Monday, December 20, 2010

Non-Running Injuries

I'm happy to report that my hip pain (TFL) has decreased significantly over the past few weeks, that is, until I did a slow 4-miler last Friday. Maybe my body likes a faster pace better? I will have no problems with that on marathon day. My usual hamstring tendinitis that I caught on Ballbuster Hill my last season of college CC has been reminding me of its existence every so often, especially when I lie down to go to sleep. 

But in that very position, prone in bed --not out on my long run-- is where I seem to have developed the worst of my injuries from the weekend. It's the right shoulder. Stupid lax joints! And my lack of swimming probably doesn't help that. 

The other pain I've recently developed actually did happen on my long run yesterday. It wasn't due to the constant concrete surface or the slope of the road though. It was my fuel belt. As I bounced along for approximately 27,000 steps, the tiny bottles strapped to my waist tap-tap-tapped along, resulting in 3 bruises on my stomach and back, precisely where the bottles sat. 

My quads are feeling good, calves have no problems, feet and ankles are managing just fine. Now I'm ready for this race to just hurry up and get here!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mileage PR

This week, following the 12 week Pfitzinger plan, I ran my highest mileage ever. This is not going to be impressive to any of you who have every run a marathon, I promise. For some reason, throughout college and even Ironman training, I've never broken (to my knowledge, at least), the 45 mi/week mark. Until today.

Today's 20 miler, even though I died a slow death the last 3 miles, pushed me to 48 miles for the week. I mentioned before that I'm trying really (kind of) hard to follow this plan, but actually I was supposed to hit 55. Knowing my past mileage PR of around 45, 55 was just a bit too much. Oh, and also, I skipped the whole "7 of the 12 miles at half marathon pace" part of Friday's workout in favor of running 10 miles at an easy pace with a friend.

Really the biggest news for the week is that I actually registered for the marathon that I've been running all this excessive mileage for. It's in 5 weeks. Considering the disaster that was miles 17-20 today, I'm excited that I'll be well tapered for the actual race.

I think part of my problem today was ole Bob Seebohar from last week's USAT Clinic. I mentioned he is big on training the fat burning zone and consuming fewer carbs. Apparently my subconscious has committed wholeheartedly to this training technique, because, in my delusional state at about 15 miles in, I decided to change my route and not go by home. Home is where the food is. At least I burned about a half pound of fat today, so I'll be lighter on race day, if nothing else. 

I know a good bunch of carbohydrates was burned at mile 18.3, and again at 18.7 when I ran by a crazy yapping black chihuahua-like dog who dared to chase me down the street (I had to turn around at 18.5 and face him both directions). My heart rate skyrocketed when my legs realized they had little choice in making a quick escape. I had to challenge him back with yelling and running straight at him. Luckily it worked.

I'm starting to think about marathon pacing now. I read on Joe Friel's blog that the #1 mistake athletes make is poor pacing. I don't disagree with that, but do disagree that emotion is my biggest problem. I really don't know what I am capable of running at this point. I know I have run one marathon (my only flat out) with a negative split, and have negative split an IM marathon, which is how the fastest races Joe has coached have been run. He says it's a hard skill to learn, but I'm not sure if it's just an underestimation of your ability or, in my case, a complete lack of ability to guesstimate a realistic pace. I don't remember ever running  while checking mile splits in any of these races. I hoped it was just my central governor telling me how fast to run. Or maybe it was just comfortable and I knew I could hold on. I don't know. So I'm going to make it extra hard on myself and try to stay with a pace group. Nothing like running someone else's pace, right?

So marathon veterans, how do you do it? I was recently telling someone my almost 3 hour time differential between my fastest and slowest marathons. Obviously, I don't know; the 6:23 one felt harder than any 3:30ish ones I've run (except for the lying on the side of the road part). Maybe I'm overthinking this, just like I overthought the decision to actually register. Help?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Almost a Coach!

Last weekend we spent in Vegas; I was at the USAT coaching clinic and Jeremy was running the half marathon. We also managed to have some delicious food, go to the Cirque du Soliel show "O," and see some sights. 

So where to begin? There was lots of good information at the clinic. I did an extra CEU session with Bob Seebohar, who is an exercise physiologist and sports dietitian. His is a different way of thinking about fueling during and outside of exercise-- at least different from my past thinking. Basically, if we can decrease our reliance on carbohydrates, we'll see a lot less gastric distress during exercise. 

Ian gave us more info on swimming, while I was wishing that he'd just coach me. There was a pool right outside, heated and everything. He covered cycling very well, especially for the limited time we had. I came out of it wanting a Computrainer. 

Justin covered running and periodization, which I had a hard time concentrating on, partly because he wrote very tiny numbers on the white board at the dark front of the room, and partly because it was Sunday morning and I was watching Jeremy cross the finish line on my laptop at the back of the room.

Side note: Jeremy PRed by almost 5 minutes! And he didn't trust me that he'd be fast with all this extra mileage. Still waiting for his RR.

I learned in the clinic that every class has THAT GUY. Dude if you're going to constantly talk about yourself, at least find something better to brag about than, "I averaged 100 watts on the bike in a half IM." Really? Did you finish before the cut off? Topple over on the hills?

There were lots of great people there to minimize that guy. I became friends with Rob, who is an amazing athlete. He wins his AG in almost every race he does, and has qualified for worlds over and over. On Sunday, when I was approximately 2 minutes late for class, I walked in to find a look of horror on Rob's face, and that guy setting up shop in my seat! He created enough commotion to distract us every few minutes and to make Rob move his seat.

I found it interesting that I'd been doing triathlons about a decade longer than most people in there. A few had 20+ years of experience, and at least a few were pros or ex-pros, but for the most part, the future coaches had been racing for 3-4 years. One lucky girl had been sent by the Y because they just wanted a tri coach on staff. I don't think she had even raced one. Along those lines, we discussed how success in a sport a good coach does not make. It takes a certain personality plus experience maybe? to do it right. I'm hoping my huge variety of performance outcomes will win me some points. At least I've made all the mistakes. :)

I felt like I was in class most of my hours in Vegas, but we ended our trip with me running in Red Rock Canyon park, Jeremy following along in his car (so he could pick me up when I was done). That night was sushi! and the late performance of "O." And O my, it was amazing! I was impressed not only by their acrobatic moves, but also their ability to survive deep dark water without oxygen for minutes at a time. They could teach me a few things about swimming.

Next I have to complete my take home test, hope I did a good job, and get my certificate. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Air Resistance

I'm back for a short time in the Gord after a weekend in Phoenix watching Ali and Joel and Chrissie to their thing at IM Arizona. And, by the way, in case you were wondering, Jeremy and I both stood in line for 3 hours to pull the trigger and sign up. I then went straight to Little Rock (love love love Southwest Airlines -- I wonder if they'd like to sponsor me?) and on to Germantown for Thanksgiving. I got to meet my brand new niece who is so sweet and tiny. And growing right before our eyes.

In the training arena, I had a "recovery" week during this trip, but I'm not sure that 42 miles in the week is quite low enough for me to recover. So I changed it to 22 miles. I'm always expecting (the 3 times I've been back to sea level-ish altitude) to run minutes per mile faster. I hasn't happened yet. 

I read in Daniels's book-- I think-- that while running at altitude provides less oxygen per breath (therefore vo2max is lower), you have lower air resistance so you should get some benefit from moving through the air more easily. Ok, um, from my experience, air resistance is not my problem. Yes sometimes wind can be a factor, but on a normal-wind day, that's not really what I consider to be my limiter. Although maybe that's why I can maintain the smokin' speed of 8 mph up the Ski Apache mountain...hmmm.

It can get windy here in the basin. We're between two mountain ranges that are 60 or so miles apart, and it's very  flat down here. Today's workout included 5x1000 at 5k pace, which I really can't even guess right now. So I decided on 7 min/mi pace. The first one was slightly uphill and I amazed myself by averaging 6:40 pace. Must be the new inhaler. But that's a story for another post. I turned around on the same road for the second interval and immediately noticed the wind. Not awful wind, but the first thing that popped into mind was air resistance. I should probably blame my slow speed on bad pacing, but it was downhill and I averaged 7:11. Argh. Immediately upon finishing that 1000 I realized that I HAD to go straight back to the house. I forgot the big effect of that taking-off-from-speedwork-of-any-kind-and-then-starting-again has on me: a need for a close bathroom. 

I walked/ran the 3/4 of a mile to home, where my Garmin decided I was too close to the computer, so it proceeded to download part one of my run. I then amazed myself by actually going back out to get in 2 more miles and 2 more intervals. I normally would've called it a day, but I'm really trying to follow this plan. I did compromise and go 0.8 miles  and one interval short, but redeemed myself with my second interval. Ok, so it was downhill, and still slower than the first one, but the pace was also 40 sec/mi faster than the third one. But I think it was with the wind. 

I know a lot of records were set at altitude in the Mexico City Olympics in like 1968, but just how many of these events require the aerobic system? The 10,000m, the long do the cyclists ride? Maybe the 1650 swim-- not that the air resistance would matter. But for sprinting, it's ideal.

I'm still wavering on this marathon in Phoenix. We drove the course, and not only is it flat, it's kind of scenic too. But what's holding me back is this thought that I won't be any faster there. The air resistance will be much greater. How much more psychological can I make this? :)

Tomorrow I leave for Las Vegas to party it up take the USAT Coaching Certification class. I'm really excited to be "certified" even though I've been told that level one focuses on training elites. But I'll be official! And looking for clients. Preferable elite clients. j/k :) Jeremy is coming for the fun stuff-- going out at night and running the half marathon. Brett Michaels is the post race entertainment. If that's not a reason in itself to go, I don't know what is.