Monday, November 21, 2016

CIM WEEK 16 of 18: Opioids, speed work, & a soggy weekend.

The upside of shorter days is catching these gorgeous sunsets at the track.

Oof. Taper is here, & not a moment too soon. I'm super excited to have made it through my last big(ish) week of training injury-free, but I can tell the miles are beginning to pile up & take a toll on my body. My feet & lower legs ache constantly, & my hip/glute/hamstring muscles are reaching that point where my brain says "Let's go!!" but the muscles are like, "Sorry, Chief, that's all we've got." Cumulative fatigue: It's a thing!

Luckily, we'll be spending most of the week at Don's parents place sleeping in & lounging around by the fire & generally being super lazy.

No shame.

* * *

Grand Total: 51 miles

    * 19.6 easy
    * 6.9 speed
    * 7.5 race pace
    * 17 long

Monday 11/14: Rest / massage.

    Towards the end of last week I found myself dealing with a very sudden, extremely painful something-or-rather in the muscles on the right side of my neck and back. Like, maybe 6-7 out of 10 on the pain scale, just sitting & doing nothing. I had to work from home on Friday because I couldn't turn my head enough to drive safely. Even riding in a car was quite painful due to accelerating/decelerating/turning. (Weirder still: Running didn't bother it. In fact it actually didn't really hurt while I was running unless I stepped funny & made some sort of jarring motion.)

    On Monday morning I made an appointment at a reasonably good massage place here in SF for that afternoon & spent an hour having a young lady grind the crap out of my neck, back, & shoulder. She was like, "Yeah, this is kind of a mess" but had no idea why it would have come on so badly so suddenly.

Tuesday 11/15: 2 warm-up, 10 x 1K / 1:00 jog, 2.6 cool down = 6.9 speed / 11.5 total.

    Oh ho ho, folks. If you've never done a track workout on Vicodin, it is an experience.

    On Tuesday morning, the neck/back situation was worse. A lot worse. (Most likely from the massage work, I think.) Now, I don't want to brag, but I have kind of a high pain tolerance. I mean. I've never given birth or lost a limb or anything, but I basically don't take pain medication, ever. In the past when I've had minor surgical procedures and been told "Here's some Vicodin, you'll probably be in a good bit of pain for a few days," I've always been like, "Well I guess I can *sort of* feel something there" & never taken anything, not even an Advil. (Which means I have a nice little store of pain pills sitting by untouched.)

    Which is all to clarify that when I say the pain was so bad I couldn't sleep or work, I mean it was really bad. I gritted my teeth through an early-morning conference call & then hunted out the Vicodin & swallowed a pill. When I felt nothing after an hour, I took a second one, & tried to get on with work. When I didn't feel anything after a couple more hours I was kind of annoyed but did not want to exceed the dosage on the bottle. Then somewhere around hour four, I found myself getting a little dizzy & starting to have trouble concentrating on my work & getting a little nauseous. Also--WOOHOO!--no more pain in the neck.

    Alas, this kind of amounted to trading one focus problem for another. Modern medicine, you disappoint me. I spent about two hours accomplishing very little & then apparently passed out on the couch. When I woke, it was time to go to the track.

    At first I felt pretty normal, which was good since going to the track required driving. Once I got out there, though, it was clear that NOPE! Definitely was not in anyway back to normal! During the intervals? Fine. No problem. During the recoveries? Desperately trying not to weave into the railings or other runners or throw up. Thankfully it all seemed to have worked its way out of my system by the time I finished & needed to drive home.

    Even without opioids, doing speed workouts this cycle has gotten kind of weird. Like even just a couple of months ago I feel like this would have struck me as a formidable, super intimidating workout so it's weird that my reaction now is, "Oh cool, just 10 x 1K." Honestly it felt more like a nice, brisk shakeout after Sunday's 22 & Monday's day off. (I GET THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL AND NO I CANNOT EXPLAIN IT.)

Wednesday 11/16: Rest

Thursday 11/17: 8 easy

    OMG everything about this run. It sounds paradoxical but somehow in spite of the fact that my legs felt heavy and tired, I still felt as if I were running lighter and stronger than ever. Sure enough, efficiency-wise, this run just barely nudged out Nov. 2 as the best I've ever recorded. If I could just please please feel like this on race day.

Friday 11/18: 2 warm-up, 60:00 @ marathon pace, 2 cool down = 7.5 race pace / 11.5 total.

    Just like last week, I felt terrible on Friday, muscle/energy wise. Everything felt sore & tender & my shoes seemed to be made of lead. After Thursday's fabulous run I'd been telling myself, "Just wait & see, it'll really surprise you how easy those 8:10s-8:15s feel!" Alas, my first 10:45 warm-up mile begged to differ. I honestly had no idea how I was going to magically rustle up an hour's worth of low 8's, certainly not without running way too hard for a marathon pace workout.

    The first pace mile was uphill and into the wind and it just took me foreeeeevvveeeerrr to get up to pace. I think it was actually 8:21 but I felt okay about that given the uphill/into wind situation. For the rest of the miles I kept thinking, "Ugh, I am so tired, I *can't* do this..." And then I would see like an 8:07 mile tick off on my watch. In the end I managed 7.5 miles at 8:09 average pace at what felt like an appropriate effort. I felt terrible, but got the workout done & mentally tried to file that one under "Workouts to remember at mile 22." Race pace miles don't have to feel good at that point; you just have to be able to churn out one more, and one more, and one more.

Saturday 11/19: 3 easy

    Just an easy shakeout. Which Sucked. So. Hard. In fact this might have been the hardest 3 mile "easy" run I've ever done.

    On the plus side, we went to see Cirque du Soleil!

Sunday 11/20: 17 long

    On Sunday I ran the Berkeley Half Marathon with Jen, plus four easy miles before the race. This run was supposed to be a fast finish so I thought an actual race might be a little more amenable to that than just running my usual route; BHM is practically in my backyard & not that expensive, so I figured what the heck.

    OMG. I felt so, so, awful from the very first steps. It was just one of those runs where you get one mile in and then kind of want to cry at the thought of running double digits more. Given how terrible I felt & that I was only 2 weeks out from race day (GAH!), I thought it was probably smarter to just run at whatever pace I could manage & get it done. If it had just been a matter of general fatigue, I probably would have given it a shot because the whole point is to try running fast when you're tired. But since a lot of this felt more like particular beat up muscles in places where I've tended to get injured in the past, I wasn't so sure. Better just to get to the starting line in one piece.

    I ended up running with Jen and her friend K, which definitely made the miles roll by a little more quickly than they would have otherwise (even once it started pouring rain). Though I was super happy to be done, it was nice to see that I actually felt okay afterward and not trashed & exhausted like I half expected, so I suppose that's the endurance piece.

    In the Berkeley High School gym afterwards, feeling like a drowned rat.

    (Race report here.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some tapering to do.

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18 - It's On

CIM 2016 Week 2 of 18 - Escape From NY (Barely)

CIM 2016 Week 3 of 18 - A Discount Code to Share (+ back on Strava!)

CIM 2016 Week 4 of 18 - 18/day, 47.5/week, 205.5/month.

CIM 2016 Week 5 of 18 - That cutback feeling

CIM 2016 Week 6 of 18 - french toast, trail shoes, & a little race fatigue

CIM 2016 Week 7 of 18 - Big week & feelin' fine!

CIM 2016 Week 8 of 18 - Knee Troubles :(

CIM 2016 Week 9 of 18 - Improvement on the knee front!

CIM 2016 Week 10 of 18 - Train kept a-rollin' (+ free shoes!)

CIM 2016 Week 11 of 18 - Texas Half Marathon #1 (+ my sister's wedding!)

CIM 2016 Week 12 of 18 - Race Week Cutback, blah dee blah dee blah...

CIM 2016 Week 13 of 18 - One More Block....

CIM 2016 Week 14 of 18 - Fun mileage facts & some HR wonkiness.

CIM 2016 Week 15 of 18 - Hang in there.


  1. Happy taper time! Yikes, what a week. Sounds like a pinched nerve maybe? I've had sudden sharp pain just overcome me abruptly like that, and it was probably a pinched nerve - a good massage therapist, PT or chiropractor might know what was going on.

  2. This one time I took a Vicodin - ONE - and slept for 24 hours. Never again! I pretty much don't take medicine because it's all toxic poison (I mean, it's true...) but for the world's worst cramps I'll sacrifice my renal, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems and take an ibuprofen.
    So nice to have made it to taper time healthy - and excited to see how well you race this one.

  3. Taper!!! I was so tempted to take a photo of all of the runners in various states of undress in the Berkeley High gym, but I opted not too. I thought it was a bit surreal though. Great job pushing through and running smart this week. I hope the pains go away with some rest!