February 10, 2013

LA Marathon Week -5

Time is FLYING!  6 weeks into 2013 already.  3/6 weekends at home, which is on track for my new year's resolution to spend at least 26 weekends at home this year.

Here I am 5 weeks 'til the LA Marathon and I really don't recall much of what happened since last week's summary.

Let's see, what sticks in my head from this speedy week:

1. The Superbowl, with *many* more hyper-sexualized ads than I remember from the last time I watched it (at least 10 years ago).  We went to a party.  We had stereotypical American fun.

2. A reasonable week of running, more below.

3. As is my usual refrain, more work than I'd like, but that's better than the alternative.

4. Friday night, we went to the o'S family's new home and enjoyed a dinner party with the L's.  I like showing up and weighing in with a little help here and there while we hang out with our friends and their kids.  It makes me feel like I'm part of the important cycle of life without having to do the heavy lifting.  Also, who knew you could inflate a bouncy-house indoors to entertain the children? Irish uncle for the win!

5. Saturday night, we joined a party of 10 for a Chinese New Year's banquet at a local restaurant.  I was thrilled when my Mandarin was sufficient to help me understand the questions being asked of the Chinese family about their son's "Zhong(1)wen(3) Ming(2)zi" and various other polite interchanges.  Time to return to lessons!

As for running, this week's training schedule was aggressive, but, happily, somewhat doable.  Monday, I finally returned to my local Bikram studio after an absence since 12/14 (technically, the last Bikram class I'd taken was on 12/24 in Atlanta).

Yup.  Bikram is still hard for me.  After this much time off, I confirmed that I have a love-hate relationship with it.  It loosens all the parts that running makes tight.  I love how great I feel afterwards and how well I sleep the nights I do it.  I hate (HATE HATE) the struggle against the heat the last 45 minutes of class.  But, I stayed in the room.  I won.  Success. (Barely.) 

Tuesday was an easy recovery run, and Wednesday's easy run was 52 minutes on the treadmill at a pace of 10 min/mile or faster (I allowed myself to choose anything in that range) for an average pace of 9:35/mile (with a quick bathroom break at minute 26).

Thursday, I had tempo intervals on the schedule.  Frankly, I was a bit suspicious they were entirely too ambitions.  15 minutes w/u, 2 X 2 miles @ tempo with 3 minutes recovery and 15 minutes c/d was the minimum I could get away with if I was to meet the training schedule's goals.  I met with my TNT group running friend after my warm-up and given the pace of the group, decided to bail on the tempo.  But then, the group decided to bail on us.  So, she and I did one 2 mile segment with mile 1 @ 8:36 into the wind and mile 2 @ 8:39 with our backs to the wind.  Weird. The assigned tempo was actually achieveable.  In fact, it felt like I might have been able to do the second one if I hadn't already wasted too much distance with the group at an easier pace.  Oh well.  Distance-wise, I did the whole 7 miles, and the easier miles (including the w/u and c/d) were all sub 10.  Overall, despite being very far from what was prescribed, this ended up being a great work-out that very much helped my confidence.

Friday -- Off.  Work. Work. Work.  I had a bike to lunch with a friend plan.  It was sacrificed for work -- I drove.  I also had a bike to dinner plan.  It was also sacrificed for work and E picked me up.  C'est la vie.

Saturday, 41.57 minute recovery run @ 10:30 (4.0 miles on the dot).  Easy and fun.  First 2.0 with E.  Last 2, slightly slower, by myself, with an audiobook.  Additional 0.7 walk home with audiobook entertaining me -- if I was worried about time, I could have picked a shorter route.  But I wasn't.

And today, Sunday?  The Doozy.  The schedule called for 18 - 22 miles Long Run.  I set my sights on 20 as a reasonable, but ambitious goal.

H and I met at Bayfront Park and set out for 16 out and back across the Dumbarton Bridge.  This time of year, this run is amazing.  You would think that the Dumbarton Bridge would be busy and full of traffic and stressful, but it's actually quite a peaceful run.  Yes, there are two miles on the bridge with traffic (in each direction) where you are separated by a waist-high concrete barrier and you have to deal with other pedestrians and bikers (of which there are very few), but the rest is on frontage roads or trails.

We left the park at 8:15 AM or so and encountered runners only on the surface trails in Menlo Park.  Once we headed to the actual bridge, we only saw a few slow mountain bikers and no runners for the entire time - none on the trails leading to the bridge, none on the bridge, and none on the Fremont side of the bridge until we reached  Coyote Hills Park.

The golden hills of California are gorgeously green during this brief period of spring. The AM temperatures start at 32F and raise to 60+ in the clear sun by 1 PM.  The bay is a calm mirror in any direction you look and the wind is non-existent.  I hadn't done this run since E's birthday weekend in 2007 just before my CIM PR.  Overall, I was thrilled to enjoy such a beautiful bad-ass run with H.  If possible, it was better this time -- slower, no doubt, as I'm older.  But the weather was better, the views were better, and I had company.  Life is good.

We slowed for miles 14-16 at H's request, 'til she was done, hips tight (mine too!).

So, I had the last few miles on my own.  I turned on my audiobook and just tried to relax.  I continued to slow.  And, finally, close to my car, I realized, I'd hit a 12:15/mile pace at mile 19.5.  No need to struggle through the last 0.5 miles at that pace.  I wasn't going to receive any benefit.  I called it a day and headed home for a shower and late lunch of mediterranean food.

Average pace for the 19.5 mile long run: 10:56.  I'm actually quite pleased.  There are no walk breaks built into this trail and we didn't take any.  Very few stop lights and quite a bit of climbing over the bridges and at the parks on either end (if you are willing to go up to their summits).

Overall, I feel great about this week.  Total mileage: 40.49.



Anonymous said...

Impressive week! Sounds like everything is lining up well for L.A.
Oh, and Happy Year of the Snake! 恭喜發財 (Gong Xi Fa Cai)

Biting Tongue said...

Xie Xie! Yes, I'm hopeful LA will be a great experience.