Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chickamauga Training: Week 1 Recap

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Week #1:

Monday, July 11:

Plan: 5 miles

Actual: 4.85 mile run + 2 mile walk w/Matt and dogs

Per the usual, when I got home, Matt asked about my run. My response? "I believe this would be considered character building."

HOLY COW I have not felt so wiped out after a run in a LONG time. Of course we were under all sorts of heat advisories and it was 99 degrees when I started this run just before 6:00 p.m. However, the HUMIDITY was unlike anything I have felt in a while. I seriously felt like I was breathing through a straw the air was so dense. I was out on my usual trail and while the trees usually offer a break from the heat, the canopy was trapping the humidity and making it feel like a rain forest. I was covered in sweat even worse than normal and a couple of times had to completely pull off to the side and stop and walk around. The humidity was making it where I could NOT cool down. There were actually quite a few people out on the trail today which was surprising given the weather but it made me feel better that everyone else pretty much looked like s*** too. Regulars that I usually see zooming around were walking (and it was not near parking areas, we were all just gassed). I made it 2 miles before I was forced to walk (~1 min) b/c I knew I could not keep it up for another 5K. For (almost) the last 2 miles, I was running 5-6min and walking 1 b/c I was so hot and drained. I arrived back at my car at 4.85 and while I could have run around the parking lot to round it off, I was DONE. I really didn't want to take the dogs out for a walk but we chose a "less hilly" route and kept the pace moderate and the time on my feet never hurts.

Post run...look how red my face is! And sadly, this was after I had been sitting in front of my AC on full blast for several minutes!

Tuesday, July 12:

Plan: 3 miles + bootcamp

Actual: 3 miles + bootcamp

I am beginning to think bootcamp is cursed! My plan had been to run 2 miles before bootcamp, take the class (30 minutes) and then run 1 mile back to my car. Work ended up being CRAZY and I got out in just enough time to change and run to class. During class, storm clouds began to roll in and we just got through with our intense sweat session (seriously...one girl who was similar size to me had on a Body Bug and it said she burned 384 calories in that half hour...I don't doubt it!) it started to lightning and the skies darkened even further. I was busting ass to get back to my car; I had the energy to tack on the mileage but was worried about the weather. (This is the 4th week in a row weather has impacted this class in some way, shape or form!) Luckily, where I live, skies were cloudy but with no impending doom. My neighbors told me Matt had just left with the dogs but I picked the wrong route in my pursuit to find him...so I tacked on a quick mile to visit my ducks and turtles at the lake and scoped out a couple of hills for repeats on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 13
Plan: Rest
Actual: Rest :)

I had an early meeting and Bunco after work which made today ideal for a rest day. Right now, my rest days tend to fall on Mondays (or around stuff I already have in my schedule, which is why I did my 5 on Monday) but it was nice to have the mid-week break and to hang out with my friends. Also turned out to be good that it was a planned rest day b/c there were torrential downpours and thunderstorms all afternoon and well into the evening so I would have been forced to the gym treadmill or needing to reschedule (both of which would have stressed me out)

Thursday, July 14
Plan: 3x hill + yoga
Actual: 3 x hill + 3.4 mile walk w/Matt and dogs

I find it kind of funny that just after I write a post about my work schedule "normalizing" that I have a week with 4 early meetings and 1 late meeting. Today I had a "last minute" meeting added for 7:30a and then a 5-6p to end the day. My original plan (before the meetings were added) was to do my hill workout in my neighborhood in the a.m. and then go to yoga after work (it starts at 6). Well, since my meeting ended at 6 that killed off yoga and I was NOT getting up extra early to run a sweaty workout that would require a re-washing of the hair, blah blah blah. I was starving when I left my meeting and it was overcast but I decided I was just going to get the hill work done downtown. Our downtown is actually fairly flat but there are some good hills that go from midtown to southside as well as some bridges that go from midtown to the northside. The bridge route is actually a little bit safer at this time of day, so off I went.

I ran a half mile warm up to the bottom of the bridge (10:31 pace) and estimated that it was a 2 block (.2 mi) climb to the "peak" (it was .19 so I was pretty close). I thought it was a decent, challenging hill/bridge and am surprised to see only 50 feet of elevation gain over the 2 blocks. So, OK, not the most challenging hill I've ever tackled but still a respectable climb and one you wouldn't necessarily want to see coming in a race situation. I went and re-looked at the V2V killer hill and it climbs 180 feet in .75 miles and that was seriously cruel and brutal (but NOT safe to train on due to traffic) I would still LOVE advice for picking a good hill to train on. Is a .2 mile hill too short to gain benefit? Should I go for something longer with a slower grade? Like I've said, I run hills anyway b/c there is almost no way to avoid them, I just want to do some focused work on them.

Since this was a new workout, I really had no idea how to tackle it or what to expect so I just decided to go for it and adjust as needed. I wanted to focus on powering up to the top and letting myself go a little bit more than usual on the downhills. In races, I usually use the downhill as a way to "catch my breath", bringing down my heartrate and I can feel myself holding back a little.
I totally screwed up the lap function on my last downhill and I'm disappointed not to have the data b/c I finally had the feeling of controlled motion downhill on the last set. BUT totally rocked out negative split paces on the uphills.

Hill 1 10:23/mi (up); 10:05/mi (down)
Hill 2 10:14/mi (up); 9:31/mi (down)
Hill 3 9:36/mi (up); (did not recordthe down)--After monitoring the splits for 1 & 2, my goal was to hit 10:00/pace and I totally killed it! Woo hoo!

A couple of "cool" things during the run: a yellow school bus full of kids (looked like 6-7 y/o baseball team) at a stop sign as I was climbing hill #2. Windows down, I heard some kids saying hey. I looked over and saw some waving so I gave them a huge 2 handed wave. Then a huge "YAY!!!" erupted from the bus. So cute and made me smile (and push harder). On hill #3 a couple people leaving from the corporate buildings that I pass acknowledging me and 1 woman saying "Great work" Wonder if she was a runner.

Ran the .5 cool down back to my car (11:33 pace this time around!) and headed home. Ate an awesome dinner from my "personal chef" and we headed out with the dogs for a nice humid walk afterwards.

Friday, July 15

Plan: Rest

Actual: Rest

I had made plans to spend the weekend in Auburn with my aunt and cousin and drove down after work. It's a 2 hour drive and I got in around 9:30; the drive was rainy and I could feel that my back/shoulders were sore from tensing up.

Saturday, July 16

Plan: 8 miles

Actual: 8.1 miles

I absolutely LOVE running in Auburn. Not just because it provides different routes and is considerably flatter (not flat, but it's considered the plains, not the foothills) but 1. Most of the city is connected through a sidewalk system (not just in subdivisions but on "major" traveled roads as well); 2. It is so easy to get lost in thought/memories as I run past places that were such a huge part of growing up (as a child, then teenager and later as a college student back for summers or weekends with my then-b/f who went to Auburn University).

It was the PERFECT morning for running and if it weren't for the lingering humidity, you wouldn't believe it was July. It was 72 degrees and overcast with 94% humidity (2 out of 3 is not bad!). I watched the weather channel as I was getting ready and saw that there was no expected break in the clouds and that the high wasn't even expected to reach 80. BLISS!

I had toyed with the idea of getting up extra early and running with the local running group but since it was "only" 8 miles I saw no reason to kill myself meeting everyone at 6am. My plan had been to be out of the door by 6:30 instead but once I saw the forecast, I took my time getting ready and was out the door a few minutes after 7. My plan was to run a modified loop of the running club's "Saturday plan", starting and ending at my aunt's house. My aunt was doing body pump and we would meet at 9:30 for Starbucks/breakfast.

Cheesy pre-run mirror shot

Overall, this run was BLISS. Everything fell into place and I could not have asked for a more perfect morning. I was running without music (more on that to come in a future post) so I was alternating between losing myself in thought and "taking it all in". I decided that I would count all of the runners/walkers and cyclists out this morning as something to keep me focused. You will not believe this but...26 on foot (including a girl I knew from high school) and 26 on bike! Not counting myself though, so the runners have the slight edge ;) 23 of the cyclists were part of a group ride and I was able to focus on counting them as I was climbing a hill, so it was a nice distraction.

Shortly before mile 4, I passed some runners inviting me to utilize the "water stop" ahead which was nice as I was pretty sweaty and could use an excuse to stretch my lower back. It was actually at a place I worked for 2 summers in college (nostalgia!) I took this opportunity to take in about 6 oz of water and to eat 2 chomps. I wouldn't normally eat on a run this short but as much as I like the "jelly beans" I have been wanting to test some new fueling options and figured it's best to do so on a low risk run (not a 20 miler). The chomps were from a sample pack I rcv'd at one of my races and while they were tasty, I think they upset my stomach just a bit and in fact, I threw up in my mouth a little toward the end of the run (and it was not from overexertion). Gu chomp FAIL. Will be trying something else this coming weekend.

Also shortly after the water stop, it started to lightly mist and pretty much misted on me the entire way home. It was like having my own personal sprinkler system. WIN! I thought to myself that I could have run a half marathon today, I seriously felt THAT good. Huge confidence builder and my last mile (mostly downhill but STILL) was my fastest of the morning.

Water or sweat? I'll let you decide!

Even my legs were sweaty!

For the record:

Pre-run fuel: 1/2 of a honey wheat bagel with nutella, 6 oz water

During the run: 20 oz of water/gatorade mix in my handheld plus 6oz at water stop and 2 gu chomps (strawberry)
Wore: Nike running skirt, UnderArmour tank, Wigwam Ironman socks, pink Mizuno Wave Nirvanas (which are going to need replacing soon), UnderArmour headband
Accessories: Nathan shadow pack (for phone), Nathan handheld, Garmin

Sunday, July 17
Plan: Cross training (choice)
Actual: 1hr recumbent bike at the gym ("Random Hills" with Level 3 as the "base", 21.6 miles completed)

My aunt and I got up early and headed to the gym. I thought about doing the elliptical after the 30 minute mark but was enjoying the bike workout so stuck with it. For the first half hour I was reading "Run" by Dean Karnazes but then got sucked into a fascinating "Outside the Lines" on ESPN about Charlie Wittmack and his journey to complete a World Triathlon which included swimming the English Channel (250 miles), an approx. 9,000 mile bike ride and then climbing/summiting Mt Everest. His story was extremely interesting and apparently motivating b/c there were times when I would check my speed and see myself pumping 25-30mph on difficult parts of the "hills" in the program. I know that I got a solid workout on the bike and my legs will thank me for the variety, but there is just NOTHING like the sweat I get from a good run.

Overall Thoughts
Not bad for week #1 of training. I was able to find a good balance of a busy work week, fun times with friends and training. Hoping for a good week #2!

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