Friends, I love running fast. Over the last couple of years I've also learned to love leisurely long runs and chunks of slow, easy base training, but letting loose for some heart-pounding intervals on the track or a comfortably-hard-but-not-TOO-hard tempo run is still my favorite part of training for a goal race. In fact, this is how I knew I needed a break back in February/March--when I'd see those workouts on my plan and feel dread, and wiping the training schedule clean felt like such a relief. And that's how I've known I'm ready to get back to work--starting to feel a bit bored with slow, easy jogging, and excited about scary-sounding paces.
Don't get me wrong, though; those first few post-base training workouts are never easy, and this week was no exception.
It was a short one since we didn't get back from Hawai'i until early Wednesday morning. Like most runners, at this point I know what all my funny little biomechanical things are, all the places that are injury prone if I don't tend to them with stretching and rolling and strength work (and let's be honest, I really have not been as of late). For some reason I still have this idea in my head that if I take a few days off or take a break from running due to vacation or recovery from a big race or whatever, all those things will heal up and I'll feel fresh and healthy and ready to run when I go back to it.
Except it's completely not true. Almost without exception, my cranky feet and gimpy right hip and curmudgeonly SI joints ALWAYS feel worse after a vacation or a week of post-race rest. It's actually getting back into running (and weirdly, running longer or faster or both) that settles them down (as long as I'm doing the work to take care of them).
So, it probably should not have been a surprise to me that after a week+ of not running and then six hours on a plane, my entire body hurt, and kept hurting, to the point that when I finally laced up on Thursday for a few easy miles, I was nervous and not at all certain that this run would last more than a couple of miles. (It did, but it took my feet and hip about 1.5 miles of threatening to implode before all the muscles kind of went, "Uggghhh, FINE" and loosened up a bit.)
I have been super slacking on the strength work during my little base training interlude these past few months, so I dragged myself to the gym Friday morning for my first post-vacation strength workout. I promised my body I wouldn't overdo it but knew I really needed to at least get back into the habit of doing *something* 2-3 times per week. I didn't overdo it, but I probably did just about as much as I could have without overdoing it (10 sets of deadlifts, 4 sets of weighted lunches, clamshells, a hundred-some-odd crunches, and some arm stuff). The legs were like, "Seriously why," and continued being not happy for the rest of the day.
Which was AWESOME because Fridays are tempo/threshold days!
Friday's assignment was a 2 mile easy warm up, 3 x 2 miles @ HM pace w/ 2:00 jog recoveries, and a 2 mile easy cool down. Usually these are my favorite sorts of workouts, and when I get into the swing of training, it's really no big deal to do strength work in the morning & then 10-15 miles of tempo/threshold in the afternoon. Except I am definitely definitely not into the swing of training yet, and was also still kind of sleep deprived, and sure enough, I could tell as soon as I started my warm-up that this one was going to be rough. 10:30-11:00 pace felt like work, so internally I was sort of cracking up at the absurdity of ratcheting down to 7:30-7:35. Then again, that's happened plenty of times before and I've almost always managed to get through it somehow, so I stuck to the cardinal rule of "If you can't do it, you can't do it, but you have to PROVE you can't do it."
And WOW. Definitely the hardest workout in recent memory. Like I can't even remember a CIM training run that felt this hard. In addition to my having base trained only for 2 months, being underslept, and running on unhappy post-strength work legs, it was warm and windy and the first interval was uphill, and the 7:46 in which I ran the first mile felt like the absolute fastest I was capable of cranking out. With the exception of that first uphill-and-into the wind section, I did manage to hit the pace but felt like I was working WAY harder than the workout intended. The cool-down was miserable and other than showering and eating dinner, I pretty much did not move from the couch for the rest of the evening and then proceeded to sleep for 12 (much-needed) hours.
Needless to say, my Saturday plan changed a bit:
Plan A:13-14 mile long run, since Saturday will be logistically easier than Sunday this week. Plan B:Short easy recovery run since threshold intervals are going to suck so much.
- Plan C: Screw it, recover, recover, recover.
I just found out recently that it's apparently super trendy to brag about your really stupid-ass training/racing decisions on social media, to the point that there's now a COUNTER-trend of social media-runner-people getting really hand-wringy & castigating others about it. I really wasn't aware of any of these trends until now, but I did recently discover the @restdaybrags Instagram account, which I can 100% get behind. #MakingRestGreatAgain
(Story time: Because I am old and not that hip, I also only recently learned of the phrase/concept of doing something "for the Insta," usually something really dumb or dangerous or otherwise ill-advised in order to get lots of likes, since apparently we are all still in high school and doing really stupid shit for the approval of our peers/strangers on the internet is still a thing. I was explaining this concept to Don on our vacation &, despite not even having an Instagram account, he's now taken to using the phrase "for the Insta," completely straight-faced, any time he wants to take a kind of cheesy picture of one or both of us. I don't know why but it cracks me right the hell up.)
"Hold on, I have to take a selfie for the Insta. Am I millennial-ing right?"
PRIDEMEET 5K WEEK 1:
Grand Total: 32.4 miles + 1 hours strength & 1.5 hours karate (& 2 hours snorkeling if we're counting that). A short week but pretty decent for having been on vacation for half of it if I do say so myself.
* 12 easy
* 6.4 tempo/threshold
* 14 long
Monday 5/15: Vacation
Tuesday 5/16: Vacation
Wednesday 5/17: Karate
- Our plane landed in Oakland at 12:30am Wednesday morning & we didn't get to bed until around 2:30am, so Wednesday pretty much sucked. I slept until 10am & then worked from home & called it good. At one point I thought about getting in a short easy run between work and karate, but I was still a) so behind with work and b) so freaking exhausted that it didn't really make a lot of sense. We wouldn't even have gone to karate had we not had to teach.
Thursday 5/18: 8 easy
- Still not feeling great. This 8 mile "easy" run was a lot harder (and slower) than usual, and way more things felt sore and unhappy than seemed reasonable to me. I had been kind of excited about my first threshold run in two months the next day, but after this I was feeling a bit nervous.
Friday 5/19: a.m. strength / 2 warm up, 3 x 2 miles @ HM pace / 2:00 jog, 2 cool down = 10.4 total.
- See above.
Saturday 5/20: #MakeRestGreatAgain
- Spent most of it cleaning & shopping. No regrets.
Sunday 5/21: 14 long through the raging dumpster fire that is the aftermath of Bay 2 Breakers
- There are things I will never understand in life, like doing really dumb shit "for the Insta," why we have to set the city on fire every time one of our sportsball teams wins some kind of championship, and why we must trash the Panhandle every damn year during Bay 2 Breakers. It's so gross. Freaking put your shit in a trash can, or take it home with you. Also extra special kudos to the drunk girl who dropped an entire six pack on my foot and everyone who yelled, "THE RACE WAS THIS MORNING!!"
I guess that's enough curmudgeonly bitching for one week. Next week we start cranking the mileage up & do some 200m's on the track! Hell yeah 5K training!