Monday, 19 May 2014

Final "SOS" week

"SOS" means a run that is "something of substance" - long or higher pace, be it speed, strength or marathon pace. This week was the final week of that - Wednesday for strength intervals, and Friday for marathon pace. Long distance is done with already. 

Monday (19): still have a lingering sore throat from my recently banished cold. I slept an uninterrupted 8 hours thanks to a new firm pillow. Hoping for sleep like that every night until race day. 
13k recovery run through Fish Creek Park, into an unpleasant wind initially. Too fast, each time I looked at my watch. Hope that bodes well. Did the 13k, which includes the always trying Sikome Hill, in 1:05. Next!

Tuesday: 11.5k recovery. 17 degrees and felt a little tired at times, though on each occasion when I checked my watch I was going too fast. Core workout after I got home was good, though wobbly for the first set of lunges and single-leg deadlifts. I actually felt quite energized. I made sure of that by having the biggest bowl of tortellini you've ever seen.

Wednesday: last strength run - 6x 7 minutes at 4:15-4:20/ minute pace. 20 degrees for a run feels like the heat had come along all of a sudden. It's taken until May 21 to run in a singlet. The inevitable posers with no shirt on appeared too (If anyone is a "not a real runner", some if these men might count - only doing it for vanity). 
Once again, almost every time I checked my garmin, I was going too fast. I'm a world champion sweater, and despite that, what felt like a 4:15 effort was actually 4:10 and under. I did the whole 16k, which includes 5 sets of traffic lights at the start and finish, in 1:15:30. 

Thursday: just a nice core workout in a boiling hot gym that may have forgotten to turn on the air-con.

Friday: final SOS run - 17k at marathon pace. 23 degrees and partial cloud cover. Very sticky. Again I'd check my watch and have to slow myself down. 
What does all this mean, having to repeatedly slow myself down during training? I might be faster than I think, but I should also take care during the race to control my enthusiasm and speed. 
Saturday: like every Saturday, bus to the gym and run home after weights. As it's taper time, I did 2 sets of my 12 exercises rather than 3. 13 k run home with backpack on in 17 degrees, so got a little messy. 
Sunday: 13k, shortest Sunday run since early March. Felt much better at the end. Energy level seems to be rising. 

There you have it, my first training cycle using the Hanson method pretty much out of the way. All that's left now are easy runs, nothing more than 10k.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Unexpected obstacles

In all my caution not to pick up an injury, the last thing I was expecting was to pick up a spring cold. Around the office, I've noticed quite a bit of coughing and general grogginess. Somehow I managed to pick it up.

Monday (12th) afternoon, I felt everything switch off. I spent Tuesday at home, missing a 10k easy and core/ weights in the evening. 

Wednesday, I managed to do my strength-intervals run. I had an attractive coughing fit in the changing room once I finished. Thursday was just weights, no real problem. 

I was off on Friday, and slept poorly, having woken up several times at night. I reluctantly gave my marathon pace 17k a miss, in a daze from that lack of sleep. Later on that afternoon, it seemed I had an eye irritation as well, so I also had to keep on checking the mirror and washing it. When it rains, it pours.

Saturday was much better, slept almost straight through after working out that I only coughed if I changed sleeping positions. Did my weights and ran 16k home. My balance was good at the gym, and legs strong at the end of the run. This was all probably helped by having done some 25k less during the week. 

Sunday's 16k took place at the gym, due to thunderstorm. Felt quite good, though annoyed I couldn't be outside. Still coughing a bit, and more than anything want all the symptoms gone. This past week has been beyond aggravating, and not just for the cold interfering with my training. After peek week - 3 weeks from race day - is when the real excitement and build-up to the startline begins. I've had to put all that on hold. Time to get pumped up again, and take aim at that PB. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Peak week

Here goes, highest mileage ever in a week for me. Then it's a gradual taper to race day. 
My current marathon PB of 3:20:47 from 2012 was set on training of at most 70k in a week over 4 runs. Since late February, every week featured 6 runs totalling over 70k. Since early April, weekly distance has alternated between 80 and 90+km. In April 2012, I believe I put in just under 300km. April 2014 saw me log 372km. 
So how did peak week go?

Monday 5th: more sleet for my 13k easy run. Tried to concentrate on rolling my left foot for smooth toe-off to ease the load on my slightly sore left calf. Otherwise, a great run, kept on having to slow myself down. That's usually a good sign, right?

Tuesday 6th: 11.5k easy run in still chilly conditions. +1 just enough for shorts but with light jacket and gloves. No big deals for the year-round Canadian runner. There were a few out there who looked like they were not year-rounders, but had committed to racing on June 1, wearing hoodies and grimacing, but getting it done. Welcome aboard, if you're reading.
A small piece of cake in the afternoon, as a co-worker was had announced her retirement. Fuel for my core workout 3 hours later at home. That second workout every Tuesday is getting harder to do: it's when increasing fatigue is most noticeable. 
Still, I got all my side-lying hip abduction, lunges, single-leg deadlifts, leg raises, marching bridges, crunches, squats with kettlebell, the one I have no name for (a squat with dumbbell, then raise it in the air with opposite foot off the ground), calf raises, static balancing, planks and leg & arm raises done.

Wednesday 7th: a little too fast perhaps, not that it felt tough. Another good sign? I concentrated on good posture and making sure my left foot in particular was rolling nicely. 

Thursday 8th: "rest day" of just core/ weights. I felt a little wiped, though that gradually went away. The weird thing was to see people going around the indoor track for 20 minutes plus during +15 sunny weather. Lunacy. Still, this workout cured the headache I'd had all morning. 

Friday 9th: woke up with a tight left achilles, but it passed with a few stretches at the office - I have a standing desk. 
Fridays are marathon pace runs. Back in February, they were 10k. Every 3 weeks, the distance increases by 1.5k. This was the first 16k. The last one in 2 weeks time, will be the last run of substance - just easy runs after that before race day. The plan says to add in warm-up and cool down, so I do 1k extra. 
Today's 17k then was going to be wet. Even the hourly forecast was spot on - maybe a Calgary first. I dressed for warm weather, plus a waterproof jacket - a favourite Puma souvenir from Japan. 
The area where the river bends north-west after downtown is its own micro-climate with its steep hillside and trees. Drizzle, became rain, back to drizzle, then heavier rain and finally light drizzle at the end. At times I'd pull my hood on when the wind and rain picked up, though I had to use my sunglasses to keep it on. 
Time and again when I looked at my watch: too fast. I slowed myself down as often as I could. A good, thoroughly soaked run. Although I didn't feel sore or hurt, I walked quite slowly for the rest of the day.
Saturday 10th: first item of business was weights/ core at the Y. The place seems more crowded these days. I'm usually there early, and haven't used the static weight stations since November anyway. No more delays "discussing" the merits of working-in with others. 
13k run home, and as usual the legs felt weird for the first few minutes. When I started months ago (running home from the gym, that is), my legs would feel strange the entire run. Got home to a bowl of tortellini. 
Birds in Fish Creek park seem to be getting close to nesting season. I'll be watching my head until mid July. 
Sunday 11th: the evening before I noticed I was getting a sore throat. The start of a cold? When this happens I drink plenty of hot water. Things were a little better when I headed out for my 26k. A fair bit of spitting, I held a good pace until the hill at the end. 2 hours 12 minutes later I was back home stuffing my face. 
You talkin' to me?
I am now rather slow around the house, especially up the stairs. Just under 98 km for the week. Technically, the taper starts here. The next 2 weeks amount to the same as this week just gone, but with 16k next Sunday and 13k the Sunday after that. So more hard training ahead without the exhausting Sundays. Looking forward to the emergence of my racing legs.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Just the end of April/ start of May log

Monday 28: 10 k recovery/ easy run. Somehow dodged rain slivers of rain clouds unloading on the pathways. Not so with the wind. Slapped in face by the drawstrings of my hood, like a hyper version of the Monty Python fish slapping dance.

Tuesday 29: Cometh the sunny warmth, Cometh the fair weather runners. This started off with someone from work I'd introduced to the google pedometer map tool. 
Later on during this 10k easy run, the fastest runner I know, Adam, nearly got flattened (or so it seemed) and simultaneously another co-worker said hi, later asking "what were you laughing at?" 
Many at work were expecting to see me, though I must admit I did return a few greetings not immediately recognizing the other runner(s). 
Feeling quite good, I got home to my usual core/ weights workout in the basement. Being my second workout of the day gives it an endurance element, and I do need to drag myself through the last 20 minutes. Final challenge of the day is not eating dinner too quickly.

Wednesday's strength run - long intervals at 4:15-4:20/ km pace went well. I probably did my 2x21min too fast, but strength and speed are 2 good vital signs I'm getting recently. 
Calgary Marathon medal and shirt reveal came later on, once again both getting better each year.
The medal will triple as a bottle opener and belt buckle. Good bling value, though perhaps bending over to pick something up will be a bit challenging given it's size.
The gong is a great touch, may induce singing Kool & The Gang's "Jungle Boogie". 

Thursday, and the month of May begins. Strange to have the marathon June this time, still the one month countdown has begun. The only day without a run, my core/ weights workout still managed to stage a few minor strange events. I bumped into my ex-boss for the first time in over 2 years. 
After all the hip abduction, single-leg deadlifts, lunges, squats, etc., I came out of the shower to see a lady in the changing room. 
My sunglasses went missing during my workout, but I probably left them on top of the locker. I was going to buy a new, less clunky pair anyway. Maybe it was meant to be?
Back to super-chiroman: from the increased toe pressing on the left has come other stresses on the left calf. I have to concentrate on rolling the left foot properly, and it should work out. More tape, this time with branding to make me look like a racing car.
One odd thing: for most of my life, my left foot has been a centimetre longer than my left, and my left leg has correspondingly been longer than my right. This had been changing over the last 2 months. At times they've been the same length, then the left was shorter (probably as a consequence of the calf problem affecting the hip), now the same length again. 3 months of running 6 days a week is leading to an overall rebalancing? 
So sponsored, Friday May 2nd was a 15.5 k marathon pace run. The next 3 Fridays will be 17k. It was start of a window of bad weather, no colder than -3, but messy with rain and snow. Good speed throughout, just yucky weather. 
Saturday, time for gym and 16k run home. Messy and slushy in places, with trees bombing me with snowballs. The snow melted on most of the pathways, so not too bad, just mildly annoying. Pleasingly, legs lost none of their speed and didn't stiffen at the end.
Sunday was a 16k run. My new sunglasses have so far only been used to stop snow getting in my eyes. Sunday was however better than Saturday, apart from a tree dropping a snowball and me kneeing it up to go "pooof" in my face like a cheap magic trick. For the second time I ran past a friendly lady asking everyone "hey, you running Calgary?" An emphatic "yes" and grin each time.

Peak week coming up - around 95k, then the gradual draw-down to race day.