Sunday, February 20, 2011

Testing the waters

Well, this weekend was a chance to test my legs.  I ended up losing a week of training after having my wisdom teeth pulled, not so much because of any pain, but because the antibiotics made me so nauseous. By Tuesday, I was feeling back to feeling myself, but the day was too busy to run because Erik was leaving the next day, so I grudgingly moved my run to Wednesday.  Running after having a week off made my legs feel heavy and my shins a little sore, so I kept the run short and easy.

Because I ran Wednesday, I wasn't able to do my usual Thursday run so I had to make some decisions.  A 2 hour long run was planned for the weekend, but so was my first brick of the season.  If I ran on Friday, I couldn't do both the long run and the brick on the weekend.

In the end, it was an easy decision because a friend who's also a triathlete, and whose husband was also out of town, agreed to come over for a girls' night out a la triathlon.  She brought her bike and we set up the trainers in the living room then we watched a movie while we rode for 90 minutes.  After that, a nice meal and wine, and another movie.  It was a fun evening when I normally would have been alone.

Saturday, I decided to do my long run.  I wasn't sure how long I'd run because my legs had been quite sore on Wednesday and I wasn't sure what to expect. It was cold (-4C 24F) but sunny, and there was a strong north wind that made the air feel even colder, but I decided to venture downtown to run the north end of the half marathon route, which included a 2km climb up the mountain.

I decided to park in the middle of the route so I could stop by the car a couple of times and refill my handheld water bottle, plus I could bail if I needed to.  But I didn't need to bail - I felt pretty great in fact!  I was quite fast when the wind was at my back, around 6:30/km, but slower when it was blowing against me.  I ran along the boardwalk to the bridge and back as my warm up, which was very exposed and quite windy, then I refilled my bottle and attacked the next section, which included the hill.

I was curious to see how it was going to feel and whether I'd be able to run up hill all the way or perhaps be forced to walk.  I was happy to find that I could indeed run the entire hill and I kept a faster pace than I had expected (7:20/km).  Once at the top, it leveled off for awhile and then there was a steep downhill to the valley bottom again.

I passed the car again and refilled my bottle for a second time, then retraced my original steps on the waterfront boardwalk. By this time, my legs had turned to cement and I had a tough time keeping a decent pace.  I was in the 7:15/km area and felt like I was trudging along.  As usual, this run was 15 min longer than my last long run so I really felt that last 15 minutes. 

Amazingly, my Garmin rolled exactly 17 km just as I hit the 2 hour mark back at the car and although I had hoped to hit 18km today, I was content with the run given the cold and the wind.

I got into the car and cranked up the heat because my fingers always start to go white and tingly (Reynaud's) as soon as I stop running and start to cool down.  I felt fine as I drove home but decided to make a quick stop at the store to pick up a few things and immediately started to shiver uncontrollably as soon as I entered the cold grocery store.  I guess the only way to avoid this is to be totally prepared and drive straight home after a long run.

Anyway, I am hoping to run that same route a couple more times before the race on March 27.  I think it'll be good for my legs.

I am so happy to be able to run up hills and not feel sore the next day.  This morning I felt a bit stiff but not injured.  And so today, was another test.  I had a brick planned - 90 min trainer and a 15 min run - would I be able to run two days in a row, especially after a 2 hour run?  Only time would tell.

I laid out a complete change of clothes to run in, all my warm gear of course because it was -4C outside, then I jumped on the trainer and rode.  My goal was zone 2 with a few drills thrown in but I decided to watch TV this time instead of listen to my ipod and my effort was really affected.  I had trouble keeping my cadence steady and my HR up.  I really need the podrunner 190 bpm music playing to keep me focussed so I don't think I'll watch TV again when I'm spinning.  After 90 minutes, I quickly towelled down and changed into running gear.  It was pretty gross to pile on warm clothes when I was so hot and sweaty but it felt quite refreshing to step outside in the cold. 

 I only had to run 15 minutes and I was surprised to see I had a decent pace of about 6:15-6:30/km with a zone 2 heart rate. My shins and lower legs felt pretty good with very little of the usual leaden legs that I usually have the first few bricks of the season.

Afterwards, I stretched and iced, and then had a hot epsom salts bath and stretched again before bed.  I guess I won't really know if I passed the test or not until tomorrow, or maybe not even until Tuesday when I run again.  Right now, my legs are telling me I need a rest day, and that's what's planned for tomorrow anyway, so all is well.

This week will be tough - run 45-60 min on Tuesday and Thursday, trainer on Wed and Friday, long run 2:00-2:15 on Saturday, another brick on Sunday.

I hope I pass.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Afraid to Jinx it but....

I'd like to continue with my last positive post and say, I'm still running and I'm still feeling good!

OK, quick, everyone go knock on something made of wood!

It's been a little over two weeks and things are going really well. I've managed to build up my long run to 1:45, about 15 km at a slow pace, and I have started to pick up the pace a little on my mid week runs to see how things go. So far so good.

On Sunday, January 30, I did my planned long run for 90 minutes. I kept the pace slow and easy and focussed on good form, trying hard not to over stride and to keep my body loose and relaxed. I've been adding 15 min to my long run each week and not surprisingly, I always feel great until that last 15 minutes. Funny how that works eh?

That run finished up my second week of Base 1 with a total of 7 1/2 hours of training -

2 X 45 min run
1 X 90 min run
2 X 45 min bike
1 X 90 min bike
3 X 30 min strength
No swimming.

I am doing two weeks of training, followed by a rest week and since the next week included a lot of errands, meetings, and parent teacher interviews, it was a good thing it was a rest week.

During the week Jan 31 - Feb 6

I did 2 X 30 min runs at a little faster pace. I usually run around 7 min / km (11:30 mile) but for these two runs, I did around 6:30 / km (10:15 mile) just to see how it would feel. I had no pain afterward so next week I'm going to bump it up to 6:15 / km. I know I can run 5:30 but I want to get there slowly and carefully.

I didn't get on my bike at all - there was only one day where I could have but I bailed, boo me.

On the weekend, Erik and I went away to Salmon Arm and we went skate skiing for a few hours on Saturday. On Sunday, we came back early because of an impending snow storm and I did a step back long run in a blizzard, running 10 km in 1:15.

During the week, I did continue with my stretching, yoga, and some core but didn't do my hand weights. I also went to one last IMS appt and saw my chiropractor for more ART. I am feeling almost normal now - yay! The skate skiing didn't even bother my groin at all by the way.

This week past, (Feb 7-13) has been a bit messed up. I took my usual rest day on Monday, and then had to make soem decisions about training for the week. Normally I run on Tuesday and Thursday with a long run on the weekend. However, this week, I had my wisdom teeth out and most people thought I wouldn't likely feel like / be able to do my 1:45 long run on the weekend. So I decided to push my Tuesday run ahead a day and make it my long run.

Circumstances were such that I couldn't even start my run until after 7pm so I drove down to the flats and did my run there. Once again, I felt good for 1:30 and only started to plod for the last 15 minutes. 15 km in the bag. That's my longest run in awhile. The interesting thing is that nothing was hurting the next day either - not my foot, my PTT, my shins, nothing. It's such a nice feeling.

I really feel like I'm going to be ready for the half marathon in another month. I mean, I know I could go run the distance right now, but my goal for this race is to meet or beat my Victoria time (2:24) and not feel totally trashed afterward. In fact, I won't even care if I'm a little slower - I think I should easily be able to run it in 2:30 and feel 100% the next day. I know I could run 2:15 or faster right now but I'd be hurting and that's not part of the plan with my half iron coming up in June.

So anyway, this week was supposed to be Base 2 and the only thing that is really getting done is the running. Depending on how I feel, I may do the planned brick (2:00 bike+ :15 min run) on the weekend, but more likely, I'll push that off to mid week, or even next weekend. I have one brick planned every weekend for the next 4 weeks so it may just have to wait.

The biggest risk with my mouth right now, is the possibility of having the clot come out, causing dry socket (very painful) or of the tooth space getting infected. My dentist says it's always a good possibility of happening. We'll see.

Next week, I should be back to normal and hopefully put in a full week of training. I get to bump up the intensity a little as well which should be fun.