April 6, 2014

SLO Week -3 (Baby Steps)

On the running front, I managed to string together another decent week and I dropped a pound or so.  Both of these are baby steps (but in the right direction). My goals for each week continue to be simple:

1. Get in at least one good core strength and stretching day (either yoga or calisthenics/weight lifting/stretching in a gym).

2. Get in 3 substantive running workouts, ideally one speed, one strength, and one endurance.

3. Fit in as much mileage as I can, even if it's walking.  (This week's total:  36.49 miles)

This week, I hit all 3 (I'm counting a 10K with a 1.5 mile jogging warm-up as a mixed strength and endurance day), so I'm a happy kid.

Monday, E was sick, so we canceled our hotel up in SF and I made myself go to the gym and do an hour of cross-training.  10 minutes on the elliptical to warm-up.  Then a myriad of weights and calisthenics and stretching.

I am *always* so sore after my core/cross-training days.  Lately, I've been inspired by bloggers who are rehabbing from injuries as well as running magazines and I've been adding more glute-focused work as well as specifically recommended running-focused strength work.  It is clear that my muscle memory and brain think I am actually much stronger than my body actually is.  Every week, I do what I think should be a reasonable yoga and/or strength workout and the next day my muscles scream at me and I realize it was less reasonable than I thought.

I'm not complaining, it's just interesting.  I definitely don't have this issue with running.  I never go out for what I think is a reasonable speed workout, for example, and find out the next day that it was actually hard.  I *know* when my running workouts are hard while I'm doing them.  With weight-bearing strength though, not so much... And this, my friends, is why I am one of the few women in the world who can accidentally build too much muscle.

Turns out, despite the fears of most women, it's non-trivially difficult for most women (and men) to build too much bulk as a result of lifting weights and/or doing explosive dynamic loading.  Thanks to genetics, this is not completely true for me... and yet, I still lift and risk it.  Why?  Well, I am fairly certain that one of the main reasons I am rarely injured (despite consistently maintaining an average of 20-50 miles per week for almost 10 years and weight that has fluctuated more than 30 lbs up and down during that time) is that I am functionally strong.  In addition to strength genes, I believe I have a combination of a childhood of athletics and college athletics to thank for this.  But, now that I'm entering middle age, I just want to preserve and maintain as much of that strength in as intelligent of a manner as possible.

My substantive workouts were straightforward.

Track Day for Speed:   1.3 miles w/u jog, strides, and drills.  3.12 miles total intervals plus recovery (200, 2X400; 2X800; 2X400; 200) Paces:  6:44; 7:41; 7:37; 7:59; 8:04; 7:45; 7:49; 6:43  (It's so gratifying to watch my speed paces drop as the weeks go by...)

As I mentioned, I cheated and combined by strength and endurance workouts this week because I wanted to run in a local 10K to get a fitness check.  I jogged about 15 minutes to the start at an easy pace and stood in line for a very long time to register (partially killing my warm-up, but what are you going to do?) -- next time I'll definitely do the online registration and show up earlier!

My goal was to try to hit 9ish minute miles and to see if I could sustain it for the whole race.  Unfortunately, I wasn't quite in shape enough to pull it off, and I did the dreaded positive split, but I knew that was a possibility going in.  I pushed myself for a great hour-ish long sustained effort and it definitely helped me figure out where I am in my fitness (in hindsight, I should have gone out at 9:10 and tried to sustain and push it in the last mile... oh well...).


1:  8:47
2:  8:54
3:  9:01
4:  9:23
5:  9:30 (5 second walk through the water break)
0.97: 9:17/mile pace

As you can see, the race was quite short for a 10K.   But, I wasn't complaining.  I was *done* when I hit the finish line.  I was thrilled to see 54:33 on the clock, but I knew I hadn't run anything close to the 8:48 pace that time would have required.

After the race, I met up with  Angela. We headed out for a hearty post-race breakfast and we chatted and became fast real-world friends to supplement our bloggy friendship.  She'd had quite an impressive performance in the 5K, so we headed back for the awards ceremony, where she picked up 2nd in her age group.  This race was actually much larger and faster than I expected.  The overall men's winner for the 5K ran a 16:XX and there were many folks in the 18s to the low 20s including several very impressive older masters and younger kids.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the event and I think I may try to make it a regular on my calendar -- it's hard to argue with a race you can jog to as a warm up from your front door.  Plus, three other folks from Silicon Valley Striders ran, and it's always fun to see folks you know at a race.

Finally, I got to do my shake-out easy day today with E and 2 other friends.  I ran 1.5ish miles to the trailhead, met them all there, we all did 0.5 miles medium with 0.25 walking intervals until we hit 3+; and then I ran home and we all went out for brunch.  This was a very pleasant and fun way to get in more than 6 miles on a recovery day.  Left to my own devices, I probably would have called it at 4 miles.  Yet another reason to be thankful for local friends!

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