I wrapped up my June training this past week with a refreshing stint of reverse-altitude training in the form of a vacation to the Oregon coast. The drop in altitude and change in scenery helped me maintain steady training through a fairly sleep-deprived week and I ended up enjoying an unexpectedly smooth 10-miler as my final run of the month, gliding along a sunlit, blackberry-lined gravel-road route in the salty coastal air. Unlike my last run of that distance, my legs felt strong all the way through the last few miles.
Reservoir at the inland turnaround point of my run
Based on that run and my last few weeks’ mileage I knew I was having a strong month, but definitely didn’t expect what I saw on opening Strava today to look at my total June mileage:
224 km (139 miles) – my highest month since starting to use Strava in January 2014 by ~30k (14 miles) and my highest since the Spring 2014 mono and toe injury!!! ***throws self a small approaching-a-respectable-10k-training-mileage-level party***
I know mileage isn’t that meaningful by itself and isn’t the end goal, but realizing that I had just spent a month at a higher volume than any month since that awful winter of mono and Spring foot-injury, while feeling strong and physically solid, was a thrill! Hopefully I’ll be able to gradually build on this return to pre-injury volume, allowing me to enjoy some stronger races and more adventurous long runs in the late Summer and Fall.
I freaking *love* running – so grateful it’s currently loving me back!
Taking 5 days off out of the 7 days last week seems to have paid off! I got in some solid bike rides during my break and then came back yesterday with a fun running club run under rainbow filled post-storm skies.
Much to my delight, running club has added a third group this year, meaning there’s now a walk-run group (~2 miles of 2 min on/1 off), a medium run group (3-4 miles at 10-12 min pace average), and a longer/faster run group (4-6 miles at 8:30 pace average). This means I now have a more comfortable group to run with (12 min pace doesn’t agree with my IT band, sadly) and some speedsters to attempt to keep up with! The longer run group consists of about 5 guys and 1 other woman who also rides with my cycling club. We had a blast this week striding along through the sagebrush together and chatting as we wound through the trails.
We actually may have had a bit too much fun, as the pace quickened into the sub-8 range towards the end, bringing us to 6 miles at 48 minutes on the dot. On the plus side, I just ran what I thought was going to be my early season/altitude 10k pace for 6 miles at easier-than-tempo-run effort, and on a non-twinging foot! On the downside, as soon as the endorphins and post-run beer buzz wore off I started thinking about how far even 7:50 pace would be off my 10k times from ‘back when I was in shape’.
I recognized these feelings of dissatisfaction this morning and worked to turn them around, reminding myself to be grateful for the rejuvenated foot and the unexpectedly quick 6-miler. Looking at the past and wishing for a magic return to fitness is pointless…and frustrating.
Instead, I’m focusing back in on the moment and the joy that my current level of fitness brings to me. Even if my body isn’t as quick as it was in college, I can still find joy in my ability to get out most days of the week to run or bike, to enjoy a nice weekend long run (hour+, wootwoot!), and to put in the satisfying hard effort of my weekly tempo/fartlek/hill rep session.
Thankfully, endorphins don’t care about absolute speed 😉
There’s nothing quite like pulling out your race planning calendar and penciling in the highlights of the abundance of summer races to make one short on patience. I’m dreaming of gnarly trail climbs and fast road races, and all I really want to do is bust through some gut-wrenching workouts and increasingly lengthy long runs in the newly-arrived Spring weather.
Instead, I’m wrestling with my starry-eyed enthusiasm, pinning it down while I spend a week on lower mileage in an effort to get my recently uncooperative right foot to loosen up and stop nagging me every few strides. I went a bit too hard last week with a tough workout and a (horribly dehydrating) single-track long run, and my right foot got cranky enough to warrant an attempt at appeasement through reduced mileage. I’m already noticing results – less morning foot stiffness and only a little ache after my last (short) run, but waiting is hard. *sigh*
Based on others’ tales of woe, runners are almost universally lacking in patience. We want to get PR’s, speed through workout progressions and into full fitness, blast the early miles in a race and then carry on in some heroic breakthrough effort, and push through the pain of injury rather than taking the time to fully heal. But if we want to succeed long term, we have to learn to deal with the early season sluggishness, the many races that fall far short of our goal times, the illusionary slow early pace in a long race, and the pains that interrupt our training.
So even though I can still technically run on my nagging foot, I’m giving it a break. I’ll hop on the bike today, with an eye on races 2, 8, 20 weeks down the road rather than the disappointing number at the end of this week’s training log. In two weeks, the number of miles that I hit this week really won’t mean anything…unless it’s a foolishly high number that has me nursing an even sorer foot. My running enthusiasm is going to have to just sit down and chill for a bit until logic and my a-few-weeks-down-the-road planning decide it’s free to launch back into action.
Any other patience-enforcing strategies out there?
Oof, well that was quite the week! I’m finally sitting down with MountainMan reading and drinking some Sunday afternoon coffee. It’s been a week crammed with good and bad, stressful and fun, and I’m glad to finally have some slow, quiet time to process everything before I start again tomorrow.
- 4:20am wake ups on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday + 12 hour days Monday and Tuesday due to work events/meetings.
- MM being gone all week for a funeral 😦
- Taking care of furbaby – fun but stressful since he seems to act up when anxious about MM being gone
- Some disconcerting work stuff
- Thought MM had crashed because the 100 mile drive from the airport today took him 4 hours. Nope, he just stopped to nap and didn’t tell me
- A crazy commute Thursday that involved bad bus schedules, lost car keys, cycling in 27 degree weather, and misplaced office keys. And then, thankfully, free bacon
- Science club students rocked it at their final presentations! So proud 🙂
- Tempo run on weds started wayyyyy too fast but then I held on and managed to drop almost 20 seconds in the last mile, totally shocking myself
- Finished another conference abstract and made good progress on the study design and budget (new skill, yay!) for a new study – actually felt focused and productive even after 2×12 hour days to start the week
- May have found a new road bike!
- Found a sweeeet new dirt-road running route and got to explore it with furbaby
- Joined the #oisellevolee team! So excited to be on a team with new and former teammates 🙂 More on this coming soon…
- Related: Started planning my summer race season and got wayyyy too excited. All the trail races!
- Finished up a 30-mile week (woohoo!) with a sunny, celebratory shake-out run
After all that I’m grateful to have a few hours to relax and recharge before jumping back in to work, another week of training, and the general stress of adult life. Thank goodness for my favorite fleecy blankets, comfy old track-team sweatshirt, and decaf evening coffee 🙂
I was wondering why I was absolutely beat going into this week. I think I figured out why:
Made a bit of a training load jump! Plus circuits 2x and alllll the IT band PT.
Today I ‘only’ worked out for 60 minutes, 30 of which were my bike commute, so I had time to do some anatomy review after work. I’ve been trying to brush up since it’s been 4+ years since I took anatomy and I’m actually using musculoskeletal anatomy at work. The human body is overwhelmingly complex!
I journeyed to the dreaded grocery store (so overwhelming) and only now (10pm) got around to dinner. I’m sore and bleary-eyed and can’t wait to climb into bed!
I have some cool preliminary results to show at our research meeting tomorrow and what feels like a hundred questions to get sorted out for my first major human-subjects MRI study that involves volunteers, a long scan protocol that isn’t entirely set yet, multiple surgical fellows, and pregnancy tests for female participants by request of our IRB (ahhhhh!). We’re supposed to start data collection in 2 weeks. I’m a little anxious 😬
Oh, and I also have a software training session with a very enthusiastic international research surgeon and RA (yayyyyy, teach all the Mimics) and a tempo ride (ugh) planned for tomorrow so some rest would be useful…
It’s been incredibly rainy lately, in true Spring fashion. This has been excellent for thesis writing – I’ve gotten just over 11,000 words down on paper and have absolutely no desire to distract myself by prancing around outside in the frigid May showers.
The sudden turn in the weather has been less conducive to running. Tuesday’s track workout turned into a bit of a battle for survival. Fish & I had a tougher workout planned (2×800 @ 5k pace – 10 seconds/mile [200m jog recovery], 2×600 at the same[same recovery], 2×300 at mile race pace [100 m recovery]) + about 800m worth of strides sprinkled throughout) and we were both keeping an eye on the sky since there had been thunderstorms predicted. However, it was about 60 degrees and looked pretty decent when we started.
By the time we got to the 2nd 600 the temperature had plunged into the 40’s and it was raining so hard that we both abandoned our long sleeves since they were more water than shirt at that point. The track was flooded and we spent each lap squinting and dodging each other’s foot-splash.
The battle for survival started when we finally got back to the car & I realized my hands were too frozen to grip the key. Yay for Raynaud’s 😛 I finally figured out a nice (and ridiculous looking) two-handed substitute for the usual single-handed pinch-grip for turning the key and we rejoiced in the fact that we were not going to be forced to suffer the indignity of dying of hypothermia right outside a nice warm car. We survived, got to feel tough, and even managed to hit some of our splits!
Allright, enough reminiscing about the week’s runs – I have a thesis to write! And lots of hot coffee to drink…just thinking about that workout makes me shiver!