April 20, 2014

Last Week Before SLO Taper

This week was an interesting one.  Total Mileage: 25.2 -- if I was trying to taper, I'd be stoked.  But I wasn't, so that's not so great.

I did hit my 3 goal running workouts, managed to get in some solid core and stretching, and I ate well and lost another pound.  So, overall, I'm very happy with the week (even though it was much lower mileage than I would have preferred).

But there was also quite a bit of random stuff to contend with, and frankly, I'm not quite sure what to expect next week at the SLO half marathon.

Strength:  Monday was awesome.  After the easy long run with Jen on Sunday, I headed out for 3 in the early evening at a medium effort and easily hit 9:36/mile without feeling like it was horridly difficult.  I felt that I could have done the loop at least a minute faster for sure, which was a great feeling.  

Random thing #1 -- the speed workout from Silicon Valley Striders this week was insane, *and* I forgot my Garmin.  There were only 3 of us.  Me, the coach (who's faster than me at any distance longer than a 100), and N (who I regularly use as a pacer to pull me through the track intervals as I draft at paces I otherwise couldn't hit).  The workout was a ladder of insanity, starting with all-out sprinting, and extending into the territory of an 800 and back down, all with minimal recovery.  I did my best to hang, but after the first 400, it became very apparent that I'd need to either modify the distances, stop trying to keep up with them on pacing for the longer stuff, or increase my recovery interval.  I opted for #1, so my modified workout was as follows:

50m (:30s rest) -- ALL OUT. 
100m (:30s rest) -- ALL OUT.
200m (:60s rest) -- 90%+
400m (2:00 rest) -- 1:55; 200 walk
600m (200 walk; 3:00 rest; or jog lap recovery) -- modified to 400 @ 1:54; 400 jog;
800m (3:00 passive rest or jog lap recovery) -- modified to 400 @ 1:58; 400 jog;
600m (200 walk; 3:00 rest; or jog lap recovery) -- modified to 400 @ 1:58; 400 jog;
400m (2:00 rest) -- I was asked to pace the group as they were dragging.  No watch, so I hit the 400 @ 1:51 (too fast, but felt great); walking 2:00 rest
200m (:60s rest) -- 90%+
100m (:30s rest) -- ALL OUT.
50m (:30s rest) -- ALL OUT.

The truth is, I hadn't run that fast or that hard for that many minutes in a single workout in a long time, regardless of the recovery.  The sprints recruited muscles in my butt, hamstrings, core, and more that hadn't felt the need to engage in runs in a long time.  I was shaky and sore immediately and for several days afterwards.

Core (AKA Random Thing #2): The next day, I hit up a Power Yoga class for 75 minutes of heated hard core strength and stretching.  When was the last time I'd done this, you ask?  Oh, probably at least 2-3 years ago.  Totally a good idea to do something this strenuous for the first time in years 10 days before your next race, right?  My legs were simultaneously thankful and shaky and mad.  The next day, all my core and arm muscles that have been neglected let me know that they were disappointed in me too...

Easy (AKA Random Thing #3): Friday and Saturday's easy runs were at paces that surprised me (and not in a good way), but I tried to chalk it up the combination of the ridiculous speed workout and the unexpected taxation of the yoga class that involved an inordinate amount of lunges, single leg balances, etc.

Long Run: Last night, I ate light, went to bed early, hydrated, and looked forward to today's long run with F and Jen.  We had 9 miles at Sawyer Camp Trail, and I felt strong.  I hung with them on the 4.5 mile climb at their selected paces ranging from 10:18-10:37/mile.  At the 4.5 mile turn-around, I asked to walk to take my Gu, but I could already start to feel my error. I had pushed it too hard.  The 4.5 miles back down were a big struggle for me (and downhills are usually my strength!).  I positive splitted by a long shot and finished running 8.86 miles at an average pace of 11:07 before I walked a bit to close it off.  Am I disappointed?  Not really.  It's still a better pace than I've hit on any of my other long runs (sadly), and the climbing definitely gets some credit (roughly 150 ft of climbing and the return on the way back), as does the consistent time on my feet with only one walk break.  If nothing else, this run reminded me *not* to go out too hard at SLO.

And there you have it.  The running week in an eggshell (in honor of the dyed-purple egg I ate at an Easter Brunch today).  I hope you had a great Easter/Passover/Gorgeous Weekend.


Jen said...

My feeling is that the speed work and power yoga took a toll on you, as you started out the week with a really strong run (after a tough long run, I might add!). One of my worst runs ever was after a strenuous yoga class, so I can speak to that. Also, it was pretty warm today -- I slowed down a lot on the way back as well.

Take care of yourself this week and get some rest -- I think you'll be in great shape for SLO!

Biting Tongue said...

@Jen -- thanks! I think you're in great shape for Big Sur. Excited to hear all about it.