor super pleasant run. Multiple sections of it were also significantly uphill and into the wind. But still, I found myself running a faster-than-usual pace for most miles without trying, and that's pretty encouraging after a month of feeling like poo.

Last long run up to Land's End trail until fall!

Did I mention how it never gets old? It never gets old.

One of many hell-of steep hills.

I suppose I'm officially tapering now -- 36 miles this next week including a 12 mile "long" run, and then it's race week and we're off to Oregon and to be honest I may be so busy eating & drinking that week I may or may not get any running done at all. #lettaperhappen


  1. Totally agree with the decision to go in for blood work. That's just not normal! Hopefully it's just something like, "Oh, you have no iron or vitamin D at all, oops" and you can feel better soon. Meanwhile - good luck with your foot. You deserve a good marathon after your recent injuries and I hope this is the one!

  2. I have done that with the car. I, uh, have also had to wait on the side of Highway 5 for some guy to bring me gas. So. File that under 'things that it's worth the time to do the first time.'

    Also, and this isn't exactly helpful, but sometimes you just feel like shit, right? And you need to not worry too much about it, like it's not a mystery -- you're busy, really busy, you're tired, of course you feel like shit. Get through it and if you can get through it then it was what it is. (Of course, the problem is that sometimes feeling like shit IS a mystery and you can't get through it. I always feel like the not knowing is the hardest part of those things.)

  3. I read about how much stuff you squeeze into your life and can't help but think "of course you feel like rubbish!" A challenging job, marathon training, karate and a social life? Something's got to give! Hopefully you feel better after your taper!

  4. Fingers crossed that the blood work shows something conclusive and/or that you miraculously rebound during taper. Either way, hope the foot thing stays at bay. Also - 10 x 1000 m is seriously insane/beast mode!

  5. Eep, definitely go in for the blood work. And fingers crossed for a good taper. (GO AWAY, FOOT DRAMA! Remember - taper pains are mostly in your head...) I'd say you've probably done enough heavy lifting (ha ha) in the gym department to have a good strength base. Good luck May 1!!!

  6. Hope you are feeling better and more rested!