Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekend Update: 26 Miles Down for Week 2 Half Training

After work on Friday I picked up my car from the shop and headed to Heinen’s to buy a shut-in’s worth of produce, including Italian plums, strawberries and a boatload of super juicy peaches.

Aside from my recent focus on my diet, the trip has little to do with my training, but I didn’t want to start off on a bummer note about not being able to swim on Friday. New-but-old car duties call. But at least now I have a safe ball joint… and some day I might understand what that means.

Friday did, however, serve as a pleasant and much needed day of rest. It’s been a high-intensity couple of weeks on all fronts. Plus classes start on Monday! Neil and I took a slow, pleasant walk on Friday evening, but the rest of the day was all about kicking my feet up and letting my legs rest.

Saturday, on the other hand, was all about straight shooting. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and headed right out the door for my 4-mile run. I’ve been sticking to my neighborhood and the community across the street lately because it offers some variation of terrain—plus I know my distances at most points. Saturday morning was a great time to run and an even better contrast to the hellish conditions from Thursday evening (I can just feel that slick humidity sheen forming on my skin just thinking about it).

The only problem was a couple of tired legs and still-tight calf muscles. When I first kicked off from my front door, I felt the tightness and took a few more minutes to stretch, but they really only started to feel better once they were warmed. Right around 3.5 miles!

It was a mid-range training run, which I took around 9:00/mile. Then I came inside, took a shower, did some light weight training, ate breakfast, dressed myself up for a party and then headed to my friend’s wedding in North Canton. My friends and I danced for a couple hours (I’m all about the sprinkler, lawn-mower, q-tip, and that dance Olive does at the end of Little Miss Sunshine), which I think made for some bonus aerobic training. And laughing that hard is better for abs than any crunches I can do.

We visited friends after the wedding. While Neil and his buddies watched the Browns, I chatted with my tri-friend Fran, who will be racing her first triathlon at the Akron Women’s Triathlon on Sept. 15. It was a blast to share my first experience stories, as well as the things I wish I had known or considered before my first race (i.e., bring extra shoes for after your transition area is set up, have a pan of water available to quickly clean the sand off your feet, getting kicked in the face doesn’t really hurt too much).

My sleepy head didn’t hit my pillow until 1 a.m., so waking up this morning wasn’t as pleasant as most days. On the bright side, I have noticed a sleep pattern over the past several months: if I go to bed at midnight or later, I will wake up groggy regardless of how many hours I have slept.

Does that sound silly? If I get to sleep within or before the 11 p.m. hour, I can wake up and feel refreshed at almost any reasonable morning time (say, 5 a.m. or later). But if I get the same number of sleep hours after getting to bed later, it just feels all wrong. Sigh. I suppose I’m not a college student anymore.

Today was no different. I woke up at 8:30 a.m. and then snoozed until 9:30 a.m., which is oftentimes almost the middle of my day! I ate some breakfast and lugged around. By 11 a.m. I was thinking there was no way I would get any running done. So, I did some weight training, thesis reading, Indians baseball watching and napping until 6 p.m. rolled around.

Fortunately for me, my laziness annoys me. I felt irritated by sitting around all day, so I grabbed a few bites of a Think Thin Crunchy Peanut Butter bar (it was yum!) and headed out for an undecided distance.

My training plan called for 8 miles today—the conclusion to a 26-mile second week of my half marathon training—which I didn’t think I could complete. But when I stepped out into the lovely day, I was hooked. It was sunny and breezy with light air and temps in the lower 70s. Ahh. Plus, our neighborhood Ninja Warrior was practicing his nunchucks in a nearby parking lot… and what’s cooler than that?

My warm-up was laid back at 10:00/mile for the opening two miles of the run with one stop to stretch these tight calf muscles. I felt a little looser by mile three and ran miles 3-6 around 9:30/mile. My pace was a bit off today, but more so from my daylong lethargy than the fatigue I felt on Thursday. Or perhaps I’m still recovering from that fiasco!

I briefly spoke to Ninja Warrior as I circled the mostly empty parking lot that is his training space. He has a shaved head, an Eastern European accent and the cheerful demeanor that you wouldn’t expect from a Romanian Ninja Warrior. He mentioned that he would like to add some running and endurance training to his regiment soon, so I invited him to run with me around the neighborhood whenever he was ready. But now I’m wondering whether he’ll be carrying the nunchucks as he runs. I just don’t think our sidewalks are wide enough for that type of action.

As I finished mile six, I was finally feeling warmed up, loose and ready to take off. It’s been a while since I had that refreshed-after-several-miles feeling. Since mid-June, to be exact. In fact, today’s 8.25-mile run was the farthest I’ve run since I stumbled over my sciatica. I’ve missed reaching that threshold at which your body kind of forgets what it’s like to not be running, so your breathing, pace and effort just feel normal (credit to Landon for that description).

So, I stretched out the last couple miles at about 9:00 pace and carefully strode home. I took a cool shower and ate dinner… all with my fingers crossed that I could please stay healthy this time.


B Bop said...

"I’ve missed reaching that threshold at which your body kind of forgets what it’s like to not be running, so your breathing, pace and effort just feel normal"

Yes!! That perfect state of bliss!