Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: November 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Marathon Week: To Battle (With my Brain)

I’m sure I haven’t mentioned this at all on the blog, but I’ve been really overthinking this marathon, and the only reason is because my training cycle has gone SO WELL that I feel ready to race it.  And now that I’m down to just some quick runs to keep the stick sharpened, it’s all brain, all the time, so indulge my taper ramblings.

Feeling so prepared and hitting my paces in training feels so 2010, because all my recent distance ventures have been pretty much this m.o. lately:

1. Show up in the best condition I can.

2. Start the race.

3. Keep going at the fastest reasonable pace I can before have to stop/walk/bonk/etc.

Oddly enough, my training has been:

1. Get on bike/in lake/in pool/in shoes.

2. Start going

3. Stop when either miles have been completed or I am near death.

There may have been some halfhearted attempts at going slower, going faster, staying under a certain heart rate, but tri season really didn’t have much pace specificity or speedwork or actual programs besides go and stop.

Each of the 3 70.3s and the last marathon was about SURVIVAL, not racing.  Kerrville this year was CLOSER to racing, but still not quite.  I didn’t give up, but I wasn’t racing that run, I was trotting and trying not to die.  Pretty much from mile 3.  That was all I had.

I can’t believe that was only 8 weeks ago.  In just two months, I’ve gone from run-fearing to run-confident.  My 20 mile easy run was a whole minute/mile faster than my half ironman pace. 10 mile runs were a really long run two months ago, and now 10+ miles in a day is no biggie for a weekday.  My last taper run, two days ago, which was 10 miles exactly, with 5 at m pace, was like – are we really done?  Can I run more?

I also incorporated real speedwork back into my plan.  Once a week, I did a straight speedwork session (400s, 800s, mile repeats, fast miles), and once a week, I did tempo miles.  This was less successful at holding a certain pace than dipping my toe in the water to see what a good pace should be, but it was nice to shift in the middle of a run to “faster”.  This really made all the difference in getting my turnover from shuffle to… well… less shuffle.

I only wish I could have had even two weeks at this type of run mileage at ANY point during tri season, and I’m taking this into account for next year, but right now I’m just focused on the conundrum…

I’m totally ready to PR the shit out of this marathon by a LOT, and I don’t want to screw it up.

The problem with being a triathlete this year is I haven’t race-raced a lot of distances in 2 years, so, while I’ve run 13.1 a TON, I haven’t raced a decent course uninjured in decent conditions in a while so I don’t have a good 13.1 predictor time.  I’m painfully aware I need to change this, but it makes it very hard to know what to expect m-day.

My goal, which came from the scientific method of having a bunch of beers, talking running with a friend, and blurting it out randomly, is 4:40.  This would be a PR of 42 minutes, but that’s neither here nor there because I was just happy to cross that line upright and grinning like an idiot last November in a race I really wasn’t ready to do anything but SURVIVE.

Then I went to McMillian and did some calculations…

My 10 mile race earlier this year (I am WAY fitter than that right now) clocks my marathon in at 4:37.

My “miracle mile” (7:50) from last week puts me at 4:24.

My half marathon PR (in which I don’t think I’m too far from right now) puts me at 4:31.  My last 5k I raced also puts me here.

4:40 is a 10:41 min/mi pace.  Now, for most of you marathoning crazies out there, this probably isn’t even your recovery pace, you probably walk faster than this.  But seeing 10-anything + 26.2 miles of running scares the crap out of me.

Can I handle it?  Well, 8 weeks ago I would have laughed in your face.  Now, I have a 15 mile easy run done that’s 19 sec/mile slower than race pace.  I did my last easy 20 miler 45 sec/mile slower than race pace.  Neither of these runs had me aiming for a specific pace, just running what was comfortable while chatting or grumbling or whining at Zliten.  While the pace itself seems bonkers to me mentally, it’s not outside the realm of reality physically.

I have a few ideas at strategy for Sunday:

1. Find the 4:40 pace bunny and just hang on for the ride.  I am really, really good at following people mindlessly on the run.  When it gets tough, I can just turn up the music and focus on shoes in front of me and put one foot in front of the other and get through it.

2.  Find whatever the next slowest pace bunny (4:45? 4:50?) is and follow them, trying to forge on ahead at some point (15, 18?) and catch the 4:40’ers if I feel ok.  This helps me start out a little slower without having to really watch my watch.

3.  Run my own damn race.  Start slower, and try to get progressively faster via garmin pace.  In other words, be a watch nazi and own my own fate with splits.

4. Run my own damn race, and set up my garmin so I can’t even see pace, just go on perceived effort.  I’ll have some cues by what pace groups are around me, but can’t get all persnickety that mile 13 was 11:05, and all scared that mile 16 was 10:18 and its too fast.

I’ve used a combination of these strategies in long runs.  When Zliten decides to zoom off near the end of runs (when I know I’ve got enough in the tank to get through), I’ll latch on and reel him in.  This has gotten me through many races too (just follow the green girl, don’t let B get too far ahead, etc).  However, I do get uppity when I get completely left in the dust and can’t catch up and might bonk trying.  Do I want that negative feeling of “being left behind” if I can’t keep pace?  Will I try to race outside my means just to catch someone?

I can watch-nazi with the best of them, and sometimes it helps me finish the race with my B goals intact even if the A ones are out of reach.  At Kerrville, my run could have really gone south if I wasn’t constantly calculating what would get me in under 7.  However, fast paces can intimidate me (10:30 feels great but I better slow down because that’s fast), and slow paces can piss me off (I’m going 11:30 and its hard, I suck at running and life).  Sometimes it’s best not to know.

I can run pretty damn well by feel at my easy pace, but if I have one regret this training cycle, and one thing I’ve done last week and will continue to do this week, it’s that I haven’t done enough running right at my goal pace to feel it’s dialed in.  It’s getting better, but it’s still a little awkward.  I’m not sure if the few runs I have left will fix that.  I’m worried that if I completely go by feels, I’ll end up at the end, having run 26.2 miles at my easy pace, and would have had more to give.

I’ve been negative splitting runs like a champ this cycle, but I’m not sure how much I can give the last half marathon, since that last 6 miles is a question mark since we don’t train it.  I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to judge what’s left in the tank at those later stages since I don’t have a bunch of experience on how my body feels at mile 21.

I’ll need to make these decisions on race day, these are my checkpoints:

Before Mile 1: Do I start with a pace bunny or not?  If not, what pace do I start at?  Do I run by watch or feels?

Mile 6: Am I eating and drinking consistently? If not, get on that shit.

Mile 10: Just past this is usually low point #1 (just a mild to moderate one).  How am I feeling?  What adjustments need to be made to the plan? More food? More drink?

Mile 13-16: Middle miles, usually low point #2 somewhere in here possibly (this one is usually pretty major).  What do I have left for the second half? Do I speed up or just try and hang on to current pace?  Have I been eating consistently?

Mile 20: What do I have left to give?  Am I just trying to hang on, or can I kick it up one more gear?  What is the most reasonable time goal for me right now to aim for to keep me motivated (mile 20 math is fun!)?  Can I shove just a little more nutrition down the hatch without killing my tummy?

Mile 23: 5k to go.  Rock this shit out.  If you haven’t hit the wall by now and are feeling good, just go for it and get ‘er done!

And let me leave the taper crazy ramble on a positive note…

I’m only worrying here because I have had a totally awesome training cycle.  I’ve got the run love back in a major way.  I feel like I’m in some of the best running shape of my life right now, which is a huge 180 from, like, all of 2013, where I wondered if I could ever run far or fast or love running again.

I’ll go out there and attack, but I also want to have fun.  I talked to spectators and high fived and told cheerleaders I’d run faster (ok, go from walking to running) if they did a back flip and grinning ear to ear just about most of the time for the first marathon.  I’m searching for a little more pain and want to dig a little deeper and see what I can do with this second one, but I’m hoping that I don’t feel any less of that pure JOY I felt in the last 6-8 miles of my first.  I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I can hope!

I’m ready to battle.  My body is ready, my mind is getting there.  Just still figuring out my battle plan is all.

Week 44 and 45: Method and Madness

Oh, taper madness.  Combine you with hormones, work stress, personal stress, and a whole bunch of other shit, and you’re a raging bitch.

I think my problem is the opposite of many other people though – it’s not that I’m going mad because I’m running less, it’s that I’m going mad because I’ve told myself “taper is starting”, and somehow I expect that first week to be a breath of fresh air.  It’s not.  I’m training just a little less than I was at peak, and for stressed and exhausted me, that wasn’t little enough.

But, let’s go back, because the last peak week was AWESOME.

Training:

My last peak week was something of perfection.  The weather was pretty damn perfect, my legs felt fatigued but never ready to collapse, and my paces were pretty much spot on to support what I want to run in two weeks.  I was even feeling so confident, that I decided we should do a run-venture instead of sticking to normal territory for our second 20 miler, and beat the time of our first by 7 mins.  We had an epic day and it was a blast and definitely the stuff memories are made out of, and it was wonderful.

I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it to taper – not remembering a few key things:

1. Taper is STILL way more run volume that I’ve been doing all year outside of the last month and a half.

2. Work went from about a 5 stress level to 11 and hasn’t let up.  Zliten’s work stress did about the same thing at the same time.

3. Lots of non-work, non-running related projects and things to take care of, that I’ve been ignoring and haven’t had time to do because I’ve been running, working, recovering, or trying to squeeze in some social time – they’ve become a lot more critical because we have family coming into town for Thanksgiving this Thursday.  Let’s also put this out there that I don’t WANT to do any of these.  I want to “mark them all as read” and make them go away.

4.  This all leaves ZERO, or possibly negative time for down time and relaxing.

5.  Everything we own is falling apart, and nothing is working right.  Between electronics and house shit, it’s been a MAJORLY expensive month.

I had to do a lot of interesting juggling of workout times (i ran on the treadmill at the gym twice in one day), but I made it through all ~20 of my weekday miles by hook or crook and was pretty proud of myself.

Then, I had a major meltdown on Thursday night which resulted in some major carnage on my hand, a damaged dresser that was totally innocent, but the wall I put my foot and fist through TOTALLY deserved it.  Then I went and sobbed for about an hour (me = totally not a crier so this is NOT normal) and didn’t sleep but about 3 hours that night.  It was about 25% due to the few drinks I had, but I remember everything and wasn’t super drunk, and it really was just about needing to release some MAJOR rage in a way that I couldn’t any other way, I guess.

Normally after all that, you’d call in sick to work, right?  Wrong.  Not when you’re doing your biggest release of the year and it went live at 3am (while you were huddled on the couch sobbing because nothing was working, life wasn’t fair, and you wanted all your responsibilities to go away just for a darn minute).  I hobbled mentally through the day and it wasn’t too terrible and was able to get through without any more walls asking for it, and attended a friend’s birthday party that evening, but once I got home and hit the bed I slept for almost TWELVE hours.

I woke from that sleep still feeling mentally and physically fragile, so I bagged the run.  I didn’t want to play catch up on recovery by doing it Sunday, and I could tell both my body and mind needed a break.  I didn’t want to limp through my last long run of the cycle and have that be on my mind marathon morning.  I want that super strong and fun 20 miler to be the last one.  So, we spent the weekend tackling those projects we had been ignoring, and I got in 38 easy trainer miles on Sunday night watching a movie.

While I hate that I missed a major run, I’ve been pretty darn consistent this cycle.  Over the 6 weeks of training, I’ve cut 3 runs short (finished at least 3/4 of them, but cut them due to time constraints), and skipped 2 runs (this one and a 5 miler) and subbed 30+ bike miles instead each time.

I feel way better about life this week, and one benefit of skipping Saturday’s run is my legs feel WAY fresh and rested much earlier in the taper cycle (whether that’s a good or bad thing is TBD, I just know I’m going to need to watch myself and not go thrash them again).  I’m ready to attack this last week of reduced training and hit my paces, and then rest up and rock out a great marathon.

Here’s the deets-

Week 44: Peak Week of Awesome

Monday: Run: 6x800s 5 mi 00:50 10:00 pace Weights: Arms and Abs 00:30
Tuesday: Run1: Easy 8 8 mi 01:33 11:37 pace Run2: Night Running 4.2 mi 00:48 11:22 pace
Wednesday: Bike: Trainer + Thor 22 mi 00:56 23.6mph pace
Thursday: Run: It Won’t Be Long, Yeah.. Yeah… 10.53 mi 01:56 11:00 pace
Friday: off
Saturday: Run: Runventure 20 mi 03:49 11:26 pace
Sunday: off

Total: 48 miles, 9 hours of running. 22 miles, 1 hour biking. 1 weights session.

Week 45: Crazy Week of Crazy

Monday: Run: I Remember This Feeling… 4 mi 00:38 09:22 pace Weights: (forgot to log, but did arms and abs)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: Run1: AM Run 4 mi 00:41 10:09 pace Run2: PM Run 4 mi 00:42 10:33 pace
Thursday: Run 1: This Is Not The Run You Were … 2.75 mi 00:30 10:43 pace Run2: Lunchy Runchy 4.5 mi 00:51 11:20 pace
Friday: off
Saturday: off
Sunday: Bike: Not-a-long-run 38 mi 01:49 20.9mph pace

Totals: 19.25 miles, 3.5 hours of running.  38 or ~2 hours biking.  1 weights session.  Missed about 3 hours running, but added about 1.5 hours biking that was not expected.

Food/Scale:

Let’s just say that I haven’t weighed very regularly, and I haven’t really been good at any sort of diet quality.  After my boom splat on Thursday night, I decided the last thing I needed to do was stress about food so I didn’t even track all weekend.  I wasn’t keen to get on the scale right then as it was that super bloaty gross time of the month, so I gave myself a few days to not feel like a water bag and have eaten some fruits and veggies.  I finally got back on the scale today and it said: 176.0.  So I haven’t done any major damage, and it’s time to really clean up my eating and make sure my weight stays stable (or better) through taper time.

It’s bizarre.  I held really strong through Halloween, but this month, I’ve got all this candy around and it’s been magically shoveling itself into my mouth. Today, it all went into the bike food box which I cannot touch unless I’m biking.  At least then I won’t be sitting on my ass eating candy corn, I’ll be pedaling.  I may be a little more hooked on the white pony than I’d like to admit and it may be time to be a little harsher with myself than I have been to make sure that one that I’m not at least 30% composed of mellow-creme pumpkins.

Now, it’s time to really kick the sweets, the refined grains, and get on with being composed of beans and whole grains and fage and fruit and veggies and some meat and some nuts and feeling super again!

Here’s the deets (I retroactively added last weekend’s food from memory, so it’s probably a rough estimate at best, but oddly enough, even though I just DIDN’T CARE and ate what I wanted, the deficit ended up being just about the same over the course of the week, just not on the right days…).

Week 44:

11-4to11-10

Week 45:

11-11to11-17

Other fun stuff:

-My review of Birds Barber shop was the review of the day on Yelp for Austin last Thursday!  That came on a pretty rough day so it made me happy!

-I actually sewed!  I made a remote holder for our bedroom for our headboard (that matches it), and mended a bunch of stuff I’ve been meaning to patch up – which means I got two pairs of running capris back.  Wheee!  I have a few more projects I hope to get done this month but at least I friggin sewed!

-My work deadline, the game release, finally happened!  We’re doing a little post-release clean up, but so far, things are looking really, really good and I’m hoping within the next week things will go back down from 11 to, like 5.  I can handle 5. 🙂  Making other people happy and giving them fun stuff to do is worth the stress, but dang, it’s hard to see the other side sometimes when you are down in it.

-Saw Thor 2 – it was AWESOME!  Rainbow road rules!

Aight, time to get back on with this week.  Less candy, more happy.

Question of the week: what’s your favorite candy/indulgence?

On Managing Humans

Growing up, I was never a great leader of people.  I was perfectly content to work by myself, off in a corner, not depending on anyone, not having to really be interdependent on anyone else, and I was CERTAINLY not the one bossing people around.

However, by some strange twist of fate – I’m boss lady.  Have been on and off for the larger part of the last decade in some capacity.  I used to think that if I could do it, anyone could, but I’ve been party to enough spectacular failures now that it’s not the case.  So, I’ve been thinking on what makes a team and a manager succeed, and what I strive for, and thus, the list below has come into existence.

1. If you don’t trust your team, you’ll never be able to trust your team.  That is; if you don’t give people enough freedom to go out and make mistakes and learn from them, and know that you still have their back, you’re going to have a lot of issues.  First, you don’t trust them, they won’t trust you, and honesty is important.  Second, once people realize they’re trusted and valued, they’ll be very self accountable.  Third, it’s nice to feel like an adult at work and not have every little action you make under scrutiny, and be trusted to do your job.

2. You should be able to be candid, open, honest, and even bitchy with your direct supervisor.  You need an outlet that can go slightly up the chain so that it can potentially make a difference (rather than bitching to your peers which just fosters negativity without effect).  These conversations should result in something positive, even if that positive is just releasing stress on a bad day and agreeing to revisit later.

3. You need to strike a balance between “damn the man” and “company yes man”.  While it’s bad form to talk too much smack about the people over you and not respect the folks in charge, you also need to not kiss their asses to your team.  There is no reason not to kiss your employees asses in front of your supervisor if they’re doing a great job though.

4.  You don’t get to control everything.  You get to control the important things.  You don’t get to affect every detail unless you want to be really really overworked and bad at your job as a manager.  Let the little things that don’t matter go.

5.  Teach your subordinates to think enough like you so you can trust them to make good decisions, but encourage the differences that foster creativity and bringing unique things to the table.  I don’t want a bunch of mini-me subordinates running around, but I do want them to know a good decision from a bad decision in the context of the project and the team.

6. It should never, ever, ever be a crime to disagree with someone, as long as it’s done respectfully and calmly.  No one’s word is the “word of god”.  Heck, I would think that the big guy up there would want someone to question him if he was about to do something stupid.  Sometimes the answer is “it is the way it is”, but the more information about the decision and the circumstances around it you can give to someone, the less they’ll feel as if you’re brushing them off and being asked to obey without question.

7.  Stressed out face should be reserved for appropriate emergencies.  If there is more than one of these a month, either you’re making way too big a deal out of things and need to re-prioritize, or you have broken processes that need to be fixed.

8.  The first answer to a resource problem shouldn’t be “work harder” or “work longer”.  There’s usually a more optimal solution than that (simplify design, ask for help, cut the unneeded features, find other options, etc).  However, sometimes it is just that, and in those situations, you should never, ever take for granted that those people are in the office working when they could be doing something else.  You should hope that if you DO need to be all in, it’s because the team has buy in that it’s necessary to make a superior production, and not simply because of poor planning, feature creep, or emergent crap that could have been found sooner.  Above all else, extended hours is a problem that should be resolved as quickly as possible.

9. Sometimes putting key people in a room with no agenda is good thing.  We do this once every two weeks for an hour for the last few years, and I’ve never once felt like it’s been a waste of time.

10. Productivity isn’t always as it seems.  If someone is surfing facebook or chatting in the breakroom or taking breaks, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re slacking.  Some people are built different – instead of a solid 8 hours of working, they’ll sprint for a few hours, and then need a break.  You can’t take away the break, or you don’t get the sprint.  As long as shit is getting done on time, and they’re not keeping other people from doing their work, it’s fine.  You’re not going to get more work out of these people by forcing a strict 8 hours of desk time sans facebook, as they’ll just work slower (aka – normal people speed).

11.  Not every employee needs the same thing from you.  I’m not saying that you should treat people unequally, but some people need explanations, some people need humor, some would rather keep it 100% professional.  Some people want attention, and some people want to see you as little as possible.  Some people like to be talked to face to face, some people like email, IM, etc.  The more flexible you can be with your communication, and the more you can adapt to your employees’ communication style rather than forcing yours on them, the more comfortable your team will be talking to you.

When it comes down to it, this is all really about respect.  If you respect your team’s expertise, respect their different workstyles, and respect their different viewpoints, and just overall treat your reports as human beings no matter how frustrated or how stressed you are, or how impending a deadline is.  I am not perfect, but I can at least say this list is something I strive to embody every day.

As a manager, I care about two things above all else.  #1 and #2 are both the most important – a high quality, fun product (I make games, fun is important), and a happy, thriving team.  Long term, you can’t really have one without the other.  Nurturing your team means awesome stuff means profit!

Runventure Saturday

As we set out on our last 20 mile run this cycle, we were discussing the route.  I am usually kind of anal about constructing the perfect route (no will-sapping 3 mile uphill section during my low miles 12-15, not a lot of uneven road, traffic lights, etc), but by a stroke of unnatural whimsy, I just told Zliten I’d roll with it.

We plotted and schemed and all of a sudden “rolling with it” meant a runventure!  We grabbed a few things at the house around mile 6, and then headed south and ran all the way past downtown (about 11 miles from home).  After our run, we did a trip to Jack and Adams tri shop, a visit to Barton Springs, beers and dinner at Billy’s Brew and Que, a train trip, (not my) birthday beers at Blackstar Coop, and a final stop of the night at our neighborhood bar before we saw our house again.  It was a totally fun and epic day!

Top 10 things I learned from Saturday’s run:

1. Downtown Austin is not really as far away as I perceive it to be.  Pretty much any of my Tu/Th/S daily mileage totals would end up there or futher.

2. There is a shift about 5pm downtown.  Before that, you feel totally fine in running gear, after, you feel a wee bit out of place (though its Austin, so anything goes).  Maybe don’t end the run-ventures so late, hmmm?

3. Running all around the area where the music festival was going on was interested.  On the plus side, I heard  few bands playing and they had some key streets blocked off that helped us complete our run easier.  However, the crowds of hipsters smoking cigarettes that couldn’t be buggered to move out of the way when we needed to pass them was totes annoying.  This made me a little grumpy at the end, but it passed quick and didn’t effect my overall run-joyment.

4. Being carless is fun.  It’s a little intimidating to have to pack everything you need for the day in a camelback, and know that everything you carry is going to weigh you down for the whole run and journey back, but it was really cool to only rely on ourselves, our feet, and the train to get all the places we wanted to go and then home.

5.  Barton Springs Pool is free from November to March, and knocks out the need for both an ice bath and a place to shower all in one.  We were prepared to pay 3 bucks each, it was a nice surprise that it was free!

6.  Deodorant doubles as shaving cream in a pinch, and your legs smell super nice after.  Also, probably keep your legs shaved more often in case you end up on more run-ventures.  Compression socks only hide hair while they’re on… and unless you want to rock THAT look all day…

7. When you have ran 20 miles and you’re sitting down for your first meal of the day and it’s dinner, you literally can have ANYTHING you want.  Even if it’s a (half) pitcher of beer, a gigantic bowl of chips and queso, a monster turkey club, and a huge salad – that’s probably less than you burned on the run.

8.  Good friends don’t mind your sweaty capris at the bar.  Great friends bring you sock monkey scarves, gloves, and a hoodie when you ask them (the hoodie was upon request, the sock monkey attire was a nice surprise), because none of that fits in a camelback.  Great friends also obviously know your recovery fueling needs and bring a birthday carrot cake with two pecan pies baked into it.  Pie-cake!  While on the surface it was brought for the birthday boy, you just know that deep down, she wanted to make sure our glycogen stores were doing ok.

9.  No one wants to let you walk, or understands the use of public transit.  Everyone was mystified that we ran from up north to downtown, and then walked all over and took the train.  We caught a ride from Bar 1 to Bar 2, and no one understood why we were sad about it (Bar 2 was way closer to the house, and I was looking forward to the walk home from Bar 1).  We had to turn down about 5 different rides from Bar 2, and it was less than a mile away.  Silly people, unless it’s balls hot or cold, we like to walk, ok? 🙂

10.  Doing 7 extra miles of walking on top of 20 miles of running means your legs feel a lot looser the next day, but it doesn’t cure ALL ills.  These dogs are still sore and tired.

As per the run, besides a few low miles at the end dodging people (and being a little calorie deficient), I had a solid run that felt amazing until about mile 15-16, and I kept my pacing very consistent and didn’t fizzle at the end.  And, I beat my last 20 miler’s time by 7 minutes!

Taper?  I’m ready for it.  These legs are looking for some recovery and then are ready to actually run, not just complete, and maybe, possibly even RACE a marathon in 3 weeks from today.

Week 42 and 43: Superwoman, the Sugar Monster

A little late, but here we go…

Training:

When I wrote out the weeks, I had planned week 42 to be the highest mileage week, then a rest week, then another peak week, and then taper down.  Due to scheduling constraints, I had to switch around my weeks, and that put my first 20 mile run was on WEEK TWO of training. Terrifying!  But it worked out, and I killed that 20.

Week 42 was a high mileage week without a long run.  I did 3 double digit runs, and 2 were back to back.  I LOVED training this way.  I’m not a huge fan of the long run – I know I need to do them because of the mental aspect of not stopping for walk breaks at mile 15, 18, 20, etc is not something I’m practiced at.  I think I’ve made steps to conquer it (haven’t walked yet this cycle) but after falling apart a lot in triathlons this year, I won’t write it off just yet.  However, I feel like my recovery is much easier when I do an 11/11 back to back instead of a high double digit run (16+), and I get MOAR MILES.

However, at the end of Week 42, the top of my calves/bottom of my knee felt really tight, so I cut the easy 5 I had planned as my last run of the week and just biked 40 miles. It was a nice change to spend some significant time on evilbike, and while it was frustrating to skip a run, I know it was the best thing as that’s the ONLY training I missed.

Week 43 was stepback week.  We ran 3 short runs during the week at easy pace (or as easy as Zliten decided to let me run, he doesn’t quite get being in first gear for an entire run).  Then, we did a 15 mile “shorter” long run.  I don’t know why, but after a week of recovery, my legs felt worse somehow, at least at first.  Every possible little niggle made an appearance, my arches started cramping around mile 6 and every turn or uneven road was painful, and the normal tightness in my glutes/hamstrings set in WAY early.  However, as long as I avoided the crappy roads, and though by the end, I walked 5 steps to get around corners and then got going again, I had a pretty darn good run at a pretty darn good pace (for me).

Now, I’ve got a month until the race.  I’m starting to think goals.  At first, since I had no run confidence when I started this training block, my goal was to just run this with Zliten, and hopefully PR (with a 5:22 – it won’t be too hard to do).  However, I’ve had a KICK ASS month of running and I think it would be a disservice to not shoot for something better, since I kinda feel like THIS lately with my running.

I’ve retrained my legs how to have some get up and go instead of shuffling.  I’ve retrained my brain to hold tough when I get tired or sore.  Those walk breaks that plagued me all triathlon season?  GONE as soon as the temperature dropped to normal human levels.  Part of it is the better weather, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t start improving this much just due to that.  Kerrville weather was perfect, and my marathon last year was not bad either, but I still fell apart and walked in both, so I’ll give the training at least SOME credit.

And let’s talk paces.  I’m not running these at 12 or 13 minute miles either.  I ran the 20 mile run two weeks ago at 11:41 average pace.  I just ran my 15 mile run at 11:05 average pace.  Both of these runs were prescribed as easy, and while my legs were tired and sore after, the pace never felt like I was doing anything above gear 2 (gear 1 being the happy, easy, pink floyd, daydreamy run, gear 3 being the “comfortable hard” pace that is supposed to be really bad for training because then you can’t recover for your speedwork and doesn’t help you improve).  It really makes me wonder… should I shoot for marathon goal pace to be faster?  It makes sense if I’m running these paces easy in training, right?  I’m going to need to do some research because the last thing I want to do is go out too fast and end up kersplat at mile 20.

My only other complaint is my right (not hurt earlier this year) knee is a little tender after some runs, so I’ll continue to ice and monitor it.  I just hope it can get through this one last high mileage week, and then we’ll rest up.  Please and thank you?

By the numbers…

Week 42: Double Digit No Long Run

Monday: Run: 3×1600 Speedwork 4.5 mi 00:44 09:50 pace, Weights: Gym Weights 00:45
Tuesday: Run1: 2 Loops 6.5 mi 01:16 11:41 pace, Run2: Lunch Run 4.5 mi 00:53 11:52 pace
Wednesday: Bike: Lunch Spin 11.55 mi 00:30 23.1mph pace
Thursday: Run: Comme ci, comme ca 11 mi 02:12 12:00 pace
Friday: Run: Double Double Digits 11.5 mi 02:12 11:28 pace
Saturday: Bike: Trainer + Ugly Betty 40 mi 01:49 22.0mph pace
Sunday: off

Total: 38 miles, 7.5 hours running.  52 bike miles, 2.5 hours biking, 1 weights session.

Week 43: Recovery Week

Monday: off
Tuesday: Run: Easy 5 5 mi 00:59 11:48 pace
Wednesday: Run: Slow 5 in the Rain 5 mi 01:00 12:00 pace
Thursday: Run: Halloween Pre-Atonment Run 3 mi 00:35 11:39 pace
Friday: off
Saturday: Run: Easy/MGP Run? 15 mi 02:46 11:03 pace
Sunday: *enter bike here*

Total: 28 miles, 4.75 hours running + 30 mins biking (no weights)

Food/Scale

(macaroni grill is fun)

I don’t have all that much to say here.  I’m maintaining in the 175-176ish range.  I’m generally eating less calories than fitbit says I’m burning, but there are some days where I go over.  In general – I should be losing at least a lb a week but I’m not.

Current theories:

  • By my clothing fit and the improbably imperfect body fat scale, I think some of it is muscle.
  • My body is just still in major shock from 4 weeks of major run miles.
  • I’m eating meat twice a day more often than I was before (but my body is really craving it lately).
  • I haven’t been tracking food quality.  I said I was going to, but I lied.  If calories in + calories out isn’t the entire equation, then this could be it.  I’ve definitely had more refined carbs and sugar this month. Aka, too much of this, not enough good stuff (my halloween haul).

Either way, I just need to keep at it.  I’m over 10 lbs down from where I was in January, and I just need to not screw it up and keep fighting the good fight.  When I notice weeks like the last two where I’ve been indulging in heavier, higher calorie beer and sweets and not being careful about my carb sources, I just need to get back on it (and on it, I am getting).

I’ve also stopped weighing daily because the program I was using to track it broke, and I hate how judgey fitbit is about putting in a higher weight due to normal weekly fluctuations.  It’s working now, so I will start again.

By the numbers…

Week 42

10-21to10-27

Week 43

10-28to11-3

Weight – min: 174.8, max: 179.2 (bad food bloat, lost FOUR lbs the next day).

Next check in will include the last peak week (48 miles of running planned) and the first week of taper.  I’m ready for it!

 

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