Wednesday, April 16, 2014

~ during which I forget Meb's existentialist question and fail to remain positive...constructively

After two easy days (walking and light jogs), I feel better.  It was the first 25+ C run of the year, and there were a couple of other possible other factors for my misery.   The most upsetting part, however, was how negative I felt.  I really hated life during that run.  It was disgusting.

On Monday evening, I participated in (attended?) a webinar held by Ucan and featuring Meb Keflezighi.  This was the first time I'd done anything like this and I was envisioning a mess of many voices or something like that.  To my relief, the format was simple: Meb and the host were the only ones speaking, and the rest of us just typed.  To my surprise, it proved to be more interesting than the typical pre- or post-race interview or whatever.  To my astonishment, Meb answered my question, about mental tricks during tough portions of races.  He said, and not for the first time, that he cannot reveal all of his secrets (this made me happy because he's not hanging up his sneakers yet), but he divulged a few tips, including a question to think about while things get rough:

"Why are you here?"

Yeah, why the heck did I sign up and pay for this thing and put myself through this discomfort voluntarily?  It's a really good question.   What exactly am I hoping to get out of this experience?  Is it worth it to dig deeper?  I really hope to remember this during the marathon. 

Today was my last interval workout of this training cycle, although I might do some shorter ones.  At any rate, 4 minutes straight of tough effort felt daunting.  I meant to remember Meb's question, but I forgot.  And I needed some serious tunes. 

Rep 1:  ok, too ok.  I realized about a minute in that I wasn't breathing like I should during these workouts.  Inhalation is the same, but I exhale forcefully and my mouth goes a certain way--I was hoping that this corresponded to a type of pranayama for easier explanation, but no such luck.  Anyway, the force and mouth position seem to help and, past a certain point, seem necessary, and this also seems to correspond with my VO2max pace.  I really don't know for sure, but if I'm not breathing like this, blasting the bad air out, I'm not working hard enough.  And so I pushed up the pace.  0.57 of a mile.

Rep 2:  a bit more honest, but my internet crapped out after about 3 minutes, leaving me high and dry.  It was rough.   0.59 of a mile.

Rep 3:  this is when Meb's question would've come in handy, but I think I remembered the gist of it.  Why was I there, sweating on that treadmill?  To jack up VO2 max.  Was I doing so effectively, to be perfectly honest?  Maybe not.  So I nudged up the pace a bit (remember, my treadmill has a sliding knob to control pace)...but it didn't budge.  Finally, I got it to the second last notch, to what felt like a more useful effort. Maybe the treadmill goes only to 9.5 mph.   0.61 of a mile. 

Rep 4:  This time, my internet crapped out shy of 2 minutes.  For fifteen excruciatingly slow seconds, I tried to think positively.  Last half of last rep!  You go, girl!  You can do this!  Etc.  Stuff that onlookers yell to race participants.  Looking good! 

Nah,  f this sh--and I deleted the rest because it got nastier.   I lit the negativity that has been brewing the year I've been living here, and it flamed like chlorine trifluoride through the treadmill and the concrete below--it even burned through time because those 2 minutes were like nothing.  I was astonished.  It was both exhausting and invigorating.  It was horrifically dark but I must try to tap into it again.  Probably sparingly.

Why am I here?  To be discontented by societal/civic ills?!  Hopefully I come up with better answers.  Meanwhile, we have about a year left here, which works out well for a marathon mind game: each mile done is a 1/2 month gone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

not pumped!

Too much too soon

Friday: an encouraging tempo run on the TM, 4.5 miles in 33:54.  It was quite rough but 7:32/mile, I'll take it, especially considering the FREE! but poorly calibrated TM correction factor (I'm still tinkering with the equation, but once my husband ran 59 RL minutes in 54 TM minutes, that gave me something quantitative to gnaw on, but I also feel that the faster paces are more accurate than the slower paces).  At any rate, I don't think I've maintained that many 7.5 min miles in a row before.  I'm slow and tempo effort is my weakest point.

Sat: easy 45ish minute recovery jog in the forest.  It was rather warm, though, and not pleasant.

Sun: warmer, even less pleasant.  My husband and I planned on jogging 16 miles, but I felt horrible.  We decided to stay off the roads, at least until we dropped the dog off back home, and we went into the big forest.  The dog enjoyed the streams and maybe I should've too, but it was just a lousy day for running. The air had too much pollen and ash, it was too hot, my chest felt tight, my head hurt, etc; I might have been dehydrated, maybe I shouldn't have eaten that street food yesterday even after gluten questions were answered satisfactorily...and I started to feel strangely emotional, which isn't a good sign.  So I grabbed the dog and walked home.  After I took a shower and a nap, the dog woke me up and I guess I lost track of time because it felt like my husband had been gone forever.  My head still hurt; why did I leave my baby out there in that big bad crispy world?

So we went back to the forest and waited at the top.   Then we walked down a bit to a spot where we'd likely meet him, if he was still in there.  I waited a bit and then thought, oh, he's walking, ok, we'll wait twenty more minutes and then we'll try going down this other road and maybe meet him there.  Just roll around until we found him.  Hero of the day, btw!  I figured my husband was probably miserable and walking by this point and would appreciate the comfort of A/C on his way home.

Nah, he jogged into town and grabbed a sandwich on the way.  They grilled it for him too, hence his prolonged absence.  He phoned me when he got home, while I was still waiting in the forest.  OOPS.  So I went back home and had another nap.

Today: walked in the smaller forest.   Maybe a short jog on the TM tonight.  There is definitely a bit of internal upset, but this is my very last tough week.   I have to push through 3 more tough workouts, that's it!   And then 5-6 months of summer.   Let's talk about that later.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Monday: walked.
Tuesday: walked, short jog
Today: VO2 max workout.  I did 4.5 reps of 3.5 minutes, and both I and the treadmill were apparently affected in terms of the space-time continuum.  Just found out the effect lingered long enough to also affect my husband's workout afterward.

Instead of digging up a race replay this time, I watched a documentary about Stephen Hawking.  I was clicking through a bunch of videos about the perception of time and whatnot when I found it.  Though it didn't really address my interest in warping time (my chief race strategy at this point, lol) it turned out to be a good choice.  His 'voice' is so deliberate that a sentence takes at least five seconds, I think, and as I listened to him, time started to fly, or at least to stop dragging its heels.  I felt more tired, but the intervals seemed to go by more quickly.

Maybe part of the issue was the treadmill speedometer.   The speed has a sliding control, and I set the knob at the same line as last time, but the speed was a bit slower, so I jacked it up.  However, it didn't seem to increase much.  So then I wondered if the top speed was indeed 9 mph, and the small upper margin was just for show.  I pushed the knob up further, to the highest I've ever had it, still 9 mph.  Further still, 9 mph.  I was hesitant because I imagined a sudden faster gear launching me off the back.  Finally, I nudged it to a grudging 9.2 for a few seconds, and then it settled at 9.1.  I left the topmost 1.5 lines for later, but 10 mph doesn't look as likely now.  Maybe the motor is starting to quit, or maybe there was a more mysterious interference.

Later on, my husband jogged for 59 minutes, but the treadmill said he ran for only 54!  Maybe we're in some sort of time dimple or whatever it's called, but fitting 59 minutes of running into 54 seems like a great result for a beginner Time Operator.*  Probably just newbie gains, but if I can hit 59/50 during the marathon, that would rock! LOL, I wish!

*This video's back on youtube!   The clip was gone the last time I looked for it, a few years ago...or has time really folded now?  hmmmm....

Sunday, April 6, 2014

More great weather!

Looks like the whole upcoming week won't go above 21 C or so! :)  Friday was close to 30 C and it's way too early for that.

yesterday: errands, and general driving around.  The barbeque guys were out!  They fire up an industrial-sized barbeque by the side of the road once a month and sell ribs, pork chops, chickens, hamburgers, etc.  We just missed out on the last rack of ribs last time, and we've missed everything since then, but finally we were in the right place at the right time.   Ribs!  Unfortunately, there was probably at least a bit of gluten in their sauce and/or on the grill, judging by the reaction this morning, but after anticipating these ribs for a few months, it was worth it.  I didn't even ask any questions because I had to know what those ribs tasted like: amazing.  Once in a lifetime amazing, oh, well! 

today: between the run and events, I lost over four pounds today.  Fortunately, it wasn't bad.  Unfortunately, I was drained, so I downgraded the tempo portions of my run today to marathon pace, but they were somewhat faster than that anyway.  The hills were kind of rough, but the weather was great, under 16 C and overcast, and not too humid.

We finished the quicker stuff a bit after about half an hour, and then we had about 1:30 of easy running.  The route had more dirt and sand than I'd anticipated, though.  This part was very pretty and went by a bunch of horse farms, but that sand was quite torn up in parts, and one part was, though it could accommodate a four-wheel drive with reasonable clearance, essentially a trail.  Google maps left me unprepared--thank goodness I'd planned a run and not a bike ride!

The sandy bit was almost more tiring than the faster hills at the start.  My left Achilles has been bothering me recently.  It's fine on the TM and on asphalt, and it was fine during the first 4-5 miles mostly on roads, but once we got on the sand and then mostly on the bumpy soft stupid shoulder going into town (more cars, but fewer considerate drivers), it started getting sore.  But then we had a mile on concrete--sidewalks, yay!--and I was able to get better aligned again.  I wasn't entirely happy with the route: I like running through the town because it's a change of pace, but running in and out of it sort of sucks.  We might stick to loops closer to home for our final long runs.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Yesterday: zilch. I slept poorly the night before because I left the window open for the first time this year, and it's like Spring Break out there.  Everybody trying to get laid = noise.  There were just a few dead hours in between the nighttime peepers/yelpers/screamers, and the getting-the-worm crew.  Worst of all are the mockingbirds because they have an extensive repertoire; I get used to the second-hand car alarm, and then the faux goats or whatever kick in.

But, aaahhhh, it's not skanky hot yet and Stupid Bird 2014 isn't even in its shell yet.  I slept much better last night.

This morning: walk with the dog, and then 4 mile tempo run on the TM.  Because we're doing our long run on Sunday this week, which will include some tempo portions for me, I figured I'd do a tempo run beforehand to make the weekend stuff seem easier (this doesn't seem to ever work as well as I hope).  I was going to do three miles, and then I figured that wasn't good enough.  I decided to do 2 X 2 miles, with a minute break in between, just to make it mentally easier....but these last few weeks are supposed to be tough.  No break.  So I did my longest continuous tempo run on the treadmill ever, I think.   That kind of makes up for the pace: it was honest, but I'm still slow.  I mean, I was always slow, and at least it was under 8 min/mile (7:49, woohoo!) but I once ran a 1/2 marathon at a faster pace. 

But, hey, I managed to play number games for 30 minutes straight.  I also played a video of the men's 1992 Olympic marathon, but I couldn't focus on it.  Number games are much more useful anyway, in terms of race prep...well, actually, I did learn something from the race too.  I'd never thought about cropping a singlet before, but some of the guys had done that.  I guess it's against regulations to compete bare-chested, even though that would conform to the gymnos of the original Games more closely.

Anyway, I thought about jogging a while afterward, to also make it a mid-long run, but the unfortunate heel cup of my new shoes tore through the bandaid and my weak and weary flesh underneath.  Looks like I'll be a shoe surgeon this weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New shoes #2

My other pair of new shoes arrived today and I've just tried them out.  Sold!  I now have my wallet out and am deliberating buying another pair or two even though the price has since gone up a $45/pair.  LOL (but usually $40 is my limit--I am CHEAP).  I should probably try them outside first anyway.  

They worked well on the TM at least.  The only issue were the heel cups--they're a bit high in the back and I got a blister.  However, it wouldn't be the first time I had to take scissors or a knife to shoes.

The funny thing is, the first pair I bought has a 8 mm heel drop, and these have a 0 mm heel drop, but they feel much more comfortable even though this is the first time I've run with such a heel drop.  All my other shoes originally had 4-8 mm, but they're all over 2 years old, and I suppose they've been smashed flatter than I'd realized!

Anyway, I did VO2 max intervals, 5 X 3 minutes.  I warmed up properly this time and it went much better this week.  I felt much more biomechanically comfortable, probably thanks to the new shoes, and I finally hit what felt like the proper range, 8.8-9.0 mph.  So I guess the previous two weeks were VO2 max warmups!  No worries: it's been a couple of years, and I still have 2 more weeks.  Also, now I know that the TM goes up to 10 mph and not just 9.  That's more than I need, but it's nice to know that I have a bit of room to improve (hopefully).

Edit: post-workout high, so I went for it.  At this rate, I won't be buying shoes again until 2016.  Two years of hot pink (the only colour on sale in my size).  LOL

Edit edit: Holy crap, it has become so much easier to post pictures on blogspot--layout is easy and I don't need a photo host or whatever.  IT EVEN TAKES .TIF!!!! This has gone to waste!  (btw, the colours are much brighter in person--maybe I have to download a palette update or neon sampler or something...)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A perfect summer day and update and a youth shoes experiment

Yesterday: walked a lot, jogged a total of 15 minutes.  I was sore in a nice good way.
Today: jogged with the dog for 50 minutes, and jogged on the TM for 15 minutes.  Had to loosen up (still a bit sore) and test out new shoes.

Yes, I ordered a pair of youth shoes on clearance--$24!  They were the same model as an adult pair I got in 2012, so I had to try them out.  They aren't quite as comfortable as the adult pair, and the construction seems a bit more haphazard.   I suppose that's the reason why they're less expensive than the adult model--maybe they figure kids won't notice, or care.  This made me a bit sad at first, and then I remembered that, once my feet grew to a certain size, I graduated from velcro shoes (lol) to my mom's old Reeboks.  yeeeesh (fortunately, my feet grew larger than hers so I got my own running shoes again).  As for these shoes, I won't order another pair, but I won't return them either because they will be fine for TM runs and general gym stuff.  And now I know that I can check out my youth size on the clearance rack.

I also ordered a pair of adult shoes on clearance...I don't really like pink, but it's often what's on sale!  Those shoes haven't arrived yet but I'm really hoping that they work for me; otherwise, I'll be running some more in my three year old busted up "slippers".   Sadly, that model has been discontinued; I guess I'll use them until they fall off my feet.

Anyway, today was perfect easy run and summer weather.