Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tired Legs Aren’t So Bad

If Monday’s cycling didn’t tire out my legs, Tuesday afternoon’s 50-minute power vinyasa yoga stop had them pooped. Because showed 4-7 p.m. as the only bright spots of the day (I saw sunshine!), I had planned to run my assign 7-mile workout right after work. But my body just wasn’t having it. I was hungry and fatigued.

Once I started making dinner, I was trying to rearrange my Wednesday schedule to fit in my 7 miles. And once I ate my salmon Florentine roulette with capellini dinner and then took a nap, I thought the night was lost. It turns out, however, it was just a power nap.

By 8 p.m. the sun was gone and the darkening sky and gloom were back. I strapped on my shoes, popped a strawberry Shot Blok and went on my way. The night’s workout included:
  • 3 miles warm up at 9:00/mile
  • 2 x (2:00, 2:30) aerobic intervals (AI)
  • 2 miles wrap up and warm down (8:40/mile, 9:00/mile)

I started running with way too much food in my stomach—let’s just say that I made too much capellini and I was happy to eat the leftovers—but the heaviness subsided after the first mile. In fact, I was surprised at how much kick I had for that warm-up… I thought it was going to be the week’s biggest struggle.

What made it even easier was that at around 2.75 miles there was a tall, dark and handsome guy standing at the end of one of the parking lots I jog around. He was wearing his running shorts and his New Balances, and he was waiting to hand me my imaginary water. It was Neil!

He knew how hard I had to push to get myself out the door (especially at night), so he joined me for the last quarter mile of my warm-up, which we ran at a steady and healthy pace, and the first AI. Even as we passed the drive to our apartment, he kept going with me. We ran a strong 2:00 AI and then jogged to recovery.

I didn’t think it was healthy for him to do too many higher-intensity runs, so after our recovery I suggested he jog it home as I took off for the 2:30. He must have covered at least a mile at a great pace, and I’m very proud of him. You go, Neil!

And I was kind of wishing I was taking the jog home with him as I hit :40 of the 2:30! These aerobic intervals are absolute killers—and that’s why I love them. I’m not running these sets too hard (as my instructions say, it’s a tempo “somewhere between comfortable and ‘Hey, I'm workin' a little here.’”), but I am beginning to feel their effects on my normal pace.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the AIs reinforce in my spatial memory what it feels like to stretch my legs, lift my knees and kick my feet back. It’s a nice change of pace from my tendency to slump into a lethargic jaunt for greater distances. And I remember the good stride when I start to slump. Plus, with the higher intensity bits, my 8:40-9:00/mile runs feel like cake. And I like cake.

The only uncakey thing about the last two miles was how dark it was getting. I’m not generally afraid of the dark (unless, of course, it’s in a cold, damp basement… but we’re all afraid of cold, damp and dark basements, right?), but my neighborhood isn’t particularly well lit. At all. I pushed to get the last two miles done and get myself off the streets. Where did summer nights go? I suppose I’ll have to start running earlier.

One of the dumbest things to do while pushing through the warm-up/don’t-want-to-do-this part of a workout: think about training you have planned for subsequent days. What was I doing, for example, thinking about my Wednesday morning swim when I started feeling heavy, tired and stitchy during the first mile of my warm-up? Being an idiot.

I thought at that point that there was no way I would wake up at 5:25 a.m. to get a lane, and, if I did, I would have to make it a short workout. But it wasn’t. I woke up just fine (a couple minutes earlier so I could get up, eat, dress and drive to the rec. center in time to be part of that group of people waiting in line get in right at 6 a.m. sharp) and swam my 4,500-yard/~2.5-mile workout:

  • 1,000 yards free warm-up
  • 10 x 125 yards alt. IM order, plus extra free
  • 7 x 200 yards alt. free and one-arm fly
  • 13 x 50 yards free sprints
  • 200 yards free cool down

And it only took 1.5 hours. I spent most of the swim giving my legs a rest, which is what I will continue doing throughout Wednesday. They can use it.


JenC said...

I have a lot of drive, but I don't think I could have gone out for a run in the dark after dinner and a nap. Good for you!

I am also as always impressed with your swimming prowess!

E-Speed said...

sounds like a great run! glad you had Neil to help you get into your groove!