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.

1 comment:

JohnP said...

wow - great long run!!

I have to get changed immediately because if I let my wet clothing cool down I freeze to death.